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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Cynthia Peters: Robin Hood Was Right

Cynthia Peters The Newtown Florist Club in Gainesville, Georgia was a group of African American churchwomen that brought flowers to the sick. After a while, they noticed that a lot of the sick had gotten that way because of environmental problems. The Newtown churchwomen made a connection between the disease in their community and the Read more…

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Robert Naiman: Globalization: The Fat Lady Ain’t Sung

Robert Naiman Champagne corks are popping in Washington, as the corporate lobby celebrates its victory over democracy – bribing Congress into granting "Permanent Normal Trading Relations" to China. Corporations, not China, are the true beneficiaries – they have won "permanent" authority to relocate production to China, take advantage of repression of workers, and export to Read more…

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Douglas Dowd: THE FREE MARKET; AND ALL THAT JAZZ

Doug Dowd The rising tide of center/right socioeconomic policies in the United States (among other societies) appalls a goodly share of our people. Riding high on what is now a flood tide, propelled by and propelling it, has been the phenomenal Second Coming of capital’s deity, "the free market" — otherwise known as "laissez-faire," or Read more…

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David Edwards: CLIMATE WARS Paying The Ultimate Price For Corporate Control of Society

  Declared 98% successful in destroying Iraqi Scud missiles during the Gulf War, the Patriot missile system was subsequently found to have achieved a success rate “close to zero” by Professor Ted Postol of MIT. But by then the deception had done its job: a further $1 billion had already been invested in U.S. national Read more…

Dorothy Guellec: Death in America

Dorothy Guellec Most people do not take hunger in America seriously, but add this to cutbacks in food stamps, the daily need for insulin, and low wages, and then we really have a life-threatening situation here. If diabetics don’t eat, they can develop ketoacidosis, a potentially deadly complication of diabetes, if severe enough, can end Read more…

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Norman Solomon: OVERCOMING THE HAZARDS OF MEDIA

Norman Solomon After the "Love Bug" virus struck millions of computer hard drives, many news outlets attributed the magnitude of the damage to overwhelming reliance on the same type of software. Suddenly, in the digital world, steep downsides of technical conformity were obvious. But such concerns should also extend to the shortage of variety in Read more…

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Saul Landau: McCaffery (Goliath) v. Hersh (David)

Saul Landau I found the May 15 NPR news very even-handed – as always. The host interviewed Seymour Hersh, who wrote for the May 22 New Yorker Overwhelming Force, an expose on General Barry McCaffery’s Gulf War conduct. Hersh interviewed soldiers and officers and reviewed relevant documents that call into question McCaffery’s battlefield conduct. On Read more…

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Marta Russell: Why not Capitalism?

Marta Russell Society still perceives disability as a medical matter. That is, society associates disability with physiological, anatomical, or mental “defects” and hold these conditions responsible for the disabled person’s lack of full participation in the economic life of our society, rather than viewing their exclusion for what it is — a matter of hard Read more…

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Manning Marable: Why Diallo Had To Die

Manning Marable For more than one year, the controversy surrounding the New York murder of Amadou Diallo has made headlines throughout the world. Most people have heard by now about the unarmed African immigrant who was fired on 41 times as he stood in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment building. The police officers, all Read more…

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Scott Burchill: New Rules of Engagement

Scott Burchill In the first weeks of September last 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 by TNI and their militia surrogates. Thousands remain Read more…

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Tariq Ali: London Defeats Tony Blair: The Consequences of Citizen Ken

Tariq Ali In these times of political adversity for the left, Ken Livingstone’s spectacular triumph against the culture and politics of New Labour marks an important turning point in English politics. Blair refused to accept Livingstone as the Labour candidate because he was ‘too leftwing’, even though Labour Party members had voted for him in Read more…

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Danny Schechter: Rescuing The Children: Elián, AIDS, South Africa and Media

  I can just hear some Hollywood exec wondering if it has "series potential" while watching the dramatic showdown in the latest episode of the Elin Gonzlez tug-of-war. On April 22 federal agents in a long overdue and overdrawn response "rescued" the six-year-old from a politically driven soap opera and family feud. He was reunited Read more…

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Danny Schechter: Rescuing The Children: Eli‡n, AIDS, South Africa and Media

