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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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Jack Rasmus: The Contradictions of Global Fiscal-Monetary Policy

“QEs, massive liquidity injections by central banks, token fiscal stimulus policies followed soon by austerity fiscal stimulus withdrawals represent the recovery policy ‘mix’ for the US since 2008.  In similar form, albeit with different emphases, the same monetary and fiscal policies have been adopted by other main capitalist sectors of the global economy. Those economies, Read more…

Jon Queally: Climate Impacts Poised to Decimate Human and Earth Systems, says Leaked IPCC Draft

A draft of a global scientific review on how human and natural systems are expected to respond to the growing threat of climate change has been leaked and its contents—though not wholly unexpected to those who have followed climate science news in recent years—are nonetheless both alarming and devastating. Titled, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, Read more…

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Danny Schechter: Hey, Hey NSA: How Many Leaders Have You Spied On Today?

First we had Spymaster James Clapper dismissing concerns about NSA spying abuses denounced worldwide with a reference to the movie Casablanca. (His critics most recently were seconded by Secretary of State John Kerry who fears a tad of overkill, at least, now that some of this surveillance has been exposed.)  To Clapper’s cinema-addicted mind, the Read more…

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David Swanson: Finally a Drone Report Done Right

The U.N. and Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International recently released a flurry of deeply flawed reports on drone murders. According to the U.N.'s special rapporteur, whose day job is as law partner of Tony Blair's wife, and according to two major human rights groups deeply embedded in U.S. exceptionalism, murdering people with drones is Read more…

Margot Nikitas: Pittsburghers Try a Community Union

In the face of an awful economic climate and labor laws that too often favor employers, Pittsburghers are trying out a new organizing model: a rank-and-file community union. The fledgling group brings union and non-union workers together to fight side by side on social justice issues and to seed workplace organizing committees through a Pittsburgh-flavored Read more…

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Juan Cole: America’s Secret 4th Branch of Government: The NSA Kept Even Obama in the Dark

The revelation from the Snowden Papers that the Ever since the Snowden revelations of the massive, world-girdling extent of NSA electronic surveillance surfaced, I have been wondering two things: Did they tell Obama about it when they took office in 2009? And, do they have something on Obama? leaked to German tabloid Bild am Sonntag that Read more…

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Sue Sturgis: NC Heads Down Scandal-Plagued Economic Development Path

Since North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) was elected last year, he's pushed the state Department of Commerce toward a privatized economic development model involving a separate nonprofit corporation chaired by the governor himself — an organization he has dubbed the "Partnership for Prosperity." It's an approach that's led to scandals and costly failures in Read more…

John Duda: Looking at Baltimore’s Surveillance Cameras

There are very legitimate reasons to be scared that the proliferation of video surveillance is rapidly encroaching on our rights to everyday privacy and anonymity on the streets of Baltimore. Spurred on by counter-terrorism paranoia, recent advances in camera technology and computerized image processing are bringing George Orwell’s dystopian nightmare of inescapable social control within reach of today’s bureaucrats. Traditionally, surveillance cameras required Read more…

Bruce Bostick: Tea Party, ALEC Prescribe CPR to Kill Pensions

What do you call a proposal that breaks promises to city workers, destroys their families’ hard-earned retirement security, lowers the city’s tax base, harms our fragile economy, and actually requires the city of Cincinnati to pay out more in retiree funds? The tiny group of wealthy financiers and Tea Party supporters sponsoring this proposal calls Read more…

Andrea Germanos: Fuel Removal From Fukushima’s Reactor 4 Threatens ‘Apocalyptic’ Scenario

An operation with potentially "apocalyptic" consequences is expected to begin in a little over two weeks from now – "as early as November 8" – at Fukushima's damaged and sinking Reactor 4, when plant operator TEPCO will attempt to remove over 1300 spent fuel rods holding the radiation equivalent of 14,000 Hiroshima bombs from a Read more…

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Cyril Mychalejko: Big Brother’s New Crystal Ball

The outrage regarding Washington’s National Security Agency spying, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, has spread across the world, upsetting diplomatic relations and threatening to shift balances of global power. Yet beyond this spying network lies another, lesser known pilot operation within the NSA called the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity’s Open Source Indicators Program. Read more…

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Boris Kagarlitsky: The Kremlin Benefits From Migrants

Murders stemming from domestic violence occur every week in Russia, as they do elsewhere in the world. Most in Russia go unnoticed by the public and unsolved by the police. But after the recent killing in Moscow of 25-year-old Yegor Shcherbakov, the authorities made extraordinary efforts to apprehend the culprit. They soon arrested Azeri national Orkhan Zeinalov, and journalists immediately reported that he was guilty of the murder — even before Read more…

