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July/August 2014
Volume 27
Number 7/8

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, and 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. (See “About Z” in the table of contents.)

 

Now Publishing Z BOOKS

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Recently Released:
Z Reader on the Environment!
 
Coming in June:
The Chomsky Z Collection

 

DONATIONS 

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

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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Z Staff: Internet News Items

Torture Susie Day (mrzine.monthlyreview.org) emailed an article titled “Zero Dark Thirty: The Woman’s Guide to Success Through Torture.” I. Globe See the Globe. More than half the 7 billion people on the Globe are women. Women are different from men. Why are women different from men? Because, according to international humanitarian agencies, women have special Read more…

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Z Staff: New Z Books
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Ted Glick: Promised Land

Promised Land, the new movie starring Matt Damon, is a movie in part about fracking, the new and extremely problematic way of getting natural gas out of shale rock far below the earth’s surface. It’s a very good movie, with good acting, particularly by Damon in a very different role than, for example, his Jason Read more…

Compiled by Joel Chaffee: Events, New Releases, and News Items

Events SCHOOLS – The Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek, CA will host the Second Annual Conference Creating a Peaceful School, February 2. The conference is intended for parents, teachers, administrators, classroom aides and anyone who works with K-12 students. Contact: Seven Hills School, 975 North San Carlos Drive, Walnut Creek, CA Read more…

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Tom Engelhardt: The U.S. Intelligence Community’s New Year’s Wish

Think of it as a simple formula: if you’ve been hired (and paid handsomely) to protect what is, you’re going to be congenitally ill-equipped to imagine what might be. And yet the urge not just to know the contours of the future, but to plant the Stars and Stripes in that future has had the Read more…

John Raymond: Low Level Radiation, High Level Risk

With nuclear energy, the biggest elephant in the room has always been the link to cancer and other diseases from the low level radioactive emissions that routinely spew out of nuclear plants every day. But under regulations set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRE) and the powerful political reach of the global nuclear establishment, these Read more…

Allen Ruff: The World Bank Brings Nazarbayev University to Kazakhstan

On December 16, 2011, Kazakhstan state security forces opened fire on striking oil workers in the Caspian Sea company town of Zhanaozen. According to the official count, 15 died and upwards of 70 were wounded (unofficial casualty counts ran much higher). Jailings and repression of critics and political opponents of the regime have continued since. Read more…

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Joseph Gerson: Countering Washington’s Pivot and the New Asia-Pacific Arms Race

With Obama’s reelection, we avoided the worst possible outcome, a catastrophic return to the neoconservative unilateralist militarism of the Bush II years. There will be change in the composition of the Cabinet, but as President Obama signaled with his first post-election visit being to Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia, the militarist and economic “pivot” to Asia Read more…

Al Gedicks: Mining Industry Targets “Prove It First” Law

Prior to investing in new resource colonies, multinational mining corporations frequently change a country’s mining laws to remove restrictions on foreign ownership, reduce taxes, ease environmental protections and guarantee access to water supplies needed for mining. During the 1990s, under pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, over 90 states in the Read more…

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John Esther: No Mercy Seat

Far from the maddening solitude of Arkansas’s death row where he spent 18 years of his life for a crime he did not commit, Damien Echols sits across from me at a hotel in Beverly Hills with his wife of 13 years, Laurie Daniels, one week shy of his 38th birthday. Since I last saw Read more…

Steven Durel: Left of Left

Linguistics professor Noam Chomsky has been America’s premier political dissident since the Vietnam War. As a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy, the self-described “libertarian socialist” has been beloved by generations of students and activists. DUREL: President Obama was re-elected with a majority of the vote. How do you feel about his first term in Read more…

Various Contributors: Twin Madnesses, et al

FORUM Twin Madnesses by David Swanson We’re in the grip of twin madnesses and those who have overcome one of them can still be completely controlled by the other. The first madness is the idea that spending a trillion dollars a year on weaponry and war preparations makes us safer, that 1,000 military bases abroad Read more…

Robert Hunziker: Antarctica, the Big Kahuna

There is no getting around the evidence that: (1) CO2 absorbed into the oceans is killing coral reefs, home to nine million species; (2) one-half the 20,000-year-old glaciers in the Andes have completely disappeared over the past 20 years, threatening the water resources for 100 million people; (3) the world’s highest ski area, Chacaltaya (Bolivia), Read more…

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Ramzy Baroud: The Imagined Iranian Threat in Latin America

