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Thomas Friedman’s last gasp

Thomas Friedman’s recent column in the New York Times reflecting on Israel’s 11-day destruction of Gaza is a showcase for the delusions of liberal Zionism: a constellation of thought that has never looked so threadbare. It seems that every liberal newspaper needs a Thomas Friedman – the UK’s Guardian has Jonathan Freedland – whose role is to keep readers from considering realistic strategies for Israel-Palestine, however often and catastrophically the established ones have failed. In this case, Friedman’s plea for Joe Biden to preserve the ‘potential of a two-state solution’ barely conceals his real goal: resuscitating the discourse …

Power at Any Cost: How Opportunistic Mansour Abbas Joined Hands with Avowed “Arab Killers” 

We are led to believe that history is being made in Israel following the formation of an ideologically diverse government coalition which, for the first time, includes an Arab party, Ra’am, or the United Arab List.

If we are to accept this logic, the leader of Ra’am, Mansour Abbas, is a mover and shaker of history, the same way that Naftali Bennett of the far-right Yamina Party, and Yair Lapid, the supposed ‘centrist’ of Yesh Atid, are also history makers. How bizarre!

Sensational media headlines and hyperboles aside, Israel’s new government was a desperate attempt by Israeli politicians to dislodge Benjamin Netanyahu, …

The Undervalued Small Farmer and Food Insecurity

The average hourly wage for someone working in farming in the US is less than $13 an hour. Ignore the numbers for the total average income of farm families, because they nearly always include the income of one full-time wage earner. For a couple, it could be either partner, but trust me, one of them works a full day and then returns to work the farm until dark during most of the year. And guaranteed, the work they do when they come home is much harder than what they do at their outside job.

I thought maybe that had changed in …

On the Politics of Victory and Defeat: How Gaza Dethroned the King of Israel

How did Benjamin Netanyahu manage to serve as Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister? With a total of 15 years in office, Netanyahu surpassed the 12-year mandate of Israel’s founding father, David Ben Gurion. The answer to this question will become particularly critical for future Israeli leaders who hope to emulate Netanyahu’s legacy, now that his historic leadership is likely to end.

Netanyahu’s ‘achievements’ for Israel cannot be judged according to the same criteria as that of Ben Gurion. Both were staunch Zionist ideologues and savvy politicians. Unlike Ben Gurion, …

ET, You Bore Me: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and the Pentagon

Those of you drawing sustenance and stimulation from the traditional acronym UFO best brace yourselves.  The less exciting and dull term accepted by the defence clerks – unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) – is renewing its march into the extra-terrestrial hinterland.

On June 25, the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force will release a declassified report to Congress that will do little to shift ground or alter debate on the nature of such phenomena.  For those exercised about green creatures, ancient aliens and that roguish charlatan Erich von Däniken, nothing would have changed. For sceptics, it will be a case of tired yawn before …

Rural Teacher Pedro Castillo Poised to Write a New Chapter in Peru’s History

Pedro Castillo speaking at a campaign event (AP Photo)
With his wide-brimmed peasant hat and oversized teacher’s pencil held high, Peru’s Pedro Castillo has been traveling the country exhorting voters to get behind a call that has been particularly urgent during this devastating pandemic: “No más pobres en un país rico” – No more poor people in a rich country. In a cliffhanger of an election with a huge urban-rural and class divide, it appears that the rural teacher, farmer and union leader is about to make history …

The Hell of the Same: Capitalism Breaks Down and Homogenizes Life, Disconnects the Past, Present and Future

Capitalism is often interpreted as a religion. However, if religion is understood in terms of Religare, as something that binds, then capitalism is anything but a religion because it lacks any force to assemble, to create community…And what is essential to religion is contemplative rest, but this is the antithesis of Capital. Capital never rests. It is in its nature that it must always work and continue moving. To the extent that they lose the capacity for contemplative rest, humans conform to Capital. The distinction between the sacred and profane is also an essential characteristic of religion. The sacred unites

A People’s Vaccine Against a Mutating Virus and Neoliberal Rule

Photo credit: UNICEF Teachers and students were able to return to school in Lao Cai, Viet Nam, in May 2020
A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that worries about the COVID pandemic in the United States are at their lowest level since it began. Only half of Americans are either “very worried” (15%) or “somewhat worried” (35%) about the virus, while the other half are “not very worried” (30%) or “not worried at all” (20%).

