This latest mass shooting in Las Vegas that left more than 50 people dead and more than 500 injured is as obscure as they come: a 64-year-old retiree with no apparent criminal history, no military training, and no obvious axe to grind opens fire on a country music concert crowd from a hotel room 32 floors up using a semi-automatic gun that may have been rigged to fire up to 700 rounds a minute, then kills himself. Continue reading
Donald Trump’s bombastic rhetoric aimed at North Korea is evidence that neither he nor his administration grasp the historic paranoia of the North Korean government. The fear in Pyongyang that North Korea will become a ceded territory in a big power agreement has been a factor since the days of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. This existential threat also formed the policies of Kim Il Sung’s successors—his son Kim Jong Il and his grandson, the present leader, Kim Jong Un. Continue reading
Two of the U.S. government’s supposed allies are supposedly not allies of each other but enemies of each other, but, away from the glare of the ‘news’ media, they actually work together with each other to control, by means of their secret actual alliance with one-another, a substantial, if not the major, part of U.S. foreign policies—especially regarding Iran, Russia, Syria, Israel, Palestinians, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Turkey, but much else besides. These two secret allies of each other, who largely determine U.S. foreign policies, are the Saud family and the government of Israel. Continue reading
The tumultuous events that dominate international news today cannot be accurately understood outside of their underlying context, which connects them together, into a broader narrative—the actual history of our time. History makes sense, even if news reports about these events don’t. Propagandistic motivations cause such essential facts to be reported little (if at all) in the news, so that the most important matters for the public to know, get left out of news accounts about those international events. Continue reading
Now that finally the U.S. government has officially terminated its arming and training of the jihadist gangs that are fighting to overthrow and replace Syria’s government, the neoconservative mainstream U.S. ‘news’ media are disagreeing with each other over how to communicate this fact to the American people without contradicting, or otherwise violating, the false ‘history’ they’ve all been presenting and preserving, throughout the past five years, which has described the U.S. government as being opposed to the jihadists in Syria, instead of as the U.S. government’s arming and training jihadists to overthrow and replace Syria’s government. That’s a pretty blatant ‘historical’ lie, which they’ve all been maintaining, now, for five years; and, they’re at loggerheads over whether or how they’ll deal with it, now that the program (whose very existence they’ve helped the government to hide from the public) has been so publicly and suddenly ordered to end. Continue reading
On Friday night, July 28, US President Donald Trump said that he would sign into law the increased economic sanctions (passed by 98–2 in the Senate and 419–3 in the House) against any business that is declared to have “knowingly provided goods or services . . . for construction, modernisation, or repair of Russia’s energy export pipelines.” Continue reading
Urban billionaires are trotting out the tractors and overalls in a bizarre effort to roll back their taxes.
After this summer, President Trump and the Republican Congress have one big item on their agenda: taxes. Specifically, cutting them for the rich. Continue reading
US President Donald J. Trump, in a step that could embolden Saudi Arabia to move ahead with plans to destabilize Iran, has instructed White House aides to give him the arguments for withholding certification in October that Iran has complied with its nuclear agreement with world powers. Continue reading
If the documents that Donald Jr. was emailing about are deemed valuable, soliciting them is a criminal offense. A legal expert weighs in.
Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s private lawyers, has been making the rounds of radio, and network and cable TV shows trying to put out the fire set by Donald Trump Jr.’s release of emails which confirm that Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who claimed to have compromising material about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race. Continue reading
A friend of mine from India tells a story about driving an old Volkswagen beetle from California to Virginia during his first year in the United States. In a freak ice storm in Texas he skidded off the road, leaving his car with a cracked windshield and badly dented doors and fenders. When he reached Virginia he took the car to a body shop for a repair estimate. The proprietor took one look at it and said, “it’s totaled.” My Indian friend was bewildered: “How can it be totaled? I just drove it from Texas!” Continue reading
The most encouraging trend in the otherwise bleak landscape of Western politics is the success of the “new kind of politics” unveiled by Bernie Sanders in the U.S., Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K., and parallel movements, parties and candidates in other countries. Continue reading
Ever since the end of World War II, the United States, rightly or wrongly, but most of the time wrongly, has fancied itself as the “world’s policeman.” Even a disastrous and costly military intervention in Southeast Asia did not deter the United States from acting as the chief arbiter of what governments were “in” and which were “out” as evidenced by the Central Intelligence Agency interloping in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Haiti, and Colombia. Two military interventions in Iraq and a U.S.-led military campaign directed against Yugoslavia were not enough to pry the United States from its self-appointed role as the chief “global cop.” In fact, American neoconservatives continued to fanaticize about the United States leading the world into a post-Cold War “new American century.” Continue reading
On Monday, June 12, in his first public cabinet meeting, Trump is seen accepting a North-Korean-style pledge from his sycophant cabinet members, on live television, after he had praised himself profusely. This was eerie: Watching all these secretaries humiliating themselves in lavishly praising the self-appointed ‘Great One.’ They all echoed Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, who said: “We thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda.” This was quite a totalitarian show, rarely seen in a democracy, but common in a dictatorship. Continue reading
Arising from a combination of Donald Trump’s tweets and statements about subjects from Qatar to Taiwan and NATO to Palestine, old border disputes and diplomatic rivalries are beginning to flare up. The Trump administration also appears to be unwilling to fill a number of vacancies in the State Department, a development that has added to a de facto American hands-off approach to many simmering international disputes. Continue reading
While the West’s corporate media were fixated on NATO adding tiny Montenegro to its membership roster, the Chinese- and Russian-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) added India and Pakistan as full members. The flags of India and Pakistan were raised at SCO headquarters in Beijing, following the June 8–9 SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. Continue reading
Who designed the malware worm that is now wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers internationally by hackers demanding a king’s ransom? The U.S. government. Continue reading
Trump fires Comey. Where is Don McGahn?
