U.S. President George Washington’s final words to his fellow Americans, upon leaving office, are now even more timely than when he spoke them, but have been ignored in practice for many decades; and the most recently published popular book about that speech ignores the most enduringly important part, so this part of Washington’s Farewell Address will be quoted from here, and will be placed into its historical context, so as to make clear what the central meaning in that speech is for our times, and for all times. Continue reading
Stanford University’s Hoover Institution still echoes the dire warning Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered in a January 13 speech. The speech, titled “The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example,” set forth a new policy of deterring “threats” to American interests by carrying out future political assassinations like that of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Al Quds Force commander Major General Qaseem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at Baghdad International Airport. Pursuant to this same new policy, the chief treasurer for the Quds Force, General Abdul Reza Shahlai, narrowly escaped assassination in Yemen by American military forces. Continue reading
The U.S. military is creating an imaginary 'space gap' to pour money into closing, wasting funds while increasing the risk of conflict.
With a stroke of a pen, Donald Trump created an entirely new branch of the armed forces last year. It’s the first new branch of the U.S. military since 1947. Continue reading
The U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani has not yet plunged us into a full-scale war with Iran thanks to the Iranian government’s measured response, which demonstrated its capabilities without actually harming U.S. troops or escalating the conflict. But the danger of a full-blown war still exists, and Donald Trump’s actions are already wreaking havoc. Continue reading
Democracy, as President Abraham Lincoln phrased it at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863, is “the government of the people, for the people, and by the people.” It is a political system that guarantees an individual’s basic human rights and freedoms (of thought, conscience, speech, religion, assembly, petition and of the press, etc.). — It guarantees due process and equality before the law. — It makes the government accountable to the people and it forbids a government from subjecting individuals to arbitrary prison, slavery or bondage, etc. — In a democracy, a person is able to speak his or her mind and express political preferences with reasonable safety. Continue reading
The highest level of human growth, according to Abraham Maslow, is that of transcendence. Transcendence, for Maslow, encompasses the need to rise above the interests of the self, to find fulfillment in helping others reach their potential (Jean Lipman-Blumen, The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians—and How We Can Resist Them (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p 129). Continue reading
It’s a new year, and the U.S. has found a new enemy—an Iraqi militia called Kata’ib Hezbollah. How tragically predictable was that? So who or what is Kata’ib Hezbollah? Why are U.S. forces attacking it? And where will this lead? Continue reading
The two major political parties, the Conservatives and Labor, are mere shadows of their former selves. Fresh from a major landslide victory in England, the Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is now a hard-right party. Traditional Tories like Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, and Kenneth Clarke, the grand old man of Conservative Party politics, were expelled as members of the Conservative ranks sitting in the House of Commons as a result of their September 2019 vote against Johnson’s government and their pro-European Union positions. With Johnson’s December 12 election victory, backing for Johnson’s Conservatives has come from such far-right stalwarts as Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and the Britain First movement of neo-fascist street hooligan Tommy Robinson. Continue reading
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan called Paul Volcker “the most effective chairman in the history of the Federal Reserve.” But while Volcker, who passed away Dec. 8 at age 92, probably did have the greatest historical impact of any Fed chairman, his legacy is, at best, controversial. Continue reading
In the 1920s, the influential American intellectual Walter Lippman argued that the average person was incapable of seeing or understanding the world clearly and needed to be guided by experts behind the social curtain. In a number of books, he laid out the theoretical foundations for the practical work of Edward Bernays, who developed “public relations” (aka propaganda) to carry out this task for the ruling elites. Bernays had honed his skills while working as a propagandist for the United States during World War I, and after the war he set himself up as a public relations counselor in New York City. Continue reading
Donald John Trump has turned back the clock in the Western Hemisphere to an era that saw coups and political unrest as the order of the day. Trump and his administration of far-right anti-socialists and pro-fascists have already overthrown the democratically-elected government of President Evo Morales of Bolivia. Trump has announced a policy of turning up the heat on President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Venezuela by ratcheting up the economic blockade of Cuba, a Venezuelan ally. Continue reading
On Monday, a surprising Washington Post report headlined: “The Afghanistan Papers—A secret history of the war. At War With the Truth,” saying, “US officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it.” More on this below. Continue reading
Understanding how the new right went global—and how to stop it—is key to keeping our planet habitable.
A succession of social upheavals over the last decade has radically realigned political power throughout the world. Continue reading
In the United Kingdom on December 3-4 a gathering of the US-NATO military alliance took place to mark the 70th anniversary of its creation. It might be expected that such an occasion would have been one of jovial self-congratulation for managing to keep such a moribund institution on its expensive feet for so long, but the mood was decidedly downbeat, and divisions between some national leaders were most marked. Indeed the entire affair declined into farce rather than being dignified and productive. Continue reading
Future historians, if they exist, will look back in amazement at the leaders of three nations in particular. The leaders—Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and US President Donald Trump—not only ignore, but criticized and question solid scientific data that the planet is in extreme environmental danger of a global catastrophe. Making matters worse, these leaders continue to advocate for damaging measures—coal burning, rainforest destruction, and fossil fuel vehicles—that worsen the extinction-level peril to humans and most other living things on the planet. Our future historians will discuss whether the political leadership of the early 21st century was driven by some crazed religious desire for “specicide” of the human race, as well as other species. Continue reading
The mainline media are generally quite warm toward so-called ‘moderates,’ without bothering to question what's so moderate about such positions as bowing to corporate plunder, backing rampant militarism and refusing to seriously confront the climate emergency.
