About Z Commentaries

Z Commentaries are sent every night to all Z Sustainers, and have been for many years. They are a kind of thank you mailing, you might say, for those who are supporting our overall operations. 

Commentators are diverse and many. A few of the more prominent ones are listed in the top menu, to show just their work. In time we will add a left menu, up above this text area, and below the generic menu that now appears, with the same purpose, but for more people. 

Recent Z Commentaries

Clark Kissenger: Update on Mumia

Clark Kissinger Mumia’s legal team and the attorneys for the state of Pennsylvania were asked to a meeting this past Tuesday morning with federal judge William Yohn in his chambers to "get acquainted." This was expected and is usually the way a major case like this begins. When they arrived at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Read more…

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Saul Landau: Will it Be NATO or the UN

Saul Landau In 1945, the UN was established to help bring the world community to peace.. NATO was invented four years later to defend against a supposed Soviet threat to conquer Western Europe. NATO has outlived the Soviet Union, but its leaders didn’t dissolve their outmoded structure after it lacked a raison d’etre. Instead, they Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: Keep the Public in Public Health

Russell Mokhiber  and Robert Weissman The great thing about the American Public Health Association (APHA) is in its name – it’s about public health — what we as a society do to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy. If we were to choose a steward for the public health, we would, without Read more…

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Edward Herman: Missing Bodies

Edward S. Herman A Reuters news dispatch of October 13 bylined Pristina, Kosovo, is entitled " Absolutely No Bodies Found in Supposed Mine Shaft Mass Grave in Kosovo." This follows an earlier report by a Spanish forensic team that went into a part of Kosovo allegedly rich in killing fields, where instead of the predicted Read more…

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Jim Hightower: Various Shorts

Jim Hightower THE DARTH VADER  OF CAMPAIGN-FINANCE REFORM It’s Goober Time again {Beanie-cap Breakdown} — time to give the Hightower Radio "Gooberhead Award" to yet another public figure who’s got his tongue going 100 miles an hour . . . but forgot to put his brain in gear. Today’s awardee is a repeat winner: Sen. Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: East Timor Is Not Yesterday’s Story

Noam Chomsky According to recent reports, the UN mission in East Timor has been able to account for just over 150,000 people out of an estimated population of 850,000. It reports that 260,000 "are now languishing in squalid refugee camps in West Timor under the effective control of the militias after either fleeing or being Read more…

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Betsy Hartmann: Cracking Open Crack

Betsy Hartmann "We don’t allow dogs to breed. We spay them. We neuter them. We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children…" These are the words of Barbara Harris, founder of the organization CRACK, Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity. Based in California, CRACK’s mission Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: Budget Baloney

Mark Weisbrot How much falsehood and stupidity should the media allow to go unchallenged in public debate? At what point do journalists and the press have an obligation to step in and supply the necessary facts and explanations, so that the public can have a chance to understand what is being misrepresented? I couldn’t help Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Class Politics in America: A Fashionable Consumer Item

Cynthia Peters I spent $44.00 recently to see Dario Fo’s farce about hunger, free-market injustice, sexism, and class injustice at the American Repetory Theater in Harvard Square. Dario Fo, "who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden," won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997 Read more…

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Michael Albert: The WTO and Mumia Abu Jamal

Michael Albert The World Trade Organization treats working people in countries throughout the world as assets to manipulate in pursuit of private corporate profit. From Guatemala to South Africa and from Thailand to the South Bronx, this causes impoverishment, illness, and even mass starvation. When resistance to exploitation follows, the flip side of exploitative trade Read more…

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Leslie Cagan: Two, Three, Many Protests…But All On the Same Night?

