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2014
Volume 27
Number 10

ZMAG MISSION

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Z Magazine is an independent monthly magazine founded in 1988. Our mission is to publish in depth articles that critique society's political, economic, social life and institutions. We see the race, class, and gender dimensions of personal life as equally important to understanding current circumstances and as necessary for developing visions and strategies for progressive change.

 

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The Chomsky Z Collection:
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We survive through income from paid subscriptions, sales of videos and books, online Sustainers, individual donations. and periodic fundraising. We are non-profit, tax exempt under the Institute for Social and Cultural Communications. We are currently in dire need of funds. To donate by mail, send checks payable to Z Magazine, 18 Millfield Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543 (508- 548-9063). To donate online go to: www.zcom munications.org and become a Sustainer.

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Recent ZMagazine

Chris Lewis: Number Crunch

Lansing has it out for Detroiters. That’s William Scott’s estimation, at least. “The politicians in state government, in my opinion, care more about the suburbs than here in Detroit,” the retired auto worker told me a few years ago, sitting in a lawn chair perched alongside one of the city’s many barren avenues. During the Read more…

John Raymond: Low Level Radiation, High Level Risk

What can we learn from a new study of cancer risks around nuclear plants that we don’t already know? The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spins its new pilot study—now underway in partnership with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) around seven reactor communities—as an effort to reassure the public that the radiation routinely released from Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: Cyprus and Global Banking Instability

More than five years after the global banking crisis first erupted in the summer of 2007, the global banking system continues to drift toward yet another crisis. The collapse of the banking system in Cyprus last week represents the latest milestone in that inexorable drift, as well as an important qualitative shift in the overall Read more…

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Roger Bybee: Mississippi Yearning

It’s a blessing from God,” heralded a quote prominently displayed amidst the Jackson, Mississippi  Clarion Ledger’s lavish coverage when Nissan opened its ultra-modern assembly plant just outside the small town of Canton, 27 miles west of Jackson. The plant initially symbolized new hope for lifting many Mississippians out of the widespread misery that has long Read more…

Nicolas J.S. Davies: How the West Fueled the Ever-Growing Carnage in Syria

On Tuesday March 27 2013, Kofi Annan gave a speech at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. In his usual careful and diplomatic tone, Annan spoke firmly against Western calls for more direct military intervention in Syria. “Further militarization of the conflict, I’m not sure that is the way to help the Syrian people,” Annan said, Read more…

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Paul Street: Military Keynesianism Survives Sequestration

In a story that shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with business rule as usual in Washington, U.S. military contractors will suffer no great or particular loss from the federal austerity fiscal policy called sequestration. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)—the top lobbying and public relations arm of the nation’s high-tech corporate “defense” (military empire) contractors—was crying wolf Read more…

Roger Hull: It Is Time For a New Contract with America

  1. Create a sustainable environment that will support the health and well-being of future generations. 2. Eliminate as soon as possible toxic and dangerous fossil fuels, coal, tar sands, fracking and nuclear power from the energy and transportation mix. Immediately eliminate all subsidies to fossil fuel and nuclear power companies/entities and install a fossil Read more…

Elsa Rassbach: Rise of German Campaign Against Combat Drones

Leading national and local peace and justice organizations in Germany have launched a major campaign to oppose the German government’s recently revealed plan to acquire combat (weaponized) drones. The organizations met together in Hanover to begin the joint campaign. As a first step, they drafted an appeal—“No Combat Drones.” Close to 100 German organizations and Read more…

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Esther Vivas: From the World Social Forum to the Arab Revolts

On March 26, Tunisia, cradle of the revolts in the Arab world, hosted the World Social Forum (WSF), the most important international meeting of social movements and organizations. And this was not by chance. The promoters of the WSF chose this country in reference to the Arab Spring. The latter has not only given rise Read more…

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David Bacon: Corporate Education Reform at San Francisco College

On March 14, the day before the Trustees at San Francisco Community College District handed in the report that may decide the life or death of California’s largest community college, student and faculty marchers headed downtown to City Hall. A sinuous line of hundreds of chanting, banner-waving people stopped traffic on Mission Street, the main Read more…

