Claims that Western interests are driving unrest in Hong Kong to undermine China have been decried across the Western media as “fake news,” “disinformation,” and even grounds for censorship from platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Yet a look at the organizations directly involved in leading the unrest and those supporting it reveals unequivocally that it originates in Washington DC – not organically from within Hong Kong itself.Read More »
Only a careful curatorial eye allowed press photographer Jorge Valiente and journalist Sahily Tabares to create the book Fidel es un país, an iconography of the Cuban Revolution’s leader that captures him just as he was.
Colleagues and life companions, the authors made a selection from among more than a thousand shots Valiente has of the Comandante en Jefe, photos taken in the exercise of his profession, first for the newspaper Revolución,and later Granma. His existence just as it was lived.
Mark Carney, head of Bank of England, has acknowledged that the U.S. dollar’s days as the world reserve currency are numbered.
Speaking to policy makers and academics at the U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual symposium – Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium – on Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Carney warned “blithe acceptance of the status quo is misguided,” and dramatic steps will ultimately be needed.
Carney spoke hours after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he would respond to retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods imposed by China.Read More »
I use a simple formula, perhaps too simple, to teach my students the different categories of philosophical thinking. It is difficult to explain without a visual, but I will try. To begin with there are the two polar opposite ways of thinking, the Metaphysical and the Materialist, or, if one prefers, the Religious and the Scientific. The Metaphysical seeks explanations for the world outside the world. The Scientific seeks to explain the world by examining it. Superimposed upon these two categories, so that there is a quadrant formed, are the Essentialist and Dialectical ways of viewing the world. The Essentialist world sees things as essentially timeless and unchanging. It negates change. In the dialectical view, essence is change. Every dimension and element of the world is constantly changing. Thus, we arrive at the four basic schools of thought.Read More »
In an interview with Bob Fernandes, on TVE Bahia, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that the US government “created the Lava Jato investigation to take our oil.”
For former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, events in Brazil since the 2016 coup that deposed President Dilma Rousseff were orchestrated by the US government. “Everything that is happening has the hand of the United States on it…. The US created the Lava Jato investigation to take our oil,” he said, speaking for the first time after Supreme Court (STF) prevented his transfer to a São Paulo prison. Lula’s interview, with veteran journalist Bob Fernandes, aired on TVE, a public television station from Bahia, on Friday, August 16th.Read More »
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), confirmed with satellites what environmentalist organizations around the world had been announcingsince President Jair Bolsonaro took office; the Amazon, often called the “Lungs of the World,” is in danger.
Between January and August, 72,843 intermittent wildfires have been registered in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest due to the “development policy” undertaken by President Jair Bolsonaro in matters of agriculture and mining. Non-governmental organizations used the hashtag #PrayForAmazonia in the different social media throughout the week to try and get Bolsonaro’s attention given the massive hectares of forests that are being scorched by fire.Read More »
Well hot damn, we’ve lost a Koch brother! Do your happy dance, call out the munchkins and let your voice shake the heavens with a rousing rendition of “Ding-dong the oligarch is dead!”
David Koch, the younger of the two plutocratic faux-libertarian powerhouses who were until today collectively known as the Koch brothers, has died at 79. If you find my celebration of this distasteful, you can kindly kiss my bogan ass. Every time a toxic oligarchic death cultist dies there are always a bunch of people buzzing around social media and the blogosphere admonishing everyone to be respectful and polite because blah blah something about having a family. Such calls for civility toward our rulers are always anti-populist in nature; they stem from a fear of what would happen if the unwashed masses lost their reverence for the ruling class, and I have no respect for them. The less reverence we have for these creeps, the better.
And the narrative managers have of course been shoving us as hard as they can in the opposite direction toward reverence and adulation, with the word “philanthropist” filling out headlines for mass media outlets like Fox News, NBC and CBS. The New York Times published a fawning hagiography with the subheader “A man-about-town philanthropist, he and his brother Charles ran a business colossus while furthering a libertarian agenda that reshaped American politics.”
Now, calling American Enterprise Institute council memberand virulent Mitt Romney stan David Koch a “libertarian” is ridiculous; he was as much a libertarian as Hillary Clinton is a socialist. The Kochs have always paid lip service to shrinking government, but all they’ve ever pushed for with their actions is the shrinking of the aspects of government which inconvenience the oligarchs: taxes and regulations. They’ve left the mechanisms of bloodthirsty imperialism, Orwellian surveillance and oppressive neoliberalism almost entirely unchallenged; they’re neoliberal centrists wrapped in a fake libertarian bow. But far more offensive to common sense and human dignity is labeling him a “philanthropist”.
If I could strike one word from the English language, “philanthropist” would be it. That word’s sole meaning these days is a label that gets attached to parasitic plutocrats who donate a very small percentage of their wealth to tax-exempt charities so that people won’t notice they’re living in a plutocracy and roll out the guillotines.
