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Viet Nam a Half Century Later

Jimmy Carter called a war waged in Vietnam by the United States — a war that killed 60,000 Americans and 4,000,000 Vietnamese, without burning down a single U.S. town or forest — “mutual” damage. Ronald Reagan called it a “noble” and “just cause.” Barack Obama promotes the myth of the widespread mistreatment of returning U.S. veterans, denounces the Vietnamese as “brutal,” and has launched a 13-year, $65 million propaganda program to glorify what the Vietnamese call the American War:

As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that

No Warlords Need Apply

A call for credible peacemaking in Afghanistan

A second round of peace talks between Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives, expected to begin before the end of July, 2015, suggests that some parties to the fighting want to declare a cease fire.  But even in the short time since the first round on July 7th, fighting has intensified.  The Taliban, the Afghan government forces, various militias and the U.S. have ramped up attacks, across Afghanistan.

Some analysts say the Taliban may be trying to gain territory and clout to give them leverage in ‘peace talks.’  Taliban forces, apparently beginning to splinter since the supposed death of Mullah Omar, …

Confessions of an Unrepentant Scofflaw

Peter Coyote is speaking from within electronic maze of my 46″ Magnavox flat screen television set.  The program is a three part series called “Prohibition”.  Public Broadcasting Service.  An expose’ of the idiocy behind The Volstead Act which was passed by congress to enforce the eighteenth amendment.  Typical government overreach, complete with a large overdose of pandering to special interests.  A classic misguided attempt at legislating morality.  Ninety-five years later I’m toasting the utter failure of the endeavor with a glass of Lindeman’s bin 50 Southeast Australian Shiraz.  $2.99 a bottle on sale at my local Smith’s Supermarket.  About twelve cents an ounce.  A wonder of modern free market …

Fantasy Politics: “Corbyn’s Morons” and the “Sensible Approach”

In May, voters grasped Spanish political orthodoxy and shook it like a rag doll:

The anti-austerity party Podemos claimed its biggest victory in Barcelona, where activist Ada Colau seized control of the city hall. Podemos and Ciudadanos… made advances across the country that will give them a chance to shape policy for the first time.

Podemos also backed the campaign of Manuela Carmena, a 71-year-old labour-rights lawyer, who ended 24 years of rule by Spain’s hard-right Popular party in the capital, Madrid. These were major triumphs in the face of fierce and united corporate media opposition. Jose Juan Toharia, president of …

New Human Terrain System?

Army, PACOM Séance Reveals News

The US Army Human Terrain System (HTS) will become a “shining star, you’ll see” said a music critic, part-time divinity professor, retired military officer, and former HTS contractor. He was incensed that with the alleged demise of the US Army program, it having been murdered, killed and defeated, the HTS suddenly has new life thanks to “those pro-HTS intellectuals authorized, by somebody higher up in their organizations  to take up the HTS cause. Hey! Shining Star. Do you know that song by Earth, Wind and Fire?” the former HTS contractor said. “That should be the theme song …

Tax Their Sinful Ways

We in the United States need a definition of greed. We need to settle on a figure. Just how much is too much? When does accumulating some become hoarding too much? When does a fat cat become an obese cat?

Who doesn’t like taxing cigarettes and alcohol? They’re easy targets. Everybody knows too much of either is bad for you. Our government takes a serious piece of the action to discourage gluttonous consumption of both smokes and booze and to help defer the health costs their use incurs. It’s generally accepted governments should discourage destructive, sinful behavior either by taxes, fees, …

The NSA’s 9/11 Cover-Up

General Hayden Told a Lie, and It’s a Whopper

All tricksters, other than magicians, depend to a great extent upon the fact that they are not known to be, or even suspected of being, tricksters. Therein lies their great advantage.

— John Mulholland (H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception, William Morrow Paperbacks, 2010)

Magicians wield secrecy on the theater stage in the service of illusions. Spies likewise wield illusion on the world stage in the service of secrecy. So it is with the events behind the attacks of 9/11 where those who question the official story are derided as conspiracy theorists. Thanks to …

Vulliamy and Hartmann on Srebrenica: A Study in Propaganda

In their recent article on “How Britain and the US Decided to Abandon Srebrenica to Its Fate”, Ed Vulliamy, a veteran reporter for the Guardian and Observer

Support for Universal Human Rights Is an Absolute

A recent headline stated: “NDP Cautiously Differentiates Itself from Tories and Grits on Palestinian Human Rights.” The article made it seem as if there were a beacon of hope within the right-wing political scene of federal Canadian politics. The NDP (New Democratic Party) poses as a left-of-center party but its support for militarism, its staunch support of the racist regime in Israel, and its adherence to the capitalist system belie any pretense at left-wing politics.

An election is upcoming, and the article finds that NDP leader “Thomas Mulcair and [MP] Paul Dewar have taken positions on human rights for …

Who Will Rule the Webbing of the World?

E.L. Doctorow, one of our important left novelists—and for a long time one of my favorite American authors—died this past week. He was 84.

