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A Proposed Meaning for Human Life

Using our Unique Powers of Conscious Creativity to Find Joyous Harmony in Diversity

Having now completed my allotted span of “three-score years and ten,” I’ve undertaken to create at least for my own satisfaction an answer to the query once posed by the main character in a popular 1966 British movie. Played by the actor Michael Caine, he asks himself plaintively, “What’s it all about, Alfie?” In old age, I ask myself the same question, though it is rooted in a far broader perspective than is Alfie’s questioning about his tawdry love life.

Before it’s too late, I want to try to establish for myself–perhaps in living proof of Freud’s theory regarding “sublimation” of …

Refugee Conundrums

Resettlement, the UN and the US-Australia Deal

Having poured scorn and not an indecent amount of bile upon the refugee deal between the Obama administration and Canberra last year, US President Donald Trump was never going to make things easy for the resettlement of various groups held on Nauru and Manus Island.

Repeated emphasis has been made on the issue of how the anti-terrorism regime outlined in the USA Patriot Act disqualifies potential entrants, given the sheer scope of how “support” is defined.  This is particularly applicable to the Tamils, numbering some 100, who might have been sympathetic to the cause of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil …

Gaza-Sinai State a Possibility for Palestinians?

The long-discussed plan could see most of Gaza’s population end up in Sinai, alongside millions of Palestinian refugees

Gaza has been the focus of intense talks behind closed doors in recent weeks as disquiet has risen among Arab states at the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the coastal enclave.

Palestinians there are enduring a scorching summer with barely a few hours of power a day, after Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to finance essential services. Abbas is trying to weaken his Hamas rivals who rule Gaza and assert his own authority.

In the background, an ominous deadline is rapidly approaching. Gaza is expected to be “uninhabitable” within a few years, according to United Nations forecasts. Its economy has been …

You In Humanity

The fundamental flaw in human society is a lack of moral character. While certainly there are many people who have good moral character, they are too few to dominate the aggregate behavior of homo sapiens. Selfishness dominates. It issues many lies to distract and manipulate human consciousness to its advantage. Lies are the sound and literature of theft from the public good. Selfishness justifies itself with the excuses of “belief” and “moral principles,” which are attempted disguises for its denial of truth. People believe what they want to believe; facts don’t matter. Religions in particular, and often government systems, are …

Weather Disrupters, Beetle Killers, Tide Changers: Dowsing for the Last Species on Earth

One decent piece on climate change parsed and diced into Capitalism's Anti-Thinking -- Uninhabitable Minds

Human Evolution of the Mind Is Like a Hind Teat on a Texas Bull…

Here we are witnessing The Great Collective Amnesia of the Western World…. The great Forgetting, from the political crass class (total), intellectual wanderers (not all, but mostly all) and the general public (most, and these huge blocks against intelligence follow from generation to next generation with a fluidity equal to the amount of information – mostly junk – exponentially increasing on the world wide web and the number eye gazes at the weekly sales worldwide a la eBay, Amazon.dot.steal and any other number of …

Does Capitalism Exist?

My starting point here may seem rather remote from the question posed in the title of this essay, but certain background subjects must be given attention before addressing that question.

Thorstein Veblen [1857–1929] closed his “Some Neglected Points in the Theory of Socialism” with this paragraph (p. 74):

Certainly, the fact that constitutional government—the nationalization of political functions—seems to have been a move in the right direction is not to be taken as proof of the advisability of forthwith nationalizing the industrial functions. 

The Guardian’s Propaganda on Venezuela

All you need to know

With the Constituent Assembly elections due to take place on July 30th, the Guardian published a piece titled “Venezuela elections: all you need to know”. But instead of breaking through the fog of falsehood and misinformation that is typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of Venezuela, the Guardian comes up with another propaganda piece laden with lies, distortions and omissions. In this article we go through the Guardian’s piece, clarifying the falsehoods, adding the conveniently omitted information and questioning the whole narrative that is presented.
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Fear and Trepidation in Tel Aviv

Is Israel Losing the Syria War?

Israel, which has played a precarious role in the Syrian war since 2011, is furious to learn that the future of the conflict is not to its liking.

The six-year-old Syria war is moving to a new stage, perhaps its final. The Syrian regime is consolidating its control over most of the populated centers, while ISIS is losing ground fast – and everywhere.

Areas evacuated by the rapidly disintegrated militant group are up for grabs. There are many hotly contested regions sought over by the government of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus and its allies, on the one hand, and the various anti-Assad …

Philippines: Western Media is Distorting Reality

People and Army Unite to Battle “ISIS”

Andre Vltchek with military leaders in Marawi, Philippines
Covering the recent battle for the city of Marawi on Mindanao Island in the Southern Philippines, the Western media has been grossly exaggerating unconfirmed reports and rumors. It has been spreading twisted information and ‘facts’.

At the beginning of July, I visited Mindanao as one of only a few foreigners allowed inside the besieged city of Marawi and to its surrounding area.
General Rey, head of Joint-Task-Force, Ranao

Slaying in Minneapolis: Justine Damond, Shooting Cultures and Race

It plays out as a horror story of law enforcement. A distress call to the Minneapolis police about activity taking place behind the house on Washburn Avenue, possibly a sound of intercourse, distress, or both, taking place after 11 during the night of July 15.  “Hi, I’m, I can hear someone out back and I, I’m not sure if she’s having sex or being raped.”

