David P. Hamilton :
Why I’ll vote for Dr. Jill Stein

The contrast between Stein’s program and Clinton’s record of fealty to the capitalist class is stark.


The Green Party’s jill Stein. Photo by Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons.

By David P. Hamilton | The Rag Blog | October 22, 2016

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of the editors. The Rag Blog is published by the New Journalism Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and we do not endorse political candidates.

A.  Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party have hands down the most progressive platform of any candidate on the ballot.  The Green Party now identifies itself as eco-socialist, in recognition of the fact that unbridled capitalism is incompatible with human survival.

If you consider yourself a socialist, the contrast between Stein’s program and Clinton’s record of fealty to the capitalist class is stark.  And whereas the major party platforms are window dressing they don’t really intend to accomplish, the Green Party platform is what they would actually try to see enacted were they elected.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Steve Russell :
Dakota Access Pipeline: Legal encounters of
the third kind

The Indians do not claim their right to safe drinking water as U.S. citizens, but as human beings.


Solidarity rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, St. Paul, Minnesota, September 13, 2016. Photo by Fibonacci Blue / Twitter / Creative Commons.

By Steve Russell | The Rag Blog | September 28, 2016

Rag Radio logo smallListen to the podcast of Thorne Dreyer’s September 23, 2016 Rag Radio interview with Steve Russell and Geronimo Son about the Native American protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, here:

Briefcase warriors who start out meaning to defend their people quickly discover the practical meaning of a lawyer Latin phrase, sui generis. It’s a fancy way to describe a class of one, and it’s the only way to make sense of federal Indian law.

U.S. law everywhere but Louisiana is rooted in the English common law. Historians pretend that the modern nation-state came to be in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. If that pretense were true, the elevation of secular law over canon law would date from that time. Some other fake dates for the common law are 1066, when William the Bastard became William the Conqueror by completing the Norman conquest of England and reshuffling the feudal land titles at the base of the law, and 1215, when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta and admit that the power of kings is not absolute.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Steve Russell :
Two wars for the American West

The older war is known collectively as the Indian wars. The second is a continuation of the bloodiest conflict in the history of the nation, the Civil War.

stand off at standing rock

Native Americans, based at the Sacred Stone Spiritual Camp, in stand-off during protest against Dakota Access Pipeline which is crossing treaty lands. Image from Bronx Climate Justice North.

By Steve Russell | The Rag Blog | September 5, 2016

Two wars are simmering in the Western United States, both thought to have ended long ago and both making a job with the federal government a potential assignment to the front lines. An interactive map, published by High Country News,  shows how dangerous it is these days to work for one of the government agencies managing public land.

The older war is known by a collective description, the Indian wars. The newer war is the one so far causing more danger to government employees. It’s a continuation of the bloodiest conflict in the history of the nation, the Civil War.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lamar W. Hankins :
Donald Trump, white resentment, racism,
and a ‘great’ America

More than 40 years of racist actions and comments demonstrate what we normally call racism.

Donald Trump treatment cc

Donald Trump. Creative Commons image.

By Lamar W. Hankins | The Rag Blog | August 6, 2016

I have been aware of white resentment toward blacks since at least 1954, but this presidential election campaign brought back a memory from 1958, when I was in junior high school. I was active then in the Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF). During a discussion group one day, led by an adult youth leader from our church, we talked about race and race relations, though I don’t remember how we got on that topic.

The MYF leader worked at the Gulf Oil refinery in Port Arthur. Neither of the local refineries (the other one was Texaco) hired black employees then. The MYF leader argued against letting blacks work at the refinery because they would compete for his job. He did not want the competition. He had a family to support and would never favor any changes that might threaten his job. Though some of us challenged our leader about his clearly racist views, he saw nothing wrong with denying blacks such opportunities, which were a privilege that white people had, but not blacks.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

David McReynolds :
Donald Trump, the unexpected guest
with my curry

When I found my young friend, the attorney, was considering voting for Trump, it suggested to me that Trump might win.

