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I am a 63 year old American child and adolescent psychiatrist and political refugee in New Zealand. I have just published a young adult novel THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW (which won a NABE Pinnacle Achievement Award) about a 16 year old girl who participates in the blockade and occupation of the US Capitol. I also have a new non-fiction ebook REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE and a 2010 memoir, THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ACT: MEMOIR OF AN AMERICAN REFUGEE describing the circumstances that led me to leave the US in 2002 to start a new life in New Zealand. My memoir won an Allbooks Review Editor's Choice Award. I have a political commentary blog at my website.
The two biggest obstacles OWS will face in maintaining their commitment to non-violence will be the attitude of low income and minority groups who deal with police violence on a daily basis and growing concerns about the possible role CIA-funded left gatekeeping foundations have played in engineering OWS's exclusive commitment to nonviolence. This concern is heightened by the use of Gene Sharp's materials at several OWS sites.
The Wikipedia Revolution
Lih's book stands as a testament to the unsung heroes of the Open Source movement. From the outset, there has been a split between entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who view the Internet as an opportunity to become enormously rich, and visionaries in the OS movement, who see it as a medium of social change. Like OWS, it reclaims electronic communications as a "commons" to be jointly owned for the common good.
Sunday, December 4, 2011(3 comments)
The 2011 New Zealand Elections
The outcome of the November 26 elections was extremely gratifying for the New Zealand Green Party. We received an unprecedented 10.6% of the party vote, which will translate into 13 MPs in the new Parliament. We also passed a referendum to preserve MMP (New Zealand's system of proportional representation).
Friday, December 2, 2011(8 comments)
Paying the Piper
It's impossible to rationally discuss economic reform separate from political reform. At present, there is no commitment to require the ruling elite to engage in the belt tightening they seek to impose on the middle class and young people. Where there is political will to share equally the cost of fixing the financial crisis, there are some straightforward policies that could restore global economic stability within months.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011(6 comments)
Guess Who's Printing Money?
The Eurozone debt crisis and Occupy movement have revived the monetization debate in Europe (and elsewhere) in a way that isn't happening in the US. Monetization is the term applied when government, rather than private banks, issues the money used by the public and by government itself.
Thursday, November 24, 2011(18 comments)
Fairy Tale Economics
The only way I know to make sense of the global economic crisis is to assume, until proven otherwise, that everything Obama, Wall Street and the corporate media tell us is a lie. The economy Wall Street and our political leaders talk about is a fairy tale economy that bears no relation to the real world. Thanks to Occupy Wall Street, a new narrative about the global economic crisis is beginning to emerge.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011(5 comments)
OWS Demographics and Privilege
OWS protestors have little hope of recruiting the traditional working class if they self-identify as middle class. The question of their class orientation will revolve around what they want OWS to accomplish. Are they willing to settle for student loan forgiveness and other short term policy fixes? Or do they have a vision for massive social change that will benefit everyone who has joined them in the park?
Saturday, November 19, 2011(6 comments)
Is #OccupyWallStreet Working Class?
The success of OWS in expanding into the traditional working class will depend on their willingness to discard the label middle class. Although our corporate-controlled western democracies are rapidly dismantling the middle class in the name of debt reduction, the professional and academic bedrock of the American middle class is still largely intact. Their members have very different interests than minimum wage workers.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011(1 comments)
Ending Corporate Rule: the Citizens' Rights Movement
The citizens' rights movement was born in 2000 when Belfast Pennsylvania, passed a law prohibiting factory farms from operating within their township. In 2005 this law was upheld in court, and twelve other Pennsylvania townships in five counties now have similar ordinances. In addition to laws banning sewage sludge and factory farms, one community has banned mining and four have passed laws establishing ecosystem rights.
Sunday, November 13, 2011(2 comments)
Don't Eat the Fish
People who clean up or live near toxic oil spills - or who eat contaminated fish - are at high risk for PAH-related cancers, birth and immune defects, miscarriage, and bleeding and nervous system disorders. Toxicologists have known about the health hazards of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons for two decades. Why is the public being kept in the dark?
Wednesday, November 9, 2011(3 comments)
The Corporatization of Breast Cancer
Is the real purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Pink Ribbon Campaign to help women or the dozens of corporations who have jumped on the pink ribbon band wagon? To end breast cancer we must eliminate its causes, including the hundreds of endocrine disruptors and other cancer-causing chemicals in our environment.
