Category Archives: Commentary

U.S. joins past empires in Afghanistan graveyard

President Biden announced a removal of all U.S. troops by September 11, but he failed to include some important details.

An Afghan taxi-driver in Vancouver told one of us a decade ago that this day would come. “We defeated the Persian Empire in the eighteenth century, the British in the nineteenth, the Soviets in the twentieth. Now, with NATO, we’re fighting twenty-eight countries, but we’ll defeat them, too,” said the taxi-driver, surely not a member of the Taliban, but quietly proud of his country’s empire-killing credentials. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: Vaccine passports in a failed state

The non-vaccinated can be smeared and equated with MAGA hat wearing Trumpers, regardless of their religious or political affiliations. Continue reading

The secret wars of Africa’s Sahel: What is behind Mali’s ongoing strife

In a recent report, the United Nations Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, concluded that, on January 3, French warplanes had struck a crowd attending a wedding in the remote village of Bounti, killing 22 of the guests. Continue reading

Contrary to what Biden said, US warfare in Afghanistan is set to continue

No matter what the White House and the headlines say, U.S. taxpayers won’t stop subsidizing the killing in Afghanistan until there is an end to the bombing and "special operations" that remain shrouded in secrecy.

When I met a seven-year-old girl named Guljumma at a refugee camp in Kabul a dozen years ago, she told me that bombs fell early one morning while she slept at home in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley. With a soft, matter-of-fact voice, Guljumma described what happened. Some people in her family died. She lost an arm. Continue reading

What Einstein and Freud can teach us about the psychology of hate

We need to accept the grim truth that the haters among us aren’t going away.

The United States is awash in hate. From the shootings at three Atlanta-area spas to the avalanche of voter-suppression bills sponsored by Republican lawmakers in 43 states in the aftermath of the November election, racial minorities and historically oppressed communities find themselves, once again, the objects and victims of hate. Continue reading

The loutish lemmings of the GOP

Flailing into oblivion, the frat boy politics of the Republican party simply may end in its unseemly collapse—or national disaster.

Joe Biden is thinking about the complexities of racial and social justice in America, vaccinating the population against COVID-19, combatting domestic terrorism, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, bringing back jobs and climate change. Donald Trump is thinking about money and revenge—and maybe about why his pal Vladimir Putin has all the luck. Continue reading

Consent that’s manufactured by propaganda is not informed consent

A March 9 Twitter post by Secretary of State Tony Blinken reads as follows: “We will never hesitate to use force when American lives and vital interests are at stake, but we will do so only when the objectives are clear and achievable, consistent with our values and laws, and with the American people’s informed consent – together with diplomacy.” Continue reading

State lawmakers are cracking down on speech

On the one hand, conservatives complain about “cancel culture.” On the other, they slash budgets for schools that teach “social justice.”

The Idaho legislature just cracked down on colleges teaching “social justice ideology.” They cut $409,000 from Boise State University’s budget and forced a number of “social justice”-related classes to move online and “asynchronous,” without any more live discussion. Continue reading

The government’s war on free speech: Protest laws undermine the First Amendment

It’s a given that the government is corrupt, unaccountable, and has exceeded its authority. Continue reading

All of humanity’s problems are caused by a lack of awareness

I write about humanity’s problems as a species in all sorts of ways in this space, but really if you want to get straightforward about things all we’re ever actually talking about here is a lack of awareness of what’s true and the need to eliminate that lack. Continue reading

Mr. Fix-It

Joe Biden is embarking on the biggest government initiative in more than a half century, “unlike anything we have seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades go,” he says. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: The U.S. can’t control the world

Slow-witted Joe Biden appears to think that we’re still in the age of the sole superpower, when in fact that era has come and gone. Continue reading

Let’s end the insanity of colossal military spending during a global health emergency

Imagine what could be achieved if just a portion of the money spent on military expenditures were pooled into a global fund, and redirected towards ending hunger and massively investing in public health systems.

If nations had a referendum, asking the public if they want their taxes to go to military weapons that are more efficient in killing than the ones we currently have, or if they would prefer the money to be invested in medical care, social services, education and other critical public needs, what would the response be? Continue reading

The ongoing calamity: US collective punishment of the Venezuelan people must end

Recent statements made by US officials suggest that Washington will continue to pursue a hardline policy on Venezuela. The new Biden administration, however, needs to urgently rethink its approach. Continue reading

Ring out the old; ring in the old

While our sacred democracy was allegedly being served by a stupid attempt to unsuccessfully impeach an ex-president for the second time and essentially tell more than 70 million Americans that they might as well vote for Pavlov, FDR, Hitler or Oprah Winfrey since any alleged exercise of supposed freedom on their part would be meaningless in the rape of language we call a democracy. You know, the one with a billionaire class getting richer by the second and Americans across the board sinking lower by the minute. But enough good news, let’s move on to the even better signs of our political economic progress against logic, morality and majority rule, something that vanished in practice the moment our euro ancestors arrived and the people who’d lived here for millennia were brutally forced out of their homelands. Continue reading

Where does the buck stop in Texas?