Anyone who’s been paying attention should get the picture by now. Overall, in subtle and sledgehammer ways, the mass media of the United States—owned and sponsored by corporate giants—are in the midst of a siege against the two progressive Democratic candidates who have a real chance to be elected president in 2020. Continue reading
The world is currently mired in massive malfeasance in office by senior government officials, including heads of state and government, who are more interested in personal gain than in government service. Mixed in with financial and political scandals in dozens of nations is the specter of some government officials being involved in illegal sexual activities with underage individuals. Continue reading
War drives the American police state. Continue reading
Donald Trump, who has a schoolboy’s view of Native Americans as having been “savages” who besieged wagon trains of “peaceful” European settlers, has chalked up on his record of seedy deeds the military overthrow of Bolivia’s first Native American president, Evo Morales, an ethnic Aymara. Trump has been eyeing Morales, the leader of Bolivia’s Movement toward Socialism (MAS) party, for some form of retribution ever since Morales scolded Trump in person during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on September 26, 2018. Continue reading
The late William Blum documented CIA coups since WW II. Continue reading
Uprisings against the corrupt, generation-long dominance of neoliberal “center-right” and “center-left” governments that benefit the wealthy and multinational corporations at the expense of working people are sweeping country after country all over the world. Continue reading
The election of New York far right businessman Donald Trump in November 2016 has turned out to be a tragedy for the United States and also for the world, as more blunders, disasters and catastrophes unfold under his inexperienced, impetuous and incompetent stewardship. Continue reading
The far right’s war on culture is capturing the hearts and minds of mass shooters and populist politicians.
The far right is on a roll. Just a few years ago, liberals and conservatives would have considered its recent political victories a nightmare scenario. Right-wing extremists have won elections in the United States, Brazil, Hungary, India, and Poland. They pushed through the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. In the most recent European Parliament elections, far-right parties captured the most votes in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Hungary. Continue reading
Trump is counting on his base to endorse his increasingly open law-breaking. It may not end well.
Trump’s public appeal to China last week to help with uncovering dirt on the Biden family was both a brazen flouting of the law and (it pains me to say) an astute political tactic. Continue reading
It should be no surprise that the new governments installed by all these U.S. wars and coups are among the most corrupt regimes on earth.
This season could be called the Autumn of Discontent, as people from the Middle East to Latin America and the Caribbean have been rising up against corrupt neoliberal governments. Two of the countries in crisis, Haiti and Iraq, are on opposite ends of the earth but have something important in common. Not only are they reeling from protests against government corruption and austerity programs, like Ecuador and Algeria, but in both Haiti and Iraq, their corrupt neoliberal governments were imposed on them by the use of U.S. military force. Continue reading
1839, 1937 and 1941—These are three dates for blustering, bullying British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to learn before he sends Britain’s two new aircraft carriers to the South China Sea where the Chinese if they wanted to could sink them within minutes. Continue reading
Once again, the American voters have dutifully begun their quadrennial march to futility at the hands of another election cycle full of false prophets. None seem to realize or remember that the monocracy that they hold so sacrosanct is not—and has not been—a democracy for decades. Yet these societal lemmings, known as “voters,” again prepare to exert their media controlled, fact adjusted opinions at the polls while singing joyfully the praises of their one chosen new demagogue and praying that this time their candidate will, post-election, actually represent them from the Oval Office of American despair. Continue reading
Eventually, all military empires fall and fail by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death. Continue reading
During one week in late September, U.S.-led forces killed at least 70 civilians in two incidents in Afghanistan. A U.S. drone strike on September 19 killed at least 30 farmers harvesting pine nuts in Nangarhar province. Then on September 23, at least 40 civilians, including women and children, were reported killed in a combined U.S.-Afghan attack on a village in Taliban-controlled territory in southern Helmand province. Continue reading
Think twice before you call the cops to carry out a welfare check on a loved one. Continue reading
It is inconceivable to the United States that a ‘rag-tag’ force like Yemen’s Houthis might, with home-made weapons, outdo the hundred-billion-dollar might and sophistication of the state-of-the-art systems Washington has lavished upon the Saudis.
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are escalating to new heights, drawing the United States into a confrontation with the Islamic Republic after a sophisticated attack targeted Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facility—the largest oil processing facility in the world—knocking out half of the country’s oil capacity, or more than 5 million barrels a day, and leaving the oil fields in flames. Continue reading
On orders from Washington, Julian Assange is being slowly killed—by UK and US dark forces in cahoots with each other. Continue reading