The World Turned Upside Down

The World Turned Upside Down

It will be a couple of weeks before you read this, but I was reminded this morning that today (October 7th) is the one year anniversary of the coming to light of Mr. Trump’s Discourse on the Proper Wooing and Treatment of Women, so eloquently delivered to Billy Bush of Access Hollywood. More»

War All The Time

War All The Time

The truck bombing in Mogadishu and appalled everyone who heard about it. Indeed, the level of carnage was horrific. But far fewer people know what lies behind the misery of Somalia than heard of this fresh atrocity. More»

The Great Terrorist

The Great Terrorist

My boyhood neighbor, Loren Jones, was a man with an interesting story about Stalinist Russia.  He arrived there in 1937 as the first television engineer in the country, sent by his employer, the Radio Corporation of America. More»

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Amores Perros Revisited

Amores Perros Revisited

The bathroom was empty. The floor was clear. There was no sign of him underneath the sofa. He wasn’t on the balcony, either. Looking at the roof of the cafe below, I started to panic. Raster wasn’t the most agile of creatures. Had he lost his balance?

“Raster,” I yelled out. “Raster!” People started to look out their windows, wondering what I was going on about. I noticed a faint shadow on the cafe roof. I could hear a dog whimpering. A small black head pushed itself out from underneath a ledge. More»

Versioning Martyrdom

Versioning Martyrdom

The martyr is a universal archetype. Someone who dies for a cause, someone who is victimized for their beliefs. Every society has one. Blame it on religion. Blame it on backward concepts of national identity, of personal sacrifice. It would be a relief if we could somehow rid ourselves of the notion that we might give our lives for a greater good, when that ‘good’ is usually questionable. More»

Very Late Capitalism

Very Late Capitalism

Making my way through the vastness of my local Costco, trying to avoid the urge to buy large quantities of things for which I have small need, I was surprised to catch a glimpse of huge plastic barrels of flour out of the corner of my eye.

“Wait,” I thought, “Didn’t I just see a row of flour sacks two aisles back?” As I turned my head to ponder this riddle, I saw that the flour was grouped next to huge containers of dried strawberries and, a little farther to the right, such staples as powdered milk and eggs. More»

The Entitled People

The Entitled People

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood before a special joint session of the United States Congress. A foreign leader, he looked at home as he thumbed his nose at US President Barack Obama. Just days before, Obama had reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to two states—one for the Palestinians, the other for Israelis—based on pre-Six Day War borders. Netanyahu defied Obama as he told Congress (and international audiences watching the live broadcast) that Israel would not withdraw to the 1967 lines. More»

United States of Invisibility

United States of Invisibility

Has any conflict in history had more ‘solutions’ than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? From Tel Aviv, to Ramallah, to the ends of the earth – everyone has an opinion as to who should do what to bring peace to all or victory to some.

At the same time, despite the cacophony of voices, the range of ‘final status’ visions is rather limited. The essential issue is that two self-defined peoples claim sovereignty within one small patch of land. More»

Flowers for the Living and Rocks for the Dead

Flowers for the Living and Rocks for the Dead

One giant scar runs through the otherwise pristine Arizona Highways landscape that spreads in all directions around desolate Arizona Highway 177. In between the towering rock walls, desert mountains, and tree-filled river beds, the Ray Mine sits like its own kind of toxic canyon carved into the landscape. More»

Britain For Extremists

Britain For Extremists

Forty-eight hours before the British government was to announce new initiatives to combat Muslim militants, a new police report indicated how much worse of a threat they have become. As The Daily Telegraph reported, a new generation of extremists, driven underground by law enforcement tactics, is now coming of age despite harsh measures to contain it. More»

Wake Up, David Cameron

Wake Up, David Cameron

Kudos to the Twitter client, TweetDeck, who were acquired by Twitter itself last week.  The tiny British startup will get the support it needs to create an even better product. Of nearly equal interest was The Guardian article announcing its acquisition, Twitter buys UK’s TweetDeck for £25m. More»

Decline of the Record Store

Decline of the Record Store

As I was finishing a Hawaiian plate lunch with my daughter and her mother in Encinitas, they announced that they were going to do some “girl” shopping on the main drag. I said I’d come along. But then I was overcome by a familiar urge. More»

Belgium Was Here

Belgium Was Here

An obscure little place squeezed between bigger powers, Belgium has always been… well, different. For example, it is the first working anarchist state. It has not had a government since June 2010, when the previous one was dissolved following parliamentary elections, which the ruling right-of-centre coalition lost and Flemish nationalists and Walloon socialists won. This would be like Ralph Nader having to form a government with Pat Buchanan and Michele Bachmann. Talks have predictably gotten nowhere. More»

Surviving the Freedom Flotilla

Surviving the Freedom Flotilla

Gene St. Onge is not the sort of person you would expect to have done time in an Israeli prison. A middle-aged engineer from Oakland, California, there is a reserved aura about him that seems entirely suited to St. Onge’s hometown and choice of profession. More»

Mladic For Minorities

Mladic For Minorities

The arrest of Ratko Mladic could not have come at a better time. The last surviving high-ranking war criminal of the Yugoslav civil war to be apprehended, his sixteen years at large were a constant reminder of Western Europe’s failure to achieve justice. At a time when all Europeans need to be reminded of the values that made his freedom a travesty, Mladic has the potential to inspire more than a sense of closure where the Balkan tragedy of the early 1990s is concerned. More»