Paradigm Shift by Pandemic

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair Nobel-winning biologist Joshua Lederberg warned “the single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is the virus.”  The Covid19 pandemic is a wakeup call to this existential truth. The reality of the novel coronavirus pandemic must now usher in a paradigm shift in the way we think about … Continue reading “Paradigm Shift by Pandemic”

Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back

Photograph Source: Fibonacci Blue – CC BY 2.0 Amazon and its contractors have a pattern of retaliating against and intimidating employees who speak out. I know – because they also tried to do it to me. Last week, my Amazon coworkers in New York took the courageous step of walking off the job to protest … Continue reading “Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back”

What The President Said (About The Plague)

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair Rather than place Trump’s statements in strict chronological order, I have sometimes put 2 or more of statements from different days together, to highlight Trump’s contradictions and subsequent deviations– these are prefaced by an asterisk. I have retained Trump’s numerous linguistic infelicities. It should be noted that Trump sometimes refers … Continue reading “What The President Said (About The Plague)”

The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914

Image Source: Georges Scott – L’Illustration & RMN – Public Domain Government leaders everywhere are calling for their people to wage war against the coronavirus outbreak, recalling past victories in an effort to boost public morale. In Britain, politicians cite the Second World War as a suitable example of determined and successful resistance to a … Continue reading “The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914”

The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair When the wealthiest country in the world is unable to produce basic medical gear to cope with a rampaging pandemic, it is dealing with a strategic vulnerability by depending on multinational supply chains to produce manufactured goods. Absent sufficient redundancies and physical reserves of resources, “just-in-time” lean supply systems can’t … Continue reading “The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model”

Trump Sends Gun Boats to Venezuela While the World Partners to Fight a Deadly Pandemic

On April’s Fools Day, U.S. President Donald Trump gave a press conference where he announced a new “counter-narcotics effort” by U.S. Southern Command. “We’re deploying additional Navy destroyers, combat ships, aircrafts and helicopters, Coast Guard cutters…doubling our capabilities in the region,” he said. The point of this mission—which will be joined by other countries—is to … Continue reading “Trump Sends Gun Boats to Venezuela While the World Partners to Fight a Deadly Pandemic”

Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t

Now there are two classes of people locally: those who can stay at home and those who cannot. Those who can stay at home are also divided by class between those who can have all delivered and those who must shop. Let me suggest that all City Officials can afford to have life delivered by … Continue reading “Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t”

A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day”

Jeffrey St. Clair’s 3-5 April 2020 Column, Strange Things Happening Every Day Point-Counterpoint: + = Jeffrey St. Clair — = Manuel García, Jr. + Is it possible for an entire country to win a Darwin Award? — Yes, it’s called Climate Change, and a successful international effort. + At the onset of a pandemic outbreak … Continue reading “A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day””

How Fuel Breaks Fuel Fires

Fuel break cut into BLM land on the Snake River plains in Idaho. Photo: George Wuerthner. The Department of Interior released a final decision to created 11,000 miles of linear cheatgrass corridors, which they are euphemistically calling “fuel breaks.” Think about that figure. Eleven thousand miles is equal to crossing the United States almost three … Continue reading “How Fuel Breaks Fuel Fires”

COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair The desperate policies of panic-driven governments involve throwing huge amounts of money at the economies collapsed in response to the coronavirus threat. Monetary authorities create money and lend it at extremely low interest rates to the major corporations and especially big banks “to get them through the crisis.” Government treasuries … Continue reading “COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism”

Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die

Photograph Source: Matt Brown – CC BY 2.0 Carlos Fernández de Cossío, head of the U.S. desk at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, recently accused the U.S. government of “terrible moral decadence.” He was reacting to U.S. threats against nations confronting the COVID 19 pandemic and assisted by Cuba. He was also criticizing poor pre-epidemic preparations in … Continue reading “Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die”

Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer

Photograph of Fidel Castro visiting Chelala’s team in Havana. In 1991, I headed a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) mission of Latin American physicians to evaluate a national Cuban project involving the use of interferon to treat inoperable lung cancer. At the time, there was a rumor that Fidel Castro had lung cancer and had … Continue reading “Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer”

Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump

Photograph Source: Robert Edwards – CC BY-SA 3.0 Truth may be stranger than fiction as Mark Twain once said.  Yet fiction often speaks truth to  reality.   In the case of civilization living under the dagger of Covid-19, many are turning to books and plays for distraction and pleasure.  While some might read Waiting for Godot in hopes … Continue reading “Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump”

Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus

Photograph Source: Poster Boy – CC BY 2.0 To say that these are unprecedented times would be the understatement of the century. Even as the United States became the latest target of Hurricane COVID-19, in “hot spots” around the globe a continuing frenzy of health concerns represented yet another drop down the economic rabbit hole. … Continue reading “Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus”

Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually

Photograph Source: Backbone Campaign – CC BY 2.0 With Joe Biden now looking like the certain Democratic presidential nominee, it is pretty clear that we will not get to Medicare for All in a single step. Even if Sanders had won it would have been a long shot, but without a president committed to the … Continue reading “Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually”

Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis

On Thursday, April 2, the bottom fell out of the US economy, as the US Department of Labor reported that an unprecedented 6.6 million more workers in the US had been laid off and had filed claims for unemployment compensation payments with their state Unemployment Offices last week. That stunning news followed the already shocking … Continue reading “Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis”

Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish

Among the countless distressing news stories covering the COVID-19 pandemic over the past month are the heartwarming ones that focus on what ordinary human beings are doing to help one another during this historic crisis. Many of these “good news” reports have focused on a nation-wide effort by fashion industry labels, domestic apparel manufacturers, and … Continue reading “Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish”

Trump’s 7 Pro-Contagion Reversals Increase the Coronavirus Toll

Trump ridiculed, then minimized, then delayed the federal government’s response to the coronavirus for weeks. Then finally he wrapped his boastful, confused ego around reality. But Trump is actively pushing programs that will endanger more Americans. Here’s a brief look at Trump’s pro-contagion activities that leave Americans defenseless in the face of the virus, implemented … Continue reading “Trump’s 7 Pro-Contagion Reversals Increase the Coronavirus Toll”

A Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus

When a few thousand people were murdered on September 11, 2001, I was actually stupid enough – I kid you not – to imagine that the general public would conclude that because massive military forces, nuclear arsenals, and foreign bases had done nothing to prevent and much to provoke those crimes, the U.S. government would … Continue reading “A Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus”

Was the Fed Just Nationalized?

Mainstream politicians have long insisted that Medicare for All, a universal basic income, student debt relief and a slew of other much-needed public programs are off the table because the federal government cannot afford them. But that was before Wall Street and the stock market were driven onto life-support by a virus. Congress has now … Continue reading “Was the Fed Just Nationalized?”

Postcards From Trump

“Hello, having a wonderful time, wish you were here”: Donald Trump Sends Me a Postcard from Fantasyland “[W]hen you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” —President Donald Trump, February 26 “So you’re talking about … Continue reading “Postcards From Trump”

Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image

A Brazilian government official (r) posing for a photo next to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-A-Lago who tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus. In the current coronavirus pandemic authoritarian-oriented leaders, whether communist or capitalist, initially portrayed the virus as an insignificant danger. Once they could no longer ignore the … Continue reading “Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image”

“He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”

On April 4, 2020, my friend Steve Kelly will begin a third year of imprisonment in Georgia’s Glynn County jail. He turned 70 while in prison, and while he has served multiple prison sentences for protesting nuclear weapons, spending two years in a county jail is unusual even for him. Yet he adamantly urges supporters … Continue reading ““He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else””

Change Love and the Need for Unity

Much needs to change in our world, and while this was clear before COVID-19, the pandemic is highlighting festering issues and creating a space in which to re-access current modes of living. New and just socio-economic and political systems are required together with positive values that encourage the good. Mankind needs to learn to share, … Continue reading “Change Love and the Need for Unity”

Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?

Perhaps it will be found that the greatest hero owes the propriety of his conduct to the habit of encountering difficulties, and calling out with promptness the energies of his mind. – William Godwin, Things As They Are, or the Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) My grandmother, Edna Clayton Steber, a woman of the 19th … Continue reading “Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?”

