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Love of Freedom Defines the Political Left, Not the Right

Political discourse in the United States consists largely of lies and confusions. One of the greatest of lies and confusions, which I hope to help dispel in this article, is the common delimitation of the very concepts “left” and “right”: it is claimed that to be on the right is to value freedom above all—this is what “small government” is supposed to mean, for example—while to be on the left is to value equality, if necessary an equality enforced tyrannically by an enormous, Soviet-style government. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this conventional wisdom. The opposite is closer …

Another Look at the Financial Transactions Tax

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

A small financial transactions tax could correct a number of maladies in our economic system, from the federal debt crisis to the widening wealth divide to the rampant financialization of the economy, while eliminating taxes on income and sales.
The debt ceiling crisis has again brought into …

Reverse the Accelerating Warfare State Before It’s Too Late!

The Military Budget, which devours over half of the entire federal government’s operational expenditures, has been exempted by Biden and the Congressional Republicans from any reductions in the debt limit deal just reached. Also exempted are hundreds of billions of dollars in yearly diverse corporate subsidies to big business freeloaders.

Most of the cuts will slash the domestic programs that protect the health, safety and economic well-being of the American people. Cuts will also be made to the starved I.R.S. budget, further weakening its capacity to pursue super-rich tax cheats and giant corporate tax escapees. The GOP insisted on continuing its …

The End of Community College?

In the Wake of the Pandemic, We Must Demand a New Deal for the Community College that Fulfills Its Democratic Potential


Find out more about Going Remote Here
On Friday, March 13, 2020 the community college system as we knew it ended – and I’m not sure it will ever return.   
And just maybe, that’s a good thing.
The day before the pandemic forced our campus to shut down in the San Francisco Bay Area, I taught my final in-person class. Aptly, it was a Science-Fiction/Fantasy course in which we had just finished …

Resurrecting the Concept of the Triad

Yayoi Kusama (Japan), Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013.
At the close of the May 2023 Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima (Japan), the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States and the High Representative of the European Union (EU) released a long and informative statement. In a section titled ‘China’, the eight officials wrote …

Ben Roberts-Smith: The Breaking of a Plaster Saint

It was an ugly case lasting five years with a host of ugly revelations. But what could be surprising about the murderous antics of a special arm of the military, in this case, the Australian Special Air Service Regiment, which was repeatedly deployed on missions in an open-ended war which eventually led to defeat and withdrawal?

Ben Roberts-Smith was meant to be a poster boy of the regiment, the muscular noble representative who served in Afghanistan, a war with sketchy justifications. Along the way, he became Australia’s most decorated soldier, raking in the Medal of Gallantry in 2006, the …

Raising the Price: Martin Amis and the Post-9/11 Cataclysm

The death of novelist and essayist Martin Amis on 19 May triggered a ‘mainstream’ wave, not just of admiration, but of adoration. It is clear from the obituaries that Amis died with his reputation intact and untarnished.

In tweeting a link to his obituary for the Guardian, the Independent’s former literary editor Boyd Tonkin captured the essence of the response:

‘I had hoped so much that this would not see the light of day for a very, very long time. But sadly here it is. My obituary of …

Cognitive Dissonance

It must be hard when one has has held steadfast for a long time in a belief and dismissive of scientific evidence.

The Pegasus Effect


In 2022, we partnered with Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and Mind the Gap consortium to visually depict effect of Israeli spyware and how technologies that uphold Israeli apartheid ripple outward to impact communities thousands of miles away from Palestine.

Join us as we put a spotlight on “the Pegasus Effect”––or how the captive Palestinian population has been used by the Israeli cyber industry as a laboratory for research and development, with global human rights consequences — at RightsCon, the leading …

Reflections on Russia and Crimea

The Hate Goes One Way

We spent nearly 20 days in Russia, including 5 days in Crimea. During our journey, we spent around 70 hours in trains riding in close quarters with Russians who we had never met before but who freely shared food and drink with us.  Indeed, throughout our travels, we were treated invariably with kindness, generosity and hospitality. When people realized that we spoke English and were from the States, they tried very hard to communicate with us and to make sure that we, as visitors in their land, were comfortable and taken care of. In short, it was clear to us that while many …

Beware of Economic Textbooks

Protests by British university economic students against neo-classical economics highlight the notion that economic education is dominated by theories that defy practical applications and applications that cannot predict, prevent, and ameliorate periodic crises. Students learn economics from unverified and outdated theories, many contradicting one another, which leads to a confused understanding of the discipline and complicated approaches to resolving problems. Adding to the dilemma is that textbooks in Middle Schools, High Schools, and universities lack updates with recent knowledge and contain dubious propositions. It is time to examine several propositions that are prominent and …

Manipulation

Many people don’t even recognize that they are being manipulated even when it is pointed out to them.

