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Who is burying the Olympic Movement and Why?

By the time the 2018 Winter Olympic Games opened in PyeongChang last week, the masterminds behind the so-called Russian doping scandal had finally lost their control of the narrative, causing irreparable damage to the Olympic movement and to sports in general.  The politically motivated actions of a tiny group of functionaries in the sports industry have discredited the very concept of the purity of athletics and have resulted in a sharp drop in the world’s interest in the Games in PyeongChang.  This is evident in the disastrous attendance figures (a month before the competitions began only 60% …

Global Warming Zaps Oxygen

Take a deep breath. A recent scientific study reveals disturbing loss of ocean oxygen. Unnerving climatic events like this justify ringing and clanging of the bells on the Public Square, all hands on deck. In particular, and as expected, the culprit is too much anthropogenic-induced global warming or idiomatically speaking, human activities such as planes, trains, and automobiles… burning tons of coal. Somebody must do something to fix it… ah-ah-ah!

According to Denise Breitburg, lead author marine ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center:

The decline in ocean oxygen ranks among the most serious effects of human activities on the Earth’s environment.

Korean Olympic Diplomacy Moves Forward Despite U.S. Intransigence

An interview with K.J. Noh

By many accounts, the Koreans – North and South – have prevailed over the disruptive desires of the United States, coming together in a series of very public actions, clearly meant to turn down the political heat generated by President Donald Trump and the U.S. pressure for military action. This pressure can be seen as a continuation of President Barack Obama’s “Asia Pivot,” a policy that called for full U.S. dominance in the region, including by containing China and the new emerging regional powers through a set of expansive, coordinated, and aggressive military alliances with Japan and other Pacific Rim …

Assange, Judge Arbuthnot and the Arrest Warrant

Justice is an elastic concept.  Like other terms in law, it has room to expand and contract.  But one weakness burdens legal strictures that supposedly have an objective reality to them: power.  Power brutish, power as a spectral force, and power arbitrarily exercised.

Any reading of Julian Assange’s case must be, to that end, understood as a dynamic less of law than power.  Having challenged its operations in the international system, he was bound to be its recipient.  In assessing his conditions of detention on the Ecuadorean embassy in London, black letter lawyers prefer an interpretation without the influence of power, …

Atlas Shivered

A recent article by Matthew Moore appeared in The Times titled “Trump’s philosopher is heading for your local”. The piece not only suggests that Donald Trump is capable of reading a book, which seems unlikely enough, but that he’s also capable of reading a philosophical book. Quite frankly, that would be stretching credulity a little too far.

The so-called philosopher in question is Ayn Rand, a White Russian émigré to the US who died almost forty years ago. Her two best-known books are “The Fountainhead”, and “Atlas Shrugged”, both novels, rather than philosophical tomes. I read them when Rand was …

Regime Change Fails: Is A Military Coup Or Invasion Of Venezuela Next?

Speaking at his alma mater, the University of Texas, on February 1, Secretary of State Tillerson suggested a potential military coup in Venezuela.  Tillerson then visited allied Latin American countries urging regime change and more economic sanctions on Venezuela. Tillerson is considering banning the processing or sale of Venezuelan oil in the United States and is discouraging other countries from buying Venezuelan oil. Further, the US is laying the groundwork for war against Venezuela.

In a series of tweets, Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican from Florida, where many Venezuelan oligarchs live, called for a military coup in Venezueala.

How absurd …

A Stock Market Primer in Six Easy Steps

What is the stock market?

It’s not real economic activity—it’s a form of mass hysteria or mass psychosis.
Stock prices reflect a mass-hysteria impression of the worth of a piece of paper you hold—a stock certificate. The worth of that piece of paper is sometimes tethered to some economic reality of some corporation—at least partially—but sometimes not. Often a stock price bears little relation to the economic health of a company, as illustrated in the wildly gyrating stock price-to-earnings ratios through the decades. Hence the stock price is often a matter of caprice, covert manipulation, and/or unfathomable crowd psychology, …

Greece’s Colossal Cave In

Europe’s Left has finally renounced the Syriza Party (acronym for Coalition of the Radical Left), as Jean-Luc Mélenchon of France Insoumise or “Unsubmissive France” calls for Greece’s Syriza booted out of the Alliance of Leftists. Greece’s PM Tsipras of the Syriza Party faux Left is way too far Right!

