Image by Kelly Sikkema. As we turn towards the 2024 presidential election (much as many of us might like to forget its existence), calls for Joe Biden to step aside have grown in number and volume. I think these pleas are well-founded, and I hope Biden follows through on his campaign-trail indications that he would only serve one term. But liberals and centrists
The United States is notorious around the world for having a huge prison population. Many of the incarcerated have committed relatively minor offenses; many of which stem from substance abuse issues and institutional racism. Prison is a place most of us wish to avoid. But what if certain individuals purposefully get themselves arrested and risk […]
The apocalyptic dangers now confronting the world with  greatest risk of nuclear war since at least the Cuban Missile Crisis are also telling us why the problem in Vietnam was primarily with promiscuous militarism rather than with avoiding defeat in the future, which was the preoccupation of the Weinberger Doctrine. More The post Why I Love the “Vietnam
“If this happened in Israel, they would have gained so much international support, everything would be turned upside down, because we are talking about children in a graveyard”, says Fayez Abu Karsh, a Palestinian father who lost his son to an Israeli airstrike. The families of the victims now call for Israel to be brought More The post “Take Israel to the ICC:”
This article addresses the most current research on sea level rise, as well as adaptation measures being taken around the world. Of special interest, brilliant adaptation measures are taking place in the face of higher seas. “Sea level has been fairly stable for 6,000 years, which is most of human civilization… but its risen eight More The post Sea Level Acceleration
War and Spy Masters for Democracy It’s instructive to look behind the veil of people that liberal media bring forward as champions of democracy on cable news. Look at some of the imperial war and spy masters that MSNBC has long featured in denouncing the crimes of Donald Trump and his Republic-fascist allies as well More The post Compromised Talking Heads appeared
Oceans soak up heat. Nearly all of the excess heat being generated by climate change is captured by oceans, where it is held in water a few hundred feet from the surface. Hurricanes need 80F° water for fuel. But as Hurricane Ian blew across western Cuba, it entered waters with some of the warmest sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic, allowing Ian to rapidly
‘We have given the power of the world and its leadership over to women! O you women of the world, be you responsible with it, if you be just and fair!’ – First Gate of the Fifteenth Unity of the Bayān As several historical narratives have detailed,[1] during the summer of 1848 as revolutions were More The post A Feminist Revolution in Iran? appeared first on
At the end of apartheid in 1994, only 36 percent of households in South Africa were electrified, with almost all white households having electric power and most Black households having no access to electricity. Ten years later, more than 80 percent of households were electrified. This was an important achievement, albeit one that mostly left More The post
Mahsa Amini, 22, did not deserve to die. Women across Iran are burning their headscarves and baring their heads in protest after Amini died in police custody over an alleged violation of the country’s strict religious dress code. There were reports that police beat Amini’s head with a baton and banged her head against one of their More The post
The arrest of a prominent Palestinian activist, Musab Shtayyeh, and another Palestinian activist, by Palestinian Authority police on September 20 was not the first time that the notorious PA’s Preventive Security Service (PSS) has arrested a Palestinian who is wanted by Israel. PSS is largely linked to the routine arrests and torture of anti-Israeli occupation
Our worldhome is critically ill and on fire, but the politicians and economically powerful are fluffing about with rockets, gleefully banning abortion, spending US$932 billion on new oil and gas fields, and goofing around with carbon trading, as though our living conditions and survival were a leisurely card game. On our side, we are marching More The post
The Spanish civil war of 1936 becomes more relevant every day. That’s because it was a war against fascism in its pure form. In case you wonder what form that is, amid the poisonous, weedy varieties sprouting up globally these days, it’s fascism, exercised through corporate control of government, against and thus persecution of leftists, More The post The Global
[Warning: I’m really not sure if this review is one big spoiler. Any movie with a central reveal risks its own spoilation, especially when the secret will be divined during the screening by some, maybe even by many. I do want to protect this surprise as ardently as the men try to protect their women More The post Don’t Worry Darling: Black Comedy Under the Desert
