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Gaza Water Salinity

Palestinians in Gaza are resorting to drinking from polluted agricultural wells that are almost as salty as seawater, posing an immediate health risk. Special thanks to 10Tooba for their work and partnership on this visual.

Banished from Pakistan: Islamabad Moves on Afghan Refugees

Across the globe, refugees, always treated as the pox of public policy, continue to feature in news reports describing anguish, despair and persistent persecution.  If they are not facing barbed wire barriers in Europe, they are being conveyed, where possible, to third countries to be processed in lengthy fashion.  Policy makers fiddle and cook the legal record to justify such measures, finding fault with instruments of international protection such as the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951.

A very dramatic example of roughing up and violence is taking place against Afghans in Pakistan, a country that, despite having a lengthy association …

No New “Epidemic” in China

Fatalities Summary

The Ugly Face of Anti-Communism

Since the Russian revolution, the founding of the Communist International, and the organization of a revolutionary party “of a new type” in nearly every country, Communist and Workers Parties have been in the sights of every country’s bourgeoisie. In nearly all countries, the bourgeoisie, its political parties, its media, and its other henchmen have sought to thwart, even destroy the revolutionary vanguard of the workers. Thus, the existence of maneuvers or actions to suppress or repress Communist Parties comes as no surprise.

Throughout the last one hundred six years, a Communist Party’s size or influence has been reflected in the force …

Israeli Government’s Mass Terrorism Fortified by Biden and Congress

A letter to President Joe Biden, dated October 24, 2023, on the Israel-Hamas war by international law specialist Bruce Fein and me, prompted this form letter Biden response:

Apart from the usual saying one thing and doing the opposite (e.g., standing for the protection of civilians and a two-state solution while fully arming and backing Israel’s genocidal destruction of everything in Gaza—children make up nearly half the population of Gaza) — Biden’s letter completely ignores key issues in our letter.

We asked why he wants Congress to make U.S. taxpayers pay another …

The Israeli Mind and the Ultra-Right

A few days of truce allows a few days to ponder events and examine apartheid Israel’s response to Hamas’ October 7 attack. Engaging in talks and achieving mutual agreements that release captives prompts the question of why wasn’t this done much earlier, before the entire population of Gaza was subjected to brutal bombardments that killed 14000 Palestinians, displaced  80 percent, destroyed 50 percent of the buildings in Gaza city, and killed more than 50 of the captured Israelis?

From the devastation emerges a chilling vision of a new world order — a nationalist, militarist, irredentist, far-right command of governments, kept in …

Which Pill?

Red pill or blue pill?

Baseball Owners Blow Off Fans in Favor of Streaming Dollars

Major League Baseball adopted some significant rules changes this past season, the biggest by far being the introduction of a pitch clock—an electronic countdown limiting the time between pitches to 15 seconds with nobody on or 20 seconds with a runner on.

The changes were aimed at speeding up the game and boosting attendance, and they were a smashing success on both counts: the average game time for the 2023 season was the shortest in 38 years, and attendance rose by the highest percentage in 30 years.

Now let’s turn to a change that’s been introduced gradually, almost sneakily, a change that …

Hypocrisy Sours COP28

Hypocrisy runs rampant at COP28 even before the doors swung open to 70,000 delegates on Thursday, November 30th. This is the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties (“COP”) held at Expo City, Dubai. It’s the big annual event for scientists to meet to decide on the fate of anthropogenic climate change, assuming that’s even possible.

This year’s big climate summit is headed by Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (“ADNOC”) of the United Arab Emirates. Leaked documents show Emirati officials using their leadership position at the climate summit to “lobby for oil and …

Statement to the Paris Peace Conference (WWI) re Zionism

A Statement to the Peace Conference1

“As a future form of government for Palestine will undoubtedly be considered by the approaching Peace Conference, we, the undersigned citizens of the United States, unite in this statement, setting forth our objections to the organization of a Jewish State in Palestine as proposed by the Zionist Societies in this country and Europe and to the segregation of the Jews as a nationalistic unit in any country. …

Far Out Beliefs

What would it take to surprise you?