Sunday, November 6, 2011(5 comments)
OWS: A Quandary for Long Time Activists
I encounter many long time activists in a quandary how to relate to #OccupyWallStreet. A vibrant, growing mass movement involving thousands of activists is always far more interesting and exciting than the drudgery of keeping existing grassroots organizations going. There is a strong temptation to abandon current organizing commitments to join the groundswell created by the OWS movement. This could be a big mistake.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011(11 comments)
Tackling Wall Street Criminality
Inside Job should be required viewing for all media skeptics who question the rationale behind OWS. The film lays to rest the myth that the 2008 economic collapse was merely a "perfect storm" of regulatory failure, greed and conflict of interest. Not only does our current economic mess stem from blatant Wall Street criminality, but the IMF repeatedly warned Bush and the Federal Reserve of the need for urgent intervention.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011(9 comments)
The End Of Global Economic Growth
In Heinberg's previous work on resource scarcity, he envisions a timeline of a decade or more before the scarcity and prohibitive cost of natural resources (oil, coal, water, etc.) cause the capitalist economic system to hit the wall. In The End of Growth, he argues that it has already happened -- when global economic expansion ended in October 2008. His data shows that while a few countries can claim an occasional quarter of
Friday, October 28, 2011(11 comments)
General Strike: Where OWS Needs To Go
Prior to Tuesday's violent police attack on Occupy Oakland, I had the sense that the authorities were quite comfortable with thousands of us camping out in city parks every night -- so long as we weren't interfering with business as usual. Occupy Oakland, which has retaken Oscar Grant Plaza, seems ready to up the ante with their call for a general strike next Wednesday.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011(4 comments)
The #occupywallstreet Report Card
Capturing the corporate media spotlight, even briefly, with a strong anticapitalist message is a major, unprecedented feat for any grassroots organization. There are also dangerous pitfalls in becoming too reliant on the corporate media. Thus it's critically important that we continue to produce our own media, as well as devise self-assessments tools to review and critique our accomplishments.
Thursday, October 20, 2011(9 comments)
The Real Vampires: An Insider's View Of Banks
Ex-mentor to former president Bill Clinton, Harvard, Princeton and Georgetown professor Carroll Quigley was the ultimate Washington insider. Most history books written by the ruling elite teach that wars, recessions and depressions are accidents of history that can't be avoided. It's extremely rare for one of their own to tell the truth about the role of the corporate/banking elite in precipitating most global calamities.
Sunday, October 16, 2011(3 comments)
Occupy New Plymouth- Day 3 and Report on New Zealand Occupy Movement
My participation in Occupy New Plymouth has to be one of the most inspiring, soul-changing experiences of my life. Not only has it given me the unique privilege of connecting and hearing the views of young (some high school age) activists, but it has taught me how to totally set aside my usual routine for the more important task of change making.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011(10 comments)
How to End the War(s)
Obama's endeavor to conduct an indefinite war of aggression on seven fronts is ill-conceived, morally bankrupt, and opposed by the majority of the American public. Given their first hand contact with corruption, officer misconduct and civilian atrocities, returning veterans are a critical voice in an antiwar effort that was scattered to the winds by the election of Barack Obama.
Monday, October 10, 2011(6 comments)
"Studying" GI Suicides: Congress Cops Out
Sending troops to war on psychotropic medication is an absolute violation of basic health and military standards. GIs on psychoactive medication place the lives and welfare of their fellow servicemen at risk, which is the main reason official Pentagon policy has always forbidden it. In 2009, the Senate Armed Services Committee response to this outrage was to "study" it. GIs are treated even worse following discharge.
Saturday, October 8, 2011(10 comments)
GI Suicides: A National Disgrace
In 2009 there were Congressional hearings following the revelation that more American troops were dying from suicide than combat. During the hearings, it came out that servicemen were returning stateside to be hospitalized for TBI, PTSD and depression; started on antidepressants and antipsychotics; and redeployed to Iraq and Afghanistan -- many while still on medication.
Saturday, October 1, 2011(17 comments)
Reclaiming Adam Smith
It's high time for liberals, progressives and left libertarians to reclaim Adam Smith as one of our own. In the Wealth of Nations, Smith self-identifies as a liberal, advocates for what he calls "progressive" economics, and calls for government intervention to ensure that rich people invest their profits in increasing productive labor, rather than luxury, corruption and vice.