Any adept socializer knows that it doesn’t take much to get on someone’s good side; a little well-placed flattery at a party one night and you’ve earned a defender and supporter for life. In the same way, a casual look through campaign donations from the plutocratic class on Open Secrets will show you that it doesn’t take much to get a politician on the side of your interests; a few thousands dollars here, a few thousand there, and you’ve bought yourself a congressman. People respond to positive reinforcement, and it takes very little to elicit this response. Plutocratic charity donations follow the same principle; a billionaire who sprinkles a tiny percentage of his income around a few of his favorite causes will earn the title of “philanthropist” for life.
And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. Study after study has found that the wealthy give less to charity than those who make orders of magnitude less money than they do, which should surprise no one since study after study has also found that wealth kills empathyand makes people more sociopathic. Yet you’ll never see any member of the middle or lower class eulogized as a philanthropist, even if they give a much larger percentage of their income to charity than David Koch did.
Even when they do give money to charity, the wealthy need to have those donations solicited in the most egoically appealing way possible before they’ll deign to consider them. In an interview with Creative Mornings, author Anand Giridharadas described what he learned from disgraced philanthropy fundraiser Emmett Carson about how much bowing and scraping and conceptual re-framing that people have to do in order to convince a billionaire to part with a few coins:
“[Carson] said ‘Look, I worked in social justice my whole life, I used that term my whole career.’ Then he gets this job in silicon valley. He becomes Mark Zuckerberg’s adviser, and others in that world. And he said to me ‘It was made very clear to me very quickly [that] you don’t say this word ‘social justice’ around here.’ And I said ‘Why?’ and he said ‘Well, I think [for] people out here it sounds to them like you’re taking from them.’ You know, which… is actually correct!
“And what I learned from Emmett was something very important which is rich and powerful people in our time really do want to help but they have certain requirements for how they want to feel in their helping. They want to feel consulted, which they feel when they do things philanthropically and they don’t feel when government just takes their money and makes a collective decision about what to do. So, they like charter schools, they don’t like equally and adequately funded public schools. They like to feel useful and not blamed. Right? So they don’t like the Bernie Sanders kind of rhetoric around how Facebook’s a monopoly or around Amazon’s doing like… they don’t like that, doesn’t make them feel good. But they’re willing to help if you say ‘Wow, I mean, you built Facebook, that’s so amazing that you created a way for people to waste all this time, and maybe, maybe given that expertise you can help the kids in Newark have a better education?’ They love that. They love that feeling of like, ‘You’re useful. You’re not the problem.’
“And what Emmett understood because he’s not a writer who can just say stuff, he’s a guy who had to figure out how to speak to them, to get them to give money away and help, is like, you have to shift the language. But shifting the language is not just shifting the language. It’s shifting the whole thing. It’s shifting the politics of it because you basically have to solve problems in ways that make them perpetrator free.”
“There is a clear understanding that.. a little bit of giving may just be as a smokescreen for a kind of pillaging of the economy,” Giridharadas said elsewhere in the interview, describing the cynical use of charity by Goldman Sachs. There are some great articles by dissident media publications out today about the kind of pillaging David Koch was involved in, including this one by Jacobin titled “For Humanity, David Koch Died Decades Too Late”, and this one by Rolling Stone titled “David Koch Built a Toxic Empire — with Human Consequences”.
We’ve seen the way the “philanthropist” title is abused highlighted elsewhere in recent days with the attention swirling around the strange case of Jeffrey Epstein. In an excellent new interview with Consortium News, journalist Whitney Webb explains the ways the Epstein case ties into all the most fundamental pillars which uphold existing power structures today, including plutocracy, intelligence agencies, organized crime and pedophilia rings. Webb mentions in the interview that when Bill Clinton was first asked about his relationship with Epstein he responded by babbling about philanthropy.
“Jeffrey is both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science,” Clinton told New York Magazine in 2002. His sentiments are echoed in contemporary establishment narrative management publications, like this adoring 2003 puff piece by The Harvard Crimson which sees Epstein labeled “one of the most pleasant philanthropists” after a donation to Harvard University.
In the phase of runaway “financialization”, American capitalists treat the economy, and the people who depend on it, as mere pieces in their own private game, a riggedgame in which they also control practically all the chips. This is a form of extreme “socialism for the rich,” with the big wins going to the top 0.0001% manipulatng the markets, while ordinary citizens absorb all the risk and certainly all the losses.
As the Communist Party USA’s second decade ended, World War II, the greatest war in human history, began. In all major capitalist countries, the mass media blamed the war on the Soviet Union’s signing of a non–aggression pact with Nazi Germany and condemned Communist Parties’ support for the Soviet Union. Was there truth to the allegation that Communists—both in the Soviet Union and around the world—had helped Hitler start the war?
The first question to ask should be: What were Communists in the U.S. and throughout the world supporting and working for in the 1930s?