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Suddenly, Baltimore: Wonder Why?

Suddenly, the mass media is writing about or televising the conditions in West Baltimore. Conditions that Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson, summarized as decades long “suffocating poverty, dysfunction and despair.”

Suddenly, reporters and camera teams are discovering Baltimore’s inner city—crumbling or abandoned housing; mass unemployment; too many merchants gouging the locals (the poor pay more); too many drug dealers; schools, roads and sidewalks in serious disrepair; debris everywhere; lack of municipal services (which are provided to the wealthier areas of the city); and, as always, grinding poverty and its many vicious circle consequences.

Suddenly, media highlights a report by Harvard economists putting …

World’s Richest 80 People Own Same Amount as World’s Bottom 50%

Oxfam’s recent report, “Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More,” contains shocking figures that the press haven’t sufficiently publicized; so, the findings and the reliability of their sources will be discussed here. The results will then be related to the central political debate now going on in the U.S. Presidential contests for 2016, which is about equality and inequality.

First, the findings:

1. The richest 80 individuals own as much as do all of the poorest half of humanity.

2. During 2009-2014, the wealth of the 80 richest people doubled, yet the wealth of the bottom 50% declined slightly.

Now, the sources:

These data are calculated …

The American Dream: Designed by War Planners

It is wrong to believe that postwar American suburbanization prevailed because the public chose it… Suburbanization prevailed because of the decisions of large operators and powerful economic institutions supported by federal government programmes… ordinary consumers had little real choice in the basic pattern that resulted… Essentially city planners saw the atomic threat as a means to accelerate the trend of suburbanization. Plans to circle American cities with open spaces, highways and circumferential life belts was long overdue…The federal government played a more effective role in reducing urban vulnerability [to atomic attack] in future residential development by working through the Federal

UK General Election: Not a Pretty Sight

A Personal View: No Cheery Prospect

I said it would be bad, and it is. Worse than bad. The British people have given the Zionist tool Cameron another five years, and he’s off the see the Queen.

So what price Churchill’s (Randolph, that is) advice to “trust the people”? The great man said: “You, who are ambitious, and rightly ambitious, of being the guardians of the British Constitution, trust the people, and they will trust you—and they will follow you and join you in the defence of that Constitution against any and every foe.” The Constitution, of course, mostly needs protecting from its ambitious guardians while they …

V-Day: Russia’s Perpetual Fight against Fascism

Trust between the West and Russia is broken. It has been for quite some time, but now it is broken irreversibly. A good thing, because what kind of trust there could be between fascist imperialism and the forces that are fighting for the freedom of mankind?

It is really easy to trick the Russian people. It takes very little to gain their trust; sometimes only a kind smile, a handful of loving words, a few sincerely sounding pledges and promises. Russians can be easily ‘bought’ with kindness. They are very trusting, vulnerable people.

When approached with tenderness and sympathy, they soon open …

It Doesn’t Quite Feel Right

The British Election Result

So fell spin doctor par excellence Alastair Campbell on the BBC’s commentary regarding the exit poll from the broadcaster. The temperature in various party rooms wasn’t quite right either. According to the Beeb’s prediction, the Tories would be increasing their numbers to 316 seats, with Labour getting a reduced 239 when all the results would be in. Another prediction then followed: the conservatives would be able to govern in their own right, heaving past the majority line. Others suggested that the exit poll was “incredible” and “unbelievable”, a sort of forecast from distant Narnia. Treat it …

Halting NSA Bulk Phone Data Collection

While congress ponders the merits of the USA Freedom Act of 2015, a bill which revises the business records provisions of the Patriot Act, a panel of judges in a federal appeals court has just thrown a clump of sand into the gears of the global panopticon. Overturning an earlier ruling, where federal judges dismissed a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone metadata is illegal.

The Good News

In their ruling the judges focused heavily on the scope of …

Abandoning Nuclear Waste

Ontario Power Generation owns 20 nuclear power reactors. Two of them permanently shut down. Six more scheduled to be retired by 2020.

The largest nuclear power station in North America is the Bruce NPP, located close to the shore of Lake Huron. The Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) is sited on land adjacent to the eight operating reactors at Bruce. At WWMF, radioactive reactor wastes of all kinds from all of Ontario’s reactors are stored in surface or near-surface facilities. In recent years, because of the removal of large volumes of materials from inside the cores of these reactors and other …

Are the Teens of Today a Dying Breed?

Picture this! Your child is browsing through the latest teen magazine and she’s analysing all the latest ‘in-crowd'; Victoria Beckham, Lindsay Lohan, etc, who generally have a body mass index that would rival that of an infant suffering from malnutrition. She stops and looks closer and then declares “Gosh I wish I had a figure like that!”

I remember when my daughter was seven (she happened to be built like willow the wisp!) attempted to grab her tiny tummy, as she stood analysing herself in my mirror and announced that she was too fat! At which point I told her …

A Day and Night-mare

Binyamin Netanyahu seems to be detested now by everyone. Almost as much as his meddling wife, Sarah’le.

Six weeks ago, Netanyahu was the great victor. Contrary to all opinion polls, he achieved a surprise victory at the last moment, winning 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, leaving the Labor Party (re-branded “The Zionist Camp”) well behind him.

The extra seats did not come from the Left. They came from his nearest competitors, the Rightist parties.