Texas Republicans took money from the utilities they failed to regulate. Now they’re pointing the finger elsewhere for power failures.

There is a weasel word that politicians use whenever something goes wrong on their watch: “unacceptable.” Continue reading

Freedom Rider: The minimal minimum wage

Most Democrats either don’t want a minimum wage increase or are too afraid of bucking their party’s donor class. Continue reading

We need democracy, not billionaire philanthropy

Instead of funding only the projects that a single billionaire esteems worthy, democracy demands something different: input.

Bill Gates has a new book about climate change. Continue reading

Imagining Palestine: On Barghouti, Darwish, Kanafani and the language of exile

For Palestinians, exile is not simply the physical act of being removed from their homes and their inability to return. It is not a casual topic pertaining to politics and international law, either. Nor is it an ethereal notion, a sentiment, a poetic verse. It is all of this combined. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: No human rights in Texas

The people of Texas suffer unnecessarily from bad weather because their state puts oligarchs first and does not recognize the human right to health and safety. Continue reading

The freedom to freeze

Texas’s prevailing social Darwinism was expressed most succinctly last week by the mayor of Colorado City, who accused his constituents—trapped in near sub-zero temperatures and complaining about lack of heat, electricity, and drinkable water—of being the “lazy” products of a “socialist government,” adding “I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!” and predicting “only the strong will survive and the weak will perish.” Continue reading

Congress must pass the For the People Act

Republicans and Democratic voters agree: We need to make sure leaders actually represent “we the people.”

More than 230 years ago, the founders of the United States enshrined their vision for our democracy in the preamble to the Constitution. Its opening line begins with a powerful aspiration and mandate for our government to serve “we, the people.” Continue reading

Conservative Democrat Joe Manchin playing a dangerous game

The press is talking about how a conservative Democratic senator from West Virginia is now allegedly one of the most powerful movers and shakers in the nation’s capital. Continue reading

Unrigging the GOP’s minority rule

The Republican Party is shrinking. It’s lost the popular vote in seven of the past eight Presidential elections. Since Trump’s attempted coup, more Americans are abandoning it every day. Continue reading

The blame game

Duplicity and contempt for the rule of law define longstanding US policy on the world stage. Continue reading

Joe Biden and “open borders”: As if

On February 9, more than 50 Republican members of the US House of Representatives sent President Joe Biden a letter decrying his “open border” policies. Of all the hyberbolic claims I’ve read regarding the Biden administration since Inauguration Day, that one takes the cake. In neither word nor action has the new president come within a country mile of supporting “open borders” in principle or in policy. Continue reading

Is trouble in Texas symptomatic of America’s unravelling?

Chicago where I live experiences severe cold, snow, and occasional heavy amounts in winter. Continue reading

Texas deep freeze points out the absurdity of libertarianism

As Texas was plunged into a fourth day of Arctic temperatures, the cries went out from the uber-wealthy suburbs of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. “Where’s my power?” “I have no water!” “I can’t buy gas and food!” As Texans looked to their Republican libertarian governor, Greg Abbott, they only received a lesson on the evils of green energy. Blaming the power failures caused by the deep freeze—another warning indicator about the increasingly dire effects of global climate change—Abbott, backed by Republican U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw from Houston, cited frozen wind generators as the main culprit. In reality, a place where libertarians have never existed and never will, the wind turbines failed because Texas’s toothless regulators refused to ensure that they were winterized. Similar temperatures do not affect wind turbines in northern climes or even Antarctica because they have been engineered to withstand sub-freezing temperatures. Texas resorted to using helicopters to “de-ice” wind turbines. Continue reading

They don’t work to kill all dissent; they just keep it from going mainstream

One of the most consequential collective delusions circulating in our society is the belief that our society is free. Our society is exactly free enough to create the illusion that we have freedom; from that line onwards it’s just totalitarianism veiled in propaganda. Continue reading

Education won’t stop conspiracy theories

Formal education is often a mark of privilege, not intelligence.

Conspiracy theories like QAnon are outlandish, dangerous, and often absurd. So why do people believe them? Continue reading

Bibi, Pfizer and the election

Israel’s biggest news outlet Ynet reported Friday that in the country voluntarily making itself Pfizer’s testing ground, “75.4% of those diagnosed yesterday were under 39. Only 5.5% were over 60. “The number of critical patients dropped to 858—the lowest since January 4. However, this number is more than double that in mid-December, just before Israel started its ‘pioneering’ experiment in mass vaccination. Ynet also reported that “In Israel 59.9% of critical patients are over 60 years old. 18.2% are aged 50 to 59. In addition, 10.8% are aged 40 to 49 and 7.5% are in their 30s. As of today, more than a third of critical patients are between 30 to 59 years old.” Continue reading

Overhaul the USDA

For decades, the agriculture department has been indifferent to struggling rural communities. That has to change.

We can’t just settle for disinfecting the White House after four-years of Trump. A fundamental, structural rebuild is necessary, including on health care, immigration, the environment, civil rights, labor law, and infrastructure. Continue reading