Monday, September 26, 2011(1 comments)
The collapse of the Doha round of WTO negotiations in 2009 was a major victory for antiglobalization activists. Unfortunately globalization is alive and well. The current 9 country TPPA has many of the same investor protections as the MAI and threatens to end our access to low-cost generic medications.
Sunday, September 25, 2011(19 comments)
Banned in US Theatres: the Film You Won't See
The War You Don't See, John Pilger's 2010 documentary, has been banned from US theaters but is now available as a free download. The film's main focus is the need to hold mainstream journalists accountable for their blatant censorship in their coverage of the Afghan and Iraqi wars - and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Fighting Fracking in New Zealand
New Plymouth is sometimes referred to as the Texas of New Zealand, owing to its (tiny) off-shore gas fields and oil rigs. It's also home to a highly vocal oil/gas industry watchdog group called Climate Justice Tarananki. It was this group that first raised the alarm on local fracking operations in March 2011. Taranaki is also the first region in New Zealand to protest fracking.
Saturday, September 10, 2011(5 comments)
Smoking Gun: US Government Role in Arab Spring
Arabesque Americaine leaves absolutely no doubt that the "Arab Spring" - like the earlier "color revolutions" in eastern Europe - were almost certainly destabilization/regime change operations, funded and orchestrated by the CIA, State Department, historic CIA-funded foundations - and last, but not least, Google.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011(3 comments)
Little Mosque on the Prairie
I wonder why Fox Broadcasting won't allow Americans to watch the five year Canadian hit sit-com Little Mosque on the Prairie? Seems like blatant censorship to me. I think Fox needs to hear from us - and the Saudi prince who is one of their major shareholders.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011(3 comments)
Study Guide on Humanitarian Crises
It appears that creating humanitarian crises in oil-rich regions of the third world is now official US policy. Although we are led to believe drought and famine are the cause, there is always a back story of US military or covert intervention. The story line is so predictable that I have created a Study Guide on Humanitarian Crises. Dates can be altered to fit past and future US interventions.
Sunday, September 4, 2011(2 comments)
Revolutionary Change: An Expatriate View
I'm offering a free download of my new book Revolutionary Change: An Expatriate View for readers willing to give me feedback and suggestions (and maybe even write a review on Amazon).
Saturday, September 3, 2011(20 comments)
The Fight Against Fluoride: One We Can Win
A large group in my local community is battling to end water fluoridation. Buoyed by a tremendous sense of empowerment after getting local media support, many in our group have gone on to join New Plymouth's anti-fracking campaign.
Sunday, August 28, 2011(44 comments)
Sticking It to Ron Paul
It's open season on Ron Paul in the so-called "alternative" media, thanks to the Congressman's strong showing in the Iowa straw polls. The venomous tone and absence of policy analysis is remarkably similar to the hatchet job the "alternative" media performed on Ralph Nader in 2004 and 2008. Could this because Paul, like Nader, is taking a strong, explicit stance against the corporate takeover of government?
Saturday, August 27, 2011(12 comments)
The Tyranny of Opinion Polls
Most public opinion polls are still conducted by calling the landline phone numbers of randomly selected voters. Twenty-seven percent of US phones are cellphone-only - a group that is disproportionately young, poor, and minority. The failure to reflect their views in voter surveys produces results that disproportionately favor Republicans and conservatives.
Friday, August 26, 2011(65 comments)
Progressives Who Oppose Gun Control
It's extremely puzzling how progressives got on the wrong - anti-civil liberties - side of gun control. Many scholars assert the real intent of gun control legislation is to control black and poor people - not guns.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011(31 comments)
Did Fracking Cause the Virginia Earthquake?
The epicenter of Tuesday's earthquake is 160 miles from Braxton West Virginia, which has also experienced a rash of freak earthquakes since fracking operations started there several years ago. Geologic research has also linked fracking to freak earthquakes in Texas, Arkansas, New York State, Oklahoma, and Blackpool England.