Danny Schechter I can just hear some Hollywood exec wondering if it has "series potential" while watching the dramatic showdown in the latest episode of the Elián González tug-of-war. On April 22 federal agents in a long overdue and overdrawn response "rescued" the six-year-old from a politically driven soap opera and family feud. He was Read more…

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Russell Mokhiber: Sixteen Years for a Snickers Bar

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman Last month, a Texas jury recommended that Kenneth Payne, 29, spend 16 years in jail. Payne’s crime? Stealing a Snickers bar from a Tyler, Texas grocery store on December 17, 1999. When Smith county Assistant District Attorney Jodi Brown was asked by the Associated Press how she could justify 16 Read more…

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Jim Hightower: WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

Jim Hightower Have you heard of the "Butterfly Effect?" Both a scientific concept and an ecological reality, its essence is that the flapping of a million butterfly wings in central Mexico can have consequences in New York City, Rome, or Hong Kong. The notion is that our physical world is more intricately balanced than we Read more…

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Vijay Prashad: ‘Just Say No to PepsiCo’: So Say 101 Indian workers

Vijay Prashad One hundred million people and sixty million cattle in India are in the midst of a crippling drought. The states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh have been hit with poor monsoon rain. According to the Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, the onus for the Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Assaulting Solidarity — Privatizing Education

Noam Chomsky There has been a general assault in the last 25 years on solidarity, democracy, social welfare, anything that interferes with private power, and there are many targets. One of the targets is undoubtedly the educational system. In fact, a couple of years ago already, the big investment firms, like Lehman Brothers, and so Read more…

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Pervez Hoodbhoy: EQBAL AHMAD: POST-POKHARAN DAYS

Pervez Hoodhoy He fought for Kashmiri self-determination in 1948, against French imperialism in Algeria in the early 60’s, roused students on American campuses in the early 70’s against their government’s immoral war in Vietnam, dodged arrest by the CIA in a case trumped up by Richard Nixon’s government that accused him of trying to kidnap Read more…

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Tim Wise: “Seeing the System: Alan Greenspan, Unemployment, and the Validation of Radical Analysis

Tim Wise "What’s the difference between a radical and a liberal?" It is a question I’m regularly asked at lectures, usually by college students struggling with their own sense of the world, trying desperately to figure out where they stand on the seemingly endless spectrum from right to left. Often it is put to me Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Cure `em or Kill `em

Cynthia Peters Disability rights activists have been waiting for Christopher Reeve to get over his “I-will-walk-again” thing. But it’s been 5 years since the actor, best known for his role as “Superman,” became a quadriplegic after a horse-riding accident, and he’s showing no sign of relaxing his efforts to support the search for a cure. Read more…

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Saul Landau: REPORT FROM SANTIAGO: DEJA VU

Saul Landau History repeats itself, wrote Marx, first as tragedy and then again as farce. First time: Chile, November, 1970. In one photo, a helmeted officer just to the right of and behind Allende’s car wears a bored, or maybe slightly pained, expression. General Camilo Valenzuela sits in the saddle, a gray uniformed, gray-faced officer Read more…

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Howard Zinn: THE HEROES AROUND US

Howard Zinn Recently, meeting with a group of high school students, I was asked by one of them: "I read in your book, A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, about the massacres of Indians, the long history of racism, the persistence of poverty in the richest country in the world, the senseless wars. How Read more…

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Douglas Dowd: THE GREAT BRAIN ROBBERY

Doug Dowd Let not young souls be smothered out before They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride. It is the world’s one crime its babes grow dull, Its poor are ox-like, limp and leaden-eyed. Set those words beside these:  I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: Four Dead in Ohio: Thirty Years Later

Mark Weisbrot May 4 will mark thirty years since four students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University were murdered by Ohio National Guardsmen. It is no exaggeration to call it murder, since the students were unarmed and– given how far they were from the troops– could not have posed any threat. The closest Read more…

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Norman Solomon: THE POWER AND LIMITS OF PHOTOJOURNALISM

Norman Solomon Despite all the emphasis on new media, photography has never lost the power to move us. Some recent photo essays in major American magazines, focusing on the poor and dispossessed, are efforts to break through abstraction and indifference. They tell us a lot about the potential impacts — and common limitations — of Read more…

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Jim Hightower: WHAT’S MISSING IN CAMPAIGN 2000