Daydreaming While Reading Jonathan Crary’s 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.
— Shakespeare, Macbeth

People often laugh when I tell them that I go to sleep at 8:15 P.M.  They laugh harder when I say it’s been a lifetime habit, with unavoidable exceptions of course.  And that I wake up long before dawn.  Not because I am a dairy farmer or a baker, but because I love to sleep and all the best things I have written have been written in my …

Henry Kissinger: Snake Oil Salesman of Gangster Realism

“‘He’ll have ye smilin’,” an old Irish saying goes, “while he takes the gold out of your teeth’.”

— Charles Glass, London Review of Books, Oct 20, 2022

The obituaries of criminals, masterful or otherwise, are always going to be sordid matters.  Either one has time for the deeds, giving column space to their execution and legacy, or one focuses on the extraneous details: voice, accent, suit, demeanour. “He may have killed the odd person or two, but he did have style.”

Much of the Henry Kissinger School of Idolatry is of the latter propensity.  The nasty deeds are either misread or diminished …

The Evil That Men Do

Heinz Kissinger, may there be a warm seat for him

Although I have never been anything but a professional dilettante, I have spent some time in a number of professions. One of these was political correspondent at the United Nations headquarters from 1985 until 1987. Another was as professor of English in Berlin after the GDR was annexed in 1989. In the accidents of my amateur activity, I have managed to meet or at least hear in person a few personalities of public life (in German: Personen öffentliches Leben). These include artists as well as politicians and other notorious people.

One September day, my spouse at that time and I went …

Battle for the Minds

The Religious Politic and the New Atheists

During the first decade of the 21st century, a battle between the Religious Right and the New Atheists emerged. Both were gaining strength from charismatic leaders, able to articulate their beliefs and accumulate followers. Energized by George W. Bush’s faith-based presidency, the Religious Right, the most politically active of organized religions, attempted to direct local and national legislation to its social conservative agenda. With most voters crowded towards the center of the political spectrum, the Religious Right maintained control of a solid bloc of “swing” votes …

A Government Killing Its Own Citizens?

Has anyone heard of the Hannibal Directive?

The Dangerously Appealing Style of the Far Right

The Forty-Eighth Newsletter (2023)

Emilio Pettoruti (Argentina), Arlequín (‘Harlequin’), 1928.
Before he won Argentina’s presidential election on 19 November, Javier Milei circulated a video of himself in front of a series of white boards. Pasted on one board were the names of various state institutions, such as the ministries of health, education, women and gender diversities, public works, and culture, all recognised as typical elements of any modern state project. Walking along the board, Milei ripped off the names of these and other ministries while crying afuera! (‘out!’) and declaring that if elected president, he …

Can US Threats Prevent a Wider War in the Middle East?

Protesters wave Palestinian, Lebanese, and Hezbollah flags and hold a picture of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah during a Palestine solidarity rally in Lebanon. (Credit: GETTY IMAGES)
While Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has been frantically shuttling around the Middle East trying to stop the Israeli conflict in Gaza from exploding into a regional war, the United States has also sent two aircraft carrier strike groups, a Marine Expeditionary Unit and 1,200 extra troops to the Middle East as a “deterrent.” In plain …

The Dublin Riots: The Aftermath

The recent horrific events in Dublin left many in shock as a stabbing incident developed into an anti-immigration rally, which in turn developed into a riot as a tram, busses and Garda cars were set on fire.

In the early afternoon a man stabbed three children and a care assistant (who were taken to hospital). He was stopped by a 43-year-old Deliveroo driver who intervened and hit him with his helmet.

Then, “after the stabbing incident, rumours spread that the alleged perpetrator was an illegal North African immigrant ‘fresh off the boat’, along with false rumours that the …

Sovereignty Surrendered: Subordinating Australia’s Defence Industry

One could earn a tidy sum the number of times the word “sovereignty” has been uttered or mentioned in public statements and briefings by the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese.

But such sovereignty has shown itself to be counterfeit.  The net of dependency and control is being increasingly tightened around Australia, be it in terms of Washington’s access to rare commodities (nickel, cobalt, lithium), the proposed and ultimately fatuous nuclear-propelled submarine fleet, and the broader militarisation and garrisoning of the country by US military personnel and assets. (The latter includes the stationing of such nuclear-capable assets as B-52 bombers in the …

The White House Goes Rogue: Secret Surveillance Program Breaks All the Laws

The government wants us to believe that we have nothing to fear from its mass spying programs as long as we’ve done nothing wrong.

Don’t believe it.

