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Raghead: Waltz With Bashar (Part IX)

Ralph Nader’s Autopsy of U.S. Democracy

In this era of “embedded” reporters (i.e., they’re in bed with the people whose conduct they’re supposed to be critically evaluating) it’s refreshing to come across a well-read, straight-talking U.S. patriot who refuses to equivocate about the crimes of corporate America and its servants in Washington. In Ralph Nader’s magnificent tome, Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns (Seven Stories Press, 2013), we get none of the sound bites and moral posturing we are used to from pundits and politicians, just honest, hard-hitting analysis about everything that matters most, including a fascinating compendium of …

Past as Prologue: The Archetypal Hannibal Lecter

Homo sapiens and violence

Some 80,000 years ago, an early modern human (EMH) discarded the cracked femur bone of his last meal into the midden (refuse pile) just outside his rock shelter. It joined jawbones, smashed skulls, and other long bones which were pounded “with great force, using stone tools or rocks, apparently to extract the nutritious brain and marrow” states paleoanthropologist Christopher Stringer. The rock shelter had been in regular use for some time, as it was a prime location for both hunting game and for fishing in the nearby Indian Ocean. Protein was thus plentiful, which was well documented in the bones …

“We Are Not Beginning a New Cold War, We are Well into It”

Stephen Cohen on Russia-Ukraine Crisis

As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an “abyss” and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has …

Crucify Them! Lessons from Holy Week on Capital Punishment

Standing in a dimly lit Greek Orthodox Church this week with my mother, I was confronted with the icon of Christ crucified. As the life-size cross with a hand painted icon of Christ was solemnly carried by the priest around the Church, I, along with many in the Church, was overcome with grief. The faithful wept for the crucified one who is considered by over a billion humans to be God incarnate.

However, I did not weep for God. I wept for the “others.” The poor, the homeless, the people of color and minorities of all varieties and stripes, Women, …

What Do You Know about NATO’s Expansion? A Quiz

A recent poll conducted by three Ivy League professors found that one in six people in this country could locate Ukraine on a map, and that the greater the person’s geographic ignorance, the greater the support for U.S. military intervention.

One might hope that after ensuing wars based on lies, people might wake up and realize that U.S. military intervention normally produces very unpleasant results for all involved. Still, you have the warmongers, calling for NATO action, catering to their audiences and receiving warm receptions from cable news talking heads.

The latter require–and mercilessly exploit–ignorance, fear, ethnic prejudice, and a weird …

Nato’s Action Plan in Ukraine Is Right out of Dr Strangelove

US pushes to dominate the Eurasian landmass

I watched Dr Strangelove the other day. I have seen it perhaps a dozen times; it makes sense of senseless news. When Major TJ “King” Kong goes “toe to toe with the Rooskies” and flies his rogue B52 nuclear bomber to a target in Russia, it’s left to General “Buck” Turgidson to reassure the president. Strike first, says the general, and “you got no more than 10-20 million killed, tops”. President Merkin Muffley: “I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler.” General Turgidson: “Perhaps it might be better, Mr President, if …

One Hundred Years of Solitude: The Death of Magic Realism

It is a sea change, the kind of transformation that the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter said was caused by “gales of creative destruction.” In his model, systems change when new ideas, products, and technologies bring about the destruction of the old.

Amazing, sitting at a Presbyterian Church in downtown Portland, as part of the Linus Pauling Memorial Lectures … “bringing to Oregon’s cultural community the leading-edge thinkers – the scholarly, intellectual explorers. These are the risk takers willing to challenge the currently accepted norms of how we understand ourselves and our role as participants in the universe. The annual series is …

Dear NATO: Are You Lying about Russia or Simply Incompetent?

On 14 April 2014 NATO issued a “fact sheet” titled, “Russia’s Accusations – setting the record straight.” In the course of setting the record straight, the NATO fact sheet made the following false assertion: “Russian officials claim that US and German officials promised in 1990 that NATO would not expand into Eastern and Central Europe, build military infrastructure near Russia’s borders or permanently deploy troops there.”

No such pledge was made, and no evidence to back up Russia’s claims has ever been produced.” (My emphasis.)

We know that this assertion by NATO is false, thanks to a 26 November 2009 article

Deceptive Gyrations: Rebasing the Growth of the Nigerian Economy

Statistics are the magic, and the manna, of the economist. They are less reliable than weather forecasts; the meteorologist has a better chance of forecasting rainfall than an economist of forecasting economic growth. Things get even more testy over the issue of Gross Domestic Product, that great calculator of a nation’s economic output. The proof, in this case, lies outside the pudding, rather than in it.

A suitable illustration of this statistical gazing comes in the form of assessing Nigerian economic performance. For one, the recent rebasing of its performance seemed to take other countries in the …

The Signing of the Palestinian Spring

At the low point of the farcical ‘peace’ process stalemate, President Mahmoud Abbas signed, on Tuesday 1st April 2014, letters of accession to 15 multilateral treaties and conventions, (a right gained following Palestine’s upgrade to Observer State status by the UN General Assembly back in November 2012) in defiance of Israel’s refusal to release 30 pre-Oslo prisoners on 29 March 2014.