In stark contrast to Syriza’s Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, Monsieur Mélenchon, a Member of the European Parliament (“MEP”), calls for (a) an end to “presidential monarchy in France,” (b) enhanced environmental protections, (c) increased labor rights, and in harmony with his hard left sympathies, lo and behold, (d) a 100% income tax …

Old Movies and Patriarchy from the Days of HUAC and the Blacklist

Watching old movies is a journey back through time, revisiting the social attitudes of our past.  A lot has changed during the last six or seven decades, much of it for the better. Thank goodness I don’t have to wear a white shirt and necktie just to go downtown nowadays, but back in the 1950s that was the norm, the required male attire. I remember my father somewhat awkwardly putting on his dress-up clothes, struggling with his necktie. Being a former fisherman, Dad was skilled at tying all sorts of complicated knots, but that necktie was one he never quite …

Burying Canada’s Anti-Palestinian Consensus

The anti-Palestinian consensus among Canada’s three main political parties is crumbling and NDP members could bury it this weekend.

After taking an all-expense paid trip to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference in Washington and participating in a Jewish National Fund event in Israel 14 months ago, the NDP’s foreign critic has begun challenging Canada’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession. Hélène Laverdière has repeatedly criticized the Trudeau government’s silence on Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. In response she tweeted, “a devastating day for those who believe in peace, justice and security in the …

The Boomerang Effect: How Netanyahu Made Israel an American Issue, and Lost

Despite massive sums of money spent to channel public opinion in the United States in favor of Israel, unmistakable trends in opinion polls are attesting to the changing dynamics of Israel’s support among ordinary Americans.

Not only is Israel losing its support and overall appeal among large sections of American society, but among young American Jews, as well — a particularity worrying phenomena for the Israeli government.

The trend promises to be a lasting one, since it has been in the making for years, starting some time after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

It was on that date that the affinity …

Fearing Peace: Olympic Diplomacy in Action

Mike Pence was a man with a mission.  At stages through the opening parts of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, he looked like a man on a mission.  With diplomatic gestures flowering all around with weedy vigour in Pyeonchang, he was intent on fighting them.  The gardener of empire had his implements at the ready.

The US Vice-President had a brief: ignore, stall, and frustrate.  Most of all, be wary of being wooed.  “We’ll continue,” he warned on Thursday, “to seize every opportunity to ensure that North Korea does not use the powerful imagery and backdrop of the Olympics …

Helping in Puerto Rico

From January 28 to February 7th my wife and I were in Vieques, Puerto Rico, helping as best we could with recovery from Hurricane Maria, which hit on September 20th, almost five months ago.  Help is very much still needed. I don’t think I realized how much that is true until I got home to New Jersey and experienced all of the things I didn’t experience during those 10 days:

the lights and everything electrical turning on or being on all day and night whenever I need it;
a hot, not cold, water shower;
not worrying about hitting something …

The Coward’s Way: Make War on the Young

The Israeli occupation authorities arrested a 14 year-old epileptic Palestinian girl for begging. As punishment they dumped her in the Gaza Strip where she knew no-one and was cut off from her parents.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports how the girl was arrested as an “illegal alien” in East Jerusalem (Palestinian territory as everyone knows), her cellular telephone confiscated and a lawyer from the Public Defender’s Office appointed to represent her. She was released on bail and taken to the Gaza Strip because it was listed in Israeli records as her father’s place of residence. She told officials at Erez checkpoint on …

The Military Industrial Complex Strikes Again: War Spending Will Bankrupt America

Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? Do we need to spend more money on our military (about $600 billion this year) than the next seven countries combined? Do we need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000 reserves when the enemy at the moment — ISIS — numbers in the low tens of thousands? If so, it seems there’s something radically wrong with our strategy. Should 55% of the federal government’s discretionary spending go to the military and only 3% to transportation when the toll in American lives is far …

Barnaby Joyce, Sex and Finance

The insatiable appetite of Anglophone cultures for the prurient is of a different order to others.  But it is an appetite tinged by horror, squeamishness and concern.  Added to that such traditional markers, not to mention such markers as marriage, family and conservative values, and the whole thing becomes indigestible.

