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Harvey Weinstein and the Politics of Hollywood

There is something truly exasperating about digesting the steady flow of horror stories relating to Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In part, of course, it is because the reports that Weinstein allegedly raped and sexually assaulted women over decades are deeply disturbing. In part, it is because one can be certain that there are still young aspiring actresses desperate for a big break who are being exploited by the Hollywood system – both in “casting” sessions and in the movies they must make to get noticed.

But most of all, these stories are exasperating because the women who are speaking out – …

The Choreography of Human Dignity: Blade Runner 2049 and World War Z

The acceptance of violence in cinema today has become the norm. In almost every genre of cinema (even in comedies [Kick Ass] and musicals [Sweeney Todd]) today extreme violence can crop up at some point during the movie. Some film genres are based on violence: horror, war, westerns, crime, terror.

This is especially true of science fiction and zombie movies where ‘replicants’ (androids/robots) are executed (‘retired’) and zombies are mowed down with machine guns. And because replicants (Blade Runner 2049) and zombies (World War Z) are not ‘human’ then the representation of any form of violence can be used to ‘take …

American Teaching Hospitals: Where Pelvic Exams Under Anesthesia Happen

Before undergoing a liver biopsy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, I asked my surgeon’s nurse whether I was to be catheterized for the procedure. In response to this perfectly legitimate question the knave sardonically replied: “I’m really not supposed to say this, but what difference does it make? You’re going to be under general anesthesia.”

It was at that moment that I started to wonder: With an attitude like that, what do they really do to us when we are under anesthesia? And thus a little Internet surfing was most certainly in order.

In my journey into the subterranean …

Why the Columbine and Las Vegas Massacres?

After the 1999 school massacre in Columbine, Colorado – an exurbia community – by two disaffected teenage boys (who also killed themselves), I came to the conclusion that the killers’ “motive” was not at all a purposeful urge, goal, revenge or obsession, but instead a complete self-abandonment into nihilism – a giving up – and the horrible eruption of that destructive nihilism was a symptom of those boys’ lack of culture – an abysmal lack of culture. I see the same about Stephen Paddock, the shooter in Las Vegas; his fury to kill emerged out of a profound lack of …

“The Agreement of the Century”

According to a report circulating unofficially in Arabic, the latest in a sixty-nine year history of proposals to resolve the western Zionist invasion of Palestine (AKA the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict”) is about to see the light of day. It claims Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu originated the proposal and that secret deliberations have been underway for more than five months.

Netanyahu has now presented the proposal to the US, which made some changes and agreed to promote it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will carry the plan, called “the Agreement of the Century” to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and …

Celebrating 100 Years of Injustice and Oppression

"It's God's work...."

On 7 November, in London’s famous Royal Albert Hall, there’s to be “a unique event drawing Christians and Jews together in celebration of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and all that it led to.”

Christians will be reaching out to support the Jewish community and the state of Israel, or so the organisers claim.

“Our vision to stage such a big event at the Royal Albert Hall is ambitious and we recognise our reliance on God to enable every aspect of it. The evening’s programme will follow the history of God’s work through the Balfour Declaration that culminated in the independence …

The Greatest Indonesian Painter and “Praying to the Pig”

Yogyakarta and Karang Klethak Village — Djokopekik (who uses only one name, as is common in Java) could easily be described as the greatest living Indonesian painter. He is something of an anomaly in his country, where vulgar pop art, pop music and almost absolute submission to Western pro-market dogmas, religious rituals, and feudal family structures, are confining this vast archipelago into a tight straight jacket.

Djokopekik is a Communist, while Communism is banned in Indonesia. He is an atheist in a country where, according to some counts, around 99% of the population claims that ‘religions play an important role in their …

As Trump Threatens, North Korea Still Struggles with America’s Lethal Legacy

Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or ‘disappeared’ … More often than not, the United States shares the blame.

— Amnesty International, 1996.

As the US threatens to decimate North Korea again – if not the entire planet, given Donald Trump’s chillingly casual approach to the use of nuclear weapons – an article has revealed the criminal legacy remaining from America’s last attack, ending sixty-four years ago, on a country smaller than Mississippi. (North Korea is a landmass of 120,540 square kilometers, Mississippi is 125,443 square kilometers.)

“Experts say …

Organized Chaos and Confusion as Political Control

There’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear.

— Buffalo Springfield 1967

It’s not supposed to be clear, now or then.  If you’re confused by the news you’re hearing, you should be.  They want you to be.  They try to make you be.  But you don’t have to be.

Who are “they”?  They are the corporate mainstream media (MSM) that serve as mouthpieces for the power elites, who are connected through an intricate system of institutions and associations, both obvious and shadowy.  They run the show that the media produce for the masses.  To paraphrase the illustrious American propagandist, Edward …

Vengeful in Defeat: Hillary Clinton Fantasises about WikiLeaks

The Hillary Clinton mope tour, which should have reached a high water mark, has gone global. It entails drumming up her credentials (immaculate, we are told, but unnoticed), and pouring upon the man who beat her to the White house (a danger to the world).  The latter is the fundamental point: Donald Trump would not have won, not because of Clinton’s flaws but because of what others did.

One of those big others remains WikiLeaks.  The other, supposedly, is its Russian ally – no, employer, sponsor, even, there one say it peering into that dark mind of hers, director-in-chief.  Forget Assange, …

The Real Reason behind Trump’s Angry Diplomacy in North Korea

To understand the United States’ stratagem in the Pacific, and against North Korea in particular, one has to understand the fundamental changes that are underway in that region. China’s clout as an Asian superpower and as a global economic powerhouse has been growing at a rapid speed. The US’ belated ‘pivot to Asia’ to counter China’s rise has been, thus far, quite ineffectual.