Instead, once ratified, Palestinians should look forward to a mass release of political prisoners detained by the Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by the unelected Mahmoud Abbas.

Al Haq estimates that there are 60 political prisoners in PA detention centres where …

The Fall of Our Democracy, Rise of Our Dumbocracy

Americans need to understand that they have lost their country. The rest of the world needs to recognize that Washington is not merely the most complete police state since Stalinism, but also a threat to the entire world. The hubris and arrogance of Washington, combined with Washington’s huge supply of weapons of mass destruction, make Washington the greatest threat that has ever existed to all life on the planet. Washington is the enemy of all humanity.

—Paul Craig Roberts

Roberts’ newest book, How America was Lost (463 pages, from Clarity Press, 2014) is a compendium of 135 columns (bracketed by an …

High Tech Tackles Global Warming

Human-caused climate change may already be out of control, as suggested in recent reports by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), confirming that a “tipping point” may already have arrived (1) with warming of the Arctic and (2) with excessive levels of CO2 causing acidification in the ocean, thereby threatening the existence of both human and marine life.

Likewise, it is common knowledge that fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) cause these problems. This, therefore, prompts the question of what can be done about the cause of global warming. If nothing, then the nascent extinction event we are already …

Japan’s March against Nukes: Seventy Years After USA Patents its World Terror Inc. Trademark

Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons

NOTE: Radioactive slurry tanks are leaking at Hanford, WA, workers at Fukushima are dying, Chernobyl is the gift that keeps on giving as a million have died from that disaster, Obama is pushing nuclear energy (sic), along with Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand — look at this piece of shit, here…

and Japan and Australia and all the same usual suspects in the transfinancial continuing criminal enterprise cartel, and, even guys like Gaia Theory James Lovelock, well, isn’t that just great, uh, as we pause and recommit to not …

Guantanamo Bay: America’s Sevastopol?

Not only is Guantanamo Bay an illicit torture and concentration camp for alleged terrorists, but numerous legitimately recognized legal scholars have called into question the continued acceptance for the US government to still be occupying its military enclave there. Additionally, many of the purported “terrorist” poor unfortunates who continue to reside there were actually individuals who were picked up in avaricious sweeps — by less than utterly scrupulous people — in return for bounties/reward money. The government of Cuba, of course, thinks that the US has far overstayed its welcome and is certainly in contravention of international laws and standards …

The UN as a Propaganda Nest for the NATO Information Vulture

Portions of the UN’s forthcoming human rights report on Crimea, to be released Tuesday, have been leaked to Foreign Policy magazine, and its findings are far from objective. Indicating yet another instance of institutional bias against the Russian Federation and its interests, Ivan Simonovic, the UN’s Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, has filled the so-called report with bias, misleading reporting, important omissions, one-sided analysis, and in some cases, outright false statements. Considering his history of “biased, prejudiced and nonobjective assessment”, this should not come as a surprise, but it is surprising that such opinions are …

Why Israeli Officials are Chuckling

The "Stable" West Bank Dilemma

Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Ze’ev Elkin, is a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and his predominantly right wing cabinet. In a recent interview with The Economist, Elkin used the familiar tone of being conceited and oblivious to such notions as international or human rights, and reaffirmed his rejection of a Palestinian state.

Instead, Elkin wants Israel to annex a chunk of the West Bank. There is nothing new here, as such language is now official Israeli discourse. But one statement stood out, one that many Palestinians would find bewildering and exasperating.

These days, said Elkin with a chuckle, the West Bank …

FIDO and General Wes Clark in Ukraine

US Advisors on the Ground, Deadly Messenger

Oh my God, I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it! You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

That’s the dialogue that accompanies the final scene of the classic movie Planet of the Apes, starring the fine actor Charlton Heston. As Heston’s character (Taylor) finally escapes from Ape Society, he is seen riding a horse along a beach with his female, human companion. A wide shadow appears in front of the horse Heston is riding and he is seen dismounting. He then falls to his knees overcome …

Ukraine Transitional Government Moves Militarily to Reclaim Seized Buildings

Nicolai Petro, professor of politics at the University of Rhode Island: Ukrainian officials are using this first military move as political tool to garner more public support, as groups labeled pro-Russian truly want federalism, not succession, in order to protect eastern Ukraine’s autonomy.

Is There Such a Thing as a Progressive Pope?

Not two months into the reign of Pope Francis did the media begin its musings over the possibility that the Pontiff would revitalize a church in decline—and it’s clear now that transformation of a kind is on the agenda.

He’s been called progressive, but a step short of reformist—so far. Without budging much from Catholic doctrine, his position on abortion and LGBT rights seems to some optimistically ambiguous—enough so that speculation has prompted some observers to call him a radical. “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will,” he says, “who am I to judge?” These words—famously …