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The Smearing of Ken Loach and Jeremy Corbyn is the Face of our New Toxic Politics

The film-maker’s crime – like Corbyn’s – wasn’t antisemitism but recalling a time when class solidarity inspired the struggle for a better world

Ken Loach, one of Britain’s most acclaimed film directors, has spent more than a half a century dramatising the plight of the poor and the vulnerable. His films have often depicted the casual indifference or active hostility of the state as it exercises unaccountable power over ordinary people.

Last month Loach found himself plunged into the heart of a pitiless drama that could have come straight from one of his own films. This veteran chronicler of society’s ills was forced to stand down as a judge in a school anti-racism competition, falsely accused of racism himself and with no means of …

Will Covid-19 spur a Peoples’ Bailout for the World’s Poorest?

Image credit: Giacomo Carra on Unsplash
The question is whether Covid-19 will awaken us to the stark inequalities of our world, or does it simply represent a new cause of impoverishment for the vast swathes of humanity who have long been disregarded by the public’s conscience?
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Since the beginning of 2020, we’ve entered an extraordinary new era. There is still a great deal of fear and uncertainty about what lies ahead, and most countries are undergoing a kind of social and political revolution that is unprecedented …

Solidarity in the Age of Coronavirus: What the Arabs Must Do

While the Coronavirus continues to ravage almost every nation on earth, Arab countries remain unable, or unwilling, to formulate a collective strategy to help the poorest and most vulnerable Arabs survive the deadly virus and its economic fallout.

Worse, amid growing international solidarity, we are yet to see a pan-Arab initiative that aims to provide material support to countries and regions that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 disease.

The lack of collective Arab responsiveness is not unique as it mirrors Europe’s own systematic failure, exhibiting ‘solidarity’ when it is financially convenient, and turning its back, sometimes at its own brethren, …

Standing on the Precipice of Martial Law

In my recent paper Why Assume there will be a 2020 Election?, I took the opportunity of today’s multifaceted crisis in order to revisit an important Wall Street funded coup d’état effort of 1933-34. As I explained in that location, this bankers’ coup was luckily exposed by a patriotic general named Smedley Darlington Butler during one of the darkest moments of America and profoundly changed the course of history.

The Deep State Plot Against JFK

The danger of World War and a military coup arose again during the short-lived administration of John F. Kennedy who found himself locked in a life …

Open Letter to Condemn Trump Administration’s Hypocritical Indictment on Drug Charges of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and High-Ranking Venezuelan Officials

We, the undersigned organizations and prominent individuals, condemn the false claims of criminal charges by the US government against the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and other high-ranking officials with the pretext of their alleged involvement in international drug trafficking.

The US government is offering a $15 million bounty for information that would lead to the arrest of Venezuelan President Maduro. Bounties of $10 million are offered for the National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, retired generals Hugo Carvajal and Clive Alcala, Minister for Industry and National Production Tareck El Aissami, and other Venezuelans. The US government indictments accuse the …

The United States Is Where COVID-19 Deaths Are Being Under-reported

Refrigerated trucks parked outside of a New York City hospital (Screenshot from Twitter of @bestgug)
While the United States government and corporate media point fingers at China, accusing the Chinese government of under-reporting the number of deaths from COVID-19, it is actually the US and not China that has that problem.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, China responded quickly by reporting the novel disease to the World Health Organization and taking steps to identify and study the virus. Within a matter of weeks, it was clear that the …

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Like Other Global Catastrophes, Reveals the Limitations of Nationalism

We live with a profound paradox.  Our lives are powerfully affected by worldwide economic, communications, transportation, food supply, and entertainment systems.  Yet we continue an outdated faith in the nation-state, with all the divisiveness, competition, and helplessness that faith produces when dealing with planetary problems.

