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Rabbi Lerner: Master of Compassion or Master of Deceit?

A Deconstruction of Lerner's speech at the Muhammad Ali Funeral

I met Rabbi Michael Lerner twice in 2012. The rabbi kindly invited me into his home, we dined together, I met with members of his congregation and discussed my thoughts with them. However, I was recently troubled by Rabbi Lerner’s speech at Muhammad Ali’s funeral. Unlike many other peace loving people I was not impressed at all.

To watch Rabbi Lerner’s speech:

It takes some balls for a rabbi to stand in front of the American people and sing 4 bars of Kadish, the Hebrew prayer for the dead. But it takes more than balls for a rabbi to stand in …

Clipping Academic Freedom: Australian University Management

Universities have become bastions of managerial madness.  The trends began some time ago, when money became the ultimate pursuit, and Mr Dollar became chancellor and chief.  The obsession with obtaining grants, the panjandrums awarding grants, the siphoning off funds, underwriting projects, have all made the academy a sad state.  Since universities now obsess about having a “marketing unit”, the idea of making education a matter of commercial viability rather than educational worth has become all important.

There is another aspect to this development.  Gone are the days when academic exposure was confined, left to the irate letters to the editor section …

Activists Complete 150-Mile Walk to Thomson Prison

In late May and early June, Chicago group Voices for Creative Nonviolence held a 150-mile walk against indefinite detention, solitary confinement, and the racist U.S. prison system. For two weeks, a group of 20 justice seekers walked across the state of Illinois from east to west, interacting with hundreds of passers-by, carrying placards to give a momentary reminder to thousands of motorists, and holding public face-to-face discussions at churches and libraries. They began on May 28 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago and then walked through Chicago’s west side, the western suburbs, on to DeKalb and the rural …

Hillary’s Obscene Reaction to the Orlando Shootings

Hillary Clinton’s statement on the mass murder in Orlando is mostly a confection of the empty, saccharine pieties for which the entire American political class is known – but it concluded with a revealing statement.

There she said: “This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets.”  (Emphasis, jw)

But those “weapons of war” have been used on the streets of Iraq and in midnight raids on the civilian population in the war there that Hillary so ardently backed.

Does she even …

Legalized Tyranny: India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act

Thousands of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, mass graves and recurrent incidents of violence brushed under the carpet away from plain sight. Under the power of the world’s largest democracy, an organized system of institutionalized violence has evolved, specifically in the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir. To enforce and legitimize this system of persecution and instrumental oppression, legislation such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is employed.
AFSPA, one of the most dreaded words in a Kashmiri’s vocabulary, is not less then a curse on the population of the occupied territory. Conventionally applied in “disturbed areas” of …

Gutting the Scientific Establishment: Australia’s Business Model

There is something so fundamentally wrong about equating the joy and genius of scientific discovery with profit and markets. Initial discoveries in quantum physics had nothing to do with the idea of pursuing a remorseless “bottom line” or some specious market concept.  The results of such discoveries were, however, gargantuan. Eventually, applications arise, with various economic benefits. Patience, however, is a golden virtue in that regard.

Australia’s scientific management (these comprise scientists who attempt to straddle the world of practice and business, and petty bureaucrats) have not taken kindly to the field of pure scientific endeavour.

The Turnbull government has continued what …

The Night Belongs to the Homeless

The homeless people’s suffering belongs to amusement of our political order under a game over the right of marginalized group being transformed into citizens for merely punishment and humiliation. The Public Space Protection Orders is a penalty over one’s condition suffering – it is a fine over the disempowered for being disempowered. This act allows power to fragment the homeless into sub-humans punishable for the state of utter misery.

— Bruno De Oliveira

Just the right juxtaposition of colors, forces, themes, subjects, words, images, things, create some of the most amazingly unjust situations in life if we are willing to scrap over …

Time for Sharing and a Just Economic Model

There are alternatives to greed and division

Over and above the greed and corruption of wealthy and powerful individuals, the leaked ‘Panama Papers’ revealed the need for a worldwide, standardised tax code, as part of a radical new global economic model. Not globalisation – which is ideologically based, designed by the ruling elite and set up to serve the interests of national and multi-national corporations and banks, but a new and just system designed to meet the needs of everyone, with sharing and social justice at its heart.

Within the current economic system not only are individuals and companies competing against one another, but geographical regions, countries, …

While Canadian Companies Exploit African Resources …

... Canadian "charities" (NGOs) call on Canadians to "walk for hope" in Africa

What is wrong here? While Canadian companies exploit African resources for their own benefit this country’s charities call on us to join Africa “hope” walks.

Last week Toronto-based Lundin Mining hired the Bank of Montreal to help it decide what to do with its stake in the massive Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine in Eastern Congo (Kinshasa). Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Toronto firms to make economic decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of Africans and for Canadian companies to exchange African mineral assets among themselves.

A number of companies based and traded here have even taken African …

Why Israel is blocking access to its archives

Israel is concealing vital records to prevent darkest periods in its history from coming to light, academics say

Israel is locking away millions of official documents to prevent the darkest episodes in its history from coming to light, civil rights activists and academics have warned as the country’s state archives move online.

They claim government officials are concealing vital records needed for historical research, often in violation of Israeli law, in an effort to avoid damaging Israel’s image.

The Israeli army has long claimed to be the “most moral” in the world.

