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Spiteful Authority: Malaysia Goes for the Journalists

Malaysia’s record on letting journalists be is a blotted one.  This month, authorities have been kept busy intimidating the independent news outlet Malaysiakini, with a seven-member federal court panel agreeing to hear contempt proceedings against its editor-in-chief Steven Gan.  Charged under section 114A of the Evidence Act, Gan and his outlet are said to have permitted the publication of over five reader comments critical of the judiciary.

The Committee to Protect Journalists senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn Crispin urges Malaysian prosecutors to “drop the bogus contempt of court charges pending against Steven Gan and stop using legal threats to intimidate …

The Ravages of Lithium Extraction in Chile

In Chile, the Covid-19 pandemic is raging with an unprecedented speed. There are more than 300,000 confirmed cases with one of the highest per capita infection rates of 13,000 cases for every 1 million people. The economy is severely experiencing the repercussions of Coronavirus-caused restrictions and the historically high national unemployment rate of 11.2% is an indicator of such damage. Chileans have took to the street to protest against the malfunctioning right-wing government of the billionaire president Sebastian Pinera and the police force has responded aggressively by shooting dead a young agitator.

Amid this Coronavirus chaos, …

You Have the Right to Keep Silent If You Want to Remain Employed

One of the most effective weapons in the corporate employer’s fuck you arsenal is the employment at will clause. It’s the trump card that stacks the deck against you regardless of the winning hand you think you’re holding, relegating you instead to the chump pile of players who stayed in the game one bet too long.

Your legal rights? Good fucking luck. Under the doctrine of employment at will, your boss can fire your ass for any reason he sees fit or for essentially no reason at all. From the moment your work day begins your rights not only become secondary …

Debunking Myths on China “Forcing Uyghur Birth Control”

So-called overseas reps of China’s Uyghur ethnic group filed evidence at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to spark an investigation on alleged human rights violations. But are the reports founded on strong evidence? (story starts at 2:00)

Why is Surrogacy Illegal in Most of the World?

Ethics and Risks

The longing, desire and biological drive of many human beings to fulfill the imperative to be fruitful, to procreate and to become parents, is real and painful when unachievable.  This has led to an increase of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy, despite ethical and legal concerns.

Preface

The infertility and surrogacy multi-billion-dollar industries, those who benefit from it, and others, too often attempt to out-shout any criticism of surrogacy by conflating surrogacy with LGBTQ+ rights and labeling all opposition to surrogacy as homophobic.

Yet, the LGBTQ+ community includes those who are opposed to surrogacy and anonymous designer contract conception, aka assisted …

Israel Lobby Seeks to Bankrupt Progressive, Pro-Palestinian Restaurant

The pro-Israel community is engaged in a remarkable effort to bankrupt a small progressive Toronto restaurant. In their attack on Foodbenders, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai B’rith have once again allied with the violent, far-right, Jewish Defence League (JDL).

Over the past week the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has tweeted no less than 25 times about a restaurant known for supporting indigenous rights, Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes. CIJA and associates have targeted Foodbenders’ delivery services, institutional customers, website host and social media accounts. They’ve also gotten the prime minister, premier of …

Zoological Lexicon

(Part One)

Image: Wisconsin State Journalbiden (n.)– an Aristotelian zoon politikon, subsisting exclusively on the decaying remnants of political “spoils”

blair (n.)– a small parasite, which rides on, and feeds off of, the posteriors of its hosts

bush (n.)– a vicious bird-of-prey, especially dangerous for its sudden attacks and wanton cruelty

cheney (n.)– a secretive, subterranean creature which burrows into, and gradually destroys, all living things

clintonb (n.)– a spineless invertebrate: has wide-ranging nocturnal habits; classified as an “opportunistic omnivore”

obama (n.)– a species of “cyborg,” characterized by a …

The Garden of Statuary Delights

During his holiday remarks at Mount Rushmore, President Trump said he plans to establish, via executive order, a “National Garden of American Heroes,” described as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live.”