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David Swanson: A New Kind of War Is Being Legalized

There's a dark side to the flurry of reports and testimony on drones, helpful as they are in many ways. When we read that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch oppose drone strikes that violate international law, some of us may be inclined to interpret that as a declaration that, in fact, drone strikes violate international Read more…

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Shamus Cooke: The Coming Grand Bargain: “We’re All Neoliberals Now”

After the U.S. government shutdown you'd expect Republicans and Democrats to remain at each other’s throats, so different was their vision for the country, or so it appeared.    In reality, however, only a bit of the political theater was reserved for "Tea Party" Republicans to invest in their political future by denouncing Obamacare, which they Read more…

Laura Finley: In Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

Last I heard, contracts negotiated between two consenting and capable parties are supposed to be binding, with repercussions if one party violates what has been agreed upon and codified into a legal document. That is, of course, unless it is the state entering into such agreements with indigenous peoples. Then these legal documents are little Read more…

Alfredo Acedo: Mexican Federal Court Halts Invasion of Genetically Modified Corn

A federal court in Mexico City ordered the Mexican government “to suspend the issue of permits for experimental, pilot or commercial cultivation of genetically modified corn” on Oct. 10. This is the first victory in a class-action suit filed against the invasion of Monsanto corn in Mexico. The class action suit is a legal instrument Read more…

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Sue Sturgis: The Strange Politics of Southern Hunger

Date on which the Republican-controlled U.S. House, led by majority leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), voted to make deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps: 9/19/2013 Amount the House would slash in funding over the next decade: $39 billion Number of Americans who rely on the food stamp program: nearly Read more…

Camila Ibanez: Until The President Stops Deportations, We Will Stop Them Ourselves

Monday morning I woke at dawn and drove an hour from Phoenix to the small town of Eloy, Arizona. It was pretty warm already and I knew the Arizona sun would only grow hotter. I grabbed my bandana and prepared to chain myself to the entrance of one of the largest detention centers with the Read more…

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Paul Street: A Nation Brought to the Verge of Ruin

Recently on his syndicated talk show, the power-worshipping interviewer of influential elites Charlie Rose worried that Washington’s latest fiscal crisis sends the world the message that “democracy doesn’t work as well as we thought it did.” [1]  What American “democracy” was Charlie Rose talking about? As John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney noted four Read more…

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Jerry Silberman: Fracking Booms, Workers Busted

Fracking is promoted by everyone from the CEO of Exxon to President Obama as the solution to climate change, economic growth, jobs, and energy independence. But a closer look at the facts suggests fracking is another Ponzi scheme. Booms always result in busts…and somehow, those who do best in the boom, like big banks, never Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: The Coming Debt Ceiling Settlement: The Well-Orchestrated Dance 2.0

History repeats itself, but always in combinations of past events. What today’s debt-ceiling/government shutdown dual crisis represents is a telescoping, within a time period of two months, of similar events that rolled out over an extended two year period in 2011-2012. What took two years to conclude previously, between 2011-2012, in a prior debt ceiling Read more…

Bill Bigelow: It’s Columbus Day…Time to Break the Silence

This past January, almost exactly 20 years after its publication, Tucson schools banned the book I co-edited with Bob Peterson, Rethinking Columbus. It was one of a number of books adopted by Tucson’s celebrated Mexican American Studies program—a program long targeted by conservative Arizona politicians. The school district sought to crush the Mexican American Studies Read more…

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Boris Kagarlitsky: Austerity Measures, Russian-style

It has finally happened: the economic course originally instituted by Yegor Gaidar is now playing out. The methodical dismantling of the remnants of the welfare state, the new wave of privatization, the refusal to create new jobs and the resulting rise in unemployment — these are the program that our wise government officials think will pull Russia out of the economic crisis. Ever since the late 1980s, even Soviet leaders Read more…

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Sue Sturgis: More Pain for the Poor in Government Shutdown

Date on which the U.S. federal government shut down because Congress did not enact regular appropriations or a continuing resolution for the 2014 fiscal year due to Republican resistance to implementing the Affordable Care Act: 10/1/2013 Number of programs dedicated to offering nutritional, health, social, and other services to low-income families that were immediately affected: Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: On Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair

On October 9, 2013, President Obama nominated Janet Yellen, current vice-chair of the Federal Reserve, as the new Fed chair, to replace Ben Bernanke expected to retire at year’s end. Obama’s appointment, subject to Senate confirmation that is likely, comes after a general consensus in recent weeks that Yellen would be Obama’s choice. That followed Read more…

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John Pilger: Old Game, New Obsession, New Enemy. Now It’s China.

