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The Scapegoats of Empire

For elites, anything that distracts from empire is a good thing

The Green Party might have had a realistic chance for the presidency had Bernie Sanders not amputated his “political revolution” and instead joined presidential nominee Jill Stein on the Green ticket. But Sanders was the sheep-dogging company man Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report said he was. The Green Party will not win this year, but with support it may win soon. A decade ago Syriza in Greece polled at five percent. Now it is in power. In 1853 there was no Republican Party. In 1861 they put an abolitionist in the White House. Stranger things have happened. Of …

Will it be Petras’s Apocalypse or Hammond’s Hopeful Enlightenment?

US Delusion of Empire, Obstacle to Peace

It is time to assess the legacy that President Obama bequeaths us. Two timely books contribute to this; namely, The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire by James Petras, (Clarity, 2016) and Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Jeremy Hammond, (Worldview, 2016) with Hammond focusing on the “special relationship”, Petras, more broadly on US imperialism. Both are pessimistic about the possibility of any change without an active, articulate citizens’ movement that has staying power, thereby creating the conditions for a political renewal.

Hammond’s work is detailed, documenting the period starting with …

The Progressive Left Is Neither

It’s an election year, as you know, and the demos, stupefied in aspic from too many years baking in front of a warm television screen, have awakened to the reality they have nothing, own nothing, save debt and perhaps a paltry 401k, the innards and working mechanics of which they haven’t the foggiest understanding of.  Bereft of a truly social inclination or civic revelation once in their entire lives, now, now, after 50 years of showing up every four years to vote for shit after shit after shit after parading, mass murdering made for TV. shit, now, NOW they’re looking …

Doubts About Something: To be or not to be correct

(Politically that was never the question)

I do not consider it the sign of an intellectually critical person that he or she has a dogmatically predictable reply to any and every issue. It is perfectly legitimate to have doubts about something.

Actually I have often disagreed with Bill Blum, but then I tend to share Gandhi’s insight about “Western civilization”.

The last two essays …

Updates from on the Ground in Syria: June to August 11, 2016

Since June 13, 2016, I have been visiting different regions of Syria but have not had sufficient time to post regularly.  However, until I am able to, I will share some brief updates I had shared on social media, and otherwise refer to my writings/photos/videos from my prior 4 visits.

Down the Terrorist-Sniped Road to Aleppo, the Only Entrance to a City of over 1.5 Million (July visit)

Going through my …

Bride of the Monster

It is not “Ridiculous” to Reject Hillary, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article I argued that the 2016 US presidential race is the Alien vs. Predator election. The joke, which is at the expense of everyone on this planet, is that they are both aliens and both predators. Many ordinary people understand the situation perfectly well. A South Carolina real estate billboard shows Trump and Clinton and reads: “Moving to Canada? We can sell your home.” Even a month ago you could read this Onionesque headline at The Hill: “Poll: 13 percent prefer meteor hitting earth over Clinton, Trump”. It …

Should Citizen Juries Choose America’s President, Congress, Governors and State Legislators?

Many people think choosing politicians by popular vote is an essential part of democracy. Nevertheless, there is another way to choose politicians that is in important regards far more democratic and much better. That way is for politicians to be chosen by juries of citizens drawn from the public by random selection. Such juries could number from 25 to 1,000 or more citizens, with larger juries being used for the most important offices such as President.

In Classical Athens, widely considered the birthplace of democracy, a broad range of decisions were made by juries drawn from the citizens by lottery. The …

Facing Down the Panopticon

An army of networked kiosks is invading New York City. Hundreds of them. They’re large vertical slabs, practically ten feet tall and chock full of sensors. Reminiscent of the mysterious black monoliths from Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001. These kiosks are replacing the city’s aging public telephone booths and after this initial wave of monoliths hits Gotham there will be thousands more installed throughout the city. John Young, the architect who runs the web site Cryptome, has called this forest of kiosks “the largest urban spying system in the United States.”

And this is merely the tip of the iceberg. …

Hilary Clinton: History Repeats Itself?

Once upon a time, there was a man called James Buchanan. He was a Democrat, a Secretary of State and then the President of the United States. A good friend of mine, a historian, told me about him.

Buchanan was the last U.S. President who previously served as Secretary of State. He was a Pennsylvania native, and he took his place in the Oval Office in 1857.

Now, more than 150 years later, Hilary Clinton may be about to follow in his footsteps. And some footsteps they were!

Before serving as Secretary of State (in the administration of President James K. Polk), James …

Blum’s Straw Men

Back on 6 July 2016, anti-imperialist Bill Blum wrote an otherwise excellent article with the exception of one paragraph that detracted from its overall message. I responded to that paragraph in an article.

Blum affirmed that these were indeed his views in a second article. Now he has written a third article persevering on his thesis, albeit in a logically unsound piece.

