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Puppet of History: Panama’s Manuel Noriega

Bush appeared on television to praise the invading troops and to say his cowardly vision – all that a wimp with an inferiority complex could be capable of.

— Manuel Noriega on George H. W. Bush

The late General Manuel Antonio Noriega has done more to demonstrate the bipolar nature of US foreign policy in the Americas than any single, historically anointed individual. In its tendency to veer between outraged morality and cynical cold steel Realpolitik, US foreign policy found in Noriega a thermometer of sorts, though the temperature readings were often confused.

When it suited Washington, Noriega was the CIA’s man in …

Two-Fisted Democracy Power Revisited

Slightly over a year ago I went on record claiming that America was an “endangering and endangered ruination” with ruinous domestic conditions and destructive and deadly international interventions all stemming from her “corpocracy,” the “Devil’s Marriage” between big corporations and government.

America remains on course for oblivion and taking the rest of the world with her sometime later this century unless her corpocracy is ended …

Oddly, Labor Unions Seem to Be the Only Answer

Question:  What do the most “successful” countries in the world—i.e., the “happiest,” fairest, most enlightened, most optimistic, and most generous—have in common?  Answer:  The majority of them have quasi-socialist governments/economies, and highly unionized labor forces.

Actually, there’s a third commonality as well.  Unlike the U.S., they are unburdened by a bloated and debilitating military budget—an advantage that permits them to treat medical care as a “right” rather than a “privilege,” and to offer free college tuition to those who wish to attend, working off the premise that an educated electorate is an “investment,” not a “luxury.”

In the 2016 Democratic Primary, when …

Truth-free, Fact-free Foreign Policy

Lies, distortions and self-serving obfuscations are to be expected when political and business leaders discuss far away places.

In a recent Toronto Star column Rick Salutin observed that “foreign policy is a truth-free, fact-free zone. When leaders speak on domestic issues, citizens at least have points of reference to check them against. On foreign affairs they blather freely.”

Salutin vividly captures an important dynamic of political life. What do most Canadians know about our government’s actions in Afghanistan or Haiti? Most of us have never been to those countries and …

To Wake in Fright

A film review

What is inescapable in the Australian landscape is its cosmic character, one that mixes suggestively astral dust with the brilliance of the blinding sun. Desolate, parched earth becomes poetic affirmation, though it is the poetry of death and distraction, its stanzas luring the life from you.

Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright (1971), based on the Kenneth Cook novel of the same name, still retains that grim sense of the life that is drawn out in such spaces, and left to expire, slowly.  Its importance has been given another airing this year with the efforts of Australian film critic David Stratton …

Feed the Hungry, Treat the Sick: A Crucial Training

On June 15, 2017, the New York Times reported that the government of Saudi Arabia aims to ease the concerns of some U.S. legislators over U.S. weapon sales to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis plan to engage in “a $750 million multiyear training program through the American military to help prevent the accidental killing of civilians in the Saudi-led air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.” Since entering the war in Yemen, in March of 2015, the Saudi coalition’s airstrikes, with U.S. assistance, have destroyed bridges, roads, factories, farms, food trucks, animals, water infrastructure, and agricultural banks across …

From Pseudo-Democracy to Real Participation

Imagine a country run along truly democratic lines. In such a mythical land, what would be the role of the politician, and the nature of his or her relationship with that amorphous group paraded under the banner: ‘the people’?

We in pseudo-democratic countries hear a lot about politicians serving and honouring the ‘will of the people’ – in Britain this nauseating slogan of appeasement has been repeated ad infinitum since the disastrous European referendum vote – but from where does the supposed conviction of the masses arise? Does it evolve from independent minds tussling with questions of justice and freedom, debating and …

The Breaking of the Corporate Media Monopoly

Last week, Jeremy Corbyn humbled the entire political and corporate media commentariat. With a little help from Britain’s student population. And with a little help from thousands of media activists.

Without doubt this was one of the most astonishing results in UK political history. Dismissed by all corporate political pundits, including the clutch of withered fig leaves at the Guardian, reviled by scores of his own Blairite MPs (see here), Corbyn ‘increased Labour’s share of the vote by more than any other of the party’s election leaders since 1945′ …

Labour Doing So Well in the UK General Election Did Not Surprise Me

I Predicted It 8 Months Ago

Eight months ago I wrote an article on Dissident Voice entitled “The Corbyn Effect: A British Democratic Revolution in the Making” in which I argued the case for my optimism as follows:

Jeremy Corbyn has transformed the Labour Party and politics in Britain. He has made it acceptable to be anti-austerity and to demand investments, not cuts, to revive the economy. He has articulated an alternative to neo-liberal economics, that has been the only game in town for so long. The Green Party has advocated such policies prior to the last general election, and I am delighted that, thanks to

Projecting Crimes of US Empire onto Russia

The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: Book Review

Accused of being a “Useful Idiot or Propagandist for Russia,” labor and human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik is anything but. His book, The Plot to Scapegoat Russia, rather, holds the US to the same level of scrutiny as the Russophobes insist we examine Russia. Kovalik’s careful dissection of the US record makes Russia’s transgressions pale in comparison.