Donald Trump mouth open

Feed me! Grab from No Holds Barred / YouTube / Creative Commons.

By David McReynolds | The Rag Blog | July 15, 2016

NEW YORK — A few weeks ago a couple of friends invited me to dinner at a nice little place, Heart of India, on Second Avenue and Fifth Street. One friend is a multi-talented master of film, and the other is a lawyer. I got to the restaurant early, and the first one to arrive was the young lawyer.

We were making idle conversation, waiting for the final friend. I was rambling on about how I had never seen any candidate so totally shredded as Donald Trump. The late night show, The Daily Show, every comic strip, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Daily News.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Jeff Shero Nightbyrd :
Should we disarm the police?

A policeman who kills becomes prosecutor, judge, and executioner without facts and a trial.

Rat Cover sm

This cover of RAT, the New York undergrounder which Jeff edited, is from the August 12-26, 1969 issue. There’s also a new RAT website.

By Jeff Shero Nightbyrd | The Rag Blog | July 15, 2016

Five policemen were assassinated in Dallas. No surprise. In America on average 25 blacks are killed by police a month. And Dallas exists in a sort of negative vortex, a predictor of violent trends.

Once again, there’s been great hand-wringing over America as a twisted violent culture. But in fact violence has dropped precipitously over the last two decades. Despite more gun ownership, victims of non-fatal violent crime have dropped from 7,976 per hundred thousand to 2,254 per hundred thousand. In 1993, seven people were killed, today the figure is 3.6.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Johnny Hazard :
Police attack striking teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico

Eight people were killed in Nochistlán and other parts of Oaxaca in protest-related incidents Sunday.

Hazard teachers protest oaxaca

Cops attack teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico. Image via Democracy Now!

By Johnny Hazard | The Rag Blog | June 21, 2016

MEXICO CITY — Armed federal police attacked striking teachers in Nochistlán, Oaxaca,  Sunday, June 19, in one of the gravest of a series of similar incidents since teachers in six states went on strike a month ago, supported by teachers, families, and activists in most other states and in Mexico City.

At least nine people were killed in Nochistlán and other parts of Oaxaca in protest-related incidents Sunday, with  53 civilians and 50 police officers reported injured, and more protests and arrests occurred in Mexico City on Monday.

Upon learning of the violence in Oaxaca, teachers occupied the streets around Televisa, principal television network and promoter of the dismantling of public education and the firing of teachers.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Harry Targ :
Planning a 21st Century ‘New World Order’

The Post calls for a return to the post-World War II global policy that benefited banks, multinational corporations, and the military-industrial complex.

Obama visits Vietnam

Obama declared an end to the longstanding U.S. arms embargo during his visit to Vietnam. Screen grab from YouTube / Creative Commons.

By Harry Targ | The Rag Blog | June 14, 2016

From a May 21, 2016 Washington Post editorial:

HARDLY A day goes by without evidence that the liberal international order of the past seven decades is being eroded. China and Russia are attempting to fashion a world in their own illiberal image… This poses an enormous trial for the next U.S. president. We say trial because no matter who takes the Oval Office, it will demand courage and difficult decisions to save the liberal international order. As a new report from the Center for a New American Security points out, this order is worth saving, and it is worth reminding ourselves why: It generated unprecedented global prosperity, lifting billions of people out of poverty; democratic government, once rare, spread to more than 100 nations; and for seven decades there has been no cataclysmic war among the great powers. No wonder U.S. engagement with the world enjoyed a bipartisan consensus.

The Washington Post editorial quoted above clearly articulates the dominant view held by U.S. foreign policy elites for the years ahead. It in effect constitutes a synthesis of the “neocon” and the “liberal interventionist” wings of the ruling class. In my judgment, with all our attention on primaries, who goes to which bathrooms, and other mystifications, a New Cold War is being planned. Only this time it will have even greater consequences for global violence and devastation of the environment than the first one.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lamar W. Hankins :
How Christians misunderstand atheists

I have never met an atheist who did not accept the scientific method, which explains why the god hypothesis fails for these people.

