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The Grand Chessboard Debunked!

The publishing world is abuzz this morning over Zbigniew Brzezinski’s stunning confession. Apparently, his 1998 book The Grand Chessboard was a whole-cloth fabrication.

Brzezinski, it turns out, was only playing with himself. And no, not chess. Checkers. Even worse, what should have been a down-home match-up between two warring sides of a Polish-American petit-aristocrat turned into a rout for all parties.
A chastened Brzezinski offered this: “It started out as a joke. Then it just got away from me. Before I knew it, I was polishing David Rockefeller’s shoes. When you’re Polish, polish …

How Can Americans Respond to Maduro and Venezuela?

On Tuesday, March 17, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela published an “open letter” to the American public in the New York Times. For the American people, the letter is more than a genteel communiqué; it is an invitation. Venezuela’s words invite us to believe many things that our politicians and mass media purposely and regularly omit or mystify about Venezuela, its government, and its people. Additionally, the letter presents us with an opportunity to assume our international civic duty as global citizens. We can explore this letter, recognize and even adopt what …

Where Are the Brave French Minds Now?

There are several machine gunners in front of the Charlie Hebdo building in Paris. These are cops, wearing bulletproof vests, carrying powerful weapons. They stare at occasional pedestrians in their special, revolting and highly intimidating way. Charlie Hedbo editors are well protected, some of them postmortem.

If you think that France is not as much a police state, as the UK or the US, think twice. Heavily armed military and police are visible at all train stations and many intersections, even at some narrow alleys. Internet providers are openly spying on their costumers. Mass media is self-censoring its reports. The regime’s …

‘SBlood: Night Creeps

Three figures appeared at my bed-side around 4 AM. Short Man; Tall Surly Man, ‘Dr. Personality;’ and a Thin Woman. Long white lab coats aqua scrubs. Young doctors, I assumed. Residents.

“This is him. Here’s his chart,” Dr. Personality.

“Amazing,” said Dr. Short Man.

“Freak me out,” Dr. Thin Woman.

“Not everyone is born with anemias of this sort, like this guy…uh…Mr. Engel,” Dr. Personality perused my chart. “Sometimes it just happens. Toxic exposure or something like that. They see it in kids in war zones.”

“Which wars? I forgot which wars we’re fighting this week,” Dr. Short Man.

“Very funny,” said Dr. …

The Henry Ford Matrix

And the Twilight of Disparity

Henry Ford was a smart fellow. As a matter of fact, he was much smarter than the current ruling junta of the much-envied and much-maligned 1%, because they still haven’t yet figured out what Henry realized in the early Twenties. In addition to inventing the assembly line, he shrewdly calculated the ratio of the worker-wage-purchaser cycle, such that he determined precisely the minimum hourly wage he could pay his workers, vis-a-vis the maximum price tag he could put on his Model T, in order for his workers to be able to buy their own product, i.e. his …

Crosscurrents

By the time I leave Kentucky’s federal prison center, where I’m an inmate with a three month sentence, the world’s 12th-largest city may be without water.  Estimates put the water reserve of Sao Paulo, a city of 20 million people, at sixty days.  Sporadic outages have already begun, the wealthy are pooling money to receive water in tankers, and government officials are heard discussing weekly five-day shutoffs of the water supply, and the possibility of warning residents to flee.

This past year United States people watched stunned as water was cut off, household by household, to struggling people in Detroit, …

Deflation Is the People Speaking Volumes

In a recent The Daily Bell interview, Dr. Antal Fekete, who is always a compelling figure (he consistently champions thinking over doctrinaire recitations), suggested that deflation is “a pathological slowing in the velocity of money.” Even though Dr. Fekete perhaps misplaces the locus of this pathology, he deserves kudos for highlighting the overriding behavioral dimension of the current deflation. One of the greatest disservices done to a comprehensive understanding of deflation is that it is separated by mere prefix from its decidedly more monetary cousin, inflation. Convicted by language, the conversation becomes invariably monetized. Alas, the two are not …

At Play in the Comedy of Survival

An Appreciation of Joseph Meeker

Many of our imaginations have been captured by the seemingly unalterable and suicidal trajectory of contemporary civilization. It feels like the story arc of one of the great tragic heroes: Oedipus, Macbeth, Faust – destined to rise to great heights, attempt unprecedented levels of power over matter and life, and then fall, leaving the world’s stage strewn with the dead. But the “tragic fall” is not just an affective state of mind or a poetic myth. It is, in fact, what individual civilizations have tended to do since humans began to create them seven thousand years ago (unless they were …

“Islamic State” as a Western Phenomenon?

Reimagining the IS Debate

No matter how one attempts to wrangle with the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) rise in Iraq and Syria, desperately seeking any political or other context that would validate the movement as an explainable historical circumstance, things refuse to add up.

Not only is IS to a degree an alien movement in the larger body politic of the Middle East, it also seems to be a partly western phenomenon, a hideous offspring resulting from western neocolonial adventures in the region, coupled with alienation and demonization of Muslim communities in western societies.

By “western phenomenon,” I refrain from suggesting that IS is largely …

Netanyahu’s Fear-mongering Wins

Binyamin Netanyahu’s last-minute efforts to paint himself as even more hawkish than most outside observers feared was already the case has paid off handsomely with a decisive victory over his centrist rivals in Israel’s general election. Netanyahu’s poor showing in the final polls published late last week – giving him only 20 seats – had encouraged misleading forecasts.

In the final hours of the campaign, Netanyahu was able both to tap the large reservoir of undecideds who were pondering which of the right-wing parties to vote for, and drain support from his right-wing challengers with the scare-mongering he excels at.

