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Memorial Day Heroes

"Thank you for your service"...on second thought -

It is Memorial Day again. Some will celebrate. Some will drink too much. Some will march in parades. Some will rally around the flag. Some will go shopping. Some will mourn. I am among the mourners.

I mourn mostly for those we have killed — and I mourn for those we haven’t killed yet, but will in the days ahead. I mourn for all of the mothers and fathers who put their children to bed at night and wonder if this will be the night that they are killed by a drone attack.

I mourn for the 500,000 Iraqi children – dead …

Addressing Global Warming Claims

Unless you are a new arrival from another planet, you have probably heard or read at least one of the following claims (among other possibilities):

Global warming is occurring—or, conversely, is not occurring. (Presidential candidate Ted Cruz has, for example, referred to global warming believers as “alarmists,” and has “compared people who think that the climate is warming to ‘flat-Earthers’ and described himself as a modern-day Galileo in an interview with the Texas Tribune.”)

Global warming is occurring, and is human-caused (i.e., anthropogenic)—by our burning of fossil fuels and our deforestation activities especially.

The unusual weather that we have been experiencing during …

In Their Own Words

Here in the US, we have been led to believe that we are an exceptional people and the indispensable nation. During our lifetime we have been exposed to lots of myths about the US, particularly about how we are always on the side of good. Below are insider comments challenging this key myth.

Before presenting the quotes, note that US crimes of stealing lands and resources and killing and exploiting people are, disturbingly, nothing new. Many other nations/empires have committed similar crimes throughout history. Morality, legality or altruism are not considerations that apply to the acts of powerful nations. The US …

Yemen

There are three characters in Yemen. Each has a separate tale to tell.

The first lives in Aden. His house is bombed, his family slain.

The second is a Saudi fighter pilot who delights in bombing civilians’ houses.

The third is Barack Obama who puzzles over what to do next in Yemen.

The story explores the helplessness of civilians in the current conflict in Yemen. It demonstrates the mindless brutal violence of Saudi Arabia. And it exposes the fact that the whole event is set up to benefit US financial interests.

Yemen

Inside, I am alone. Outside people talk, walk, mingle, interact, perhaps even make love. …

Why Not Just “Socialist”?

The Anti-Empire Report #139

Their precious young minds and our precious young minds

She was a redheaded rebel, the singer in the family, a trash-talking, tattooed 21-year-old wrapped up in a hip-hop dream of becoming Holland’s Eminem. Then Betsy found Allah. After her sudden conversion to Islam last summer, Betsy began dressing in full Muslim robes. By January, the once-agnostic Dutch woman, raised in a home where the only sign of religion was a dusty Bible on a shelf, began defending homegrown terrorists. … Denis Cuspert, a German hip-hop artist known as Deso Dogg who converted in 2010 and later joined The Islamic State [ISIS],

The Emblem of the Outlaw in America

The cultural trope of the young black man as a fearsome criminal is almost as reductive and misleading as the trope about biker gangs in the US being American Ronin. Both are. of course, highly racialized perceptions, based on an imaginary reality. But they’ve come together in odd ways in the past few days.

When the average American thinks of a young black man in conflict with the police, it’s a safe bet the first image that comes to mind is a criminal element. It’s the result of insidious subtextual conditioning that pervades our culture from our news to our entertainment. …

Erasing the Past: ISIS, Palmyra, and Doomed History

There is something grimly appropriate about the capture of the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra by a supposedly weakened ISIS. Accounts of history are being settled, unmade and reconstituted. The fundamentalist warriors have never made any secret of their hatred of idolatry – at least of the sort condemned by Quranic edict. Religions of the book have tended to fight wars over that very fact and craven worship of images was always deemed to be a vital point of difference.

What then, of Palmyra, that pearl and bride of the desert supposedly fortified by Solomon? It may …

Three Years of Confronting Western Propaganda

After my two days marathon discussion with Noam Chomsky, (at MIT in 2012), a bestselling book was born. Later this year a film will hit the cinemas.

Noam and I discussed Western imperialism, and the terror it has been spreading around the world. After WWII, at least 50 million lives were lost. Lives of those whom Orwell used to call “unpeople”; lives brutally interrupted as a result of Western-led and orchestrated wars, invasions, coups and proxy-conflicts.

We discussed at length the Western propaganda, which, for centuries, worked extremely hard to justify everything from the colonialist insanity, to supremacist and exceptionalist theories.

After my …

The Other One Percent

As a high school student, I came across an observation by Abraham Lincoln who said that “With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” Today “public sentiment” would be called “public opinion.”

Over the years, I have been astonished at how less than one percent of the citizenry, backed by the “public sentiment,” have changed our country for the better by enacting reforms to protect the people from abuses of power, discrimination and deep neglect.

Specifically, if – one percent or less – were to dedicate a modest amount of their time and money working together for much-needed changes …

Hijacking the Anthropocene

How the anti-green ‘Breakthrough Institute’ misrepresents science to advance a technocratic agenda and undermine grassroots environmentalism

When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.
—Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

What can lobbyists do when science contradicts their political messages? Some simply deny the science, as many conservatives do with climate change. Others pretend to embrace the science, while ignoring or purging the disagreeable content. That’s what the Breakthrough Institute (BTI) is doing with one of the most widely discussed issues in 21st century science, the proposal to define a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

BTI has been described as …

Canadian Media Finally Discovers Mass Graves of Indigenous Children

It was eighteen years ago this month that I first handed to a Vancouver Sun newspaper editor a list of possible mass grave sites of Indian residential school children on Canada’s west coast, based on government documents and statements from eyewitnesses who buried children there. I and these witnesses were flatly ignored: not only then, but every other time over the subsequent years that we presented such evidence to the same newspaper.

Bone sample found at Brantford residential …

Was the Spanish Empire Not So Bad After All?

Revising our assessment of the Spanish empire is in vogue among economic historians. Most notably, Regina Grafe and Alejandra Irigoin (2006; 2008) have sought to revise the nature of the empire’s political economy. Their goal is to refute those who claim that the wealth gap between Anglo and Latin America today is due to the ‘extractive’ institutions established by the Spanish in their colonies compared to the more ‘inclusive’ institutions established by the British. ((E.g. North, D.C., W. Summerhill, and B.R. Weingast (2000), ‘Order, Disorder and Economic Change: Latin America Versus North America’, in B. Buenos de Mesquita and H.L. Root, eds., …

Wine Empire Replaces Redwood Empire

Northern California’s Sonoma County has been known historically as part of the natural Redwood Empire. Wine industry lobbyists re-branded it as the commercial “Wine Country.” Its economy has been so colonized by outside investors, who extract water and resources from the environment and export them, that re-branding would be appropriate. A more accurate description would be that Sonoma County is now part of the multi-national Wine Empire.

Locals and nature have been dominated by these outside investors; they reap the benefits, while the environment and the residents pay the costs. They have de-localized, industrialized, commercialized, urbanized and commodified a once …

They Say “Peace” But It Is Really War

They say “may peace prevail on earth”, but every night, there are fires burning in the terrible slums of Nairobi, Jakarta, Guatemala City and Mumbai.

The World Education Forum is now taking place in Seoul, South Korea. UNESCO and Korea organized this colorful event. Everyone is talking, others are singing, and a few are dancing.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, is talking peace, and the head of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, is talking peace.

Peace, peace, peace! It has been turned into one of those cliché words that are repeated in every political speech, words like “freedom” …

The Fragility of Our Complex Civilization

The rapid growth of knowledge

Cultural evolution depends on the non-genetic storage, transmission, diffusion and utilization of information. The development of human speech, the invention of writing, the development of paper and printing, and finally, in modern times, mass media, computers and the Internet: all these have been crucial steps in society’s explosive accumulation of information and knowledge. Human cultural evolution proceeds at a constantly-accelerating speed, so great in fact that it threatens to shake society to pieces.

In many respects, our cultural evolution can be regarded as an enormous success. However, at the start of the 21st century, most thoughtful observers …

Secret Intel Reports on Syria and Iraq Revealed

Why did U.S. Ignore the Analysis and Predictions?

Almost three years ago the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) of the U.S. Dept of Defense accurately characterized the conflict in Syria and predicted the emergence of the Islamic State. This stunning revelation has emerged as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch in connection with the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

The heavily redacted August 2012 seven page intelligence report reveals the following:

Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) confirmed the sectarian core of the Syrian insurgency.

It says:

Events are taking a clear sectarian direction.  The Salafist, The Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces

Why Occupy?

Third in a Four Part Series

In Parts One and Two of this series, we argued that to prevent oligarchic rule, democratic and economic institutions need to be salvaged, ironically, through anarchist political activism and Marxist capital analysis, specifically Marx’s labor theory of value, which identifies the systemic and structural nature of exploitation. The point is that workers are “entitled” to the surplus value they create. We also argued that globalization as manifested in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), amounts to imperialism. In this particular case, we utilize the economic analysis provided by British economist John Hobson. In his great work Imperialism, Hobson, an anti-imperialist …

Fascists Flipping Burgers in Saigon or Stalingrad

For the vast majority of Westerners, that is to say both US Americans and their relatives (imagined or real) in Europe, the war against Vietnam was a brutal military conflict waged by the United States against a small Southeast Asian country by deploying up to some 500,000 combat personnel and more ordnance than dropped on Germany in WWII. The virtues of this endeavor are still disputed. In fact, there are numerous “technical” disputes which continue to make sober discussion of the period between 1945 and 1975 extremely difficult—never mind the attempts to draw coherent conclusions from the course of events.

After …

Who Are Woman Sex Offenders and Why Are They Treated Like Men?

For the first quarter of my life, I didn’t think much about sex offenders. Call it thoughtlessness or a naïve little bubble; it was probably both. This thoughtlessness might not be unique. But I began thinking about sex offenders when, at age 25, I was charged with a sex crime.

I had had sexual contact with my 17-year-old neighbor. I’m not proud of this and, if given the chance, would absolutely reverse that decision. But I slept with him once and joined the burgeoning ranks of women charged with sex offenses.

I think of these ranks both as a demographic and a …

Nuclear War Is Not Likely Over Ukraine: US Tries to Reassure World

“We don’t think the Ukrainian conflict is a nuclear crisis.”

That comment is a recent example of a US State Department diplomat deploying standard diplo-speak in order to engage in nuclear saber rattling by denying there’s any need to rattle any of the roughly 10,000 nuclear sabers that already worry the entire sentient world. The world can plainly see that the two most heavily nuclear-armed countries (between them, the US and Russia have about 95% of the global nuclear stockpile) are in …