Sentenced to death on charges of apostasy and promoting atheism, Ashraf had his sentence reduced to eight years and 800 lashes.
Somewhere, maybe on the other side of the world from you right now, countless people are sitting locked in small rooms because of things they wrote. It’s a strange idea. How could the written word be so dangerous that the person responsible for it should be placed in a box, locked away from society along with arsonists and murderers? So many of these journalists and artists are unknown. They do not have hashtags. But one of them, Ashraf Fayadh, has become a rallying call around the world. More than 60 international arts and human rights groups have campaigned for his …
New Cold War is now in full swing and the West is using both old and new tactics, in order to demonize and discredit all of its opponents: from Russia to China, Venezuela, North Korea, South Africa and Iran.
Our anti-imperialist media outlets, including those of the RT, TeleSUR, Press TV, CCTV and Sputnik are being labeled as ‘propaganda’ channels. Defensive and internationalist initiatives of our countries are branded as aggressions. Those governments that are relentlessly working on behalf of the people are defined as ‘evil’ or at least as ‘dictatorships’.
The Empire is erecting a complex and destructive web of lies …
(Author’s Note: Based on interviews with Palestinian refugees from Syria.)
The refugee camp of Yarmouk was ever present in his being, pulling him in and out of an abyss of persistent fears that urged him to never return. But what was this refugee without Yarmouk, his first haven, his last earth?
How could any other spot in this unwelcoming universe ever be a ‘home’ when he had learned that only Palestine, which he had never visited, can ever be a home? When questioned, he always answered without hesitation: “I am from the village of so and so in Palestine.” Yet the Yarmouk …
The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
What we’re changing is a culture in an organisation within the youth detention system and I think we’ve come a long way in that time.
— Adam Giles, NT Chief Minister, ABC News, July 26, 2016
It was an image that would not have been out of place in the sickly procession of pictures that came out of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay during the ill-fated and misnamed war on terror. Here was a young man, seated, strapped in and euphemistically “restrained,” verging on catatonic; on his head, a suffocating bag.
Within hours of the Australian investigative news program Four Corners covering that …
In the summer of 2014, the people of Ferguson were brutally subjected to a military-style crackdown by local law enforcement following the murder of teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Police officers who appeared more like combat soldiers pointed military-grade assault rifles at peaceful protesters. Paramilitary units dressed in camouflage fired tear gas into residents’ front yards, and armored personnel carriers (APCs) rampaged through the streets of residential neighborhoods.
In the summer of 2015, at a weekend pool party in McKinney, Texas, police officer David Eric Casebolt brutally took down a fifteen year-old girl. Arriving …
Scandinavia on the Skids: The Failure of Social Democracy
(Part 5 in a 7 part series on Scandinavia’s “Socialism”)
Now that Bernie Sanders is out of a presidential candidate job, some Danes want him to migrate to Denmark. The “Politiken” daily newspaper published a chronicle by Peter Ahrenfeldt Schroeder and Jakob Esmann, on April 28, 2016, heralding a new association, “Sanders for Prime Minister”.
“Bring Bernie to Denmark and make him Prime Minister,” they wrote. Their idea is that because Bernie Sanders is a leading advocate of traditional Danish social democracy, and since it is under serious attack, he would be an excellent candidate in the next Danish elections. Moreover, Sanders would collect taxes from the rich because a key …
Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Fifteen years after embarking on its largely ineffective quantitative easing program, Japan appears poised to try the form recommended by Ben Bernanke in his notorious “helicopter money” speech in 2002. The Japanese test case could finally resolve a longstanding dispute between monetarists and money reformers over the economic effects of government-issued money.
When then-Fed Governor Ben Bernanke gave his famous helicopter money speech to the Japanese in 2002, he was talking about something quite different from the quantitative easing they actually got and other central banks later mimicked. Quoting Milton Friedman, he said the government could reverse a deflation …
Voters have just elected a coalition of men and women to govern Australia for the next four years after a long drawn-out and insipid election campaign. A collection of almost equally conservative men and women lost the chance to govern by the proverbial whisker. The election campaign was a protracted affair running over six weeks. The outcome was protracted uncertainty, with observers vaunting fanfare for one side while consigning the other to feculent ignobility… imaginings of gladiatorial heft were strictly in the eyes of the beholding pundits. The Sturm und Drang of our reality television down under was a battle …
But Jacques Pauwels' book on WWI is great
In all countries socialists renounced the class struggle and proceeded instead to go to war for their fatherland and their people.
Jacques R. Pauwels, The Great Class War 1914-1918, p. 69
War is anathema. I hate war and I am sure the majority of humanity does. So why does war still happen? Earlier wars continue to evoke a mythology that pervades the public discourse. Since much of humanity remains mired in war, it is crucial to cut through the crap of disinformation that beguiles people and involves them in wars that they don’t want. If indeed a knowledge of history prepares humans …
Shortly after Bernie’s concession speech, la Clinton pulls Bernie aside for a brief face to face.
“Not too bad, Bernie. You’re getting the hang of it. You know, the Stronger Together thing and all that. Did you steal that from the Remain campaign, you know, over there, in England?”
