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

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Peter Bohmer: A Graduation Day to Remember

Mumia Abu-Jamal gave a memorable speech, recorded from Pennsylvania death row, to 8000 attendees, including more than 1200 graduating students, at the Evergreen State College graduation on June 11, 1999. During his 13 minute talk drawing on the history of U.S. racist oppression and resistance, Mumia Abu-Jamal urged graduating students to live their lives deliberately Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Chicken Pox?!

Many times during the past week, I wished my kids had been vaccinated against chickenpox. It’s a miserable disease, and I hated to see them suffer through it. But overall, it’s a fairly mild disease when left to run its course among children. Children with chickenpox rarely experience complications. Adults, pregnant women, and immuno-suppressed people Read more…

BlasŽ Bonpane: Office of the Americas Delegation Visits Lori Berenson

All advice was negative. "You will never be allowed into the prison," said most counselors. "Put off your visit until the Organization of American States leaves Peru," said the U.S. Embassy in Peru. But we decided to go anyway. Our delegation: Reverend Lucius Walker, Director IFCO/Pastors for Peace; Amy Goodman, host of "Democracy Now", Pacifica Read more…

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Michael Albert: Pacifica, Pacifica!

Michael Albert The current crisis at Pacifica was unleashed with recent firings of prominent and appreciated employees leading to irate listeners and employees demonstrating their opposition widely and militantly. Any progressive alternative institution has to utilize people who have been socialized within existing society, has to navigate rules imposed by mainstream institutions whose requirements subvert Read more…

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Leslie Cagan: Report from the Front Line: Challenges to Proposed Millennium March for Gay Rights Growing

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, NY. The three nights of confrontation with the NYC Police Department is celebrated as the beginning of the contemporary lesbian/ gay/bisexual/transgender movement. There is plenty to celebrate as the lives of lgbt people have changed dramatically in those 3 decades. But what Read more…

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Stephen R. Shalom: Lessons — and Hope — from Kerala

R. Shalom     Earlier this month, the World Bank issued a report declaring that global poverty has been increasing. "Today, countries that until recently believed they were turning the tide in the fight against poverty are witnessing its re-emergence along with hunger and the human suffering it brings," declared World Bank president James Wolfensohn. Read more…

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Tim Wise: The Threat of a Good Example

Occasionally when I’m speaking to college students, attempting to inspire at least a few to commit themselves to social justice as a way of life and perhaps career, I’m asked the question for which there is no easy answer; the one that goes: "What’s the point? Can you make a difference? Why fight against such Read more…

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Norman Solomon: Shadow Falling on beacon of Independent Radio

This summer begins with a large shadow hanging over one of the nation’s pioneering radio stations. Half a century after listener-supported KPFA took to the airwaves in the San Francisco area as a unique experiment in media independence, the battle raging over its future is ominous — yet inspiring. KPFA Radio provides an eclectic mix Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: Laurence Summers, The World Bank, and Humanity

Russell Mokhiber  and Robert Weissman "Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [least developed countries]?" So wrote Treasury Secretary-designee Lawrence Summers, then the chief economist at the World Bank, in a 1991 World Bank internal memorandum arguing for the transfer of waste Read more…

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Saul Landau: Remember Angola

As Kosovo atrocities dominate the headlines, I wait for some former national security maven to confess to US government crimes committed during the Cold War. We know the CIA assassinated people, fomented coups and destabilized countries we claimed were pro Soviet. But we haven’t taken responsibility for the consequences of these covert actions. What became Read more…

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Nikos Raptis: U.S. Occupation

In a March 1985 talk at Harvard, Noam Chomsky once more mentioned the "Grand Area" planning of the US foreign policy developed in the 1940s. The "Grand Area" among other areas was to include "western and southern Europe and the oil-producing regions of the Middle East; in fact it was to include everything, if that Read more…

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Edward Herman: Kosovo and Doublespeak

War, propaganda, and the proliferation of doublespeak have always gone hand-in-hand. As was the case during the Persian Gulf war, the NATO war against Yugoslavia witnessed a collapse of mainstream media integrity and a new surge of doublespeak in the service of the war party. It was grimly humorous that NATO and its compliant media Read more…