AUKUS, Congress, and Cold Feet

The undertakings made by Australia regarding the AUKUS security pact promise to be monumental. Much of this is negative: increased militarisation on the home front; the co-opting of the university sector for war making industries and defence contractors; and the capitulation and total subordination of the Australian Defence Force to the Pentagon.

There are also other, neglected dimensions at work here: the failure, as yet, for the Commonwealth to establish a viable, acceptable site for the long term storage of high-grade nuclear waste; the uncertainty about where the submarines will be located; the absence of skills in the construction …

When Anti-Government Speech Becomes Sedition

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

— George Orwell

Let’s be clear about one thing: seditious conspiracy isn’t a real crime to anyone but the U.S. government.

To be convicted of seditious conspiracy, the charge levied against Stewart Rhodes who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for being the driving force behind the January 6 Capitol riots, one doesn’t have to engage in violence against the government, vandalize government property, or even trespass on property that the government has declared off-limits to the general public.

To be convicted of seditious conspiracy, one …

Maskers

Those who obey their “higher ups” and believe without evidence.

Eye-witness Crimea

May of this year, we took the long, 27-hour train ride from Moscow to Crimea to see how life is there and what the sentiment of the people are as the US and Ukraine sharpen their threats to “recapture” this peninsula from Russia. And, while we were there, these threats were backed by a series of terrorist drone attacks in Crimea which, while doing little serious damage, signaled an escalation in the US/Ukrainian assault on Crimea.

Despite such threats and attacks, what we found in this historic peninsula on the Black Sea was a beautiful, almost idyllic place with a bustling …

The Phony War on American Culture

Bereft of an economic program, Republicans turn to social values, beliefs, and prejudices to gain votes and turn the clock back on the change that accompanies society’s development. The GOP can no longer convince a majority of voters to support tax cuts for the rich, eliminating government regulations and cutting programs for the poor. In desperation, they are conducting a war on changing American values.

Powerful and wealthy interests discovered that rural people fear the social changes that replace the white Christian power structure with more open, inclusionary, equal, and forward-looking values …

Meta and Privacy: The Economy of Data Transgressions

Meta, to put it rather inelegantly, has a data non-compliance problem. That problem began in the original conception of Facebook, a social network conceived by that most anti-social of types, Mark Zuckerberg. (Who claims that these troubled sorts lack irony?)

On May 22, the European Union deemed it appropriate to slap a $1.3 billion fine on the company for transferring the data of EU users to the United States. In so doing, the company had breached the General Data Protection Regulation, which has become something of a habit for information predators from Silicon Valley.

The data in question is …

It’s Time for Resistance Against Injustice This Memorial Day Week

The meaning of Memorial Day needs to be broadened.

We in the USA need to remember not just those who have died or risked death in one of the many wars the USA has been part of, going back to the original revolutionary war for independence from Britain. We also need to remember those who died or risked death or imprisonment in battles for the rights of workers to unionize, against Jim Crow segregation and for equal rights for all, for peace in Vietnam and against all imperialist wars, for the rights of women and lgbtq people, and against polluting industries …

“Free Trade” as Revealed in the China-United States Paradigm

Interview with author Wei Ling Chua


Free trade is much ballyhooed by the US and the capitalist world, but critics have been skeptical as to whether such trade freely takes place.

Investopedia provides a useful definition of free trade:

A free trade agreement is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them. Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange.

The concept of free trade is the …

What a Giant Pile of Unsold Clothing in the Desert Can Teach Us about Real Resistance

According to this article:

“Chile’s Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, has been a dumping ground for fast fashion leftovers. A mountain of discarded clothing, including Christmas sweaters and ski boots, cuts a strange sight in the desert, which is increasingly suffering from pollution created by the fashion industry.”

