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Archives from August 2011
The Future State of Palestine
In the 15 November 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence that was approved by the PNC representing all Palestinians all over the world,  the Executive Committee of the PLO was set up as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice....
Germany Chokes on Walmart
Walmart can boast that it has more than 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names, that it is the largest employer in the United States, the largest employer in Canada, and the largest employer in Mexico (as Walmex).  It has 108 stores in China alone, and op...
An Immigrant’s Tale
The day before Britain’s post offices closed for their long Christmas break, I stood in a pavement queue outside one, just before nine in the morning. The queuers were all pensioners, older and cold, politely waiting for the office to open. I wasn’t there to do last-m...
The Myth of Libyan Liberation
In his essay, “Top Ten Myths about the Libyan War,” Juan Cole argues that U.S. interests in the conflict consisted of stopping “massacres of people,” a “lawful world order,” “the NATO alliance,” and oddly, “the fate of Egypt.” It is worth taking a mome...
Small Government Fascists
Recent news of the West Memphis Three — freed on the condition that they confess their guilt, thus sparing sociopathic prosecutors any public embarrassment — raises an old question. The state’s defenders commonly argue that, no matter how fallible...
The New Agencies of Change
An angry demonstration virus spreads to country after country in response to negligent and callous political leaders who have ignored the basic needs of their citizens. Instead, they have bowed or eagerly catered to demands of multinational corporations and banks, thus de...
Corruption and its Discontents
Hazare ke Khwaaishen bhi aisi ki har Khwaish ho-hum nikale Bahut nikale thay demand lekin phir bhi kam nikale (with apologies to Mirza Ghalib) Judging from the New York Times and the Washing...
Idiot Wind
Unpopular wars drag on, gas prices erratically rise and inexplicably fall, as clouds of cynicism, dark as Richard Nixon’s perpetual five o’clock shadow, brood over the length of the U.S.  At times, it seems as though Nixon’s 1970s never ended: Only Rona...
Welfare Reform Turns Fifteen
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) — the controversial welfare reform law of 1996 — turned fifteen years old this month. If someone suggests to you that it has been a success, don’t believe them. But you also need to...
Why Music Needs to Get Political Again
How ironic that The Clash should be on the cover of the NME in the week that London was burning, that their faces should be staring out from the shel...
Sinai Doldrums
Had we paid more attention to Sinai in the past 30 years, we wouldn’t be at our wits’ end now, trying to make head or tail of the current situation. How many years ago did Israel withdraw from Sinai? The answer is: more than we needed to develop the ent...
Intimations of Collapse
So-called “business as usual” is neither sustainable, nor even possible, for much longer. Out-of-control energy corporations, Wall Street, the Pentagon, agribusiness/biotech corporations, and indentured politicians have driven us to the brink. They tell us: don’t wo...
Libya: Lessons From History
With all the celebration and praise going around because of the recent victory by Libyan rebels, we must ask ourselves if we can really ascertain what is in store for the state of Libya. Vague undefined responses of ‘freedom’ and ‘liberation’...
Slipped Discs: Jarrett, Francke and Smoky Babe
Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden / Jasmine  (ECM, 2010) ...
The Sound of Shellac
The man credited with convincing the global consumers that it is worth the effort and money and environmental degradation to condense their music libraries onto a matchbook-sized (or somewhat larger) gadget has announced his retirement. While Facebook has made it common p...
Wall Street Goes to School
If real reform is going to happen, it has to put in place a viable, critical, formative culture that supports notions of social and engaged citizenship, civic courage, public values, dissent, democratic modes of governing and a genuine belief in freedom, equal...
Privacy, Regulation and the Net
A major face-off is brewing between American and European approaches to our so-called Information Society.    European data-protection authorities are seeking to restrict the right of Google and other search engines to disseminate certain sensitive data on “private...
How to Survive in Somalia
How ironic that just as the famine has continued to worsen in Somalia and the West has responded in its usual tepid way, Nuruddin Farah has published a new novel, perhaps the major work of his impressive career.  During his early years as a writer, Farah had to live in ...
The UN and Palestinian Statehood
“It is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance  that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” ...
A New Pledge of Allegiance
Okay, I know I’m using artistic-op-ed license, but Mother Earth, maybe, rumbled a 5.8 demand for justice on Tuesday. In a North Carolina hotel room, I had just stepped out of the shower when I heard sister Laura, on the phone with her partner Erma, say, “The ba...
Poet’s Basement
At Rupa by ROBERT A. DAVIES A sweet girl is smiling at me. I don’t recall her name. Inscribed on the back: “To a sweet soldier.” Rummaging through a dusty memory leaves me without a hin...
The Courage of Philip Levine
In some countries a newly honored poet laureate would make the news. The United States is not one of those countries. Maybe this is the fault of US poets themselves. Are they simply content to cultivate their coteries, as if establishing their mutual admiration societies ...
Purpose, Ethics and Nuclear Weapons
Recently, a friend sent me a copy of Admiral Hyman Rickover’s 1982 Morgenthau Memorial Lecture.  The lecture, given under the auspices of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, was entitled, “Thoughts on Man’s Purpose in Life.”  In the lecture...