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Mars Madness Amidst Astronomical Poverty

Insanity in India

In a macho violation of common sense and the needs of hundreds of millions of people living in crushing poverty, the ruling elite of India (that’s the government and multinational corporations who own the country) recently launched a satellite that “after a journey of 300 days and 420 million miles…arrived to orbit around Mars,” reported The Guardian. The $74 million ‘Mars mission’ is “cheap by American (or Chinese) standards”, The Economist says, but amounts to a fraction of a much more expensive – not to say insane space programme that drains US $1 billion a year from the …

Piercing the Technology Bubble

This weekend, October 25 and 26, I will be joining leading critics from the United States and abroad, of corporate-controlled technologies, who are also proponents of appropriate technologies for the people (Vandana Shiva, Anuradha Mittal, Helen Caldicott, Wes Jackson, Bill McKibben), convening at the historic Cooper Union Great Hall on “Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth”.

The speakers are highly knowledgeable. Some of their prior warnings were ignored by policy makers. Unfortunately, many of these warnings were, in retrospect, understatements. The chief organizer of this gathering is Jerry Mander who heads the International Forum on Globalization (see IFG.org

Pro-war Pundits: Always Wrong, Always Claiming to be Right

and Always Erasing the Victims

There is no shortage of men and women – but mostly men, typically white – willing to write 800- to 1,000-word editorials on the need for Decisive Action or Continued Resolve in Whereverthehellistan. Some of these people are historians, some are journalists, but all have attained material success in the field of arguing about war without ever once having to go through the trouble of being right. It is a full-time profession where it undeniably pays to be wrong and speak to power only what power wants to hear, with American advocates of mass killing from El Salvador to Iraq …

Half of All Americans Are Poor, but We Love Johnny Depp’s Life, Pro-athletes’ Antics, Oscar Night

Do We Even Know the Story of Poverty Without the Poor Reporting, Writing and Broadcasting Our Stories?

No! A little note before DV readers get another magazine piece of mine to be published — in edited and redacted form (to be explained at a later date) — in November. Universality of a town like Spokane and any town. I repeat that if you live somewhere, know it, write about it, and make sure we all know that your town is our town. Detroit, where economic butchers shut off water. San Francisco where Google Eichmanns push working class folk out of historical …

British Columbia LNG Exports in Doubt

In the 2013 BC provincial election, Christie Clark’s Liberals promised that exporting liquefied natural gas to Asia would provide jobs and expanding government revenues.  A year and a half later this boom is nowhere to be seen. Fifteen liquefying plants and pipelines have been promoted. Six were reported to be on the verge of starting construction. But in early October, Petronas—the company closest to seeking regulatory approval—announced that it was considering shelving its proposal.

The Malaysian government-owned corporation wanted assurances that provincial and federal taxes and royalties would be kept low and that the company could bring in workers from abroad …

Sweden’s Submergency

Sweden ends its search for the unmentionable

This morning the Swedish defence solemnly called off its search for whatever it thought it was searching.

That was what I predicted two days ago:

For the above reasons the Swedish military will soon call off the whole thing and the affair will have served its purpose – precisely by not stating what it was, who it was or why it was. Or if it was.

What the purpose of the event may be remains to be revealed at some point in the future. Or perhaps never if – the purpose was fearology for increased militarisation.

Somebody somewhere knows what’s going on. And

Israel Risks Turning al-Aqsa into Powder Keg

Abbas appears powerless as Jewish extremists seek to gain greater foothold at al-Aqsa Mosque

With East Jerusalem already smouldering, it emerged this week that the Israeli parliament is to consider a bill that could set the region ablaze. The measure would lift limitations on Jews visiting the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the most sensitive site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Details of the measure have yet to be published. But one possibility is that it will overturn a prohibition in Israeli law on Jews praying at the site, ending also a long-standing rabbinical injunction against such activities.

Other reports, however, suggested the bill would extend visiting times for Jews, possibly by forcing the Islamic authorities …

The Return of Occupy London: this Time it’s Truly Political

Occupy is back in London, UK, with a renewed focus on politics and an ambitious vision: to galvanise a mass movement for real democracy and establish a huge People’s Assembly to debate a list of specific demands for radical political reform.

This week, stalwarts of the Occupy Democracy campaign in Britain are continuing to stand their ground in Parliament Square. The heavy-handed police crackdown and evictions may have scuppered much of the plans for peaceful and creative demonstrations, but the re-emergence of the Occupy movement is a welcome sight in an increasingly unequal, stressed and disaffected city of London.

The goal …

Bury the Bomb Before it Buries Us

A quarter century after the Cold War ended, the people of the world are now entering a dangerous era of improved and more accurate nuclear weapons and faster, more precise delivery systems at a time of growing antagonism between Washington and Moscow and potential antipathy between the U.S. and China.

All nine nuclear countries are upgrading their atomic weaponry, led by the United States and Russia — the two main nuclear states by far with 7,300 and 8,000 warheads of all kinds between them respectively, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The actually deployed weapons, long-range and strategic, …

The Coming Financial Crisis: a Harbinger of World Renewal?

A full six years after the global financial crisis, not only have governments failed to rethink the way we organise our economic systems, but politicians across the world have pressed forward with an obsolete political agenda that has paved the way for yet more financial chaos. The failure of our elected representatives to adopt a just and sustainable alternative to neoliberal capitalism has also set the scene for years of increased hardship and popular unrest that will inevitably follow any future economic crash.