As we have seen in recent weeks, the coronavirus, like other diseases, does not respect national boundaries, but spreads easily around the world.  And how is it being confronted?  Despite the heroic efforts of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel, the governments of individual nations have largely gone their own way―some denying the pandemic’s existence, …

Billionaire “Job Creators” and the Keyboard Revolutionaries Who Enable Their Candidates

Capitalism’s “invisible hand” gives us the middle finger with ever more contempt these days.

With the national unemployment rate soaring to Depression-era levels and beyond, the self-proclaimed “job creators” of our glorious free-market paradise are now drowning in gluttonous excess from sucking the tit of the “Nanny State” they allegedly abhor. While workers are prohibited from working by shelter-in-place orders, the private owners of what should be public assets get trillions of taxpayer dollars through the Federal Reserve, which they will use to buy up everything they don’t already own at depressed, pandemic era prices. Then when foreclosures begin to soar …

Julian Assange and Lockdown Injustice

Scribes of the Julian Assange case must surely gawk with a sense of horrified wonder at each proceeding unfolding at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.  Assange is in a battle that can only be described as titanic, seeking to avoid the clutches of the US Justice Department, not to mention its legal system, and convince District Judge Vanessa Baraitser about the merits of that argument.  The gigantic canvass confronting all participants in this squalid tale of vexation and oppression is the nature of journalism itself, and the central point of sharing confidential state information that sheds light on impropriety, …

In Response to President Maduro’s Letter to the People of the United States

The Network in Defense of Humanity, US Chapter, expresses our heartfelt solidarity with the people of Venezuela and its only legitimate President Nicolas Maduro Moros in this hour of danger.

The US administration is creating more conflict and aggression against Venezuela, while people all over the world are fighting a dangerous virus pandemic.

Two weeks ago, the Trump administration filed bogus criminal charges against the elected Venezuelan President and thirteen other Venezuelan officials including the chief justice of their Supreme Court.

A few days ago, on April 2nd, the US deployed naval ships off the coast of Venezuela, the largest US military deployment …

Seven Disturbing Facts about COVID-19 in Louisiana

Virus Raging.  Statewide Louisiana is second only to New York in deaths per 100,000 people with 582 reported as of April 7.  Six parishes (counties) in the New Orleans area are in the top ten in deaths of all the counties in the nation: St. John the Baptist, Orleans, St. Charles, Jefferson, St. James and Plaquemines, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Race.  Louisiana is 32 percent African American.   Yet 70 percent of COVID 19 deaths in Louisiana are of African Americans.  “”These differences are produced by policy, not …

China’s Victory over the Coronavirus

People line up to buy face masks from a medical supply company in Nanning, China on 29 January 2020. © 2020 Chinatopix.

What we have experienced in the past two months is too dreamy and now, in retrospect, it seems not so real.

On January 23, the day before Chinese New Year’s Eve, people who were ready to celebrate the New Year were shocked by the sudden outbreak of the virus. Wuhan, a super big city with a population of 11 million, was declared closed by the government. …

“Proportionate Risk”: COVID or PAE?

As Ivan Illich pointed out in Medical Nemesis (1976), the reigning medical industry enjoys a virtual monopoly on defining “disease,” as well as on the endless production of lucratively patented new drugs ostensibly effective as treatments.  “Public awareness” campaigns are highly selective: one situation is a world emergency, another is simply an ongoing “problem.” As to the latter, I am referring here to what are euphemistically designated as “preventable adverse events” (PAEs). This is used as a mortality-rate category: “medical errors” directly leading to the deaths of patients.

In our current state …

Can Racism not Beget Racism?

Paul Craig Roberts, a former official in the Ronald Reagan government, has his own popular website and his articles are frequently published at the progressive Information Clearing House. I like much of what Paul Craig Roberts has to say, but liking some of the positions staked out by a person does not necessitate that a person agree with all that another person states. One can accept what seems reasonable, logical, and moral and reject that which is illogical or immoral. This is a sine qua non of a critical …

Banal Terrors: Pandemics and the Ordinary Business of War

The twaddle of framing the confrontation of the coronavirus as a “war” has proven to be a cheapening, misguided exercise.  France’s president Emmanuel Macron has deemed COVID-19 the “invisible, elusive enemy”, making it sound like an adept guerrilla specialising in sneak attacks.  China’s Xi Jinping has gone for the language of the “people’s war”, suggesting that the virus has certain class-ridden notions.  President Donald Trump has characterised himself as “a wartime president”.

