Latest articles

“Grievous Censorship” by The Guardian

Israel, Gaza, and the Termination of Nafeez Ahmed’s Blog

In July, regular Guardian contributor Nafeez Ahmed examined claims that Israel is seeking to create a ‘political climate’ conducive to the exploitation of Gaza’s considerable offshore gas reserves – 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, valued at $4 billion – which were discovered off the Gaza coast in 2000.

Ahmed quoted Israeli defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, to the effect that military efforts to ‘uproot Hamas’ were in part driven by Israel’s determination to prevent Palestinians developing their own energy resources. Ahmed also cited Anais Antreasyan who argued, in the highly-respected University of California’s Journal of Palestine Studies, that this …

The U.S. Seeks the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East

When Condoleeza Rice argued for a U.S. invasion of Iraq by claiming that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” she touched on a real threat of the nuclear war that could wipe out entire countries and destroy civilization as we know it. Rice and the rest of the Bush administration knew that Iraq didn’t have nuclear weapons and never presented such a threat. They also knew that there was one country in the Middle East who did: a nuclear-armed rogue nation who has proven throughout its history to be possibly the most lawless and bellicose …

Monbiot: A Compromised Critic of Power

I am aware that there is a danger I sound churlish about George Monbiot. Usually when I have referred to him in these posts, it has been to criticise him, even while I agree with most of what he writes and recognise that he is a rare figure indeed in the corporate media: someone writing critically about the power of the corporations.

But the reason for my preoccupation with Monbiot is neatly illustrated in his column in today’s Guardian. Monbiot identifies the biggest democratic deficit facing modern western states: the insidious role of corporations, usurping power in non-accountable and often invisible ways.

Monbiot usefully …

Indict the System

Sugar-coated fantasies about the United States of America as a “post-racial society” that guarantees equality before the law are and have always been precisely that: fantasies. Much like the “sugar high” induced by consuming copious amounts of physical sugar, voracious ingestion of this saccharine social delusion leads individuals to similar political and intellectual stupor.

Racism never went away. Signing a piece of paper that purports to guarantee equal rights to all citizens, regardless of race and ethnicity, does not magically whisk away the white supremacist accretions that have been embedded into the very substrata of the fundamental institutions upon which the …

My Arse-nal is Bigger than Yours

America: I think big, therefore I am

Somewhere out there in space there are little green men who have labelled our planet a no-go zone by virtue of the sheer weight of evidence indicating the existence here on Planet Earth of a pathological condition known to them as ‘Warfare’. Historians among the little green people from somewhere, must have pondered throughout millennia, why humans have been so inhumane to their own kind. To have evolved from hunter-gatherers to lunatics committed to licentious acts of animus for the purpose of advancing group identity — in coded narratives, of course, that seek dominance of the resources of Planet Earth, is beyond comprehension. Therefore, Planet Earth must be avoided at …

“The proletariat is dead! Long live the precariat!”

Many summers ago, just freed from the enforced boredom of high school, I signed up for a course on Marxist economics. Andy, the teen I worked with, asked if I would accompany him. I envied him his dad, a transplanted Marxist Scotsman, and I relished the transgression I was invited to undertake, especially as a recent apostate from Catholicism.

The class was held at the Proletarian Party (PP) headquarters in a shabby, multi-story building in Chicago’s Loop. I realized as soon as we entered their small office and saw at the other end of the room “Lecture Hall” inscribed in …

New Employment Figures in the Shadow of a Fragile Economy

Economist Richard Wolff says workers are returning to jobs with lower wages, fewer benefits, and less job security than they had before the financial crisis hit.

Mubarak Cleared of All Charges for Murdering Protesters

Is the Egyption military behind the dropped charges against Mubarak? Maged Mandour, political analyst for Open Democracy, explains the political and economic power of the military in the Egyptian state.

Groaning towards War

House Resolution 758

The US House of Representatives might have though it through a bit more, but House Resolution 758, the handiwork of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), passed with 98 percent of the vote. The text lasts a dreary 16 pages, but that is the least of it. It states, in the undusted, revised language of Cold War vitriol, the agenda of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, which the House accuses of using “a policy of aggression against neighbouring countries aimed at political and economic domination.” It makes reference to Russia’s purported violation of “each of the 10 principles of …

Crushing the Camel

What’s the frequency level? What schematic vibration are you operating from? High or low? Middle ground? Flighty or dense? Kittenish or fierce? Extreme points of reference coalesce and burn at the edges. Houston, we have a disruptive problem arising in the form of allegorical metaphors running amok across the pages of literary diarrhea which are passed off as being purely ingenious, quizzical, fantastical and kaleidoscopic in their wide array of viewpoints from which to peek at the dirty little secrets kept tucked beneath the covers and the ugly old agendas swept under the …

The Rise of German Imperialism and the Phony “Russian Threat”

The principle Nazi ideological prop that secured massive financial and political support from Germany’s leading industrialists was the Communist and Soviet threat. The main Nazi military drive, absorbing two-thirds of its best troops, was directed eastward at conquering and destroying Russia. The ‘Russian Threat’ justified Nazi Germany’s conquest and occupation of the Ukraine, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, with the aid of a substantial proportion of local Nazi collaborators.