The very real prospect of a repeat of the 2008 meltdown is now widely accepted in the mainstream …

Stock Symbol: KILL

First, a disclaimer: I know virtually nothing about “the stock market.” Nor have I—for moral (and aesthetic) reasons—wanted to know. Still, as Karl Marx explained so long ago, those who have Capital will invariably seek to maximize “share-value”: increasing revenues (and net profits), reducing competition (through mergers), and reducing labor-costs (through automation, union-busting, offshoring). For those able to moderate their wealth-addiction, it becomes sickeningly easy for the “savvy investor” to “make a killing”: “buy low and sell high,” for starters–but also keep in-step with the various mechanisms which inflate share-prices (manipulative business “news,” for instance).

These days, of course, the Dow …

Transform your Global Justice Sentiments into Action to End the Occupation of Haiti

In overthrowing me you have cut down in Saint Domingue [Haiti] only the trunk of the tree of liberty; it will spring up again from the roots, for they are many and they are deep.

— Toussaint L’Ouverture

The people of Haiti have been living under a military occupation for over ten years by way of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). However, this military imposition has not generated sustained organizing and mobilizing of resources from anti-war, Pan-Afrikanist/nationalist, socialist, trade unions, international solidarity activists, organizations or movements located in the imperialist centres of Europe and North America.

It is critically important for …

Venezuela’s Indigenous Pemon are Caught in Time on Land Too Valuable for Numbers

On the heels of Columbus Day, known since 2002 in Venezuela as the Day of Indigenous Resistance, President Nicolas Maduro handed over ‘collective property titles’ encompassing 8,382 hectares (21,000 acres) to six different indigenous ethnic groups in the eastern state of Anzoátegui.

During last week’s honorary ceremony, representatives of Venezuelan indigenous groups met in Miraflores presidential palace in ceremonial dress; looking quite comfortable in minimalist loincloths and beaded necklaces amid plush red carpets and gilded portraits of the country’s (white) 19th century independence leaders.

The thirty-four representatives, elected by their respective communities by popular vote, will make up a presidential council whose …

Badgers at Dawn

While people are fighting to protect the badgers from the UK government’s infamous culls, they are also working to protect the badgers from bovine TB by vaccinating them.  The season for vaccinating badgers against bovine TB has finished for this year, and for those people wanting to help protect badgers from disease, it is time to think about volunteering for next year’s vaccinating.  What does this involve?

All is quiet in the wood.  Light is slowly seeping through the leaves but it will be some time yet before sunrise.  Barely enough light to see when I have to duck to avoid …

What Submarine in Sweden?

You have heard that Sweden is hunting a ”submarine” and that it is ”presumed to be Russian”. Here is an example, Financial Times of October 21 – which incidentally also announces that the Swedish Prime Minister vows to increase defence spending.

Not the slightest evidence

There are only three problems with this:

1) There is not the slightest evidence of there being anything military, neither that it is a submarine nor that, whatever the object might be, it is Russian.

2) Even with CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera this is nothing but speculative low-grade yellow press journalism. This is possible in the field …

Britain’s Real Promise to Israel

“Symbolic” Vote on Palestine

The text of the letter was short and precise, leaving no room for any misinterpretation in the “promise” made by Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour to a powerful representative of the Jewish community in Britain, Lord Rothschild on a fateful day of 2 November 1917.

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet: His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

The spirit of that declaration …

America: Lost With No Moral Compass

For all you out there reading this who already reject our current ‘Two Party, One Party‘ political con job, and understand that our nation is a Military Industrial Empire, the title above is not about YOU. However, this small (too small) group of us still has many friends and loved ones who are lost with no moral compass. We have associates, acquaintances, employers, coworkers and people we run into at the store or gas station who not only have no moral compass, but many are passionate defenders of this empire. The Why to this is most interesting and frightening.

A week …

Go Tell it on the Mountain — To Chop up for Yuppie Skiing, or NOT!

Note — I have been busier than hell, slave waging, running science and outings for Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Whew, slave wager, and I can hardly contain myself in this prefatory section! Which Zionist and racist and ageist and cultural fascist do we want to deny breathing life after so many weeks away listening to Jewish Radio and The Controlled Opposition. Can you imagine, Social Security, disabilities section, has a million people in the USA waiting and squirming and dying to get a measly $1000 a month for survival money because of disabilities. A country that throws billions up the …

What’s So New About Cuba’s Medical Internationalism?

Fidel Castro, 88-year-old revolutionary hero and anti-imperialist icon, recently published in the Cuban daily Granma that his island nation would readily cooperate with the US to wrestle Ebola. This is not the first gesture of goodwill that Cuba has made toward the US regarding cooperation, either; rather, it is one of many invitations to solidarity that happen to echo across an icy political tundra spanning years of embargo. Perhaps the newest aspect of Cuba’s long-lived medical internationalism is that, in 2014, it yet defies decades of imperial embargo. Cuba’s international medical mission yet survives Yankee economic terrorism, and does so with an

Indiana Sex Slayings Highlight Society’s “Throwaway Women”

At least seven women’s bodies have been found in Indiana since Friday in what appear to be serial, sex-related murders of women in high-risk lifestyles. Hammond police are holding Darren Vann, a convicted sex offender, in connection with the murders and say charges are possible in at least six other murders still under investigation.

Many in the Chicago and northern Indiana area remember similar killings in the 1990s which produced a veritable reign of terror for women in high-risk lifestyles and their families. At least four men arrested in Chicago during that time — Gregory Clepper, Geoffrey Griffin, Hubert Geralds and …