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The Climate Religion

Primordial religions have always been about avoiding the calamities of climate: drought, fire, disease, war… But religion has also always been more that an individual alleviation of insecurity and guilt. It has been a stabilizing force of society’s dominance hierarchies.

Monarchs have always had symbiotic relations with organized religion, and that is no accident. Rulers gain perceived legitimacy, while the church-maintenance class gains high relative social status and privilege. In recent history, one might even argue that the downfall of the USSR was facilitated by a suppressed church.

Clearly, if a system can combine individual-identity-creating beliefs with the impression that the state …

The Corporation versus Nature, First Nation, and Local People

Saying No to Corporations

We should be able to say ‘no.’ And our ‘no’ should be heard.

— Joe Pierre of the Ktunaxa Nation speaking regarding any development in Qat’muk, Ktunaxa territory

Bullfrog Films has just released Jumbo Wild: “a gripping, hour-long documentary that tells the true story of the decades-long battle” over Qat’muk (as it is called by the Ktunaxa people), aka Jumbo Valley. Qat’muk lies in a rugged wilderness valley among the Purcell Mountains near the headwaters of the N’ch-iwana (Columbia River) and is the home of the Grizzly Bear Spirit. It is located in a province colonially designated “British Columbia”; the nearest …

Sports Media for Social Change

People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.

― Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

After Colin Kaepernick’s courageous national anthem protest caught the attention of the controversy-seeking corporate sports media, an exciting phenomenon has quickly emerged. Sports media is going through a transformation. The pundits and athletes, mostly African Americans, for now, are discussing police brutality against minorities, militarism, and other socio-political issues. They are talking about inequality in America, need for compassion, and calling for …

What Does the Rise of China Mean for the Rest of the World?

Interview with China Rising author Jeff Brown

Punto Press, a small press dedicated to progressive titles, has published China Rising: Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations by Jeff J. Brown. The book is an effort to educate fellow Westerners about the realities of China and demolish the multiple layers of western disinformation and propaganda that demonize this nation with a 5000-year history.

Brown has gravitas to write such a book. First, he is fluent in Mandarin (as well as learning Portuguese, Arabic, and French). Second, he has lived 13 years in China, currently in Shenzhen. …

Cutting the Cords of Empire: The Spectacle of US Elections

The more powerful the class, the more it claims not to exist.

— Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

It’s almost time for our quadrennial political distraction, masquerading as the US presidential election. As opposed to previous elections, this one feels quite different. Even with Obama/Romney in 2012, important, basic economic issues were discussed, health care reform was questioned, and foreign policy was given its due.

However, this time, the spectacle of the personalities seems to dominate the conversation: Mrs. Clinton is somehow on a feminist crusade, an inspiration for women everywhere. Going unmentioned are her irredeemable backers, such as the genocidal …

Duterte’s Power Play: Rocking the US-Philippines Alliance

I do not like the Americans. It’s simply a matter of principle for me.

— Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, September 12, 2016

The frictions excited by the antics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have caused even greater heat over the last few days, with calls for the departure of US special forces operating in Mindanao. Having already made it clear to Washington that he intends pursuing “an independent foreign policy,” he has now insisted that the general root of ills in instability lie in the troublesome, headache-causing alliance with the United States.

A continuing problem of that alliance remained US forces in Zamboanga …

Menwith Menace: Britain’s Complicity In Saudi Arabia’s Terror Campaign Against Yemen

The ‘mainstream’ Western media is, almost by definition, the last place to consult for honest reporting of Western crimes. Consider the appalling case of Yemen which is consumed by war and an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

Since March 2015, a ‘coalition’ of Sunni Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, and supported by the US, Britain and France, has been dropping bombs on neighbouring Yemen. The scale of the bombing is indicated in a recent article by Felicity Arbuthnot – in one year, 330,000 homes, 648 mosques, 630 schools and institutes, …

Canada’s little known chequered UN history in Africa

Canadian officials have long done as they pleased in Africa, loudly proclaimed this country’s altruism and only faced push back from hard rightists who bemoan sending troops to the  “Dark Continent” or “dens of hell”.

With many Canadians normally opposed to war supporting anything called “peacekeeping”, unless troops deployed with an African UN mission are caught using the N-word and torturing a teenager to death (the 1993 Somalia mission) they will be portrayed as an expression of this country’s benevolence. So, what should those of us who want Canada to be a force for good in the world …

The Native American, the Palestinian: A Spirited Fight for Justice

Thousands of Native Americans resurrected the fighting spirit of their forefathers as they stood in unprecedented unity to contest an oil company’s desecration of their sacred land in North Dakota. Considering its burdened historical context, this has been one of the most moving events in recent memory.

The standoff, involving 5,000-strong Native American protesters, including representatives of 200 tribes and environmental groups, has been largely reduced in news reports as being a matter of technical detail – concerning issues of permits and legal proceedings.

At best, both the tribes and the oil company are treated as if they are equal parties …

Israel’s Bogus Civil War

Is Israel on the verge of civil war, as a growing number of Israeli commentators suggest, with its Jewish population deeply riven over the future of the occupation?

On one side is a new peace movement, Decision at 50, stuffed with former political and security leaders. Ehud Barak, a previous prime minister who appears to be seeking a political comeback, may yet emerge as its figurehead.

