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Commentary

Commentary
Overcoming a History of Bias in a Budding Industry
Bianca Flowers: The marijuana industry is blossoming, along with multiple challenges to correcting decades of injustice around the plant. ... Hemp and marijuana have ballooned into multi-billion-dollar industries worldwide. As more states dismantle prohibition policies to give the green light on recreational use and sale, billions of investment dollars are pouring into cannabis companies from corporations and business leaders. ... But Clarenda and Malcolm Anderson, both African American and owners of Green Heffa Farms, say that discriminatory lending practices by financial institutions has been a huge barrier for them and other black people wanting to take advantage of the business opportunities burgeoning around this much-maligned plant. ... The irony of people of color being shut out of emerging business opportunities generated by a plant long associated with racist policing has not gone unnoticed... Visit Website ]
May 25, 2019, 2:19pm

Commentary
Debunking Myths about Wealth and Race
Josh Hoxie: Falsehood No. 1: Black and Latinx families have less money because they’re led by single parents. ... single-parent white families have twice as much wealth as two-parent black and Latinx families ... Falsehood No. 2: Black people are poor because they’re less educated. ... black families led by college graduates “have about 33 percent less wealth than white families whose heads dropped out of high school.” ... Falsehood No.3: Black people don’t work or are bad with money. ... white families actually spend more and save less than black families with the same income. Yet white families have way more wealth than black families with the same income. ... What's going on: The simplest answer is a history of oppression and inherited advantage. The impacts of slavery, sharecropping, Jim Crow, white capping, red lining, mass incarceration, and predatory subprime lending, among many other things, are still very much with us... Visit Website ]
May 20, 2019, 10:56am

Commentary
Humanity Is Drowning in Plastic
Edward Carver: Coca-Cola make 100 billion plastic bottles a year, and recycling isn’t stopping the build-up of waste. We need government action to rein in the plastics industry. ... Avoiding plastic is the new radical chic. ... This trend is particularly strong in the UK. ... Many Britons watched David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, a 2017 BBC series that showed the tragic consequences plastic waste has for wildlife. This led to a lot of guilt and a fair bit of green proselytizing. ... Amid all the fuss about coffee cups and recycling, there’s one thing that we never hear about: the plastics industry. ... Since plastic drink bottles first appeared in the 1970s, global plastic production has increased twenty-fold, and it is expected to quadruple again by 2050. ... Yet the problem is still framed as a matter of consumers’ individual conscience. That suits the plastics industry just fine.... Visit Website ]
May 17, 2019, 2:29pm

Commentary
Does Capitalism Mean War?
Dan Lieberman: During the Cold war, the major antagonists, United States and Soviet Union, faced one another at European borders. No military confrontations occurred between them. ... The Cold War atmosphere became a testing ground for two systems. ... A fundamental question emerged from the rhetoric and saber rattling — which system, capitalist or socialist, was more likely to contain peace, or stated another way, more likely to wage war? ... Claiming protection of interest, which were mainly economic and political, the Capitalist western nations went beyond their borders and homeland security interests and, often with apparent ease that eschewed compromise and diplomacy, initiated several violent and catastrophic wars ... the economic warfare that has decimated populations and the question “Does Capitalism Mean War?” leans to a positive response... Visit Website ]
May 13, 2019, 4:09pm

Commentary
Mother’s Day: The Obscured Roots of a Global Peace Movement
Sam Husseini:The original Mother’s Day Proclamation, written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870, says: “We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own, it says ‘Disarm! Disarm!’ The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. ... ” Visit Website ]
May 12, 2019, 10:56am

Commentary
Pompeo’s Arctic Shipping Lanes
Robert Hunziker: America’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking at the prestigious Arctic Council biannual meeting in Finland, christened the Arctic meltdown: “A wonderful economic opportunity for international trade.” In a nutshell, here’s a critique of the Secretary’s advice: An ice-free Arctic reduces travel time for shipping lanes between Asia and the West by three weeks, which qualifies as one of the biggest transport revolutions since cargo planes first crossed the Atlantic in the early 20th century. ... The Arctic is the newest frontier for commercial interests, drilling, mining, and fishing galore, with remarkably little concern for spills or accidents in one of the harshest yet most sensitive ecosystems on the planet. ... Again, the silver lining within Pompeo’s pomposity is the inescapable conclusion that the world needs a wake-up call, a kick in the shins, or a hard knock on the head that an ice-free Arctic could be absolutely devastating.... Visit Website ]
May 11, 2019, 12:43pm

