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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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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Jim Hightower: Radio Nuggets

Jim Hightower   CLINTON FLIES HIGH WITH HEMP Bill Clinton did not inhale. We’re clear on that, right? But, recently, he did swallow. It was on every time he goes to praise the progress being made there, one or more of their top anti-drug officials turn out to be involved in the drug trade themselves. Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: Drugs, Patents, and U.S. Policy

and Robert Weissman Thanks to new drug therapies, many people with HIV/AIDS in the United States are now able to live relatively healthy lives. "Triple drug" therapies, or "drug cocktails" allow HIV-positive people to reduce their HIV blood load in some cases to undetectable levels. In the Third World, however, where HIV/AIDS is at epidemic Read more…

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Nikos Raptis: The Greeks, Kosovo, and the U.S.

Following the Chomskyan distinction, in the present text the word Greeks refers to the inhabitants of the geographic region of Greece as distinct from the political and economic elits that "govern" the country. (The use of the quotation marks is explained later on.) But, first, a report on the main events in Greece for the Read more…

Sandy Carter: Littleton

Pearl, Miss., West Paducah, Ky., Jonesboro, Ark., Springfield, Ore., Fayetteville, Tenn., Edinboro, Pa., and last week–Littleton, Colo. Seven school shootings in less than two years. And after the avalanche of tragic images and endless CNN expert commentaries, what have we learned about the seeds of this horrific violence? Our health professionals offer no easy answers, Read more…

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Peter Bohmer: Fight the Power

Last weekend, my son, Inti, who is 20 and I, who am quite a few years older than that, went to San Francisco to take part in a rally and demonstration in support of political prisoner and death row inmate, Mumia Abu-Jamal. The main demand is for a new trial for Mumia. It was the Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: On Knowing and Responding

On this the liberal and the right-wing columnists seem to agree: Adults are responsible for not controlling the behavior of Littleton, Colorado’s “trench coat mafia” killers. Eileen McNamara, liberal columnist for the Globe, suggests that the parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold “must have known” what their kids were planning and that they surrendered Read more…

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Michael Bronski: Writing and Thinking Amidst Hostile Intentions

Massachusetts News — made clear its concerns: "Will Pedophilia Be Next in Massachusetts Schools? Child Molestation is Being Normalized.’" On the second page of the leaflet is the headline " Boston Phoenix Leads the Charge followed by the fact that the Phoenix and its "popular columnist Michael Bronski" are "leading advocates of pedophilia in Massachusetts." Read more…

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Clarence Lusane: Don’t Ignore the Hate Crime

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Columbine High School in Colorado, a search for meaning and understanding has begun. Concerned citizens across the nation are seeking to grasp what motivated at least two students to turn a normal school day into a killing field. Clearly, the answer is complicated and may never be fully Read more…

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Sonia Shah: Asian American?

I was recently asked to write about Asian American History Month, which, since 1979, has been observed during the month of May. Despite the fact that I write about Asian American issues on a fairly regular basis, and in many ways, consider myself an Asian American, it wasn’t easy to figure. The very term, "Asian Read more…

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Leslie Cagan: A Movement Grows in NYC

On Thursday, April 15th tens of thousands of New Yorkers will march in yet another expression of outrage at the conduct of the New York City Police Department. (If you live in or near NYC, I encourage you to make every effort to participate in what promises to be one of those demonstrations you kick Read more…

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Edward Herman: The U.S. Versus the Rules of War

permitting a low-casualty NATO occupation of Kosovo. I don’t think this was carefully thought out in advance; rather, it is a default strategy based on an unwillingness to suffer casualties, the availability of planes, bombs and money, and the determination of the U.S./British leadership to defeat the villainized foe. Another basis of the default strategy Read more…

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Tim Wise: Famous Last Words

Every now and then a lesson comes easy. Other times we learn things by accident, if at all. And inevitably it seems, the lessons that matter most, often come from the least likely sources, and at the most inopportune moments. So much so, that if we aren’t paying close attention, we’ll miss them altogether. Such Read more…

