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Irma

I’m twelve feet away from the northern eyewall of Hurricane Irma.  Seated behind floor to ceiling panes of glass that can’t be thick enough. “Are they thick enough?” I wonder while staring at the murderous velocity of rain and wind that just a few steps away would lift me whole and launch me into the lake, a tree or another house. With death defying, tornadic ferocity the wind drives rain sideways in every direction at once.  I hear tree trunks and limbs snapping like firecrackers off in the distance.

There’s still running water, but the electricity went off hours ago. There’s …

The Demise of Civic Journalism: The Xenophon-Turnbull Deal

It was never spectacular, but the Australian media scape is set to become duller, more contained, and more controlled with changes to the Broadcasting Services Act.  In an environment strewn with the corpses of papers and outlets strapped for cash, calls for reforming the media market have been heard across the spectrum.

The foggy deception being perpetrated by the Turnbull government, assisted by the calculating antics of South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, is that diversity will be shored up by such measures as the $60 million “innovation” fund for small publishers while scrapping the so-called two-out-of-three rule for TV, radio and …

Distorted Views of the Enemy and Bush’s “Axis of Evil”

Many years ago, while the war in Vietnam still raged, the psychologist Ralph K. White wrote a book entitled Nobody Wanted War that has resonated deeply with my own thinking about war. I’ve long believed that the willingness of our government to kill and bring misery to millions of powerless people in nations like Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, which represent no direct threat to us, cannot be justified alone in terms of a broad strategic conception of national defense. Instead, it must for the most part be rationalized by an appeal to the darker dynamics of human psychology.

White’s book, …

Mark of the Beast $$$

Money and the power it imbues atrophies the living daemon in all who are subjected to capitalist games. It is a manipulator of perception, a truth twister, a divider of people. All who wade into the capitalist pool will be permeated with “money values”, and those who stay too long in the tides become part of the tide itself. Consumed in the endless blinkered waters.

When capitalist ideals possess a victim their natural will is absconded by selfish desire, and they begin capitulating to the pitchfork wielding devil on their shoulder who is forever whispering “Why don’t you just take it …

The Empire’s Hustle: Why Anti-Trumpism Doesn’t Include Anti-War

Libertarian U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declared from the Senate floor last week in anticipation of the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018:

I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared and unconstitutional war…What we have today is basically unlimited war, anywhere, anytime, any place upon the globe.

With these words, Paul became one of the few voices to oppose the obscenity that is known as U.S. war policy. But only two other senators joined him: Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).  But there is a wrinkle here: Paul is not concerned with the size of the military …

Trump’s UN Speech

I listened to part of Trump’s UN speech this morning. I was so embarrassed for him and for my country that I had to turn it off.

I wonder if whoever wrote the deplorable speech intended to embarrass Trump and inadvertently embarrassed America as well, or whether the speechwriter(s) is so imbued with the neoconservative arrogance and hubris of our time that the speechwriter was simply blind to the extraordinary contradictions that stood out like sore thumbs all through the speech.

I am not going to describe all of them, just a couple of examples.

Trump went on at great length about how …

The CIA: 70 Years of Organized Crime

On occasion of the CIA’s 70th anniversary, Lars Schall talked with US researcher Douglas Valentine about the Central Intelligence Agency. According to Valentine, the CIA is “the organized crime branch of the U.S. government”, doing the dirty work for the rich and powerful. Douglas Valentine is the author of the non-fictional, historical books The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, The Strength of the Wolf, The Strength of the Pack, and The CIA as Organized Crime.
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Lars Schall: 70 years ago, on September 18, 1947, the National Security Act created the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA. Douglas, you refer to …

The War on Social Media is Being Stepped Up

A really social media, one where we can freely express ourselves and where we alone control the content, is the problem. It must be stopped at all costs.

First, it was “fake news”: the suggestion that social media is uniquely damaging to democracy, rather than the corporately owned media that feeds us constant lies, including the egregious deception that WMD existed in Iraq, and selects self-serving political priorities, such as that Russia’s Vladimir Putin is the biggest threat to the planet’s safety (Donald Trump and climate breakdown are far bigger threats right now).

The latest concern is “trolling”. The UK’s Electoral …

Update on the Duvet Project and the Street Kids School

Projects the Afghan Peace Volunteers have sustained for the past four years.

Bearing quilted bedcovers Afghans walk through the cemetery to their mountainside homes

They have descended from homes built on the mountainside. Women sit together in the cemetery not to mourn but to wait for the duvet distribution to begin. When I approach them, each woman extends a hand in greeting. Some have the needed small stamped pieces of paper to receive two duvets but most don’t. One of the women tells me about the pain in her chest, her legs. She talks about the war. I listen to …

The Growing Affinity Between Netanyahu’s Israel and the West’s Far-right is Hardly Surprising

The eldest son of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has found himself an unlikely poster boy for David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, and neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer.

Last week, these cheerleaders for Jew hatred described 27-year-old Yair Netanyahu as “awesome” and “a total bro” for posting a grossly anti-Semitic image on social media.

