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The Conspiracy Against President Trump

March 20, 2017: Listening today to the broadcast of testimony by FBI Director Comey and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers before the House Intelligence Committee (an oxymoron) made it clear that the Democrats, Comey, and Rogers intend conflict with Russia.

The Republicans, for the most part, were interested to know how security leaks targeted at Trump Republicans came from meetings at which only the CIA Director, NSA Director, and FBI director were present. Of course, they did not get an answer, which shows how powerless congressional oversight committees are. Comey repeatedly said that he could not tell the committee …

The Adventures of a Peace Corps Volunteer in India Fifty Years Ago

Review of David Macaray's book, How to Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows: Weird Adventures in India Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims - When the Peace Corps was New

Every Peace Corps Volunteer has a near-death story. For David Macaray, supplementing his diet of curry and rice with a ball of opium did the trick.

But not to worry. Had he died, he wrote, “Our mothers and fathers would have received the obligatory telegram from the State Department: ‘Dear Parent: [stop] Your son ate opium, passed out, and set house on fire. [stop] He is deceased. [stop] Details to follow.”

Fifty years later, one wonders if Macaray, in a fit of nostalgia, ingested a bit of opium while organizing this sometimes heartbreaking but mostly hilarious book. Because it’s not really a …

Immigration: Gateway for Cheap Labor and Deliberate Disunity

A dear lawyer friend of mine for nearly 60 years recently posted a Facebook comment lamenting President Trump’s new, tightened immigration policy, saying that “immigration made America great.” My wife and I will be visiting him and his wife not long after this essay is published. It is, in effect, a long response to his lament, but I am leaving out here any elaboration on what I will also say to him, “Jim, face it, America has never been great.”

The land yet named “America,” after first being set afoot by voluntary immigrants thousands of years earlier, was subsequently touched for …

The Korea Problem

This is What Democracy Looks Like

The United States and its allies have embarked on a dangerous path of aggression against the government of North Korea and its allies China and Russia.

As usual, the western propaganda system presents a near unified front showing how horrible and atrocious the North Korean government is purported to be, and how murderous and ruthless and amoral their intentions are purported to be, and how their military objectives and missile programs — now allegedly targeting the “free” world–are out to dominate the rest of the world, starting with their deadly missiles being launched against the United States and our ally Japan. …

What Is Objective Journalism?

'Just The Facts, Ma'am'

So what is objective, impartial journalism?

The standard view was offered in 2001 by the BBC’s then political editor, Andrew Marr:

When I joined the BBC, my Organs of Opinion were formally removed.

And by Nick Robinson describing his role as ITN political editor during the Iraq war:

It was my job to report what those in power were doing or thinking… That is all someone in my sort of job can do.’

‘Just the facts, …

Portugal, the EU and the Euro: Interview with João Ferreira

Part 2 of a 2-part series

Mural at the Communist Party headquarters in Lisbon
The European Union is in turmoil. Years of crisis and brutal austerity have had terrible social consequences, especially in peripheral countries. In Portugal a change of government after the 2015 legislative elections brought an end to the previous troika-imposed austerity and even a reversal of some policies. But structural problems persist due to the nature of the EU and its mechanisms, particularly the single currency. To discuss the political situation in Portugal, the consequences of entering the single market and …

Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen

This week at the Voices for Creative Nonviolence office in Chicago, my colleague Sabia Rigby prepared a presentation for a local high school. She’ll team up with a young friend of ours, himself a refugee from Iraq, to talk about refugee crises driven by war. Sabia recently returned from Kabul where she helped document the young Afghan Peace Volunteers’ efforts to help bring warmth, food and education to internally displaced families living in makeshift camps, having fled the Afghan War when it raged near their former homes.

Last year Sabia had been visiting with refugees in “the Calais Jungle,” who …

It’s Year Zero A.C. (After Correa)

An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?

On April 2 Ecuador will choose a new president. For the first time in a decade, Rafael Correa’s name will not be on the ballot. After ten years in office, Correa is stepping down from the presidency and, however temporarily, stepping away from politics.

The two candidates, Lenin Moreno and Guillermo Lasso, have radically different agendas. Moreno is Correa’s former vice president and designated successor. He would continue Correa’s center-left social programs for the poor and the infrastructure, despite the country’s ongoing economic crisis. Lasso, a banker, has pledged to reduce taxes, cut spending and return the country to its …

Portugal, the EU and the Euro: Interview with João Ferreira

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series

Mural at the Communist Party headquarters in Lisbon
The European Union is in turmoil. Years of crisis and brutal austerity have had terrible social consequences, especially in peripheral countries. In Portugal a change of government after the 2015 legislative elections brought an end to the previous troika-imposed austerity and even a reversal of some policies. But structural problems persist due to the nature of the EU and its mechanisms, particularly the single currency. To discuss the political situation in Portugal, the consequences of entering the single market and …

First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump

With the hullabaloo about Trump and fascism, it is useful to review Hitler’s first months in power to get a sense of a real fascist regime.

Hitler came to power January 30, 1933, Trump on January 20, 2017, making easy a chronological comparison of their lead ups to power and their first months in power. The comparison shows how silly and hysterical it is to claim Trump represents fascism.

Hitler did not take power by entering into the primaries of a German version of the Republican Party. In complete contrast to Trump, he built, controlled, and ran under the banner of his …

Why Are Norwegians So Happy?

