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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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Clarence Lusane: Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved

How Many US Schoolchildren will learn that 1 in 4 US Presidents trafficked and enslaved people for profit?

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Paul Street: No Debate, Fake Debate

The New Gilded Age isn’t about $17 per-person tabs at Olive Garden. It’s about $71 per-person bills at the Capital Grille and $3 lunch deals at Taco Johns

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David Swanson: Is a Policy a Law? Is Murder Murder?

Notice those words: “legally” and “policy.” No longer does U.S. media make a distinction between the two

Chiara Milan: Why Bosnia is Burning

Failed privatizations, rampant unemployment and a thoroughly inefficient and unaccountable political system lie at the basis of the Bosnian protests

Elizabeth Thiel: Portland Teachers Vote to Strike

Portland, Oregon, teachers have voted nearly unanimously to strike

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John Pilger: Paid To Keep The Record Straight

The Faustian pacts that contrived a world war a century ago resonate today across the Middle East

Theodoros Karyotis: Gathering in Marseille

Workers, activists and academics gather at the occupied and self-managed Fralib factory in Marseille for Europe’s first “Workers’ Economy” meeting

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Peter Watt: MINT Theory a “Perfect Storm”—for Whom?

A more realistic forecast for Mexico’s future might indeed be that of a “perfect storm,” but one which is indifferent to poverty and inequality

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Brian Terrell: Making Iowa into a War Zone

Drone warfare is based on the lie that war can be made more exact, limited and humane through technology

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Chris Kromm: The Power of Southern Song: How the South Shaped Pete Seeger

No place seemed to shape New York native Pete Seeger, both musically and politically, more than the U.S. South

Andy Piascik: Latin America: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

                       Recent elections in Latin America continue that region’s remarkable surge toward democracy and away from the clutches of U.S. imperialism. On December 14, moderate socialist Michelle Bachelet was elected president of Chile while Camila Vallejo, revolutionary leader of the 2011 student rebellion, was elected to Congress. In Venezuela, the ruling United Socialist Party of Read more…

Nick Dearden: Gates Unmasks the Real Face of Davos

The global elites meeting at the World Economic Forum must not get away with pretending they have the interests of the world’s majority at heart

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David Swanson: The Thugs of Halftime

I don’t recall the exercise of one’s rights under the First Amendment requiring an invitation

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Danny Schechter: “I Have Been To The Mountain Top”

While awesome in their beauty, mountaintops are not any longer a pathway to the promised land. Not today, not in the world of inequality in which we live

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Raul Zibechi: Learning from the Defeat of Monsanto in Córdoba

The initiative is always taken by small groups, without taking into account the power balance, but rather the justice of their actions

Clarence Lang: Celebrating MLK Day: Dream Defenders, Moral Mondays, and the Fight for 15

There is ample evidence of activists around the nation celebrating King’s legacy in ways that expose ongoing racial and economic inequalities

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Kathy Kelly: For Whom the Bell Tolls

We must never forget the full range of Dr. King’s vision, nor the full tragedy of the world he sought to heal, nor the revolutionary spirit which he saw as our only hope of achieving his vision

Chuck Collins: Wealth of Forbes 400 billionaires = wealth of all 41 million African-Americans

Racial wealth divide reaches new heights

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Sue Sturgis: The Ongoing Injustice of Racial Inequality in Health Care

Number of years earlier, on average, that black women die than white women: 4.3

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Harvey Wasserman: Toll of U.S. Sailors Devastated by Fukushima Radiation Continues to Climb

The roll call of U.S. sailors who say their health was devastated when they were irradiated while delivering humanitarian help near the stricken Fukushima nuke is continuing to soar.

Laura Finley: Throwaway Society

One in three black men in America will go to prison during their lifetime

C. Douglas Lummis: The Great Betrayal

December 27 will be remembered as a black day in Okinawan history

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Sue Sturgis: The War on Poverty at 50

Date on which President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty in the United States: 1/8/1964 Percent of Americans who were living in poverty at that time: 19 Percent living in poverty in 1969: 12.1 Percent living in poverty today: 15 Percent of Americans who lived in poverty for at least two months between 2009 Read more…

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Ted Glick: The Catholic Left 45 Years Later

For me, the Catholic Left was a way to take action that was appropriate to the urgency of what was happening in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