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Scott Burchill: The Transition to Democracy in Indonesia: Australian Perspectives

"To think that we, for many years, lived along side a dictatorship and from Monday’s election we’ll be living alongside the world’s third largest democracy is indeed very great progress from Australia’s point of view. It gives us a much greater sense of security with Indonesia, a much greater sense of partnership with Indonesia. I’m Read more…

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Charles Glass: Top Drawer

Diana is dead. Tony lives. Miracles have begun. The first on record comes, as so often with the Bible and Lives of the Saints, in the form of a cure. One Stephen Hill, aged 25, had barely spoken since he was four. He stuttered so badly that he was unable to speak. Fear of embarrassment Read more…

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Brian Dominick: Signs of Movement? The State of Anti-War Activism in the U.S.

As the Western media proclaimed a cowardly victory for the US/NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia this past weekend, the stability of "peace talks" was already beginning to waver, and thousands were turning out to demonstrate against the war on each coast of the United States, as well as the UK, Canada, Greece, and other places Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Mentoring Toward Revolution

"The term ‘mentor’ dates back to ancient Greece when Odysseus first entrusted his friend Mentor with the education of his son, but the practice has existed in virtually every culture on earth." – From "Mentoring : the Tao of Giving and Receiving Wisdom" by Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch "The mentor does not supervise Read more…

Sandy Carter: When Kids Kill

Since the school shootings in Littleton, the nation’s print and broadcast media have unleashed a sensational outpouring of analysis and concern aiming to explain why boys kill and what can be done to save them. Once we get by the headlines, however, we find our questions and compassion are being directed toward "our boys." As Read more…

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Site Administrator: The Right to Organize – A Week of Action

For seven days in June, from the 19th to the 25th, unions and their allies all over the US will be organizing hearings and forums, rallies and actions aimed at drawing public attention to the dismal state of labor rights, especially the most fundamental of labor rights – the right to organize. Using the theme Read more…

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Edward Herman: ‘Balance’ Sickness at The Nation

The Nation has not distinguished itself in its coverage of the Kosovo crisis. It has had some good editorials and articles, but these are nicely balanced by pro-war pieces. It should embarrass the editors that its UN Correspondent Ian Williams is a fanatical hawk, who supports the NATO violations of the UN Charter and contemptuous Read more…

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Nikos Raptis: Hitler’s Americanization

Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstaengl (rhymes with Engel’); was borne in 1887 in Munich, the Bavarian town, birthplace of Nazism, and known, also, as the Athens of Germany. His father, an art dealer, was German, his mother was American. At the age of 18, in 1905, the 6′ 7” tall young man entered Harvard. Later, he Read more…

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Site Administrator: REFUGEES

Ethnic Albanians are reportedly unique in one respect: they do not run away from bombing. The small province of Kosovo has been turned into a proving ground for advanced U.S. weaponry, but the Albanian inhabitants would not think of taking the kids across the border to stay with relatives for such a trivial reason as Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Historically

At a recent birthday, my daughter became the proud owner of the much coveted American Girl doll. We had vaguely supported her strong desire to have an American Girl doll. We knew that the doll would come with books that told the girl’s story, that the dolls were of a decent quality, and that…well…they weren’t Read more…

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Tim Wise: The Devil Made ‘Em Do It: Social Crisis and the Misuse of Faith in America

Tim Wise Association for White Anti-Racist Education Occasionally, the airport chatter turns to more serious subjects, as was the case recently when I found myself unhappily locked in conversation about the school shootings in Colorado. As I waited for my row number to be called, a man sat down next to me and offered–completely unsolicited–that Read more…

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Edward Herman: Bomb the NYT

and David Peterson NATO spokespersons have justified the bombing of Serbian TV and radio on the grounds that these broadcasters are an "instrument of state propaganda," tell lies, spew forth hatred, provide no "balance" in their offerings, and thus help prolong the war. In an April 8th news briefing NATO Air Commodore David Wilby explained: Read more…

