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Animal Liberation Follies

Once upon a time—in 1973, to be precise—Peter Singer suggested birth control for free-living animals as part of the “animal liberation” philosophy. Parenthetically at first. Publicly asked whether gazelles should be protected from lions, Singer replied in a letter for the New York Review of Books:

Lions play a role in the ecology of their habitat, and we cannot be sure what the long-term consequences would be if we were to prevent them from killing gazelles. (The way to do this, I suppose, would be by eliminating lions, perhaps by sterilization.) So, in practice, I would definitely say

Paradoxy: Supremacism Combatting Anti-semitism

Never Forget the Nakba, Islamophobia, and Racism meted out to others

Contempt for the Arab population is deeply rooted in Zionist thought.
— Noam Chomsky

Anti-Arab racism is, however, so widespread as to be unnoticeable; it is perhaps the only remaining form of racism to be regarded as legitimate.
— Noam Chomsky

In a Times of Israel piece on the need to fight anti-Semitism a perplexing observation and conclusion was made:

Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego of Toulouse, France, made a quick

Eco-Economics takes on Neoliberalism

Ever since Milton Friedman, American economist (1912-2006), who considered himself the heir to Adam Smith, used the term neoliberalism in an essay “Neoliberalism and its Prospects” in 1951, the world has tilted in that direction, starting with Chile as the “Chicago Boys” lab experiment under the watchful eye of the infamous dictator General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, president from 1974-90. The world has never been the same.

Today, neoliberalism reigns supreme across the oceans, whereby control of economic principles shifts from the public sector to the private sector with limited governmental interference, the less the better, open markets, free trade …

Why Cuba Won’t Extradite Assata Shakur

As negotiations continue between the governments of the United States and Cuba over the normalization of relations, the U.S. State Department has claimed Cuba is willing to discuss the extradition of political refugee Assata Shakur. While it may seem that Cuba would gladly make such a seemingly minor concession in return for the promise of normalized relations, this would greatly underestimate the Cuban government’s commitment to upholding its principles. Shakur need not worry that Cuba will cave for expediency’s sake and send her back to the country she escaped from after being harassed and persecuted for years.

According to 

The Anthrax Coverup Exposed

Graeme MacQueen’s 2014 book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy, has been vindicated by the head of the FBI’s Anthrax Investigation.

Four and one-half months ago I posted a review of MacQueen’s book.  The hired government apologists, the despicable presstitute media, and the usual gullible patriots greeted the book with screams of “conspiracy theory.” In fact, MacQueen’s book was a carefully researched project that established that there indeed was a conspiracy–a conspiracy inside the government.

MacQueen’s conclusion stands vindicated by Richard Lambert, the agent in charge of the FBI anthrax investigation who has turned whistleblower. …

Drowning in a Sea of Words

Words, words, words—talk, talk, talk.  It is as if techno-urbanized humanity, “living” within a consensually shared delusional-system, actually believes that experience must be verbalized and analyzed in order to be real.  Every day, our ears/eyes (if not brain) are assaulted by the interminable stream of “news”—an incident-packed “tale told by an idiot [NPR?],” to quote Macbeth, “signifying–nothing.”  Newspaper and TV commentators opinionate constantly, adding to this garrulous cacophony: a sewer (not tower) of Babble.  Most of this relentless barrage is what Aristotle called “base rhetoric”: the clever, if insidious, arts of “persuasion”–in order to manipulate and control (i.e., constant marketing …

Climate Change Politics in Australia

The Lomborg Factor

Eager to cut, savage and wind back constructive projects in the realm of medicine, science and education, Australia’s government has made its latest head-shaking announcement on budgetary issues. The veteran climate change sceptic Bjørn Lomborg is going to become the recipient of $4 million in Australian tax payers’ money. According to a spokesman for education minister, Christopher Pyne, the government was going to be providing the money over four years to “bring the Copenhagen Consensus methodology to Australia” houses at newly established centre at the University of Western Australia.

While Pyne and company have given the impression that university staff …

Victory in Vietnam!

History and Reflections

Forty years ago on April 30, 1975, the Vietnamese people, led by their Communist Party, were finally victorious in the long just struggle for national independence and unification against the United States and its puppet regime in Saigon.

America experienced an earthshaking lesson in Vietnam — “Stop your unjust wars of aggression!” —but Washington learned nothing from its humiliating defeat except to shift its battlefields of choice from Southeast Asia to Southwest Asia (i.e., the Middle East).

The U.S. went on to fight in Iraq three times and impose long sanctions in 25 continuous years; in Afghanistan the Pentagon has …

Norman Bay, Tough Guy

From the time I walked yesterday into the FERC building—that’s the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the most powerful and dangerous federal agency most people have never heard of—things felt and looked different.

First were the cops. There are always FERC security personnel at the front entrance, but it seemed like there were twice as many yesterday as I’d ever seen before in past visits. In addition, and ominously, there were also a couple of Department of Homeland Security/Federal Protective Services police prominently stationed where they could not be missed.

Then there was the atmosphere in the auditorium where the five FERC Commissioners …

For the Conference on the Israel Lobby: Press Blackout at the Press Club

Following the heavy coverage of AIPAC’s (the virulently pro-Israeli government lobby) multi-day annual Washington convention in March, the mainstream media might have been interested for once in covering alternative viewpoints like those discussed at the April 10th conference “The Israel Lobby: Is it Good for the US? Is it Good for Israel?” Fairness and balance in reporting should produce at least some coverage of such an event.