Accusations of increased secrecy come as Israel marks this week the 49th anniversary of the 1967 war, when it seized and occupied Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and …

Saudi Arabia, UN Black Lists and Manipulating Human Rights

It appears that political power and diplomatic clout have been allowed to trump the UN’s duty to expose those responsible for the killing and maiming of more than 1,000 of Yemen’s children.

— Sajjad Mohammad Sajid, Oxfam Director in Yemen, June 7, 2016

It is such cases that give the United Nations a bad name.  And if heads and decay say something about the rest of the body, Ban Ki-Moon says all too much in his role as UN Secretary General. Always inconspicuous, barely visible in the global media, his presence scarcely warrants a footnote. This has been a point of much …

Some Sober Lessons for Bernie Sanders Supporters

As the wizard Gandalf declared during the darkest hour: “There never was much hope… Just a fool’s hope.”

The narrow thread of hope now rests on the Justice Department investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illegal concealment of her emails from the State Department she headed from 2009 to 2012. If she’s hit by a true scandal between now and the Philadelphia convention in July, all bets could be off.

The email server matter is, of course, an internal ruling class issue that doesn’t much concern the masses on a moral level. But it just might — just by chance (what Hegel called “the …

Calling ALL Venezuelans to the Table

For 32 years I have called Venezuela home. Its mountains have given me beauty, its barrios have given me music, its struggles have given me purpose, and its people have given me love.

Its Bolivarian Revolution gave me hope. How could I not feel hope when most of my neighbors, ages 2 to 70, were studying, right in our little potato-growing town in the mountains of western Venezuela. How could I not be hopeful when 18 neighbor families received new homes to replace their unhealthy, crowded living spaces?

How could I not be grateful when my partner received life-saving emergency surgery? Or …

How The Press Hides The Global Crimes Of The West

Corporate Media Coverage of Chad

One of the essential functions of the corporate media is to marginalise or silence acknowledgement of the history – and continuation – of Western imperial aggression. The coverage of the recent sentencing in Senegal of Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad, for crimes against humanity, provides a useful case study.

The verdict could well have presented the opportunity for the media to examine in detail the complicity of the US, UK, France and their major allies in the Middle East and North Africa in the appalling genocide Habré inflicted on Chad during his rule – from 1982 to 1990. After …

Imran Khan’s PTI: The New Face of Liberalism in Pakistan

Although people often conflate democracy and liberalism, there is a fine distinction between politics and culture; a democratic system of governance falls in the category of politics while liberalism, as a value system, falls in the category of culture. When we say that Islam and democracy are inconsistent, we make a category mistake as serious as the Islamists’ misperception that democracy is somehow un-Islamic. They too mix up democracy with liberalism.

I do concede, however, that there is some friction between liberalism as a cultural temperament and Islam as a religion. But democracy isn’t about religion or culture. It is simply …

Where are the Missing California Primary Votes?

Richmond California is a refinery town in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is also where there is a diverse working class community with a strong Richmond Progressive Alliance which previously elected a Green Party Mayor. Bernie Sanders visited the city and actively supported the populist movement in February 2014 making it likely that Bernie Sanders would receive strong support in Richmond.

My daughter is a school psychologist in Richmond’s local school system. Here is her experience yesterday in the California Primary Election:

Never have I felt so much that my vote doesn’t count!  My Richmond, CA polling place at 1340

De-Incarceration, a Different Drum so Needed

Along with VCNV companions, I’m part of a 150 mile walk from Chicago to Thomson, IL, a small town in Northwest IL where the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is setting up an Administrative Maximum prison, also known as a Supermax. Prison laborers from U.S. minimum security prisons now labor to turn what once was an Illinois state prison into a federal supermax detention facility with 1900 cells that will confine prisoners for 23 hours of every day.
Razia, Maya, Sabia, Kathy, Libby and Buddy participate in a …

The Paris Peace Gambit: Everyone Gains Except the Palestinians

In their defense, the Israelis seem to have figured out the whole thing and opted out. But the hapless Palestinian leadership, along with their Arab League partners, joined by the French, EU and UN representatives, and even US Secretary of State, John Kerry, decided to play along.

However, the French peace initiative-turned-conference in Paris on June 3 is nothing but a charade, and they all know it, Palestinians included.

So, why the colossal waste of time?

If you have been following the Middle East ‘peace process’ business in the last quarter of a century, you are certainly aware that the …

Britain’s EU Referendum

The Positive Case for “Remain” Is made by the Greens

The latest opinion poll on the upcoming European Union Referendum (23 June) is predicting that the “Brexiters” are leading the “Remainers” by 3 percentage points.  This does not surprise me; the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are using fear tactics to scare people into voting remain, and it is not working. The latest is that the annual cost of an average mortgage will go up by £920. Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of the Scottish National Party, warned that “fear-based” campaigning could have a negative effect on voters.

There is …

Bravely Questioning and Challenging Official Propaganda in Search of a Better and Kinder World

A young South Korean loses faith in the official dogmas that have been shaping his worldviews for most of his life

Thus now I have come to recognize the recently implemented sanctions against North Korea as an ‘injustice’.

— Mr. Kim Dol

Above is a short excerpt from the letter that I received in May 2016, a letter from one of my readers, Mr. Kim Dol, a young South Korean professional based in Seoul.

Mr. Kim Dol, it seems, has been lately suffering from a gradual but irreversible loss of faith in the official dogmas that have been shaping his worldviews for most of his life – dogmas manufactured by his own country, South Korea (ROK), as well as those that have been imported …