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Thank you, Muhammad Ali

In harsh places around the formerly colonial Third World, where poverty born of foreign exploitation left many millions living wretched lives in unrelenting misery, a reason to believe in better tomorrows inspiringly arose during the first decades of the second half of the 20th Century.

Word spread of a champion from across the sea who, like them, didn’t possess a European skin shade.  That champion took on and defeated all comers, doing so while extending solidarity to this planet’s hewers of wood, drawers of water, and the sweatshop workers who toiled for the smallest imaginable remuneration each tiring day.

He defied the …

Cutting through the Transgender Debate

Why do I find the transgender bathroom debate so irritating? While Obama daily launches drones, killing dozens of innocent foreigners (or militants, it doesn’t matter – both drone deaths are crimes against humanity), we are fed self-righteous nostrums, showing what a great liberal he is (soon to be joined, no doubt, by the Supreme Court).

Dress is mostly unisex now — women wear pants, so what’s the problem? If you must wear make-up and act like a woman, just dress down if you are out in public. In the interests of public courtesy, bite the bullet and use ‘the men’s’ if …

No Recognition of ‘One Humanity’ at the World Humanitarian Forum

For how much longer do we want to witness the annual palaver of these global conferences on poverty and undernutrition, while nothing is done on an adequate scale to help these tragically neglected people? Is it not true that all the millions of dollars spent on organising such recurring high-level summits over several decades could instead have been used to save many such lives already? Meanwhile, we—the minority privileged who take the human rights of Article 25 for granted—continue to overconsume and waste the world’s food and other essential commodities, instead of demanding that our governments redistribute our nation’s surplus

Climate Change Censorship: Australia and UNESCO

Censoring climate change and its reporting is a big business, notably among fossil fuel obsessives and those in denial. It continues to fulfil a role in the policies of Australia’s Turnbull government.  Even after the demise of Tony Abbott last year, his successor continues to scrub his own environmental credentials from his profile.  As he does so, an assortment of weasel words have found their way into the political argot: “innovation”, “growth” and a host of other empty treats.

Despite lauding various efforts to pursue “clean energy” (PM Malcolm Turnbull decided to reverse the previous leader’s decision to scrap the Clean …

In Uruguay: The March of Silence For South America’s Martyrs and Revolutions

They were marching shoulder-to-shoulder, young and old, in absolute silence. Some were carrying small placards with names and photos of their loved ones, who disappeared four decades ago, during the pro-Western dictatorship here in Uruguay.

The entire center of Montevideo came to a standstill. Blocks and blocks of this marvelous city were literally inundated by the river consisting of human bodies.

Then, in front of the municipality, the silence was broken. A huge screen above the square lit up, and photographs of each man and woman who disappeared, suddenly emerged, one …

The Climate and a Very Hot Election Year

There have been 21 presidential debates, which, by and large, skirted the biggest issue affecting the most people, back-to-back, back-to-back, and back-to-back, and on and on record-setting planetary heat!

Nowadays, rather than hitting yearly heat records, the planet is hitting monthly heat records (maybe global warming’s accelerating): e.g.:

March was also the 11th consecutive month to set a record high for temperatures, which agencies started tracking in the 1800s. With the release on Tuesday of its global climate report, NOAA is the third independent agency — along with NASA and the Japan Meteorological Association — to reach similar findings, each using slightly

Is the UK’s Iraq Inquiry Set to “Savage” Tony Blair?

Part 2 of a 2 Part Series

With the publication date of the Chilcot Inquiry into the illegal invasion of Iraq just weeks away (July 6th) reportedly set to “savage” former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair he has made a rare return to the UK and gone in to manic diversionary tactic overdrive.

It seems no radio, television news or current affairs programme is without Blair giving his opinion on the upcoming UK referendum on whether to stay in the European Union, making near libelous comments on the current courteous, dignified, non-warmongering leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn (who was implacably against Blair’s foreign interventions.)  He …

Old Country Doctor Turned into Paper-pusher and Virtual MD

The State of the Inland Empire's (and USA's) Health is All Up To Us

I can’t take a budget that eliminates marketing, outreach and in-person assistors seriously.

— Teresa Mosqueda, member of the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange board.

You can’t afford to get sick, and you can’t depend on the present health care system to keep you well. It’s up to you to protect and maintain your body’s innate capacity for health and healing by making the right choices in how you live.

— Dr. Andrew Weil, an American physician, author, spokesperson, and sort of guru for holistic health and integrative medicine.

Docs and Nurses Everywhere You Look

I grew up around doctors and nurses, and while my surgeon …

America’s Corpocracy: Conspiracy Theory or Conspiracy Reality?

I was prompted to write this article when a twitter contact of mine wondered whether some of my writings about the corpocracy amounted to a conspiracy theory.  Having been a behavioral scientist most of my adult life I know a thing or two about what’s theory and what’s not.  I don’t know how anyone, scientist or lay person, could mistake the corpocracy for a theory. I doubt if any readers of articles published in the alternative news media would confuse the two. Nevertheless, I want to tell you what I have learned over the years.

A Tacit Conspiracy, Not a Public

Obama’s Parting Gifts for Asia

A few final lies

The late “rhetorical pugilist” Christopher Hitchens sub-titled his book God Is Not Great with “How Religion Poisons Everything.” He might have added, and perhaps did in his leftist days, that propaganda poisons everything, too. It certainly feels like its ideological signature is everywhere these days. Not least on President Obama’s final tour of Asia, including stops in Vietnam and Japan as highlights of his farewell junket.