He warned …

A History Lesson: What ISIS Learned from Irgun

When the history of the first half of this (20th) century comes to be written – properly written – it will be acknowledged the most stupid and brutal in the history of civilization.
— Sir Thomas Beecham

Imbedded in Sir Thomas Beecham’s observation is an assumption, if you will, that civilizations advance, that humankind progresses in time to higher levels of intelligence as we shed ancient superstitions that locked our ancestors into barbaric acts, that our creativeness in application of scientific knowledge improves the human condition, perhaps even, that as time passes, we grasp the one underlying reality of human advancement that …

Republican in the White House in 2016?

In spite of its extremism, two factors will assure a more competitive GOP in the 2016 presidential election. First is the GOP’s unified effort to appear less radical in the public’s eye. Second is the belief of Democrats, especially the Hillary crowd, of their advantage due to presidential elections which sport more young and minority voters. Related to this, Hillary’s current strength among the base puts off progressive challengers like Elizabeth Warren.

The first is evidenced by the popularity of Scott Walker in New Hampshire, not a known quantity nationwide, certainly not known for his Wisconsin anti-labor, pro-business stance. He evades …

The Israeli Election: The Obamafication of Israeli Oppression

Camouflaging the reality of elite domination with rhetorical sleight of hand techniques and symbol manipulation has catapulted Barack Obama over Ronald Reagan as the new “great communicator.” And while this privileging of style over substance is not new in bourgeois politics, Obama’s ability to demobilize opposition from the left sets him apart and is becoming a model for liberal accommodationist parties.

This version of Trojan horse politics is being deployed by the Zionist Union (ZU) in Israel in both its domestic campaigning and international public relations. Led by Isaac Herzog, the ZU, with its political and social base in the Israeli …

‘SBlood: a (Reformed) Vampire Confronts Time

Part One: Happy Birthday!

I had no idea that anything was even slightly ‘amiss’ other than awareness of a ‘slight anemic condition’ I had to explain to shocked doctors who would do double-takes after glancing at results of routine blood exams, on the few occasions I had them, and begin to stammer ‘nonsense’ about ‘emergency rooms’ and ‘immediate transfusions.’ 

“Oh, I’ve been slightly anemic since I was a kid. My usual hematocrit is 27,” I’d repeated throughout my 20s, not actually knowing what hematocrit was, or that the normal range for adult males was between 45 and 50.

“It all began…” …

Cracks In Washington’s Empire

Washington’s EU vassals might be finding their backbone. Britain, Germany, France, and Italy are reported to have defied Washington’s orders and applied to join the Chinese-led Asian Investment Bank. Australia, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and Luxembourg might also join.

Washington uses its development banks such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, along with the IMF, in order to exercise financial and political hegemony. These banks are crucial elements of American economic and political imperialism.

The Chinese-led bank will, of course, be much more effective. The Chinese will use the bank to actually help countries and thereby make friends and …

Racism, Paranoia and Desperation Mark Netanyahu’s Election Campaign

Over the final fortnight of Israel’s election campaign, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has gone from being celebrated for slaying President Barack Obama in the US Congress to looking and sounding more like one of Obama’s least-loved predecessors: Richard Nixon.

Tired, confused, desperate and paranoid are just a few of the epithets that have been hurled at Netanyahu in the last days of the campaign.

With his ratings sinking as the final polls were published at the end of last week, he raced to offer interviews to every media outlet that would host him. On Sunday night, Netanyahu held a last-minute rally in …

We Will Return: A Music Video from Camp Gaza by Siraj Davis

First music video I produced and directed. A message from Palestinian refugees of #GazaCamp to world. Featuring G Unit co-founder and Rick Ross Maybach Records affiliate Bang Em Smurf and Mid East analyst and author Moe Diab.

— Siraj Davis

Siraj Davis has a Master of Arts in History and is currently a teacher with a command of six languages, and a freelance journalist for human rights issues. He has spent eight years researching examples of violent and non-violent insurgencies and counterinsurgencies or Low Intensity Conflicts across the world, in various contexts and backgrounds. His first book was “Religious Fanaticism and Abolition: …

After Swedish Prosecutors Back Down, Is WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Close to Freedom?

March 16 marked the 1,000th day WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spent in political asylum inside Ecuador’s London embassy. For the first time, Swedish prosecutors have opened the door to Assange’s departure with a request to question him in London. Assange has never been charged over allegations of sexual assault, but has been holed up in the embassy since 2012, fearing a Swedish arrest warrant could lead to his extradition to the United States. We speak with one of Assange’s lawyers, Michael Ratner, who argues the alleged sexual assault case is not strong enough to go forward.

California’s One-Year Water Supply vs. Fracking

What if the following headline comes true, as stated by Jay Famigliette, Ph.D. senior water scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech, California has about one year of water left”? LA Times, March 12, 2015.

Well, maybe, maybe not, depending upon the depth of aquifers, assuming they are not polluted. More on this later.

On the other hand, what if a mega drought has set in?

According to Dr. Famigliette’s article, California’s 2014-15 rainy season and snowfall have done “almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions.” January 2015 was “the driest since 1895.”

In the Central Valley, farmers are pumping ground water like there is …

Top Ten Arguments for Raising the Minimum Wage

One.   Seven Nobel Laureates in Economics endorse the higher minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016, saying it does not lead to lower fewer jobs.

Two.   Job losses from raising the minimum wage are negligible.  Minimum wage has already been raised 23 times.  Every time it was raised it was opposed by some few who said “it is going to lose jobs and wreck the economy” which is factually untrue as study after study has proven.

Three.    It is a myth that small business owners can’t afford to pay their workers more, and therefore don’t support an increase in the …