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Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession

The rain pours with torrential fury in north Queensland, opening up with ominous welcome as it slices through layers of stifling humidity.  But the fury is also being registered in the rag like bleating sheet known to locals as the Bullie, that beacon of local sentimentality that noisily proclaims its voice.

Another creature in the vast enterprise known as the Murdoch empire, this paper does the bidding of fossil fuel interests in the state. Where there is a mine to exploit, an interest to advance, the Townsville Bulletin will be there, heavily armed, for the next mud wrestle with environmentalists.

This wrestling …

NDP Leadership Debate Fails to Mention Canadian Foreign Policy

Is the NDP establishment scared to have party members discuss Canada’s international posture?

At the party’s first leadership debate last weekend there wasn’t a single foreign policy question despite a host of contentious recent party positions on international affairs.

Certainly at a time when the mainstream media is giving prominence to militarist voices, many members would be keen to hear the four candidates’ positions on military spending. The party’s 2015 platform said an NDP government would “meet our military commitments by maintaining Department of National Defence budget allocations.” In addition to backing Stephen Harper’s budget allocations, the NDP aggressively promoted the …

The New Broom

Alternativism has given alternative media something to think about in America. The new regime in Washington DC has activated a veritable tsunami of grieving voices spitting hatred at their ‘populist’ billionaire President as he commences to re-shuffle his deck of cards. The new boss-man tweets his own superlatives in the small hours of the night revealing his indifference to the superlative-ridden cant of his predecessors. The ‘new broom’ possesses its own brand of cant which is currently being fed into an alternative lexicon…and it sure has lots of snap, crackle and pop. But what is it recycling?

The election of the …

A Tribe is Syncopated with One’s Own Journey into Restorative Humanity

Because the tribe is its members, the tribe is what its members want it to be—nothing more and nothing less.

― Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure

The shape of my life is the daily intersections of the people I have come to integrate into part of my total life clan – sources as journalist, people in academia who have inspired me, students, the places in my mind from countless travels out of this culture, USA, and the many I have worked with as both instructor and social worker. And many more.

The foundation of my “man lost of tribe” …

The Revolution in Work calls for an Evolution in Living

Poverty blights the lives of billions of people throughout the world: in developing countries, where it is acute, and industrialised nations, where it’s hidden but growing. It rises out of social injustice, makes exploitation and abuse inevitable, brings death and disease, robs people of opportunity and dignity, feeds anger and resentment.

Much like the rubbish that litters the streets of our cities, the poor, destitute and hungry are swept out of sight. Their existence is an embarrassment to politicians and sits uncomfortably within the shiny materialistic image promoted by cities and countries eager to attract ‘inward investment’.

As more jobs become obsolete …

WikiLeaks Vault 7 Reveals CIA Cyberwar and the Battleground of Democracy

WikiLeaks dropped a bombshell on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7”, the whistleblowing site began releasing the largest publication of confidential documents that have come from the top secret security network at the Cyber Intelligence Center. Long before the Edward Snowden revelations, Julian Assange noted how “The Internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen.” He

Religion, Inc.

America’s churches, synagogues and mosques can be thought of as places of business as well as worship. Individually and collectively they are Religion, Inc. and not really all that different from Corporations, Inc. This short essay makes some sweeping generalizations that nevertheless should be self evident about the commonalities between the two entities.

Both are places of worship. Both have leaders. Both depend on “Mother” government. Both have never seen a U.S. declared or undeclared war they didn’t start, promote, or defend. Both have brick and mortar pyramids. Both make rules for their members. Both indoctrinate. Both peddle.

Places of Worship

Both entities …

Propaganda, Fake News, and Media Lies

The Diabolical Business of Global Public Relations Firms

The expansion of public relations and propaganda (PRP) firms inside news systems in the world today has resulted in a deliberate form of news management. Maintenance of continuous news shows requires a constant and ever-entertaining supply of stimulating events and breaking news bites. Corporate media are increasingly dependent on various government agencies and PRP firms as sources of news.

The PRP industry has experienced phenomenal growth since 2001. In 2015, three publicly traded mega PR firms—Omnicom, WPP, and Interpublic Group—together employed 214,000 people across 170 countries, collecting $35 billion in combined revenue. Not only do these firms control massive wealth, they …

“Web of Weirdness”: US and Israeli Codependent Relationship is Not Just about Money

“We must look back twenty-five years to realize how far Israel has fallen in world support,” wrote famed Jewish scholar, Harvard sociologist, Nathan Glazer in 1976.

In the last forty years since Glazer wrote his piece, which was uncovered and transmitted by Philip Weiss, Israel’s global support has fallen much further. The country that once appealed to both United States’ capitalism and the Soviet Union’s socialism is now militarily powerful but, otherwise, politically isolated on the international stage.

The misleading perception that Israel is a ‘beacon of light’ among nations has worn off. Worse, the last time this phrase was uttered …

Leaks Can be for Good or Evil

Hacking and “leaking” have become major news items. Are the leaks good or bad?  The answer depends on the nature of the leak. Are the leaks exposing crimes or covering them up? Are they for or against the public good?

Following are some famous leaks or disclosures that have done good.