Implicit in such language is the idea that nothing else matters; the resources of humanity will be marshalled in finding a vaccine and stopping the spread of infections.  …

The Decade of Transformation: Remaking International Relations

The coronavirus pandemic is magnifying the cruelty of US foreign policy. The economic collapse is showing the failure of neoliberalism and how the empire-economy is not working for the people of the world, including the United States.

The US is losing its global dominance as it demonstrates its own incompetence in response to the pandemic and its viciousness in the midst of this crisis. Other countries are showing leadership and solidarity while the US is escalating its attacks.

This is an opportunity to change direction. What seemed impossible in the recent …

A Tale of Two Stockpiles

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Anniversary of his Murder in a Pandemic Year

The United States Strategic National Stockpile of essential medical supplies maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seems unable to respond to the present COVID-19 crisis.  There is much discussion in today’s news about who is responsible for the shortcomings. Did Trump find the shelves empty or full when he took office after President Obama? Is the stockpile meant to support local governments in dealing with shortages in such a crisis, as the DHHS website said until last Friday, or is it specifically meant for use …

Trumpdemic

Michael D’Antuono has released his latest piece on President Trump’s mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic, titled Trumpdemic. The painting depicts the president head bowed, sitting on a stool wearing a dunce cap in front of a whiteboard where the president (assumedly) was made to write “people die when I lie” a hundred times as punishment for his less than honest handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Iraq War Lies Still Cause Pervasive Distrust of UK State

Militant arson against 5G towers showed citizens view the state as a liar

With anti-statist paranoia and acts of vandalism now part of the coronavirus crisis in the UK, in one outrageous video sent to me by a friend (I will not produce it, due to the responsibility to prevent the spread of false information) a British man denounced the virus as a hoax. What is most shocking is that he included (17 years on!) an appeal to the fact the Iraq War was based on lies.

The continued disbelief towards any government statements and guidance shows, despite attempts to put Tony …

Sanders Will Present Legislation to Pay All Medical Costs for Coronavirus Patients

Bernie Sanders, the Junior Democratic (nominally Independent) U.S. Senator from Vermont, is working with other progressives in Congress to come up with proposed emergency legislation that would pay all coronavirus medical costs throughout the coronavirus epidemic in America, and that would pay salaries of laid-off workers, so that the economy will not crash.

In a 7-minute video which was posted by The Hill,

Sanders says that due to the pandemic, “our economy is now collapsing in front of our eyes” and so “the essence of this legislation is that it will be more effective to prevent the collapse of our economy …

Human Development: Will It End Soon?

Our species—Homo sapiens sapiens—originated in Africa about 40,000 to 130,000 years ago.  Even before 130,000 years ago our ancestors were exposed to certain stimuli—from other members of our species, and from the physical surround—and engaged in certain behaviorsespecially behaviors related to the acquisition of sustenance, such as gathering, hunting, and even scavenging.  Because both occurred over an extremely long period of time, our ancestors became biologically “designed” to receive certain stimuli and to engage in certain behaviors.  In addition, because our ancestors lived “outdoors” in small groups, our ancestors also became biologically “designed” for life “outdoors” in small …

Change Love and the Need for Unity

Much needs to change in our world, and while this was clear before Covid-19, the pandemic is highlighting festering issues and creating a space in which to re-access current modes of living. New and just socio-economic and political systems are required together with positive values that encourage the good. Mankind needs to learn to share, to live more simply, to cooperate and to create a world free from conflict, and the planet needs to be allowed to heal. The list is long, but everything is interrelated.