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Peter Bohmer: Mumia at Graduation

No, Mumia Abu-Jamal is not being released to speak at the Evergreen State College graduation. However, on Friday June 11th, the 1999 graduation at this college will include a unique commencement address – a 13-minute audio-recorded speech taped on death row by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mumia speaking at graduation has created a huge debate on the Read more…

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Site Administrator: The Milosevic Indictment

Following World War II, a war crimes tribunal was held in Tokyo to try Japanese political and military leaders. There is no doubt that the defendants were responsible for appalling atrocities, but, as the Indian judge on the tribunal wrote in his dissenting opinion, the victorious allies had themselves committed grave crimes, and the U.S. Read more…

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Stephen R. Shalom: The Milosevic Indictment

Following World War II, a war crimes tribunal was held in Tokyo to try Japanese political and military leaders. There is no doubt that the defendants were responsible for appalling atrocities, but, as the Indian judge on the tribunal wrote in his dissenting opinion, the victorious allies had themselves committed grave crimes, and the U.S. Read more…

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Norman Solomon: Three On Kosovo

"This is mere pretext for our arrogant assertion of dominance and power in defiance of international law. We make the non-negotiable demands and rules, and implement them by military force." With enormous help from mass media, the White House has been able to marginalize the public on matters of war and peace. Reporters and pundits Read more…

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Michael Bronski: Liberation by Accumulation

by Michael Bronski I hardly ever drink beer, being a cheap red wine and bourbon sort of guy, so I was startled last week when I received more then a dozen e-mail (many from lesbian and gay activists use work I respect) urging me call the Anheuser-Busch company and voice my support for their new Read more…

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Brian Dominick: That’s Some Catch

 "Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions…. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had Read more…

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Howard Zinn: Whose Atrocity Is Bigger

Milosovic has committed atrocities. Therefore it is okay for us to commit atrocities. He is terrorizing the Albanians in Kosovo. Therefore we can terrorize the population of cities and villages in Yugoslavia. I get e-mail messages from Yugoslav opponents of Milosovic, who demonstrated against him in the streets of Belgrade (before the air strikes began), Read more…

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Site Administrator: The Restive Allies

Diana Johnstone The florid and reckless war rhetoric of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Foreign Secretary Robin Cook is the stuff British tabloids are made of. Likening the latest recalcitrant foreign leader to Hitler is the sort of thing readers on the London tube expect to find in between sex scandals and cleavage Read more…

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Stephen R. Shalom: The Struggle Against Racial Profiling

For years, African American motorists have complained of being stopped by the police for the offense of DWB — "Driving While Black." From grueling life experience, African Americans have known that they were singled out on the nation's roads for traffic stops and searches, and subject to humiliation, intimidation, and, all too often, police violence. Read more…

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Clarence Lusane: Jailhouse Knocks

HBO’s "Thug Life in DC" is not about Bill Clinton’s proclivities toward Serbia. It is a stunning wakeup call about the growing warehousing of young black men in the nation’s jails and prisons. It is about the disturbing and increasing merger of black male youth culture and prison culture. The program has created somewhat of Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: Killing Work

Want to kill somebody and get away with a slap on the wrist? You’d be hard pressed to find a better way than being a employer who endangers his or her employees. Under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act, violations of health and safety rules that pose a substantial probability of death or serious Read more…

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Leslie Cagan: Can We Keep A Movement Alive

If you read my commentary last month you know I recently was in the center of the organizing for a major march and rally against police brutality here in New York City. The event went well, with somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people marching across the Brooklyn Bridge into downtown Manhattan. The protest was on Read more…

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Norman Solomon: When Will the Media Call It War

Nearly two months have passed since the beginning of NATO’s air war against Yugoslavia. After a shaky start, Washington’s spin machinery has done much to promote a war agenda — with crucial assistance from major U.S. news media. Early on, top officials of the Clinton administration seemed to be playing catch-up. "The problem is they Read more…

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Tanya Reinhart: The Israeli Elections