Leslie Cagan George W. and his new friends in the leadership of the New York State Republican Party gathered at a fund raising dinner in mid-town Manhattan October 5th. They were all there: George W. Bush, George Pataki, Rudolf Giuliani, Al D’Amato and the rest of the bunch of thugs. About 2,000 people attended the Read more…

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Danny Schechter: Dung on All Their Houses – The New Censorship

Dung on All Their Houses – The New Censorship

Guest Author: Pakistan’s Pathos

Pakistan is, once again, in the throes of a serious crisis. The country is under martial law. The elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, his brother, Shahbaz and General Ziaudin, the head of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) are under house arrest. Ever since its foundation in 1947, the Pakistani state has been plagued by a failure Read more…

Guest Author: Pakistan’s Pathos

Pakistan’s Pathos

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Tim Wise: Kill First, Ask Questions Later

Kill First, Ask Questions Later

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Sean Gonsalves: A Letter to Mrs. Bush

Sean Gonsalves I recently received a copy of a letter that was sent to the former First Lady, Barbara Bush. The letter was written by six mothers whose children are in jail because of the "war on drugs" – a "war" avidly supported by Barbara’s son, George W., who is running for President. All six Read more…

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Stephen R. Shalom: Political Correctness and the Desert Storm Law

      Conservative pundits and their frequent liberal allies have been complaining for years about "Political Correctness" — the intrusion of left-wing ideology into the academy, supposedly subverting academic standards. Affirmative action, we are told, rather than redressing historic and present-day systemic discrimination, simply undermines the merit principle, allowing the unqualified to slip by. Read more…

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Edward Herman: How the media have protected U.S. Appeasement- Collusion with Indonesia in East Timor

Edward Herman The mainstream U.S. media have performed a semi-miracle in reporting on the East Timor crisis, providing us with a model case of apologetics in the service of state policy. Although the U.S. appeased and tacitly colluded with Indonesia as the latter attempted to disrupt the August 30 referendum and then followed this up Read more…

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Norman Solomon: Media Time Capsule

Norman Solomon On the first day of January, many public ceremonies will feature time capsules – sealed long ago, when "the year 2000" sounded incredibly futuristic. Those containers, intended for opening at the start of the new millennium, presumably hold evocative symbols of earlier eras. But as the moment nears to open old time capsules, Read more…

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Howard Zinn: A Larger Consciousness

Howard Zinn Some years ago, when I was teaching at Boston University, I was asked by a Jewish group to give a talk on the Holocaust. I spoke that evening, but not about the Holocaust of World War II, not about the genocide of six million Jews. It was the mid-Eighties, and the United States Read more…

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Saul Landau: The Pinochet Decision

Saul Landau This week, a British magistrate will decide whether to extradite Augusto Pinochet to Spain or release him. England has detained the former Chilean dictator for eleven plus months. In that time, his case has brought to world attention the principals of international human rights law. The Chilean government argues that Spain has no Read more…

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Danny Schechter: Fighting for the Soul of the BBC

Fighting for the Soul of the BBC

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Sonia Shah: Young and Younger

Sonia Shah As a child, on every birthday morning, I was meant to touch the feet of each of my parents to show my gratitude and respect. This simple and brief act would overwhelm me with its nakedness, its confession of my own powerlessness, its reference to an Indian culture to which I never quite Read more…

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Jim Hightower: Snapshots

Jim Hightower DON’T DIAL 9-1-1 . . . DIAL H-M-O Let’s say you’re at home one evening, sitting there in your La-Z-Boy, maybe with a cool one in your hand, when suddenly you feel a sharp pain in your chest, your left arm is tingly and sort of numb. Heart attack! Or it least it Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: East Timor

Noam Chomsky The events of the past weeks in East Timor should elicit shame as well as horror. The crimes could easily have been stopped. That has been true since Indonesia invaded in December 1975, relying on U.S. arms and diplomatic support. It would have sufficed for the U.S. and its allies to withdraw their Read more…

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Norman Solomon: The Enduring Spirit of a Dissident Senator

Norman Solomon The black-and-white TV footage is grainy and faded, but it still jumps off the screen — a portentous clash between a prominent reporter and a maverick politician. Thirty-five years ago, on the CBS program "Face the Nation," journalist Peter Lisagor argued with a senator who stood almost alone on Capitol Hill, strongly opposing Read more…

Dorothy Guellec: Marketizing HMOs to Latin America

Dorothy Guellec The number of for-profit health care organizations has quadrupled in the pas 17 years, a study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation said. For-profit HMO’s were 18% of all plans in 1981 but increased to 74% by 1998. The proportion of enrollees in for profit HMO’s grew from 12% to 63% during Read more…

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Marta Russell: George W. Bush Y2000?