But the news from around the world makes it clear that this pandemic …

Top 10 Signs of Looming Fascism

While spending some rather unpleasant months writing about fascists as fictional characters in a new mystery novel, American Fascism, it was necessary to get inside their heads, to imagine how people with their understanding of the world might react to certain events.
The book ends when Donald Trump is no longer president, but the threat to democracy remains real.
Informed by the research that went into the novel, I’ve come up with a quick fascism worry checklist. Consider this penance for trying to write …

30th Anniversary of Charter Schools: Three Decades of Neoliberal Wrecking

June 4, 2021 marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the first charter school law in the United States. Privately-operated charter schools are now legal in 45 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont have no laws enabling the creation of charter schools.

About 3.3 million youth are currently enrolled in roughly 7,400 charter schools across the country. By comparison, about 50 million students are enrolled in 100,000 public schools in the U.S. The U.S. public education system has been around …

Denmark Offshores the Right to Asylum

This has been a fantasy of Danish governments for some time.  There have been gazes of admiration towards countries like Australia, where processing refugees and asylum-seekers is a task offloaded, with cash incentives, to third countries (Papua New Guinea and Nauru come to mind).  Danish politicians, notably a good number among the Social Democrats, have dreamed about doing the same to countries in Africa, returning to that customary pattern of making poorer states undertake onerous burdens best undertaken by more affluent states.

The government of Mette Frederiksen has now secured amendments to the Danish Aliens Act that authorises the transfer of …

Palestine Can’t Breathe

Another cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians has been announced ending another round of violent assault on the latter. The settler-colonial Jewish government in Israel killed 275 Palestinians, 248 of them in the Gaza Strip, 26 in the West Bank and Jerusalem, 1 inside Israel, including 66 children in Gaza, and at least 6,200 others injured. Israel reported 13 deaths from the more than 4000 homemade and unguided rockets launched by Hamas, the Islamic Movement governing the Gaza Strip since it won elections in 2006. Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza destroyed more than 1,000 homes, 5 residential towers, 3 …

It’s Time to Hit the Streets

For the last 15 months, since the first economy-wide shutdowns because of the pandemic, in-the-streets activism on the political Left has been rare. The huge exception was the massive, Black-led, multi-racial response of many millions of people all around the country last summer after George Floyd was murdered. Another exception is the heroic fight led by Indigenous women in Minnesota against the building of another tar sands pipeline, Line 3, across Anishinaabe and other land. Tomorrow, June 7, could see a thousand or more people risking arrest as part of that months-long direct action campaign.

The Sunrise

Tech Giants Help Israel Muzzle Palestinians

Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sought to shut down all use of the popular video-sharing app TikTok in Israel last month.

The attempt to censor TikTok, details of which emerged last weekend, is one of a number of reported attempts by Israel to control social media content during last month’s military assault on the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu tried to impose the blackout as Israel faced an international social media outcry over its 11-day attack on Gaza, which killed more than 250 Palestinians, and the violent repression by Israeli police of Palestinian protests in occupied East Jerusalem and inside Israel.

Government law officers …

Israel’s New Government Will Deepen Rifts, not Heal Them

The symbolic moment of a Palestinian party sitting in government alongside settler leaders will turn sour all too soon

The photo was unprecedented. It showed Mansour Abbas, leader of an Islamist party for Palestinians in Israel, signing an agreement on Wednesday night to sit in a “government of change” alongside settler leader Naftali Bennett.

Caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will fervently try to find a way to break up the coalition in the next few days, before a parliamentary vote takes place. But if he fails, it will be the first time in the country’s 73-year history that a party led by a Palestinian citizen has joined – or been allowed to join – an Israeli government.