The caller, Justine Damond, had been spooked by the commotion. She had called her fiancé in Las Vegas who had, in turn, insisted she call the police.  When the officers arrived, an unsuspecting Damond approached …

Feminism Co-opted

I am a retired history professor and historian of women, a socialist, and a radical feminist.  I know what feminism is, and I know it’s being co-opted.  What is feminism?  How is it defined?  Feminism is the belief in equality for women.  But feminism is being used now for unrelated, or even opposite causes, like war, transgender bathrooms, anti-Russia hysteria and political opportunism.

Large crowds of women descended on Susan B. Anthony’s grave in Rochester, NY, on Election Day 2016.  Anthony’s grave, in what I saw as a desecration, became completely covered with “I Voted” stickers.  I was not surprised to …

Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up Calls

Now that the Great Acceleration dictates the biosphere with ever more and more intensity, sudden changes in the ecosystem are causing climate scientists to stop and ponder what’s happening to our planet, alike never before… hmm!

The Great Acceleration: “Only after 1945 did human actions become genuine driving forces behind crucial Earth systems.”

Abrupt changes outside the boundaries of natural variability are signs of climate fatigue, Mother Nature overwhelmed, defeated, breaking down. It’s happening fast and faster yet mostly on the fringes of the ecosystem …

Making America Great, Again?

Racism, Poverty, Violence…

“Make America Great Again” was Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. It appeals to the people whose hearts beat with patriotic fervor. But what does such a slogan explicitly point out?

Syntactically, Trump is telling Americans that the United States of America is not great. A country can only become something again when it is currently not that something it seeks to recapture – in this case, that something is greatness. So currently the US is not great according to the mantra of Trump.

Two questions are raised by this?

1. When was America …

Wine and the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement

Two weeks ago the worst fear of Canadian opponents of neoliberal ‘free trade’ agreements came true.

Surprisingly, there has been almost no reaction from the political parties, unions, and other organizations that warned these agreements would be used to undermine Canadian law, even though this is exactly what happened.

After David Kattenburg repeatedly complained about inacurate labels on two wines sold in Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) notified the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that it “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading” to declare Israel as the country of origin for wines produced in …

Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks

Illinois is teetering on bankruptcy and other states are not far behind, largely due to unfunded pension liabilities; but there are solutions. The Federal Reserve could do a round of “QE for Munis.” Or the state could turn its sizable pension fund into a self-sustaining public bank.
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Illinois is insolvent, unable to pay its bills. According to Moody’s, the state has $15 billion in unpaid bills and $251 billion in unfunded liabilities. Of these, $119 billion are tied to shortfalls in the state’s pension program. On July 6, 2017, for the first time in two years, the …

Social Security: The 14th Amendment and “Odious Debt”

The Republican Party prepares to violate the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution:  Social Security — the 14th amendment and “odious debt”.

For decades the working people have been paying millions more than was needed into Social Security and for years the excess money has been borrowed by the government.  Presently there is almost $3 trillion owed by the government to the Social Security Trust Fund.  The Republican Party now controls the government and has a budget plan that will give less than was promised to millions of people who have paid excess into Social Security for years. ((New York Times, …

Too Cool For School

Social Justice Discourse and Ideology as Knowledge

Implicit in the banking concept is the assumption of a dichotomy between human beings and the world: a person is merely in the world, not with the world or with others; the individual is spectator, not re-creator.

— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968)

As a scholar who has spent my professional life reading, writing, and teaching university students, I have come to realize how lucky I was to have been fully funded for my graduate studies and likewise received into departments around the world where my scholarship was welcomed by scholars from countries whose compatriots, when they immigrate to …

Through the Eyes of an Activist for Palestine

Book Review of Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Of the roughly millions of novels published annually worldwide, Arundhati Roy is one of the rare maverick authors for whom justice and politics is integral to her art and to her identity. Her new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which I would describe as her summa injustica of India, has been criticised as “A Novel That Is Neither Creative Nor Fiction.

Well, it is definitely outside the run-of-the-mill novel genre enjoyed by suburban book clubs, and you can thank the god of your …

The Balfour Declaration: Time to Say Sorry and Time We Made Amends

In a letter to a local newspaper about Brexit and the way prime minister Theresa May is handling it, I happened to mention in passing the Balfour Declaration, criticising her plans to celebrate the centenary “with pride” and invite Israel’s PM Netanyahu to the fun. This drew a sharp response from someone spouting the usual Israeli propaganda ‘facts’ and saying my attitude harmed the Jewish community worldwide.

The Balfour Declaration is a deadly serious subject. It is a cause of great horror and grief, of justifiable international anger, and a matter for profound regret. This is a right time and proper …

Saudi Arabia: The Tragedy of the “Ships of the Desert”

Lament in an Insane World: Stateless, Expelled Camels

After his visit to the Kingdom in May, Donald Trump decided to back the Saudi-led blockade of tiny Qatar (2015 population 2.235 million, but just 313,000 citizens) imposed less than a month later.

The siege was also joined by Bahrain, Doha, the Maldives, the UAE – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. It was quickly pointed out that:

(The) US President has long history of lucrative investment deals with Saudi Arabia but few ties to the small Gulf nation.

Trump’s financial bounties from Saudi “… includes the purchase of tens of millions of dollars in Trump’s real …