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#M4BL Convening 2015: Just What We Needed

From July 24-26 over 1500 registered Black activists and organizers from all over the U.S., Canada and even the Caribbean converged in Cleveland, Ohio for the 2015 Movement for Black Lives Convening. In addition to police terror and state violence, pertinent issues such as mass incarceration, economic empowerment, education, culture, housing and Black health were all working parts to an overwhelmingly incredible weekend.

This convening was more than just an assembly of passionate activists and talented organizers. It was way more than just workshops and Black radical thought. This mass convening was a weekend of love, a sacred and safe space …

Hissène Habré and Western Hypocrisy in Africa

Last Monday, the historic trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré commenced at the freshly created Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese capital of Dakar. Like most post-independence leaders of Chad, an extremely poor landlocked country south of Libya and east of Sudan, Habré showed himself to be a vile creature, giving orders to imprison, torture and kill large swathes of his population based on little more than his own paranoid mind. The fact that the Chambers, an African entity jointly agreed upon by Senegal and the African Union (AU), is proceeding the long overdue judgment of a notorious war …

UN Human Rights Committee Criticizes Harper Government

On July 20, 2015 the United Nations Human Rights Committee in its 7 page Concluding Observations Report adopted a number of critical observations of Canada’s human right practices, treatment of indigenous people and criticized Harper’s policies on Immigration and treatment of refugees. The Report was termed “A wake up call” on Canada’s human rights performance.

The Committee composed of 17 International Experts conducted the first review of Canada’s human rights record in nearly a decade. The committee heard representations from the Canadian Government and also from Canadian Non-Governmental Organizations like Amnesty International and the International Human Rights Program at …

Criminalizing Resistance Violates International Law

The truth about stone throwing as a form of resistance is that it is not an equal encounter between the thrower and the thrower’s quarry. Do not however minimize the power of stone throwing as stones can gravely injure or kill their intended targets. With that said in all of the almost thirty years that stone throwing has been officially utilized by Palestinians as an active form of resistance, fortunately to date very few Israelis have died from being hit with a stone (11 killed). It is estimated that each year there are 3,500 to 4,500 stone throwing incidents in the occupied territories.

Conversely, how many …

Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees, and a Dying Child

Para gliders are flying over the stunning emerald sea. Summer hordes are descending on a Greek island of Kos from all corners of increasingly aggressive European Union. On the faces of visitors, there seems to be no regret, no shame, that Europe just raped and humiliated Greece, forcing its government to cancel democracy, instead succumbing to dictate of the mighty Germany and other dictatorial powers.

Tourists are busy frying themselves, stuffing their stomachs with seafood and boozing up in countless cafes, bars and restaurants of the old city. Hotels and eateries are packed. It is yet another hot and sunny day. …

Erodoğan and Netanyahu Declare War

The rulers of the two most powerful authoritarian regimes in the Middle East are launching major wars to reconfigure the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has declared war by proxy on Iran, announcing full-scale military mobilization within Israel (July 27-29) and organizing the biggest political campaign of ultra Zionist Jews in Washington. The purpose of this two-pronged propaganda blitz is to defeat the recently signed US-Iranian agreement and start another major Middle East war. Ultimately, Netanyahu intends to take care of his ‘Palestinian Problem’ for good: complete the conquest and occupation of Palestine and expelling the …

Appropriating Russia’s History to Bolster Ukrainian Nationalism

On Tuesday both Russia and Ukraine celebrated the thousand-year anniversary of the death of Prince Vladimir, the man who historians credit for converting Russia to Christianity in 988. According to the Primary Chronicle, Prince Vladimir compelled a substantial number of Kiev’s inhabitants to accept Christian baptism. Supposedly, word from Vladimir went around town that “Whoever does not turn up at the river [Dnieper] tomorrow, be he rich, poor, lowly or slave, he shall be my enemy”.

During a grand reception held in the Kremlin, President Putin incorrectly, and …

Human-Made Evolution

Evolution is nature’s way of preserving itself, but nature is losing out for the first time ever as it becomes curiously unnatural, artificially induced to adapt to human existence. It is human-made evolution, through and through.

The Anthropocene is a term first coined (yr. 2000) by atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen (Nobel Prize 1991). It is currently under review as an official new geologic epoch; nevertheless, it has become a standard reference point in everyday science.

The Anthropocene is the dawn of a new age when humans consciously and subconsciously shape nature, altering an evolutionary process as old as life itself and challenging …

The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion

My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains, or his signature, would be on the contract.
The Godfather (1972)

In the modern global banking system, all banks need a credit line with the central bank in order to be part of the payments system. Choking off that credit line was a form of blackmail the Greek government couldn’t refuse. 

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is now being charged with treason for exploring the possibility of an alternative payment system in …

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 …