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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Jeremy Brecher: There’s An Alternative

Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith When world leaders meet in Seattle after Thanksgiving for the "pre-millennial" session of the World Trade Organization, many will sincerely believe that there is no alternative to the present direction of globalization. But all over the world, activists and scholars associated with environmental, religious, labor, and other social movements have Read more…

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Norman Solomon: The Twain Most Americans Never Meet

Norman Solomon With the start of 2000 less than two months away, I’ve been thinking about a beloved American writer who stuck his neck out the last time people went through a change of centuries. We revere Mark Twain as a superb storyteller who generates waves of laughter with powerful undertows of biting satire. One Read more…

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Saul Landau: The Old Populist Gag

Saul Landau Exciting! Pat Buchanan, presidential candidate, opposes corporate globalization which, he claims, benefits a handful of multi national giants and leaves crumbs for the poor. Buchanan says he stands for elementary justice for working people. He blasts the plutocracy that has stolen trillions from the pockets of the poor and the middle class. Shouldn’t Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: East Timor: Reparations and Responsibility

Cynthia Peters and  Stephen R. Shalom The New York Times reported on October 25 the claim that the United States had "poured billions" into East Timor. The next day the Times ran a "correction," saying that in fact "Washington’s foreign aid" to East Timor "has not amounted to billions." As far as we know, the Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: East Timor: Reparations and Responsibility

Cynthia Peters and  Stephen R. Shalom The New York Times reported on October 25 the claim that the United States had "poured billions" into East Timor. The next day the Times ran a "correction," saying that in fact "Washington’s foreign aid" to East Timor "has not amounted to billions." As far as we know, the Read more…

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Leslie Cagan: Some Thoughts on Hate Crimes

Leslie Cagan The brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming a little more than a year ago focused national attention on a long-standing reality for many lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people: the widespread fear and hatred of people outside the so-called norms of sexual expression all too often explodes into acts of violence. Read more…

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Manning Marable: The KKK: From Greensboro to NYC

Manning Marable Twenty years ago, on November 3, 1979, five principled and dedicated activists for social justice-Cesar Cauce, Dr. Mike Nathan, Bill Sampson, Sandi Smith, and Dr. Jim Waller-were brutally murdered in Greensboro, North Carolina by the Ku Klux Klan. History has recorded this tragedy as the "Greensboro Massacre." These five anti-racist organizers and ten Read more…

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Edward Herman: The Times and East Timor

Edward Herman Seth Mydans’s October 31 piece on the Indonesian departure from East Timor, "A Calamitous Era Plays Out Quietly For East Timorese," with its admission that 200,000 had died in Indonesia’s 24 year failed pacification effort, including its final "rampage of destruction," might impress some people as an illustration of objective journalism. But they Read more…

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Danny Schechter: The Media Channel

Danny Schechter An IPO a day seems to keep the market in play as Internet deals continue to hit the jackpot throwing up new e-commerce driven sites and throwing off a new crop of instant gazillionaires. Business schools across the world report their best students dropping out to join the gold rush. ABC’s Nightline recently Read more…

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Jim Hightower: Shorts

Jim Hightower Getting Away From It All In the roiling sea of communications technology that threatens to engulf us–phone calls, email, voice mail, faxes, the internet, laptops, etc.–it’s good to seek refuge every now and again in the tranquility of nature, where the chirping you hear is not an electronic device, but birds. AP writer Read more…

BlasŽ Bonpane: Wars No More

Blase Bonpane Just as a battered spouse who enables her partner to continue his abusive ways, so we, the people of Americas continue to enable the United States to be an incurable serial killer. The victims of the holocaust of the Third Reich have rightfully taken the position, "Never Again". Why cannot we, restrain the Read more…

Dorothy Guellec: Health Care Shouldn’t Be Commercial

Dorothy Guellec Certain things should be "off limits to commerce" Healthcare in my view can be compared to Education which, so far, has not been totally privatized. If shareholders must be satisfied, then patients’ interests will be compromised. The way managed care works is by rewarding investors, HMO CEO’s, and even doctors, while simultaneously holding Read more…

