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Our Return to Feudalism

It has been said (in the Gale Encyclopedia of U. S. History) of colonial America that:

In colonial America, feudalism began as an extension of the English manorial system.  In addition to the Puritans and the Protestants, who came from England to the New World seeking religious freedom, some early colonists came to expand their estates by establishing feudal domains.  While the Puritans and the Protestants established colonies in New England, the Anglicans established the proprietary colonies of Maryland, the Carolinas, and Delaware, and the Dutch brought similar systems to New Amsterdam (later New York) and New Jersey.  Similar

Free Palestine? First We Must Free Ourselves from the Enemy Within

Western leaders 'nobble' the International Criminal Court

Was anyone surprised to hear that the International Criminal Court is under pressure not to investigate Israel’s war crimes in Gaza?

The British government wouldn’t even vote for the UN Human Rights Council’s proposal to launch an inquiry and, along with France, abstained. The US, as expected, voted against. Even Ireland, Germany and Italy abstained in an extraordinary show of collective political cowardice. The enemy within had revealed itself.

As The Guardian reported, “at stake is the future of the ICC itself, an experiment in international justice that occupies a fragile position with no superpower backing. Russia, China and India have …

Anti-Government Policies Threaten Future Research and Innovation

Prevailing neo-liberal dogma holds that private capital is responsible for most economic innovation and that governments stand in the way. In The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs, Private Sector Myths, Mariana Mazzucato points out that most research is funded by governments and that current anti-government policies not only widen disparities but threaten future innovation, especially the mobilization of resources necessary to rapidly shift away from dependence on carbon-spewing fossil fuels.   

Mazzucato—professor of The Economics of Innovation at Sussex University in the UK—argues that capitalists are not the visionary risk-takers that free-market economists, the corporate media and politicians would have …

Ferguson, Gaza, and Luhansk – What Responsibility to Protect?

U.S. takes little responsibility, offers little protection

Ferguson, Gaza, and Luhansk bleed all the time these days and the United States does nothing very useful for any of them. Not in out “national interest.”  Simpler and easier to blame the victims. Can’t waste our precious resources.

Ferguson, Gaza, and Luhansk have been bleeding for days, for weeks, for years, forever in current and chronic crisis, and what does the United States do to help any of them?

Faced with these and other huge humanitarian challenges, the United States puts its big-hearted humanitarian effort into a renewed war in Iraq, acting as if it was only a mission to rescue …

As Foreign Insurgents Continue to Terrorize Syria, the Reconciliation Trend Grows

In June, 2014, I met with Dr. Ali Haidar, Syria’s Minister of National Reconciliation, in his Damascus office. An eye surgeon and leader of the SSNP (Syrian Social Nationalist Party, an opposition party within Syria), Dr. Haidar assumed position as Minister of Reconciliation in June 2012.
Photograph by Eva Bartlett
Eva Bartlett: What is ‘Mussalaha’ (‘Reconciliation’)?  How did it begin?

Dr. Ali Haidar: In February, 2012, the Syrian government changed the constitution, and in May Syria held Parliamentary elections. We, as an opposition party, joined the elections, because we believe that the …

Family Should Seek Justice, Not Risk More Injustice From the System

The family cannot rely on the grand jury system or Attorney General Holder

The grand jury process in the United States is rigged for the prosecutor. There is an old saying among lawyers “A prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.” Of course, the reverse is also true; the prosecutor can also prevent an indictment. The prosecutor controls the grand jury process which is conducted in secret without even a judge present. The prosecutor decides what witnesses to call and there is no opportunity for a defense lawyer or attorney for the family to participate.

Further, the make-up of the grand jury which comes from St. Louis County (not the city of St. Louis) where …

Beware of Exploding Gifts from Uncle Sam

In a brilliant August 17 segment of Last Week Tonight, HBO host John Oliver ripped into small towns that have equipped their police with war-like military equipment. One town was Keene, New Hampshire, where their military-grade armored personnel truck was acquired to protect critical targets –– like the annual Pumpkin Festival. Another was Doraville, Georgia. Oliver showed a wild video clip from the Doraville Police Department’s website, with a Ninja-dressed SWAT team going for a joyride in a souped-up armored personnel carrier, all set to a heavy metal song called “Die MotherF***er Die.”

In a visit to Doraville last week, …

Three Women Working Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment

As the nation was horrified by another botched execution this summer, a capital defense lawyer in Texas, legal scholar in New York and the former warden of San Quentin work against capital punishment.

There were only three people in the room: Jeanne Woodford, the chaplain and the man strapped to a gurney with tubes coming out of his arms. After hearing the man’s last words, Woodford signaled the corrections officer who was “working the chemicals,” which means in prison argot that he started infusions of lethal chemicals that flowed into the man on the gurney. As warden of California’s San Quentin, …

The Police, the Military, and Ferguson

The dominant visual aspect of the story, however, has been the sight of overpowering police forces confronting unarmed protesters who are seen waving signs or just their hands.

Walter Olson, Cato at Liberty, August 13, 2014

A terrible vision of what happens when authority goes wrong. This is Ferguson, Mo. in August 2014. Even if the person killed by police, a certain Michael Brown, was a black man; even given the automatic response by authorities that it was a case of justified armed violence, we are left with the same nasty taste: policing in the US has become a beast of terrifying …

Sir David Attenborough’s Anguish

Sir David Attenborough (b. 1926) has been the face and the voice of natural history for 60 years. Some of his public television specials include: Life in Cold Blood (2008), Life on Earth (1979), The Private Life of Plants (1995), The Life of Mammals (2002), and Planet Earth (2006).

