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What happened to JFK and a Foreign Policy of Peace?

Sixty years ago, John F Kennedy (JFK) was inaugurated as president of the USA. In less than three years, before he was assassinated in November 1963, he initiated major changes in foreign policy.

These foreign policy changes are documented in books such as JFK and the Unspeakable (2008) and Betting on the Africans (2012). One of the foremost scholars on JFK, James Di Eugenio, has an excellent new article of the Kennedy foreign policy at Covert Action: “Deconstructing JFK: A Coup d’Etat over Foreign Policy?“ Despite this literature, many people in the West do not realize the extent to which …

2021:  Paradigm Shift or Shaft?

Can you dig it?

— from the theme song to the 1971 feature film Shaft, written and performed by Isaac Hayes

We have more than enough of a Police State already…

— Krystal Ball from The Hill’s Rising show on January 20, 2021

The New Year has arrived, not with bells and whistles but vaccines and new strains of COVID-19 and a Flag-waving “Tourists Gone Wild!” episode at the U.S. Capitol — oh, and a technically “new” president, Joe Biden, who’s been running for president forever and finally been given the keys to the Oval Office as if this all’s a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Well, at …

Is This Revolution Truly Rinky-Dink?

Review of Howard Waitzkin`s book, Rinky-Dink Revolution

During the late 60s, when the US war on Viet Nam was going strong and people were questioning capitalism, I drove from Eugene to Berkeley where my sister was living.  I ran into folks who invited me to a discussion about starting a commune. There, everyone talked about dropping out of consumer society and buying land to get away from it all.  Asking about how you could confront the horrors around us by separating yourself from society, I got a string of denunciations accusing me of buying into what …

Masking Up under Biden: The Perils of Tribalism, Bureaucracy and Lawsuits

One crackling theme streaking through the US elections of 2020 was the issue of mask wearing.  Critics initially felt that face masks were of the too important category in combating the novel coronavirus: purchasing and using them was tantamount to prizing valuable protective equipment from doctors and front-line workers.  But COVID-19 continued to rage, and various public health bodies including the World Health Organization revised their initially cautious approach.  Masks, manufactured in abundance, could be an affordable non-pharmacological method of halting the spread of the pandemic.

The face mask became the symbol of the now departed Donald Trump’s view of the …

The Trump-Biden Transition in the Wake of the Capitol Building Riot

The Capitol building riot of January 6 marked the messiest transition in recent history of ruling class power from one chief executive of the capitalist world to the next. If that history is any guide, the change of guard neither portends better treatment of working people nor a reduction of the threat of fascism.

Trump may have been booted off the mainstage, but the next act promises to be worse. Beyond the particularities of either Mr. Trump’s or Mr. Biden’s personalities or even the parties they represent, fundamental institutional factors have and will likely determine the trajectory of neoliberal …

Arizona Pioneer in Wrecking Public Education through Charter Schools

Recent news articles claim that Arizona is a “leader in innovation” when it comes to private businesses like charter schools. Arizona is said to be amazing because it is ensuring “freedom” for parents to “choose” from an exciting array of charter schools to send their kids to, and this is all thanks to a legal environment that strongly supports deregulated charter schools. This is another way of saying that there is little accountability and oversight of charter schools in Arizona and that charter schools can generally operate with impunity. Charter school promoters call this “a friendly regulatory environment.”

It is worth …

The Will to Believe: Americans and their Divine Masters

Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful.  Hence one must choose a master, God being out of style.

– Albert Camus, The Fall, 1956

Propagandists are smart people. They begin their devious machinations with the premise that people need to believe in something rather than remaining suspended in doubt or forced to accept the existential courage of despair that leaves them temporarily lost and without answers or masters, suffering from free-floating anxiety.

Propagandists are like Mr. Death.  They know people are afraid of death and aloneness and so use that …

The “Insurrection” and Its Discontents: “American Exceptionalism” Revisited 

History is being written in the United States today. Even the most pessimistic about the prospects of American democracy have rarely ventured out this far while offering a bleak analysis of America’s future, whether in terms of political polarization at home or global standing abroad.