This is a translation of a column that appeared in the Israeli daily ‘yediot’ on May 16, 1999 (a day before the elections). The last Israeli elections were decided by the ballots that "do not count" – the blank ballots. 148 thousand people, about 5% of the voters opted for this choice in the prime-minister Read more…

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Jeremy Brecher: Letter to Bernie Sanders

In the Dayton agreement, the U.S. gave Milosevic a free hand in Kosovo in exchange for a settlement in Bosnia. The U.S. has consistently opposed sending ground forces into Kosovo, even as the destruction of the Kosovar people escalated. (While I do not personally support such an action, it would, in sharp contrast to current Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: No Change at Treasury

Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin picked a good time to resign. As a senior White House official said, Rubin "made his fortune selling at the top of the market." Perhaps that’s why the Dow initially dropped 200 points on the news: some of Rubin’s colleagues on Wall Street may have sensed that he was getting out Read more…

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Site Administrator: Organized Labor and the War in Kosovo

It’s an alarming signal of the declining influence of organized labor that with the start of the bombing of Yugoslavia and the war in Kosovo, that neither the media nor the public at large demand to know labor’s position on the conflict. Alas, labor has not sought to draw much attention to itself and its Read more…

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Clarence Lusane: Jackson and the Contradictions of War

Into the storm’s eye of the Balkin war stepped Rev. Jesse Jackson, and, once again, he emerges with prisoners of war. Exercising what scholars called "citizen’s diplomacy," where personalities intervene in international situations for individual political, ideological, or moral reasons, Jackson by-passed the normal channels of diplomacy and injected an unstable variable into the equation. Read more…

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Nikos Raptis: The Greeks, Kosovo, Etc.

This is a sequel to the  ZNet Commentary of May 2 FIRST: The Port of Salonica "saga". As already mentioned, during the night of April 27 to April 28, ’99, Greek demonstrators forced a train carrying British troops and tanks to Macedonia to return to the terminus of the port of Salonica and not leave Read more…

Guest Author: Atlantic Alliance

with my own eyes – travelling under the Nato bombardment – the house-burning in Kosovo and the hundreds of Albanians awaiting dispossession in their villages. But back to the subject – and perhaps my first question should be put a little more boldly. Not: "How much longer do we have to endure this stupid, hopeless, Read more…

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Danny Schechter: Covering Wars at Home and Abroad

instead of creating his own. The bombs bursting in air over Serbia and the bombs planted in high school corridors in Colorado may have differed in scale–and impact–but there are eerie parallels between l999’s two biggest news stories. It is a connection that is rarely made in the media , but the fact is that Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: What She Really Wants

Take a look at that face. It’s true. She really could use a little help with her complexion. It may be that with all that mothering work she’s been doing she hasn’t had time to properly wash, rinse, clarify, tone, moisturize, and treat twice a week with mask made of mud from the Dead Sea. Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Moral Principles and International Law

But attention to Pol Pot’s crimes, while a worthy enterprise (if done honestly, which was rarely the case), had little if any moral significance because there was no hint of a proposal as to what to do about them — and when they were terminated, the US was infuriated and severely punished the criminals (the Read more…

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Edward Herman: Hitchens Degraded

It would be hard to imagine better evidence of the sorry state of supposedly left opinion in this country than Christopher Hitchens’ "Belgrade Degraded" in the May 17 issue of The Nation. Hitchens never comes to any firm conclusion on what ought to be done, but he clearly regrets that the full-scale invasion option "might Read more…

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Michael Bronski: High School Hell

Reading through the media coverage of the Littleton, Colorado shootings one can’t help but be impressed by how skillfully the reporting shaped the story to fit the preconceived anxieties and biases of a broad readership. From both liberal and conservative vantage points the Columbine High School murders became a Rorschach test of political and social Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: Give Peace A Chance

How long can NATO continue bombing Yugoslavia? The Clinton administration’s answer so far has been, "as long as it takes" for Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to capitulate to its demands. It doesn’t seem to matter if the bombing only worsens the plight for the Kosovar Albanians, the people we are supposedly trying to help. But Read more…

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