Capitalism as Communism

Capitalism as Communism

The reactions were predictable. Putin perfunctorily denied it was an invasion, while the media wondered whether it was even right to even call it a war. That Russian forces were already occupying a third of Ukraine was still insufficient evidence. Nearly 15 years from the day when he first too took the reins of the presidency, the ex-KGB agent was living out the wildest of Cold War fantasies More»

The Imran Khan Fantasy

The Imran Khan Fantasy

In case you haven’t heard, Islamabad is in turmoil right now. Twin marches led by Pakistani-Canadian Imam Tahir ul-Qadri, and cricketer-turned-politican Imran Khan, have turned violent and shaken the government’s foundations. On Saturday night, a crowd of about 25 000 people marched to the Prime Minister’s statehouse, and after some protesters broke in, the police began a crackdown. More»

Stereotyping Japan

Stereotyping Japan

In 1945, The Saturday Evening Post proudly proclaimed that “The G.I. Is Civilizing the Jap” by showing the “savage” and “dirty” natives how to fix cars without breaking them, and how to go to the bathroom. A 1951 follow-up subsequently reported that the Japanese they visited six year prior, with their nightsoil gardens and Shintoism, now had gas stoves and Christianity! More»

Latest entries
Is Green the New Brown?

Is Green the New Brown?

I do a lot of driving, most of it highly tedious. Two miles to the grocery store. Six miles to the mall. Twelve miles to work. The sort where every minute seems to count because the whole trip is so wearisome. In that context, it doesn’t take much to piss me off. I start stereotyping. Big pick-up trucks are driven by reckless assholes; European sedans by condescending elitists. More»

Hassled by Neo-Nazis

Hassled by Neo-Nazis

I was harassed by neo-Nazis in Görlitzer Park. It was the night before an NPD rally in Berlin, and I was in the center of a large group of suburbanites who were dancing to techno, and looking at me strangely. More»

Blair on Putin

Blair on Putin

Every now and then, Tony Blair pops up out of nowhere and reminds us all he’s still out there on his private jet. It’s almost routine now. Of course, it should go without saying that politicians like Blair have never been as interested in combating genuine issues, like climate change, as they have been in waging wars in the Middle East.  More»

Urban Cleansing

Urban Cleansing

‘Gentrification’ is a relatively new word to the left. Increasingly invoked to describe the transformation of inner city neighborhoods in Europe and the United States by wealth, the term has become especially pejorative of late, given the persistence of the economic crisis. How could cities, once abandoned by the affluent for the suburbs, all of the sudden be booming again? More»

Assisting Cairo

Assisting Cairo

What has ultimately determined how much, and to whom the U.S. extends aid is the potential leverage it affords over another country. Officials often justify sending main battle tanks, irrigation canal grants, and baby formula overseas to promote American values. More»

The State Versus Cecily

The State Versus Cecily

Computer scientist Hal Berghel once said of American judicial oversight of government surveillance, “While this might not meet the strict definition of a kangaroo court, it seems to fall within the marsupial family.”  The same could be said for the ordeal of 25-year-old graduate student  More»

Qutb and the Jews

Qutb and the Jews

For all of Sayyid Qutb’s positive contributions to the Muslim world (and there were a few, despite his influence on figures like Osama Bin Laden) we cannot ignore the negatives. The most infamous is his pivotal role in inspiring modern Islamic anti-Semitism with his influential work Our Struggle Against the Jews (1950). The irony is that Qutb often sounds very Jewish. More»

The Dark Side of Prog

The Dark Side of Prog

Progressive rock was not the sole province of British hippie bands like Yes, and the self-indulgent noodling of ‘virtuoso’ groups such as Emerson Lake and Palmer. It was also identified with artists like Ian Anderson, and his band Jethro Tull, who, while no slouches in the hair department, trafficked in barbed literary diatribes, and dense, More»

Birth of a Prison

Birth of a Prison

You don’t have to have an eye for street art, to notice. Wherever you turn, in Belgium’s capital, there are stickers, and in the poorer neighborhoods, posters, denouncing the construction of a new prison. Located in Haren, in north Brussels, the prison-to-be is the stuff of post-modern fantasy. More»

Bundestag and Knesset

Bundestag and Knesset

On a visit to Israel in 2008, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke before the Knesset. “The historical responsibility for Israel’s security is part of Germany’s raison d’être,” she said. During her most recent visit, in February, on which she was accompanied by nearly her entire cabinet, Merkel was awarded Israel’s highest civilian honor for “standing by Israel” and fighting against anti-Semitism and racism. More»

The Past-Perfect Thing

The Past-Perfect Thing

It made me feel sad, seeing the “perfect thing” reduced to such a pedestrian function. Impersonally repurposed, devoid of caché, the antithesis of the iPod’s glory years. Worse still, it had been caged next to instructions on how to use it, as if the average consumer would have forgotten, in stark contrast to the portable phonograph displayed by the cash register for Record Store Day. More»

Rise of Javid

Rise of Javid

David Cameron’s Tories have become enamored with the British-Pakistani banker Sajid Javid. The danger of this cannot be understated. Unlike Cameron’s other token efforts, like Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Javid actually has a chance of being successful. More»