The group has demanded the government hold a referendum next year – the half-centenary of Israel’s occupation, which began in 1967 – on whether it is time to leave the territories. Its own polling shows a …

Do We Really Need a Third Party?

The frustration that prompted the “Bernie or Bust” movement is not just about economic stagnation. Rather, it is more basic, more institutional-centered, than that. From the viewpoint of progressives, there is in addition a frustration with the once liberal, now neoliberal political philosophy and its supporters, many of whom hold political office. This includes the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton. For many voters from the left, liberals have become institutional custodians: they are, to use a Marxist term, “bourgeois liberals,” or, as Chomsky refers to them, the “liberal intelligentsia,” whose primary task is to protect institutional processes, structures, and interests, …

Eaten Fish and the Refugee Crisis: Cartoons, Brutality and Manus Island

Every story I said in my drawings is nothing but the truth.  I drew whatever happened to me.

— Eaten Fish, Iranian Cartoonist on Manus Island, September 9, 2016

Graphic depictions of cruelty come in an assortment of forms. The cartoon medium can convey the grotesque with brilliant effect, proving both witheringly caustic and poignant. The prints of Otto Dix emphasise the cripple, the mangled body, the state of disgust of a society suffering from the effect of a calamitous war.  His contemporary of Weimar Germany, George Grosz, was similarly ruthless as part of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement, insisting on …

Nuclear Hypocrisy

Exposing Shoddy Monopoly Media Analysis and Disinformation

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted another nuclear test on Friday, 9 September.

President Barack Obama stated:

To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state… Today’s nuclear test, a flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, makes clear North Korea’s disregard for international norms and standards for behavior and demonstrates it has no interest in being a responsible member of the international community.

With Obama’s statement in mind, consider the answer to these relevant questions:

Has the DPRK attacked another country? Can the same be said about the Republic of …

The Empire Paradox: More Power is More Weakness

In response to my recent article on US imperial wars some people objected to my characterisation of the US empire. I wrote: “In global terms the US has never been more powerful” and some were quick to point out that the US empire is very weak. To those people I want to say that we are both right, but the weaknesses of the US empire do not generally affect its functioning. One day these weakness will become very, very important, but we cannot predict when that will be. In the meantime, critics of US empire undermine themselves …

How Israel aims to redefine “ethnic cleansing”

Netanyahu’s controversial comments have thrown another obstacle in the way of Palestinian statehood, analysts say

On one level, an incendiary video posted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend looked suspiciously like an own goal.

In it, Netanyahu argues that a Palestinian demand to dismantle Jewish settlements amounts to the “ethnic cleansing” of some 650,000 Jews living in the occupied territories in violation of international law.

“The Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: no Jews,” he says in the short video posted on Facebook last Friday. “There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing.”

Netanyahu’s aim was not hard to decipher. He wants yet another obstacle in the way …

US Cluster Bombs Kill Children for Decades in Laos, and Now Yemen

Does anyone think America is accountable for its own actions?

The preposterous ironies of President Obama’s unapologetic visit to Laos on September 6 have not yet generated the attention they deserve, but they provide an excellent measure of the self-righteousness of the monstrous continuity of American violence inflicted on the world from Viet Nam in the 1950s to Yemen more than sixty years later.

The baldest irony of Laos is that the U.S. spent nine years bombing Laos, at a cost of more than $100 million per week in current dollars (on the order of $45 billion in all), powerfully documented in Mother Jones in …

Fukushima Backlash Hits PM Abe

Nuclear power may never recover its cachet as a clean energy source, irrespective of safety concerns, because of the ongoing saga of meltdown 3/11/11 at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Over time, the story only grows more horrific, painful, deceitful. It’s a story that will continue for generations to come.

Here’s why it holds pertinence: As a result of total 100% meltdown, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) cannot locate or remove the radioactive molten core or corium from the reactors. Nobody knows where it is. It is missing. If it is missing from within the reactor structures, has it burrowed into …

76% Want Four-Person Debates: Why Are Establishment Elites Preventing It?

We Are Calling for People to Occupy the Debates

A recent USA Today poll found 76% of voters want debates with four candidates including not just the two most hated candidates in history, the Republican and Democratic nominees and their vice presidential running mates, but Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka of the Greens, and Gary Johnson and Bill Weld of the Libertarians.

Any candidate on enough ballots to achieve 270 electoral college votes should be in the debates. The people have a right to see all candidates debating the issues who are on their ballots.

The deceptive debate commission, which is called a debate commission just to hide the truth: …

Covering Canada on Government Dime

By funding international journalism projects Ottawa shapes perceptions of Canadian policies abroad.

Last Saturday the Ottawa Citizen published a feature titled “The story of ‘the Canadian vaccine’ that beat back Ebola”. According to the article, staff reporter Elizabeth Payne’s “research was supported by a travel grant from the International Development Research Centre.” The laudatory story concludes with Guinea’s former health minister thanking Canada “for the great service you have rendered to Guinea” and a man who received the Ebola vaccine showing “reporters a map of Canada that he had carved out of wood and displayed in his living …

US Proxies and Regional Rivalries

US empire building depends on regional regimes’ support, especially in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. These proxy regimes fulfill valuable military roles securing control over neighboring regions, populations and territory.

In recent times, however, we witness the same proxies developing their own tendency toward expansionist policies – in pursuit of their own mini-empires.

Client regimes with local or regional ambitions now present Washington with new points of contention. At a time when the US empire …