As shocking and, certainly, telling as the images of thousands of American protesters taking over the symbols of America’s federal, representative democracy in Washington DC on January 6, it was only a facet in a far more complex and devastating political trajectory that has been …

Rob Malley for Iran Envoy: A Test Case for Biden’s Commitment to Diplomacy

(Photo credit: National Press Club)
President Biden’s commitment to re-entering the Iran nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA—is already facing backlash from a motley crew of warhawks both domestic and foreign. Right now, opponents of re-entering the deal are centering their vitriol on one of the nation’s foremost experts on both the Middle East and diplomacy: Robert Malley, who Biden might tap to be the next Iran envoy.

On January 21, conservative journalist Elli Lake penned an opinion piece in …

That’s All, Folks!

As they used to say at the end of all those wacky Looney Tunes cartoons, that’s all, folks! The show is over. Literal Russian-Asset Hitler, the Latest Greatest Threat to Western Democracy, the Monster of Mar-a-Lago, Trumpzilla, Trumpenstein, the Ayatollah of Orange Shinola, has finally been humiliated and given the bum-rush out of Washington by the heroic forces of the GloboCap “Resistance,” with a little help from the US military. The whole thing went exactly to script.

Well … OK, not quite exactly to script. Despite four years of …

Farmers’ Protests Reflect Existential Crisis of Indian Agriculture    

With over 800 million people, rural India is arguably the most interesting and complex place on the planet but is plagued by farmer suicides, child malnourishment, growing unemployment, increased informalisation, indebtedness and an overall collapse of agriculture.

Given that India is still an agrarian-based society, renowned journalist P Sainath says what is taking place can be described as a crisis of civilisation proportions and can be explained in just five words: hijack of agriculture by corporations. He notes the process by which it is being done in five words too: predatory commercialisation of the countryside. And another five words to describe the …

A Classic Example of Biased Political Reporting

Peter Hartcher on Russia

The Sydney Morning Herald has always been regarded as a reasonably responsible newspaper. Although editorially it was generally a supporter of the misnamed Liberal Party, its opinion pieces generally try to pursue an open mind. Its editorial commentary of course generally favoured one side of the political divide rather than the other. The writers were generally frank about their perspective, favouring one side or the other. Many of their writers strove for a fundamentally neutral stance, overtly favouring neither one side of politics nor the other.

One could always agree or disagree with a writer’s perspective. As the old adage had …

Fast Culture, Slow Culture

A couple of years ago I experienced one of those quick flashes of insight that seem to come to us few and far between. I was cooking – I don’t remember what was on the menu, but I was probably recovering from the stressors of the work day and had turned for solace to the kitchen, that warm sensory capsule, with its many tactile and menial tasks and practical problems to solve. Cooking, I have found, slows me down in a way that just feels right. For years I …

The “humanitarian” left still ignores the lessons of Iraq, Libya and Syria to cheer on more war

The instinct among parts of the left to cheer lead the right’s war crimes, so long as they are dressed up as liberal “humanitarianism”, is alive and kicking, as Owen Jones reveals in a column today on the plight of the Uighurs at China’s hands.

The “humanitarian war” instinct persists even after two decades of the horror shows that followed the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US and UK; the western-sponsored butchering of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi that unleashed a new regional trade in slaves and arms; and the west’s covert backing of Islamic jihadists who proceeded to tear Syria …

Complex Life Threatened

Throughout the world, scientists are speaking out like never before. They’re talking about an emergency situation of the health of the planet threatening “complex life,” including, by default, human life.

It’s scary stuff. On this subject, America’s green NGOs prefer to address the danger by sticking to a middle ground, don’t scare people, too much doom and gloom backfires, turns people off, it’s counterproductive.

