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My Enemy’s Enemy

Eight years ago I had a conversation with someone, let’s call him Harry, about the great new hope for world peace, Barack Obama. Harry was jubilant that the abominable George Bush was no more, and sincerely believed that the world was finally heading towards a new age of real peace and prosperity. I told Harry I thought he was wrong, that there would be no significant change.

Harry didn’t understand that although the US president has quite a lot of executive power, he doesn’t actually run things. He didn’t understand that US presidential elections are just one long exercise in distraction …

Commercial Ships Could Be Quieter, but They Aren’t

Shipbuilding economics and lack of regulations are getting in the way of a quieter ocean

Technologies exist to drastically reduce ship noise, but they’re not seeing widespread adoption. Photo by Image Source Salsa/Alamy Stock Photo

Hakai magazine — When a ship’s propeller blades rev up and begin slicing furiously through the ocean, a frothy storm erupts below. The churned seawater boils, forming millions of bubbles that snap, crackle, and pop like firecrackers. For animals in the sea below, this process—known as …

The TPP is Dead: The People Defeat Transnational Corporate Power

The Obama administration faced reality on Friday when they recognized the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would not be ratified by this Congress. The TPP is dead.

How did people power win?

We have worked to stop the TPP and other Obama trade agreements for more than five years. We were part of the ‘movement of movements’, the largest coalition ever opposing a corporate trade agreement, which stopped it. It included all sorts of activists who work on human rights, worker rights, the environment, climate change, Internet freedom, health care, food safety and more.

People told us stopping the TPP was impossible. Even after the …

The True Sharing Economy: Inaugurating an Age of the Heart

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series: What does it mean to ‘share’?

Any act that tries to contribute towards ending the prevalent suffering caused by absolute poverty is, in itself, the purest expression of a sharing economy via the heart, via our maturity and via common sense, especially if that act is focused on trying to persuade our political representatives to commit to sharing the resources of the world.
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What is the sharing economy, and what is its meaning and significance for the world we live in today? If you try and investigate this question through the internet, there are many debates and misleading definitions that you will soon come across. …

Some Less Obvious Post-Election Lessons

A couple of days after the US presidential upset, we’re in the precarious intermezzo where the dust is settling but impressions still linger. While the torrent of Wednesday morning quarterbacking by sundry wonks, mavens and talking heads certainly contains elements of good analysis, it’s wise to capture some subtler points before they get lost in the palliative mainstream spin. The following list – not necessarily original and certainly not exhaustive – is an attempted contribution, by way of highlighting some of the less obvious losers in Tuesday’s outcome, along with associated lessons.

Poor Liberals: You have Nobody to Blame but Yourselves

Poor liberals – for years you have toiled in vain for the betterment of humanity. Martyring yourselves for the greater good, you have attained a new level of sophistication and moral superiority, the likes of which we may never see again. It makes me weep such tears of bitterest woe, seeing your saintly queen of benevolence, fail to be anointed Queen Mass Murderer of The Earth.

Every four years you come out of hibernation, and run about the country like so many chickens with their heads cut off, ranting and raving about how we all have to vote for the Democratic …

Not a Time to Praise the Obama Era

There Must Be a Waterfall of Pardons on the Way

The U.S. has just seen a surprise presidential election victory by a candidate who banked his campaign on vilifying Muslims and undocumented immigrants and on promising to maintain the devalued legal status of Black lives. Now that Democratic Party and media figures have been quick to make cynical speeches about uniting the country and moving on, the nation’s progressive movements should be ever more compelled not to lose sight of the Constitutional power that is still afforded to President Obama, the same man returned to office by progressive votes four years ago.

I’m talking about the power of the pardon, the …

Civilization in Transition: Uncertainty and Opportunity

British filmmaker Adam Curtis recently released his new documentary HyperNormalisation. Brilliant in parts, this ambitious film reveals an image of a civilisation in turmoil. It shows how duplicitous, inadequate politicians have repeatedly deceived the public over the last forty years, and how their actions have caused increasing levels of chaos in the world, which they are unable to resolve. “We live in a strange time, extraordinary events keep happening that undermine the stability of our world,” the director declares, and yet, “those in control seem unable to deal with them. Nobody has any vision of a different or better …

Remember All Victims of War

Support peace organizations’ white poppy campaign

Remember.

Remember that today marks the culmination of a militarist, nationalist ritual organized by a reactionary state-backed group.

Every year the Royal Canadian Legion sells about 20 million red poppies in the lead-up to Remembrance Day. Remember that red poppies were inspired by the 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian army officer John McCrae. The pro-war poem calls on Canadians to “take up our quarrel with the foe” and was used to promote war bonds and recruit soldiers during World War I.

Remember that today, red poppies commemorate Canadians who have died at war. Not being commemorated are the Afghans, or Libyans …

The Tyranny of Democracy

With the possible exception of Venezuela, all democracies on earth are considered at least moderately pro-American. Is this because the US is such a model democracy that all other democracies are naturally friendly to it?  Or are all democracies naturally friendly to each other?  Americans may like to think so, but closer inspection reveals a very different picture.

Venezuela is instructive, because its democracy was considered pro-American before the rise of its immensely popular president, Hugo Chavez, who sought an economic and foreign policy that was independent from the US. That democracy was almost lost in a 2002 attempted coup, …

The Test of Time

The single most important reform we need – even more important than political and economic reform – is reform of the media.