The City Council of La Quinta CA last week unanimously cancelled the Coral Mountain project, “a wellness resort community” featuring a 16-acre surf-wave pool. The locals, who prefer “quiet, tranquility, and dark skies” as one opponent said, had more persuasive experts, better publicity, and the worst drought in 1,200 years on their side. The idea More The
By every conceivable measure, South Sudan is a nation in acute crisis. According to the World Bank, eighty percent of the South Sudanese population lives below the international poverty line, only one percent of people have access to electricity, and this month a UN Security Council delegation warned that another full-fledged civil war could break More The
An unfortunate part of modern life is living with the knowledge that the planet we live on is quite obviously suffering from the ventures of humankind. The destruction wrought in the pursuit of profit and the name of progress continues every moment of every day. The benefits are now mostly outweighed by the damage of More The post Unnatural Consequences appeared
Ten of thousands of Russian men are fleeing the country to avoid President Putin’s mobilization. Miles after miles of cars are jamming the roads to Finland. Flights to Georgia and other countries are fully booked. For someone who was faced with the draft during the Vietnam War and pondered various possibilities, including leaving the United More The post Are
September 21 is the day that dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines. For 49 years, it had been a day of mourning for Filipinos. This year, the fiftieth anniversary of martial law took place under the regime of his son, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who was elected president by a landslide last May. More The post Extreme Events are the New Normal…and
Our cities have finally shut up after two hundred years of noisy chatter. Appearances are less deceptive: isolated people shuffle off to work, the tollway precedes the road, and our old city centers have become new museums of debt. Does anyone really expect recovery? What is there to recover? We are all gothic protagonists now, More The post Forsaken Identities:
The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that poverty dropped notably in 2021. Amid a pandemic and widespread economic pain, this is a significant accomplishment. There are three lessons here — about government programs, about how we measure poverty, and about how far we have left to go. First, these numbers show that government programs work. After
We have spent much of the past week reading and listening to speeches by world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York. Most of them condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the UN Charter and a serious setback for the peaceful world order that is the UN’s founding and defining More The post “End War in Ukraine” Say 66 Nations at UN General Assembly
To the ancient Greeks, the owl symbolized wisdom, but the Romans saw it as an evil omen. Their myths tell of an owl-like strix that stalked the night and preyed on human flesh. Ovid’s poem Fasti describes how such a demon slipped into the nursery of the sleeping prince Proca and was found hunched over More The post The Aerodynamics of Velvet: What Owls Can Teach Humans
Republicans and Democrats both claim democracy will die if they don’t win the midterms on 8 November. Each party says the other is not just defending unworkable or reprehensible ideas but is in fact an enemy, a foreign body, immoral and subversive (1). This paranoid reflex, formerly reserved for Native Americans, African Americans and communists, now More
With the flame burning eternally on the grave of their hero-Führer Mussolini, the Brothers of Italy not only won a big election victory but also claims to be post-fascists designed to camouflage their fascistic politics. Their propagandistic “post-fascist” and “we are not fascist” mantra is happily propagated by the right wing press. Yet, Giorgia Meloni’sright-wing
Crises often bring long-standing submerged conflicts into the open. For a long time, numerous academic commentators on the public art museum have noted that these institutions depend upon economic inequities. (I am one of these commentators.) Luxury and poverty are brought into proximity when precious artworks, which are protected by poorly paid guards,
The United States may regard itself as a “leader of the free world,” but an index of development released in July 2022 places the country much farther down the list. In its global rankings, the United Nations Office of Sustainable Development dropped the U.S. to 41st worldwide, down from its previous ranking of 32nd. Under More The post US is Becoming a ‘Developing
When Queen Elizabeth passed away, much of the Western establishment’s reaction was one of uncritical mourning. Likewise, her successor King Charles’ ascent to the throne was greeted with celebration. It’s one thing for world leaders to send formal condolences for a loss or congratulations for an ascendance. But in the United States, President Biden and