The angry diplomacy of President Donald Trump is Washington’s way to scare off North Korea’s traditional ally, China, and disrupt what has been, till now, quite a smooth Chinese economic, political and military ascendency in …

The Real Reasons Trump is Quitting Unesco

At first glance, the decision last week by the Trump administration, followed immediately by Israel, to quit the United Nation’s cultural agency seems strange. Why penalise a body that promotes clean water, literacy, heritage preservation and women’s rights?

Washington’s claim that the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is biased against Israel obscures the real crimes the agency has committed in US eyes.

The first is that in 2011 Unesco became the first UN agency to accept Palestine as a member. That set the Palestinians on the path to upgrading their status at the General Assembly a year later.

It should be …

Two or Three Things I Know About Capitalism

(With apologies to Jean-Luc Godard)

A number of recent, press articles, including an over 8000 word feature piece in the New York Times have asked, to quote the The NYT’s headline, “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”

Although the question was proffered, the reporters and editors responsible for the articles remain resolutely obtuse to the obvious: The bughouse crazy environment of late stage capitalist culture evokes classic flight or flight responses attendant to episodes of severe anxiety and panic attacks.

The word panic has its derivation in reference to the Greek god of wilderness and wildness, of pastural repose, of the animal …

Climate Change Insurgent: Tony Abbott’s Crusade

He is the inimitable, true political ugliness, the bad boy with a mistimed punch.  While not quite professorial in his lunacy (that honour will have to go to Pauline Hanson of One Nation, whose sincere bigotry remains pungent), he aspires to it with a greater sense of reason.

This Exocet missile of Australian politics continues to direct his power and magic into the vessels of the Turnbull government, hoping that his relevance will resume form.  His victories, gained from the right wing of the Liberal-National coalition, have been significant, effectively trimming the efforts of the government.

Tony’s never so immaculate releases always …

Universal Basic Income, or Basic Universal Alternative?

The Green Party of England and Wales have just concluded their autumn conference, held this year in the pleasant Yorkshire town of Harrogate. One of the meetings I particularly wanted to take part in was titled “Universal Basic Income. Its time has come”. The main speaker was Guy Standing, someone who has apparently been promoting Basic Income for about thirty years. Although this gives him cause to claim some proprietorial rights for the idea, the Greens’ version of the same thing, known to us as Citizens Income (CI), has been a cornerstone policy for about forty years.

UBI/CI proposes that everyone …

Will Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation Deal Succeed?

The announcement of an Egypt-brokered reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas on Thursday raised hopes that a decade of bitter feuding between the rival Palestinian factions may finally come to an end.

The early conclusion of the talks in Cairo hinted at how much pressure both sides were under to make progress.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed what he called a “declaration of the end to division”. He is expected to visit Gaza within the next month, for the first time since Hamas ousted Fatah from the enclave in 2007.

However, the two sides reached only a partial agreement, addressing civil and administrative …

Wrongful Rhetoric and Trump’s Strategy on Iran

Mordechai Vanunu was imprisoned in Israel for eighteen years because he blew the whistle on Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. He felt he had “an obligation to tell the people of Israel what was going on behind their backs” at a supposed nuclear research facility which was actually producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. His punishment for breaking the silence about Israel’s capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons included eleven years of solitary confinement.

Yesterday, reading about President Donald Trump’s new strategy on Iran, Vanunu’s long isolation and sacrificial commitment to truth-telling came to mind.

Donald Trump promised to “deny the …

Breaking the Blockade against Cuba: Interview with Claudia Camba

Cuba is the model of what can be achieved. Imagine how much more it could do without the economical and media blockade!”. These are the words of Claudia Camba, president of the UMMEP Foundation (“Un Mundo Mejor Es Posible”, “A better world is possible”) and coordinator of the Cuban missions in Argentina. In this exclusive Investig’Action interview, she tells us about Cuban solidarity in Argentina and Latin America, and specially about Operación Milagro (“Operation Miracle”) and the Dr. Ernesto “Che” Guevara ophthalmologic centre in Córdoba
*****
Ricardo Vaz: Can …

If you work for Justice in Palestine, why won’t you let Palestinians speak?

Until I came to the US last year, I had never met an Israeli, and only one American Jew. As a third generation Palestinian refugee living in a camp in Lebanon, such opportunities did not exist.
Then, when 85-year-old Mariam Fathalla and I came last year to speak throughout the US and Canada about the views of our community in Lebanon, I suddenly met lots of Jews, and a few Israelis, as well.  In fact, it was often Jewish Voice for Peace groups that invited us or were among the co-sponsors of our events, as part of the …

On “Independence”: Catalonia, Kurdistan, North Korea and Latin America

Alessandro Biancchi:  Self-determination of peoples and respect for the borders and sovereignty of a country. This is of the most complicated issue for international law. How can it be articulated for the case of Catalonia?

Andre Vltchek: Personally, I’m not very enthusiastic about smaller nations forming their own states, particularly those in the West, where they would, after gaining ‘independence’, remain in the alliances that are oppressing and plundering the entire world: like NATO or the European Union.

Clearly, the breaking of the great country of Yugoslavia into small pieces was a hostile, evil design by the West, and particularly of Germany …