On March 20, 2017, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the bureau was investigating connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. Seven weeks later, Trump signed a bizarre letter firing him. Who wrote it? More precisely, where is White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II? Continue reading
The president is playing with fire and his lawyers are fanning the flames. In the end, the nation will suffer the burns.
Shakespeare’s famous line has drawn conflicting interpretations. To some, it’s a 16th century lawyer joke. But to others focused on the anarchist who spoke them, it’s a nod to the role of law in underpinning a civilized society. Upon admission to the bar, the lawyers surrounding Donald Trump swore fealty to the US Constitution. When they assumed their current duties on behalf of all Americans, they reaffirmed that oath. When Trump attacks the rule of law, his advisers with legal degrees have a special responsibility to speak up. Whatever they’re saying to Trump privately, their public defense of his indefensible assault on the judiciary is no joke, and they know it. Continue reading
Another terrible war crime against Syrian civilians has taken place in Syria, on top of multiple war crimes committed in that country torn apart by six years of a civil war marked by foreign interventions. On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, a chemical attack killed more than 70 people, including women and children. No neutral official investigation has yet taken place, but two versions of events have surfaced. Continue reading
The Republican House proposed healthcare legislation is a substantially more free-market approach to health care than exists in any industrialized nation. It would greatly reduce regulation of health care in America, and also considerably increase the choices that consumers would have in their health care. Another way of putting this is: it would considerably decrease the requirements that are placed upon health care insurers and providers. It would be as close to extreme free-market health care as can be achieved except for a system in which anyone can legally sell anything and call it “health insurance” or call it “medical care.” In other words, it would be more like anarchy in these fields. Continue reading
Like a scene out of a Hollywood epic movie, Saudi Arabian King Salman journeyed to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, with an entourage of 1000 aides and servants, including ten Cabinet ministers and 25 Saudi princes traveling aboard four Boeing 747s and two Boeing 777s. Indonesian president Joko Widodo termed the visit part of a “strategic partnership” between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Salman also visited Malaysia, which has been embroiled in a major political scandal arising from the acceptance by its prime minister, Najib Razak, of a $1 billion “gift” from a stated-owned Saudi company. Political opponents of Razak have termed the gift a bribe. Continue reading
Syria’s peace-talks are about settling a horrific six-year-long war, but this is more of an international war that’s being waged on the battlefields of Syria, than it is a civil war within Syria itself. This fact is often ignored by the press, but the peace-talks are really more between the foreign powers than between their proxies who are killing each other (and Syria’s civilians) within Syria. These peace-talks are international because the principals in this war are international. And, because the principals are international, the principles that are being fought over are, too—they are so basic that the end-result from these talks will be not only some sort of new peace, but some sort of new Constitution for Syria: really a new nation of Syria. Continue reading
A century ago, a Southern academic and racist emerged in Europe and the United States as a crusader to “make the world safe for democracy.”  Wilson had been inaugurated as president in 1913, the year before Europe’s imperialists plunged the world into four years of mass murder. That war alone, caused some four million direct battle casualties and untold millions of non-combatant deaths in the aftermath. Woodrow Wilson, despite the policies he actually pursued, would be turned into an icon of the 20th century’s most enduring myth—the benevolence and humanitarian virtue of the great slaveholder republic founded in 1776. Wilson could arguably be called the nation’s first celebrity politician and international celebrity export. This remarkable marketing accomplishment predated television. Continue reading
Here is the reason why we are currently even closer to a civilization-ending nuclear war than was the case during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 . . . Continue reading
For those who might wonder why foreign policy makers repeatedly make bad choices, some insight might be drawn from the following analysis. The action here plays out in the United States, but the lessons are probably universal. Continue reading
“The United States has the power to decree the death of nations,” wrote Stephen Kinzer in the Boston Globe. Continue reading
“Do you think we would be better off under Hillary or Trump,” asked the members of my Writing Group, at the meeting first Sunday in October. Continue reading
Fifteen years ago, on October 19, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld addressed B-2 bomber crews at Whiteman AFB in Missouri, as they prepared to fly halfway across the world to wreak misdirected vengeance on the people of Afghanistan and begin the longest war in U.S. history. Rumsfeld told the bomber crews, “We have two choices. Either we change the way we live, or we must change the way they live. We choose the latter. And you are the ones who will help achieve that goal.” Continue reading
Presidents don’t give up power. Continue reading
A new study outlines the negative impact of contracting public services to private companies.
I am one of those tiresome academics who has repeatedly criticized so-called privatization of government functions. I say “so-called” because what Americans call privatization is no such thing. Actual privatization would require government to sell off or otherwise abandon a particular activity, and let the private sector handle it, much like Margaret Thatcher selling England’s steel mills to private-sector interests. Continue reading
Growing volatility in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) does not augur well for the planet’s future. If current levels of entropy persist, the result would be a fossil-fuel induced global pandemonium. The mainstream and alternative media are of little help in making sense of the larger regional issues at stake, and one would have to resort to a risk foresight methodology—as the author did—to game out possible denouements. The following narrative represents one such end-scenario. Continue reading