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Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France: “the Jungle”

“I was in jail with a Libyan man, his friends came and broke into the jail and let us go, too. There was fighting everywhere. You pray to be in jail with Libyans, because they do not recognize the current government, they will do what they want.” (spoken by a refugee in “the Jungle”)
Forty-two percent of the people who came to the Jungle are from warring parts of Sudan and South Sudan; thirty-two percent are from Afghanistan. Others are from Syria, Yemen, Iraqi Kurdistan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, and more; they have crossed between 6 and 13 countries …

Canada’s Foreign Policy and Academia

Should social scientists seek the truth regardless of whose toes may be stepped on and cite, up front, possible conflicts of interest regarding matters they study?

All academic disciplines claim independence of thought and transparency are principles that guide good research. So, what to make of a Canadian foreign policy discussion dominated by individuals with ties to the decision-making structures they study?

The highly regarded Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) is a prime example. The oldest global affairs school in Canada, Carleton University’s graduate program was established in 1965 with $400,000 ($5 million today) from long-time Senator Norman Paterson, a …


To be white and from money is to live a life of largely unrecognized privilege, bequeathed as it is from one’s first wet, howling breath. In the affluent socio-economically partitioned town of Saratoga Springs, NY where I’m from there was actually a railroad track serving as the demarcation line between affluent whites residing on one side and the other side of which nothing was known because you just didn’t go there, ever.  It was literally the “wrong side of the tracks”.

Raised in that remarkable state of incurious joy and suffering within narrow undiluted lines of stratified suburban sameness, I could …

Washington’s “Pivot to Asia”: A Debacle Unfolding

In 2012 President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter launched a new chapter in their quest for global dominance: a realignment of policies designed to shift priorities from the Middle East to Asia. Dubbed the ‘pivot to Asia’, it suggested that the US would concentrate its economic, military and diplomatic resources toward strengthening its dominant position and undercutting China’s rising influence in the region.

The ‘pivot to Asia’ did not shift existing resources from the Middle East, it added military commitments to …

Why Does The Government Continue to Lie About Social Security?

Most Americans must be getting accustomed to hearing lie after lie from the two presidential candidates.  According to fact checkers, Clinton lies on average 28 percent of the time and Trump lies 80 percent of the time.  This is a sad commentary on how low our political parties and candidates have sunken.  But lies from government officials and agencies has become commonplace in our treasured American way of life.

All lies are bad, but some lies do more harm to the livelihood of American civilians than others.  Probably, the biggest lie, which most severely hurts millions of Americans, involves the true …

What the Grenadian Revolution Can Teach Us About People’s Power

The collapse of the Grenadian Revolution on 19 October 1983 should be carefully examined for the lessons that it might offer to organizers in the Caribbean who are currently organizing with the labouring classes. If the working-class shall be the architect of its liberation, the process of revolution-making should enable them to fulfill that role. Fundamental change should not be the …

The Vietnam War and Our Latest war on Yemen Have One Thing in Common: Nonexistent Attacks

The missile attack on a US ship off the coast of Yemen was a major news event, but the subsequent follow up story, that it may never have happened, was either ignored by mainstream media or intentionally covered up. The whole thing has the same odor as the Gulf of Tonkin incident that never occurred.

Does history repeat itself?  Sure does seem like it. That is if you compare America’s entry into the Vietnam civil war, with America’s latest entry into the war in Yemen.

Don’t be mistaken. We have been at war with Yemen for a year now. America sided with …

Claim to Victimhood: Enabling the Oppressing of Others

What do today’s right wing Quebec and Israeli nationalists share in common? A claim to victimhood that enables them to deny their role in oppressing others.
This commonality became clear when a prominent right-wing Québec nationalist politician cited the French language and Jewish sensibilities to criticize immigration and the veil. It also reflected a historic reversal in Québecois/Jewish relations. More significantly, it highlighted the dangers of an ‘empowered sense of vulnerability’, a psychological state many Quebeckers and Jews seem to share.
(I admit, up front, that generalizations about large groups of people most often reflect …

Homelessness: A Case for Preventative Action

In January 2016, a medical doctor noted his surgery, the Brighton Homeless Healthcare centre, had seen 21 deaths last year alone. His figures also include 15 deaths in 2013 and 15 in 2014. Winter is fast approaching and preventive actions need to be explored. In July 2016, doctors have claimed the state of emergency accommodation in the city could contribute to a rise in homeless deaths. The doctor noted all the deaths were preventable.

The doctor said: “It’s a tragedy really that we have people dying on our streets. It’s looking like homelessness is only going to get worse over the …

Creepy Clowns and Clownish Creeps

A Global Craze

We live in a country where the Hamburglar can freely walk down the street, but Ronald McDonald can’t.

— Twitter post by ‘BH’, Oct 12, 2016

They were always perfect as a foil to the criminal and dysfunctional outsider, with smile grotesque, garish mask, and nose obscenely red. The clown, in history, has often proved to be a fairly revolting creature, acting as both channel and code.

