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The Best Teachers I Ever Had

I used to live and work in the Irish Channel at Hope House in New Orleans. I worked with families who lived in the St. Thomas Housing Development. Over 1500 families lived in brick buildings stretched three blocks by four blocks in the area which is now the River Garden apartments.

Some Catholic Sisters who were living in the St. Thomas asked me to join them in serving the poor and I agreed. One of the sisters received a small stipend for teaching religion at Mercy Academy. She told me she would give me her stipend of $250 per month if …

The Kagame-Power Lobby’s Dishonest Attack on the BBC 2’s Documentary on Rwanda

On October 1, 2014, a remarkable event occurred in Britain.  The British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC 2’s This World telecast Rwanda’s Untold Story, a documentary produced by Jane Corbin and John Conroy that offered a critical view of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and of his and the British and U.S. roles in the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda and beyond. ((Jane Corbin and John Conroy, Rwanda’s Untold Story, BBC 2, October 1, 2014.  Whenever we cite the time-stamp for something that we take from the documentary (e.g., 51:19), we are referring to the copy of the documentary as posted to the …

Ministry of Injustice vs. Indigenous Peoples

Rule of Law and Democracy: Two Brazilian Euphemisms

The Brazilian media landscape has long been as monotonous as the real landscape of this geographic giant is becoming now. Atlantic and Amazon Rainforests, Cerrado and Pampas (Savannah and Natural Grassland), Caatinga (Dry Thorn Bush)…, everything fits the insatiable profit-hunger of agribusiness and the (their) serving political caste. No wonder therefore that I have been seeing rapidly expanding monocultures from horizon to horizon for the most part whenever I have been traveling over the last quarter of a century, commonly for a few thousand kilometers through one or more of the above-mentioned biotopes, in order to get to the pressured …

Which Is Worse, a Libertarian or a Humanitarian-Warrior?

Is it worse to put into Congress or the White House someone who wants to end wars and dismantle much of the military but also wants to abolish Social Security and Medicare and the Department of Education and several other departments they have trouble remembering the names of, OR someone who just wants to slightly trim all of those departments around the edges while waging countless wars all over the world in the name of every heretofore imagined human right other than the right not to get blown up with a missile?

Can dismantling the military without investing in diplomacy and …

On The List

Yesterday, in the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ (APVs’) “Borderfree Center” here in Kabul, I heard someone banging on the front gate and hurried downstairs to open it. As it happened, I was the only one at the Center that morning. Outside the gate stood two women with their burkas pushed back.

They had come a long way on foot. Reza Gul, the younger of the two, told me, as they stepped into our front yard, that they had walked for an hour and a half through Kabul to reach us. Zahro, the older woman, smiled and asked that I please put …

Empire or Republic: Imperial Wars and Domestic Epidemics

You Can’t Have Wars and Public Health

Washington escalates its military interventions abroad, launching simultaneous air and ground attacks in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; multiplying drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia; training, arming, and financing proxy mercenaries in Jordan, the Gulf States, and Iraq; and dispatching National Guard battalions to West Africa, ostensibly to combat the Ebola epidemic, though they lack the most elementary public health capabilities. All in all the US spent $3.5 trillion for military invasions over 6 years.

At the same time, the US domestic public health services have deteriorated. …

Continent of Amnesia — Genocide, Patricide, Continuing Criminal Enterprise: North America!

I like this from Black Agenda Report, “How to Pay for a Free, Non-Racist Higher Education,” on the for-profit shysters like U of Phoenix and other bizarre manifestations of neo-liberalism, charter school sickness and the American adage that nothing can be sold for something, for a lot of somethings in the case of this Media-Pharma-Ag-Penitentiary-Military-Energy-Financial-IT-Academic complex, on steroids, thanks to the founding fathers’ slave complex New Eden shit project for a new place to make money off the masses. These legal-financial-patent-pending schemes are being run by the exceptional ones, the chosen people in many cases. Read the Jerusalem Post below …

A Most Important Book for All Who Study National Liberations

Unfree in Palestine

The new book by academics Nadia Abu-Zahra and Adah Kay — Unfree in Palestine: Registration, Documentation and Movement Restrictions (PlutoPress, 2013) — is a brilliant achievement, and a landmark in the study of both the ongoing Israel genocide in Palestine, and national liberation struggles in general.

At first look the book is simply a well-researched academic treatise, with 693 endnotes, about administrative controls imposed …

Energy Conflicts and Differential Profits

An Update

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, we identified a new phenomenon that we called ‘energy conflicts’ and showed that these conflicts were intimately linked to the differential profitability of the leading oil companies. Figure 1 below, which was first published in 1995, adds new data to bring this connection up to­ date.

The chart displays the differential return on equity of the ‘Petro‑Core’, a group consisting of the world’s …

The Confusion in Understanding Political Islam

The problem with most writings on the conflict in the Muslim world today revolves around two facts. Firstly, it is almost impossible to find Muslim writers who have enough objectivity to present faithfully what is happening to enable the reader to make his own conclusion. Secondly, and invariably, the best of the Orientalists lack a true understanding of political Islam. It is not surprising in view of the above two facts that people in the world find it difficult to follow and understand what is happening in the Muslim/Arab world today.

I do not intend to take the reader …

Where People Fear to Game

The Rise and Fall of Gamergate

There seems to be a small yet vocal core of maniacs bafflingly resistant to the notion that women should have any say in the games industry at all.