Memories of Mayhem

Perhaps no leg of this absurd journey is more disorienting than the stopover in Obama demanding Vietnam make new human rights commitments–the USA telling Vietnam this after committing genocide across Southeast Asia …

The New Arab Attack Piece against the Syria Solidarity Movement®

A response by the Syria Solidarity Movement®

The short sentence in the illustration contains so many lies.  What then of the entire article, attacking the Syria Solidarity Movement® and its members? Here is some deconstruction:

(1) The Syria Solidarity Movement® is not “pro-Assad”. We are pro-Syria and pro-international law. While the violent opposition and their allies say “Assad must go”, we do not say “Assad must stay”. We say “It’s up to the Syrian people.” The US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other countries are trying to dictate who can or cannot be the leader of Syria, …

Look Ma, No Wheels

On September 11, 2001, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, et al, were either negligent about, or complicit in, the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans. There is no third alternative. We require a thorough judicial proceeding to determine which it was. Fifteen years later we still need to know.

Which presidential campaign will promise to find the truth?
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Sharks are attacking humans in unprecedented numbers around the world. What’s pissing them off? Has our wanton pollution of the seas literally come back to bite us?
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Antonin Scalia’s death leaves Justice Clarence Thomas the undisputed …

Preparing for the Next Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend was replete with parades, American flags, and tributes to our war dead, but little reflection on war, particularly the tragic fact that the United States has fallen into the death trap that President Eisenhower warned us about: the military-industrial complex.

Instead of defending our nation as the Constitution stipulates, since the 9/11 attacks the U.S. military, CIA, and military contractors have been waging aggressive wars or interfering by proxy in other nations’ internal affairs.

Looking at our national budget, you can see the overwhelming power of the military. The $600 billion price tag, way over $1 billion a day, …

To Kill a Neighborhood: Rezoning in Brooklyn’s ‘Final Frontier’

On April 20th New York’s City Council overwhelming and unsurprisingly approved Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plan for the rezoning of the Brooklyn neighborhood East New York. The final tally was 45-1-0. Unsurprisingly since a month earlier the council had already approved de Blasio’s $41 billion housing plan that aims to create and preserve (a distinction that shouldn’t be glossed over) 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade.

De Blasio’s housing plan, classified under the banner of ‘mandatory inclusionary housing’, targets 15 neighborhoods beginning with East New York, proposes changes in local zoning that would allow developers the right to …

Social Justice Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani

From Tehran to Atlanta, Fighting for Human Rights

Azadeh Shahshahani is a practicing human rights lawyer who has worked for over a decade in the US South.  She was the first woman of color to lead the National Lawyers Guild and has been deeply involved in the movements for immigrants’ rights including shutting down the Stewart Detention Center and repealing the discriminatory educational bans affecting undocumented students in Georgia, dignity for Muslim-Americans, a just US foreign policy, and Free Palestine.
Azadeh Shahshahani
Azadeh Shahshahani was born in Tehran, Iran, four days after the 1979 Iranian revolution. …

Basic Income: International Experience

Part 2 of 2 Part Series: (Brazil, Namibia, Canada, India)

Founded in 1986, the Basic Income European Network (BIEN) is the international NGO that promotes BIG around the world. It held its last conference “Re-democratizing the Economy” at McGill’s Faculty of Law in 2014. A North American congress is being held in Winnipeg in May 2016 and its 16th congress in July in Seoul, South Korea. Its credo is that some sort of economic right based upon citizenship rather than upon one’s relationship to the production process or one’s family status is called for as part of the just solution to social problems in advanced societies.

We are half way there …

Face Reality or Perish?

Weaving through our never-ending obsession with U.S. politics is a skeletal finger tapping our shoulders, though we nervously whistle past it and avert our eyes. From the UN to NASA, scientists around the world are alarmed by the speed of our environment’s dissolution. Those paying attention have even increasingly been hearing the words “near term human extinction”, brought about by our heat engine civilization as it burns through the atmosphere on our small planet.

Is it too late?  Is it a fact that humans can better imagine full-on world death than consider simplifying our lives, living closer to the earth, and …

Basic Income: Helicopter Money

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series

About 10% of Canadians live in poverty. That figure is even higher in major cities, such as Toronto where the number of children living below the line is nearly 25%. In India, 22% of the people live in poverty. A “guaranteed annual income” (GAI) could wipe out this poverty at a stroke.

GAI (also BIG — basic income guarantee) has been quietly mooted by both left and right since the 1960s. Economist Milton Friedman called it (approvingly) “helicopter money”. What could be easier to administer, to end the most obvious source of social injustice, and which is welcomed even by …

Israel’s Future is Terrifying: Moshe Ya’alon and Israel’s Disconcerting “Morality”

Israeli society is constantly swerving to the Right and, by doing so, the country’s entire political paradigm is redefined regularly. Israel is now ‘ruled by the most extreme right wing government in its history’ has grown from being an informed assessment to a dull cliché over the course of only a few years.

In fact, that exact line was used in May 2015, when right wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, formed his thin majority government of like-minded right-wingers, religious zealots and ultra-nationalists. The same sentiment, with almost the exact wording, is being infused again, as Netanyahu has expanded his coalition …

Network 40 Years Later

Capitalism in Retrospect and Prospect and Elite Politics Today

Paddy Chayefsky’s extraordinary movie Network was made 40 years ago in 1976, just as the United States began its long economic descent. It may seem far-fetched to draw inspiration from a movie made about capitalism so long ago and, like any powerful film, some of Chayefsky’s predictions have been realized or even intensified since then, while others have been proven wrong. However, the boldness of the movie is more important than being right in all or even most of its predictions. As one scientist said about Julian Jaynes’ now discredited book, The Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the