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 …
Scandinavia on the Skids: The Failure of Social Democracy
(Part 3 of a 7 part series on Scandinavian “Socialism”)
Olof Palme had just won his fourth term as Prime Minister when we spoke in Stockholm in the fall of 1985. Like Denmark’s Anker Joergensen, this stalwart social democrat opposed the “cold, egoistic new liberalism”. Unregulated capitalism threatens the Swedish model of social welfare, he said at his September 15 election victory.
Palme was more than a typical social democrat of his times, more a “revolutionary reformist”, as he was often called. He was a stronger critic of US and Israel imperialism than any other Western government leader. His denunciation of US’s war against Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos—especially its bombings of Hanoi, which he …
Whatever happens next, it’s not likely to be pretty
Turkey has been in a growing crisis for years, and the end seems nowhere in sight.
In the wake of the failed military coup, Turkish officials and civilians are pointing the finger at the U.S. for instigating it. “America is behind the coup,” said Turkey’s Labor Minister Suleyman Solyu. Solyu is a close ally of Turkey’s President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, who also blames the U.S. for harboring the Islamic cleric he says was behind the coup.
Officially, the U.S. says that speculation that the U.S. supported …
With Friends Like His, Trump Doesn’t Need Enemies
The nation’s highest ranking Republican and current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, is “one of the leading Trump-sceptics.” Trump’s former Republican rival Gov. Kasich of Ohio declined to immediately endorse him, and his main rival Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has yet to endorse him.
Former Trump opponents Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky are now tepid Trump supporters, but not before commenting (respectively) that Trump is a “cancer on conservatism,” “painfully naïve,” and “a …
The constitutional order of the US, such as it exists, faces a profound crisis of legitimacy, rooted in the multi polarity of US society. The US is divided among (1) a deeply entrenched police – judicial – presidential state against civil society organized in community based Afro-American, Hispanic and disinherited workers; (2) a corrupt Federal police, Justice, State Department and Presidential Office against a constitutional legal system upheld by the vast majority of citizens; and (3) a rigged Presidential electoral system against the consent and approval of the majority of the electorate.
The Jamaican police are very brutal in their policingof the African working-class in Jamaica. However, oppressive conditions tend to give birth to resistance.
Jamaica’s working-class reggae artistes have used their music to share the people’s experience with police violence. The singer Barrington Levy accurately captures the behaviour of the cops in the song Murderer. Levy reveals a common experience in working-class communities:
Dem come inna my area want to kill off the youth
Nuh dress up inna jacket and dem dress up inna tie
Come a courthouse want to tell pure lies
Dem a murderer, aah.
The singer is blasting the widespread …
To the professor’s question concerning what a teacher should do to bring control to a classroom, a would-be teacher proffered: tell the students that if anyone disturbs the class, then the entire class will have a detention.
“That’s collective punishment,” I responded, to which I added with a tongue-in-cheek, hyperbolic flourish, “and it’s a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.”
Nonetheless, why should innocent people be made to pay for the mistakes of others?
Imagine if someone on your four-member bowling team was pulled over and charged with DUI. Imagine then that your entire team was thrown out of the bowling league. How …
Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Are “bystanders” to violent events neutral or complicit?
In the past couple of weeks I’ve read a number of articles about police violence and citizens reaction to that violence. Most of these articles rightly point to the structural roots of police violence. However, I have found little written about how the people who are not directly involved in confrontations, “bystanders”, make sense of what is going on. How do people react to either police shooting citizens, citizens shooting the police or to the protests against police violence? Do people who seemed not directly involved in the violence constitute a neutral force …