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Trouble in Wine Country

Sebastopol, California — Sonoma County, Northern California, used to be spoken of as part of the natural “Redwood Empire.” Then the bloated wine industry re-named it as the commercial “Wine Country.” A growing number of locals have had it with the expanding wine industry in both Sonoma County and the neighboring Napa County and are beginning to challenge their over-expansion.

A moral person would not buy “blood diamonds.” It is time to consider the various environmental, climate change, and human factors when one buys Sonoma or Napa County wines.

California is experiencing a drought, which may be long lasting. Estimates vary as …

Is Oil Becoming Obsolete?

The big oil price crash is a question that seems to be front and center on the mind of financial markets these past few months, but, not to worry, it’ll come back up, it always does! So goes the reasoning of oil analysts and investors, but what if something other than supply temporarily overriding demand is at work on a longer-term basis, then what?

Sure, American fracking has upped the competitive stakes by producing fossil fuels from tight shale formations that were previously too difficult, too expensive, thereby effectively constricting import demand by one of the Middle East’s biggest customers, the …

Greeks Are Taking Back Their Democracy, Can the U.S. Be Next?

Recently, Greece’s radical leftist party Syriza claimed victory in their national election. The party vowed to break ties with the European Central bank and roll back the EU’s neoliberal economic agenda. True to their word, they are already implementing some of those changes. From the birthplace of democracy, excitement is spreading across Europe and revitalizing the hope that real change may still be possible through the electoral arena.

The news from Greece also energized progressive circles in America. For many, the question arises: Can this rebirth of democracy happen in the U.S.? After Obama’s absolute betrayal of his promised …

Seeking the Truth about Ukraine

February 20, 2015, marks the one-year anniversary of the heinous slaughter of protesters and police by neo-Nazi snipers who transformed a relatively peaceful protest against Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, into a violent anti-Russia coup. To this day, the illegitimate regime ruling in Kiev has done virtually nothing to bring their sniper allies to justice.

Many political actors in the West, including the Obama administration’s CIA and State Department, as well as members of the European Union were accomplices in the anti-Russia coup. Foolishly, they supported a coup in Kiev that provoked anti-Kiev mobilizations among Russians living in Crimea and …

1,200 Indigenous Women in Canada Murdered or Gone Missing Since 1980s

Indigenous women are five times more likely to be murdered, and most attacks are from outside their communities, says Audrey Huntley of the No More Silence campaign in Canada.

Parking Space Terrorism: Time for Action after Killing of Three US Muslims

The murder of three American Muslims at a University of North Carolina condominium on Tuesday, 10 February, 2105 was no ordinary murder, nor is the criminal who killed them an ordinary thug. The context of the killings, the murder itself and the media and official responses to the horrific event is a testimony to everything that went wrong since the United States unleashed it’s long-drawn-out “war on terror”, with its undeclared, but sometimes declared enemy, namely Islam and Muslims.

Horrific as it was, the killing of a husband and wife, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, …

What’s Happening to Canada?

Open letter to P.M.

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

Many Americans love Canada and the specific benefits that have come to our country from our northern neighbor’s many achievements (see Canada Firsts by Nader, Conacher and Milleron). Unfortunately, your latest proposed legislation—the new anti-terrorism act—is being described by leading Canadian civil liberties scholars as hazardous to Canadian democracy.

A central criticism was ably summarized in a February 2015 Globe and Mail editorial titled “Parliament Must Reject Harper’s Secret Policeman Bill,” to wit:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper never tires of telling Canadians that we are at war with the

Has Democracy Gone Missing?

Or was it ever here?

With a general election looming in the United Kingdom and Spain possibly following Greece’s revolt against austerity later this year, we need to think, not just who or what we are voting for, but why we should vote at all.

People are suffering from a deficiency which is as unbalancing as a hormone or vitamin deficiency.  What we are severely lacking in is democracy.  Many of those pondering on the state of politics feel unhappy and somehow depleted.  They haven’t yet realised it is democracy that’s lacking because they have believed what so many politicians have told them, over and over …

The New Health Care Marketplace

"Nice Rash, Buddy"

“Nice rash, buddy.”

Saul believed Wednesday morning would be the best time for his visit to the New Health Care Market.

“Hey, $55 dollars and we’ll have that urticaria off your face in no time at all. Money back guarantee!”

They must think Saul is a real greenhorn. Everybody knows whoever has the first stall near the auditorium’s entrance was sure to be peddling overpriced, shoddy product.

“Don’t listen to him. $40 and we’ll have you all looking like new in half an hour.”

Another one. Saul understood they figured he wasn’t just browsing, but he was beginning to feel like chum surrounded by ravenous …

Obama’s Legacy: Permanent War and Liberal/Radical Accommodation?