It doesn’t matter whether you obey every law. The government’s definition of a “bad” guy is extraordinarily broad, and it results in the warrantless surveillance of innocent, law-abiding Americans on a staggering scale.

For instance, it was recently revealed that the White House, relying on a set of privacy loopholes, has been sidestepping the Fourth Amendment by paying AT&T to allow federal, state, and local law enforcement to access—without a warrant—the phone records of Americans who …

“Is That Orwellian Or Kafkaesque Enough For You?”

The Guardian Removes Bin Laden’s "Letter To America"   

The Guardian has long promoted itself as a valiant publisher of news and analysis that holds the powerful to account. It is a thing of wonder that the Guardian appends the following comment beneath news pieces:

Our quality, investigative journalism is a scrutinising force at a time when the rich and powerful are getting away with more and more.

For over twenty years, Media Lens has shown how false is this claim.

A new, significant example occurred just last week. On 15 November, the paper removed Osama bin Laden’s …

A New Mood in the World Will Put an End to the Global Monroe Doctrine

The Forty-Seventh Newsletter (2023)

Tagreed Darghouth (Lebanon), from the series The Tree Within, a Palestinian Olive Tree, 2018.
Every day since 7 October has felt like an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, with hundreds of thousands gathering in Istanbul, a million in Jakarta, and then yet another million across Africa and Latin America to demand an end to the brutal attack being carried out by Israel (with the collusion of the United States). It is impossible to keep up with the scale and frequency …

The Rise of the Desk Clerk Academic

It is a particularly quotidian breed in the modern, management-driven university.  The desk clerk who pretends to be an academic and researcher but is neither.  The desk clerk who admires rosters, work plans and “key performance indicators”, thinking that the process of knowledge is quantifiable by productivity targets and financial returns.  The desk clerk who pilfers the work of undergraduates, sports a dubious doctoral thesis, and who rarely sets foot within the sacred surrounds of a library.

The rise of such a figure in the global university scene, one neither fish nor fowl, is no accident.  As universities have declined, bureaucracy …

Toronto Police Arrest Palestine Activists, Should Target Heather Reisman

Aggressive pre-dawn police raids on homes and charging individuals with hate crimes for posting social justice messages is legal overreach at best and “thought crimes” reflecting creeping fascism at worst.

Truth is Heather Reisman, not those putting up posters, is the one who should have been charged with breaking Canadian law.

Between 4:30 and 6 am Wednesday Toronto police raided the residences of seven individuals alleged to have been involved in putting posters and fake blood on an Indigo bookstore on November 10. According to a summary of the police operation posted by World Beyond War, eight or …

Government Takeover

In Canada, trans “justice” has gone haywire. “A Certain Madness Amok.”

Rot in the Civil Service: Farewelling Mike Pezzullo

There was no better example of Australia’s politicised public service than its Home Affairs Secretary, Mike Pezzullo.  In most other countries, he would have been the ideal conspirator in a coup, a tittletattler in the ranks and bound to brief against those he did not like.  Give him a dagger, and he was bound to use it.

His rise to power paralleled that of the emergence of that super amalgam of a ministry that arose during the Turnbull government.  Falling for the fatal error that centralising power assures the consolidation of efficiency, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was swayed by arguments that …

Three Presidents Who Made Thanksgiving a National Holiday And What They Were Thankful For

Three U.S. presidents were instrumental in establishing Thanksgiving as a regular national event. On October 3, 1789, George Washington declared the first federal Thanksgiving holiday. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made it an annual federal holiday. And in 1941, Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill setting the date at the fourth Thursday of every November. All three presidents were giving thanks for bringing the country through a major financial crisis related to war, and they all achieved this feat through what Sen. Henry Clay called the “American system” of banking and finance – sovereign or government-issued money and credit.

For Washington, the challenge …

IPCC Rebellion

It’s 35 years since formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “to advance scientific knowledge about climate change caused by human activities.” Subsequently, COP21 at Paris ‘15 warned the world not to exceed 1.5°C, and worst case, not to exceed 2.0°C above pre-industrial or risk lasting damage to crucial life supporting ecosystems, ultimately leading to some level of an extinction event.

Following three decades of IPCC failures to convince nation/states to make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions, which increase more and more each year, a high-ranking group of rebellious climate scientists claim the IPCC’s upper temperature limits of …