Underlying the various crises facing humanity is a crisis of identity. Identifying almost exclusively with …

Was the Fed Just Nationalized?

Did Congress just nationalize the Fed? No. But the door to that result has been cracked open.

Mainstream politicians have long insisted that Medicare for all, a universal basic income, student debt relief and a slew of other much-needed public programs are off the table because the federal government cannot afford them. But that was before Wall Street and the stock market were driven onto life-support by a virus. Congress has now suddenly discovered the magic money tree. It took only a few days for Congress to unanimously pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will …

Human Rights and Natural Facts

Where do human rights come from? And can we establish a firm philosophical base for their existence?

For Hobbes, a thin version of human rights stemmed from the fact that humans want to persist in their existence by doing whatever necessary to preserve their own life. From this, Hobbes deduced that humans have the “natural” right to always protect their own lives. This is generally believed to be the modern start of human rights theories.

Locke added to this basic idea by arguing that human beings are ultimately a sort of …

The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus

Things often look the way they do because someone claiming authority tells us they look that way. If that sounds too cynical, pause for a moment and reflect on what seemed most important to you just a year ago, or even a few weeks ago.

Then, you may have been thinking that Russian interference in western politics was a vitally important issue, and something that we needed to invest much of our emotional and political energy in countering. Or maybe a few weeks ago you felt that everything would be fine if we could just get Donald Trump out of the …

We are Not Allowed to Watch, Listen, and Read What We Want Anymore

Now that almost all of us, all over the world, have been forced into staying in what could be easily defined as house arrest, there is suddenly plenty of time to read books, to watch great films, and to listen to splendid music.

Many of us, for years, have been sadly repeating again and again: “if only we would have time…”

Now there is plenty of it – plenty of time. The world has stopped. Something terrible is happening; something we never wanted to occur. We sense it, we are terrified, but we do not know precisely what it is. Not now, …

From Rags to Riches, from Plague to Profits

(Agenda for after eight)

One of the lessons I recall from school was about the theory of spontaneous generation with regard to disease. Of course, there is the well-known phenomena of spontaneous combustion, when something starts to burn without any apparent external ignition. With spontaneous generation we were taught the idea that something considered dirty or impure, like rags, could give inception to diseases. This was superseded by the germ theory, where microorganisms — that might actually be harboured by such rags — actually were the cause of the illnesses blamed on the …

“He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”

Trident nuclear disarmament activist Steve Kelly, a Jesuit priest, begins his third year imprisoned in a county jail as he and his companions await sentencing.

On April 4, 2020, my friend Steve Kelly will begin a third year of imprisonment in Georgia’s Glynn County jail. He turned 70 while in prison, and while he has served multiple prison sentences for protesting nuclear weapons, spending two years in a county jail is unusual even for him. Yet he adamantly urges supporters to focus attention on the nuclear weapons arsenals which he and his companions aim to disarm. “The nukes are not going to go away by themselves,” says Steve.

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 now await sentencing for their action, performed two years ago inside the Kings …

These Migrant Workers Did Not Suddenly Fall from the Sky

Madness engulfs the planet. Hundreds of millions of people are in lockdown in their homes, millions of people who work in essential jobs – or who cannot afford to stay home without state assistance – continue to go to work, thousands of people lie in intensive-care beds taken care of by tens of thousands of medical professionals and caregivers who face shortages of equipment and time. Narrow sections of the human population – the billionaires – believe that they can isolate themselves in their enclaves, but the virus knows no borders. The global pandemic driven by the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 …

Could COVID-19 Reshape Global Leadership?

Photo Credit: CODEPINK
As U.S. COVID-19 cases double every few days and the death toll mounts, the U.S. seems to be caught in a “worst of both worlds” predicament: daily life and much of the U.S. economy is shut down, but no real progress has been achieved in its efforts to contain or eradicate the virus.

Meanwhile, the 11 million people of Wuhan in China, where the pandemic began, are starting to return to a more normal life, with the city’s subway system …