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Norman Solomon: For Whom The Media Bell Tolls

/ Creators Syndicate For several weeks now, the suffering of refugees from Kosovo has filled our TV screens. Empathy seems to motivate much of the public support for the ceaseless bombing of Yugoslavia. Fortunately, Americans can be stirred by moral outrage. Unfortunately, that outrage has been manipulated by a constellation of forces that could be Read more…

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Jeremy Brecher: The Global Sustainable Development Resolution

Brendan Smith For the past decade, through both Republican and Democratic administrations, the United States government has promoted a model of free-market global capitalism that it claimed would benefit the great majority of people both at home and abroad. This model has failed. Over and over the mantra has been repeated that "there is no alternative" Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Responding To Sentiment

There was a lengthy debate at my dinner table the other night about the situation in Yugoslavia. Most of my relatives defended the NATO bombings as the only moral action to take in the face of crimes being committed against ethnic Albanians. I argued the opposite: that there were very few historical examples of the Read more…

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Scott Burchill: Kosovo and East Timor

The arrest of Care Australia’s Steve Pratt and Peter Wallace by Serb authorities exposes more than the risks faced by aid workers in a war which masquerades as "humanitarian relief". It also reveals the perils faced by good people as a result of their own government’s stupidity. If we dismiss Serbian claims that they were Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: Essential Information

Jennings Bryan to the 1912 Constitutional Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Ask yourself: Who today would speak in such a manner?  This is what William Jennings Bryan had to say in 1912:   "The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person, called the corporation. They differ in the Read more…

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Brian Dominick: Young People and Activism

Young people in movement circles are often met with a great deal of admiration and little to no respect. Impressed as they are by kids’ very presence at activist events and meetings, given the preoccupations and pressures of modern youth; adults rarely acknowledge the contribution of young activists beyond the sense of "diversity" the latter Read more…

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Danny Schechter: Edward R Murrow Is Dead

In June 1993, a human rights television program I co-produced obtained remarkable footage from inside Kosovo. We led our "Rights & Wrongs" program with an exclusive from what we called "the next powder keg in the Balkans." The story documented a non-violent campaign against brutal repression ordered by Slobodon Milosovic’s ultra nationalist regime. It warned Read more…

Guest Author: We Who Are About To Die

Wednesday April 14 1999 The Guardian Two and a half years ago, I wrote the first of these columns for this paper, an attack on the pessimistic idea that the best we could hope for was Tony Blair. As a result, the following morning I was contacted by Robin Cook, who asked me to write Read more…

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Clarence Lusane: Racism’s Enablers

While much of the American public’s attention has been focused on the evils of Milosovich and his efforts at ethnic cleansing, America’s home grown fascists and their enablers have gotten a free ride. To their ever-increasing discredit, congressional Republicans have used every scheme and manipulation they can muster to deter a congressional condemnation of the Read more…

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Norman Solomon: American Journalist Have No Reason to be Smug

/ Creators Syndicate Ever since the start of NATO ‘s bombing blitz more than two weeks ago, the regime in Belgrade has maintained total control of Serbia’s press — and American journalists have scornfully reported on the propaganda role of Yugoslavian news media. But no one should be smug about freedom of the press in Read more…

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Stephen R. Shalom: Thinking About Affirmative Action

Others will tell us that not all blacks suffered, so affirmative action is imprecisely targeted and hence unjust. But not all veterans suffered either. Consider, for example, Ronald Reagan: he was eligible for veterans’ preferences even though he spent the war in Hollywood. Those who enacted veterans’ preferences decided — reasonably enough — that it Read more…

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Brian Dominick: Behind Enemy Lines

. In a disturbing case of hypocritical Western propaganda tripping over its own distortions, the Associated Press recently reported that Turkish troops and warplanes have crossed into Northeastern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels presumably taking refuge there (AP, 4/7/99). Any honest observer will be mesmerized by the juggling act of ignorance involved in reporting Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Is There A Truth About Rigoberto Menchu