After Germany’s defeat, division, and disarmament, and with the extension of Soviet power, …

Hagel’s Dismissal

End of the “Team of Rivals” or More of the Same?

Somebody on CNN suggested the other day that the dismissal of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary spells the end of Barack Obama’s notion of a “team of rivals.” (Recall how that term was used after the 2008 election to refer to the new president’s decision to include former rivals, notably Hillary Clinton, in his administration. It was derived from the title of a book by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet formed in 1860 that included three former opponents.)

Obama wanted to be the great healer, the magnanimous reconciler of a bitterly divided nation. Thinking it would aid this …

People Power Grows, Demands Justice

Five Crucial Campaigns for Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

This week tens of thousands of people in the United States flooded the streets to demand racial justice. It is one of many issues that has been building for years, reaching the tipping point and seeming to explode in a national awakening. We also saw that in the last two weeks with national protests for living wages.

Four years ago when we organized the occupation of Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza, we listed 15 crisis issues that the country needed to face,  poverty wages and the injustice in criminal enforcement, including racially abusive police practices, were two of them. None of these …

The Rise and Fall of Debate in Economics

New data illustrate the extent to which economists have stopped discussing each other’s work

Once upon a time, economists regularly used to publicly criticise each other’s work in academic journals. But not any more.

In Figure 1 I have illustrated the degree to which economists have stopped debating. The data have been culled from Jstor, the online database of academic journals. To estimate the number of debating articles for each year, I searched for articles with “comment”, “reply”, and/or “rejoinder” in their titles, as these are the key words used to indicate a comment on someone else’s article and a reply to that comment. I did the search for the five most prestigious economics journals. I then used the total number …

Netanyahu’s Election Scapegoat: Israel’s Palestinian Minority

Part 2: Early move to election designed to strengthen right’s hand by accentuating internal threats and casting the vote as one for Israel’s soul

The collapse of Binyamin Netanyahu’s less than two-year-old government this week indicates the increasingly volatile nature of Israeli politics – and a trend towards ever greater extremism. Those who will pay the highest price are almost certainly Israel’s large minority of Palestinian citizens.

The changes are a direct result of a strengthening consensus among the Jewish public over the past five years that no resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is possible.

Few Israeli politicians ever took seriously the idea of reaching a meaningful peace agreement with the Palestinians, but for much of the past quarter century they did at least claim in …

Why Netanyahu wants Early Elections

Part 1: His chief rival, the centrist Yair Lapid, is at his lowest ebb, as the pair struggle over who Israel’s economy benefits

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a press conference late on Tuesday at which he launched into a tirade against two centre-right ministers he had fired from his government earlier that day. Israel is almost certainly now heading into elections, expected in March, two years after Netanyahu formed his third government, widely seen as the most right wing in Israel’s history.

It was hard not to discern in Netanyahu’s fulminations against his colleagues, Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni, whom he accused of trying to mount a “putsch” against him, the accumulated grievances of months of petty squabbling inside the coalition.

That is …

Let’s Use the Brains Our Species Was Born with

Asked how human beings get the Ebola virus, National Institutes of Health infectious-disease director Anthony Fauci described, in a radio interview, the scenario of someone in Africa using a fruit bat “for protein nourishment.” The virus spills over to humans from nonhuman animals, to invoke David Quammen’s informative book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.

Most authorities share Dr. Fauci’s obliviousness to the needless and misguided animal abuse that gives humans just about every infectious disease we can name, whether acquired recently or in prehistoric times – AIDS, smallpox, bubonic plague, anthrax, influenza … the list …

Ten Reasons Why I Don’t Have a Credit Card

At a recent American Antitrust Institute (AAI) symposium in Washington, D.C., I asked the presenters about the ability of cash and checks to compete with the credit card industry and its strict controls on merchants. This obvious point becomes less obvious when one takes into account the expanding exclusion of cash/check payments due to the overwhelming expansion of goods and services that you cannot buy unless you have a credit card or a friend with one whom you can reimburse.

When sending some types of express mail, renting a car, or paying for the services of airlines/trains or hotels, you either …

Drone Mania in US Skies: Regulating the Future

It seems like dystopian mayhem: the US airspace, riddled with opportunistic drones, surveillance vehicles, hell fire missiles and other such lethal projectiles manned by ruthless, unhinged operators.  There is also something far less intrusive or lethal: the delivery of purchased items, amateur filming, and the taking of aerial photos.

But the battle between the deployment of the drone, or unmanned vehicle, in its blissfully anarchic state, and one of regulations, continues on the Hill, and various state legislatures which find this technological nirvana a touch too much to handle. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants permission for the use of drones …

American Capitalism: Écrasez l’Infâme!

From 1948 to 1973, hourly compensation grew instep with the productivity of the typical American worker. This means that, for about a generation’s time, economic prosperity amongst workers in the United States virtually reflected productivity. In the ensuing forty years, however, inequality exploded. The Washington Post has reported that income for the bottom 90 percent of American households has only nominally grown since 1973, when this group commanded nearly 70 percent of national income. In her article entitled “The Capitalist Machine: Computerization, Workers’ Power, And The Decline In Labor’s Share Within U.S. Industries”, sociologist Tali Kristal evinces the dismal disconnect …