It seems a lot of thought has already gone into it — enough to already have produced site and content specifications. There are still unresolved questions though, and some of those specs appear to be … well, perhaps just a little subjective. So, before handing out the funds, revving up the bulldozers, and introducing the chiselers, how about a bit more …

Baseball and Socialism in Cuba

What is a million dollars worth compared to the love of eight million Cubans?

— 3-time Olympic heavyweight boxing champion Teofilo Stevenson on why he never signed a contract to become a professional boxer

Fidel inaugurated revolutionary Cuba’s First National Series. Photo: Archive

On April 2, 2019, the Cuban Baseball Federation published a list of 34 players between the ages of 17 and 25 who would be eligible to sign with major league teams. A list of players over 25 who would be able to …

Israel’s New UK Ambassador will Expose Delusions of Britain’s Jewish Leaders

With Corbyn the bogeyman gone, Tzipi Hotovely will finally force Britain’s liberal Jews to confront truths about Israel they long ago buried

After years of successfully drawing attention away from Israel’s intensifying crimes against the Palestinian people by citing a supposedly growing “antisemitism crisisin Britain’s Labour Party, Jewish community leaders in the UK are exasperated to find themselves unexpectedly on the defensive.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled the rug out from under leading British Jewish organisations by appointing Tzipi Hotovely as Israel’s next ambassador to the UK. She is expected to take up her position in the summer.

Recently made Israel’s first settlements minister, Hotovely does not appear to …

The Hypocrisies of Recognition: The Supreme Court, Native Americans and the McGirt Case

The Supreme Court of the United States has barely had time to gather its collective breath this last few days.  Among its decisions, including those dealing with President Donald Trump’s financial records, was that of McGirt v Oklahoma. The case furnishes a detailed discussion on the extent Native American self-governance survived the assaults of the US Congress and the creation of the State of Oklahoma in 1907.

The Creek (Muscogee) Reservation itself arose from circumstances of predation and cruelty.  Forcibly relocated from Georgia and Alabama, “the Creek nation,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch, “received reassurances that their new lands in the …

The Tremendous but “Secret” Success of Socialist Vietnam

Hue – full of public spaces
Some twenty years ago, when I moved to Hanoi, the city was bleak, grey, covered by smog. The war had ended, but terrible scars remained.

I brought my 4WD from Chile, and insisted on driving it myself. It was one of the first SUVs in the city. Each time I drove it, it was hit by scooters, which flew like projectiles all over the wide avenues of the capital.

Hanoi was beautiful, melancholic, but clearly marked by war. There were stories, terrible stories of …

Still Fighting “Whatever” in Afghanistan

While CNN's Jake Tapper "Supports the Troops"

This just in:  Cable news presenter-hero Jake Tapper finds new spotlight at the Movies with the Millennium Media studio release of The Outpost, based on Tapper’s 2012 book The Outpost:  an Untold Story of American Valor. Tapper’s tale tells the story of a locally massive attack by Taliban-types on a remote American forward operating base, Combat Outpost Keating, in the precipitously rugged Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Nuristan, which borders Pakistan. This violent incident occurred on October 3, 2009, and is known as the Battle of Kamdesh, named for a village near the base.

At first glance, Mr …

Writers’ Open Letter Against “Cancel Culture” is About Stifling Free Speech, Not Protecting It

Updated below

An open letter published by Harper’s magazine, and signed by dozens of prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new “cancel culture”.

The letter brings together an unlikely alliance of genuine leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and Matt Karp, centrists such as J K Rowling and Ian Buruma, and neoconservatives such as David Frum and Bari Weiss, all speaking out in defence of free speech.