However, emergencies have been happening for some time now. So, it’s kinda hard to ignore. In fact, that’s why it’s so obviously easy to declare emergencies today, yesterday, and the day before yesterday and many yesterdays before that. …

Immortal Wins: India Defeats Fortress Australia

It was never meant to be like this.  After the Indian cricketing team met misery and disaster in the first test match at Adelaide, registering a paltry 36 in its second innings, little hope was had for the touring side.  Australia threatened rout and massacre.  The Border-Gavaskar trophy seemed within the home side’s grasp.

And the home side had every reason to feel insufferably confident.   India’s talismanic wonder and leader, not to mention most threatening batsman, Virat Kohli, was heading home to be with his heavily pregnant wife.  But his absence was the first in what would become a series of …

“A Ghastly Future”? Israeli Apartheid, Biden, Starmer, Assange and Mass Extinction

Back in 2017, before WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was silenced by Twitter, he used the platform to highlight an immutable truth:

‘The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security not national security.’

Power hates being exposed. It hates having its inner machinations, its selfish priorities and ugly operations opened up to public scrutiny.

The omission of inconvenient facts, and the silencing of inadmissible viewpoints, are core features of the so-called ‘mainstream’ news media. Thus, it should be obvious by …

Rumble Inside the Chaos of Capitalism

The tables were turned — David Rovics interviewed me in a wide-ranging, tangentially themed hour a few days ago. Here is what one Dissident Voice article has to say about Portland, OR-based Rovics

He is not one to wait for his turn to talk. He listens intently and when I’m finished asks another question. After all that Rovics has seen and heard during more than 20 years as a singer-song writer who has performed all over the world, he has yet to act like a self-proclaimed expert on anything.  — “The Social Significance of David Rovics” by Jasmin Ramsey, July

Israel Shows No Moral Tenet: Justice for Mohammed El-Halabi

Righting the Wrong

Israel’s continued treatment of Palestinian political prisoners is unconscionable. Mohammed El Halabi, an aid worker from Gaza, has been in prison for four years while he awaits his trial; this is nothing short of cruel absurdity. He has been forced before the court over 150 times, many of those appearances secret, without word of when his trial will begin. His last court appearance was January 14, and he and his family still have no word of when his case will begin.


Israel’s case against El Halabi—whom it accuses of diverting …

Do You Remember Cuba’s Dedication to Angola?

Cuban blood left its stamp on the conscience of the world after the Angolan Wars of 1975-1988. Corporate politicians are united in their desire for us to ignore this reality.
*****
Fed up with foreign wars, Portuguese officers overthrew Prime Minister Marcello Caetano on April 25, 1974. Many former colonies had the opportunity to define their own future.

Angola had been the richest of Portuguese colonies, with major production in coffee, diamonds, iron ore and oil. Of the former colonies, it had the largest white population, which numbered …

Keep Swinging for Justice and Freedom: The Legacy of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron

“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.”

— Hank Aaron

My father, a rabid St. Louis Cardinals fan, listened to virtually all their ball games on the radio from our home in Peoria, Illinois. Occasionally, we would drive the three hours to St. Louis to see the Cardinals play in person.

On one of those trips, the Milwaukee Braves were playing the Cardinals. That day, I arrived at the …

Fake Lower Class Coup, Real Upper Class Bigotry, Near  Social Collapse

A nation more seriously divided than in the 1960s when movements against war and racism pulled families and communities apart and drove some to drugs, drink, and worse, approaches a greater and more threatening social dissolution. When more than 74 million people can be reduced to “white supremacists” by alleged liberals with the same ease that past supposed conservatives were led to see a communist fiend behind every supporter of unity among people we are indeed in a time of all American hate crimes, thought crimes and worse. Those labels are being flung about by one or another bunch of …

Defunding the Myths and Cults of Cold War Canada

Ongoing state support for East European émigré groups with deep fascist roots

For decades the Canadian government has been supporting East European émigré associations whose much-revered founders, leaders and war heroes include veterans of Waffen SS divisions and other fascist military formations, perpetrators of the Holocaust and other ethnic-cleansing campaigns, officials from and apologists for Nazi puppet regimes, postwar CIA propaganda assets, proponents of Cold War terrorist groups like the US-armed Nicaraguan contras and Afghan mujahideen, and other virulently anticommunist “freedom fighters” and their ideologues.