Some further explanation from another article:

“Sadly, the desert is also a dumping ground for cheap, unsold clothing. Shein party dresses, H&M sweaters, and more are all heaped in growing mounds. The site contains an estimated 60,000 tons of clothes from …

A Question about Censorship

If disinformation (i.e., lying) is a crime against peace and humanity, then why aren’t such lies censored?

Supremes Declare War on Wetlands

Image credit: Boreal Conservation

The Supreme Court is effectively axing a major component of the Clean Water Act, rolling back 50 years of wetland protection in a declaration of war against nature by changing a word in the text of the Clean Water Act.

Seldom, if ever, will repercussions of a Supreme Court decision be so far-reaching and detrimental to life for the planet. It’s a dagger strike deep into the heart of the world’s most significant life source. Sauel Alito changing the text of the Clean Water Act …

Urgent: CGL Causes Heartbreaking Damage to Our Rivers

TC Energy, in the construction of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline (CGL) has been reported by the Narwhal and a Citizen Monitoring Group as “having committed numerous environmental infractions, including slope failures, flooded worksites, and sediment entering wetlands and waterways.”

Helicopter flyovers of the area revealed heartbreaking footage of the destruction of our territory, currently otherwise inaccessible to us due to the ceaseless harassment of our people by the CIRG and CGL security and by gates put up to limit our access.

CGL received permits to construct a “trenchless crossing” of the Gosnell Creek and surrounding …

Peace Dollars: Putting Our Economic House In Order

The total federal deficit at $31+ trillion?

Maybe it’s time for some creative thinking — a totally unique strategy that benefits all Americans, not just capitalist predators.

Special use currency is not unprecedented.

Abraham Lincoln used “greenbacks” — the paper currency shown above, backed by nothing more than confidence in the government — to finance the Civil War. He printed $449,338,902 of this currency, a lot of money at the time.

A century later, on June 4, 1963, John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110 which set in motion the issuance of silver certificate notes, currency backed by silver …

War and Friendship in a Time of War

Reflections on The Mercenary by Jeffrey Stern

Salman Rushdie once commented that those who are displaced by war are the shining shards that reflect the truth. With so many people fleeing wars and ecological collapse in our world today, and more to come, we need acute truth-telling to deepen our understanding and recognize the terrible faults of those who have caused so much suffering in our world today. The Mercenary: A Story of Brotherhood and Terror in the Afghanistan War (Public Affairs, 2023) has accomplished a tremendous feat inasmuch as every paragraph aims to tell …

China Suspends Sales of U.S. Company Micron

This week’s News on China in 2 minutes.

• China suspends sales of U.S. company Micron
• China’s food security faces the challenge of an aging rural workforce
• Two Ming Dynasty ships found in South China Sea
• Tibetan village turned into a large Buddhist art factory

The US and Never-ending War

Review of The U.S. and Perpetual War

John Rachel, in his book The U.S. and Perpetual War: Interviews and Commentary (Independently published, May 16, 2023, available at Peace Dividend/Books and Amazon) has compiled a unique, concise and astonishingly compelling collection of leading left, liberal, conservative and heterodox thinkers each answering the same fifteen precisely composed questions. The questions concern the current nature of the US empire, putative US democracy, and, most important, what is to be done.

The distinguished roster of 22 respondents from politics, academia, media, law, and social activism includes Noam Chomsky, Larry Wilkerson, …

Henry Kissinger Turns 100

HAK Birthdays

Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands.

— Anthony Bourdain, A Cook’s Tour (2002)

If a heavy resume of crimes is a guarantee of longevity, then surely Henry A. Kissinger (HAK, for short), must count as a good specimen. The list of butcheries attributed to his centurion, direct or otherwise, is extensive, his hand in them, finger fat and busy. There were the murderous meddles in Latin America, the conflicts in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. (The interventions in Laos and Cambodia are said to have left 350,000 Laotians and 600,000 …

Luddite, or Cantankerous, or Naysayer, or Devil’s Advocate, Backward, or …

Photo: Ludd, drawn here in 1812, was the fictitious leader of numerous real protests. Granger Collection, New York.

The question is, To be or not to be or not to be …

(from Hamlet, spoken by Hamlet)

To be, …