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Suing Saudi Arabia: Overturning Sovereign Immunity in US Courts

It was momentous on one fundamental level. Here was the President of the United States, Barack Obama, holding the torch for a wretched ally the politicians on the Hill and others have had reservations over for many years.  Saudi Arabia, ever the thorn and asset of US interests, facing the grief of families who lost members on September 11, 2001.  This, the same ally whose theocratic bent remains the most bruising of obstacles in any claims that the US is open to a global democratic experiment.

In the end, it came down to a very American formula, one born in the …

Demonizing the Rising Dragon

In his article, “How Genuine Are NGOs?” Joseph Mudingu stated that NGOs “are the vehicles through which the exploiters seek to influence the opinions of ‘civil society’.” Thus it would not be surprising, given America’s pivot to Asia in response to its waning economic influence, that some NGOs would be prodded to excoriate a designated enemy — even though that enemy country does not surround other countries with its military bases, neither does it threaten violence nor militarily attack other countries; conversely, it seeks cooperation with other nations.

On 23 September, I received an email from Christina Smethurst, …

Official Stupidity Killed Keith Lamont Scott

Shooting a man slowly backing away is no way to preserve or protect

Some reasonable people are weighing the available evidence and waiting for more definitive proof of various allegations before they decide whether or not they think the death of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, in broad daylight in a parking lot in a housing development in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the sunny afternoon of September 20 was a police execution.

Those reasonable people are being unreasonable: the police clearly executed Keith Lamont Scott as he was slowly backing away from them, his hands at his sides, his body slack. The …

Sheltering the Family, Creating the Hearth: Spokane’s Soldiers for the Poor Fight Back

One half of us are dying in our precarity

And it was interesting, because afterwards, there was a party, and there were couples who were arguing. Basically, the men, in general, didn’t like the movie. They were like, ‘I had hard times, he should have gotten a job, he should have pulled himself together, he had a kid.’ They were very tough with him. And the women were, ‘No, you don’t understand, he had mental illness, he was broken, he lost his wife.’ They were much more understanding toward him. I just stood back and thought, look at this.”

— An after-screening party at the Sarasota Film Festival: writer-director Oren Moverman

The Politics of Bombing

Wholesale, Retail, and Improvised

Bombs, domestic and foreign, are defining the nature of politics in the United States, the European Union and among radical Islamist groups and individuals. The scale and scope of bomb-politics varies with the practitioner. ‘Wholesale bombers’ are state actors, who engage in large-scale, long-term bombing designed to destroy adversary governments or movements. ‘Retail bombers’ are groups or individuals engaging in small-scale, sporadic bombings, designed to provoked fear and secure symbolic outcomes.

Apart from planned bombings, there are improvised bombings committed by deranged individuals who engage in …

“Aiding” Canada’s Mining Companies

Significant sums in Canadian “aid” are spent promoting international mining initiatives.

In a press release last week Ontario-based Carube Copper said it acquired over “500 square kilometres of the most prospective ground in Jamaica based on historic showings, the work completed and reported in 1993 by the Canadian International Development Agency (‘CIDA’).”

Canadian aid has facilitated similar work elsewhere. Researching Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation I discovered examples of Ottawa funding the collection of geological data in Tanzania, Angola, Cameroon, Niger, Uganda, Kenya and elsewhere. Long time West Africa-based freelance journalist, Joan Baxter, describes a …

The Debates of Loathing: Trump and Clinton at Hofstra

It’s all words, it’s all soundbites.

— Donald Trump, Hofstra University, September 26, 2016

It really doesn’t matter that these two creatures loathed and feared in varying degrees should even be conducting a debate.  What, after all, is there to dispute?  Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump inhabit worlds of the disparately dislikeable, and reaped the bounty of the US with varying degrees of ruthlessness.

Of course, the assessment from the pundits resembled everything that had transpired before. Take the NBC live coverage, filled with the tepid, the unsure and the stunned.  The presidential debate had been “surreal”; Clinton was “overly prepared” yet …

There’s More Than One Kind of Fungus Among Us

Eugene: The Rising Cost of Cool

In search of a haircut, I found Analog, Eugene’s favorite barber shop according to Yelp. Also a tattoo parlor. Upstairs, the walls are lined with LP album covers of the 60s, 70s and 80s, with good tunes on the sound system. But it was too busy that morning, with a long wait.

A few blocks away Anderson’s took me right away. They had free IPA on tap for customers. “The Big Lebowski” was playing on their large-screen TV, next to the small wire-frame house where one barber’s small dog dwells. All very homey and laid back. Everyone there was relaxed and …

Fear Level Trump

I remember a time when a cabbage could sell itself by being a cabbage. Nowadays it’s no good being a cabbage – unless you have an agent and pay him a commission. Nothing is free anymore to sell itself or give itself away. These days, Countess, every cabbage has its pimp.
― Jean Giraudoux, The Madwoman of Chaillot

This election seems to have traumatized the usually, and increasingly, somnambulant public in the US to the degree that a number of various mental affects are activated, and maybe even some old wounds finally surfacing again, but most of all it has generated a …

The Corbyn Effect: A British Democratic Revolution in the Making

Following the EU referendum, a friend told me that he had voted to leave.  His reasons were nothing to do with immigration or the democratic deficit in EU institutions. No. He said he just wanted to deliver a slap in the face to the establishment who were lining up to tell him of the dire consequences that would befall the British people if they left the European Union. Isn’t that a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face, I said. Yes, he replied, but it felt good to puncture the smugness of the high and mighty who …

Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds

Ban Ki-Moon’s second term as the Secretary General of the United Nations is ending this December. He was the most ideal man for the job as far as the United States and its allies are concerned.