Marta Russell In his "new" fight against poverty, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush says he will issue a call to America’s "armies of compassion" to end poverty, hunger, welfare and crime by donating to charity. The political goal of compassionate conservatism is to separate George W. from the now unpopular politics of Newt Gingrich. Read more…

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Manning Marable: Race-ing Justice: The Prison-Industrial Complex

Manning Marable Several months ago, 650 people attended the "Race-ing Justice" Conference in New York, sponsored by the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. In more than two dozen panels and workshops, black people examined the destructive impact of the police, the courts and the prison system upon the African-American community. Our Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: The Looting of Russia

Mark Weisbrot What were they thinking? When executives at the Bank of New York saw billions of dollars floating in from the home computer of a Russian businessman with ties to organized crime there, did they really believe that these were just ordinary profits? The biggest money-laundering scandal in history has prompted calls for a Read more…

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Edward Herman: The Western Betrayal of East Timor

Edward Herman  and David Peterson Led by Australia, U.N.-sponsored peacekeepers continue to arrive in East Timor, where they are finding a staggering level of destruction. Reconnaissance flights over the half-island territory report scenes of Biblical dimensions, where the "Lord rained down fire and brimstone from the skies." The departing Indonesian forces have burned virtually every Read more…

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Saul Landau: The APEC Meeting

Saul Landau I just returned from New Zealand, the host of the APEC and anti-APEC conferences over last week. Until Indonesian army thugs started their violent cleansing in East Timor, New Zealand wits had called the Asian Pacific economic cooperation group All Politicians Enjoy Cocktails. New Zealanders face serious trade issues like a $1.7 billion Read more…

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Site Administrator: Nazi Nostalgia in Croatia

Diana Johnstone When I visited Croatia three years ago, the book most prominently displayed in the leading bookstores of the capital city Zagreb was a new edition of the notorious anti-Semitic classic, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion". Next came the memoires of the World War II Croatian fascist Ustashe dictator Ante Pavelic, responsible Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: Growing Concerns Over WTO

Mark Weisbrot In just a couple of months thousands of environmentalists, steel workers, longshoremen, AIDS activists, farmers, and others will descend upon Seattle in a "mobilization against globalization." They will hold marches, protests, teach-ins, and conferences. The occasion? The World Trade Organization is holding a meeting of ministers from its 134 member countries, to talk Read more…

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Norman Solomon: Big Media Applaud Big Media Merger

Norman Solomon When the story about Viacom and CBS broke a few days ago, news accounts quickly depicted a match made in corporate heaven — at more than $37 billion, the largest media merger in history. With the public kept outside the frame, it was a rosy picture. "Analysts hailed the deal as a good Read more…

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Betsy Hartmann: Cross Dressing Malthus

Betsy Hartman October 12, 1999 has the dubious distinction of being both Columbus Day and ‘Day of 6 Billion,’ ostensibly the day world population will pass the six billion people mark. A well-funded media campaign, organized by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the Communications Consortium Media Center and others is already revving Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Educational Philosophies and Power in the Classroom

Cynthia Peters It’s that time of year. The yellow school buses are back on the road. The stores are stocked with Disney-theme lunch boxes, pencil cases and loose-leaf paper. Kids are wondering about their teachers. Parents are worrying about the quality of education. And educators are arguing about educational philosophies. One of the controversies is Read more…

Clark Kissenger: Summary of Mumia’s Current Situation

C. Clark Kissenger Because many people have requested an explanation of Mumia’s legal situation, let me explain concisely why Mumia’s case is at a critical point as we go into the September Mumia Awareness Week. All appeals by Mumia Abu-Jamal in the Pennsylvania court system have been denied, and he is about to begin his Read more…