Aside from …

Taking a Trip Through the Magical Mania Tour

No excessive baggage (history, culture, experience, logic) allowed on this bullet train

Oh, the time I have, putting in application after application, for a job. A job, that’s a double-edged word. What is that job without a jab. Now, one year-plus, perfectly accepted that the restaurant or retail outlet or any manner of “job” can require you to submit to the jab. Make that jabs. This is the continuing criminality of a rigged system.

Unfortunately, the entire globe has sucked that mRNA potion. That mRNA cleanser was only possible after how many …

Left-Wing Psychotherapy Cults: Sullivanians from Hedonism to Group Terror

Photo Image:  FilmDaily
Orientation

My Purpose

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled “Political and Spiritual Cults“. My purpose was to show the commonalties among all cults, whether they are political, spiritual or psychological. In this article I want to narrow the focus to discuss a left-wing psychological cult, the Sullivanians, a countercultural organization that made its mark on the Upper West Side of New York City between 1970 and the early 1990s. Why bother to do this? Because as a socialist I have to face that …

Covid:  Threats, Vaccine Injuries and Deaths Abound

No Compensation, No Justice

The well-reputed online magazine Nature.com published on May 24, 2021, a research-report finding that people who had a corona infection have also developed antibodies and will most likely be immune against the disease for the rest of their lives.   (Note: The link to the Nature.com article, still working on 4 June, has since been “fact-checked” out.)

Censuring the truth. What a pity! What can now be called “Covid Deep State” – the same “superior and super-rich elite” buys practically all the mainstream media – television, radio and print – in basically all the 193 UN member countries. Looks …

A Nation of “Thespians”

In late 6th century Athens (BCE), it was all the rage. Introduced by Thespis, “play-acting” quickly attained widespread popularity among Athenians who, like most people, were looking for diverting forms of entertainment to fill the evening hours. On one such evening the aged patriarch Solon, celebrated lawmaker and civic founder, was persuaded to attend a performance. His reaction?: indignation and an angry rebuke to Thespis, who blithely responded that such “play” was harmless, merely a novel pastime. “No!” Solon retorted angrily (here paraphrasing Plutarch’s account), “It is dangerous. Such a tolerance for pretense and deception will end up infecting all our commerce and civic life.” But …

The Etymological Animal Must Slip Out of the Cage of Habit to Grasp Truth

Life is full of slips.

Words slip out of our mouths to surprise us.  Thoughts slip into our minds to shock us.  Dreams slip into our nights to sometimes slip into our waking thoughts to startle us.  And, as the wonderful singer/songwriter Paul Simon, sings, we are always “slip sliding away,” a reminder that can be a spur to courage and freedom or an inducement to fear and shut-upness.

Slips are double-edged.

It is obvious that since September 11, 2001, and more so since the corona virus lockdowns and the World Economic …

Christian Anarchism for Absolute Beginners

Political Scientist Alexandre Christoyannopoulos was asked to give via interview an introduction into what is called “Christian Anarchism” in political thought – and so here’s “Christian Anarchism 101.”

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, PhD, teaches Politics and International Studies at Loughborough University in England. He is the author of, inter alia, Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel (Imprint Academic, 2010), and Tolstoy’s Political Thought: Christian Anarcho-Pacifist Iconoclasm Then and Now (Routledge, 2020). His research and teaching interests include political violence, pacifism and nonviolence

The Party of “Abortion” in Texas

It’s ironic that Republicans in Texas are so committed to abolishing abortion.

Abortion is their primary modus operandi.

Abortion is basically their chief reason for being.

Every election season, Republicans try to abort voting rights, especially for Texans of a different complexion. And as much weeping and gnashing of teeth Republicans do about late-term abortion, they would gleefully abort the results of the last presidential election. An inordinate number of Texas Republicans tried on January 6. They can’t help themselves.

