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Can We be Neutral on the Question of Affirmative Action in the Hiring of University Professors?

“Affirmative action” means imposing positive discrimination or quotas for members of disadvantaged groups. In the case of a university department, it means imposing a hiring practice designed to select more candidates from disadvantaged groups.

One view is that the tenured professors of the academic department should have total professional independence to select the most qualified candidates in their area of knowledge, without government or administrative interference. The idea here is that they have the knowledge and experience to best select candidates, and that it is most desirable for society that the most talented teachers and researchers be selected.

In the 1960s this …

Obama, Corporate “Free Traitors,” and You!

The pro-big business President Barack Obama and his corporate allies are starting their campaign to manipulate and pressure Congress to ram through the “pull-down-on-America” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade and foreign investment treaty between twelve nations (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam).

The first skirmish is a fast track bill to have Congress formally strip itself of its constitutional authority to regulate trade and surrender this historic responsibility to the White House and its corporate lobbies.

Lest you think the TPP is too commercially complex to bother about, think again. This mega-treaty …

Behind Every Refugee Stands an Arms Trader

The refugees in the Mediterranean

The European Union members states are trying to look as if they are doing something serious to care for the poor, catastrophe-stricken people who flee from war zones to Europe under the most risky and inhuman conditions.

Apart from the lack of genuine humanism and compassion and the cynical intention to uphold the ”deterrence” factor – other features surround these tragic events.

Refugees and migrants

In various media reports and political statements the word ”refugee” is increasingly being replaced by ”migrant” – hardly just a coincidence given the fact that the number of refugees, internally displaced …

The Central Role of Israel in the U.S. State Religion

The national secular religion of this country consists of a cluster of rarely questioned premises, usually inculcated in childhood, comparable to the articles of a real religious creed.

The first proposition is the idea that we live in a “free” country, as symbolized by the Statue of Liberty idol that towers over New York City’s harbor. The system absolutely insists on this point, incessantly hammering it in. It’s its basic tenet. Indeed it’s presented as “self-evident.” You’re in this country, ergo, you are FREE.

It’s inflicted by osmosis. Every institution transmits it. Those who doubt it are encouraged to think they must …

The War on ISIS is a Farce

Nowhere in recent years have the contradictions of imperialism been so clear than in the West’s war against ISIS. Working people are bombarded with messages in the media of the worldwide threat of ISIS, with the aim of the messages to convince working people of the need to sacrifice their civil liberties and democratic freedoms to counter ISIS and to support more military interventions in the Middle East. If Barack Obama, David Cameron, Tony Abbot, and other Western leaders were truly interested in countering the threat of ISIS, perhaps they should follow Stephen Harper’s “strong leadership” by finding the nearest …

One Week: Three Lessons on the Exclusivity of Exceptionalism in America

In the week beginning April 20, 2015, the American people got three object lessons about equal treatment and the stratification of status in the twenty-first century.

Three events in the week beginning April 20, 2015, show convincingly that the American promise of national and global societal justice is a lie. They specifically show that in this new American century, one’s economic status, access to power, and place of birth determine one’s access to human rights and equal protection under the law. Any illusions to the contrary are just that.

The separating of people into groups in which the privileged few look at …

A Fly’s Eye View of America’s War Against Vietnam

Part Two: In the Ointment

In 1966, the US anthropologist Jules Henry wrote in The Nation:

The establishment throughout Southeast Asia of industrial complexes backed by American capital is sure to have a salutary effect on the development of our foreign involvement: the vast land’s cheap labour pool will permit competition with the lower production costs of Chinese and Japanese industry, which have immobilized our trading capabilities in Asia for many years… The destruction of the Vietnamese countryside is the first, and necessary step, to the industrialization of Vietnam and the nationalization of its agriculture.

Henry’s assessment of US Asia-Pacific policy was quite …

Saudis Try Yemen Peace Initiative: For More Than an Hour

US-sponsored war crimes resume as Yemenis fail to give up their country

While the US publicly plays Pontius Pilate washing his hands clean, the Saudi-led coalition of Arab police states continue to enjoy US support for their one-sided war. The same Arab dictatorships that continue to wage aggressive war with impunity against a defenseless Yemen have, at the same time, scaled back on fighting the militant Islamic State despite its hold on large parts of two other Arab countries, Syria and Iraq. Seriously, why fight someone who might …

Indonesia: The Banality of Executing Drug Convicts

No One is Facing a Firing Squad for Looting the Country

Indonesia, the country which did not earnestly punish one single top military brass for the genocides in East Timor and not one single person for horrendous and ongoing genocide in Papua, is now ready to execute another nine people for drug trafficking. In January 2015 it already slayed six drug convicts including five foreigners, sparking international indignation.

AFP reported:

“Indonesia on Sunday signaled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon.

Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight — from Australia,

Adult Students Please Get Real

You have been had.

You can’t see the obvious.

When the obvious is stated, you viscerally reject it, or fain being deaf.

Stated as plainly as I can manage:

You are workers in a controlled economy. The educational and service-professional sectors are integrated parts of the same system of extraction of your intellectual labour. If you withdraw your labour, the system grinds to a halt. This means you have real leverage to extract fair working conditions.