John Laforge: U.S. Warned Kodak, Not Steve O’Neil, About Bomb Test Fallout

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission doused the entire United States with thyroid cancer-causing iodine-131—and 300 other radio-isotopes—by exploding atomic and hydrogen bombs above ground. To protect the dirty, secretive, militarized bomb-building industry, the government chose to warn the photographic film industry about the radioactive fallout patterns, but not the general public. Read more…

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Bill Berkowitz: Un-Planned Prisonhood

America’s federal prison system is broken as facilities are literally bursting at the seams. While overcrowding is endemic, some prisoners are often isolated, leading to severe mental health problems that go untreated. Staffing is inadequate and taxpayer dollars are flying out the window to maintain facilities, some of which are as structurally unsound as many Read more…

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Lawrence Wittner: Maryland Model: Welfare for the Richest

At this time of severe cutbacks in government funding for food stamps, early childhood education, and Meals on Wheels, some Maryland legislators are hard at work looking out for the welfare of one of the world’s wealthiest corporations. Under a bill rapidly advancing in the legislature of that state, the Lockheed Martin Corporation will have Read more…

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Ramzy Baroud: Ignoring Genocide in Rohingya

One fails to understand the unperturbed attitude with which regional and international leaders and organizations are treating the unrelenting onslaught against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, formally known as Burma. Numbers speak of atrocities where every violent act is prelude to greater violence and ethnic cleansing. Yet, western governments’ normalization with the Myanmar regime continues unabated, Read more…

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Kevin Zeese: The Plague of Wall Street Banking

Recent economic news highlights what happens when governments are unable to confront the root cause of the financial collapse—the risky speculation and securities fraud of the big banks. What happens? They blame the people, cut their benefits, tax their savings, and demand they work harder for less money. In the United States there have been Read more…

Edward S. Herman: Democrats’ (And Liberals’) Existential Crisis?

In his New York Times column of March 23, 2013, “The G.O.P.’s Bachmann Problem,” Charles M. Blow argues that the Republicans’ open internal squabbling, while it is “too delicious for words,” is not the main show. The main show is that “The Republican Party is experiencing an existential crisis, born of its own misguided incongruity Read more…

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Bruce E. Levine: Imperialist Psychiatrists, Psychopathic Corporatists

Mark Twain famously said, “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” My immediate reaction to Jon Ronson’s TED talk? Imperialist psychiatrists, psychopathic corporatists—but I too repeat myself. Ronson reminds us that the media’s poster boy for psychopathic corporatists in the 1990s was “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap. Read more…

Ben Terrall: Attacks on USPS

  On March 18, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe spoke at a National Postal Forum in San Francisco, prompting picketing by rank and file postal employees and their supporters. Protestors opposed Donahoe’s support for post office closures and layoffs of USPS workers. The demonstration was part of a week of actions called for by Communities Read more…

Compiled by Joel Chaffee: Events, New Releases, Campaigns

Events   KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE/CLIMATE – Bold Nebraska, The Other 98%, Hip Hop Caucus, CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, 350.org and Oil Change International have launched the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance. The pledge asks signers to engage in peaceful civil disobedience.   Contact: http://ran.org/act/pledge_resistance.   HISTORIANS/WAR – Historians Against the War will host their national Read more…

Various Reviewers: Book & Music Reviews

  Books     Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party By Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr. University of California Press, 2013, 560 pp. Review by Jeremy Kuzmarov In the summer of 1970, the North Vietnamese invited Black Panther Party leader Eldridge Cleaver to speak to black GIs Read more…

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Michael Albert: We Don’t Have Borders

ALBERT: If I am not mistaken you are originally from Australia. What brought you to Venezuela Analysis and to living and working inside Venezuela? PEARSON: After seven years in Sydney, Australia, as an active member of the DSP, resistance, and the Socialist Alliance, I came to Venezuela in 2007 to learn more about what was going Read more…

Evan Taylor: The New Crossroads of Empire

Railroads build empires. Beijing is building a new one. China, now a world-class producer of high-speed rail technology, is in the middle of a transportation boom unprecedented in history as 5,800 miles of domestic high-speed rail lines have been built since 2008, at a cost of $640 billion. Three months ago, just in time for Read more…

Dan Glazebrook: The African Union, Algeria, and Mali

Africa’s classic depiction in the mainstream media as a giant basketcase full of endless war, famine, and helpless children creates an illusion of a continent utterly dependent on Western handouts. In fact, the opposite is true—it is the West that is reliant on African handouts. These handouts come in many and varied forms. They include Read more…