Blum claims his “crime” was being “politically incorrect.” I demur. The reason that I dissented was because Blum was painting a diverse grouping as a monolith. He was, in effect, branding the …

The Flagging Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

The US Election and Free Trade Politics

Being savaged by Donald J. Trump on one side of the electoral aisle, and modestly beaten by the Democratic presumptive candidate, Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is lying somewhere between near death and miraculous survival. Those breathing life into that unfortunate beast remain politicians who embraced the mythology of free trade while never questioning what was free.

The scurrying taking place in the White House over rushing the TPP through the relevant channels is evident as the Obama presidency enters its final stages. Stutters, delays, and reluctance has meant that much work, perhaps too much, has to be done …

Hunger and Food Waste in a World of Plenty

Food, like shelter and health care, is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a fundamental right of all people, irrespective of circumstances or income. And yet one in nine of the global population does not have enough to eat – despite the fact that there is enough food to feed everyone.

The fact that around 800 million people are literally starving to death in a world of plenty is a level of human injustice which beggars belief. Women and children are the worst affected. Woman, who in many countries are not allowed to own land, make up …

Right to Resist: A Message from Philadelphia’s Black DNC Resistance March

Workers World Party vice presidential candidate, Lamont Lilly gave the following speech at the Black Resistance March on the Democratic National Convention on July 26 in Philadelphia. This march was organized by the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice.
WWP Vice Presidential Candidate Lamont Lilly Addressing Crowd at DNC Via phillyvoicedotcom
When we talk about the police and police terror, what we are really talking about is “the state.”  The State is the FBI, the CIA.  It is the courts, the prosecutors, the judges, the parole officers — every institution …

Exposing Canadian Imperialism

As hard as it is to admit for a former junior hockey player who spends many hours writing at the neighbourhood Tim Hortons, some things are better in the USA.

For example, comparing Green Party leader Elizabeth May to her American counterpart Jill Stein on foreign-policy issues puts Canada to shame. While Stein has articulated forthright criticism on various international issues, May spouts nationalist platitudes as often as she challenges unjust policies.

Recently, Stein endorsed the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, called for Washington and Moscow to work together and said, “US pursuit of regime change in Libya, Iraq, …

Banning Paralympic Athletes to Bash Russia

There is an ugly anti-Russian mood in various Rio Olympic venues. When the Russian swimmers entered the pool for the 4 x 100M Freestyle team event, they were loudly booed. When the Russian team barely lost 3rd place, the announcer happily announced that Russian had been “kept off the medal stand”.

Last Sunday it was announced that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) had decided to ban the entire Russian team from the upcoming Paralympics to held in Rio in September.  Thus, 267 mentally or physically disabled Russians who have been preparing for the Rio Paralympics for years are now banned from …

Divide and Rule: How Factionalism in Palestine Is Killing Prospect for Freedom

As Palestinians in the Occupied Territories begin preparations for local elections which are scheduled for next October, division and factionalism are rearing their ugly head.

Palestinian political platforms and social media are abuzz with self-defeating propaganda: Fatah supporters attacking Hamas’ alleged failures, and Hamas’ supporters doing the same.

What is conveniently overlooked by all sides is that the performance of Palestinian municipalities is almost entirely irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.

In the West Bank, local councils are governed by strict Israeli-PA arrangement. Aside from very few chores, village and town councils cannot operate without a green light: an endorsement from the …

The Criminality of American and British Illegal Immigrants in Syria

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 2nd, 2014

Were it not so serious it would be hilarious. The British have voted to leave the European Union on the basis of the combination of a pack of lies by Government Ministers backing the “out” campaign and a whipped up xenophobia about all those “foreigners” taking jobs, homes, places on public transport etc. A truly shameful throwback to the era of hotels and boarding houses exhibiting …

The Rich Get Rich While the Poor go to Prison

When analyzing the issues of police brutality in America and the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot the most important aspects of the situation are rarely talked about.

Firstly, we have to ask how the criminal justice system operates and how it relates to power and inequality. The best and most detailed analysis that I have found is The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison by Jeffrey Reiman.

It argues that the justice system does not function by identifying and pursuing the most harmful and threatening criminal …

The Need to Rid the World of Inequality

Review of The 1% and the Rest of Us

Legalized chattel slavery did not die out because it was an abhorrent system but because the system of wage labour and debt money offered a more effective and useful economy of power for dominant owners.
— Tim Di Muzio, The 1% and the Rest of Us: A Political Economy of Dominant Ownership, p 100

Tim Di Muzio, a senior lecturer in international relations and political economy at Wollongong University in Australia, has written a book – The 1% and the Rest of Us: A Political Economy of Dominant Ownership

Can Coups Defeat Elected Governments?

Obama versus Trump, Putin and Erdogan

Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested.

James Clapper, US Director of Intelligence on Turkish Coup, Financial Times, 8/3/16, p. 4

Washington has organized a systematic, global, no holds barred campaign to oust Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump from the electoral process. The virulent anti-Trump animus, the methods, goals and mass media resemble authoritarian regimes preparing to overthrow political adversaries.

Comparable propaganda efforts led to political coups in Chile in 1973, Brazil 1964, and Venezuela in 2002. The anti-Trump forces include both political parties, a Supreme Court …