Thursday, August 18, 2011(4 comments)
Cost Cutting and the War on Drugs
Thanks to the recession and debt crisis, progressives seeking to end the failed War on Drugs have some curious bedfellows, including the ultra-conservative Cato Institute, grassroots Tea Party groups, and even mainstream Republicans. There are interesting parallels between the decision to end alcohol Prohibition during the Great Depression and recent calls to end the prohibition on marijuana - and possibly other drugs.
Friday, August 12, 2011(66 comments)
The Tipping Point: When Do Americans Hit the Streets?
Former Max Keiser predicts that the cost of food (when it reaches 40% of income) is the trigger that will send Americans into the streets. Other analysts point to a link between inadequate wheat supplies and the Soviet collapse. The decline of civil society in the US is another alarming parallel with the 1980s Soviet Union. There was no community infrastructure to take over when the Soviet infrastructure collapsed.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011(5 comments)
Free Download: Scariest Horror Flick Ever
Into Eternity is an eerie account of Onkalo, the world's first permanent nuclear repository. There are an estimated 250,000 - 300,000 tons of nuclear waste lying around in cooling pools. 250,000 tons of highly radioactive material capable of wiping out all living things and contaminating adjacent agricultural lands and future crops for 100,000 years. Most of the radiation that has contaminated Japan is from spent fuel rods.
Sunday, August 7, 2011(14 comments)
Will the US Have a Generation Z Revolution?
Psychological oppression (manifested by widespread apathy and resignation the face of major corporate and government attacks on working Americans) is at an all time high in the US. Historically it's a strong and sustained youth rebellion that enables society to throw off severe psychological repression. What are the chances of this happening in the US?
Tuesday, August 2, 2011(12 comments)
Teenagers: God's Answer to Psychological Oppression
Historically teenagers have sparked numerous mass uprisings. Some scholars credit the Soweto uprising as heralding the start of mass popular resistance to apartheid. Adolescents also initiated the first Intifada in 1987. Deadly police force is often ineffective against teens, owing to their general disregard for their personal safety.
Thursday, July 28, 2011(13 comments)
Life After Capitalism
Richard Heinberg predicts that global resource scarcity will cause the global economic system to collapse and force large nation-states to break up into small regional units. As a result the demise of capitalism could be an extraordinarily positive change for most of humankind.
Saturday, July 23, 2011(28 comments)
TEOFWAWKIT: The End of the World as We Know It
As the global recession and debt crisis worsens, even mainstream analysts speculate that global capitalism is on the verge of collapse. Resource specialists predict that large nation-states like the US, Russia, and China will break up into smaller regional units, as occurred during the Middle Ages following the collapse of the Roman Empire. It's useful to predict and plan what these new communities will look like.
Sunday, July 17, 2011(5 comments)
The Dreaded U Word
According to a recent survey 41% of Americans "disapprove" of unions. Young Americans, especially, tend to shun unions because they view them as ineffective in protecting labor rights. Owing to the 1947 Taft Hartley Act, American unions essentially function as government unions, owing to stringent federal restrictions on their activities.
Saturday, July 9, 2011(5 comments)
Paid Sick Leave - One for our Side
In June, Connecticut became the first state to require private employers to provide paid sick leave. The US is the only country in the industrialized world with no national requirement for employers to provide paid sick leave. Connecticut's Working Families Party (WFP), which has been lobbying for paid sick leave since 2002, is claiming credit for the new law.
Thursday, July 7, 2011(6 comments)
Will Capitalism Leave Lasting Scars?
In view of the extensive research evidence, mainstream human behavior experts are slowly coming around to the view that the ravages of capitalist society, rather than "human nature" itself are responsible for the wanton cruelty and "inhumanity" that characterize industrialized society. Yet many continue to argue that socialism and participatory democracy are impossible, owing to the irreversible nature of the damage.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011(9 comments)
Speculating with our Food
In 2011, "food derivative" speculation has replaced financial derivatives as the hot new investment promoted by major investment banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Simultaneously private equity funds are also buying up huge tracts of land in the third world. For me the biggest scandal is the refusal of the CFTC to implement rules in the 2010 Financial Reform Act designed to prevent speculation in food commodities.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011(12 comments)
Is Human Nature Flawed?
The Human Nature debate is centuries old. The ruling elite argues in favor of continuing class society and privilege, owing to so-called innate character defects that make working people incapable of governing themselves. Marx and Engels argue that capitalistic oppression creates these so-called character flaws - a view supported by contemporary human behavior research.
