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Once Upon a Time Never Comes Again

Bob Dylan, A Masked Man in Search of Redemption?

He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it.

— George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”, 1936

The lobby of the temple of time travel called the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts was suffused with a nostalgic vibe tinged with the whiff of encroaching death when I walked in for The Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story.  I had earlier asked the ticket girl if most of the tickets for the two sold-out preview shows were being purchased by old people; she told me no, that many younger people had also bought tickets. However, I didn’t see any.  All …

Where Are the Skeptics as the Drums Roll for War with Iran?

Vijay Prashad challenges the media reality that Iran attacked the oil tankers, calling for a real investigation to uncover the truth.

The Neoliberal Rearguard

The potshot intelligentsia take aim at the far left

Once declared by The New York Times to be, “the most important intellectual alive,” a quote it surely regrets, prolific gadfly Noam Chomsky has said that, “Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.” How true. However, the same dictator might find the sloppy, often incoherent work of that uniform press to be a problem in need of a solution, especially at a time when it finds itself assaulted on all sides by alternative media. The mainstream finds itself desperately waging rearguard actions as it stumbles beyond the shadow of respectability. As it retreats into a …

The Joy of Touring

I’ve been on a sort of paternity leave since last winter. I say “sort of” because it’s not like I have an employer or anything — taking a leave for me means not touring, and mounting credit card debt. The reality that it is time to book a major tour becomes undeniable, when the debt rises into the fifth digit to the left of the point. So lately, one of the balls I’m juggling is the tour-booking one, as I make plans to spend most …

Opposing Charter Schools Without Really Opposing Them (Part 2)

In November 2018 I wrote a short piece titled Opposing Charter Schools Without Really Opposing Them.

In that article I highlighted some of the forms of confusion promoted by neoliberals, privatizers, and corporate school reformers to block people from concluding that nonprofit and for-profit charter schools are harmful and must be opposed.

The essence of these different forms of confusion typically takes the form of listing many damning and indicting problems with charter schools, while still managing to find a convoluted way to support them.

Here is the general formula:

I know charter schools have 50 profound problems.
I just spent hours …

The American Dream Is Alive and Well – in China

Home ownership has been called “the quintessential American dream.” Yet today less than 65% of American homes are owner occupied, and more than 50% of the equity in those homes is owned by the banks. Compare China, where, despite facing one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, a whopping 90% of families can afford to own their homes.

Over the last decade, American wages have stagnated and U.S. productivity has consistently been outpaced by China’s. The U.S. government has responded by engaging in a trade war and imposing stiff tariffs in order to penalize China for what the White House …

John Pilger: Julian Assange Extradition Case is a WAR ON JOURNALISM!

Going Underground’s Farhaan Ahmed talks to John Pilger after Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing, where it was decided that Julian would not face a full extradition hearing next year until after the 24th of February.

Buried In Broad Daylight: The “Free Press” And The Leaked OPCW Report On Douma

A defining feature of the propaganda system is that facts supporting the agenda of Western power are pushed to the forefront of the ‘mainstream’ media, while inconvenient facts are buried. A prime example is the shameful media silence in response to a devastating document leaked from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), discussed in a recent media alert. The document, an engineering assessment of two chlorine cylinders found at two separate locations after an attack on the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, 2018, casts serious doubt on the official narrative that …

Reclaiming Autonomy = Rejecting Bureaucracy

In the 20th century, several radical thinkers of considerable stature aimed to rethink, and possibly transcend, the premises of State-oriented, progressive-political ideology.  Pioneering sociologist Max Weber critiqued the massively-encroaching “bureaucratization” of all aspects of everyday life — the diminishment of the unique individual into a “calculable person” (to use Foucault’s phrase).  Like Weber, Michel Foucault valued the rational/scientific legacy of the Enlightenment, but deplored the “management” of “employees/citizens” that came in its wake.  Similarly, Lewis Mumford — another major, post-Marxist revisionist now (almost) entirely forgotten — offered a “libertarian” and de-centralized vision of vibrant social communities, as an alternative to …

The Hitlerization of Jeremy Corbyn (Among Others)

Every time you think the corporatocracy’s manufactured anti-Semitism hysteria cannot possibly get more absurd, they somehow manage to outdo themselves. OK, stay with me now, because this is a weird one.

Apparently, American Hitler and his cronies are conspiring with some secret group of “Jewish leaders” to stop British Hitler from becoming prime minister and wiping out all the Jews in Great Britain. Weird, right? But that’s not the weird part, because maybe American Hitler wants to wipe out all the Jews in Great Britain himself, rather than leaving it to British Hitler … Hitlers being notoriously jealous regarding their genocidal …

Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics

The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom did his thing, which was little in the way of disagreement.  The superpower has issued a request; the retainer would comply.  This week, the US Department Justice Department formally sought the extradition of Julian Assange.  The process was certified by Sajid Javid, a man rather distracted of late.  He is, after all, seeking to win the hearts of the Conservatives and replace Theresa May as Prime Minster.  Boris Johnson, not Wikileaks and press freedom, is on his mind.

