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Hercules and the Goose: The Pernicious Progressive Appeals to National “Values”

This article has been making the rounds in UK political circles. It’s a piece from by Chaminda Jayanetti: “Britain will betray itself for Trump’s coins of silver. British values are being forgotten in the hunt for trade deals.”  I must say, when I read such formulations, my guard goes up immediately. “British values are being forgotten?” Um, which British values are being forgotten, even “betrayed”? The values displayed in Iraq? The values displayed in Yemen? The values displayed in years of austerity budgets, endorsed by the electorate in 2015? The values displayed in Brexit? The values displayed in decades

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Black Mirror: Trump’s Triumph and America’s Truth

(Here’s my column from the latest print edition of CounterPunch Magazine. It was written three days after the election.) “Hello darkness, my old friend…” There has been great consternation in the world over the fact that Donald Trump, runner-up in the 2016 vote (“Weak! Loser!”), will soon be president of the United States, thanks to the Rube Goldberg contraption set up by white elites in the 18th century to prevent the despised rabble from directly choosing their leaders. (And just to be sure, the Southern slaver-owners and their Northern compatriots also disenfranchised the vast majority of the populace while they

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Fire and Ice: Another Ignored Outrage at Standing Rock

On Sunday night, militarized police attacked the Standing Rock camp — yet again — this time in a vicious water cannon assault in sub-freezing temperatures. Hundreds of people — unarmed people — were injured in the attack. As a report from the camp notes: “The attacks came as water protectors used a semi-truck to remove burnt military vehicles that police had chained to concrete barriers weeks ago, blocking traffic on Highway 1806.  Water protectors’ efforts to clear the road and improve access to the camp for emergency services were met with tear gas, an LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), stinger

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Hand Job: Joe B Stands up for Trump

Alas, poor Joe. Where be your memes now? Your gambols? Your flashes of Trump-bashing merriment that were wont to set the internet on a roar? IRL, it seems, you are carrying Donald’s water, telling us the White House will be “in good hands.” Quite chapfallen, are we? Now get you to ambition’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this fawning, scuttling favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.  

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Sons of the South: Elite’s Hate-Tactics Never Die

Divide and conquer, demonize and distract: how the bosses thwarted emancipation and set whites against blacks, keeping both poor while pocketing the loot. It’s where we came from, and how we got where we are now — neck-deep in the mire.  

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Tears of Rage, Tears of Grief: Blum Lays Bare Empire’s True Nature

Bill Blum is firing with both barrels in his latest Anti-Empire Report, blowing holes in the Potemkin village of the Potomac Empire, laying bare its true nature, even as the electoral eagles scream about which factotum will be allowed to sit in the Temporary Manager’s chair for the next four years. Read it and weep tears of rage, tears of grief. (Image: “The Tempter,” by Chris Floyd)

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Broken Light: Work, for the Night is Coming

(Excerpt from the book, Empire Burlesque. Originally published on the blog in 2005.) I. Black milk of daybreak, we drink it at evening.   – Paul Celan, “Deathfugue” The children were walking to school. The young people were going out to a dance.  The children stepped on a booby trap planted by a soldier. The young people were shredded by a suicide bomb. They were all blown up, destroyed. One moment, the force of life animated their biological matter, their brains seethed with billions of electrical impulses, the matrix of consciousness brought the entire universe into being, within them, within

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Barrel Bomb: The Cataclysmic Close of Campaign 2016

Well, here we are: at the bottom of the barrel under forty feet of slag. In a few days’ time, we’ll know our fate: the five-alarm fire of Trump Rule (oh, how those police unions are chomping at the bit!) or the Clinton Age of Hyper-War (oh, how those neocons are chomping at the bit!). In either case, the entrenched coagulation of corporate interests and war profiteers that have strangled the peace, prosperity and prospects of the American people will not be budged an inch. The change that people are so desperately hungry for — so hungry that that some

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The Burlesque is Back in Town

Just a quick note to say that thanks to the Herculean and indefatigable efforts of the site’s co-founder and webmaster, Rich Kastelein, Empire Burlesque is back up after a particularly vicious and prolonged hacking. There are new posts coming, but I wanted to let people know we are back in business, again, thanks to Rich. In case of future hack attack of any great length, you might check out my other, less political website, which I will use for Empire Burlesque-type posts whenever this site is down. The other site is Bright Terrible Spirit.

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Tonkin 2.0: ‘Attack’ on Ships Justifies US Escalation in Yemen

So, just as the world was finally taking notice of the US-Saudi carnage in Yemen — following the mass slaughter of civilians in an attack on a funeral on Oct. 8 — suddenly, for the first time in the 19-month conflict, US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin — sorry, the Red Sea — were fired upon (or “threatened’) by off-target missiles. Now, in thundering righteousness at this unprovoked outrage (unprovoked if you don’t count 19 months of slaughter and blockade which have killed thousands and put millions at risk of famine), the US — which had “only” been funding, arming,

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