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Little Timmy Is Upset He’s a Racist Executioner

“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 …

Contributing to Troubled Times

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 …

Iceland is Where Bankers Go to Jail

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 …

The Times They Are a Changing

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. …

Little Rhode Island Exemplifies the Biggest National Problem

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 …

Erdoğan’s Coup: Purging Domestic Critics, Gaining External Allies

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 …

Trump Brand Republicans

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 …

Sweden-Finland-Norway Globalization Blues

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 …

The Crisis in Turkey Could Swallow Us All

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 …

Trump Wins the Nomination and Still Is a Loser

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

Polarization and the Powder Keg

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.

Combat Police Violence in Jamaica with Organized Working-class Resistance

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 …

Collective Punishment against the Russian People

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 …

Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business

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 …

Why Corbyn so terrifies the Guardian

Political developments in Britain appear more than a little confusing at the moment.

The parliamentary Labour party is in open revolt against a leader recently elected with the biggest mandate in the party’s history. Most Labour MPs call Jeremy Corbyn “unelectable”, even though they have worked tirelessly to undermine him from the moment he became leader, never giving him a chance to prove whether he could win over the wider British public.

Now they are staging a leadership challenge and trying to rig the election by denying tens of thousands of Labour members who recently joined the party the chance to vote. If …

Baton Rouge Police fumble Mass Shooting

Procedures, racial attitudes must change

On Sunday July 17, his birthday, a black man, former highly-regarded U.S. Marine Gavin Long, shot and killed three Baton Rouge police officers and injured three others.

The murders, following the killing of five officers in Dallas, also by a black man, increased racial tensions and hatred in the United States beyond the crisis level of the 1960s, when black people were attacked and beaten across the South during their fight for civil rights.

Gavin Long’s attack on Baton Rouge police was calculated and brutal. Nevertheless, an analysis of Long’s actions, and the response of the Baton Rouge police, reveal the failure …

The Olympics as a Tool of the New Cold War

The 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism (non-discrimination of any kind, including nationality and political opinion) seems to be forgotten long ago.  In ancient Greece the competition of best athletes was able to halt a war and serve as a bridge of understanding between two recent foes.  But in the twentieth century the Olympics have become a political weapon.  Back in 1980 the US and its allies boycotted the games in Moscow as a protest against the Soviet troops that entered Afghanistan at the request of that country’s legitimate government (in contrast, the 1936 Olympics in Nazi

War and Peace: Azerbaijan and Palestine

Part 2

Armenians can only marvel at Zionist chutzpah

Part I considered the remarkable similarities between Armenians and Jews. They both were socialist, then capitalist, adapting as the need arose. Both suffered genocides and achieved independence as fallouts from the upheavals of the 20th century.

Teflon imperialists

Which brings us to their remarkable ‘achievement’: to (almost) single-handedly occupy their neighbour’s territory, against all odds–and hold on to it–against international opinion, Armenia for close to 25 yrs, Israel close to 70 years. Armenia taking …

The Only Way to Challenge ISIS

From Nice to the Middle East

I visited Iraq in 1999. At the time, there were no so-called ‘jihadis’ espousing the principles of ‘jihadism’, whatever the interpretation may be. On the outskirts of Baghdad was a military training camp, not for al-Qaeda, but for Mojahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian militant exile group that worked, with foreign funding and arms, to overthrow the Iranian Republic.

At the time, the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein used the exiled organization to settle scores with his rivals in Tehran, just as they, too, espoused anti-Iraqi government militias to achieve the exact same purpose.

Iraq was hardly peaceful then. …

Gaza in Context