Countries are “pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world,” wrote Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, in 1898. Nothing has changed. The shopping mall massacre in Nairobi was a bloody façade behind which a full-scale invasion of Africa and a war in Asia are Read more…

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Sarah Lazare: Torture of ‘Angola 3′ Shows Inhumanity of US Prisons

The more than 40 year solitary confinement of "Angola Three" inmate Albert Woodfox "amounts to torture and it should be lifted immediately," declared UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez in a sweeping indictment Monday of inhumanity and abuse in U.S. prisons. The injustices Woodfox faces have been highlighted by the recent passing of Read more…

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Brentin Mock: McCutcheon, McConnell and the Threat of Corruption

In the McCutcheon v. FEC case about campaign contribution limits that will be heard tomorrow by the U.S. Supreme Court, the primary concern for those troubled by the increasing influence of money in politics is corruption. But those who support plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon are also troubled by money’s influence, though for different reasons — they Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: Will the US Government Shutdown Impact Markets?

As the government shutdown, the stock market largely shrugged. Yesterday the Dow Jones actually rose 62 points suggesting investors don't see the current shutdown as a long-term problem. Here with more analysis is Jack Rasmus. He's a Political economist as well as the author of “Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few” Dr. Jack Rasmus: The Read more…

Laura Finley: Guns and Domestic Violence: A Lethal Mix

The Supreme Court has now agreed to hear a case involving whether persons convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors should be prohibited from possessing guns. The case involves James Castleman, who in 2001 pleaded guilty under Tennessee law to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence against the mother of his child. In 2009, Castleman was found Read more…

Joris Leverink: Spirit of Revolt Drifts South as Austerity Protests Rock Sudan

After years of neoliberal reform, authoritarian rule and increasing misery, further austerity measures drive the people of Sudan back into the street. For the second time since the split between Sudan and South Sudan in 2011, large protests have broken out across the country. The epicentre of the protests is in the capital Khartoum, with Read more…

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Peter Watt: Mexican Elites Worry as Protestors Evoke Spirit of 68

On this day, 45 years ago, hundreds of peaceful protestors were massacred by the government in Mexico City. With worsening poverty, repressive government and no democratic outlet, all the conditions are in place for another colossal clash between the state and popular opposition. Mexico’s rulers ought to be worried. In the lead up to the Read more…

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Paul Street: Shut Down Reflections

Why Now?  designed to advance corporate and financial America’s preference for “market solutions” over and against a public, social-democratic policy that would de-commodify health care and establish decent medical coverage as a basic government-mandated human right.  And never mind that most Americans have long supported big government health care as a human right and think Read more…

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Danny Schechter: A Shutdown or A Coup? How It Was Engineered

What is the Tea Party and where did it come from? Was it a grass roots movement nurtured in the bowels of deep dissatisfaction in the American electorate with “big government” and its inexorable turn towards Socialism?  Hate to disappoint folks who buy the populist revolt theory. Anyone remember the mad rant of Rick Santelli Read more…

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Norman Solomon: The NSA Deserves a Permanent Shutdown

To the people in control of the Executive Branch, violating our civil liberties is an essential government service. So — to ensure total fulfillment of Big Brother’s vast responsibilities — the National Security Agency is insulated from any fiscal disruption. The NSA’s surveillance programs are exempt from a government shutdown. With typical understatement, an unnamed official told The Read more…

Patrick Kane: Colombian Protests Show Cracks in Disastrous Economic Model

Markets for American productsThe latest uprising dominated the Colombian media, which carried footage of road blocks, mass marches, noisy protests and bloodied protestors in cities and rural areas across the country. In a symbolic demonstration, farmers poured thousands of litres of milk and other farm produce on to the road. The country's free trade agreements Read more…

: Report Exposes Right-Wing Tag Team Plot Against Pensions

What these stories usually don’t say is that conservative activists are manufacturing the perception of a public pension crisis in order to both slash modest retiree benefits and preserve expensive corporate subsidies and tax breaks. “This is the story not merely of two nonprofits, nor merely of one set of economic issues; it is a Read more…

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Yves Engler: Anti-Terror Chest Thumping

The Conservatives response to the horrific attack in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall has been to thump their chests and proclaim their anti-terror bona fides. But the prime minister has ignored the fact that his government also played a small role in the growth and radicalization of the organization responsible for this terrible crime in Kenya. and Read more…