Reading the text of a bill that was recently signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama should instill fear in the hearts of ordinary Americans. Apparently, barbarians coming from distant lands are at work. They are gathering at the U.S.-Mexico border, cutting fences, and are ready to wreak havoc on an otherwise serene American Read more…

Edward S. Herman: Beyond Chutzpah

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama gravely and indignantly warned Syria that its use of chemical weapons would be “totally unacceptable” (Obama), that it would “cross a red line and those responsible would be held accountable” (Clinton), and the New York Times and the Western establishment repeat this without comment, one Read more…

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Norman Solomon: New Year, New Era for Progressives and Obama

As 2013 gets underway, progressives need to be here now. We’re in a new era of national politics—with different circumstances that call for a major shift in approach. Last year, the vast majority of progressives supported the Obama campaign to keep a Republican out of the White House. We helped deliver that vital blow to Read more…

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Z Staff: News Items from the Internet

Privatizing the Post Office Edward S. Herman forwarded the article “Murderous Reform: A Plan to Privatize Postal Profits at Public Expense” by Gray Brechin in which Brechin notes that the National Academy of Public Administration released a “Work-in-Progress” report entitled “Restructuring the U.S. Postal System: The Case for a Hybrid Public-Private Postal System.” The Academy’s 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…

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Jane Slaughter: Michigan’s Right to Work Passes

Union protesters in front of the Michigan Capitol on December 11 knocked down an enormous tent erected by Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-brothers-funded group that helped bring right to work to the state.   Several dozen protesters were sitting down in the Capitol Rotunda, risking arrest, and more were outside the governor’s office. Three school Read more…

Various Contributors: Events, Campaigns, Books, & Films

Events GUANTANAMO – January 11, 2013 is the 11th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guan- tanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama pledged to close the prison in January 2009, but it remains open. Protest events are planned in Washington, DC.   Contact: http://www.closeguan- tanamo.org/.   WOMEN – CODE PINK is joining VDay to Read more…

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Seth Sandronsky: Review of Catastrophism

  Book   Review    Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth By Sasha Lilley, David McNally, Eddie Yuen, and James Davis   PM Press, 2012, 192 pp.     The politics and rhetoric of doomsday shadows the left, right, and environmental movements in the Global North. What this trend means is the focus Read more…

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Jack Rasmus: The Three Faces of the Fiscal Cliff

The Fiscal Cliff, we are told, is about the $1.2 trillion reduction in the U.S. deficit scheduled to take effect January 1, 2013, which includes $503 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes in the first year, 2013, and another $682 billion in 2014. Although the matter of what and how much will be reduced Read more…

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Paul Street: The Plutocrats Keep Their Shirts

It is tempting, perhaps, to see the 2012 presidential election as a triumph for ordinary people over concentrated wealth. There’s some basis for that conclusion. After all, Obama formally ran for re-election on the notions that the rich need to be taxed more, that Medicare and Social Security should to be protected against corporate privatization, Read more…

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Sue Katz: The Facing Race Conference

The Applied Research Center (ARC) celebrated its 30th anniversary of, in their words, “fighting for racial justice through media research and action” at its bi-annual Facing Race conference of 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (ARC is also the publisher of Colorlines.com, a distinguished daily news source on issues of interest to the social justice community). Appropriate Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Imminent Crises

This article is a transcription of a talk Chomsky gave to the students attending Z Media Institute in 2005. The three crises reviewed here are particularly relevant today, post-election, as neither of the three were addressed by the candidates (although they involve survival of the species) and there are no known plans to do something Read more…

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Arun Gupta: Life Interrupted

Hearing that your son was sentenced to eight years in prison is not normally a cause for celebration. But after a federal judge imposed this term on his 21-year-old son, Connor Stevens, for his role in an FBI-inspired plot to bomb a Cleveland-area bridge last April 30, 2012, James Stevens said, “I felt relief.”   Read more…

Ruth Castel-Branco: Profile of a Domestic Worker in Maputo, Mozambique

Every morning Camarada Albertina Mundlovo wakes up at the crack of dawn, ready to battle the crowds waiting at her neighborhood taxi stand. With over one million inhabitants, Maputo, Mozambique is a rapidly growing city. Urban sprawl, increased congestion, and an inadequate public transport system have transformed the commute from the working class suburbs to Read more…

Roberto Armstrong: Part-Timing

In his article” The Abysmal State of Adjunct Pay and Actions to Create Change” in the December 2012 edition of Z Magazine, Jeff Nall outlined in broad terms the economic and academic impacts of the growth of part-time faculty at colleges and universities, now filling something like 70 percent of teaching positions. He and others Read more…

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