On the Trail of the Cowards

.NEW. Back in the 1960s, following the assassination of then-president John F. Kennedy, the district attorney of New Orleans, Louisiana, Jim Garrison, began casually looking into a few local leads in his city related to the Kennedy killing. Those local leads eventually expanded into a full-blown investigation and the only prosecution ever undertaken in a United States court for the killing of Kennedy. Garrison told the whole intriguing story in his 1988 book On the Trail of the Assassins, a real-life murder mystery in which he exposes layer by layer, fact by fact, the network of cowards involved in the planned homicide of Kennedy. A true classic, Garrison’s book later became part of the basis for the 1991 blockbuster motion picture JFK by director Oliver Stone.

Today, a half-century later, investigators and prosecutors at various levels of government around the U.S. are hot on the trail of a whole new set of cowards — those involved in the planning, organizing and carrying out of the 6 January attack on the U.S. Congress in 2021. Like Garrison did more than half a century earlier, investigators and prosecutors at various levels today are exposing such cowards for who they are. And what these cowards are revealing to the world is not a pretty picture of America, the land of justice and freedom.

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Defying the Media Mantra of a ‘Great Leader’

In death as in life, the late prime minister Shinzo Abe divides the nation of Japan. Following Abe’s assassination on a public street in the city of Nara in broad daylight last month, the Japanese government has decided on an official state funeral for Abe to be held on 27 September. The public in Japan is increasingly voicing its opposition to this state funeral, the first such event to be held in this country in more than a half-century. Why should the death of an ultra-nationalist, far-right leader whose policies were so detrimental to democracy in Japan and who was so lowly regarded by so many citizens be honored with taxpayer money? they demand to know.

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The Coat Hanger Diaries — America’s New Abortion Story

Anna Yocca was 31 years old when she tried to abort a fetus in her womb that she did not want to carry any longer. In an act of sheer desperation, she used a coat hanger rod in a bathtub full of water to try to end her pregnancy, which was 24 weeks along. When the bleeding wouldn’t stop, she called for medical help and was transported to a hospital, where she gave birth to a severely injured baby. She was soon arrested by police and charged with attempted murder of her child.

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When Tyrants of a Feather Flock Together

The world watches in horror as an act of genocidal war unfolds before our eyes, with Russian president/dictator Vladimir Putin unleashing his country’s full military might against the sovereign eastern European nation of Ukraine, located next door. The Ukrainian people are fighting back bravely for their lives, with no other choice but to confront this modern-day Hitler and his fascist fantasy of a new Russian empire.

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A Supreme Teacher Continues on...

A Native American brother weeps hot tears of rage as he recalls his time in “that mess” that was the American war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. “The Creator didn’t put us here for this,” he says, choking back tears. In the space of a couple minutes, he then recites the violent history of the USA better than any history book ever could.

It is August 2002, nearly a year after 11 September 2001, and the Native brother is participating in a sangha, or community, of Vietnam war veterans organized by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh at Stonehill College, a private Catholic school located in Easton, Massachusetts. Like me, Nhat Hanh was in the United States at the time of 9/11 and saw firsthand the dangerous wave of fear, ignorance and hate that quickly rose up throughout the land: A “war on terrorism” was officially declared, the nation of Afghanistan was soon invaded and now the U.S. government was preparing for a second invasion in Iraq.

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Free Peltier — This Time for Real

Six years ago, I joined with many around the world in appealing directly to Barack Obama, president of the United States, for executive clemency for Native American activist Leonard Peltier — the longest-serving political prisoner in the USA. Our appeal was for Obama to use his power of the presidency to set Peltier free. The legal case that the government of the USA constructed to put Peltier behind bars back in 1977 was marred through and through by incompetence and fraud, to put it mildly. It was time to let Peltier go and draw a close to that sad chapter of history.

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Accolades for the Archbishop

It is early morning somewhere in rural South Africa, the sun not yet rising over the horizon. In the dim morning light, through the slowly lifting fog — or is it smoke from the nearby shacks? — I am walking up some makeshift steps on the side of a steep ravine. I look over at the person walking up next to me and study the lines on his face: It is Desmond Tutu, the revered Anglican Church archbishop of South Africa. He is showing me around here, he explains, because he wants me to see how people in South Africa really live, the poverty they still have to face in the land of apartheid.

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The Great American War Hero Who Wasn’t

News media worldwide are awash now with stories about the recent death of Colin Powell, a towering figure in the world of American military matters and diplomacy, at the age of 84 due to coronavirus-related causes. Past presidents of the United States, not to mention right-wing media and the corporate press in general, are showering the late Powell with praise as a “great American,” a patriot and a war hero in the grand tradition of warmongering in the USA.

But while being respectful toward those who have personally lost a loved one in Powell, let us also spare the niceties here for the controversial public icon: Colin Powell was no war hero. He was, more accurately, a war criminal. And he was in good company, standing alongside other war criminals at the highest levels of the American state. Powell, like the others, was never prosecuted for war crimes in his lifetime and never took responsibility for his role in carrying out those crimes.

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Salute to a Soul Sister

Janice Mirikitani and a friend are walking down the sidewalk, as the friend’s recollection goes, in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, California, USA — one of the city’s poorer and more merciless areas. Coming down the sidewalk toward them is a man of the streets who is making loud barking and growling noises like a dog; he is obviously in need of some help.

The friend instinctively grabs Mirikitani’s arm to pull her away and out of the path of a perceived danger looming ahead. Just as instinctively, Mikiritani pulls the friend back close to her and keeps walking straight ahead, her stride intact. Soon, the man and Janice are standing face to face on the sidewalk and the friend’s heart is racing, fearing what might come next.

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Disinfectant Don & the Magically Downsizing Democracy

A half-year after the greatest crime against the USA that the universe has never seen — to borrow a Trumpish superlative — it bears looking closely at what has been happening since the 6 January 2021 failed coup attempt sparked by the former president of the United States and the inauguration of the legitimately elected president, Joe Biden, not long afterward.

In short, a downsizing of democracy is now underway that does not bode well for the future.

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