Mosireen Collective: Egypt’s Regime Moves To Outlaw January 25 Revolution

On November 26, 2013, the “No Military Trials for Civilians” group in Cairo held a protest in front of the Shoura Council, against the new Constitution’s provision allowing military trials for civilians. The Interior Ministry dispersed the protest by force, thanks to the new protest law enacted by the government 2 days earlier. The government Read more…

María Christina Blanco: Fighting Eviction When Your Home Is Your Workplace

The sun was setting as María Estevez welcomed 30 supporters to her small front yard in Boston for a vigil this fall. Her family’s home of 10 years was decorated with colorful bilingual signs with slogans like “Beat Back the Bank Attack.” Supporters were pressing Chase Bank to let the Estevez family stay in their Read more…

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Juan Cole: Trashing the Law Against Warrantless GPS Tracking: NSA Nabs 5 Billion Phone Location Records A Day

Remember when the National Security Agency officials maintained that they were “only” collecting “metadata” from your cell phones? What they meant by that was that they weren’t listening in on your calls, just noting who you call and when. I said at the time that ‘metadata’ on cell phones inevitably includes information on where you Read more…

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Boris Kagarlitsky: The Dangers of Specialization

In 1604, King Philip III of Spain suffered a burn while sleeping near the fireplace because no nobleman could be found with the authority to move his chair. That is a good example of the dangers of excessive specialization. The problem is that Russia's educational reforms aim for extremely narrow specialization to prune away the study of "unnecessary" information and subjects, and to free students from being "overburdened" The new approach to education focuses Read more…

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William Blum: “If nature were a bank, they would have already rescued it”

“If nature were a bank, they would have already rescued it.” – Eduardo Galeano What do you think of this as an argument to use when speaking to those who don’t accept the idea that extreme weather phenomena are man-made? Well, we can proceed in one of two ways: We can do our best to Read more…

Steve Horn: Tar Sands’ Next Frontier: Shipments on the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes, drinking water source for over 40 million North Americans, could be the next target on tar sands marketers' bullseye according to a major new report out by the Chicago-based Alliance for the Great Lakes. The 24-page report, "Oil and Water: Tar Sands Crude Shipping Meets the Great Lakes?" unpacks a new looming threat to Read more…

Isabelle Belanger: Record Number of Homeless Students in the US In 2013

A record 1.1 million students attending public schools in the United States are homeless in 2013. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of homeless students has increased by 10 percent in 2013, from 1,065,794 in 2012, to 1,168,354. Forty-three states have reported increases from last year, with 10 states reporting increases of Read more…

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Peter Watt: U.S. Alarmism Denies Complicity in Rising Mexican Asylum Requests

“No sane Mexican would want to live in the U.S.,” explains legal scholar Edgardo Buscaglia, “because of the discrimination there.” “But they have to do it,” he notes, because there simply are not enough jobs in Mexico. The massive migration that has taken place in recent decades is predominantly the result of economic policies that have Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: The Great Corporate Tax Shift, Part 3

In parts 1 and 2 of this series on how US corporations have succeeded in avoiding paying taxes, the focus has been on how corporations have avoided paying taxes at the US federal level and on their corporate income earned abroad. The US federal corporate tax has been in freefall for decades. Elsewhere globally, there Read more…

Lauren McCauley: Big Retail Is Watching You: Exposing Walmart’s Massive Data Collection Schemes

Outside of its growing reputation for poverty wages, worker intimidation and an overall culture of employee repression, a new report released Wednesday reveals that retail giant Walmart is also throwing its weight behind a massive consumer tracking effort with particular implications for people of color. Authored by a coalition of consumer rights and social justice Read more…

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John Pilger: Discovering The Power Of People’s History – And Why It Is Feared Today

England is two countries. One is dominated by London, the other remains in its shadow. When I first arrived from Australia, it seemed no one went north of Watford and those who had emigrated from the north worked hard to change their accents and obscure their origins and learn the mannerisms and codes of the Read more…

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Patrick Bond: BRICS Lessons in (Un)sustainable Urbanisation

What is to be done, in the wake of Warsaw climate summit’s conclusive failure to cap emissions last weekend? The answer: walk out of the United Nations process when it needs delegitimation, and work much harder to curtail pollution in your home sites of struggle, everyone in civil society agreed.  For the 40 percent of Read more…

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Paul Buchheit: Unequal Beyond the Edge of Humanness

1. Smiles Beverly is a middle-aged homeless woman who survives day-by-day on the streets of Chicago. I learned about her from my friend Joe, an advocate for the homeless and a volunteer at a community kitchen on the city's north side. He first noticed Beverly huddled in a theater exitway on a frigid November morning, Read more…