Jim Hightower Well, there we have it: Gore-Bush. Dull versus dullard. The political establishments of the two-party duopoly successfully rose up to surround, defend, and shove forward their chosen ones, both girded with tens of millions of dollars from the exact same sources of corrupt corporate money. This means that the basic kitchen-table issues that Read more…

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Edward Herman: THE LEFT AND ELECTORAL PARTICIPATION

Edward S. Herman The left always has a problem at election time, and embattled left pens are already trying to demonstrate that we should: (1) forego voting; (2) vote for Ralph Nader; or (3) vote for the lesser evil (Gore). The fact that there is always such vigorous dispute on this subject, with people of Read more…

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Betsy Hartmann: Population Policy: Will Coercion Come Back in Vogue?

Betsy Hartmann In February of this year the Indian government announced a new population policy based on a two-child norm. While social activists have welcomed certain elements of the policy, such as free and compulsory elementary education and improvements in health infrastructure, other proposals are raising serious alarm. After the 1994 UN Population Conference in Read more…

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Sonia Shah: Social Alienation and the School of Fish Theory of Social Change

Sonia Shah Did you miss me? You’ve been busy, with world-shaking, front-page social change happenings. In my sleep-deprived fog even I noticed that things were getting exciting, and I missed you. My six-month leave from work to look after my 2 kids, aged 3 and 10 weeks, respectively, poses its own challenges, to be sure. Read more…

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Danny Schechter: The News Dissector In Berlin: Media Mergers And Personal Memories

Danny Schechter In my travels to the "Old World," I often discover how "old" some of my own ideas are. In Berlin last week to speak at a media conference, I learned about Tobias Peucer who, as a student at the University of Leipzig, wrote what may have been the world’s first media analysis 310 Read more…

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Patrick Bond: Zimbabwe’s Crisis Showcases Reasons for Bank/IMF Protest

Patrick Bond In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe appears to have taken leave of his senses, potentially plunging his country of 12 million into civil war. What does this have to do with the mid-April protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund? Confusingly, Mugabe excels in IMF-bashing, famously telling Fund staff to "Shut up!" Read more…

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Sean Gonsalves: Joseph Campbell’s Mythical Soup

Sean Gonsalves Joseph Campbell reminded us how important myths are in shaping human culture and our own individual world-views. Of course, mythology cannot be truly understood in the narrow way it is commonly (mis)used today. In contemporary popular lingo a myth is an unnecessary falsification of reality. But myths are much more than that. The Read more…

Dorothy Guellec: Denial of Food and Medicine

Dorothy Guellec The embargo is driving Cuba toward crisis and is causing significant suffering and death. Obtaining licenses from the departments of Commerce and Treasury to sell goods to Cuba (Cuban Democracy Act of 1992) on a contract-by-contract basis is a laborious process. The Geneva Conventions, to which some 165 countries including the U.S. are Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Colombia – Part Two of Two

  The sharp increase in arms shipped to Colombia is officially justified in terms of the "drug war," a claim taken seriously by few competent analysts, even apart from the instructive historical pattern, barely sampled here. As many have observed, the military themselves are heavily involved in narcotrafficking, and their paramilitary associates — who openly Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Colombia Ð Part Two of Two

Noam Chomsky The sharp increase in arms shipped to Colombia is officially justified in terms of the "drug war," a claim taken seriously by few competent analysts, even apart from the instructive historical pattern, barely sampled here. As many have observed, the military themselves are heavily involved in narcotrafficking, and their paramilitary associates — who Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Colombia – Part One of Two

  In 1999, Colombia became the leading recipient of US military and police assistance, replacing Turkey (Israel and Egypt are in a separate category). The figure is scheduled to increase sharply for the next two years. Through the 1990s, Colombia has been the leading recipient of US military aid in Latin America, and has also Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Colombia Ð Part One of Two

Noam Chomsky In 1999, Colombia became the leading recipient of US military and police assistance, replacing Turkey (Israel and Egypt are in a separate category). The figure is scheduled to increase sharply for the next two years. Through the 1990s, Colombia has been the leading recipient of US military aid in Latin America, and has Read more…

Sam Mchombo: IMPACT OF AIDS ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN MALAWI

