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Death, Taxes, and the Cuban Blockade

The famous expression about the only things that will happen with absolute certainty, death and taxes, is actually missing one: the annual vote in which 99% of the world’s nations declare that the blockade against Cuba is illegal and must end. Yesterday, for the 23rd straight year, the United Nations General Assembly voted to end the U.S. blockade against Cuba by the astounding margin of 188 to 2. The annual resolution may seem like mere political theater meant to embarrass the U.S. government, but in reality it is a sincere objection to an inhumane policy.

Washington will now …

The American Resistance to Israel

The movement to prevent Israeli cargo ships from being unloaded or loaded is potentially one of the greatest challenges that Israel faces from ordinary citizens around the world. Amazingly, it doesn’t even require huge numbers or even very much unity of organization, only of purpose.

The August, 2014 picket of the Zim Piraeus in Oakland, California, is a case in point.  It began with a massive demonstration of thousands that responded to a call from the Block the Boat coalition to picket the port on August 16 and 17.  During that time, the ship chose to remain in a stationary position …

Condemned in Many Places, Fur Industry Still Manages to Survive

Do you want a mink coat? Or a seal coat which Prada, Gucci and Versace sell? Or a monkey fur garment offered by Salvatore Ferragamo? (Yes, you read that right.) Go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army and you’ll find them next to the King Kong and Big Foot Halloween costumes.

Once upon a time, wearing fur meant you had money (or at least the man who bought you the coat did). But today fur is archaic and is seldom seen in Chicago, other parts of the US and a lot of Europe, except on people over 70. One woman …

A “Cheyenne Autumn” and Beyond

Reading An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Autumn in the US is oddly bookmarked by the two holidays that celebrate the origins of European settler colonialism in the Americas: Columbus’ landfall on October 10, and that mythological encounter of multicultural good will, the first successful harvest of the Plymouth Colony on the fourth Thursday in November.

For those who would reflect on a fuller meaning of that history stripped of the hagiography of the victors, this period is a good one in which to be reading Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’ new book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (from Beacon Press’ ReVisioning History series). The book has …

Fighting for Survival in the Sinai: Egypt’s Convenient War

Sinai is both heaven and hell. This triangular desert boasts an arid landscape of hopeless horizons often interrupted by leftover military hardware from previous wars. The land is comprised of breathtaking beaches, incredible history, and a fusion of fascinating cultures that reach back into the past as far as ancient times can possibly go. This thrilling land of contradictions is amazing, yet lethal.

But Sinai is also a place where hundreds of thousands of mostly poor people struggle to survive against incredible odds. Although poverty and illiteracy in Egypt can reach exceptional heights, hardship in Sinai is especially worse.

Since Israel …

Dear Mr. 1%

Corporate greed & political corruption

This deceptively lighthearted video shines a light on the corporate greed that has co-opted our democracy, monopolizing representation, wealth and opportunity. Dear Mr. 1% is an animated video from the perspective of an innocent child desperately trying to understand why some grown-ups don’t play fair and share. The video contrasts the inherent morality of a child with and the insatiable greed and unscrupulous behavior of the corporate elite.

Resolving Key Nuclear Issue Turns on Iran-Russia Deal

IPS — U.S. and Iranian negotiators are working on a compromise approach to the issue of Iran’s uranium enrichment capabilities, which the Barack Obama administration has said in the past Iran was refusing to make concessions on.

The compromise now being seriously discussed would meet the Obama administration’s original requirement for limiting Iran’s “breakout capability” by a combination of limits on centrifuge numbers and reduction of Iran’s stockpile of low enriched uranium, rather than by cutting centrifuges alone.

That approach might permit Iran to maintain something close to its present level of operational centrifuges.

The key to the new approach is Iran’s willingness …

Senator McCain Calls Admiral an “Idiot”

Why Do Media Promote That?

Context doesn’t matter with clever kitty videos, but politics is different

BuzzFeed, moving up from cute-cat-tricks to catty-Senator-tricks, caused a few ripples in the political swamp on October 22 with its belated, skewed reporting of Republican Senator John McCain calling U.S. Admiral John Kirby an “idiot” on a right wing radio show in North Carolina on October 15. OK, nobody really expects BuzzFeed News to publish honest news.

Less defensible, though hardly surprising, is the way the Washington Post and other less well known media outfits picked up the “idiot” story fragment and ran with it as if it were …

Under Israeli Apartheid, Palestinians Cannot Ride Israeli Buses

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has officially banned Palestinians from traveling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank, according to a new report by Haaretz, Israel’s most prominent newspaper.

The new apartheid law dictates that Palestinians cannot take buses that go from central Israel to the West Bank. They must go out of their way, to the Eyal Crossing, near the city Qalqilyah, “far from populated settler areas.”

It is already difficult for Palestinians to enter Israel. Palestinian workers traveling into central Israel for their jobs have to go through high-security, militarized check points. Those who are allowed to …

Where have all the Flowers Gone?