Australian politics is awash with only one story at the moment.  There are no grand schemes and visions, only the prospect of whether the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce did wrong by his family in impregnating a political staffer. (That now former staffer, Vikki Campion, is afforded various names in the …

Canada’s New Democratic Party Seeks to Topple Venezuela’s Government

Has it become NDP policy to support US-backed coups in Latin America?

The Canadian social democratic party’s foreign critic Hélène Laverdière has certainly remained silent regarding US leaders musing about a military coup or invasion of Venezuela and has openly supported asphyxiating the left-wing government through other means.

At the start of the month US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for the military to oust President Nicolás Maduro. “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer …

The UK’s Hidden Role in Assange’s Detention

It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.

Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.

In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up in a tiny room, policed at great cost to British taxpayers, not because of any allegations in Sweden but because …

The Myth of “The Left” in America’s Distorted Political Culture

A few years ago, anarchist philosopher Crispin Sartwell argued that “the left/right or Democrat/Republican split—which turns American politics into a hyper-repetitive, mechanical set of partisan bromides about free markets versus government programs with egalitarian results—depends on a historical mistake.” While Sartwell was pretty much on point with this assessment, we haven’t yet been able to cast aside these self-imposed political blinders. Americans by and large still see politics through the left/right prism, without realizing that our perceptions of what constitutes ‘the left’ in particular are intrinsically …

Lauri Love: Hacking and Extradition

Horse-trading determines who goes to jail and for how long.  That is what plea bargaining is.  It is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system; it is the criminal justice system.

— US Supreme Court Justice Kennedy (2012)

The February 5 decision of the British court refusing to permit the extradition of hactivist Lauri Love was more than an opinion. It was a reproach.  While a quiet confidence had been expressed that the decision would go his way, not permitting his extradition might also dint various trans-national security efforts.  Prosecutors were taking note.

Love had been accused of hacking into the …

“A Load Of Tosh”: The BBC, “Showbiz News” And State Propaganda

On January 22, BBC News at Ten carried a piece by ‘defence’ correspondent Jonathan Beale reporting a speech by General Sir Nick Carter, the British Army’s Chief of General Staff. Carter gave his speech, pleading for more resources in the face of the Russian ‘threat’, at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), an establishment thinktank with close links to the military and corporate media.

Beale began his BBC News piece with a prologue of raw propaganda, delivered in an urgent and impassioned tone:

Russia’s building an increasingly modern and aggressive military. Already tested in

Keeping an Eye on Australia: Admiral Harry Harris Goes to Canberra

Imperial arrangements require decent overseer of subjects.  In the Pax Americana, which is, in fact, rather violent, Australia is indispensable in the Pacific theatre.  It offers land, facilities, and the means to eye future enemies and keep allies in check.  Wedged between China and the United States, Australia could focus on smoothing rocky roads and building bridges.  But this is something Washington is very keen on preventing.  Those in the business of empire want to monitor the level of satrap loyalty.