Philosophy and Christian Art Ridgway - Huntington

Young woman attempts to convert wizened philosopher. Engraving by W. Ridgway after Daniel Huntington’s 1868 painting, “Philosophy and Christian Art.” Public Domain.

By Lamar W. Hankins | The Rag Blog | June 14, 2016

Journalist and author Christopher Hitchens died of cancer of the esophagus in 2011. One fear of dying that he expressed before that inevitability was that some Christians would claim he had a deathbed conversion to their religion, as happened with other prominent freethinkers, such as Charles Darwin and Thomas Paine. Sure enough, something of that has come to pass.

Larry Alex Taunton, called a “creep” and “religious fanatic” by writer Nick Cohen in an article in The Guardian, claimed in his book, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist, that Hitchens may have been on his way to conversion when he died. Taunton’s claim is based on several months of traveling with Hitchens discussing Taunton’s Christian beliefs and reading from the bible. Hitchens’ interest in certain portions of the bible seems to be the only evidence that Taunton can muster to support the claim. If only there had been a bit more time, suggests Taunton, perhaps there would have been a full-scale, public conversion.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kate Braun :
The Summer Solstice is marked by a Mead
or Honey Moon

This is a fertility festival for crops and animals as well as humans.


Solstice fire in Montana. Public domain image.

By Kate Braun | The Rag Blog | June 13, 2016

“Summer is coming, summer is coming, I know it, I know it…”

Monday, June 20, 2016, is the Summer Solstice, aka Litha, Midsummer. There is a Full Moon on this day, a Mead or Honey Moon. This is a Fire Festival, so be sure to have fire burning for your celebration and put blue, green, and yellow candles on your table or altar. This Solstice is when the Holly King, king of the waning year, triumphs. It is time to notice the steadily waning daylight time, time to prepare for withdrawal into the dark time when energies will be best put toward meditation and renewal.

Use the colors White, Red, Golden Yellow, Green, Blue, and Tan in your decorations and attire. Serve your guests a menu including any orange and yellow foods, fresh fruits (especially oranges and lemons) and veggies, summer squash, pumpernickel bread. Flaming foods and foods prepared over a fire are also appropriate. Traditional drinks are ale, mead, and fresh fruit juice (although mimosas wouldn’t be amiss).
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alan Waldman :
TELEVISION | Excellent Brit cop series ‘Above Suspicion’ is gripping, intelligent viewing

Craggy vet Ciarán Hinds and perky young Kelly Reilley lead a squad of detectives in queen of crime Lynda La Plante’s latest white-knuckle thriller.

Above Suspicion

Above Suspicion is gripping, intelligent viewing.

By Alan Waldman | The Rag Blog | June 12, 2016

[In his Rag Blog column, Alan Waldman reviews some of his favorite films and TV series that readers may have missed, including TV dramas, mysteries, and comedies from Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland. Most are available on DVD, Netflix and/or Netflix Instant Streaming, and some episodes are on YouTube.]

All four two- and three-part Above Suspicion stories are available on Netflix and YouTube, and they are well worth discovering. The series aired from 2009-2012 and then was cancelled. Here’s the beginning of an episode.

The series is based on the novels Above Suspicion, The Red Dahlia, Deadly Intent, and Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante, who has won six major awards and three other nominations for Prime Suspect and Prime Suspect 3 but who’s also written Trial & Retribution, The Commander, Bella Mafia, Widows, Framed, Prime Suspect 2, two movies and nine other TV series.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

James McEnteer :
Look ma, no wheels: Weak end at Bernie’s

Political bites and random nibbles.

Political shark

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

By James McEnteer | The Rag Blog | June 8, 2016

On September 11, 2001, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, et. al., were either negligent about or complicit in the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans. There is no third alternative. We require a thorough judicial proceeding to determine which it was. Fifteen years later we still need to know.

Which presidential campaign will promise to find the truth?
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment