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Go West Young Han

November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December 9.

Welcome to the new trans-Eurasia choo-choo train. At over 13,000 kilometers, it will regularly traverse the longest freight train route in the world, 40% farther than the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. Its cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, …

The Problem with Obama’s Cuba Speech

Six years into his Presidency, Barack Obama has finally taken steps he campaigned on in 2008 to normalize relations with Cuba. The new policy towards Cuba will include important changes including establishing formal diplomatic relations, removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and expanding trade relations. However, Obama is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. His rationale for finally abandoning the hard-line Cold War stance demonstrates his belief that the morality and legality of United States actions are beyond reproach.

“In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end …

The Three Remaining “Cuban 5” Go Home

In a historic move bypassing congress President Obama restores diplomatic relations with Cuba and in a simultaneous telecast President Raul Castro hails the decision but reminds us that the blockade is still in place, says Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Which Democracy?

Which #Democracy? There are so many to choose from: Rhetorical Democracy (R.D.), Civic Democracy (C.D.), Economic Democracy (E.D.), Political Democracy (P.D.), Social Democracy (S.D.). Let’s start with rhetorical democracy.

It was only after the drafting of the U.S. Constitution that the word “democracy” entered the political dialogue. Once it came, it would not leave. For two centuries since, anyone who wishes to be elected to higher office in America must proclaim himself a friend of democracy. And so Rhetorical Democracy (R.D.) was born, the form of democracy that prevails in the United States as of this writing.

This particular kind …

Financial Market Manipulation Is the New Trend: Can It Continue?

A dangerous new trend is the successful manipulation of the financial markets by the Federal Reserve, other central banks, private banks, and the US Treasury. The Federal Reserve reduced real interest rates on US government debt obligations first to zero and then pushed real interest rates into negative territory. Today the government charges you for the privilege of purchasing its bonds.

People pay to park their money in Treasury debt obligations, because they do not trust the banks and they know that the government can print the money to pay off the bonds. Today Treasury bond investors pay a fee in …

Marco Rubio’s “Pure Evil” Hypocrisy

Carl Gustav Jung, the father of analytical psychology, attributed hypocrisy to individuals who are unconscious of “the shadow-side” of their nature. From this idea arose a simple argument: If people better understood their natures, they might love their neighbors more uprightly. For, as Jung says, “…we are all too prone to transfer to our fellows the injustice and violence we inflict upon our own natures.” Yet, of all its incarnations, the hypocrisy of “pure evil” seems worst. A few simple characteristics define it: perpetrators engender evil intentionally and wield it astutely; they inflict wanton destruction on others to their own …

A Failure to Understand

The attack on the Peshawar school is a tragedy that sends senses reeling, an enormity that confounds the senses. It does not help however, to dismiss the people who committed this foul atrocity as ‘inhuman’, or to say they were not really Muslims. It is a convenient fiction that implies a most frustrating unwillingness and inability to understand how human beings are dehumanized and desensitized so they commit such dastardly acts under the moral cover of a perverted religiosity.

This unwillingness and inability to understand is deeply distressing because it shows how far away we are from even identifying what …

Whitewashing CIA torture

“We are [not so] awesome” after all

The logic that torture is a “stain” on US history is the heart of the problem, since it blocks an honest reading of whatever “values” Washington actually stands for.

“This is not who we are. This is not how we operate,” were the words of President Barack Obama commenting on the grisly findings of a long-awaited congressional report on the use of torture by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

But what if this is exactly who we are?

The report is difficult to read, not just because it is awfully long – hundreds of pages of a summary …

The Unspeakable in Afghanistan

2014 marks the deadliest year in Afghanistan for civilians, fighters, and foreigners. The situation has reached a new low as the myth of the Afghan state continues. Thirteen years into America’s longest war, the international community argues that Afghanistan is growing stronger, despite nearly all indicators suggesting otherwise. Most recently, the central government failed (again) to conduct fair and organized elections or demonstrate their sovereignty. Instead, John Kerry flew into the country and arranged new national leadership. The cameras rolled and a unity government was declared.  Foreign leaders meeting in London decided on new aid packages and financing for the …

Solar Desalination: Surviving Water’s Coming Armageddon

At the speed global water conversion from foul-to-fresh is spreading around the globe—via inexpensive household solar ‘desal’ units—a few hundred billion ordinary people will NOT go thirsty.

The average human adult can survive for only two or three days without potable water, depending on the region, altitude, temperature, and humidity levels. Yet world population—7,164,000,000—has outstripped potable water supplies. At least a sixth of that population …

Variations of Racism and Bigotry Devaluing Human Rights and Life Itself

A vicious cycle feeding off its own crimes inducing greater abuses

Only those who chose their natural skin color are allowed to be racists, and only then if they also chose their natural physique and the innate qualities of their own mind. Concerning natural given characteristics where no one ever had any choice, it’s completely irrational to hold those things against anyone else. Life is like the lottery – when your numbers come up, or almost come up, you’re given no choices – you’re simply destined to be born with certain characteristics at a time and place, none of which come at your own choosing. No one made themselves, and no …

A Neoliberal Spring?

Neoliberalism may be the most domineering socio-politico-economic influence in the history of humankind, far and away.

Moreover, when left unregulated, neoliberalism goes bonkers by concentrating wealth into fewer and fewer and fewer and fewer hands. The evidence is everywhere, same as the late 18th century when too much wealth concentrated in too few hands finally became too much, depicted by the rich golden splendor of Versailles (Fr).

Back then, in the 18th century, peasants starved on the streets of Paris, and as a result, conspicuous consumption became the formula for the French Revolution, one after another, aristocrats lost their …

Statement on the Rule of Law in Timor-Leste

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) is concerned that recent events in Timor-Leste weaken the country’s hard-won constitutional democracy and endanger the right of Timor-Leste’s citizens to live in a society governed under the rule of law.

On October 24, Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister persuaded Parliament and the Council of Ministers to fire seven international judges and prosecutors and an adviser to the Anti-Corruption Commission. When the Chief Judge explained that this was an unconstitutional violation of separation of powers, the Government revoked their visas and ordered them out of the country within 48 hours, and they complied. ((These resolutions …

Israeli Role in Syrian Fighting Brought into the Open

Overtly, the Israeli superpower of the Middle East has been keen to posture as having no role whatsoever in the four-year old devastating conflict in Syria, where all major regional and international powers are politically and militarily deeply involved and settling scores by Syrian blood.

In his geopolitical weekly analysis, entitled “The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East,” on November 25 Stratfor’s George Friedman raised eyebrows when he reviewed the effects which the terrorist group had on all regional powers, but seemed unaware of the existence of the Israeli regional superpower.

It was an instructive omission that says a lot …

Free Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera!

It is time to get Oscar Lopez Rivera out of prison.  He has been unjustly locked in prison for 33 years and is the subject of my most recent collaboration.

About Oscar López Rivera

Bronze star awarded Vietnam veteran; Chicago community activist and institution builder; advocate for the independence of Puerto Rico; U.S. government-held political prisoner for over thirty years. These are the most common cited facts given about Oscar López Rivera, and they are reasons many, including Nobel Prize laureates, elected officials, scholars, and community leaders, are compelled to join in …

Architects of Atrocity Remain at Large, and Unrepentant

By analogy, blaming it all on Eichmann while giving Hitler a pass

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has been taking bows for being the guardian of American law, decency, and character. It’s not. It’s not even close. American law, decency, and character have yet to be redeemed. Worse, only a small percentage of Americans in or out of power seems to care enough to act against the pall of moral failure still spreading through the culture.

The intelligence committee has done a good, small thing in its effort to make some partial truth somewhat better known, but its report is fundamentally short on meaningful intelligence. This is a committee divided against itself …

Paul Wolfowitz and the Senate Torture Report

Concerns about Insufficient Intelligence Production

[GTMO Interrogation and Control Element Chief] Mr. [David] Becker also told the Committee that, on several occasions, MG [Major General] Dunlavey had advised him that the office of Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz had called to express concerns to him about the insufficient intelligence production at GTMO. Mr. Becker recalledMG Dunlavey telling him after one of these calls, that the Deputy Secretary himself said that GTMO should use more aggressive interrogation techniques.

MG Miller said that, while he was in Command at GTMO, he had direct discussions with the DoD’s [Department of Defense’s] General Counsel office and the Office of

Front and Center at the Oakland Protests

The Politics of a Police State

By the time the officer (pictured below) said “OK, everyone here is under arrest!” it was too late. Encircled on three sides by the police and on one side by a tall brick wall, there was seemingly no place to go and nowhere to hide. We were, as they say in protester argot, completely kettled-in. I had been at the protest for about an hour, had committed no crime, and yet there I was: trapped on the corner of 29th and Telegraph in Oakland.

All photos …

Malala and Nabeela

So Malaya Yousafzai recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, and everyone all around the world is singing her praises. Rightfully so.
In fact, Malala’s case is probably the only one wherein all media verticals seem to be in absolute agreement, be it Al Jazeera, or Press TV, or even Fox News. That girl deserves praise for her efforts.
However, whilst Ms Yousafzai was receiving her Nobel Prize, my attention was drawn towards the case of another young girl from Pakistan: Nabeela Rahman. Much like Malala, Nabeela too recently travelled to the Western part of the world, albeit the latter went to USA …

Imperialism and the Politics of Torture

The US Senate Report documenting CIA torture of alleged terrorist suspects raises a number of fundamental questions about the nature and operations of the State, the relationship and the responsibility of the Executive Branch and Congress to the vast secret police networks which span the globe – including the United States.

CIA: The Politics of a Global Secret Police Force

The Senate Report’s revelations of CIA torture of suspects following the 9/11 bombing is only the tip of the iceberg. The Report omits the history and wider scope …