Menchu’s life was a triumph over childhood illiteracy and lack of schooling, but in fact she attended Catholic boarding schools, according to nuns who operated them; another brother, said to have starved to death, is in fact still alive and the owner of a homestead; Most of the professors who use the book in their Read more…

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Michael Bronski: Harassment

have been deemed newsworthy: On January 17 Kevin Tryals and Laaron Morris of Galveston TX. were found in a burning car on a dead-end road outside of city limits. Both bodies were severely burned. The medical examiner’s office ruled that both men were dead before the car was ignited, and that both men died from Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: The Debacle in Kosovo

The bombing of Yugoslavia is turning out to be a foreign policy debacle of disastrous proportions, yet most of the chattering class insists that we can turn things around if we only commit more troops. We have heard that before. Nearly two weeks into the war, our government (which has the dominant voice in NATO) Read more…

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Danny Schechter: The Talking Kosovo Blues

It was for me the big booking: an hour on MSNBC in the middle of a crisis. I had pitched the network proposing to talk about the media coverage of the Kosovo catastrophe. As a TV producer, I had been covering the Balkan wars for a public television human rights series since l993. As a Read more…

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Edward Herman: Oligarchic Control of Mutual Organizations

Many years ago I participated in a Wharton School study of the savings and loan industry, my assignment being to analyse their control and conflict of interest problems. My contribution to this multi-volume project, sponsored and published by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, was a small volume entitled Conflict of Interest in the Savings Read more…

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Site Administrator: Branislav Canak and the Independent Unions in Yugoslavia

With all the bleak news out of Kosovo and Yugoslavia, I’ve been trying to make contact with the independent union federation Nezavisnost. During a visit to Belgrade, in May of 1996, I had a series of discussions with Nezavisnost President, Branislav Canak. An independently thinking former journalist, and an ardent anti-war activist, Canak and I Read more…

Pablo Pozzi: Labor Repression in Argentina

On Monday, February 16, 1998, in Usuhuaia, the Argentina’s southernmost city in Tierra del Fuego, the courts finally declared the innocence of steelworker leader Oscar Martinez. Accused of "inciting to violence", Martinez had been blamed by the government for the April 1995 repression of a strike that resulted in one steelworker dead and dozens wounded. Read more…

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Charles Glass: Letter from London

The war against Slobodan Milosevic was clearly lost when the London papers ran a front-page photograph of Defence Secretary George Robertson in Italy aboard a warplane. This isn’t a war, it’s a photo op for politicians who have never seen battle. With friends like British prime minister Tony Blair and his comic book hero, Bill Read more…

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Tim Wise: White America’s Dirty Little Secrets

Sometimes it’s best to just tell the truth. Even when it makes folks angry. In fact, particularly then, because it’s at precisely those times that the truth is obviously most in need of being spoken–otherwise resistance to it probably wouldn’t be so strident. Such has always been my feeling when it comes to discussions of Read more…

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Jim Hightower: Selected Shorts

departments? Hey-belly up to the bar, Bub, and put your money down-Sacramento is for sale, lock, stock, and underwear. Winning bidders get exclusive marketing rights and the imprimatur of official city approval-even if the corporate sponsors are polluters, make their products in sweatshops, and are known to rip off consumers. This is Jim Hightower saying Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: With Friends Like These

and Robert Weissman With friends like these, Africa certainly doesn’t need any enemies. Africa’s "friends" in Congress have again introduced a "NAFTA-for-Africa" bill. In early February, Representatives Philip Crane, R-Illinois, and Charles Rangel, D-New York, reintroduced an African free trade bill called the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which passed the House of Representatives in Read more…

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Brian Tokar: Resisting Genetic Engineering

While the biotechnology industry continues to promise miracles– new ways to feed the world, solutions to intractable medical problems, enhanced "freedom of choice" in human reproduction, and more — activists worldwide have recently stepped up their opposition. For those who look beyond the often extravagant claims of biotech proponents, this technology represents a profound threat Read more…

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