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Roger Bybee: Elites Push the Skills Gap Myth

The Great American Jobs Machine,” as the New York Times once famously christened U.S. capitalism, has been seriously sputtering even in the post-“recovery” period for working people. On one hand, corporate profits have more than recovered and have hit stratospheric records, nearly $2 trillion for 2012 (NYT, 11/29/12). On the other, the working class and Read more…

Chris Williams: The Struggle to Save Our Planet Heats Up

Capitalism stands as a death sentinel over planetary life. Recent reports from institutions, such as the World Bank, detail how, as a result of human activity, we are on track for a 4° Celsius increase in average global temperatures. Should this come to pass, the Earth would be hotter than at any time in the Read more…

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Gina Mason: Betrayal of Trust on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Living with radiation sickness is not on my bucket list and I would hazard that it isn’t on yours either. Nor is it what I have in mind for my children’s future. Yet our government continues to manufacture nuclear materials and unsafely store radioactive waste in clear violation of the public trust. Nowhere is this Read more…

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Peter Rugh: Historic Rally Pushes Climate Change

There is no doorbell at the front gates of the White House—at least not for the public anyway—but the estimated 30,000 to 50,000 people who stood before 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday, February 17 made perhaps the largest human buzzer in the history of the U.S. climate movement. Despite a strategy of ignoring climate change Read more…

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Bill Berkowitz: The Catholic Church’s Sexual Abuse Scandal

Strategies used by the Church to cover up its worldwide sexual abuse scandal include: the Vatican’s refusal to cooperate with civil authorities; officially sanctioned priest shifting; the destruction of evidence; punishing whistleblowers and rewarding enablers; and blaming the victims. At the end of February, the eyes of the world were on Pope Benedict XVI as Read more…

Stephen Bergstein: Challenge to Broad Surveillance Authority

A recent 5-4 decision rejected a challenge to the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the government to intercept communications by persons outside the United States who are suspected of engaging in terrorist activity. The lawsuit was filed by attorneys and journalists who communicate with suspected terrorists around their world. Suing Read more…

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Ramzy Baroud: Bulldozers and More Talks

Despite much saber-rattling by Israel and the Obama administration and hyped-up expectations by the Palestinian leadership, the recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state late last year is on its way to becoming yet another footnote in a protracted conflict that has endured for 65 years. Just hours after the announcement, Israel had its Read more…

Edward S. Herman: Our Troops, Our War, and Our War Criminals

The call to “support our troops,” or “our boys,” is really an appeal to support the war in which the troops are engaged. Critics of the war would say that if the war is unjustified, possibly even a criminal enterprise in violation of international law at several levels, as was so clearly true of the Read more…

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Z Staff: Internet News Items

No Criminal Charges Barry Wood ([email protected]) sent Joseph Kishore’s “Too Big To Jail.” In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made an extraordinary admission. Responding to questioning from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who noted that there had been no major prosecutions of financial institutions or executives by the Obama administration, Read more…

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Z Staff: Information About Z

Z MAGAZINE is an independent magazine of critical thinking on political, cultural, social, and economic life in the U.S. It sees the racial, gender, class, and political dimensions of personal life as fundamental to understanding and improving contemporary circumstances; and it aims to assist activist efforts for a better future. Z Magazine is a project Read more…

Various Contributors: Hugo Chavez, 1956-2013

Mark Weisbrot, Chavez’s Legacy Bertrand Russell once wrote about the American revolutionary Thomas Paine, “He had faults, like other men; but it was for his virtues that he was hated and successfully calumniated.” This was certainly true of Hugo Chávez Frias, who was probably more demonized than any democratically elected president in world history. But Read more…

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Z Staff: About Z

Z MAGAZINE is an independent magazine of critical thinking on political, cultural, social, and economic life in the U.S. It sees the racial, gender, class, and political dimensions of personal life as fundamental to understanding and improving contemporary circumstances; and it aims to assist activist efforts for a better future. Z Magazine is a project Read more…

Compiled by Joel Chaffee: Events and New Releases

Events ISRAEL/PALESTINE – Israeli Apartheid Week is an annual international series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. The aim is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns. Palestinian students have called for all U.S. students to put Read more…