“Well, uh, you know, I’ve got a few kids who try to keep track of …”
“… but the Remain thing didn’t quite work out, you know? I’m kind of afraid of the associations a lot of folks might make …”
“Not to worry, Bernie. Most of these assholes probably figure Brexit is some …
The pattern is unmistakable in both the UK and US – and I apologise for sounding like a stuck record. Liberal mainstream media prove over and over again their aversion to telling us the news straight. They conspire – I can think of no fairer word – with the political elites in Washington and London to spin and subvert stories damaging to their mutual interests, even when the facts are driving real events in an entirely different direction.
A perfect illustration is the story of the Democratic party’s leaked emails, which reveal that the national leadership was actively seeking to swing the primaries battle …
“Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?”
— Shakespeare, The Life and Death of Julius Caesar
“For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
— Luke 23:31
The folks supporting Donald Trump, the GOP nominee, are fairly easy to grasp. Many of them share the same racist proclivities of the voters that have turned out for GOP candidates in elections past. And many of them have the same ultranationalist affinities for authoritarian troglodyte candidates, a problem that has become a trademark …
China is fuming. It has obviously had enough. It is reaching the limit. For decades it tried to appease the West, to play by international laws, to be a good and responsible member of the international community. And for decades it never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries. It sponsored no coups and attacked no foreign lands.
Even its counter-propaganda has been measured, polite and mild.
All this has gained China no admiration, not even respect!
It is being constantly antagonized, provoked and encircled both militarily and ideologically. Not far from its territory are deadly US military bases (Futenma and Kadena) …
“Why are you crying, Little Timmy?”
“I had to do it. I’m upset”
“Now, now, Little Timmy. You know you didn’t have to execute those eleven defenseless prisoners. You really can’t say you were forced to do it.”
“But if I didn’t kill them, the people of Virginia would think I was weak and might not like me anymore.”
“Timmy, you spared one prisoner scheduled for execution, so everybody knows you had the power to stop them all.”
“Now you’re making me upset all over again.”
“Timmy, you know capital punishment is barbaric and a human rights violation, but you let the executions proceed anyway.”
“I’ve said …
We are living in troubled times. Of late, every day we see murder, mayhem and bloodshed, from a few bodies to even thousands. We see it in media headlines and hear it on cable news. It seems that different forms of madness have gripped various countries and cultures, but the US is displaying a special kind: racism.
There are phone videos showing unarmed black men killed by police officers, apparently moved to shoot first, with threatening racist stereotypes ingrained in their minds. How else can you explain a Miami police officer shooting an unarmed black man lying on the ground …
Scandinavia on the Skids: The Failure of Social Democracy
(Part 4 of a 7 part series on Scandinavia’s “Socialism”)
“Whenever I speak as head of state, I speak about peace. I will say it as often and as long as necessary,” the straight-talking President Vigdis Finnbogadöttir told me.
It was the winter of 1980, shortly after she won the presidency, the first female in the world to win a democratic presidential election.
“Think what we could do with the money that goes into militarism! I am a premeditated pacifist. Wars and armies are absurd things. We have no army, no militarism. We are a peaceful, independent people,” asserted the charismatic president.
Iceland had achieved its independence from Denmark during WWII after 600 …
There can be little doubt that we are living through an extraordinary, and in many ways unprecedented, era. Times of uncertainty and tremendous upheaval for sure, but also positive times, in which large numbers of people are becoming energised and politically engaged. Political parties in many countries are fracturing, as internal differences surface and the old dualities of left and right fail to respond to the needs and demands of the people.
Political/social activism has been with us for centuries, but since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, ‘People Power’ – the ‘new superpower’ – has been growing exponentially. …
Did Senator Jack Reed Sell his Morality for $11,000?
The little state of Rhode Island serves as a great model for all that is wrong with the American political system. Citizens know full well that Congress is controlled by campaign money, and it serves the interests of campaign donors and not the public. The public favors Medicare for all, but not Congress, the public favors bringing banks and the financial world under greater control, but not Congress, the public favors a $15. per hour minimum wage, but not Congress, the public favors regulation of drug costs, but not Congress.
These examples clearly explain why the public wants to end campaign …
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prepared a list of targets for arrest even before the coup (sic) was launched.
— European Commission official on Turkey (Financial Times, 7/19/2016)
The coup in Turkey was made to order. A group of military officers and police officials were set-up to seize power by senior intelligence operatives in the Erdoğan regime. They were allowed to drop a few bombs, seize bridges and buildings before they were encircled, rounded-up and arrested using a list of targets for arrest prepared even before the so-called coup. In the midst of this fake coup, the ‘vacationing’ Erdoğan flies …
The Republican convention recently concluded with Donald J Trump accepting his party’s nomination for president. Featuring marginal politicians, unemployed athletes and a roster of forgotten celebrities, including 1980s Tiger Beat mainstays Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato Jr, the event truly had it all. Lucifer himself made an appearance (Ted Cruz), although he was denounced for not endorsing Mr Trump and summarily booed off stage. Truly exciting times for the party.
Many Republicans feel usurped, disillusioned and betrayed. Introspection after 2012 losses, featuring words like inclusion, diversity and tolerance as a path forward, have been replaced by chants of building walls, deportations and divisiveness. With renewed attention …