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Victory in Vietnam!

History and Reflections

Forty years ago on April 30, 1975, the Vietnamese people, led by their Communist Party, were finally victorious in the long just struggle for national independence and unification against the United States and its puppet regime in Saigon.

America experienced an earthshaking lesson in Vietnam — “Stop your unjust wars of aggression!” —but Washington learned nothing from its humiliating defeat except to shift its battlefields of choice from Southeast Asia to Southwest Asia (i.e., the Middle East).

The U.S. went on to fight in Iraq three times and impose long sanctions in 25 continuous years; in Afghanistan the Pentagon has …

Norman Bay, Tough Guy

From the time I walked yesterday into the FERC building—that’s the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the most powerful and dangerous federal agency most people have never heard of—things felt and looked different.

First were the cops. There are always FERC security personnel at the front entrance, but it seemed like there were twice as many yesterday as I’d ever seen before in past visits. In addition, and ominously, there were also a couple of Department of Homeland Security/Federal Protective Services police prominently stationed where they could not be missed.

Then there was the atmosphere in the auditorium where the five FERC Commissioners …

For the Conference on the Israel Lobby: Press Blackout at the Press Club

Following the heavy coverage of AIPAC’s (the virulently pro-Israeli government lobby) multi-day annual Washington convention in March, the mainstream media might have been interested for once in covering alternative viewpoints like those discussed at the April 10th conference “The Israel Lobby: Is it Good for the US? Is it Good for Israel?” Fairness and balance in reporting should produce at least some coverage of such an event.

Organized by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, which was launched about thirty years ago by a British Army Officer who served in World War II and two retired U.S. Ambassadors to countries …

Maybe Iran Will Answer The Question Millions Have

Which Nuclear Powers May Fear the Most

Amid the hullabaloo of the news about Iran’s agreeing not to make weapons from its nuclear capacity in exchange for the West’s lifting economic sanctions, none of those cheering—or raging—about this “historic understanding,” as President Obama put it to his email list, bothered to raise a long-standing and important question obvious to most of us since the Fukushima meltdown began in 2011. And millions since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.

The question wasn’t why participants and pundits were calling the Lausanne agreement a “framework” for a June 30 meeting instead of a permanent arrangement with the content’s technical points ironed out.

Nor …

Breakaway SNP Strikes Fear into Westminster Parties

But Notions of Independence are Flawed

The SNP (Scottish National Party), under feisty new leader Nicola Sturgeon, is scaring the daylights out of Labour and Conservatives with the prospect of a strong squad of MPs marching south headed by fearsome former leader and political bruiser Alex Salmond.

Cameron or Miliband for prime minister – warmongering toff or socialist nonentity? And with whose coalition help? That’s the bleak choice for British voters.

Since the Yes/No independence referendum last September the SNP has enjoyed such a huge surge in support that the main Westminster parties are terrified that Scottish MPs could wield disproportionate influence in the likely event of a …

Sick and Tired Workers: An Epidemic of Corporate Greed

Snaking its way through the Pennsylvania legislature is a bill that will block local governments from requiring companies to provide sick leave, even if unpaid, that is more than required by state or federal regulations.

There are no Pennsylvania or federal regulations requiring companies to provide sick leave. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 39 percent of all employees, and 79 percent of all employees in food service and hotel industries, have no sick leave. Unlike the United States, about 130 countries require employers to provide at least one week of sick leave per employee.

The Republican-controlled state Senate passed the …

Marxist and Catholic Traditions Reject the Inadequacy of Liberalism

Though historically important in the evolution of justice theory, liberalism has evidenced limitations in providing a clear foundation for a just and equitable society. Rights set forth in liberal theory are related to each other by their common foundation in the freedom of the individual person to choose desired ends within the confines of designated policies and laws. However, to restrict these fundamental rights, that is, the right of the person not to be impeded in the pursuit of his or her happiness, is to attack individual liberty—the foundation of liberalism. For John Locke, one of the originators of the …

Iran has the Right to Protect Itself

On April 13, 2015 Vladimir Putin lifted Russia’s ban on shipping S-300 antiaircraft defensive missile systems to Iran, self-imposed in 2010. Moscow and Tehran originally signed a contract to supply these systems back in 2007. At the time, the idea was to sell a number of Russia-manufactured S-300 divisions to Iran.

The term “self-imposed ban” is used here deliberately. UN Security Council Resolution 1929 from June 9, 2010 placed no restrictions of any kind on transferring S-300 systems to Iran. Paragraph 8 of the resolution introduced a “weapons” embargo on direct and indirect shipments to …

Rural Rebellion in Northern California

Rural folk from four Northern California counties came in mid-April to a magical juncture where the life-giving Russian River empties into the majestic Pacific Ocean. Though the small, unincorporated village of Jenner is a popular recreational destination, pleasure was not the intention.

Our mission was to preserve agrarian lifestyles and environments from further colonization by industrial wineries. Large corporate wineries–owned mainly by outside investors–were the main target.

Water and California’s worsening drought were discussed. Some reported that wells had gone dry after large wineries dug as much as 1000 feet into the ground to extract precious, limited water for their factories.