Various Reviewers: New and Recent Releases

Book Review Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You Edited by Ryan Conrad, introduction by Dean Spade AE Press, 2012, 114 pp. Review by Toshio Meronek Prisons Will Not Protect You describes a sentiment that many queer people can relate to. Every day, police stop transgender people for “walking while transgender,” as prison wardens send Read more…

Kristin Lawler: The Politics of Austerity and the Ikarian Dream

As a long-time fan of the leisurely aspect of European culture, I am always thrilled whenever it makes its way onto the radar screens of Americans, who are, it’s clear, grievously overworked by comparison. Too often, images of Europe are portrayed in the context of a grim new “common sense” about the European lifestyle that Read more…

Evan Taylor: Turkey, Central Asia, & the Failure of Imperialism

In April 2012, a watershed broke in American foreign policy and, as is typical in the bureaucratic halls of the National Security State, it came from the Council on Foreign Relations. A large, blue-ribbon panel headed by Steven Hadley, the extremely influential National Security Advisor in the second Bush term, and Madeline Albright, Clinton’s Secretary Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: Income Inequality and Double Dip Recession

I have argued in these pages that the current recession is not a normal recession and that there would, therefore, be no normal recovery; that monetary (central bank) policy may bail out the banks, but would not succeed in stimulating an economic recovery except for stock, bond, derivatives, and other markets for speculators; similarly, fiscal Read more…

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Roger Bybee: Insourcing Trend Strictly A Myth

The cover of Atlantic magazine’s December issue boldly assures America: “Comeback: Why The Future of Industry Is In America,” with the headlines pronounced against a backdrop bearing the glossy sheen of a brand-new American-made product. Coupled with numerous speeches by President Obama proclaiming an “insourcing” trend as well as a raft of recent media stories Read more…

Robert Hunziker: India Embraces The Climate Change Issue

The Himalayan glaciers are receding, agricultural yields are stagnating, dry days have increased, and the patterns of monsoons have become unpredictable. India is increasingly seeing the effects of climate change” (Jairam Ramesh, Former Minister of Environment & Forest, Government of India). India is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate changes, and it Read more…

Elsa Rassbach: The Afghan People Are Fed Up

Malalai Joya first gained international attention in 2003 when she spoke out publicly against the domination of warlords. She was at that time serving as an elected delegate to the Loya Jirga that was convened to ratify the Constitution of Afghanistan. In 2005, she became one of 68 women elected to the 249-seat National Assembly Read more…

Michael Nutkiewicz: Knowledge for What? Educating for Social Justice

When the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1948, the General Assembly urged member states “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read, and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.” How well have schools and universities promulgated Read more…

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Bill Berkowitz: How the GOP Got a Lock on the House

If you were wondering how Republicans continue to control the House of Representatives, despite President Barack Obama’s re-election victory and the Democrats winning a million more votes in House races around the country, think redistricting.   Redistricting is the process that adjusts the lines of a state’s electoral districts, theoretically based on population shifts, following Read more…

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Ramzy Baroud: Opportunities and War in Mali

The British security firm G4S is set to rake in massive profits thanks to crises in Mali, Libya, and Algeria. The January 16 hostage crisis at Algeria’s Ain Amenas gas plant, where 38 hostages were killed, ushered in the return of al-Qaeda not as extremists on the run, but as well-prepared militants with the ability Read more…

Nicolas J.S. Davies: Bomber in Chief

Many people around the world are disturbed by U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere. The illusion that American drones can strike without warning anywhere in the world without placing Americans in harm’s way makes drones dangerously attractive to U.S. officials—even as they fuel the cycle of violence that the “war on Read more…

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Jill Stein: The Real Obama Emerges-Again

If you’re having political déjà vu as Obama’s second term in the White House gets underway, you’re not alone. The supposedly populist candidate—who won re-election promising to tax the rich, protect Social Security, and make the economy fair—has morphed back into an invaluable ally of the economic elite. Yet again, he’s willing to let people Read more…

Edward S. Herman: Peace Through Weakness

One of the agreed-on truths of the U.S. political establishment is that peace results from adequate strength, which will provide us with “national security” as well as other benefits. This was a favorite Reaganite slogan, repeated recently by Paul Ryan, who said that “Peace through strength is not just a slogan. It’s not just something Read more…

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