As well, he is more than just the face and the voice of nature because he travels to the locations and endures the rigors of climbing up to the top of the canopy of the Rain Forest and diving to the depths of the sea beds to bring life on Earth, in …

Modern Capitalism: Wide Open for Anyone to See

The Limitations of the Capitalist System in a Finite World

Capitalism has always been sold as the best way for the greatest number of people to benefit from their own labor. I would agree that was true enough over most of our U.S. history for men of European decent. The real question today is whether or not our unregulated “capitalistic-democracy” is actually working as we’ve been promised it should. Can we really call it a “democracy” where political candidates are voted in by corporate big buck$ to serve only their own financial interests? Can we really call it a capitalist society if the larger majority who, although ideologically may side …

A Blink in the Night

Blistering sirens sound off in the night as the hurricane symphony of nuclear intimidation tactics blare boisterously across the airwaves, signaling to all citizens that the war is, indeed, officially hot. Game on. But the strange rules of this situation deem that there shall be no victor, only losers. Total annihilation is what the bat shit crazy elitists are seeking this time. All the marbles have been thrown. All the cards are on the table. They are gambling with house money and our lives. Two things they don’t really give a hot steaming pile about. It’s a filthy mess.

But who’s …

Calling a Spade a Mother Hucker

when the language of Nixon, Chicago’s mayor, NFL-ers, Generals works for the 80 Percent — time to take off the play-nice gloves as murderers take to the streets, airwaves, Ivy Tower

There is no compunction to call a mother f-er a mother hucker. You know, PC, clean surface America, never allowed to really use the language of George Carlin to express the outrage of each nanosecond in Amerika. So, for the record, “mother hucker,” well, will replace that other epithet or expletive all great presidents and generals and coaches and cops use all the time. Oh, I know, all those Facebook …

Ferguson and Gaza, a Tale of Two Wars

We are tirelessly dedicated to the Obama Administration’s campaign to stop the fighting between oppressors and oppressed and convince them to accept their present status instead of disturbing the peace and making frightening noises on the streets. This goes not only for our own Ferguson, Mo., but by odd coincidence, in Gaza as well. Funny, but its like both events are taking place in the West Bank.

We’re about to investigate an aspect of these wars. That’s the pros and cons of the decision made by the Ferguson Police Dept. to don the garb, the weapons and other accouterments of warfare …

Gaza Changed Everything

Things Cannot Stay the Same after Israeli Genocide in Gaza

After every bloody episode of violence perpetrated by Israel, media spin doctors are often deployed with one grand mission: to absolve Israel of any responsibility in their acts of carnage.

Not only do these apologists demonize Palestinians, but anyone who dares to take a stand on their behalf. The main staple of this Israeli strategy has been blaming the victim. Such a tactic is nothing new in the way the so-called “Arab-Israeli conflict” has been presented in Western media, whose narrative has been much closer to that of Israeli official and media discourses than that of Palestinians. This continued despite the …

Railroad “Bomb Trains” Speeding to Disaster

It’s 3 p.m., and you’re cruising down a rural road, doing about 50.

A quarter mile away is a sign, with flashing yellow lights, alerting you to slow down to 15. It’s a school zone.

But, you don’t see any children. Besides, you’re going to be late to your racquetball match. So, you just slide on past.

You’re an independent long-haul trucker. You get paid by the number of miles you drive. If you work just a couple of hours longer every day than the limits set by the federal government—and if you can drive 75 or 80 instead of 65, you can …

Political Duopoly in Washington Encouraging Ongoing Killing

From Missouri to Ukraine

…in what manner does tyranny arise? –that it has a democratic origin is evident…But when [the tyrant] has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader…Has he not also another object, which is that they may be impoverished by payment of taxes, and thus compelled to devote themselves to their daily wants and therefore less likely to conspire against him?: Clearly….And if any of them are suspected by him of having notions of

In 2008 Israel Agreed to a Protocol for the Port of Gaza

Why not now?

In August, 2008, I and forty-three other participants motored into Gaza by sea in two converted fishing boats, becoming the first to openly succeed in doing so since 1967.  The entry stamp in our passports reads “Gaza port” and was created for the occasion.  We carried a modest cargo of hearing aids for the children of the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children.

Israel tried multiple means of preventing us from succeeding, including threats, jamming of communications, and pressure on the Greek and Cypriot governments, but it did not send naval or coast guard vessels to intercept us, and did not attack …

A Map to Robin Williams’ End

For most of us, being funny, especially extremely so, leaves us looking like a shaded relief map: The funny part juts out, while the rest falls into shadow. When we make another laugh, the catharsis the listener experiences is realized viscerally, like twitching funny bones. Even when comedy takes darkness as a subject (such as Williams’ musings on the Grim Rapper), the listeners see the pain inherent to their lives decontextualized enough to hold close to the heart, and from it, they heartily guffaw, feeling recalibrated. They are healed, if but for a moment. What lies underneath the surface is …

Freedom to Live Ordinary Lives

That's all the Gazans want

I have just received a very disappointing reply from my true-blue Tory MP to pleas for real government action over the slaughter in Gaza.

A similarly worthless response has been received in other parts of the country so I conclude that the ex-Etonian didn’t pen the twaddle himelf. More likely it was the work, as usual, of a Foreign Office scribbler trained by Mark Regev’s hasbara unit in Tel Aviv.

“Israel has a right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks”, it said. But no such right can be claimed when Israel is the illegal occupier inflicting collective punishment on its victim …