Over the past few years alone, the most influential of these ethno-nationalist émigré organizations — those representing the right-wing Ukrainian diaspora — have received millions of dollars in …

Sunk before Service: Australia’s Disastrous Submarine Project

One only gets into the submarine procurement business to spite government treasurers and economic managers.  Efficiency and effectuality are bonus additions, but hardly necessary.  Witness the evolving disaster that is Australia’s SEA 1000 Future Submarine program, won by France’s DCNS, now Naval Group, in 2016.

From the start, this seemed an audaciously peculiar choice. Australia had avoided purchasing more appropriate, medium-sized submarines from a conventional submarine maker, opting, instead, for a nuclear submarine design that would be retooled for conventional use.  For a country that is the third largest exporter of uranium, this was ironic as much as it suggested castration.

Australia’s …

The Neo-fascist Legacy of Donald Trump

After the US Capitol was attacked by his supporters, Donald Trump has become the first president of America to be impeached twice. Regardless of how he leaves the White House – the Senate won’t act on the impeachment before Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021 – the neo-fascist seeds he has sown won’t stop germinating.

Even after the brazen attempt to overturn election results, there is ambiguity among Americans on Trump’s impeachment – 38% oppose his impeachment and 15% have no opinion. These percentages are in line with the support enjoyed by him for false claims regarding rigged elections.  Polls …

Vaccine Will Not Reverse Economic Problems

No matter how many vaccines are rush-produced by large for-profit corporations with a long record of malpractice, vaccines will not reverse severe economic deterioration because the economic collapse, nationally and internationally, was not caused by any virus.

The economic depression that is unfolding was a long time in the making and was accelerated and intensified by the “COVID Pandemic” but not the direct result …

About Suffering: A Massacre of the Innocents in Yemen

In 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder createdThe Massacre of the Innocents,” a provocative masterpiece of religious art. The painting reworks a biblical narrative about King Herod’s order to slaughter all newborn boys in Bethlehem for fear that a messiah had been born there. Bruegel’s painting situates the atrocity in a contemporary setting, a 16th Century Flemish village under attack by heavily armed soldiers. Depicting multiple episodes of gruesome brutality, Bruegel conveys the terror and grief inflicted on trapped villagers who cannot protect their children. Uncomfortable …

Fearing the Palestinian Narrative: Why Israel Banned Jenin Jenin

On January 11, the Israeli Lod District Court ruled against a Palestinian film-maker, Mahmoud Bakri, ordering him to pay hefty compensation to an Israeli soldier who was accused, along with the Israeli military, of carrying out war crimes in April 2002, in the Palestinian Jenin refugee camp located in the northern occupied West Bank.

The case, as presented by Israeli and other media, seemed to deal with typical legal matters such as defamation of character and so on. To those familiar with the massive clash of narratives which emanated from …

The Debt Tsunami 

Imagine this scenario if you will… You are the head of a small family of 5 people, including your 3 children, you live in a small street in an average house, and drive 2 average Ford or Chevy cars. You have a normal mortgage, credit card bills, which you manage to keep on top of, just about, as both adults work in average jobs.

In this make-believe situation, one of your children, when you return home from work, reveals that they have run up a $5 million gambling debt. What is worse is that the debt is with Mr Big, the …

Critical Lessons From Dr. Martin Luther King For These Times


NOTE: Margaret Flowers and Askia Muhammad will co-host an inaugural special on Pacifica Radio on Wednesday, January 20 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm Eastern. It can be heard on WBAI and WPFW. The theme will be Dr. King’s triple evils and what Biden’s cabinet picks tell us about what we can expect from this administration. Guests include Dr. Greg Carr, Abby Martin and Danny Sjursen.

Also, on Tuesday, January 26 at 8:00 pm Eastern, Popular Resistance will co-host a webinar, “COVID-19: How Weaponizing Disease and Vaccine Wars are