Although the letter doesn’t explicitly use the term “cancel culture”, it is clearly what is meant in the complaint about a …

Overcoming Civil Discourse and Other Illusions of Democracy for the 1%


Festishizing democracy

The U.S. racist-capitalist class and its ideological apparatus fetishize the word democracy. Using fatuous appeals to civil discourse, it sponsors the illusion that democracy is the most advanced political system in human history. In addition to voting for their representatives, people supposedly engage with civil society through which they achieve greater social goods through voting, civic involvement, and giving “voice” to their desires. Once people make a case for change and opinions are expressed in civil discourse, society theoretically modifies and incorporates new changes. In this idealized state, …

Columbus and the Beginning of the American Way of Life

A Message to Indoctrinate Our Children


As a Marxist agitator and lowlife who wants to, as Trump puts it in a recent teleprompted fascist address, “tear down our statues, erase our history, and indoctrinate our children” I feel obliged to make some remarks–to all the impressionable children of the world–about the moron president’s ringingly stupid statement last week under Mt. Rushmore:

We will teach our children to cherish and adore their country so that they can build its future. Together, we will fight for the American Dream, and we will defend, protect, and preserve American

Valuable?

In the midst of a global pandemic that has infected millions and continues to infect thousands daily it would not be surprising if you missed a small but heart-wrenching story that got little local press beyond references to BBC, Aljazeera, or other international reports.

On July 2nd a mudslide in northern Myanmar overwhelmed a Jade mine burying a large number of so-called “illegal miners” killing over 160 and injuring over 50. The tragic story of 200 poor miners …

Facebook: “serious setbacks for civil rights”

The Verge reports:

A team of civil rights auditors has delivered a scathing and unexpected indictment of Facebook’s recent moderation choices after a two-year examination of the platform’s practices and internal policies.

“While the audit process has been meaningful and has led to some significant improvements in the platform,” the report reads, “we have also watched the company make painful decisions over the last nine months with real world consequences that are serious setbacks for civil rights.”

Aldous Huxley’s Programme

There have been for some time, especially from libertarian quarters, accusations that the COVID-19 crisis has led to a state that has been called by some “medical martial law”. I believe the more accurate term and point of departure is “medical social engineering and management”. Martial law sounds more dramatic and seems simpler to understand. Yet we have to get beyond slogans and deal with long-term processes and policies if we are to find adequate responses today. Literary metaphors, like those found in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984 have been reduced to clichés. While their ideas …

Neoliberal Psychological Romanticism: From the Primal Scream to the Collective Unconscious Part II

Orientation

In Part I of this article, I begin by grounding neoliberal psychology in the political and economic reality of neoliberalism between 1970 to 2020. First, we discussed the historical origins of neoliberalism, and then its economic exploitation, mystification and ideological use to control people. I briefly discussed the realities of the practice of neoliberal economic policies which has resulted in cannibalization of the infrastructure. Further, I show thirteen instances in which neoliberalism shows its class bias. Neoliberalism is an ideology because the upper and upper middle classes of society …

On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed  

Wednesday, July 1, was meant to be the day on which the Israeli government officially annexed 30% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and the Jordan Valley. This date, however, came and went and annexation was never actualized.

“I don’t know if there will be a declaration of sovereignty today,” said Israeli Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, with reference to the self-imposed deadline declared earlier by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. An alternative date was not immediately announced.

But does it really matter?

Whether Israel’s illegal appropriation of Palestinian land takes place with massive media fanfare and a declaration of sovereignty, or whether …

Russia did it Again: Chasing the Bounty Hunters

Russia did it again. This time it’s paying to kill Americans. How criminal!

Such things only Americans would do – Washington, the Pentagon, CIA…. Because killing and have killed is in their mindset and bloodstream. That’s what criminals do: They project their own crimes onto others.