You should be salaried for your school work. The points of negotiation need to be the amount of salary, the working conditions, and your participation …

Argentina: A Case Study of Israel’s Zionist-Wall Street Destabilization Campaign

A recent article by Jorge Elbaum, the former executive director of DAIA (Delegation for Argentine Jewish Associations), the principle Argentine Jewish umbrella groups, published in the Buenos Aires daily Pagina 12, provides a detailed account of the damaging links between the State of Israel, US Wall Street speculators, and local Argentine Zionists in government and out. Elbaum describes how their efforts have been specifically directed toward destabilizing the incumbent center-left government of President Cristina Fernandez, while securing exorbitant profits for a Zionist Wall Street speculator, Paul Singer …

Citizen-Journalist Fined for Telling the Truth

Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pa., was found to be in contempt of court, Thursday, and fined $1,000.

Her offense? She tells the truth.

Truth is something that apparently has bypassed the court of Judge Kenneth W. Seamans, who retired at the end of 2014, but came out of retirement to handle this case.

The case began in October 2013.

Scroggins, a retired real estate agent and nurse’s aide, was in Common Pleas Court to explain why a temporary injunction should not be issued against her. That injunction would require her to stay at least 150 feet from all properties where Cabot Oil and …

A Fly’s View of America’s War against Vietnam

Part One: A War of Unlimited Opportunity

The US invaded Vietnam publicly in the “wake” of the so-called Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964. Since then this action by the US regime is customarily dignified by the term “intervention”. Although the pretext for the congressional resolution was at least suspicious then and long since discredited as fraudulent, the perception of the war as an “intervention” is still widely shared. ((The term “intervention” is used throughout the historical literature to …

The Trans-Pacific Sellout

Guaranteed profits—at any price

Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama told beltway bullhorn Chris Matthews that Senator Elizabeth Warren was “wrong” about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest trade deal in American history, linking United States and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in a pervasive and binding treaty. The president was referring to Warren’s claim that the trade treaty will license corporations to sue governments, and her contention that this was, to put it mildly, a bad idea.

Warren isn’t wrong, Obama is. And he knows it. The entire TPP, as understood, is based on a single overarching …

A Fly’s View of America’s War against Vietnam

Introduction: Landing on the Table,1976

Who won which war?

After 40 years there remains no easy answer to this question or better said, there are at least as many answers as there were wars.

In 2005 at a US State Department conference held in combination with the publication of the FRUS volumes covering the US war, Barry Zorthian said in an exchange with Marvin Kalb, “I say to you there is no single Vietnam War.” ((The Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), is the official documentary record of US foreign policy published by the US Department of State (Office of the Historian). Barry Zorthian (1920-2010) was …

The War against The Lancet

When Medicine and Politics Mix

Hate, disgrace, and pitiful editorial standards.  Are these the terms to be ascribed to The Lancet, which, bar a few blemishes, has shown a distinguished pedigree in the world of medical research?  Stroppy academics have made an argument that an open letter published within its pages last year be denounced and withdrawn. “An Open letter to the people of Gaza” triggered a furious reaction within the magazine, with complainants suggesting that the publication has sided with the forces of “anti-Jewish bigotry”.

The letter itself (July 22, 2014), authored by Paola Manduca, Iain Chalmers, Derek Summerfield, Mads Gilbert, Swee Ang on behalf …

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.    — Article IV, Section 4, US Constitution

A republican form of government is one in which power resides in elected officials representing the citizens, and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law.

In The Federalist Papers, James Madison defined a republic as “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people . . . .”

On April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican …

Europe’s Feeble Efforts to “Punish” Israel

The question of punishing illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory was considered separately in Europe and Israel last week, with only superficial differences in the conclusions reached. Israel’s near half-century occupation is in no immediate danger, either at home or abroad.

Some 16 European foreign ministers sent a letter to the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, calling for the EU to label clearly Israeli settlement products to alert shoppers to their true provenance.

Yair Lapid, Israel’s former finance minister who is widely regarded as a moderate, angrily phoned Mogherini to warn that major European states were calling for a “de …

Ziad Aziz: “Time is not on Our Side”

April 24th, 2015, Twelfth Anniversary of a US Travesty of Justice

Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, is spiritual leader of the four million Catholics of England and Wales. He was also elevated to Cardinal on February 22nd, 2014, receiving the Cardinal’s red hat from Pope Francis in Rome’s St Peter’s Basilica. He has been cited as a man: “not afraid to speak out when he feels compelled to do so.”

He has indeed railed against “punitive” welfare cuts, calling them a “disgrace”, he has spoken in defence of Catholic masses for gay, lesbian and transgender Catholics and has come under attack for defending Irish priests and nuns who had abused children …

Professors for Israel try to Shut Down Lancet

Academia is far from the bastion of free thinking and free speech it would like to claim for itself, as a newly confected “row” involving the leading medical journal The Lancet confirms.

Recently Southampton University in the UK caved in on hosting an important conference examining Israel and international law, following an intensive campaign of intimidation from Israeli apologists.

Now some 400 medical professors are blackmailing Reed Elsevier, publishers of The Lancet, by threatening to boycott its publications unless the company sacks editor Richard Horton – or as they duplicitously phrase it, “enforce appropriate ethical standards of editorship”.

By refusing to publish papers or peer review them, the professors, …