Sam Mchombo        Mid-August, 1999, the heads of state of the countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) had a summit in Maputo, Mozambique. Held against the backdrop of economic stagnation, unresolved conflicts in Angola, internal strife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) threatening to engulf countries in East, Central, and Southern Read more…

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Mark Weisbrot: Protesters 2, Multinational Monsters 0

Marc Weisbrot It’s amazing what an organized group of people can accomplish when their cause is just and they are willing to be stubborn and creative about it. Last December they knocked the wind out of the WTO in Seattle. Now this diverse and expanding movement has got the world’s two most powerful financial behemoths– Read more…

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Robert Naiman: A19: The Media Empire Blows Back

Robert Naiman As someone whose central organizing principles in life include figuring out how to reduce and undermine the power and legitimacy of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and kindred institutions, I have to say that the week of protests and education in Washington against these institutions was like Read more…

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Marta Russell: Handicapitalism Makes its Debut

Marta Russell   While a backlash is in full gear against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) across the nation, the Wall Street Journal (Dec. 15, 1999) recently tagged disabled people as the “Next Consumer Niche.” Another icon of America’s ruling class, Fortune Magazine (Feb. 7, 2000) picked up on the “Disabled Americans are a Read more…

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Ted Glick: The Non-Violent Army

Ted Glick For those of us who believe that fundamental change is needed in the United States and the world, there is a new development that we all need to welcome, understand, support and work with: the non-violent army. The just-concluded protests in Washington, D.C. against the IMF and the World Bank bore witness to Read more…

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Michael Ratner: Elian: Pious Words, Craven Acts

Michael Ratner Early on in the Elian affair Janet Reno made the correct determination. On January 5th she determined that Elian’s father had a close, loving relationship with his son and that he had the sole legal authority to speak on Elian’s behalf in immigration matters. She then advised Elain’s great uncle that Elian should Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: The DC Demos

Cynthia Peters Note: I attended the protests on Sunday and Monday as an individual “on the fly.” The impressions offered here are just that. They are based on my personal viewpoint during the events, and do not include extensive background information. Notes on April 16 and 17, Washington DC Imagine a fluid mass — not Read more…

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Vijay Prashad: As the Dust Settles: Clinton in the SubcontinentBy

Vijay Prashad I’ve just returned from India filled with stories of Clinton’s trip to the subcontinent. The reaction was extraordinary. After Clinton gave an address in the Central Hall of the Indian Parliament (boycotted by the Communist delegates) he was mobbed by a gaggle of Members of Parliament. The sight of these craven ‘representatives of Read more…

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Walden Bello: MELTZER REPORT ON BRETTON WOODS TWINS BUILDS CASE FOR ABOLITION BUT HESITATESBy

Walden Bello During the heated debate on whether or not to raise the US quota in the IMF in 1998, the US Congress voted for the quota increase but attached several conditions, including the creation of an independent body to look at the missions and performance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Read more…

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Michael Albert: Participatory Economic Program

Michael Albert Participatory economics is a set of institutions for accomplishing production, consumption, and allocation while meeting people’s needs and furthering their development; is a set of institutions designed to propel equity, solidarity, diversity, and self-management; is a set of institutions centered upon democratic councils, remuneration according to effort and sacrifice, balanced job complexes, and Read more…

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Norman Solomon: FROM THE NEWS MEDIA TO ELIAN, WITH LOVE

Norman Solomon Oh Elian, we love you! We’re the News Media. And you’re incredibly special. Many politicians, legal experts, psychologists, celebrities and pundits have wanted the world to know that they fervently desire what’s best for you. We’ve been glad to put you on national television — live if possible — playing on a backyard Read more…

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Tanya Reinhart: Mideast Apartheid? Peace?

Tanya Reinhart APARTHEID WON’T BE HERE Tanya Reinhart  The Hebrew daily  ‘Yediot Axaronot’ 23.3.00. (Notes added for Z-net commentaries.) Hundred and twenty Palestinian intellectuals issued a message addressed to the Israeli and Jewish public. "The majority of Palestinians, including the undersigned, believed that the time was ripe for concluding with the Israelis a historic agreement", Read more…

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Douglas Dowd: SOCIAL SECURITY: FROM SCAM TO SCANDAL IN 65 YEARSBy

SOCIAL SECURITY: FROM SCAM TO SCANDAL IN 65 YEARSBy

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