The latest NYT reporting is, “It’s not the Taliban that were offered a ‘bounty’ for killing American/ NATO soldiers, but Afghan criminals.” The NYT admits to a mistake in their reporting – a mistake that had already been confirmed by another two media traitors, the Washington Post and the WSJ?  Com-on, NYT! You are openly disclosing …

The JNF’s Sordid History: Tower and Stockades, Forests and Jim Crow Vetting Committees

This is the expanded text of a talk I gave to the “Stop the JNF Campaign” webinar on Saturday 4 July 2020. The video can be watched below, or on Facebook, starting at 5.50 mins:



The Jewish National Fund (JNF) rightly presents itself as the most venerable of the Zionist institutions:

It stands at the heart of a state-building project launched more than a century ago;
It is an organisation that is today deeply embedded in the structures of the Israeli state;
It is the guardian of the Israel’s most precious resource – land;
And it is the bridge connecting Jews abroad to Israel, allowing them to become practically and emotionally involved in its continuing national mission of …

Were the Skripals Secretly Executed by Britain’s Government?

Where are Sergei and Yulia Skripal? Are they still alive? Their having been poisoned in England on 4 March 2018 didn’t kill them.

Sergei Skripal is (or was) the Russian and British double agent (Russian spy who defected to UK), who had become imprisoned for six years in Russia, and then became spy-swapped to, and resided in, UK.

Yulia is (or was) his daughter, who happened to be visiting with him from Russia on that fateful day, which almost ended her life but which definitely did end her freedom.

The last time that either Sergei or Yulia were seen or heard from in …

Propaganda and the Fragility of Hope

In my experience, big events (like THIS one) and powerful social movements (like THAT one, oh you know, back a ways ago) do not appear out of nowhere, but can rather be traced back to what first appears as imperceptible shifts in the narrative ethers and in each of our views of the world around us.

Sure, we may THINK we think with our brains, but reason and logic are just the functional tip of an iceberg of conditioned responses and programmed behaviors that rise up from below and seize sub-conscious control of our thoughts and behaviors.

Let me apply an example.

Even …

The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close

The state of Victoria is being sealed off from the rest of Australia.  On Tuesday, at 11.59pm, the border with New South Wales will be shut with publicised resoluteness.  It is happening at the insistence of politicians across the country with a panicked urge.  On the way are reminders about the miracle that was federation in 1901.  That a Commonwealth was ever formed from the Britannic nuts and bolts of an invasive penal settlement was remarkable, given the otherwise innate hostilities, not to mention competitiveness, the states had shown to each other.

The last time this happened was a touch over …

The Deep State’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy Is Working

Tyranny Without a Tyrant

In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one can argue, to whom one can present grievances, on whom the pressures of power can be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless, we have a tyranny without a tyrant.

― Hannah Arendt, On Violence

What exactly is going on?

Is this revolution? Is this anarchy? Is this a spectacle engineered to distract us from the machinations of the police state? Is this a …

Depth of Experience

20 years with Oregon Coast Aquarium gives CEO deep blue view of world

While in her office overlooking the entrance to Lincoln County’s most popular attraction, she’s like a child in a candy store — she watches trees and shrubbery get yanked out to make way for a new admissions and ticketing station. “Wow, what a change.”

Then a nuthatch alights on the feeder suction cupped to her office window. “Spring’s coming early.”

Now the show really gets going — Carrie E. Lewis lugs into her second-floor office 10 large architectural design images for the aquarium’s five new capital improvement …

Let Us Venerate Our Enemies

Let’s imagine there’s a fictitious country on our border, the government of which is committing unspeakable atrocities against its own people. And let us further imagine there is a steady stream of refugees attempting to cross over our border and into our country, so as to escape the horrors that await them, should they be unsuccessful in seeking asylum from our government. Is it not likely that the decent and fair-minded citizens of this country would demand that their leaders at least make a good-faith effort to rectify the situation in this living hell on our border? And is it …

The Unmasking of Science and Ethics

Media Lens (ML) provides a first-rate critical eye on the media, especially the British mediascape, as well as sundry events in the world. In a recent piece, ML pointed to the science as supporting the effectiveness of wearing face masks against respiratory viral infections. In addition to citing science to buttress their support of mask wearing, ML attempted to dismiss those with opposing views as conspiracy theorists. If that and the science was not persuasive, the fallback …