However, it was a great personal triumph. Netanyahu was on top of his world. Sarah’le was radiant. Netanyahu left no doubt that he was now the master, and …

Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Protectors Aim to Halt Construction on Sacred Mountain

In the early morning of March 23, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner Lanakila Mangauil heard that construction of the world’s largest optical telescope had begun atop the Hawaiian sacred mountain Mauna Kea. He immediately spread the word to the community, who had been keeping vigilant watch, and ran up the summit to stop the desecration of this wahi pana, a place of cultural significance and practice. Others followed Lanakila’s lead, however, nobody expected that this would spark a global movement to protect one of our planet’s sacred sites.

Burundi: Denying or Hoping Won’t Solve this Crisis

Virtually everyone with an expertise in humanitarian crisis has warned about the unfolding catastrophe these very days in Burundi – the head of UNHCR, former UN Humanitarian chief Jan Egeland, the UN Secretary-General and his envoy, the International Crisis Group, specialists on Burundi, human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch, civil society organisations inside Burundi, etc. TFF did it in PressInfo 319 of April 29, 2015.

Everyone who cares will see all the red lamps and hear the alarm bells. We have a history of genocide in this country and neighbouring Rwanda just a few years ago. …

The Jewish Solidarity Spin

The Nabil Test
 
In order to grasp the way in which contemporary solidarity terminology operates to deceive and derail the Palestinian cause, we will look at a few theoretical simulations that will help to clarify the corrosive nature that is the contemporary pro Palestinian discourse.
 
Nabil is a fictional 25 year old Palestinian, 3rd generation refugee born and living in Sabra and Shatila, Lebanon. Nabil is unemployed. No prospect of a future for him. As a Palestinian refugee his chances of higher education or a decent job are non-existent. Nabil cannot even obtain a travel document. He is stranded in the …

Why Occupy?

First in a four-part series

There is a tendency for democratic self-governing institutions to become oligarchies, specifically because elite interests within these institutions are prioritized over the needs of their members. According to researchers, such as Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, and conservative theorists, such as Robert Michels, democratic institutions primarily serve elite interests. In “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens”, (in Perspectives on Politics, September 2014 Vol. 12/No. 3, p.564-581), Gilens and Page argue that oligarchies within democratic institutions ultimately undermine their democratic goals, in which the institution is co-opted by elites. And on the other hand, conservatives like …

Obama: Just Do It the TPP Swoosh Way, Brother Milton Friedman

The prez comes to Portlandia and here we are, stuck in 5 hour traffic while his motorcade plows right by the real people

So his motorcade comes to Portland and clogs traffic. The mainstream news yammers on about where he might end up for pie or a smoke or which trendy place Barack might get an artisan beer or vegan cheese sandwich. All the rotten facts about his bullet and missile proof Cadillac. How the Murder Incorporated Entourage will have secret service, local SWAT, special forces and a slew of private mercenaries around to protect this GQ guy? America, 2015, and that 3 billion dollar Obama smile, in stumptown.

Portland, Oregon, hobbled by high taxes to the middle class, gentrification, no affordable housing, a …

Fossil Fools

We are fossil fools. In fact, fossil fuel companies have been playing us for fools for so long that we barely notice their power, their control, and the destructive consequences these monolithic companies have over us; that is, until directly affected. Subtle exploitation is all around, but special harm has come through deepwater drilling off our coast or penetration of our shale with the ravages of fracking.

We have taken our beatings at the gas pump and believe their oligopolistic dribble about market forces pushing up prices. We let our representatives refuse to eliminate subsidies to companies like Exxon-Mobil ($20 B/yr …

A “Seminar” Organized by the Zapatistas Draws Over a Thousand Participants in Chiapas

Letter from Mexico: Part Two

While the front pages and TV news reports in Mexico are full of accounts of ghastly levels of corruption and violence that would have boggled the imagination of the most jaded pulp fiction writer, in every corner of the country there are spaces where “you breathe a different air,” as the saying is here.

On the outskirts of San Cristobal de Las Casas, famed colonial center of the southern state of Chiapas, on the wooded campus of the Indigenous Center for Comprehensive Training (Spanish acronym: CIDECI – follow the link to learn more about this remarkable alternative university) over a …

NZ Super-annuitants Profit from Gaza Children’s Agony

The shocking decision by the government-owned New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF) to not divest from Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL), manufacturer of white phosphorus, blatantly violates the NZSF Responsibilities:

ethical investment including policies, standards and procedures for avoiding prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community

and Standards for Human Rights:

1. Support and respect human rights 2. No complicity in abuses

set out in the NZSF cautionary but brushed off Responsible Investment Framework.

Moreover, NZSF CEO, Adrian Orr, pragmatically amnesic of Israel’s infinite violations of international law and UN resolutions, assured members that,

In 2013,

Big Wine Blasted at North Coast California Gathering

In the heart of what corporate wine industry lobbyists have re-branded “Wine Country,” activists from four North Coast California counties gathered in early May for their third monthly meeting. They created a regional network of groups from Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties.

Participants came to the attractive resort town of Calistoga in Napa to discuss how to contain the rampant, sprawling growth of corporate vineyards and wineries as commercial, industrial event centers. They pave over agricultural land, damage the quality of rural life, and create multiple negative impacts upon the environment with respect to water, land, noise, traffic, wildlife habitat, …

An Election Fit for a Lunatic Asylum

The complicated mess that is the UK

After the election every Westminster politician will have to come and face the reality of the electorate’s judgment.  There is no disrespect or disgrace in any politician coming to terms with the democratically expressed position of the electorate.  All politicians, those of us who are lucky enough to be elected, chosen by the people, will try to do their best as they see it in the interests of the people who elected them.

— Alex Salmond, ex-First Minister of Scottish Parliament, now running for a seat in Westminster

Where much of the electorate is concerned politicians, apart from a noble few, will …