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The Code for Global Ethics: Ten Humanist Principles by Rodrigue Tremblay

June 12th, 2010

For a More Ethical Civilization
by Rodrigue Tremblay

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), French economist

"The world today is as furiously religious as it ever was. ... Experiments with secularized religions have generally failed; religious movements with beliefs and practices dripping with reactionary supernaturalism have widely succeeded."
Peter Berger, Desecularization of the World, 1999

“I think that on balance the moral influence of religion has been awful. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.”- Steven Weinberg, 1979 Nobel Laureate in Physics

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“Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town,” by Deborah Rudacille

May 27th, 2010

Rudacille’s Tome: A Must-Read for Labor Buffs

Book review by William Hughes

“You are a little harder when you come out of a steel mill than when you went in.” - Austin McLelland (1)

In “Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town,” Deborah Rudacille vividly recreates the lives of the workers who lived in the company town of Sparrows Point, aka the “Point,” and the surrounding community of Dundalk, Maryland. During WWII, as many as 36,000 were employed at the sprawling facility, then owned by the Bethlehem Steel Co. and located on the water’s edge, just east of Baltimore, where the Patapsco River meets the Chesapeake Bay.

The author dives right in. The Point was a “segregated company town” for much of its existence, Rudacille reports. Within the “White” part of the hamlet, you could tell who had the better jobs at the plant by what street they lived on. “B and C Street” were where the foreman or manager hung their hard hats, while “H” street folks were “looked down on.” The “Blacks” were cut off from the Whites “by a wide creek spanned by a bridge.”

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War and Empire: The American Way of Life by Paul Atwood

May 17th, 2010

Book review by Eric Walberg

Paul Atwood's War and Empire: The American Way of Life is a stimulating revisionist romp through American history, though I found the first two chapters too depressing -- the deception and betrayal of the innocent natives and their ruthless massacre by greedy settlers is just too close to the tragedy of the Palestinians for comfort. I got hooked with the post-1776 integration of the "revolutionaries" into the corrupt world of international intrigue, and became fascinated with how US history has been a circus, if a nasty one, ever since, at times aping European revolutionaries and at other times the glamorous aristocracy. The hodge-podge that calls itself American culture today is a mix of all this, and its shallowness is no surprise.

War and Empire is based on the author's history lectures at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where he regularly asks students why the US entered any of its many wars and is greeted by quizzical looks and a vacuous "Freedom? National security?", blissfully unaware of "the centrality of war to the creation and evolution of the US". The decline in literacy standards depresses Atwood; one of his students earnestly explained to him that "communists employed 'Asian Orange' herbicides on American troops" in Vietnam.

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Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century, Third Edition by Paul Rogers

May 16th, 2010

Book review by Eric Walberg

Here in the Middle East, the US and its "client", spoiled offspring or whatever you want to call Israel have done nothing to lessen the Hobbesian chaos; on the contrary, they are the source of it. This is the message that Paul Rogers sets out calmly and compellingly in the third edition of Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century, Third Edition, which has become a popular text for those trying to chart a way through the darkness, and is much more a book to be read and to inspire than Boggs, though it too has lots of useful nitty-gritty for aspiring writers of contemporary politics and economics.

As a veteran peacenik, I found eloquent confirmation for what I and millions of others intuit about the deadend approach of writers who function within the dominant paradigm of international relations.

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The Crimes of Empire: The History and Politics of an Outlaw Nation by Carl Boggs

May 15th, 2010

Book review by Eric Walberg

New publications from the leading radical British press are the tip of a growing iceberg of passionate pleas for sanity in international affairs. Most of us prefer to stick our heads in the sand as the world goes to hell in a hand-basket, but there are works that can fascinate and uplift, perhaps even inspire us to do something before it is too late.

If what you need is a reference book for your own writing, with all the gory details of just how disreputable the world's hegemon is, The Crimes of Empire: The History and Politics of an Outlaw Nation by Carl Boggs is what you pull down from your shelf. He has slogged through all the filth of "collateral damage", "humanitarian warfare", "client-state outlawry", "perpetual war", "biowarfare", "space imperialism", Guantanamo -- the Orwellian list is seemingly endless -- to provide a litany of horrors that will convince even the most sceptical of observers as to who is the real problem in the world.