The WikiLeaks front man had failed to satisfy Javid that there were exceptions warranting the refusal …

Panda Diplomacy Much Better than Mafia Extortion of Collapsing West

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (2-R) attend an official ceremony to hand over two giant pandas from China to the Moscow Zoo on Thursday (Photo by Alexander Vilf/EPA-EFE/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool)
While the United States has been intimidating dozens of countries all over the world, two cuddly Chinese giant pandas – a three year old male called Ru Yi, and a female one year younger, named Ding Ding – were settling down in their new home, inside the legendary Moscow Zoo. Chewing bamboo shoots, and …

UK’s Decision to Pass Assange Extradition Request

“It seems like all the (Tory leadership) candidates are falling over themselves to show who is the most slavishly pro-American .” — Neil Clark on Sajid Javid’s decision to pass Assange extradition request to courts.

Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India

Political Posturing, Displaying Contempt for the Wider Public Interest

In February 2010, the Indian government placed an indefinite moratorium on the commercial release of Bt brinjal. Prior to this decision, numerous independent scientific experts from India and abroad had pointed out safety concerns regarding Bt (insecticidal) brinjal based on data and reports in the biosafety dossier that Mahyco, the crop developer, had submitted to the regulators.

The then Minister of the Ministry of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had instituted a unique four-month scientific enquiry and public hearings. His decision to reject the commercialisation of Bt brinjal was supported by advice from renowned international scientists. Their collective appraisals demonstrated serious environmental and …

Why Would China and Huawei Commit Economic Self-Ruin?

Rune Fisker for the Washington Post

It could be construed as a badge of professional honor that a news broadcaster is open to presenting a wide range of views. This might especially be considered so when the corporate-state media is parochially aligned to portraying an unskeptical right-wing, warmongering bizzaro worldview where left-wing (defined as socialist, communist, anarchist… not Democrats or Liberals who frequently bang the drums of war and toe the neoliberal line), pro-peace types are absent or marginalized to the fringes.

A recent segment

Germany, Japan, Iran and Trump: Will Reason and Harmony Triumph in the World?

Or Will Israeli-Saudi-Neocon-Kushner Craziness Make Everything Hellishly Worse?

Japan used to be the number one foreign consumer of Iranian oil, slipping to number two as China increased its purchases. Now, obliged to defer to the U.S., Japan purchases none. Germany has been Iran’s largest European trade partner, and was hoping for major deals following the conclusion of the Iran Deal in 2015. These plans have been sabotaged by the U.S. using its control over the international banking system, one of its main weapons to use against free market principles and free trade, to inflict pain on people who do not submit, and to (try to) assert its global …

Achikha in Hebrew, “your brother,” but where is he now?

On the anniversary of USS Liberty and the news of the Dancing Israelis near the crumbling World Trade Towers

Oh, yeah, it was all planned — I’d write about the 52nd anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty by Israel, the subsequent cover-up, and alas, half a century of Israel and the Jewish state of Mind holding sway over much of the Western world, certainly here in the USA and Canada. Big impetus to analyze other false flags, yet, life gets in the way. Teaching youth in special education — kids with interventions, behavior plans, learning and retention plans. If only the elites and not so elite knew what is going on in America, in the classrooms, with …

A Green Global Party?

Following the lead of the late Ulrich Beck in works such as Risk Society and Power in the Modern Age the time has now come to ask ourselves whether or not the Green party is already or is about to become a global political party.

First a little background in theory. Beck was, of course, famous for introducing the idea of a “risk society” and “second modernity”. What he meant by these phrases was that the modern world had left behind earlier forms (First Modernity) of national community and entered a phase where the complexities and uncertainties of the modern world …

The Future of Democracy

The word democracy derives from the Greek words that means “people govern.” Generally, it is assumed throughout the world that the democratic way of decision-making is the best possible and therefore, the most acceptable. The only problem is that nobody knows what exactly it means. It would be ideal if people mutually agree and create rules on an equal basis that would be valid in their collective, but it is impossible to achieve because every society brings an unlimited number of decisions about which all people cannot decide on either due to lack of interest, knowledge, or time.

Therefore, today an …

Kushner as a Colonial Administrator

Let’s Talk About the "Israeli Model"

In a TV interview on June 2, on the news docuseries “Axios” on the HBO channel, Jared Kushner opened up regarding many issues, in which his ‘Deal of the Century’ was a prime focus.

The major revelation made by Kushner, President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, was least surprising. Kushner believes that Palestinians are not capable of governing themselves.

Not surprising, because Kushner thinks he is capable of arranging the future of the Palestinian people without the inclusion of the Palestinian leadership. He has been pushing his so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ relentlessly, while including in his various meets and conferences countries …

Standing Armies: An Affront Against Liberty

This quote was presented yesterday on Jacob Hornberger’s site, The Future of Freedom Foundation, and is appropriate and important considering one of the planks necessary in order to achieve freedom from overbearing government power.

It is pretended we are in hazard of being invaded by a powerful enemy; shall we therefore destroy our government? What is it then that we would defend? Is it our persons, by the ruin of our government? In what then shall we be gainers? In saving our lives by the loss of our liberties?…I would fain know, if there be any other way of making

A Wall Street Boost for Social Security

The aging of America is putting the squeeze on Social Security. About 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day and the number is heading even higher. Ready or not, our retirement system faces its first major overhaul in decades.