As General Joe Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff, explained, with measured gravity, “We have enduring …

Human Sacrifice in the Yucatán

One of the world’s great civilizations, the Maya, flourished in southern Mexico and parts of Central America for more than three thousand years. From about 2000 BC until the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century AD, various Mayan centers rose in their far-flung territories in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Maya peoples developed a hieroglyphic writing system, as well as ornate arts and sculpture designs, architectural innovations, complex mathematics and a detailed calendar based on their highly sophisticated astronomical calculations. Over the centuries the Maya withstood conquest by other indigenous peoples, sometimes for prolonged periods, and the …

Freedom for Palestine: Another New Democratic Party Resolution

At next week’s New Democratic Party convention in Ottawa Palestinian rights are set to be a major flashpoint. The NDP Socialist Caucus has submitted a resolution calling on the party to:

actively campaign in support of the demand of Palestinian unions, civil society and unions across Canada and around the world which call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Israeli state until it dismantles the apartheid wall, allows refugees to return home, ends its demolition of Palestinian homes and olive groves, lifts the siege of Gaza, ends its occupation of Palestinian lands, and terminates its apartheid practices.

A more moderate …

US Misses Opportunity For Peace Progress At Olympics

The unified Korean team marches in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. Credit James Hill for The New York Times.
Despite President Moon’s Efforts to Encourage Diplomacy, Childish Anti-Diplomatic Behavior of Vice President Pence Undermines Opportunity for Peace Diplomacy

President Moon said at a carefully planned dinner to honor Kim Yong Nam, the North Korean president’s sister and Vice President Mike Pence that he hoped the Winter Olympics would be remembered as the “day peace began.” But, Vice President Mike Pence did his best …

Israel: DNA Tests May Provide Answers on Missing Babies

Thousands of Israeli families who have been searching in vain for answers since their babies mysteriously disappeared in the early 1950s – shortly after Israel’s creation – have been thrown a lifeline.

The mystery of the missing children has plagued Israel for decades, with evidence mounting that at least some of the babies were trafficked by hospitals and orphanages – possibly with the connivance of Israeli officials.

Other documents indicate some children may have died during experiments conducted by hospitals without the parents’ knowledge or consent.

The families hope two new initiatives based on DNA testing – including the opening of graves – …

Try Learning Not to Ride a Bicycle So We Can Save the World

Who would study and describe the living, starts /By driving the spirits out of the parts: /In the palm of his hand he holds all the sections, /Lacks nothing, except the spirit’s connections.
— Mephistopheles warning to the student in Goethe’s Faust

And how far would you like to go in?” he asked and the three kings all looked at each other. “Not too far but just far enough so’s we can say that we’ve been there.
— Liner notes to Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding album

— The shadow is what I am but will not admit I am.  For the shadow of

Trump Declares Solar War: Syria Installs Solar Systems

In November 2017 war-torn Syria became the last country, other than the U.S., to sign Paris ’15 the worldwide effort to curb global warming. In the eyes of the world, America must be as mad as a hatter.

Actually, the madness runs much deeper than failure to acknowledge Paris ‘15. Not only that, the Mad Hatter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland fame has unique personality traits and keeps company same as Trump, terse personal remarks directed at adversaries whilst exchanging unanswerable riddles with his Tea Party friends.

The Trump Administration’s Tea Party brand of eagerness enhanced with unvarnished Libertarianism (destroy the Social …

Haiti: An Example of Fake News by Omission

Anti-Empire Report #155

The people who created Facebook and Google must be smart. They’re billionaires, their companies are worth multi-multi billions, their programs are used by billions around the world.

But all these smart people, because of Congressional pressure, have swallowed the stories about “fake news”. Facebook hired a very large staff of people to read everything posted by users to weed out the fake stuff. That didn’t last too long at all before the company announced that it wasn’t “comfortable” deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a “world with so much division”. We all could have told them that, couldn’t …

Dow Jones Plunge Reveals a Morally Sick System

Time to ‘fess up: I don’t understand economics. I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that I’m not supposed to understand it either. As with some weird cult, maybe economic “laws” are only revealed to initiates. Or maybe no one really understands economics; it’s just some are better at pretending they do.

Either way, today’s mystifying Guardian story about dramatic falls in the Dow Jones seems to be saying that the plunges happened because the global economy is doing too well. All very paradoxical.

But one paragraph conveys a nugget of information that even I can understand:

The plunge, initially triggered