James Bargent: Taking on the Neoliberal Development Model: A Social Movement in Colombia Rises Up in Defense of Water

Colombia is booming, we are told. The security improvements of the last decade have opened up the country to investment, allowing it capitalize on its resource wealth to fund much needed development and investment in infrastructure. However, while this narrative has now traveled around the world, for many of those living at the heart of Read more…

Samantha Winslow: An iPad on Every Desk: A Trojan Horse, Teachers Say

A group of Los Angeles teachers and students says their school district’s plan to distribute iPads to every student is too good to be true. The teachers say the money could be better spent than on cutting big checks to software and technology corporations. They suspect the iPad plan is a Trojan horse brought in Read more…

Jon Queally: Naming Names: The 90 Companies Destroying Our Planet

Narrow it down to the real power-brokers and decision-makers—the CEO's of fossil fuel companies or the energy ministers from the largest petro-states—says climate researcher Richard Heede, and the actual individuals most responsible for the political world's continued refusal to address the planetary crisis of climate change "could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two." Read more…

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Paul Street: Weather Report: Normalizing the Unthinkable at the Petroleum Broadcasting System

The Left commentator Edward S Herman once (applying a phrase from the anthropologist Lisa Peattie) usefully described a key function of the corporate mass media as “normalizing the unthinkable.”[1] Another and related function of that media might be called “de-contextualizing daily and current events.”  An excellent example of both functions in operation at the same Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: The Great Corporate Tax Shift: Part 1

The great corporate myth-making machine has been hard at work of late, attempting to create the false impression that US corporations are increasingly uncompetitive with their foreign rivals due to the fact they pay much higher corporate taxes in the US and abroad than their capitalist counterparts. But that is one of the great myths Read more…

Ter Garcia: Spain’s Housing Activists Scale Up Squatter Movement

What makes a movement turn into a landlord? Over the past two years in Catalonia, Spain, more than 700 people have made empty houses owned by banks their new homes thanks to the support of the Platform of People Affected by the Mortgage, or PAH. In Andalusia, another 400 people have used a similar strategy Read more…

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Bill Quigley: Why I Represent the New Orleans Immigrant Workers Who Committed Civil Disobedience

In the thirty six-years I have been a lawyer, I have seen many people take brave moral actions. I have represented hundreds in Louisiana and across our country who have been arrested for protesting for peace, civil rights, economic justice, and human rights for all. It is amazing to see people put their freedom on Read more…

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Medea Benjamin: Drone Wars

Michelle Zellers spoke with Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control and founder of the US-based anti-war group Codepink, who was arrested in May for interrupting Barack Obama’s speech on his drone program November 2013 Could you start by telling our readers about yourself? I started doing social justice work back in the Read more…

Gwynne Dyer: Typhoon Haiyan: ‘Early Warning System’

“We’ve been telling the rest of the world we don’t want what’s happening to us to happen to everyone else,” said Lucille L. Sering, the vice chair of the Philippines’ Climate Commission,, as the country struggled to cope with the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. “This is your early warning system…we will all eventually be victims Read more…

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Sue Sturgis: Drastic Changes Ahead for the Southeast’s Climate

According to an extensive new scientific report released this week, degrees Fahrenheit by which the average temperature in the Southeast* is expected to rise this century: 9 Degrees F. by which average temperatures in the Southeast have already risen since 1970: 2 Rank of the past decade among the warmest on record in the Southeast: Read more…

Maira Sutton: TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Negotiators Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms

After years of secret trade negotiations over the future of intellectual property rights (and limits on those rights), the public gets a chance to looks at the results. For those of us who care about free speech and a balanced intellectual property system that encourages innovation, creativity, and access to knowledge, it’s not a pretty Read more…

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Jenny Brown: Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Neutrality Agreements

Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether "neutrality agreements," where the employer promises not to fight the union, are really just a bribe, and therefore illegal. As the legal system keeps choking organizing possibilities, it’s now a rare campaign in the private sector where the union doesn’t first extract a neutrality agreement to Read more…

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Boris Kagarlitsky: A Fire in the Vacuum of Space

While seated at the breakfast table recently, I noticed a box bearing the mysterious inscription: "Official juices and nectars." I was astonished. Did that mean there were also "unofficial" juices and nectars? Or even worse, "bootleg" juices and nectars? How would those pretenders differ from the "official" variety, I wondered? Then I turned the box around and discovered the symbol of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Apparently, Read more…

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