I’ve campaigned for direct democracy – real democracy – for over thirty years, so I believe absolutely in the right of every citizen to make the political decisions of their government – not just elect so-called representatives. However, there is a vitally important pre-condition to the proper exercise of that right: good and proper information. We live in a world where good and proper information is easier to obtain than it’s ever been, but is very difficult to find …

The Political Implications of a Trump Presidency

Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States. A year ago, people would believe that these words could have only been said by a delusional individual. Neither the political status quo, nor the Wall Street-based establishment could have imagined any such an event. While the Democratic National Committee, the Media, and even State Governments were conspiring to suspend Bernie Sanders’ anti-establishment revolution, Trump set his eyes on the Presidency.

What is one to make of these results? Indeed, Trump’s political campaign has been literally filled with behaviour non-typical of establishment politicians — rashness, rudeness, discrimination, and …

Kindness

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

— from Larkin’s “The Mower

Kindness is the Concern, the Question, the Essential Ingredient. For us all.

Our collective crises (Climate change issues, our nuclear dynamic, racial issues, etc.) have deadlines attached to them. And on many counts kindness must be included in any solutions being considered. Right away. Yesterday.

Kindness is crucial to ruling out cruelty, encouraging compassion, making collective advances.

Within a family, if one spouse is less than kind it impacts negatively on the children. And if vengeance (coming off of an argument) dominates the household, well, the …

The Infamy of the Palestinian Elites: An Imminent Split within Fatah?

The Fatah movement is involved in a massive tug-of-war that will ultimately define its future. Though the conflict is between current Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, and once Gaza strongman, Mohammed Dahlan, is in no way motivated by ending the Israeli Occupation, their war will likely determine the future political landscape of Palestine.

The issue cannot be taken lightly, nor can it be dismissed as an internal Fatah conflict. The latter is one of the two largest Palestinian factions, the largest within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and has single-handedly pushed Palestinians into the abyss of the ‘peace process’ and …

Making Sense of the 2016 Election

11 Immediate Take-homes


What to take home about the 2016 US presidential election results? The two presidential contenders (at least four, but “third” party contenders are effectively obscured by the establishment) were highly loathed. So what do the results mean? Are people really happy that Donald Trump won, or is it more accurate to state that people are happy that Hillary Clinton lost?

Eleven quick take home-points:

1. Corprocracy. The Dems need to decide whether they are a party of the people or the corporations. Clinton’s campaign coffers were filled by Corporate America. Bernie …

At Risk of Being Dupes

Here in Russia, where I have been traveling as part of a small delegation organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence,  the people with whom we have spoken have no illusions about war and its effects. “We remember what war is like,” Nikolay, a scientist and businessman, told us. “We have a genetic memory,” referring to close relatives – parents, grandparents – who passed on their experience of the Great Purge and/or the siege of Leningrad, when nearly a million Russians died of starvation and disease because Germany cut off all imports and exports. “Three of my grandmother’s brothers …

Respecting “Rules of War” in Societal Battles: Science, Sex and Hate Speech

Summary: I argue that in the many societal battles that serve to repair continually arising unjust features of the societal hierarchy, individuals must respect two fundamental “rules of war”: (1) Not to violate the natural right of individual self-determination (control over one’s body and mind) and (2) not to violate the natural right of individual free expression (control over one’s expression and attempts to have societal influence by expression). This centrally includes not allowing the state and its institutions to violate the said rights. My main example is drawn from the current society-wide battle around sexual identity and the language …

Flagship of Fearmongering: The Guardian, MI5 and State Propaganda

Readers of the Guardian woke up last Tuesday (November 1, 2016) to find that the newspaper and website had been given over to promoting MI5. To be more precise: the paper was trumpeting a fearmongering ‘exclusive‘ with MI5 Director-General, Andrew Parker. It was billed as ‘the first interview of its kind’ and was conducted by the paper’s deputy editor, Paul Johnson, and the diplomatic editor, Ewen MacAskill. However, it quickly became clear that this ‘interview’ consisted largely of the two senior Guardian journalists listening to the MI5 chief and diligently writing …

Standing Rock benefit draws hundreds to the Grange

Sebastopol, California — An inspiring Standing Rock benefit to support Native Americans and others seeking to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) happened November 6 from early in the afternoon to past 10 p.m. at the Sebastopol Grange in Northern California. A steady stream of animated folks of all ages coming and going was estimated to be around 600 people. The event raised thousands of dollars through donations, food and drink sales.

The 1,172-mile-long pipeline currently is scheduled to cross both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to carry oil that was obtained by fracking and would be an environmental disaster. It …

Big Pharma Controls the Prescription Market and What We Pay

Americans spent $329.2 billion on prescription drugs in 2013. Big Pharma will tell you that their high drug prices are necessary for the research and development of new drugs. That is far from the truth. In actuality, data shows that pharmaceutical’s obscenely high prices are used mostly for sales and marketing. Accordingly, statistics show that most pharmaceutical companies spend much less for research and development than they do for marketing and sales.

A 2013 accounting included a report on spending by Johnson and Johnson (USA), Novartis (CH), Pfizer (USA), Glaxosmithkline (GB), Merck, Sanofi, Roche, AstraZeneca, Lilly and Abbvie among the …