Of course, there will always be other Ban Ki-Moons. In fact, the man himself was a modified version of his predecessor, Kofi Annan.

The unspoken, but unmistakable rule about UN Secretary Generals is that they must come across as affable enough so as not to be the cause of international controversies, but also flexible enough to accommodate the US disproportionate influence over the United Nations, particularly …

The Social Construction of Value, Price and Wages

(The Theory of Conceptual-Commodity-Value-Management within Post-Industrial Post-Modern Bourgeois-State-Capitalism)

Within post-industrial post-modern bourgeois-state-capitalism, value is no longer based on labor and/or on labor theories of value such as Marx’s theory. In fact, all post-industrial post-modern societies to various degrees have shed their modern labor theories of value and surplus-value; i.e., theories where labor-time and cost of production are the basis of price and value determinations. In contrast to labor theories of value, post-industrial post-modern societies are increasingly adopting theories of conceptual-commodity-value-management, where price and value determinations are increasingly based on perception and conceptualization-control through alliances of enterprise, alliances which structure price and value according to their own arbitrary whims …

Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders

Much has been made of the basic unfairness in how responsibility is shared between nations for ameliorating the refugee crisis. But the real question is the level of economic sharing that is needed to deal with its root causes, when the international response continues to be woefully inadequate.

Following the first ever United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants last week, many civil society organisations and concerned citizens are taking stock of our governments’ collective response to this unprecedented global crisis. The UN Summit was two years in the making, …

Let the Public Know The Truth About Social Security

During the past three decades, the American people have been kept in the dark about the true status of the Social Security program. Politicians from both political parties give out false and conflicting information on a regular basis, and nobody knows who to believe.

The basic, indisputable fact is that the Social Security Amendments of 1983 included a hefty hike in the payroll tax rate which was designed to generate large surpluses for the next 30 years.  Over the period from 1983, when the higher taxes were initiated, until 2010 when the annual surpluses came to an end, a total of …

Punishing the Punished: Chelsea Manning’s Fate

Essentially she is now being tortured as punishment for an act of desperation.

— Nancy Hollander, lawyer for Chelsea Manning, September 24, 2016

It was not sufficient for US military authorities to sentence whistleblower Chelsea Manning to the onerous, disproportionate sentence of 35 years imprisonment for conniving with WikiLeaks in releasing classified material. (People have gotten less for gruesome, remorseless murders.)  Punishment has a myriad of forms, and even within the carceral system, Manning has discovered that additional methods can be devised.

As with any penal system worth its brutal salt, minor infractions incite strong rebuke and hefty retaliation. Manning has previously been …

Bennis’s Delusions of Massive Opposition to Israel Evaporate Under Harsh Light of Reality

There is massive opposition to Israeli actions in the United States today, particularly importantly in the Jewish community, where there’s been an enormous shift in that discourse.

So you still have organizations, right-wing organizations like AIPAC that include very wealthy donors, no doubt, but they no longer can even make the claim–which was probably never true, but it certainly is no longer true–that they speak for the majority, let alone all, of the Jewish community.

You now have an organization like J Street in the center. You have Jewish Voice for Peace on the left, which has over 200,000 supporters across the

Killer Cops and Capitalism

Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution. Pass on the torch. Join us. Give up your life for the people.

— George Jackson, Blood In My Eye

As the entire world bears witness to two more never-ending snuff-black-people videos, this time by this nation-state’s police forces in Tulsa, and yet another in Charlotte, NC, it is …

Its Policy towards Haiti is a Shameful Episode in Canada’s Recent History

Corporate media bias on foreign policy is more pronounced than most critics even imagine. As part of a recent fact check for A Propaganda System: How Canada’s government, corporations, media and academia sell war and exploitation I discovered my own misplaced trust.

I searched Canadian Newsstand to confirm no media outlet commented on or investigated a 2011 Canadian Press report demonstrating Ottawa militarized its response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to control the population. According to an internal file CP uncovered through an access to information request, Canadian officials worried that “political fragility has increased the risks of a popular …

The Religion of Climate Change Denial

Religion and Science

The recent article by professor Denis Rancourt, The Climate Religion, argues that belief in climate change is a religion. Although he is right that religion is a powerful belief system common to human societies, which leaders take advantage of to control people, he is dead wrong about acceptance of the science of anthropogenic global warming being a religion. This is a one-time rebuttal (no spitting match, thank you) of his contention.

Professor Rancourt is a climate change denier. Climate denial itself has become a religion, impervious to evidence. There have been many prominent climate deniers, such as …

NATO Blues

One Earth is a core group of players ranging in age from 12-85.  “NATO Blues” is our first release with 5-6 additional tracks to be released throughout the remainder of 2016.  We are a musical and creative revolt against a straight-jacketed artistic, social, economic and political world.