Lawmakers should listen to Warren Buffett before they settle on any new payroll tax or benefit schedules. “I’m a card-carrying capitalist,” Buffett says, “I believe we wouldn’t be sitting here except for the market system.”

Social Security should become a card-carrying capitalist too. It should invest part of its $2.8 trillion trust fund in the stock market, …

“Mirthless Laugh”: The Persecution And Torture Of Julian Assange

For anyone persuaded by the state-corporate campaign of sneers and smears depicting Julian Assange as a shit-smearing narcissist and rapist, the comments made by Nils Melzer, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, must be deeply shocking. The BBC headline:

Julian Assange subjected to psychological torture, UN expert says

Melzer is Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow. He also holds the Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland, where he has been teaching since 2009, including as the Swiss …

The End of Irony: an Irony Opener

Given all the hysterical saber-rattling over Iran recently, one wonders if old Uncle Sam’s simply having another spastic episode with his Pent’agonal cane?  Mixed into the usual cacophony of paranoid ramblings, one hears ominous mumblings linking Iran, al-Quaeda, and the Nine-One-One…

Never Forget!—to re-package and re-purpose 9/11, as that original franchise continues to spawn spin-offs, recycling moth-balled characters like the angry war muppet John Bolton, and the Grinch-esque Elliot Abrams, to hawk the latest possible installments in the series.  As the most recent “pilot” in Venezuela continues to “bomb”, so to speak, one further wonders if the Iranian saber-rattle is not …

“Luddite” Humanist?

I’ll admit it: I haven’t kept up with all this “new-ness” that just seems to have come out of nowhere!  Give you a quick example.  Seems there’s a “Cloud” out there somewhere, a sort-of-menacing Cloud but one you can never see, not even on the edge of the horizon.  And get this. It’s a cloud-to-beat-all-clouds, filled with “Information,” they say — maybe all the Information in the World!  Instead of good old H-2-0!  I don’t know if I can give much credence to such talk — sounds plain nuts to me! — but that’s what a lot of folks have …

From Dollar Hegemony to Global Warming

Globalization, Glyphosate and Doctrines of Consent

There has been an on-going tectonic shift in the West since the abandonment of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971. This accelerated when the USSR ended and has resulted in the ‘neoliberal globalization’ we see today.

At the same time, there has been an unprecedented campaign to re-engineer social consensus in the West. Part of this strategy, involves getting populations in Western countries to fixate on ‘global warming’, ‘gender equity’ and ‘anti-racism’: by focusing on identity politics and climate change, the devastating effects and injustices brought about by globalized capitalism and associated militarism largely remain unchallenged by the masses and stay firmly …

Imperialism and the Stupid Show

During the Cold War, and especially in the wake of the Chinese Revolution, it was commonly thought by US planners that too many Third World “mouths to feed” would inevitably create conditions hospitable to Communism. The fall of the USSR failed to alleviate such fears but instead transferred them to a new set of adversaries: popular resistance groups primarily located in the Middle East and typically designated with the catch-all term “terrorists.” Thus the 1986 report of the US Vice President’s Task Force on Combatting Terrorism warned that “population pressures create a volatile mixture of youthful aspirations that when coupled

Why is the Ruling Class Putting Up With the Idiot-King?

Is the party over for the ruling class?
Mass complicity

Wilhelm Reich, in both The Mass Psychology of Fascism and The Function of the Orgasm argued that socialists do not understand mass psychology. He said that the biggest problem in Germany was not Hitler or even the economic system of capitalism. Rather he asked what is it about the masses of people who supported Hitler? His answer was that Hitler wouldn’t have existed if there wasn’t a little bit of Hitler in a whole lot of people. The problem …

Quebec Movement for Peace disrupts a Speech by Irwin Cotler on “Canada as a Human Rights Leader”

Last week members of Quebec Movement for Peace disrupted a speech by Irwin Cotler on “Canada as a Human Rights leader” (at the last-minute ‘deputy’ foreign minister, Rob Oliphant, canceled his participation). With “Free Palestine” signs in hand, filmmaker Malcolm Guy and I took the stage to denounce Cotler’s anti-Palestinian positions and support for intervention in Venezuela and Iran. After we were ushered off the stage lawyer Dimitri Lascaris rose to interrogate the supposed human rights activist for refusing to criticize injustices inflicted upon Palestinians. Part of the way through Lascaris’ grilling a handful of us at the …

The Permafrost Nightmare Turns (More) Real

Permafrost covers 25% of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the world’s largest icebox, and its landmass is 4.5xs larger than Antarctica, 6.5xs larger than the United States.  It is stuffed full of carbon locked in frozen ground accumulated over eons, which, by way of contrast, makes coal power plant emissions look bush-league.

Most notably, permafrost has an image of permanence and slow/gradual change, “the sloth of the north.” But, that slothful image is now out-of-date. Global warming has changed the equation. Nowadays, permafrost disintegration is officially hot news.

Scientists that have long studied the gradual thawing of permafrost are now experiencing a …