This past May, the Wall Street Journal released a bombshell report on trends in American CEO pay. According to the Journal’s analysis, median CEO pay at American S&P 500 companies rose to a record-setting $14.7 million in 2021, with the 25 highest-grossing CEOs earning at least $35 million and the top nine each at least More The post Corporate America Suddenly
The Jewish New Year was a big deal for both my family and the Jewish community in which I grew up. The synagogue in our community had mostly fallen into disuse by the beginning of the decade of the 1970s, though the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur still brought people back More The post Old Beliefs Die Hard appeared first on
With groveling apologies to Alfred Hayes and Earl Robinson … and also to Joe Hill. And while I’m at it, to Paul Robeson, too. Deeply, deeply sorry. I dreamed I saw Limbaugh last night, Right here, above the ground. Said I, “But Rush, you croaked last year.” Said he: “I’m still around.” Said he: “I’m More The post I Dreamed I Saw Limbaugh Last Night appeared first on
The left will continue to lose because all left parties in Sweden are stuck in fossilized social movement formations tied to national growth, globalization without sufficient attention to declining regions, identity, complaints about welfare state reductions without attention to wealth creation, and deconstructions of the negative consequences of
A cycle of protests began in Haiti in July 2018, and—despite the pandemic—has carried on since then. The core reason for the protest in 2018 was that in March of that year the government of Venezuela—due to the illegal sanctions imposed by the United States—could no longer ship discounted oil to Haiti through the PetroCaribe scheme. Fuel prices soared by up
No one listened better than Studs.  For those of you old enough to remember, that’s Studs Terkel, of course. The most notable thing about him in person, though, was this: the greatest interviewer of his moment, perhaps of any moment, never stopped talking, except, of course, when he was listening to produce one of his memorable bestselling oral histories — he
Be careful who you praise and the degree of zeal you do it with.  The slain Shinzo Abe, shot dead in Nara on July 8, towered over Japanese politics.  In doing so, he cast a lengthy shadow.  In death, this shadow continues to grow ever more darkly. The reaction from certain figures outside Japan left More The post Whitewashing at Shinzo Abe’s State Funeral appeared
In its original sense, the term “political commissar” or a “supervisory officer responsible for political education” (ideology) referred to a special officer in the armed services. Their job was to “ensure political control of the military.” The post was first created by the French revolutionaries at the end of the 18th century and eventually adopted
Last May a remarkable column by Stephen Kinzer appeared in the Boston Globe.  It was headlined: “Republicans Return To Their Roots As The Antiwar Party.” More significantly, the subheading ran: “Since the Vietnam era, Americans have come to expect antiwar rhetoric from liberal Democrats. Cancel that.” It began: “With Americans now engulfed in passion for
More than $2 billion dollars. That’s how much dark money eclipsed the 2020 elections, OpenSecrets estimates– an increase of over $1.8 billion from just ten years prior. The 2010 Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision devastatingly altered U.S. campaigns and elections. By likening political spending groups to individual Americans entitled to First
There were headlines all over the place this week telling us how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan would cost $400 billion. I suspect that sounded very scary to lots of people who heard it. After all, those not named Elon Musk will never see anything like $400 billion More The post Student Loan Forgiveness
It’s been quite a while since I last wrote about the pandemic—which, contrary to the President’s latest gaffe, is most definitely not over. Largely because the Democrats have decamped to a “what, us worry?” position on COVID since at least the spring in a transparent attempt to swing enough votes their way in November to keep control of Congress. More The
September 21st was designated by the United Nations as International Day of Peace. You could not be blamed for missing it as the news focused on war. We desperately need to move beyond a symbolic day for peace to a just and sustainable peace. The high costs of militarism have always been terrible; now they More The post A Just and Sustainable Peace…or Else! appeared
There was an increase in firearm homicides across the United States from 2019 to 2020. Every region experienced increases. While firearm homicide is a complex phenomenon driven by multiple factors, researchers consistently find that it is associated with measures of economic hardship. This was again observed in the recent increase in firearm homicides.