Friday, June 24, 2011(15 comments)
Generation Z Activism: Alec Loorz
Alec Loorz is a 16 year old from Ventura California who is suing the US government and three states for "allowing money to be more powerful than the survival of my generation and making decisions that threaten our right to a safe and healthy planet."
Tuesday, June 21, 2011(14 comments)
The Real Culture Wars
The mainstream media deliberately conceals the real cultural divide, between the 20% who comprise the professional/academic class and the 80% who work for near minimum wage. These firmly entrenched class divisions present an major obstacle to building a broad-based American mass movement. Progressives could take a page from 1970s feminists regarding strategy and tactics for recruiting the working class.
Friday, June 17, 2011(21 comments)
With the growing epidemic of foreclosures and homelessness, squatting is becoming increasingly common worldwide. In general, police and banks assume a hands-off attitude towards squatters. The presence of whole neighborhoods of abandoned homes is immensely costly, both to cities and the banks who hold title to the properties.
Saturday, June 11, 2011(9 comments)
The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the American Media
The Language of Empire is an examination of the Abu Ghraib scandal, from the perspective that the torture there was primarily an instrument of terror (i.e. a military tactic intended to cause intimidation). In addition to detailing what actually happened at Abu Ghraib, the book provides a detailed analysis of the psychological underpinnings of America's complex government and corporate propaganda systems.
Thursday, June 9, 2011(9 comments)
US vs Islamic Militants: Invisible Balance of Power
In Invisible Balance of Power, Sajjad Shaukat argues that militant terrorist groups fill a vacuum in power relations stemming from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the absence of an international body capable of forcing the US to follow international law, they provide the only check against wanton US military aggression.
Monday, June 6, 2011(9 comments)
The "Me-Too" Drug Rip-Off
In addition to the billions of health care dollars drug companies waste on disease mongering, billions more are wasted on developing and marketing hundreds of "me-too" drugs - which are very slight variations of drugs already on the market. The main downside of me-too drugs is their contribution to skyrocketing health care costs, the main reason hundreds of thousands of Americans can't see a doctor when they are ill.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011(7 comments)
Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? by David Ray Griffin
Griffin's 2009 book attempts to explain how America's favorite terrorist came to release 19 video and audiotapes following his death and funeral - duly reported by the Associated Press, CBS, CNN, Fox News, the New York Times, the Telegraph and Time magazine - in December 2001. As often happens in the mainstream media, the events Griffin documents have vanished down the old memory hole.
Monday, May 30, 2011(8 comments)
Drug Companies: Killing Kids for Profit
Practicing psychiatry in New Zealand has given me a unique perspective on childhood bipolar disorder, which is virtually unknown outside the US. Melbourne psychiatrist Dr Peter Parry has recently exposed a conspiracy by Eli Lilly and other drug companies pressure psychiatrists, pediatricians and primary care physicians to prescribe dangerous antipsychotic drugs "off-label" to American children.
Thursday, May 26, 2011(9 comments)
The Book of Mormon: the Musical
The creators of South Park released the cast recording of their musical The Book of Mormon last week. Although it bashes Mormons (very slightly), it's really an extremely funny satire of the unique American fad known as positive thinking.
Monday, May 23, 2011(6 comments)
Medicalizing the Menstrual Cycle
Once the patent on a drug expires, other manufacturers are free to produce much cheaper generic versions, resulting in plummeting sales of the original brand name drug. In 1994, Lilly, which was facing the expiration of its patent on Prozac, seized on an obscure psychiatric research diagnosis to re-brand Prozac as a (extremely expensive) treatment for PMS.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011(21 comments)
Diana: a Link to Iran Contra and 9/11?
It has always puzzled me that Diana conspiracy theories always blame the Royal Family, without looking at Dodi Al Fayed's unsavory connections through his uncle Adnan Khashoggi. Khashoggi is best known as the arms middle man in Iran Contra, though he also has interesting links to 9/11.
Monday, May 16, 2011(6 comments)
Chain of Command: the Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib
In Language of Empire, Lila Rajiva observes that Seymour Hersh's disclosure of torture at Abu Ghraib seems like a "limited hangout" or "controlled opposition" disclosure -- in other words what Barry Zwicker refers to as "the kind of opposition the US elite can live with." After reading Chain of Command, I tend to share Rajiva's view.