Commentary
The World Blows Over $5 Trillion a Year on Oil and Gas Subsidies: Report
Brian Kahn: That’s how much 191 nations collectively spent directly and indirectly subsidizing fossil fuels, according to the hippies at the International Monetary Fund. The staggering number shows why failure to account for climate change, air pollution, and other societal ills when it comes to fossil fuel extraction is often described as the biggest market failure ever, and also that maybe the market isn’t going to save us. ... IMF’s report released late last week breaks down where the huge figure comes from. On the one hand, you have you have your direct price subsidies that help offset costs consumers pay for, say gas or heating oil. Those totals are still profound at more than $300 billion in 2017, but the real subsidies are hidden in the impacts burning fossil fuels have on society. Burning oil, gas, and coal cause widespread health problems tied with air pollution and disrupt the climate, and fossil fuels aren’t paying their fair share.... Visit Website ]
May 10, 2019, 2:36pm

Commentary
Venezuela – a Risk to Dollar Hegemony – Key Purpose Behind “Regime Change"
Peter Koenig: First you may think, “It’s the Oil, stupid!” – And second, the turbo-capitalist, neoliberal turning-to-neofascist US will not tolerate a socialist state in what they still consider their ‘backyard’. – Well, all of this is true. ... However, the key reason for Washington forcing ‘regime change’ is that Venezuela has stopped selling her hydrocarbon in US dollars, and, may therefore become a risk for the US-dollar hegemony around the globe ... That is a punishable violation for the empire. At least two heads of state were assassinated because they dared abandoning the unwritten and unlawful, but nevertheless US-imposed rule to sell their oil and gas in US-dollars, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi ... Some three years ago, Venezuela started selling her oil and gas in other currencies than the US-dollar, a cardinal sin ... Global dollar hegemony, meaning the full control of economies throughout the globe – a control that is rapidly fading – can only be maintained by a world flooded by dollars and with a monetary system that is entirely controlled by the FED and its associated American banks... Visit Website ]
May 8, 2019, 3:39pm

Commentary
Liberals' Dangerous Love Affair With the U.S. Military
Danny Sjursen: I reflected in wonder at how the latest generation of mainstream “liberals” loves to fawn over generals, admirals—any flag officers, really—as alternatives to President Donald Trump. The irony of that alliance should not be lost on us. It’s built on the standard Democratic fear of looking “soft” on terrorism, communism, or whatever-ism, and their visceral, blinding hatred of Trump. Some of this is understandable. ... The problem with the vast majority of generals, however, is that they don’t think strategically. What they call strategy is really large-scale operations—deploying massive formations and winning campaigns replete with battles. ... It’s all symptomatic of the disease of institutionalized intellectual mediocrity. ... It’s simple: liberal veneration for these, and seemingly all, military flag officers is a losing proposition and a formula for more intervention, possible war with other great powers, and the creeping militarization of the entire U.S. government... Visit Website ]
May 7, 2019, 3:26pm

Commentary
Will Washington be Held Accountable for its War Crimes?
Jean Perier: For more than a decade, the United States has been steadily increasing the scale of its illegal military operations across the Middle East, resulting in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. ... Eighteen years ago, the US invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of ousting the Taliban who allegedly granted sanctuary to Al-Qaeda. According to a study released by Brown University, more than 140,000 Afghan militants and civilians have died in the fight. ... Since December 2001, the United States has been conducting various operations in Somali, and even today the Pentagon carries out both air strikes and ground operations, accompanied by a constant toll of civilian lives ... The grief of the families of thousands of innocent victims is of little concern to those calling the shots in Washington. They are simply shrugged off as collateral damage. ... The US doesn’t want to know how many times it has violated international humanitarian law or how many war crimes it has committed... Visit Website ]
May 5, 2019, 11:07am