Beginning in 1969, Daniel Ellsberg started xeroxing the Vietnam war analysis known as the Pentagon Papers. Two years later the secret documents were finally ready and published for the first time. This disclosure of classified information allowed the public to learn about the reality of what was going on in …

Communism and Human Nature

In a world becoming more atomized and misanthropic by the day, where it seems sometimes that you have only to be a raving degenerate in order to achieve fame and power—witness Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, or, in a different way, Milo Yiannopoulos (whose degeneracy, though, has partly caught up with him)—it is useful to be reminded of the other side of human nature. The institutions of modern capitalism happen to reward depravity, first and foremost in the economic sphere, but since the maturation of mass society generations ago, in the cultural sphere as well. One is constantly confronted, therefore, …

Fake News about Venezuela: A Simple Recipe

President Hugo Chavez
“Journalists” who want to write fake news about Venezuela, or about any other country or group that dares to stand up to US imperialism, only need to follow this simple recipe:

Choose one or more countries/groups opposed to US imperialism
If available, have a former official, now being paid by the US government, make the accusations
Season well with doses of “war on terror” and/or “war on drugs”
Sprinkle with opinions of “experts” who work in DC think tanks or US-funded NGOs

While this looks like …

An Unlikely Dramatic Hero: Poet Taha Muhammad Ali Takes Center Stage

Taha Muhammad Ali is an unlikely dramatic hero. His arms shake with age and infirmity, his legs occasionally buckle, and he often appears lost on stage, as if adrift in a vast expanse of sadness. But for an hour the story of this Palestinian poet has a vice-like hold on our attention and our hearts.

The one-man show “Taha” receives its English-language premiere on Wednesday at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. It offers not only a rare chance to learn about one of Palestine’s finest poets, but provides a visceral account of what it was like …

“Ryancare” Dead on Arrival: Can We Please Now Try Single Payer?

The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans. . . . We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.

— Donald Trump, The America We Deserve (2000)

The new American Health Care Act has been unveiled, and critics are calling it more flawed even than the Obamacare it was meant to replace. Dubbed “Ryancare” or “Trumpcare” (over the objection of White House staff), the Republican health care bill is under attack from left and right, with even conservative leaders calling it “Obamacare Lite”, “bad policy”, …

An Evil Root

Note that the title begins with an indefinite article for there are many roots of evil, but the one most invasive and destructive is America’s corpocracy. It is the mother root with two branches that are slowly snuffing out America and the world with it. Those two branches are corporate America and government America. This essay is about the first, corporate America, and specifically, evil corporate leadership, defined here as profoundly immoral, socially irresponsible, and harmfully consequential behavior.

There are many scholarly theories of leadership, but neither a scholar nor theory is needed, just ordinary common sense to define leadership. It …

When Canada Invaded Russia

The corporate media presents Russia as militaristic but ignores Canada’s invasion of that country.

100 years ago today a popular revolt ousted the Russian monarchy. Enraged at Nicholas II’s brutality and the horror of World War I, protests and strikes swept the capital of Petrograd (Saint Petersburg. Within a week the czar abdicated. Later in the year the Bolsheviks rose to power in large part by committing to withdraw from the war.

The English, French and US responded to the Bolshevik’s rise by supporting the Russian monarchists (the whites) in their fight to maintain power. Six thousand Canadian troops also invaded. According …

Poaching in Europe’s Suburbs

There has never been a case like this in a zoo in Europe, an assault of such violence, evidently for this stupid trafficking of rhinoceros horns.

— Thierry Duguet, head of Parc Zoologique de Thoiry

It was a matter of time. The war of poachers against those attempting to conserve species, and the animals themselves, took a gruesome turn this week.  At the Parc Zoologique de Thoiry outside Paris, a southern white rhinoceros named Vince was shot three times, with one horn sawn by attackers keen to bring the predations of the ivory market to Europe. (The second horn was only partially …

Jewish National Fund: Teaching Children an Exclusive, Religious/Ethnic Nationalism

What do you call an organization that teaches children an exclusive, religious/ethnic nationalism and promotes war and other forms of violence to get its way?

Most people would say an extremist group or a right wing cult. Many would think of groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

But, while the KKK had a Youth Corps where children were taught “patriotism” and “Christian values” but weren’t “brainwashed”, in the words of a spokesperson, we are talking about a group the Canada Revenue Agency considers worthy of awarding tax deductions for “charitable” donations.

The Jewish National Fund would also deny “brainwashing” children, but it has long …

The Final Reformation

The clergy dazzle us with heaven,
Or they damn us into hell.

The world turned upside down by Leon Rosselson

Judith’s story

Our most trusted institutions – church and state – have sometimes been useful. The state provides us with some physical security and modest public services; and the church sometimes provides real emotional comfort to some people during the darkest hours of their lives. But for the few useful services these institutions sometimes provide they are also primarily responsible for causing massive misery, and impeding social progress. It has always been like that, and it still is.

The United States, for example, …

US Ambassador to Israel: “Great Advantage” to Netanyahu

David Friedman is known for his support for the most extreme elements in Israel’s settler movement

The choice of US ambassador to Israel has never before incurred such scrutiny or provoked such controversy.

Usually, the appointment is approved by the Senate’s foreign relations committee by consensus. But David Friedman’s confirmation vote last Thursday split largely on partisan lines, with Republicans backing him and all but one Democrat opposing him.

Tens of thousands of liberal American Jews signed a petition opposing his nomination, and major Jewish organisations and hundreds of rabbis also objected.

But then, Donald Trump’s envoy to Israel is no ordinary ambassador.

Rather than climbing up through the diplomatic ranks learning the arts of statecraft, 57-year-old Friedman has been …