By Conn Hallinan - 02.04.14
Hopefully the recent ceasefire agreement between the warring parties in South Sudan will halt that country’s downward spiral into civil war. But if it does it will have to buck the convergence of two powerful historical streams: a legacy of colonial manipulation dating back more than a hundred years, and the current policies of the U.S. vis-à-vis the African continent.
South Sudan became a country in 2011 when its residents voted overwhelmingly to separate from the Sudan, at the time the largest country in Africa. But a falling out late last year between South Sudan President Salva Kiir, a member of the Dinka tribe, and Vice President Riek Machar, a member of the Nuer tribe, has plunged the country into war. Cities have been sacked, thousands killed, and almost 200,000 people turned into refugees.
By STEVEN JONAS MD, MPH - 02.27.14
This month I am starting a new approach to my column for TPJfPD. As some of you know, we have a Facebook page. I regularly post comments on current events on that page. Now, in my monthly columns I will be sharing with you a set of those comments from the previous month. They will of course be on several different topics. I hope that you will enjoy them, and also that on occasion you may visit our page as well, to see what else is up there. Hey, you never know. You may “Like” us!
For starters (actually last month, Jan. 31, 2014), remember Jamie Dimon’s raise? Indeed, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, got a grand increase for 2104. How could that be, many folks have said. The company paid a record $20 billion in fines for “improper practices” last year.
Harry Targ 02.20.14
Sixty years ago, in March, 1954, National Security Document 5412 was distributed to President Eisenhower’s National Security Council by the Central Intelligence Agency recommending the adoption of a program of covert operations so that:
“U.S. Government responsibility for them is not evident and if uncovered the U.S. government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them. Specifically, such operations shall include…propaganda; political action; economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition; escape and evasion and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states or groups including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups,...
By Iris Vander Pluym - 03.09.14
I recently returned from a Top Secret Mission.
Mission: Vacation in Costa Rica.
Mission status: Best. Vacation. EVAR.
New mission: Move to Costa Rica.
I confess I had been rather skeptical (I know—moi?) about the gushing reports from people who had visited the country. It also occurred to me that of the many people of Central American ancestry I’ve met, not a single one was Costa Rican.
Now it all makes perfect sense. Because why would anyone ever want to leave Costa Rica?
By Mickey Walker - 03.09.14
Last time we listed the following 3 ways out of 100 to destroy what’s left of democracy in America:
1. Comingle issues of Church and State.
2. Insist on prayer in the schools.
3. Invoke the Almighty when justifying acts of war against other sovereign nations.
So we begin this next part of this exercise by lying to the people about what is really going on behind the curtain of government. Which brings us to the fourth way to destroy our country:
By Don Ardell - 03.04.14
We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact. We know all about your mouldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want a this year’s fact. We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two thousand years. ~ Robert Green Ingersoll
By Michael Faulkner - 03.09.14
Will the centenary of the outbreak of “The Great War” in 1914 turn out to be more than the propagandists of Britain’s heritage industry intended it to be? The indications so far are that we are in for a sentimental, ahistorical nostalgia-fest intended to promote the theme of a “just war” to defend democracy against tyranny, a war which, in spite of its unprecedented slaughter, was not fought in vain. Those who “gave their lives” died in a noble cause. As this commemoration is due to go on for four years there will be opportunities for dissenting voices such as this one, albeit with little access to the mainstream media, to stand against the conformist tide. However much disagreement there is about the First World War- its causes, nature and consequences - one thing is beyond dispute: it was not, as the victors opined in 1918, “the war to end wars”.
By Loren Adams, 03.09.14
The two major parties seem to focus their attention toward opposite poles. Each movement’s pet peeves are primarily all that remain. America is beset by the disease of polarization. The topics of obsession are same-sex rights, abortion, guns, restrictive voting, tiny taxes for the rich, and union-busting – all of which divert attention from a nation still reeling from the 2008 Great Recession. It’s the economy, stupid!
As a consequence of these trendy, entrenched ideologies, the two are afflicted with tunnel vision to the degree they are incapable (or unwilling) to serve the common good. The result is a nation panicked by the sense of being lost – wandering aimlessly in the wilderness without a compass, deprived of confidence in reaching a desirable destination, the “American Dream” extinguished. Without vision, the people perish. Out of sight, out of mind, the culture seems to have lost its balance.