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Arrests by US as FIFA Nulls Giving Israel Boot

FIFA, world football’s governing body, is due to meet this Friday in Zurich to decide whether to back a Palestinian motion to suspend Israel for its systematic violations of Palestinian footballers’ rights in the occupied territories, including preventing practice sessions and games, arresting players, denying entry to other teams, and bombing grounds, as well as for endemic racism towards non-Jewish players in Israeli football itself. I have written about this in the past: here and here.

Although a 75% majority is needed for the Palestinian motion to carry, there has been a growing sense that the mood at FIFA …

Struggling against the Surveillance State

Resist Mass Surveillance

A struggle of some consequence is now being waged in Congress to keep on life support the NSA’s massive spying on the American people. And in this struggle the so-called progressives (more accurately referred to as liberals) are engaged in a massive betrayal of all they profess to believe in. Instead too many of them are scurrying about attacking Rand Paul, the libertarian, anti-interventionist, Republican Senator who is leading the charge against the Bush/Obama spying program. Among other things Senator Paul has engaged in a filibuster to stop this nefarious program. So far he has been successful.

Let us try …

Climate Stupidity and Human Survival

This article accompanies a 2-hour public lecture I gave at the University of Ottawa on March 27, 2015, entitled “The science and geopolitics of climate change”: VIDEO-LINK-Part-1, VIDEO-LINK-Part-2. The physics calculations of Earth’s radiation balance described in Part-1 of the talk are from this paper: Rancourt, D.G., “Radiation physics constraints on global warming: CO2 increase has little effect,” archive.org (3 December 2011). Links to my articles and interviews about climate are here.

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The human animal has an instinct to identify potential dangers and to warn others. It is a built-in survival …

Profit over Common Good?

Maybe best characterizing the extreme in unmitigated industrial fossil frenzy is Texas (TX). North Dakota (ND) is the newcomer, but Texas is much larger and has for years been a boisterous, sometimes toxic free-for-all.

Texas prides itself in its largeness, its freedom from regulation, its low taxes, its independence, and its individualism. Outsiders see it differently. Perhaps the more simplistic see Texans in the caricature of cowboy boots and ten gallon hats, while many of the progressive-minded see Texas governors as outer-fringe and/or slow-witted, often citing governors like George W. Bush and Rick Perry for the latter.

Being spacious enough that most …

Taking Responsibility for Drone Killings

When President Barack Obama apologized on April 23 to the families of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an American and an Italian, both hostages killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in January, he blamed their tragic deaths on the “fog of war.”

“This operation was fully consistent with the guidelines under which we conduct counterterrorism efforts in the region,” he said, and based on “hundreds of hours of surveillance, we believed that this (the building targeted and destroyed by drone launched missiles) was an al Qaeda compound; that no civilians were present.” Even with the best of intentions and …

Capitalism Threatens All Life on the Planet

Interview with Professor Guy McPherson

Let’s be honest. The activities of our economic and social system are killing the planet. Even if we confine ourselves merely to humans, these activities are causing an unprecedented privation, as hundreds of millions of people-and today more than yesterday, with probably more tomorrow-go their entire lives with never enough to eat. Yet curiously, none of this seems to stir us to significant action. And when someone does too stridently point out these obvious injustices, the response by the mass of the people seems so often to be … a figurative if not physical blow to the gut, leading inevitably

Japanese Nationalism: Decoy for American Imperialism?

As the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to amend the country’s US-drafted constitution, granting the Tokyo’s military the power to wage war, some fear the return of old imperialistic tendencies.

Japan is ready to change its post-war pacifist constitution; it is rapidly arming itself to the teeth, building battleships and purchasing fighter jets. Recruitment posters are everywhere. Meanwhile, Japan is standing – obediently and loyally – by its occupier and closest ally, the United States….

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 …