Book bans across the nation. Christian fundamentalism ascending. White supremacy running rampant. These are symptoms of a rising fascist politics in America. Reactionary political actors seek to reinforce white supremacy by erasing from public discussions any recognition of people of color, LGBTQ identities, and their struggles. One way this happens
Before picking the sweet corn today I glanced at the local paper. This edition carried more than its share of reports (without useful context of course) indicating the increasingly down-scale nature of existence in Maine and these United States–for those outside what John Kenneth Galbraith once called “The Fortunate Fifth” of the population. Page 1’s More
The state and nation’s voters are, as usual, deluged by a tidal wave of campaign promises from candidates as the November elections draw near. And as usual, we are being promised far more than these candidates can or will deliver should they attain the offices they seek. But after the absolute debacle of the Trump/MAGA/insurrection More The post The GOP’s
Finally, the inevitable clash between the religious sector of Iranian society and the “awake” sector is taking place. Over the past two decades the latter has been growing in size and is now probably the larger of the two. With greater access to information not generated by the theocracy there now exists an entire generation More The post Letter from Iran: September
Dame Hilary Mantel was a writer of immense skill and originality, and her death represents an incalculable loss to British literature. She will be chiefly remembered for her trilogy on the life of the Tudor politician Thomas Cromwell. The grace and vigour of these gripping novels transformed our understanding of what historical fiction can do. More The post
status: contentious Notes The law of cows regulates the exploitation, maltreatment, cruelty, and yearly murder of over three hundred million cows worldwide. (Pigs top the slaughter list, with more than 1.5 billion heads). In many countries, livestock laws are ineffective or remain unenforced. The cattle furnish the meat, milk, and cowhides supply shoes,
This week Eric welcomes back political economist and author Jeffrey Sommers to discuss the political and historical legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev in the wake of his recent death. Jeffrey examines how Gorbachev rose to power, the forces with which he had to contend while in power, and his ultimate failure to change the course of the Soviet Union. The conversation
Okay, I get that Republicans want to expose Democrats for their immigration hypocrisy. What I don’t get us why they would use impoverished human beings who have fled to the United States in an attempt to survive as the means to do that. But what I really don’t understand is why Republicans and other statist More The post Why Do Republicans Support Sanctions on Venezuela?
After leading a military coup in 1969, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi cemented his rule over Libya for more than 40 years. A variety of different political ideologies—Pan-Arabism, Pan-Africanism, socialism, Islamic leftism, and others—characterized his leadership, which were further reinforced by a cult of personality. While living standards for
Long before the Covid pandemic, it was important to ask, where are the mass movements to enact in Congress majoritarian-supported changes and reforms? Another question: Whatever happened to the mass rallies that used to command the attention of our 535 members of Congress to whom we have given our sovereign power? Let’s start with universal More The post Practice
It’s impossible to know whether the new British Prime Minister is genuinely serious about constructive policy or not.  She is certainly interested in greasing palms and calming the storms, if only to delay the inevitable.  Having proven herself the shallowest of candidates to succeed her disgraced, not wholly banished predecessor, Liz Truss has leapt into
The term “political theater” has taken on some pointedly negative connotations in recent days. When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flew two planeloads of migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard on September 14, critics condemned the action as “political theater.” When a group of Venezuelan migrants flown to the island filed a class-action
The Categorical Exclusion was created by the U.S. Forest Service to exempt small projects from National Environmental Policy Act analysis and the public comment and objection process. It makes sense for small actions like replacing picnic tables, rehabbing a campsite or plumbing repair. However, the Forest Service is taking advantage of the CE by misapplying
It is conventional wisdom to say that dictators like Putin and Saddam Hussein are particularly prone to an exaggerated idea of their own strength and of the weakness of their enemies. This is true enough of Putin in Ukraine, as it was for Saddam Hussein’s invasions of Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. But George W Bush and Tony Blair were equally hubristic in Afghanistan
A critical divergence between the two countries is that Cuba guarantees health care to all as a human right while the US system is based on profit and political grandstanding.  When Covid hit, the US dawdled for months as Cuba mobilized for medical action. More The post Life Expectancy: The US and Cuba in the Time of Covid appeared first on