— Charlie Brooker, The Guardian, October 20, 2014

Those playing computer games are a special breed.  Not perhaps pedigree, but certainly special.  The Gamergate drive has been bristling and firing with misogynistic venom for some months now, but already, Chris Plante of The Verge can claim that the movement “is dead”. Are such announcements, as they always tend to be, premature?  The “remainders represent a hate group and its banner, associated with bigotry …

Ballots or Bullets: Democracy and World Power

The principal reason why Washington engages in military wars, sanctions and clandestine operations to secure power abroad is because its chosen clients cannot, and do not, win free and open elections.

A brief survey of recent election outcomes testify to the electoral unattractiveness of Washington-backed clients. The majority of democratic electorates rejects candidates and parties which back the US global agenda: neo-liberal economic policies; a highly militarized foreign policy; Israeli colonization and annexation of Palestine; the concentration of wealth in the financial sector; the military escalation against China and Russia. While the US policy attempts to re-impose the pillage and dominance …

The FBI Can Bypass Encryption

Cyber Security Is a Magic Act

Encryption has gained the attention of actors on both sides of the mass surveillance debate. For example, in a speech at the Brookings Institution FBI Director James Comey complained that strong encryption was causing U.S. security services to “go dark.” Comey described encrypted data as follows:

It’s the equivalent of a closet that can’t be opened, a safe deposit box that can’t be opened, a safe that can’t ever be cracked.

Got that? Comey essentially says that encryption is a sure bet. Likewise during an interview with James Bamford whistleblower Ed Snowden confidently announced that:

We have the means and we

Too Hot! Too Cold! Global Warming?

Every time a frigid blast of Arctic air, or an extraordinarily heavy snowfall, or a devastating ice storm hits the Northern Hemisphere, especially off season, all sorts of commentators, principally in America, hit the news wires and blogs with: Uh-Oh! Global Warming?

Predictably, those headlines confuse the public about the reality of global warming, and that is understandable as it conveniently fits into a well thought out, well orchestrated game plan, which is confusion, confusion, confusion, keep’em confused. As for the upshot of this strategy of the denial camp, America will never have a clear vision to get off fossil fuels.

For …

Modern Day America: One Step Away from the Third Reich

Unbeknownst to most Americans the United States is presently under thirty presidential declared states of emergency. They confer vast powers on the Executive Branch including the ability to financially incapacitate any person or organization in the United States, seize control of the nation’s communications infrastructure, mobilize military forces, expand the permissible size of the military without congressional authorization, and extend tours of duty without consent from service personnel. Declared states of emergency may also activate Presidential Emergency Action Documents and other continuity-of-government procedures which confer powers on the President, such as the unilateral suspension of habeas corpus—that appear fundamentally opposed

Time to Put the Poor in Charge

Centuries ago, explorers, and economically charged navigators, firmly put to rout the idea of a “flat” world. Today, rather than equalizing development’s inborn global disparity, and rather than leveling the economic playing field, globalization has ushered into existence tremendous instances of developmental corrosion—especially among poorer states. Richer nations, and their ruling plutocracies, have grown incredibly wealthy as a direct result. Yet, just as today there is no reason to consider the world physically flat, no longer is there any reason to expect a forthcoming, economic leveling of the disparity in global development. Equitable development among rich and poor states alike …

Death, Taxes, and the Cuban Blockade

The famous expression about the only things that will happen with absolute certainty, death and taxes, is actually missing one: the annual vote in which 99% of the world’s nations declare that the blockade against Cuba is illegal and must end. Yesterday, for the 23rd straight year, the United Nations General Assembly voted to end the U.S. blockade against Cuba by the astounding margin of 188 to 2. The annual resolution may seem like mere political theater meant to embarrass the U.S. government, but in reality it is a sincere objection to an inhumane policy.

Washington will now …

The American Resistance to Israel

The movement to prevent Israeli cargo ships from being unloaded or loaded is potentially one of the greatest challenges that Israel faces from ordinary citizens around the world. Amazingly, it doesn’t even require huge numbers or even very much unity of organization, only of purpose.

The August, 2014 picket of the Zim Piraeus in Oakland, California, is a case in point.  It began with a massive demonstration of thousands that responded to a call from the Block the Boat coalition to picket the port on August 16 and 17.  During that time, the ship chose to remain in a stationary position …

Condemned in Many Places, Fur Industry Still Manages to Survive

Do you want a mink coat? Or a seal coat which Prada, Gucci and Versace sell? Or a monkey fur garment offered by Salvatore Ferragamo? (Yes, you read that right.) Go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army and you’ll find them next to the King Kong and Big Foot Halloween costumes.

Once upon a time, wearing fur meant you had money (or at least the man who bought you the coat did). But today fur is archaic and is seldom seen in Chicago, other parts of the US and a lot of Europe, except on people over 70. One woman …

A “Cheyenne Autumn” and Beyond

Reading An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Autumn in the US is oddly bookmarked by the two holidays that celebrate the origins of European settler colonialism in the Americas: Columbus’ landfall on October 10, and that mythological encounter of multicultural good will, the first successful harvest of the Plymouth Colony on the fourth Thursday in November.

For those who would reflect on a fuller meaning of that history stripped of the hagiography of the victors, this period is a good one in which to be reading Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’ new book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (from Beacon Press’ ReVisioning History series). The book has …