It takes …

Branding War: Anzac Vulgarity and the Cult of Austerity

“I found the Woolworths campaign to be vulgar, but to be honest I didn’t find it more distasteful and vulgar than a lot of other things which are going on in terms of commercialisation of Anzac and the use of the Anzac brand.”  These are the chosen words of former policy advisor to Australia’s Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Carolyn  Holbrook on ABC’s 7.30 program.  Anzac, the name associated with Australian soldiers who found themselves on Turkish beaches in April 1915 as part of Winston Churchill’s disastrous Dardanelles campaign, has become “Brandzac” over the years, a cavernous money …

Mandarin for the Warlords

The Harvard School of Empire Building

Harvard professor Joseph Nye, a former senior Pentagon functionary, is one of the longest serving and most influential advisers to US empire building officials. Nye has recently re-affirmed the primacy of the US as a world power in his latest book, Is the American Century Over? And his article, ‘The American Century will survive the Rise of China.’ These publications are in line with his earlier book, Bound to Lead, and his longstanding view that the US is not a declining world power, that it retains ‘supremacy’ even in the face …

Corporate Farms Control of Water

Water and air are the most important resources on the planet. Breathing clean air seems to be accepted as a noble goal and the cost attributed to its improvement is usually universally accepted. However, the same cannot be said about access to fresh water as big business interests often argues. Many corporate interests contend that private ownership of public water out- weighs the rights of actual property owners. Corporate agriculture is quite different from traditional family farming. Yet, the factory farms that have taken over agribusiness demonstrate little regard for preserving a viable water supply.

Tilling the back forty is no …

The Storm Is Over

Lightning flashed across Kentucky skies a few nights ago. “I love storms,” said my roommate, Gypsi, her eyes bright with excitement. Thunder boomed over the Kentucky hills and Atwood Hall, here in Lexington, KY’s federal prison. I fell asleep thinking of the gentle, haunting song our gospel choir sings: “It’s over now, It’s over now. I think that I can make it. The storm is over now.”

I awoke the next morning feeling confused and bewildered. Why had the guards counted us so many times? “That was lightning,” Gypsi said, giggling. The guards shine flashlight in our rooms three times a …

Did Rosie O’Donnell “Steal” Deanna Schilling Micoley’s Baby?

The National Enquirer recently reported that the mother of Rosie O’Donnell’s oldest adopted daughter, 17-year-old Chelsea, claimed that O’Donnell “stole” her baby.

Chelsea Belle O’Donnell was born Kayla Rae Schilling in Michigan (according to the birth record published in The Enquirer) to parents from Wisconsin. The youth located and contacted first her grandfather and then her mother, Deanna Schilling Micoley. Mother and daughter communicated via phone calls, texts and Facebook as happens in many similar situations. Some of the text messages have been published.

O’Donnell’s rep is quoted in The Enquirer story saying everything regarding the mother-daughter reunion is going …

Nature’s Global Warming Fix

Mother Earth has experienced five extinction events, but she’s still standing.

Like a prizefighter, she is the Milky Way Galaxy Grand Champion.

Our tenacious planet is armed to fight and conquer global warming without fancy gadgets or special geo-engineering techniques. She can do it on her own, having proven herself time and again, restoring one extinction event after another, and the rest.

We only have to give her a chance, some elbow room to strut her stuff.

Good news!  There is no reason to go thru another extinction event to see if nature still has “her stuff.” She does!

In large measure, it’s about dirt …

Government and Media Fantasies About Cuban Politics

The historic meeting between President Barack Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba at the Summit of the Americas in Panama over the weekend could be interpreted as a stepping stone toward the end of U.S. subversion and economic warfare relentlessly carried out since the success of the Cuban revolution 55 years ago. But it is questionable whether President Obama intends to transform relations, treating the government of Cuba as a sovereign equal and recognizing their right to choose different political and economic models, or merely to continue the same decades-old policy with a more palatable sales pitch – the …

As Hillary Stalls, Where’s the Democratic Bench?

Out of the Frying Pan, into What Flame?

Advancing the ’80’s taunt, “where’s the beef,” anti-Hillary Democratic voters should now demand “where’s the backup, the winning bench players?” For evidence is not hard to find a rerun of Hillary’s clumsy ’08 implosion is gaining steam. The headline from Salon’s Bill Curry pulls no punches, “Hillary Clinton just doesn’t get it: She’s already running a losing campaign.” Nor does his subhead, “Rand Paul has edged in front of her. Jeb thinks she’ll be easy to defeat. She’s playing right into their hands.”

Plus, for Hillary critics, is a beautiful

Playing Political Games with Immigrants’ Lives

The familiar anti-immigrant rhetoric and subsequent political games that have unfolded in the aftermath of the announced Administrative Relief on Immigration are quite expected, as the U.S. has a very long history of super-exploitation of immigrant labor coupled with denial of immigrants’ human rights.

While many acknowledge that we have a broken immigration system, the majority of Americans remain unaware that the U.S. immigration law is a completely separate legal system that creates millions of second-class residents and fuels the economy based on extremely cheap labor that is forced to live and work in slave-like conditions. When we have 11 …

The Expendability of Labor

A Worker’s Experience

Before I’d even moved to Olympia, a friend told me that there was quite a ‘high end’ nursery in Olympia called Bark and Garden. He felt that, considering the size of the operation and the expense of the products offered, that they might be a great place to work.
I did stop by and seek to make out an application, but the sales clerk simply said, ‘Leave off a resume, and if Kern, “the owner”, thinks you qualify, you will get a call.”

After about 5 days, I did get a call to come in and met the owner. He …

Tax Time, Hillary Rising, the End of Unions, Please!

We sign away humanity each and every purchase made, each and every shekel made . . . IRS and Posse Comitatus

Wow, here come the arguments, the separations, the divorces, the continuing criminal enterprise of those who believe a vote for Hillary is a vote for mama or your daughter, or for your wife –

She press-conferenced her way into the presidential Gonna Be Made a Good Fellow of Murder, Inc. So, only retrogrades, troglodytes and misogynists and Rush Limbaugh types will vote or speak against her, thank you very much. Any revolutionaries dare speak out, well, we will be cursed, hogtied into the neutering ring circus that is American liberalism, and that wave of office arguments, pissed off democrats, is about …