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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 …

Why Do We Think We Own The Earth?

We are now in climate crisis.  Almost every week another major scientific study hits the news, telling us we are losing this, destroying that and completely obliterating the other; whole ecological systems under threat while those with the power to take the hard decisions twiddle their thumbs and set ‘to-do’ dates that will be all too late to have any impact.  As a recent report notes: ‘Much scientific knowledge produced for climate policy-making is conservative and reticent.’  Policy makers do not want to face the inconvenient truth.

The trouble is that, even if we could somehow halt catastrophic climate change …

Don’t Blame Trump, DeVos, or Unions for Growing Opposition to Charter Schools

While billionaires Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos can take some of the “blame” for an uptick in broad opposition to the nation’s 7,000 non-profit and for-profit charter schools, resistance to privately-operated charter schools has been building for nearly three decades.

Opposition to segregated, test-obsessed, and unaccountable charter schools that fleece the public treasury is not new. Many defenders of public education and the public interest have been consistently exposing and criticizing charter schools for a long time.

If anything, billionaires Trump and DeVos have served mainly as catalysts for simmering resistance to deregulated charter schools that transfer public wealth to private interests. …

Death of an American Consumer

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately about making, you know, my “final arrangements.”  Sure, sure, I’m in great shape for my age, and it’s not healthy to dwell on it — but you just never know!  Heart attack, brain spasm — whatever.  And my motto has always been — “be prepared!”

It was just some junk-mail, some insurance company offering funeral insurance — “the ultimate peace-of-mind” — that really got me thinking about it.  The brochure had a picture of a couple just smiling their heads off — I guess they were really looking forward to a worry-free passing!  …

Smearing China

Time to do news again!

Foreign Affairs, a staunch brick in the establishment media edifice, just resurrected the events of Tiananmen Square from 30 years ago in “The New Tiananmen papers.”

… the number of demonstrators increased to perhaps as many as a million, including citizens from many walks of life. The students occupying the square declared a hunger strike, their demands grew more radical, and demonstrations spread to hundreds of other cities around the country. Deng decided to declare martial law, to take effect on May 20.

But the demonstrators dug in, and Deng ordered the use of force to commence on the

It’s Time to Embrace Nuclear Energy

It is a tragic irony of the contemporary environmentalist movement that in its opposition to nuclear energy, it is doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry and increasing the likelihood of climate apocalypse. This is the inescapable implication of the new book A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow, by Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist. The anti-nuclear stance to which Green Parties, for example, are so fervently committed may seem enlightened, but, in fact, it is dangerous and destructive. What an informed environmentalist movement would demand above …

What is so rare as a – fake news – day in June? *

While the continued mental assault on what is left of public consciousness still features the idiot fiction of Russiagate, or how the evil Putin arranged to trash our great American democracy and defeat holy mother Hillary on behalf of cursed father Donald, the month of June offered not one but two major fictional treatments of historic reality to further reduce innocent minds to enslaved mentalities. The fables of D-Day, celebrated every year in glorification of a war actually won by the Soviet Union but taught as America’s gift to the global marketplace, and the unholy terror alleged by evil China …

Remembering Gerd Berlev

I got word last weekend, on the afternoon of June 1st, 2019, Denmark time, that my friend and comrade, extremely talented organizer and much-loved grandmother and horn player, Gerd Berlev, died. There is so much that can be said about her, but as I sat in my apartment in Portland, Oregon, taking in this news, I wrote these words.

When I met Gerd, she was around the age I am now, in her early fifties. There were still teenagers in her life, who are now accomplished young …

Homo Sapiens: Not a “Machine”!

There is no such thing as “my body.”  I am a human organism (Homo sapiens), synergistically comprised of organs, tissues, and fluids.  Reciprocally interacting, deviation-reducing processes maintain an essentially balanced “steady-state.” Biologist Walter Cannon, referring figuratively to this “wisdom of the body,” coined the term “homeostasis.”  Thus, when any disruption occurs, the organism makes the necessary corrections: up-to-99% of bodily “ailments” are eventually self-correcting and self-repairing.  The very word “dis-ease” still suggests such overwhelmingly temporary disruptions of the norm (the steady-state).  (The cybernetic metaphor, terribly over-extrapolated these days, is somewhat applicable: deviation-reducing, “negative-feedback.”)

Yet the dominant “medical model” remains, even today, …

Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution in the Crosshairs of US Imperialism

With the likes of John Bolton and Elliot Abrams directing US foreign policy, the US government has abandoned all pretense of “plausible denial” for its illegal regime-change initiatives. The “humanitarian” bombs may not be falling but, make no mistake, the US is waging a full-bore war against the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.

Back in 1998, Venezuela had had nearly a half a century of two-party rule. A duopoly, not unlike the Republican and Democratic parties in the US, alternated in power imposing a neoliberal order. Poor and working people experienced deteriorating conditions of austerity regardless of which party was in power.

Then …

Romanticism and Music

The Conversion of Music into a "Mass Narcotic" on a Global Scale

Narcotic: drug that produces analgesia (pain relief), narcosis (state of stupor or sleep), and addiction (physical dependence on the drug). In some people narcotics also produce euphoria (a feeling of great elation).”

Introduction

Romanticism is a philosophical movement of the nineteenth century which had a profound influence on music which can still be seen right up to today. Its main characteristics in music are the emphasis on the personal, dramatic contrasts, emotional excess, a focus on the nocturnal, the ghostly and the frightful, spontaneity, and extreme subjectivism. Romanticism in culture implied a turning inward and encouraged introspection. As Hegel wrote: …