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Trump in Outer Space: The NASA Bill

You could send Congress to space.

— Senator Ted Cruz, March 21, 2017

The NASA authorisation bill was another Trump huff and puff show, brimming with the usual air of minted if misplaced confidence.  “My fellow Americans, this week in the company of astronauts I was honoured to sign the NASA Transition Authorization Act right into law.”

The bill was meant to “renew our national commitment to NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery, and we continue a tradition that is as old as mankind.  We look to the heavens with wonder and curiosity.”  Ever hackneyed, always banal, and fastidiously clichéd – Trump’s touch …

NDP Leadership Debates Continue to Ignore Foreign Policy

There has yet to be a single question about foreign policy in the NDP’s first two leadership debates, but some contenders say they want the party to devote a forum to international affairs.

During a gathering organized by Courage after the recent youth issues debate in Montréal I asked Niki Ashton whether she voted in favour of bombing Libya. The NDP leadership candidate said she and a few other MPs sought to dissuade then leader Jack Layton from supporting the NATO war. Failing to convince him, Ashton said she couldn’t remember if she voted yes on Libya.

Here’s the background:

The NDP

Down the Old Memory Hole

How Bush Jr Quashed the Movement for Korean Reunification

With the Trump administration and the mainstream media gleefully beating the war drums for a military attack on North Korea, there’s crucial historical context missing from the corporate media coverage of this issue. I suspect most Americans have never heard of of Korea’s “Sunshine Policy” (1998-2008), aimed at eventual reunification of North and South Korea. We certainly heard about it here in New Zealand, thanks to the mass revolt in Bush’s diplomatic corps when he deliberately sabotaged this policy to isolate and provoke North Korea into amping up their their nuclear weapons program.

On learning of the Sunshine Policy, my …

The Road to War in 1812: Imperialism, Empire, and the Proletariat

Part One of a Two Part Series

With Donald Trump, President of the United States, visiting Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson before the 250th Anniversary of his birth, it is best we remember when the US government declared war on the British Empire in 1812, beginning Mr. Madison’s War, falsely and deceptively called the “War of 1812.” This article is part one of a two-part series on the war, beginning with the events and years leading up to military conflict.

The roots of Mr. Madison’s War spring out of the Revolutionary War’s aftermath. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the US and the British …

War and Propaganda

The U.S. has been at war throughout much of its history. Some wars were blatantly wars of conquest; e.g., the Indian Wars (the near genocide of Native Americans) and the Mexican-American War. Whatever the real reasons for our military actions, they were usually sold to the public as being defensive in nature and this practice still goes on.

Some insiders have spoken more openly about reasons for wars. For example, in 1933 Major General Smedley Butler USMC, who served for 33 years and was one of the most highly decorated marines, stated:

War is just a racket. A racket is best described,

The Controllers Are Leading Our Children to the Edge of the Cliff

People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one, and if you repeat it frequently enough, people will sooner or later believe it.
― Walter C. Langer, The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report, 1972, Basic Books

I write a lot about the punishment society, which is the hallmark of American capitalism, both conceptually and in practice. It bears repeating and repeating – ironically the punishers of late are also Zio-Cons, and we get ad nauseam the Jewish holocaust, the Jewish Reparations, the Single Moment in Eradication, but god forbid that we have common sense history about the destruction …

Death: The Elephant in the Room

It is the one great certainty in life – the shared inevitability for all humanity, and yet death and dying is rarely discussed. In the west and Christian countries more broadly it’s largely feared, pushed away until the body falls into fragility, the urge to rest becomes overwhelming and we’re no longer bothered. Then death becomes a blessing, a ‘merciful release’ as a dear friend use to say.

Loss and Grief

There has recently been a death in the family. She had been ill with secondary lung cancer for over five years. It was said to be terminal and so it proved. …

Labour’s Witch-hunt Against Ken Livingstone

The ongoing Ken Livingstone (“Get Corbyn!”) saga grows yet more preposterous. After outrage that the former London mayor had said Hitler was a Zionist (when he clearly hadn’t, as I pointed out at the time here and here), Labour suspended Livingstone amid accusations that he had made anti-semitic, offensive and false historical claims.

Now as Livingstone fights to avoid expulsion before a closed hearing of the party’s national constitutional committee, it emerges that Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, has written to Livingstone saying that the hearing is not interested in the historical accuracy of his statements or whether what …

Trump, the Enigma

Oddly, with Trump having come out against non-Anglo Saxons, Muslims, immigrants, people on welfare, foreign aid, government support of the Arts, environmentalists, ACA, media, civil rights groups, anti-nuke protesters, Meryl Streep, the progressive income tax, and Thomas Friedman, the neoliberals’ performing flea, he hasn’t attacked one of the Republicans’ favorite and time-worn whipping boys:  organized labor.

Unless I missed it (while campaigning for Jill Stein), other than a couple of backhanded swipes at the AFL-CIO, an almost pitifully inviting punching bag, Trump has refrained from showering his crude invectives on America’s unions. And given Trump’s proclivity for indulging in the “blame …

Westminster Attack: Courage, Cowardice and Double Standards

The attack outside and inside London’s Westminster Parliament just before 4 pm local time on Wednesday 22nd March resulted in five deaths, including the assailant and forty injured. The confirmed British-born attacker, Adrian Elms – but with a number of alias’ including the much quoted Khalid Masood – drove a grey Hyundai SUV over Westminster Bridge, which spans the River Thames as it flows past Parliament, mounting the pavement and mowing down pedestrians crossing the great span, with it’s panoramic city views.