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Norman Solomon: When Online Trading Offers a Reason to Believe

Norman Solomon If you’re watching much television these days, you’ve probably seen a lot of commercials for online investing. Many large brokerage firms are now urging people to play the stock market via the Internet. So, in routine fashion, TV spots dramatize cyber-trading as an activity that brings excitement, independence, financial security and even self-realization. Read more…

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Saul Landau: More Nuclear Disasters

Saul Landau The Lesson Unlearned "We have contained the spread of radiation from last week’s nuclear accident," Japanese authorities assured their citizens. They blame the chain reaction on improper handling of materials by low level workers. As if that explanation will sedate the Japanese public! The Japanese know all too well the long term effects Read more…

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Nikos Raptis: The Pnyx

Nikos Raptis Pnyx is the name of a low (357 feet high) hill about 450 yards to the west of the Acropolis in Athens. The word "Pnyx" means "tightly crowded together." The "crowding" refers to the male citizens (also known and as "demos") of classical Athens, who assembled, in the open, on the northern side Read more…

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Robert Naiman: Clinton’s Debt Relief: Too Generous or Too Stingy

Robert Naiman After President Clinton announced that he supports 100% cancellation of the debts owed by the poorest countries to the United States, some poll data suggested that people thought Clinton was being too generous. They were probably reacting more to the soaring rhetoric of Clinton’s speech, than to any grasp of the impact of Read more…

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Scott Burchill: A Fresh Start

Scott Burchill Sometimes statistics tell a grim tale. In the first weeks of September this year, 70% of all public buildings and private residences in East Timor were destroyed. At least 75% of the population of the territory was displaced, with over 260,000 people being driven across the border into Indonesian West Timor. Even more Read more…

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Manning Marable: The Black Radical Congress: Moving On Up To Congress 2000

Manning Marable On June 19, 1998, over two thousand African Americans gathered in Chicago to participate in the founding conference of the Black Radical Congress (BRC). Despite the relative absence of media coverage and working with limited funds, people of African descent traveled across the country, some coming from as far away as the Caribbean, Read more…

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Vijay Prashad: I’m Part of Today’s Unions, Ask Me Why

Vijay Prashad Thanks to Elisabeth Armstrong and Brian Steinberg for discussions on this subject. In a somewhat recent issue of <Counterpunch> the editors quote a rather obscure AFL-CIO official who is said to have commented that ‘grassroots authenticity’ is overrated. The editors take this to mean that the ‘labor bureaucrats’ at 16th Street in Washington Read more…

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Marta Russell: The Private Health Care Juggernaut Needs Jilting

Marta Russell Presidential hopeful Bill Bradley has placed health care reform on the national agenda as well it should be. However, the Bradley plan does not go far enough to resolve real need and it protects the insurance industry – the very culprit which is undermining access to quality health care in the nation. Bradley’s Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: The Criminal Element

Russell Mikhiber and Robert Weissman The criminal element has seeped deep into every nook and cranny of American society. Forget about the underworld — these crooks dominate every aspect of our market, culture, and politics. They cast a deep dark shadow over life in turn of the century America. We buy gas from them (Exxon, Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: Time to End Debt Slavery

Mark Weisbrot It has become a truism that "there are no easy answers" to the world’s most pressing economic and social problems. The phrase is often repeated by academics, policy wonks, and others whose occupation immerses them in the details of real or imagined solutions. It is worth remembering that the abolitionists who fought against Read more…

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Nikos Raptis: The Harvard Lady

Nikos Raptis The U.S. (corporate or state) institutions that dominate the life of ordinary people in almost all countries, though impersonal, need some individuals who as part of a local elite promote the ideology and the goals of these institutions. The portrait of such an individual, a lady, as it appears through a recent interview Read more…

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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