The Gig (Economy) Is Up

Across America, the fastest-growing category of new jobs is gig work—contract, part-time, temp, self-employed and freelance. Estimates vary but it’s safe to say almost a quarter of American workers are now gig workers.

The jobs problem today isn’t just stagnant wages. It’s also uncertain incomes. A downturn in demand, change in consumer preferences, or a personal injury or sickness, can cause future paychecks to disappear. Yet nearly 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.

Gig work is also erasing 85 years of hard-won labor protections. At the rate gig work is growing, future generations won’t have a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation for injuries, employer-provided social security, overtime, family and medical leave, disability insurance, or the right to form unions and collectively bargain. Continue reading

Travel to Cuba Falls Victim to John Bolton’s Wrath

John Bolton hates the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua—calling them the “troika of tyranny” and is determined to use his time as National Security Advisor to eliminate the vestiges of socialism in our hemisphere. Furious that he has been unable to successfully orchestrate a coup in Venezuela, Bolton is now lashing out at Cuba, explicitly punishing the nation for its support of Venezuelan President Maduro. Continue reading

The US Cult of Bombing and Endless War

This country’s propensity for believing that its ability to rain hellfire from the sky provides a winning methodology for its wars has proven to be a fantasy of our age. Whether in Korea in the early 1950s, Vietnam in the 1960s, or more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn’t led to ultimate success. All the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results. In reality, this country might do better to simply ground its many fighter planes, bombers, and drones. Paradoxically, instead of gaining the high ground, they are keeping us on a low road to perdition. Continue reading

Comforting The Afflicted And Afflicting The Comfortable

The drive to narrow the focus of education by reducing it to test-taking focused almost exclusively on literacy and mathematics, things that are easily measured, while pushing aside the more uncomfortable disciplines like art, philosophy, and the humanities has accelerated over the past couple decades. The comfortable are disturbed by the sorts of critical thinkers that emerge from a real education. They are afflicted by those of us who ask a lot of questions, challenge their authority, and stand up for our beliefs. And so the schools they seek to create are ones that focus on questions of how rather than why; schools that seek conformity through standardization; schools that are activity centers more than places of real learning. Continue reading

If Trump Really Only Wants ‘No Iranian Nukes,’ Then He Should Just Rejoin the Nuclear Deal

Trump said at a news conference in Japan, “We aren’t looking for regime change – I just want to make that clear. We are looking for no nuclear weapons.” But Trump breached the treaty the US and other members of the UN Security Council signed with Iran in 2015, which aimed precisely at forestalling Iran from having nuclear weapons. Continue reading

18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World

So why have so many outlets and people turned against Assange and WikiLeaks? Because it turned out he wasn’t revealing only repressive Arab regimes. He also revealed U.S.-backed coups and war crimes around the world. He exposed the criminality and villainy of the American ruling elite. You won’t see the following list of WikiLeaks’ accomplishments anywhere on your corporate airwaves. Continue reading

The United States of… American Exceptionalism and Overseas Meddling

From 1946 to 2000, the Russians — the Soviet Union until 1991 — engaged in a staggering 36 “partisan election interventions” globally. The United States took the crown with 81 interventions! The two Cold War superpowers together meddled in approximately “one of every nine competitive elections” in that era in at least 60 countries covering every part of the planet but Oceania. Moreover, only seven of them were in the same election in the same country at the same time.

In response to 9/11, in a world without other superpowers, the country no longer needed to meddle secretly. With the invasion of Afghanistan that October, open regime change became the order of the day. Iraq would come in 2003, Libya in 2011. The U.S. Air Force and the CIA’s drones would bomb and missile at least seven countries across the Greater Middle East and North Africa repeatedly in the years to come, helping reduce great cities to rubble, uprooting and displacing massive numbers of people, creating failed states galore, and setting in motion forces that, from Pakistan to Syria, Yemen to Niger, would in turn unsettle a significant part of the planet. Continue reading

Are ExxonMobil Execs the Most Evil People in the 200K-Year History of Humanity?

CEOs of ExxonMobil such as Lee Raymond or Rex Tillerson or currently Darren Woods are banal in their evil. But they are much worse in the practical effect of their evil than Hitler or Pol Pot or any of the other genocidal maniacs we’ve seen in the past century. They deliberately wrecked a planet to make a few bucks (in Lee Raymond’s case, $400 million of them). Tens of millions of human beings will die so that they can have private planes and huge mansions. Continue reading

The Threat of War with Iran

Iran is three times the size and population as Iraq and has a modern military force with missiles capable of reaching U.S. bases, navy ships, and troop concentrations up to 1,200 miles away. A war would effectively close shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s oil is shipped, likely triggering a global recession. Attacks on Iran’s remaining nuclear facilities, some of which are located in heavily-populated areas, would release large amounts of radiation and other poisonous gasses. The Iranian-aligned Lebanese Hezbollah would likely unleash large-scale missile attacks against Israel, and other extremists groups could launch a series of terrorist attacks against Americans worldwide. Such violence would likely trigger a still wider war, led by a President and military command with little concern about civilian casualties. Continue reading