Organized by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, which was launched about thirty years ago by a British Army Officer who served in World War II and two retired U.S. Ambassadors to countries …

Maybe Iran Will Answer The Question Millions Have

Which Nuclear Powers May Fear the Most

Amid the hullabaloo of the news about Iran’s agreeing not to make weapons from its nuclear capacity in exchange for the West’s lifting economic sanctions, none of those cheering—or raging—about this “historic understanding,” as President Obama put it to his email list, bothered to raise a long-standing and important question obvious to most of us since the Fukushima meltdown began in 2011. And millions since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.

The question wasn’t why participants and pundits were calling the Lausanne agreement a “framework” for a June 30 meeting instead of a permanent arrangement with the content’s technical points ironed out.

Nor …

Breakaway SNP Strikes Fear into Westminster Parties

But Notions of Independence are Flawed

The SNP (Scottish National Party), under feisty new leader Nicola Sturgeon, is scaring the daylights out of Labour and Conservatives with the prospect of a strong squad of MPs marching south headed by fearsome former leader and political bruiser Alex Salmond.

Cameron or Miliband for prime minister – warmongering toff or socialist nonentity? And with whose coalition help? That’s the bleak choice for British voters.

Since the Yes/No independence referendum last September the SNP has enjoyed such a huge surge in support that the main Westminster parties are terrified that Scottish MPs could wield disproportionate influence in the likely event of a …

Sick and Tired Workers: An Epidemic of Corporate Greed

Snaking its way through the Pennsylvania legislature is a bill that will block local governments from requiring companies to provide sick leave, even if unpaid, that is more than required by state or federal regulations.

There are no Pennsylvania or federal regulations requiring companies to provide sick leave. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 39 percent of all employees, and 79 percent of all employees in food service and hotel industries, have no sick leave. Unlike the United States, about 130 countries require employers to provide at least one week of sick leave per employee.

The Republican-controlled state Senate passed the …

Marxist and Catholic Traditions Reject the Inadequacy of Liberalism

Though historically important in the evolution of justice theory, liberalism has evidenced limitations in providing a clear foundation for a just and equitable society. Rights set forth in liberal theory are related to each other by their common foundation in the freedom of the individual person to choose desired ends within the confines of designated policies and laws. However, to restrict these fundamental rights, that is, the right of the person not to be impeded in the pursuit of his or her happiness, is to attack individual liberty—the foundation of liberalism. For John Locke, one of the originators of the …

Iran has the Right to Protect Itself

On April 13, 2015 Vladimir Putin lifted Russia’s ban on shipping S-300 antiaircraft defensive missile systems to Iran, self-imposed in 2010. Moscow and Tehran originally signed a contract to supply these systems back in 2007. At the time, the idea was to sell a number of Russia-manufactured S-300 divisions to Iran.

The term “self-imposed ban” is used here deliberately. UN Security Council Resolution 1929 from June 9, 2010 placed no restrictions of any kind on transferring S-300 systems to Iran. Paragraph 8 of the resolution introduced a “weapons” embargo on direct and indirect shipments to …

Rural Rebellion in Northern California

Rural folk from four Northern California counties came in mid-April to a magical juncture where the life-giving Russian River empties into the majestic Pacific Ocean. Though the small, unincorporated village of Jenner is a popular recreational destination, pleasure was not the intention.

Our mission was to preserve agrarian lifestyles and environments from further colonization by industrial wineries. Large corporate wineries–owned mainly by outside investors–were the main target.

Water and California’s worsening drought were discussed. Some reported that wells had gone dry after large wineries dug as much as 1000 feet into the ground to extract precious, limited water for their factories.

It takes …

Branding War: Anzac Vulgarity and the Cult of Austerity

“I found the Woolworths campaign to be vulgar, but to be honest I didn’t find it more distasteful and vulgar than a lot of other things which are going on in terms of commercialisation of Anzac and the use of the Anzac brand.”  These are the chosen words of former policy advisor to Australia’s Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Carolyn  Holbrook on ABC’s 7.30 program.  Anzac, the name associated with Australian soldiers who found themselves on Turkish beaches in April 1915 as part of Winston Churchill’s disastrous Dardanelles campaign, has become “Brandzac” over the years, a cavernous money …

Mandarin for the Warlords

The Harvard School of Empire Building

Harvard professor Joseph Nye, a former senior Pentagon functionary, is one of the longest serving and most influential advisers to US empire building officials. Nye has recently re-affirmed the primacy of the US as a world power in his latest book, Is the American Century Over? And his article, ‘The American Century will survive the Rise of China.’ These publications are in line with his earlier book, Bound to Lead, and his longstanding view that the US is not a declining world power, that it retains ‘supremacy’ even in the face …

Corporate Farms Control of Water

Water and air are the most important resources on the planet. Breathing clean air seems to be accepted as a noble goal and the cost attributed to its improvement is usually universally accepted. However, the same cannot be said about access to fresh water as big business interests often argues. Many corporate interests contend that private ownership of public water out- weighs the rights of actual property owners. Corporate agriculture is quite different from traditional family farming. Yet, the factory farms that have taken over agribusiness demonstrate little regard for preserving a viable water supply.

Tilling the back forty is no …

The Storm Is Over

Lightning flashed across Kentucky skies a few nights ago. “I love storms,” said my roommate, Gypsi, her eyes bright with excitement. Thunder boomed over the Kentucky hills and Atwood Hall, here in Lexington, KY’s federal prison. I fell asleep thinking of the gentle, haunting song our gospel choir sings: “It’s over now, It’s over now. I think that I can make it. The storm is over now.”

I awoke the next morning feeling confused and bewildered. Why had the guards counted us so many times? “That was lightning,” Gypsi said, giggling. The guards shine flashlight in our rooms three times a …