Some forty people were injured, twenty nine treated in hospital, with seven initially in a critical condition. Speaking in …

The Choice: Traitor to Empire, or Traitor to Mankind

I envy you. You North Americans are very lucky. You are fighting the most important fight of all. You live in the belly of the beast.

— Dr. Ernesto “Che” Guevara

A birth certificate from somewhere between the beast’s belly and its beating heartland condemns me to the dubious distinction of being among the privileged 5% of humans who claim United States Citizenship. A population which demands the right to consume 25% of earth’s resources while billions of our fellow-humans go hungry. A shame it was wasted on me, for I’ve never been one to make my country proud. Basically, I’ve always …

The Next Phase in the War on BDS

Why Israel Detained Omar Barghouti

The Israeli state has violated international law more than any other country, yet has rarely, if ever, been held accountable for crimes and misconduct.

Israel’s successful public relation campaigns through the ever-willing western media partners, coupled with the relentless work and pressure carried out by its powerful backers in Washington DC, London, Paris and elsewhere, has borne stupendous results.

For a while, it seemed that Israel was capable of maintaining its occupation and denying Palestinians their rights indefinitely, while promoting itself as ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’.

Those who dared challenge that skewed paradigm through resistance in Palestine …

Myth of the Political Grey Area

There is no political grey area. There is only feigned pragmatism. Wet noodle-ism.

The grey, the political middle in the American constituency, or what is considered moderate positions, has long been equivocating endorsers of the status quo. In today’s world these are corporate democrats, the Hillary voters who are still buying her shtick, the Republicans who are debating going to the left because Trump is a step too far even though he represents exactly what Republicans have been endorsing for years, and lastly the people still sincerely standing for the national anthem but aware America might just have some problems.

This is …

Canada’s Little Known but Once Flourishing Slave Trade

We love our tales about how “Canada” offered sanctuary to US slaves for decades, but the unabridged version is it sustained African bondage for much longer.

In a recent Rabble.ca story titled “Canada’s earliest immigration policies made it a safe haven for escaped slaves”, Penney Kome ignores the fact that Africans were held in bondage here for 200 years and that the Atlantic provinces had important ties to the Caribbean plantation economies.

According to Kome, Canada’s relationship to slavery consisted of the oft-discussed Underground Railway that brought Africans in bondage north to freedom. But, she ignores the southbound “underground railroad” …

Why This Isn’t the Time for a Public Option or Medicare for Some

This has been a tumultuous week for healthcare reform. First there was the pleasantly quick defeat of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon. Then, that evening, Senator Sanders spoke at a town hall in Vermont with Senator Pat Leahy and Representative Peter Welch where he announced that he would introduce a Medicare for All bill. Medicare for All and Bernie supporters lit up social media with their excitement over the announcement. This should have been great news, but it wasn’t exactly.

Over the weekend, more information was revealed in a series of …

Disaster As Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes

If the building starts to break up, protect yourself w[sic] mattresses, rugs etc under strong table or hold onto solid fixture.

— Queensland Ambulance, Twitter, March 28, 2017

Townsville, North Queensland — The eerie sense that something is about to happen, with unsolicited fulsome vicious force was hard to avoid.  There is a pregnant sense in the air, the pre-moisture in the winds that tease the leaves, caress the branches with harshness, the palm leaves bending painfully in worship before a divine storm.

Whilst sultry, the air is dry enough to suggest that the cyclone is short of breath, free of moisture. No …

Letter to the World Anti Doping Agency and International Olympic Committee

Regarding the McLaren Report and the Politicization of Doping in Sports

Russian track and field athletes, plus the entire Paralympics team, were banned from the Rio Games last summer.  This was based on the first McLaren report commissioned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).

The second McLaren Report was published in December 2016 and immediately accepted by the western media and political establishment as “proof” of the accusations about institutional corruption and doping conspiracy in Russia.

The following “open letter” is a critical review of the second McLaren Report and accusations of ‘state sponsored doping’  in Russia which have been promoted in the West. 
*****
To: WADA President Sir Craig Reedie

Universal Basic Income: A Fast Track to Precariousness

Would the universal basic income (or universal allowance) be the miracle reform that reduces social inequalities and relieves millions of people from the threat of poverty? Both the right and left find things to like about the idea. Socialist Party candidate Benoît Hamon made the universal basic income a flagship proposal for his program for the upcoming presidential elections. Manuel Valls (ex-Prime Minister) and Marine Le Pen (extreme right and National Front candidate) are also in favor. Surprising? To better understand what the stakes of this apparently progressive proposal …

The Deep State As Fake News

The deceptive nature of the concept of a “deep state”; the state is knowable if enough time is spent studying it; 70 years of fake news; Central Intelligence operates illegally and unaccountably; how the CIA has corrupted the system; egregious crimes committed by Central Intelligence globally; did CIA initiate an intelligence coup against an elected president?; does the President of the United States run the CIA, or does the CIA run the President?; the Phoenix Program as a bureaucratic and structural model for Central Intelligence and Homeland Security; organizational …

Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote

On March 24, after two weeks of frustrating contract talks, negotiators for the WGA (Writers Guild of America) notified the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) that, because the talks were stalled, they had no choice but to ask their 12,000 members to give them strike authorization.  It was a bold move.

As sparklingly glamorous and self-absorbed as Hollywood’s entertainment business is, when it comes to contract negotiations between the AMPTP and the WGA (or the DGA or SAG-AFTRA), they’re depressingly similar to those between, say, a group of pipefitters and welders and the IAM (International Association of Machinists).

The …