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Arthur Phillips: A Corporate Coup of a Different Order: The Growing Resistance to the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Transparency was supposed to be a White House priority from the very start. In his first inaugural address, when the world celebrated an historic and improbable election, Barack Obama made the case for how an open government was necessary to earn the trust of the people.[1] The next day, he issued a memo that asserted his Read more…

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Tawana Petty: Detroit: The City They Can’t Destroy

  In reality, many people in Detroit are nurturing a new vision for their city. They are growing their own food at urban farms and residential gardens such as D-Town Farm and Feedom Freedom Growers. People are reshaping what it means to be in a community through co-operative living, time banking and other efforts that Read more…

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Alfredo Lopez: Attacking Net Neutrality Once Again

Last week, Verizon, the telephone giant, went to court to accuse the Federal Communications Commission of "overstepping its authority" and reverse the authority's over-step. It's a legal wrangle that, bottled and distributed, would be a safe substitute for sleeping pills. Lurking behind the nearly unintelligible and ridiculously referential courtroom arguments, however, is a clear picture Read more…

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Bill Quigley: Half Ounce of Pot Gets Louisiana Man Twenty Years in Prison

While Colorado and Washington have de-criminalized recreational use of marijuana and twenty states allow use for medical purposes, a Louisiana man was sentenced to twenty years in prison in New Orleans criminal court for possessing 15 grams, .529 of an ounce, of marijuana. Corey Ladd, 27, had prior drug convictions and was sentenced September 4, Read more…

Brendan Fischer: Lockup Quotas Help For-Profit Prison Companies Keep Profits High and Prisons Full

For-profit prison companies like Corrections Corporation of American and GEO Group are no strangers to controversy. Their business model rests on incarceration, and their profits soared throughout the 1990s and 2000s as harsh sentencing laws, the War on Drugs, and tough immigration enforcement led to a dramatic rise in detention and incarceration. But with crime rates dropping for more Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: From ‘Taper Tantrum’ & ‘Token Taper’ to ‘Taper Tomorrow’: Fed Policy in Crisis

This past week the US central bank, the Federal Reserve (Fed), opted not to change its current 3rd Quantitative Easing (QE) policy providing $85 billion a month in bond purchases from bankers and investors. The Fed’s QE3 policy has been in effect for about a year, injecting in excess of $1 trillion in subsidized money Read more…

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Sarah Lazare: ‘Winning the Race to the Bottom’: Obama Moves to Fast-Track the TPP

As Obama moves to fast-track the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), critics are blasting the highly-secretive trade deal as "NAFTA on steroids" and a tool for advancing U.S. and corporate power. "If impoverishing working people around the world is the goal, then the trade policies like this are working quite effectively," Chris Townsend, political director for Read more…

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Sue Sturgis: Shedding Light on the Legacy of Segregation in North Carolina

As attorneys with the University of North Carolina's Center for Civil Rights carried out their work of advocating for low-wealth and minority communities across the state, they witnessed the same injustices crop up time and time again — environmental, educational, economic. "We recognized that the same patterns of exclusion were repeating, in denial of water Read more…

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John Pilger: In an Age of ‘Realists’ and Vigilantes, there is Cause for Optimism

The most important anniversary of the year was the 40th anniversary of 11 September 1973 – the crushing of the democratic government of Chile by General Augusto Pinochet and Henry Kissinger, then US secretary of state. The National Security Archive in Washington has posted new documents that reveal much about Kissinger’s role in an atrocity Read more…

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David Swanson: Humanitarian Murder

This past Sunday night on "60 Minutes" John Miller of CBS News said, "I've spoken with intelligence analysts who have said an uncomfortable thing that has a ring of truth, which is: the longer this war in Syria goes on, in some sense the better off we are." Now, why would that be uncomfortable, do Read more…

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Boris Kagarlitsky: Employers, Not Migrants, Are the Problem

If there was even one point on which the candidates in the Sept. 8 Moscow mayoral race were in agreement, it was on the question of migrant workers. They unanimously described migrants as an evil practically on par with criminals and tried to outdo each other with statements about how they would deal with this blight. Who exactly were the candidates referring to when they spoke of migrant Read more…

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Sue Sturgis: Promoting the Myth of ‘Sustainable Coal’

Month in which a group of prominent Democrats formed the CoalBlue Project to promote the idea of "sustainable coal": 7/2013 Number of weeks after President Obama laid out a detailed plan to address climate change, including steps to curb coal plant pollution, that the group announced its formation: 4 Lobbying income received so far this Read more…

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