Over the course of his career, Doctorow accomplished a rare feat, not only weaving pronounced radical and historical themes into innovative contemporary fiction, but managing to win both popular success and mainstream critical accolades in the process.

Doctorow published twelve novels, including Book of Daniel (1971), the widely acclaimed Ragtime (1975), World’s Fair (1985), and the best-selling Billy Bathgate (1989), in addition to several books of short stories and essays. More recently Doctorow produced City of God (2000), …

Possible Future Shifts in Public Policy

Ten Questions for Lee Drutman

New America Senior Fellow Lee Drutman’s new book The Business of America Is Lobbying: How Corporations Became Politicized and Politics Became More Corporate deprives the reader of ready characterizations. It also robs us of the illicit fun of kneejerk demonization. Instead of shifty-eyed politicians huddled in the shadows with Gucci Gulch lobbyists, we’re presented with a faceless and highly competitive industry employing, “…several thousand individuals across almost 2,000 different lobbying firms, all of whose livelihoods depend on them retaining existing clients and/or acquiring new ones.” How drab. How familiar. Sounds like pharmaceuticals. Or telecommunication. Sounds like …

Britain’s Labour Party: Elect Jeremy Corbyn as Leader and Win the Next Election

What is it with Britain’s Labour Party? There is a surge in party membership, and this is a worry for the men in suits in the Westminster bubble! Why? People, particularly the young, are energized by the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming its leader.  Here is a man of principle who believes in what he says, not encumbered by spin and focus groups that have been the obsession of the Labour Party for so long.

It has lacked courage, continuously looking over its shoulder afraid of what the press might say, or whether this or that is a Tory trick to …

Wireless Carjacking: The Chrysler Recall

Caught with their proverbial pants down, Fiat Chrysler executives have issued a voluntary recall of a good 1.4 million cars for the vulnerabilities of its installed internet system. Last Tuesday, Wired burst the bubble of confidence by showing how hackers could take control of a Jeep Cherokee via its internet-connected entertainment system. “Hackers remotely kill a Jeep on the highway – with me in it,” wrote correspondent Andy Greenberg.

Channelling, without attribution, Hunter S. Thompson’s drug seizure “somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert” in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), Greenberg relates how …

Intellectual Disjuncture

“British Columbia,” a province wrought through the genocide of First Nations and theft of their territory has been beset with several forest fires this summer that has at times choked urban centers with ash and particulate.

Christy Clark, the premier of British Columbia, has blamed climate change for the …

Aleppo: A City Ravaged by “Islamic State” and Imperialism

This is an authentic report from an Aleppo resident whose identity is protected for their own security.  They are living through the daily hardships of life in an externally created war zone.  Water and electricity shortages, NATO and US backed terrorists embedded in multiple areas of the city creating random buffer zones where the risk of being sniped or shelled is a daily occurrence. I have retained as much as possible of the original report with minimal editing as its important to maintain the narrative as it is, raw and heartfelt, from someone who sees this ravaged city as home….

America’s Inherent Resolve to Destroy

We should expect conflicts in which adversaries, because of cultural affinities different from our own, will resort to forms and levels of violence shocking to our sensibilities.

— Department of Defense, 1999, with thanks to William Blum

One quote has reverberated throughout the United States decades of decimations of the lands of others. Journalist Peter Arnett, reporting from Vietnam, in a piece published on 7 July 1968, quoted an American officer saying of the provincial capital Bến Tre: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” He was referring to the decision to bomb and shell the town …

Flags, Statues, and Apologies

What is the value of an apology? Can repentance come via symbolic gestures? As you sit upon this land taken by coercion and force from Native Nations and worked by the labor of enslaved Africans do you feel a pang of guilt? Is it enough guilt to inspire genuine contrition, or is your hope that the symbolism of a lowered flag can manufacture an emotional sense of sacrifice? In our age of reality television where appearance trumps all and we tend to frame issues and foster solutions that are filled with empty rhetoric can we find real, lasting solutions?

Israel Sees Nazism in Mirror it Mistakes for Window

Israel is trying to expel the population of a village for the crime of not being Jewish, the same crime for which Israel bombs the people of Gaza for a month or so every few years and blockades them in between these bursts of violence.

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee declares that making peace with Iran amounts to marching Israelis “to the door of the oven.”

Guess which of the two stories will get more coverage!

A crime of over 70 years ago, part of a war that in my unscientific estimate forms the single most common theme of U.S. historical …

Greece and the European Union

The Greek people’s efforts to end the economic depression, recover their sovereignty and reverse the regressive socio-economic policies, which have drastically reduced living standards, have been thrice denied.

First, the denial came as tragedy: When the Greek majority elected Syriza to government and their debts increased, the economy plunged further into depression and unemployment and poverty soared. The Greek people voted for Syriza believing its promises of ‘a new course’. Immediately following their victory, Syriza reneged on their promise to restore sovereignty – and end the subjugation …

UN Reports Blasts Canada’s Human Rights Record on Violence against Indigenous Women

Aboriginal Legal Service of Toronto’s Christa Big Canoe explains why government policies are leaving Indigenous women four times more likely to be murdered than non-indigenous women and what can be done about it.