Alliance for the Wild Rockies Files Lawsuit to Stop Logging and Burning Project in Rocky Mountain Front Inventoried Roadless Area

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed a lawsuit on April 3rd in Federal District Court in Great Falls, Montana to stop the Elk Smith Project on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.  The project seeks to non-commercially log and/or burn 10,331 acres in the Elk and Smith Creek drainages about 100 miles south of … Continue reading “Alliance for the Wild Rockies Files Lawsuit to Stop Logging and Burning Project in Rocky Mountain Front Inventoried Roadless Area”

“The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin

Writer Stephen Cooper with Soul Syndicate legends Tony Chin, Fully Fullwood, and Santa Davis, backstage at the Dub Club in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Stephen A. Cooper. On February 26, before coronavirus disrupted normal rhythms of life all over the world, I spoke for twenty minutes with my friend, legendary guitarist Tony Chin, at the … Continue reading ““The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin”

Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19

Photograph Source: Garoa – CC BY 2.0 At a time when everyone was celebrating the arrival of a new decade, a rare once-in-a-100-year event took the world by surprise: a major global pandemic named COVID-19. Governments around the world struggled to fight the virus, taking extreme measures to contain it with nearly one billion people … Continue reading “Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19”

Work, Crisis and Pandemic

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair As the depth of the crises resulting from the coronavirus pandemic sink in, millions of the most vulnerable citizens will be facing eviction, hunger and the ravages of illness. America has always been a brutal place for workers and the socially marginalized. Recently enacted economic stimulus and corporate bailouts will … Continue reading “Work, Crisis and Pandemic”

Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic

Photograph Source: Will Buckner – CC BY 2.0 The poet Langston Hughes once wrote, “I wish the rent was heaven sent.” With 10 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Hughes’ words resonate now more than ever. As we hurtle toward a public health and economic catastrophe, we must … Continue reading “Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic”

Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis

Photograph Source: 2C2K Photography – CC BY 2.0 The COVID-19 crisis is confronting U.S.-Americans with yet more undeniable evidence of the complete craziness and cruelty of American capitalism and class rule more broadly. The demented viciousness of the possessing class’s parasitic profits regime and many elite professionals’ privileged status are being exposed in graphic ways. … Continue reading “Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis”

Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day

CLR James: “When history is written as it ought to be written, it is the moderation and long patience of the masses at which men will wonder, not their ferocity.” + Is it possible for an entire country to win a Darwin Award? + At the onset of a pandemic outbreak of a virus that … Continue reading “Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day”

The Control of Nature

Photograph Source: Mark Heard from Calgary, Alberta, Canada – CC BY 2.0 I started the day (Sunday, March 29, 2020) in relatively good spirits. The Sun was bathing nature in light and pleasant warmth. Spring and flowers were everywhere. My wife and I were walking in our beautiful neighborhood in Claremont, California. Poisoning the Wind … Continue reading “The Control of Nature”

COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair On March 25th, N.Y. Times op-ed columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote about “How the World’s Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-Cent Face Mask.” The subtitle certainly went against the grain of what you’d read from a page dominated by Thomas Friedman: “A very American story about capitalism consuming our national … Continue reading “COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper”

The Highly Contagious Idea

Photograph Source: Dmitry Djouce – CC BY 2.0 The COVID-19 pandemic has laid waste to the notions of American Exceptionalism (other than perhaps an exceptional level of infection) and the unsustainable practice from the last couple of decades that reality is essentially what you force it to be. It’s the magical thinking that if you … Continue reading “The Highly Contagious Idea”

The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.

Painting of the Sharpeville Massacre of March 1960 – CC BY-SA 3.0 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a vital means to save the country from unending civil war. These had raged with increasing intensity since 1960, and in 1994 the forces of oppression were militarily intact. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, soon to be … Continue reading “The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.”

Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair There was a time, just a few weeks ago, when hardly anyone thought it literally true that, as he boasted, Donald Trump could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and become more popular for having done so. Whatever Trump himself had in mind, most of the people who would repeat that … Continue reading “Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.”