Through history, a vicious clown is an external manifestation of broader ill, a figure whose smile is discomforting rather than reassuring. Fun, in short, had nothing to do with it. What mattered was …

Warring with the Warrior Queen

Ding-dong the witch is dead. Take, as evidence, Donald Trump’s profanity-laden celebration of rape, the tape of which has just surfaced (and is already being followed by more of the same) If that won’t drive a stake through his genuinely iniquitous heart, nothing will. How dead? Metaphorically, he’s as dead as Moammar Gaddafi whom Hillary gleefully dispatched with the words, “we came, we saw, he died.” Judged by the rather manic look on her face she sure got a kick out of it. But when the thrill  was gone, Hillary left behind a dangerous, leaderless mess, rife with violence and terrorism. …

The Origins and the Mechanics of the Theory of Conceptual-Commodity-Value-Management

(Why and How These Theories thrive within Post-Industrial Post-Modern Bourgeois-State-Capitalism)

The theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management is the theory that prices, values and wages are based on what an individual, an entity and/or an enterprising alliance can get away with. That is, the arbitrary price, value and wage that these controlling individuals, entities and/or enterprising alliances are able to command and realize on the open market through various network exclusionary and collusionary practices. In fact, a market by definition is the product of an enclosure or privatization of a commodity, service and/or profession in the hands of a select few so as to manufacture an artificial demand in order to manufacture a …

Officers Withdrawn from North Dakota Following Arrest of Madison Elected Official

Madison Common Council Alderperson Rebecca Kemble speaks out after her arrest while working as a legal observer during the growing resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”

I’ve written often about our Iraqi refugee friend and his oldest son from Baghdad. I will call them Mohammed and Ahmed. They made the torturous flight last year from Baghdad to Kurdistan and then across Turkey. They were on three Greek islands before permission was granted them to continue their trip. They passed through several countries at the time the borders were being closed. They arrived finally at their destination in late September 2015. Finland.

Having lived with this family in Baghdad, I have the faces of the wife and each of the children before me. Below is a photo of …

Not to Alarm Anyone, But We Should Be Alarmed

I’ve been patiently sitting by my AM radio listening for information regarding what I should do about the emergency. The voices between the crackles and pops are saying things about the national emergency of Trump and Clinton, but politicians come in, politicians go out. The truth is politicians are always changing. I can say with the utmost confidence this is the innate ecology of democracy letting the submerged asphyxiated gurgles of freedom bubble to the surface as to achieve maximum greatness.

However, the emergency I’m most worried about is the state of our natural ecological systems where things like climate change, species extinction, and generally our ability to function on …

Retaking Mosul: The Illusion of Peace

Forging certainty in the dust of Middle Eastern plays of power is an impossibility its participants never wish to accept.  The imminent defeat of Islamic State forces in Mosul – deemed imminent, at least, by the forces assaulting the stronghold – provide a suggestion that there will be greater stability in the region.  Nasty fundamentalist forces will be banished, paving the way for a peaceful order.

This naïve, even outrageous suggestion, is fairly standard.  A new force of contention, backed by a slew of shady forces and finances, will come to the fore, only to then vanish and reconstitute itself as …

The Honesty and Courage of Jill Stein

On War and Nukes, Clinton is “Much Scarier” Than Trump

On the issue of war and nuclear weapons, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump who does not want to go to war with Russia. He wants to seek modes of working together, which is the route that we need to follow not to go into confrontation and nuclear war with Russia.

— Jill Stein, Real Clear Politics, October 12, 2016

A glance at the front page of the New York Times or the editorial page or many other pages on any day at all gives a sense of the environment in which we find ourselves. …

Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions

Adam Curtis’ new, near three-hour documentary HyperNormalisation, showing on BBC iplayer, is being garlanded with predictable praise from liberal commentators. As ever, Curtis joins the dots in interesting, and sometimes compelling, ways. But HyperNormalisation also continues a trend by Curtis of using his insights to present a deeply conservative, disempowering and ultimately false impression of the world.

His recent films have been premised on the notion that our societies are driven almost exclusively by a struggle of ever-more complex ideas, often dangerous ones, and only marginally by economic forces. As it has become ever harder to find plausible solutions to an …

The White Helmet Controversy

White Helmets Phenom

Unknown to most people, the White Helmets brand was conceived and directed by a marketing company named “The Syria Campaign” based in New York. They have managed to fool millions of people. Walt Disney might have made a great movie about this: unarmed volunteers fearlessly rescuing survivors in the midst of war without regard to religion or politics. Like most other “true life” Disney movies, it is 10% reality, 90% fiction.

Due to its success, Western countries are dedicating ever larger amounts of funding. The White Helmets were the 17 October Time magazine cover story. Nikolas Kristof …

Nauru, Refugees and the Torture Complex

Two items of interest have tickled the airwaves and triggered some commentary over the last few days. The first was an ABC Four Corners program covering the fate of refugees in the detention facility on Nauru, known euphemistically as a “processing centre” costing $35.3 million a year to the Australian tax payer.

The Four Corners program was, in turn, informed by a significant Amnesty International report, aptly titled Island of Despair, which was released on Monday night. That report examined the rather ghoulish extent the Australian government, with its Nauru satraps, has been going about the business of “processing” boat …