Not a pretty read, but a commendable labour on the author's part.

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"Camus, a Romance" by Elizabeth Hawes and "Albert Camus: Elements of a Life" by Robert Zaretsky

May 7th, 2010

Albert Camus: A stranger no more, a review by William Hughes

“Every author in some degree portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.” - Goethe

One of Algeria’s greatest sons, the late Albert Camus, is back where he rightfully belongs--center stage! Thanks to Elizabeth Hawes’ delightful and vibrant book, “Camus, a Romance,” (1) and Robert Zaretsky’s scholarly and insightful tome, “Albert Camus: Elements of a Life.” (2). Camus, a talented writer and philosopher, has again risen from the literary ashes. His clarion call for “limits” in the pursuit of otherwise laudable causes; and for truth-telling in the realm of political injustice and social inequities, is as relevant today, as it was during his turbulent lifetime.

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Free Trade Doesn't Work: What Should Replace it and Why

May 6th, 2010

by Ian Fletcher

Have you been wondering... How America can compete with nations like China where the average manufacturing wage is 57 cents an hour? How, if they can offshore call centers, computer programming, and accounting, there will be any good jobs left they can't offshore? How America can keep importing and running up debt without going bankrupt? How America can be a powerful nation without an industrial base? Why politicians keep denying all of these problems? Whether the economics you learned in school and hear on TV is valid?

What you can do about all this?

Read: Free Trade Doesn't Work: What Should Replace it and Why

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Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11

May 3rd, 2010

Book by Barrie Zwicker

A dozen carefully researched books have exposed the official story of 9/11 to be a terror fraud. Yet the mainstream media have monolithically failed to ask elementary questions about anomalies in this story. So-called alternative media have been little better. Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11 explains why and prescribes actions to break out the truth.

Authored by lifelong journalist Barrie Zwicker, who was for thirty-five years a media critic. Towers of Deception provides twenty-six “exhibits” of evidence proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” that 9/11 was an inside job. It then presents case histories of de facto censorship by mainstream media and examines the psychological phenomenon of denial. “False flag” operations and psychological warfare are dealt with in detail, as is the “invisible government”—the powers pulling strings behind the scenes. Following a profile of Dr. David Ray Griffin as an authentic prophet of the 9/11 truth movement, Towers of Deception urges people to speak truth to power and challenge all media.

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Three Kings - The Rise of an American Empire in the Middle East After World War II by Lloyd C. Gardner

March 14th, 2010

Review by Jim Miles

This concisely written and well documented work covers the “Truman Doctrine…the essential rubric under which the United States projected its power globally after World War II…the ideological foundation for the “imperial presidency.” Lloyd Gardner focuses his analysis on the Middle East, although the imperial trends expanded globally through the Americas and on into Asia as the old empires faded and the U.S. took their place. More specifically it is a study of “U.S. maneuvers to replace the British in the region of signal importance, the Middle East.” The signal importance of the region contains two factors: oil, the regional resource that enticed the British into the area in the first place; and ‘international communism’ and the rhetorically inflated fears of a grand international conspiracy to attack and dominate the world.

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In and Out of Crisis The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives by Greg Albo, Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch

March 13th, 2010

Book review/interview by ZNet

With the recent publication of their new book on the financial crisis and the crisis of the North American Left, In and Out Of Crisis (PM Press, 2010), ZNet took the opportunity to interview Greg Albo, Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch on some of the themes of the book and the struggles that now confront the Left. The authors all teach political economy at York University, and edit the Socialist Register. The Bullet reproduces that interview here.

Can you tell ZNet, please, what In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives is about and what is it trying to communicate?

This book departs from the common tendency on the left no less than on the right to judge economic and political developments through the prism of ‘states versus markets,’ with each crisis marking an oscillation between one pole or the other. There are many conceptual and political traps in such a binary opposition. On the one hand, it suggests that markets can be potentially self-sufficient and that somehow states, as the underwriters of a vast administrative and physical infrastructure necessary for markets to exist at all and as guarantors of private property, can be marginalized.

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