Commentary
The Growth of Popular Democracy
Graham Peebles: Although the number of electoral democracies continues to increase, throughout the world democracy is in crisis; governments have become increasingly partisan, populism and extremism of all stripes have flourished, and people have lost confidence in democratic institutions as the means of solving the various crises confronting us. ... Democracy has been hijacked by ‘the economy’ – twinned with capitalism and the ‘free market’, and corrupted thereby. Democracy is, or should be, a living organism, an evolving form that sets the parameters within which society functions, based on principles that are rooted in and cultivate expressions of unity and love. ... The principle of sharing is a core democratic ideal that, if incorporated into all areas of life, would allow democratic values to be made manifest: students sharing in the organization of schools and the design of curricula; employees sharing in the management and standards of businesses; sharing animating the socio-economic systems under which we all live and coloring geo-political decisions... Visit Website ]
May 4, 2019, 10:41am

Commentary
Black Women Political Prisoners of the Police State
Linda Ford: Black women who have confronted the abuses of America’s white authority have suffered its punishment throughout our history. ... Women who joined the struggle against American racism in the 1960s and 70s met particularly violent reprisals from their government. ... In the early 60s, 17-year-old Ruby Doris Smith, Spelman student and eventual SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) leader, picketed, protested, and did sit-ins, trying to integrate Atlanta. She suffered “the indignities of southern jails and numerous injuries.” As a freedom rider, she underwent the vicious white punishment at the Montgomery bus station and was arrested and jailed by Sheriff Bull Conner. ... Black women liberation women political prisoners, included the Black Panther’s Assata Shakur and MOVE women Janine Phillips Africa, Debbie Sims Africa, Merle Austin Africa and Janet Holloway Africa. Janine and Janet Africa are still in prison... Visit Website ]
May 3, 2019, 2:56pm

Commentary
Will Our Domination be Our Downfall?
Paris Williams: For those of us who’ve been paying attention to the general state of the world and human society, it’s readily apparent that we as a species have sent ourselves hurtling into the depths of a global crisis that has the potential to wipe ourselves out along with many of our fellow Earthlings. So how exactly how has this happened? ... what if there is a deeper cause that we can point to—a common “seed” that underlies all of these harmful industries and practices? ... I would say that this seed is a domineering attitude that appears to have increased in magnitude over the past 10,000 years or so of our evolution. ... it is that humankind’s general belief in our superiority over other living beings fuels our ongoing desire and entitlement to dominate the Earth and our fellow species.... Visit Website ]
Apr 30, 2019, 3:34pm

Commentary
The Last Battle
Chris Hedges: THE BEAVER LAKE CREE NATION, Treaty No. 6 Area, Canada. ... The Cree have been under relentless assault since the arrival of the European colonialists in the 1500s. Now the 500 inhabitants of the Cree reserve, where many live in small, boxy prefabricated houses, are victims of a new iteration of colonial exploitation, one centered on the extraction of oil from the vast Alberta tar sands. This atrocity presages the destruction of the ecosystem on which they depend for life. If the Cree do not stop the exploiters this time, they, along with the exploiters, will die. ... The reserve is surrounded by the tar sands, one of the largest concentrations of crude oil in the world. The sands produce 98% of Canada’s oil and are the United States’ largest source of imported oil. This oil, among the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth, is a leading cause of atmospheric pollution, releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide... Visit Website ]
Apr 29, 2019, 2:55pm

Commentary
Death Can be a Slow Traveler: Peltier, Mumia and Rap Brown
Stanley L. Cohen: When the history of our times is recorded, any volume on domestic political prisoners must, per force, begin with the legendary ones of conscience. ... To these icons of principle, determination and courage we owe much. It is, after all, not by mere default that they risked, and often paid, all to demand the gale of change sweep away generations of ignorance, hatred and greed that have long fed on communities of color and poverty, from coast to coast, in the United States. ... Leonard Peltier Wrongfully charged and convicted for the defense of Wounded Knee against an FBI onslaught, his, more than any other continuing political persecution, lays bare the myth that the Department of Justice is committed to the pursuit of truth or equal application of law. ... Mumia Abu-Jamal ... the trial, itself, was replete with prosecutorial misconduct ranging from suppression of the confession of a man who said he was the actual shooter to the failure to call an eyewitness who told police Mumia was not the gunman... H. Rap Brown ... the prosecutor’s theory that ... (he) opened fire on police officers who came to arrest him for his mere failure to appear in court for a speeding ticket beggars the imagination... Visit Website ]
Apr 27, 2019, 4:03pm


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