It depicts an Illuminati-like figure and a reptilian creature controlling the world through money and dark arts. Alongside them are a cabal of conspirators, their faces altered to show Mr Netanyahu’s main opponents. They include George Soros, a Holocaust survivor who has invested billions in pro-democracy …

The Limits and Deficiencies of Dialectical and Historical Materialism

(An Abstract of the Principles of Anarcho-Historical-Relativism)

With all its emphasis on materiality, physicality and corporeality as the prime origin of all conceptualities, dialectical-historical-materialism is, first and foremost, a concept, that is, a philosophy. No matter how much it claims otherwise and continuously stresses the importance and objectivity of materiality as a priori and prima causa for all ideas, perceptions and consciousness, dialectical-historical-materialism always resorts to language, philosophy and concepts in order to elucidate its principles, its conclusions, and, in addition, in order to validate its fundamental premise. Namely, to quote Marx, that “the mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life …

In Bangkok: “No Speak Your Language, Speak Thai or Die”

It is hard to calculate the cost of the stubborn refusal of the Thai population to learn foreign languages. Some daring estimates, however, calculate that the losses could be in tens of billions of dollars, annually. And the situation is not getting any better.

Bangkok wants to be the center of Southeast Asia, and by many standards it has already achieved this goal.
Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand, Hive of Western Opinion Makers (Photo: Andre Vltchek)
Suvarnabhumi International Airport is the second busiest in the region. Almost all of the …

Not My Wonder Woman: The Zionist Agenda in US Mainstream Feminism

Most women will agree that female representation in the media is incredibly important for a plethora of reasons, not only in media but as well as politics, and other platforms lacking opportunity for female participants. Providing women of all ages a strong and positive role model could break a toxic habit and pattern of accepting and expecting degrading societal roles and standards that have been appointed to us. A struggle that many women face, especially women of color, members of minority faiths, or members of the LGBTQ community, is the women presented in the media for the sake of progressiveness …

Why Would 58% Favor U.S. Bombing of North Korea?

A new Gallup poll indicates that 58% of U.S. residents polled say they favor U.S. military action against North Korea if the U.S. “cannot accomplish its goals by more peaceful means first.” Like most polls it is tendentiously worded.

What are “its goals”? U.S. goals? What national, discussed and decided, “goals” do we have (as a nation) as regards the Korean peninsula?

I’m actually a U.S. citizen and a specialist in East Asian history. Frankly, I know a lot about Korea. But I was never consulted about those “goals.”

In the past the goals have included “defeating” North Korea; remember how Dick Cheney …

No, Antifa: This is not the 1930s and we don’t need to punch a Nazi

The “Battle of Cable Street” is a key event in the “creation myth” of the anti-fascist movement. It goes like this:

On Sunday, October 4, 1936, about 5,000 members of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), led by Sir Oswald Mosley, planned to march in full Blackshirt regalia through several Jewish neighborhoods in London’s East End. Six thousand police were assigned to protect them from about 100,000 anti-fascist protesters. The anti-fascists fought the police and erected barricades to block the marchers. When the fascists saw there was no possibility of moving beyond the barricades, they abandoned the march and dispersed. ((Daniel …

Principles of Persecution: India’s Systematized Human Rights Violations

Arbitrary detentions, torture, mass graves and mass rapes. No, you are not reading about a rogue third world authoritarian dictatorship. Instead these are words that describe matters recurrent in the “world’s largest democracy”, India. The country, over time, has developed a mechanism to extend and tighten its hold on disturbed regions, specifically those states that carry visible secessionist sentiments. This apparatus of oppression is pillared through draconian legislation, which is painted and repainted from time to time.

The development of such legislation in India seems to exhibit a specific pattern, which is marked by evasive moves in the face of public …

The CIA Wins: Harvard, Chelsea Manning and Visiting Fellowships

It all began with an announcement, made public on the website of the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Chelsea Manning would be joining a curious array of Visiting Fellows, including Mr Disaster, Robby Mook, and Sean Bumbling Spicer. (Manning, Spicer and Mook has a curious ring to it, the name, perhaps, of an error-prone debt recovery agency.)

Mook will have something to tell members of the Kennedy School, being credited with directing one of the worst electoral campaigns in US electoral history. His fanatical insistence on statistical determinations had its own role to play in sinking Hillary Clinton, …

Ethiopia’s Economic Growth Hides Fear and Oppression in the One-Party State

Scan the mainstream media for news about Ethiopia and discover headline after headline describing the country’s economic successes: double-digit economic growth, foreign investment and aspirations to become a middle-income country by 2030. Ethiopia, we are told, is a functioning democracy, an African tiger economy and an important ally of Western governments.

According to such eminent sources as the BBC, CNN, the World Bank and the US State Department, Ethiopia is an African success story; a beacon of stability and growing prosperity in a region of dysfunctional states. Dig a little deeper, speak to Ethiopians inside the country or within the diaspora …

The Criminal Injustice System: Beyond Platitudes and Bleeding Hearts

Aotearoa (New Zealand) has a lot of serious problems. Neoliberal reforms have been imposed against the will of the people here and it is only our pride and our racially informed sense of kinship with imperial power that keeps us from recognising that we are a neocolony – a privileged neocolony perhaps, but a neocolony nonetheless.
Recent decades have been an affront to our sovereignty and our progressive and socialist history. We were the first country with a 40 hour working week, the first to allow women to vote, the second to have a comprehensive public health system, and …

Steve Bannon’s Crystal Ball: A Split in the GOP

Rarely does the virus speak so formidably to the condition he is a product of.  The soiling, devastating strategist Steve Bannon, despite exiting the Trump administration, remains within it (symbolically at least), moving about with effect and influence. But it is a legacy of mixed curses that bodes ill for the Republican Party.

The one call he repeats with truncheon carrying persistence is one of division. This is not a man who believes, let alone tolerates, unified fronts.  Disunity is his bread, butter and caviar.  Where a front of consensus appears, his shock methods seek to disrupt it. And nothing, for …