The latest, including: • Types of resistance to Putin’s mobilization • Some regions banning freedom of movement as draft-dodging grows • Russia’s miners and oil workers going to war • Chechnya’s Kadyrov exempts Chechnya from new mobilization • Zelensky speaks to Russians in Russian • Reports from Buryatia & Tuva regions on disproportionate
Catherine Rampell’s latest Washington Post column argued that lower-income people have been hardest hit by inflation, so they will benefit most if the Fed gets inflation under control. The argument is that items that they must buy, like food, gas, and rent, have risen most rapidly in price. Furthermore, since lower-income people tend to already More The post
President Biden’s condemnation of Russia at the UN on Wednesday, where he claimed Russia had violated the UN Charter by invading Ukraine, a country he ludicrously posed “no threat” to its larger neighbor, is epic hypocrisy coming from the leader of a country that not long ago invaded and destroyed Iraq based on a total fraudulent More The
Americans are suffering and none so much as the young people of this country.  In December 2021, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a disturbing report, “Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health” that paints a troubling picture of young people 3 to 17 years-of-age. The report notes that over the decade between 2009 to More The post Youth Despair:
Back in 2010, Barack Obama was striding about his new administration’s decision to turn his attention to doings in the Far East, described by pundits and media talking heads as ‘the Asian Pivot.’ Coincidentally, this is the same year that Obama, hamming it up at the annual WH Correspondents dinner, threatened the pop rock band, More The
The rise of far-right politician Giorgia Meloni has left many outside Italy asking how her brand of what many argue is fascism can achieve such prominence in a country that has experienced life under the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. The answer can be traced back to a recent normalisation of reactionary politics. In truth, the More The post Giorgia Meloni
The United Nations has once again made it into the news — as a backdrop. This happens every September when world leaders gather in New York for the General Assembly’s “general debate.” This year’s theme for that debate: “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges,” a typical general debate word salad that lets world More The post
Image by Kawasaki Shizuku. The United States and China have long been on a collision course in the Asia Pacific, centered around the strategic island nation of Taiwan. Taiwan is currently protected by the U.S., but China considers Taiwan to be a rebellious province, and is determined to reclaim it in the next decade or two. For more than ten years, China and the
Image by Jon Tyson. Edison, part of the ever-expanding suburban sprawl in the heart of central New Jersey, is now predominantly non-white, with a plurality of South and East Asian Americans. Alongside the strip malls and gas stations that illuminate the night, one can find H-marts and Patel Cash & Carry supermarkets, next to karaoke bars and saree shops.
#MeToo tends to be presented untrammelled by social and political context as a phenomenon where powerful individual men commit sexual violence against vulnerable individual women. Five years after it all began, on 15 October 2017 with Alyssa Milano’s famous tweet, with a pandemic and many other scandals in between, #MeToo may seem a bit passé […] To
The risk is that endless wars have a natural tendency to escalate as opponents try new strategies and tactics to break the deadlock and defeat their enemy. Vicious and destructive though the war in Ukraine has been so far, it is a long way from “total war”, a phrase that became popular to describe the situation in the Second World War as each side used every resource
The business of America is said to be business. But that is not the business of America’s tens of millions of workers. Their business is getting paid fairly and not working 100 hours per week. Their business is having an occasional day off and paid sick leave. Their business is getting treated decently on the job. And when these things don’t happen, the business
To date, Britain has largely been successful in sugar coating its colonial crimes with jingoism, propaganda and patriotism. With its developed university and media infrastructure and schools of history associated with Oxbridge traditions, Britain had been able to represent colonialism and imperial building as emanating from a ‘high moral purpose’  
In 1965, the Long Shot test exploded an 80 kiloton bomb. The $10 million test, the first one supervised by the Pentagon and not the AEC, was really a trial run for bigger things to come. But small as it was, there were immediate problems. Despite claims by the Pentagon that the test site would not leak, radioactive tritium and krypton-85 began to seep into freshwater
Pelosi’s travel to the world’s worst trouble spots creates significant confusion regarding official U.S. policies and politics.  In flexing the flabby diplomatic muscles of the U.S. Congress, Pelosi is engaging the international community without any obvious coordination with the White House or the Department of State. The notion that anyone from the
This essay appeared for free on Substack last Monday. I have added an extensive update at the end. Impunity feeds on itself.  The more a transgressor gets away with the more he feels emboldened to transgress again.  And the more he transgresses without punishment the more others in the same mold feel free to transgress. More The post Clockwork Orange: The Intimately