Thinking through the binary oppositions of “have” and “have nots” is like segregating the homeless from the Paris Hiltons of the world in order to present a narrative that represents a ‘going America’s way’ kind of reality, a reality that uses finance, by way of speculation and specialisation, to foster advantages for elites and their hierarchical institutions for the sole purpose of amassing capital in order to leverage control of the social narrative through the commodification of culture itself.

With the advent of the consumerist economy, the hegemonic power of money soon became the ‘elephant in the room’… if not attaining the status of the mother …

Why Do Banks Want Our Deposits? Hint: It’s Not to Make Loans

Many authorities have said it: banks do not lend their deposits. They create the money they lend on their books.

Robert B. Anderson, Treasury Secretary under Eisenhower, said it in 1959:

When a bank makes a loan, it simply adds to the borrower’s deposit account in the bank by the amount of the loan. The money is not taken from anyone else’s deposits; it was not previously paid in to the bank by anyone. It’s new money, created by the bank for the use of the borrower.

The Bank of England said it in the spring of 2014, writing in its quarterly

How Israel is turning Gaza into a Super-max Prison

It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age according to the explicit goals of an Israeli military doctrine known as “Dahiya”, has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting.According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help.

Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current …

In The Shadow of Repression, We Fear No Evil

There exists the undying fear that a social, economic, and political revolution would fetch us Americans more harm than good. Still, some would ask to whom the word “us” even refers. A keen, and important query, the fear in question nonetheless persists, and it is important to entertain.

What might actually become of us if we abandon ourselves to radical change, casting our nets about a sea of anarchy and socialist endeavors? Might the benefits yet outweigh the costs? Revolution will have its doubters…

For centuries, thinkers and the disillusioned alike have doubted even their own existence; they have punished themselves with …

Self-Image-Incongruence Theory of Individual Health

Here, I propose a unifying model of individual health. My other exploratory reports about the causes of ill-health are many.,, ((Rancourt, Denis G., On the individual psychology of food: Against calorie management, Activist

TV Appeals by the Billions as the Senate and Congress Lap Up Republican Spoils

the great equalizer, the War-Producing Democrats . . . Feel Good and Drink a Beer and Smoke a Fag President Obama . . . Hillary Calling for Your Vote Now

It’s not going to happen, that is, the Yes on 92 (GMO labeling initiative in Oregon). Not the win (sic) or the disposable income they are soliciting from me, a working class dissident slob, sob, intellectually cultured and cultivated “been around the block a few dozen times” kinda working class anarchist. Imagine, simple illogical PR spin — labeling genetically diseased modified organisms? Why? Labeling the wine, Not to be Consumed While …

Militarism and Capital Accumulation

The Pentagon and Big Oil

There is no question that, in the immediate aftermath and for several years following US military conquests, wars, occupations and sanctions, US multi-national corporations lost out on profitable sites for investments. The biggest losses were in the exploitation of natural resources – in particular, gas and oil – in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and South Asia.

As a result some observers speculated that there were deep fissures and contradictory interests within the US ruling class. They argued that, on the one hand, political elites linked …

Political Prisoners in the Sacrifice Zone of Empire

Mumia Abu-Jamal and Jeremy Hammond

Recently, two cases concerning the constitutional rights of people in prison came to public light. They involve two U.S. political prisoners: Mumia Abu-Jamal who is serving a life sentence at a facility in Frackville, Pennsylvania and Jeremy Hammond, who is serving a ten year sentence at a federal prison in Manchester, Kentucky.

On Monday October 20, it was reported that Hammond, a young Chicago based computer programmer, had been held in solitary confinement for the last 10 days. In November 2013, he was sentenced after he plead guilty for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for allegedly revealing …

The Dark Soul of American Empire

Whether or not the soul exists may depend entirely on how it’s being defined, and depending on the definition may also depend on faith, religious or otherwise. The human soul is thought by many as inherently good while the absence of a soul leaves open the possibility to commit and even delight in malicious or evil acts – these destructive actions are also interpreted in terms of being dark. Oddly enough, man’s ego enjoys taking credit for his goodness, while he regularly attributes responsibility for destructive behaviors to outside influences, including at times a supernatural consciousness of evil that influences …

Washington Is Defaming Putin

UPDATE: Here is a translation of Putin’s address at Valdai.

Today at the Valdai International Discussion Club meeting in Sochi, Russia’s President Putin correctly and justifiably denounced Washington for destabilizing the world in order to serve its own narrow and selfish interest and the interests of the private interest groups that control Washington at the expense of the rest of the world. It is about time a world leader denounced the thuggish neocon regime in Washington. Putin described Washington’s double standards with the Roman phrase: “What is allowed for God [the US] is not allowed for cattle [the rest of …

Scam Goes Education

What can be more important to save in a viable democracy than education and the assurance that it is easily accessible for all, whatever your skin color or financial means? Unfortunately the best vehicle for that endeavor, public education, has figured prominently in quick-profit schemes of private investors, some stemming from honest attempts to improve education, but many motivated by pure greed.

For the latter, it’s beginning to take the character of the Wall Street frenzy that passed off toxic securities as AAA rated, and sold them full price to unsuspecting buyers. For the most part, Wall Streeters, having a culture …