The announcement by the Obama administration that it will seek congressional authorization to expand the war on ISIS in Syria and possibly send more heavy weapons to its client government in Ukraine did not generate the kind of muscular opposition and sense of urgency that one would expect from the anti-interventionist liberals and significant sectors of what use to be the anti-imperialist and anti-war left.

Outside of a few articles written by some of us confined to the marginalized and shrinking left, the reports that the administration was considering both of these courses of action were met with passing indifference. It …

Opposition Leaders Issued a Statement to Signal the Launch of Foiled Coup in Venezuela

Lucas Koerner, journalist in Caracas for Venezuelanalysis.com discusses what know thus far about the alleged foiled coup in Venezuela.

Meet the Family with a Megaphone in US and Israeli Politics

Part 1 of 2

With 90 percent of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign donors being U.S. Americans, the Falic family tops the list, and their influence reaches both sides of the aisle in Congress.

Libya Lies – Rape as a Weapon of War – Made in the USA?

It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century, you just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.
— Secretary of State, John Kerry, “Meet the Press”,  March 2, 2014

Various professional psychology sites state succinctly: “Projection is a defense mechanism which involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people.”

Further: “Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people at times of crisis, personal or political, but is more commonly found in the neurotic or psychotic – in personalities functioning at a primitive level as in narcissistic

Priorities: Climate Change or Olympics?

The U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision last month to make Boston its candidate for the right to host the 2024 Summer Games has generated much excitement within the city and its environs. It has also engendered considerable opposition.

Although Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has pledged to expend no public funds except for upgrading city infrastructure, critics have raised myriad concerns. These include worries about gentrification and displacement, qualms about billions of dollars in “homeland security” spending and the creation of what would effectively be a police state, and fears that efforts to ready Boston will divert energy and resources …

Declining Wages and Rising Unemployment: The Effects, Not Cause of Falling Demand

A Response to Mr. Al Engler

Mr Engler, I must respectfully take issue with your article, ‘Capital Must Be Taxed’ (Dissident Voice, February 12th 2015) which repeats the old Keynesian myth that capitalist depressions are caused by “a fall in demand caused by declining wages and rising unemployment”. These phenomena are the effects but not the cause.

And rather than quoting Thomas Picketty’s, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, I would venture to suggest that one would do far better to read the original Capital published in the nineteenth-century; and, in addition, the associated work, Value, Price and Profit.

An inherent feature of the capitalist system is its …

Mirage

Numa hung a left turn only to find himself caught up in the middle of a nastily developing situation.

Line after line of passengers stood waiting, bags by their side, as they slowly, one by one, were herded to the front.

But there was no grand prize awarded for making it into the brightly shining spotlight. No special privileges were offered at the checkpoint. Arriving to the front of the line was not a victory by any means. What …

Revisiting the US War against Viet Nam

Amazingly, the history of the Vietnam War is still being fought over in the United States. There seems to be an effort to reframe that horrific and shameful campaign into some honorable intervention. For example, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 authorized the U.S. Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. In 2012, President Obama signed a proclamation stating that the commemoration would begin on Memorial Day (May 28th) 2012 and would continue until Veterans Day (November 11th) 2025.

Unfortunately, the specified goals for the commemoration were limited and ignored the …

Stop All the Horror!

The religo-fascist Islamic State’s penchant for beheading opponents and innocents, and its intentional burning to death of a Jordanian pilot captured after his jet was downed is, of course, horrific, as is its slaughter of prisoners, the torture and murder of fellow Muslims and others, and its abduction and violation of women. Most recently, IS released a video showing the beheadings by its militants of 21 Egyptian Christian immigrant workers in Libya.

“Over the past several months,” according to Stratfor Feb. 12, “the Islamic State has released videos documenting the executions of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi prisoners of war. In …

Airlines Pledge to Continue Gouging Customers

TEXAS—At their annual meeting in Big Bucks Bay, Bahamas, airline executives promised that cheaper jet fuel would not lead to lower prices. Instead, they vowed to follow a long airline tradition and raise prices while lowering their services.

After years of poor-mouthing, airlines merged, drove out competition and are now able to set prices with little thought to competition or regulation.

“We rule the skies,” said Joe Butspark, CEO of Gouge Airlines. “We have no competition. What are people going to do, take the bus?”

As Butspark addressed his fellow CEOs, they sipped $8000 champagne, gorged on caviar and steak, …

Sanctions Should Be Imposed on the U.S.

Another year, another set of coups that we can expect to be administered by the West.

This year, it is all beginning in February. First the onslaught against Argentina and following that comes yet another coup against Venezuela, and its democratically elected, progressive government.

The coup has been thwarted. Venezuela prevailed!

As Telesur reported:

Nicolas Maduro announced Thursday that the government had thwarted a coup attempt which was being coordinated by Venezuela’s right-wing opposition with the support of the U.S. government.

Just the day before the revelations, opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machado and Antonio Ledezma released a “transition plan” which involved privatization