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Commentary

Commentary
Across the U.S., Courts are Keeping Voter Initiatives Off Local Ballots
Simon Davis-Cohen: In 2015, a county presiding judge removed a initiative to raise the minimum wage in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2016, a similar initiative was taken off Minneapolis’s ballot, along with a proposed ordinance to require police officers to carry personal professional liability insurance. Also in 2016, an initiative in Tacoma, Washington, to require all city and corporate projects using at least 1 million gallons of water per day be put to a public vote never saw the light of election day. ... The courts, Ann Kneeland (lawyer for petitioners) says, should let people vote and only judge laws once they are passed. The legislative powers of the people, she argues, are supposed to be equal to the state legislature’s... Visit Website ]
Apr 24, 2018, 3:02pm

Commentary
Chaco Canyon, Chaco Earth
Chris Hedges: CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, N.M.—A bitter wind whipped down the 10-mile-long Chaco Canyon, kicking up swirls of dust among the thorny greasewood and sagebrush bushes. ... The Chaco ruin, 6,200 feet above sea level, is one of the largest and most spectacular archeological sites in North America. It is an impressive array of 15 interconnected complexes, each of which once had four-to-five-story stone buildings with hundreds of rooms each. ... But this complex society, like all complex societies, proved fragile and impermanent. It fell into precipitous decline after nearly three centuries. ... We in 2018 are beset with signs of impending collapse. ... Visit Website ]
Apr 23, 2018, 3:31pm

Commentary
After 50 Asylum Seekers Reach Border, Several Illegally Turned Away
D. Parvaz, ThinkProgress: Of the roughly 1,500 asylum seekers who set off toward the U.S. border last month in the so-called “migrant caravan,” some 50 have reached the border, and, according to immigrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, some are being illegally turned away. ... By law, when a person seeks asylum at a border, authorities need to give them temporary asylum (pending an initial security screening) until their application can be considered. ... Clara Long, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch’s U.S. Program, told ThinkProgress that turning asylum seekers away at the border is “illegal both under U.S. and international law.”... Visit Website ]
Apr 21, 2018, 11:01am

Commentary
The Anti-Empire Report #157 - April 2018
William Blum: In the Cold War struggles against the Soviets/Russians the United States has long had the upper hand when it comes to political propaganda. What do the Russkis know about sales campaigns, advertising, psychological manipulation of the public, bait-and-switch, and a host of other Madison Avenue innovations. Just look at what the American media and their Western partners have done with the poisoning of the two Russians, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in the UK. How many in the West doubt Russia’s guilt? ... Then consider the case of Hugo Chávez. When he died in 2013 I wrote the following: “[W]hen someone like Chávez dies at the young age of 58 I have to wonder about the circumstances ... It is well known that during the Cold War, the CIA worked diligently to develop substances that could kill without leaving a trace... Visit Website ]
Apr 20, 2018, 12:23pm

Commentary
Fisk Puts to Test the Free-Press Myth in Douma
Jonathan Cook: Let’s take the matter of veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk arriving in Douma this week, the first western correspondent to get there. Fisk is like some relic from a bygone era, when journalists really sought to arrive at the truth ... Until his arrival, all the information we were receiving about Douma in the west originated not with on-the-ground reporters, but with jihadist groups or those living under their Islamist reign of terror. ... Just a few days after the US, UK and France had bombed Syria, in violation of all principles of international law, on the grounds that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in Douma, Fisk interviewed a doctor at the clinic where the victims were treated. The doctor said no chemical attack occurred... Visit Website ]
Apr 19, 2018, 12:32pm

Commentary
Chemical Weapons Hypocrisy
Robert Fisk: But it’s a different war that I’m remembering today. It’s the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988, when Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. When the Iranians re-crossed their own border and stormed into Iraq years later, Saddam used gas on thousands of Iranian soldiers – and civilians, for there were nurses and doctors at the war front. ... For the precursors for the Iraqi gas came largely from the United States – one from New Jersey – and US military personnel later visited the battlefront without making any comments about the chemicals which were sold to the Iraqi regime, of course, for “agricultural” purposes. ... Don’t we remember the Kurds of Halabja who were gassed by Saddam, with gas which the CIA told its officers to claim was used by the Iranians?... Visit Website ]
Apr 14, 2018, 10:37am

Commentary
The US Empire Has Been Trying To Regime Change Syria Since Long Before 2011
Caitlin Johnstone: Proponents of US military interventionism in Syria will avoid addressing this known fact like the plague. ... Roland Dumas is the former Foreign Minister of France, and he stated that he was made aware of the violence in Syria in 2009, two years before it started. ... A December 13, 2006 cable published by WikiLeaks reveals how five years prior to the beginning of the violence, the US government (USG) was seeking out weaknesses of the Assad government which could be exploited to undermine it. ... General Wesley Clark made the following statement on Democracy Now in 2007 about a conversation he had with a general in 2001: - “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”... Visit Website ]
Apr 13, 2018, 3:42pm

Commentary
U.S. Media Do Not Give Us All Sides of the Story
Kevin Cooper: DEATH ROW, SAN QUENTIN, Calif.—In 1964, the late Malcolm X told a crowd of people in Harlem, “This is the press, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing" ... Here’s the thing that bothers me and should bother you, too: The news isn’t supposed to be conservative or liberal, or any other way. The news is the news is the news. ... The real news is out there to be found, and it’s up to all of us to find it... Visit Website ]
Apr 11, 2018, 3:41pm