Efficiency vs. Resilience

Many years ago, bestselling author Michael Pollan explained there’s a trade-off between efficiency and resilience. For example, your grocery store probably did not have a warehouse full of toilet paper backstock sitting around somewhere when their customers bought out their entire supply. It would be expensive and inefficient to keep a huge supply of toilet … Continue reading “Efficiency vs. Resilience”

Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity

This morning I watched a 2015 Eddie Van Halen interview on YouTube. He talked a lot about various guitar geek stuff. He also shared some of his family history. His father was Dutch, a native of Holland. Dad was a professional musician and traveled the world. While in Indonesia, then a Dutch colony, he met … Continue reading “Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity”

The Dark Secrets in the Fed’s Last Wall Street Bailout Are Getting a Devious Makeover in Today’s Bailout

Largest Recipients of Federal Reserve Bailout Funds, 2007 to 2011. From December 2007 to November 10, 2011, the Federal Reserve, secretly and without the awareness of Congress, funneled $19.6 trillion in cumulative loans to bail out the trading houses on Wall Street. Just 14 global financial institutions received 83.9 percent of those loans or $16.41 … Continue reading “The Dark Secrets in the Fed’s Last Wall Street Bailout Are Getting a Devious Makeover in Today’s Bailout”

The Temple of Self-Gratification

Author David Foster Wallace once said that America is, “One enormous engine and temple of self-gratification and self-advancement.” The spectacle of American consumerism comes galloping to mind. But the pageant of gluttony with which we sate ourselves on a weekly basis is a pale reflection, at least in its intensity, of American foreign policy. Like … Continue reading “The Temple of Self-Gratification”

Prisons are a COVID-19 Petri Dish

Now is the time to empty the prisons. With over two million people incarcerated, the vast majority for nonviolent crimes, prisoners are packed like sardines, their overcrowding perfect for mass infection and spread of the Covid-19 pestilence. Nonviolent drug offenders, people who couldn’t make bail, people within six months of release, the elderly and infirm … Continue reading “Prisons are a COVID-19 Petri Dish”

What We Should Do About COVID-19

Like their counterparts elsewhere, contract sanitation workers in Chennai work with little or no serious protection. Photo: M. Palani Kumar. With his first speech on the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi got us to scare evil spirits away by having people bang the hell out of their pots and pans. With his second, he scared … Continue reading “What We Should Do About COVID-19”

The Coronavirus Rained on Trump’s Easter Charade

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump was hell-bent on loosening social restraints so that churches could be “packed” on Easter (April 12). Never mind that health care experts warned that such a premature move would worsen the spread of the virus, overwhelm hospitals with patients, lead to countless deaths and result in … Continue reading “The Coronavirus Rained on Trump’s Easter Charade”

It’s Time to Clean Ecofascism Out of Environmentalism

The coronavirus pandemic is lethal, but could there be a silver lining beyond the pain? Social media is awash with how the newly cleaned environment is hosting wildlife not seen for years. Dolphins are swimming in Venetian canals: except they aren’t, they’re really near Sardinia as usual. Swans? Yes, but they’ve always been there. The … Continue reading “It’s Time to Clean Ecofascism Out of Environmentalism”

The Future May Be Female, But the Pandemic is Patriarchal

Before I found myself “sheltering in place,” this article was to be about women’s actions around the world to mark March 8th, International Women’s Day. From Pakistan to Chile, women in their millions filled the streets, demanding that we be able to control our bodies and our lives. Women came out in Iraq and Kyrgyzstan, … Continue reading “The Future May Be Female, But the Pandemic is Patriarchal”

By The Time We Notice We’re Hungry, It May Be Too Late

“[A]s the top U.S. watermelon-producing state prepares for harvest, Reuters reports, “many of the workers needed to collect the crop are stuck in Mexico …. Without the workers crops could rot in fields throughout the country,” starting in Florida and California where major harvests begin in April and May. As you can probably guess, the … Continue reading “By The Time We Notice We’re Hungry, It May Be Too Late”