With apparently nothing more challenging to do with its time, the UN, since 2012, has been publishing an annual list of the happiest countries in the world.  The document is cheerfully titled, “The World’s Happiness Report.”  Not surprisingly, its 2017 findings place Norway at the head of the pack, followed closely by last year’s winner, Denmark.

Although such lists are always going to be accused of being grossly subjective or unfairly skewed, the six broad categories in which citizens of 154 countries were asked to assess themselves are: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, income, and good governance.

The 2017 top ten countries, all …

Israel’s New Travel Ban

Dear Israeli Government:

You’ve recently banned foreigners who support boycotts against Israel or Israeli settlements from being allowed to enter Israel – even Jewish foreigners, a first for the self-proclaimed Jewish state After all, your “Law of Return” has allowed (and encouraged) Jewish foreigners to freely immigrate to Israel, even as multitudes of Palestinians have been banned from returning to their homes.

People throughout the Western world have objected in outrage to your new law, particularly Jewish Westerners who have family and connections in Israel from whom they’ll be cut off in retaliation for their political positions.

Critics, even some who oppose boycotting Israel …

The Dead Don’t Rest

Han Kang’s Human Acts and the Gwangzu Uprising

South Korean author Han Kang has written two short novels translated into English in the past five years. In a time of global social movements for liberation like the mid-20th century, they would doubtless have been considered part of the literature of socio-political engagement. In the dyspeptic early 21st century, in the Age of Consequences that is now dawning, they are instead examples of what I would call a “literature of mourning.” What they are mourning for is the ever-less tenable idea that humanity is engaged in an irreversible process of triumph over its most destructive qualities.

Booker Prize winner The

Peace Accords or Political Surrender?

Latin America, the Middle East, and Ukraine

Over thirty year ago a savvy Colombian peasant leader told me, “Whenever I read the word ‘peace accords’ I hear the government sharpening its knives”.

In recent times, ‘peace accords’ (PAs) have become a common refrain across the world. In almost every region or country, which are in the midst of war or invasion, the prospects of negotiating ‘peace accords’ have been raised. In many cases, PAs were signed and yet did not succeed in ending murder and mayhem at the hands of their US-backed interlocutors.

Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession

The rain pours with torrential fury in north Queensland, opening up with ominous welcome as it slices through layers of stifling humidity.  But the fury is also being registered in the rag like bleating sheet known to locals as the Bullie, that beacon of local sentimentality that noisily proclaims its voice.

Another creature in the vast enterprise known as the Murdoch empire, this paper does the bidding of fossil fuel interests in the state. Where there is a mine to exploit, an interest to advance, the Townsville Bulletin will be there, heavily armed, for the next mud wrestle with environmentalists.

This wrestling …

NDP Leadership Debate Fails to Mention Canadian Foreign Policy

Is the NDP establishment scared to have party members discuss Canada’s international posture?

At the party’s first leadership debate last weekend there wasn’t a single foreign policy question despite a host of contentious recent party positions on international affairs.

Certainly at a time when the mainstream media is giving prominence to militarist voices, many members would be keen to hear the four candidates’ positions on military spending. The party’s 2015 platform said an NDP government would “meet our military commitments by maintaining Department of National Defence budget allocations.” In addition to backing Stephen Harper’s budget allocations, the NDP aggressively promoted the …

The New Broom

Alternativism has given alternative media something to think about in America. The new regime in Washington DC has activated a veritable tsunami of grieving voices spitting hatred at their ‘populist’ billionaire President as he commences to re-shuffle his deck of cards. The new boss-man tweets his own superlatives in the small hours of the night revealing his indifference to the superlative-ridden cant of his predecessors. The ‘new broom’ possesses its own brand of cant which is currently being fed into an alternative lexicon…and it sure has lots of snap, crackle and pop. But what is it recycling?

The election of the …

A Tribe is Syncopated with One’s Own Journey into Restorative Humanity

Because the tribe is its members, the tribe is what its members want it to be—nothing more and nothing less.

― Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure

The shape of my life is the daily intersections of the people I have come to integrate into part of my total life clan – sources as journalist, people in academia who have inspired me, students, the places in my mind from countless travels out of this culture, USA, and the many I have worked with as both instructor and social worker. And many more.

The foundation of my “man lost of tribe” …

The Revolution in Work calls for an Evolution in Living

Poverty blights the lives of billions of people throughout the world: in developing countries, where it is acute, and industrialised nations, where it’s hidden but growing. It rises out of social injustice, makes exploitation and abuse inevitable, brings death and disease, robs people of opportunity and dignity, feeds anger and resentment.

Much like the rubbish that litters the streets of our cities, the poor, destitute and hungry are swept out of sight. Their existence is an embarrassment to politicians and sits uncomfortably within the shiny materialistic image promoted by cities and countries eager to attract ‘inward investment’.

As more jobs become obsolete …

WikiLeaks Vault 7 Reveals CIA Cyberwar and the Battleground of Democracy

WikiLeaks dropped a bombshell on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7”, the whistleblowing site began releasing the largest publication of confidential documents that have come from the top secret security network at the Cyber Intelligence Center. Long before the Edward Snowden revelations, Julian Assange noted how “The Internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen.” He