While the United States of America was established by the descendants of immigrants, the Republic of Texas was largely founded by actual immigrants. The …

From 1980s Neoliberalism to the ‘New Normal’ 

Sold under the pretence of a quest for optimising well-being and ‘happiness’, capitalism thrives on the exploitation of peoples and the environment. What really matters is the strive to maintain viable profit margins. The prevailing economic system demands ever-increasing levels of extraction, production and consumption and needs a certain level of annual GDP growth for large firms to make sufficient profit.

But at some point, markets become saturated, demand rates fall and overproduction and overaccumulation of capital becomes a problem. In response, we have seen credit markets expand and personal debt increase to maintain consumer demand as workers’ wages have been squeezed, …

Exposing the Motive for the Sudden Wave of Attacks on Schools That Teach Critical Race Theory

What appears to be a dispute about academics is really a political tactic in the ongoing campaign to privatize public schools.

When North Carolina public school teacher Justin Parmenter penned an opinion piece for the Charlotte Observer about the difficulties of teaching in hybrid mode during the pandemic, with students both in-person in the classroom and remote online, he didn’t expect to get called out by a legislator on the floor of the state House of Representatives.

The main point of his editorial, Parmenter told me in a phone call, was that teaching his seventh-grade class in the hybrid model isn’t sustainable because it forces teachers to make compromises that limit the learning opportunities of their students.

But that …

Suicidal Games: Tokyo’s Coronavirus Olympics

A pandemic crisis.  A state of emergency.  Overwhelming public opinion bristling with alarm.  Notwithstanding these factors, Tokyo is still on track to host the Olympics that was cancelled last year in response to the global pandemic.  The first sports team – Australia’s softball crew – has touched down.  Is all this folly, bravery or self-interest?

On a daily basis, the tally of reasons against holding the games grows.  Currently, the Japanese capital and nine other regions in the country labour under a declared state of emergency, one that will extend, at the very least, to June 20.  Overseas fans have

China Urges U.S. to Clarify Doubts over its Bio-labs

The Biden administration is pressing for an investigation into a possible leak from the Wuhan bio-lab of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. China has called for the same transparency from the United States bio-labs.

The Fumbling King of Palestine: Palestinians are Defeating the Oslo Culture

The political discourse of Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, is similar to that of an ineffectual king who has been isolated in his palace for far too long. The king speaks of prosperity and peace, and tirelessly counts his innumerable achievements, while his people are dying of starvation outside and pointlessly begging for his attention.

But Abbas is no ordinary king. He is a ‘president’ by name only, a designated ‘leader’ simply because Israel and the US-led international political system insist on recognizing …

Two Centuries Of ‘The Imperialist, Warmongering, Hate-Filled Guardian’

In contrast to Media Lens modestly marking a mere two decades in July, the Guardian has been deluging itself with praise on reaching two centuries this year. Not that we would expect otherwise. As editor Katherine Viner proclaimed in a long, celebratory essay:

‘The Guardian is not the only newspaper to declare that it has a higher purpose than transmitting the day’s events in order to make a profit. But it might be unique in having held on to that sense of purpose for two centuries.’

From …

How John Hersey Blew the Whistle on the Reality of Nuclear War

Review: Lesley Blume's “Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World”

In this crisply written, well-researched book, Lesley Blume, a journalist and biographer, tells the fascinating story of the background to John Hersey’s pathbreaking article Hiroshima, and of its extraordinary impact upon the world.
In 1945, although only 30 years of age, Hersey was a very prominent war correspondent for Time magazine—a key part of publisher Henry Luce’s magazine empire—and living in the fast lane.  That year, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, A Bell for Adano, which had already been adapted into a movie and a …

New York: Oppose Charter School Cap Increase

Currently, New York State limits the number of charter schools allowed in the state to 460. In 1998, when the state passed its charter school law, the numerical limit was 100. The law has been amended three times since 1998 to not only increase the number of charter schools allowed in the state but to also further lower the standards of accountability and transparency required of privately-operated charter schools.

Putting aside the issues of inflated charter school waiting lists, widespread corruption, discriminatory enrollment practices, high teacher turnover rates, and the …