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Nikos Raptis: European Labor

Nikos Raptis The Building The German word "Reichstag" means parliament. In colloquial German it also means the parliament building. It is not an exaggeration to say that this building, the Reichstag, is a very important part of the history of the 20th century. On the evening of February 27, 1933 Putzi Hanfstaengl, a Harvard educated Read more…

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Manning Marable: The Battle for Ideas

Manning Marable Political power always expresses itself as a body of ideas. If you can create and popularize the key ideas that define the general perceptions about public issues, you will largely determine what happens politically. It matters less who gets elected, than what policies and programs that person implements once in office. Politics is Read more…

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Site Administrator: International Labor Solidarity Puts Pressure on Indonesia

Elaine Bernard In contrast to organized labor’s division over what should be done about the Kosovo crisis, the current mayhem and mass killing in East Timor has galvanized a powerful and unified response from unions internationally. Organized labor, and most especially unions in Australia, Canada, and Europe have not only fired off press statements, but Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: East Timor Activism in Boston

Cynthia Peters The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday, September 14, 1999 that "Piles of bodies were burnt on the streets of Dili at the weekend and tens of thousands of refugees were without food or water as they fled the militias and the Indonesian Army. . . Dr Andrew McNaughton, spokesman for the Darwin-based Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: Moving Gently on East Timor

Russell Mokhiber  and Robert Weissman The Clinton administration’s shamefully slow response to the savagery unleashed by the Indonesian military and militia on the people of East Timor allowed a vicious slaughter to take place. East Timor’s capital, Dili, now lies in ruins, hundreds or quite likely thousands of Timorese have been killed since they voted Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: Washington Fiddles While East Timor Burns

Mark Weisbrot The violence and crisis in East Timor has raised pointed questions about U.S. foreign policy and what we stand for in the world. It was only months ago that we bombed Serbia for 78 days, killing hundreds and perhaps thousands of innocent civilians, supposedly to stop the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. Now we Read more…

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Stephen R. Shalom: The State of the World

    This summer, the United Nations Development Programme issued its annual Human Development Report. The document is a stinging indictment of globalization and its horrific impact on the well-being of so many of the world’s people. According to the Report, in developing countries nearly 1.3 billion people do not have access to clean water, Read more…

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Saul Landau: Zany U.S. Rafting Policy

Saul Landau It’s hurricane time in the Caribbean, so we’ll have a temporary respite from Cubans floating to Florida on inner tubes from that red island 90 miles away, and even from Cubans brought over in speedboats. Smugglers earn up to $8,000 per person they bring illegally into the United States. Unlike all other migrants, Read more…

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Edward Herman: Russian Corruption

Edward S. Herman With the discovery of the massive laundering of Russian money– some of it compliments of the IMF, and U.S. taxpayers–through the Bank of New York, the issue of Russian corruption is now "in." But it presents the establishment with a problem. After all, didn’t we help put into power and encourage people Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: An Outsider’s View of the One-Sided Class Warfare in the U.S.

Russell Mokhiber  and Robert Weissman "While in theory U.S. law provides for workers to have freedom of association, the right to join trade unions and participate in collective bargaining is in practice denied to large segments of the American workforce in both the public and the private sectors." That is the central conclusion of a Read more…

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David Peterson: Genocide 2?

David Peterson With the United Nations seriously considering the final evacuation of the last members of its international staff from the capital city of Dili any day now, East Timor is threatened with being plunged into a black hole from which virtually no news could any longer escape. But no news is better than bad Read more…

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Edward Herman: Inhumanitarian Nonintervention in East Timor

Edward Herman Coming so soon after the NATO devastation of Yugoslavia in the alleged interest of humanitarianism and protection of human rights, the performance of the NATO powers in the East Timor crisis strikingly confirms the views of those who questioned the moral basis of NATO’s intervention in Kosovo. In the Kosovo case, NATO insisted Read more…

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