American exceptionalism – the conviction that our excrement smells like perfume and everyone else’s stinks – is deconstructed. Kovalik documents how the US “has fought against nearly every war of liberation …

Monbiot Still Can’t Admit Media’s Core Problem

After more than two decades at the Guardian, George Monbiot has finally written a column in which he concedes that the entire British media has a problem, including its supposedly left-liberal elements like the Guardian. After years of cheerleading for his employer, that is a momentous, though not entirely surprising, turn-around. It would, after all, be hard for a serious commentator to overlook the media’s wretched failings over the past two years in maligning Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and failing to grasp until the very last minute how powerfully his message resonated with much of the public.

Monbiot observes:

They

Police State/Corporate State: The Devil is in the Details

Living in a stop and frisk nightmare, fifty years of Rip Van Winkle bedtime

Police state, corporate state, denuded duncery state — a blistery bunch of 80 percenters lost in a carnival of debt, malignant food, maladjusted education and the folly of a full-throttle powerfully propagandist media like a proverbial copper girdle wire around our collective consciousness. That So Called Liberal (sic) Press (sic) playing triple dirges for the death of any emaciated version of democracy with a capital D for dollar.

Feeding frenzy of the old and new rich class, and a …

May’s Pact with the Devil

Former Conservative Chancellor George Osborne, now editor of the London Evening Standard, calls Theresa May “dead woman walking”. Another former minister Anna Soubry says: “She is in a desperate position. It is untenable….”, while according to former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan she cannot lead us into another election and a leadership challenge is possible during the summer.

While stunned Conservatives try to recover their composure, the rest of us can amuse ourselves speculating on whether it’ll be messed-up May or her nemesis the charismatic lefty Jeremy Corbyn who’ll be leading the UK to the sunny uplands of post-Brexit opportunity in three …

Beware the Poisoned Chalice

Unsurprisingly, Jeremy Corbyn is walking around with a permanent grin on his face. He is rightly delighted with the achievement of the Labour Party in Britain’s recent general election. Given the two years of relentless abuse and ridicule that’s been heaped upon him by the mainstream media, together with the appalling treachery of most of his fellow Labour MPs who tried, but failed miserably, to oust him as leader, the result of the June 8 ballot was a ringing endorsement and validation of his remarkable accomplishment.

The victory of the Conservative Party over Labour was so marginal that they are compelled …

Colin Kaepernick: Patriotism and the Owning Class

Colin Kaepernick took a courageous and principled stand last season by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games. This was done in response to a society that continues to systematically, culturally, and institutionally devalue Black lives. This devaluation is played out in many areas, including politics, economics, housing, employment, and perhaps most notably, within the criminal punishment system. Black lives are routinely extinguished by police in the streets without recourse, in the courts without pause, and in the prisons without hesitation. Entire generations of Black Americans have essentially been destroyed through the “school-to-prison pipeline” and a system of mass …

Trump’s Claws Penetrating Bali

“America first” and “to hell with the rest of the world”! One single stroke of hand, one signature, and over 1,000 hardworking people in Bali, Indonesia, suddenly ended up on the pavement. No second thoughts, no mercy. American savage capitalist ways met and embraced that fabled Indonesian feudalism, which was implanted into this country several decades ago, precisely after the 1965 military coup sponsored by the West.

U.S. President Donald Trump, always on the lookout for some great business opportunities, finally found one in Bali (and one more in West Java), a tropical, once paradise-like Indonesian island. And not just somewhere …

A Structural-Anarchism Critique of Marxian Exchange-Value and Use-Value

(Exchange-Value as the Receptacle/Mirror of Conceptual-Perception Within the General Commodity-Form)

According to Karl Marx, the basic datum-bit of the capitalist mode of production and/or capitalist society in general, is the commodity, in the sense that “the individual commodity appears as its elementary form”.   And due to this nucleus of the capitalist mode of production, Marx begins his analysis of Capital (Volume One) by specifically analyzing the commodity in its most elementary form as “an object with a dual character, possessing both use-value and exchange-value”, inherent in its structure. Foremost, Marx states that …

Journalism, History and War: Sit, Type and Bleed

The typical newsroom set-up, where journalists chase after news headlines dictated by some centralized news gathering agency – often based in some western capital – does not suffice any more.

In the case of the Middle East, the news narrative has been defined by others and dictated on Arab journalists and audiences for far too long.

This hardly worked in the past but, in the last a few years, it has become even more irrelevant and dangerous.

There are millions of victims throughout the Middle East region, numerous bereaved families, constant streams of refugees and a human toll that cannot be understood or …

A 21st-Century Marxism: The Revolutionary Possibilities of the “New Economy”

It should hardly be controversial anymore to say we’re embarking on the “end times” of…something. Maybe it’s corporate capitalism, maybe it’s civilization, maybe it’s humanity. Whatever it is, the unsustainability of the contemporary ancien régime, on the global level, has become obvious. Economically, socially, politically, and environmentally, the next fifty years will see major upheavals, which may end up dwarfing those even of the 1930s and 1940s—the Great Depression and World War II.

In this moment of crisis and uncertainty, as we wonder what might come next and if in the long run there is any hope for a positive resolution …

A Reformed Mass-Murderer Repents

Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.
— Henry A. Kissinger

Ouch! Blindsided by an epiphany. Once upon a time I believed that the U.S. Government looked after the best interests of its own citizens to at least some small degree. It doesn’t. Of course, I’ve long been aware of all the wars waged for fossil fuel. The millions of dead and many more millions wounded and displaced in the name of U.S. control of world trade and resources. All the bombs and rockets that have rained down upon those unfortunate enough to be standing in …