Commentary
Restoring the Rule of Law
Inder Comar: The rule of law is in serious jeopardy in the United States. ... The executive branch is unconstrained, engaging in foreign wars without oversight even while it dismantles the regulatory and administrative state that protects citizens from abuses of power ... The legislative branch has been hopelessly bought-and-sold by monied interests. ... And the judicial branch refuses to intervene, actively closing the doors to any accountability over other elected officials. ... Five Suggestions: Revoke the 9/11 Military Authorization, Join the International Criminal Court, Investigate U.S. Officials who Break International Law, Create a Truly Independent Judiciary, ans End the Influence of Money in Politics... Visit Website ]
Apr 11, 2018, 3:02pm

Commentary
The Campaign to Exterminate Muslims
Chris Hedges: The Israeli army’s wanton slaughter of unarmed Palestinians trapped behind the security barriers in Gaza evokes little outrage and condemnation within the United States because we have been indoctrinated into dehumanizing Muslims. Islam is condemned as barbaric and equated with terrorism. ... Policies have consequences. The decision to hunt down Muslims around the globe, giving to the so-called war on terror a transnational dimension, means also that those who oppose us are not restricted by national boundaries. The terrorists who carry out these attacks are mirror images of ourselves, consumed by the same narcissism and cult of the self that define celebrity culture... Visit Website ]
Apr 10, 2018, 3:20pm

Commentary
Multi-Millionaire Mass Murderer for Senate - Have We Hit Bottom Yet?
William Boardman: Donald Leon “Don” Blankenship isn’t just another typical rich, white, tall, 68-year-old Republican multi-millionaire ideologue serving out the last probationary year of his federal criminal sentence in Las Vegas while running for the US Senate in West Virginia, he’s also an endlessly, self-righteously self-justifying mass murderer. ... he’s a lifelong coal executive. Mostly his activities kill people slowly, in their natural habitat, or what used to be a natural habitat before coal mining started destroying mountains, rivers, aquifers, and other life-sustaining ecosystems. ... In 2010, Blankenship was in his tenth year as CEO and chairman of the Massey Energy Company, the largest coal company in Central Appalachia and one of the largest in the US ... On April 5, 2010, Massey safety failures led directly to an explosion that killed 29 miners (out of 31), the worst US mine catastrophe since 1970... Visit Website ]
Apr 8, 2018, 11:13am

Commentary
Operation Flailing Empire
Danny Sjursen: You’ve got to hand it to the good old US of A: We sure know how to overpromise and underdeliver. After 17 years of perpetual wars stretching from West Africa to South Asia, nobody does it better. America’s military—the nation’s governmental tool of choice these days—never saw a problem it couldn’t “fix” or missed an opportunity to coin a slick code name for its open-ended operations. ... See, in reality, the U.S. has naught but a few defeats, several ongoing stalemates and a trail of chaos to show for all that effort. And, predictably, the local civilians usually foot the bloody bill... Visit Website ]
Apr 7, 2018, 10:17am

Commentary
King’s Legacy Betrayed
Margaret Kimberley: As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of his assassination we see a nation that has moved backwards on nearly every front. Legalized discrimination was eliminated but powerful forces undermined progress and America in 2018 is devoid of the change that King fought to make real. ... Much of the blame lies at the feet of the Democratic Party, who have an undeserved reputation for enacting progressive policies. In reality, Democrats actively targeted black people for joblessness, poverty, imprisonment and disenfranchisement. Democrats became the party of corporate interests and aligned themselves with every neoliberal initiative. ... Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should be remembered for his tremendous courage in speaking out against the power of money and the military industrial complex. ... The admiration is hollow unless we do as he and millions of others did and commit ourselves to challenging the system.... Visit Website ]
Apr 4, 2018, 12:27pm

Commentary
“The Global Elite is Insane” Revisited
Robert J. Burrowes: it is not just the global elite that is insane. All those individuals – politicians, business people, academics, corporate media editors and journalists, judges and lawyers, bureaucrats... – who serve the elite, including by not exposing and resisting it, are also insane. ... Do you really believe that someone who is capable of perpetrating extraordinary violence, inequity and biosphere-threatening behavior – and thus clearly incapable of experiencing and expressing the love, compassion, empathy and sympathy that would drive a nonviolent approach to the world – is sane? ... I also see no evidence that individual members of the elite will do the emotional healing necessary to be able to act sanely in response to the extinction-threatening crisis it has generated... Visit Website ]
Apr 2, 2018, 3:25pm

Commentary
No, Growing Inequality Won’t Solve Itself
Sarah van Gelder: A society that fails to invest in its children, to protect its land and water, or to build a future is courting collapse ... Societies tend to become more unequal over time, unless there is concerted pushback. Those who accumulate wealth—whether because of good fortune, hard work, talent, or ruthlessness—also accumulate power. And over time, the powerful find ways to shift the economic and political rules in their favor, affording them still more wealth and power. The process feeds on itself, growing like a cancer unless stopped by outside forces ... In the Pacific Northwest, Coast Salish tribes practice the potlatch; families gain status and respect by what they give away, not by what they possess... Visit Website ]
Mar 29, 2018, 11:32am


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