If you ever get labeled a tree hugger, as I have, remember the origin of the term. In 1730, 363 men and women from the village of Khejarli in India were slaughtered by soldiers who came to fell their forests for firewood in order to construct a new palace for Maharajah Abhay Singh.

For more than 300 years the people of the Bishnoi sect of Hinduism had lovingly cared for their ecosystem. When they heard their trees being cut down they did not hesitate to embrace them because they understood that their lives and that of the trees and other…


“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the biggest lies that people in the global north were sold and have largely internalized is that we are separate from the biosphere from which we evolved and on which we depend upon for our very survival. Even as we stand on the precipice of ecological collapse, human supremacy over nature has been the unchallenged narrative. As a result, those who have taken up the struggle to protect this fragile arrangement of existence are often otherized. Their “cause” is treated as just one of…


“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” — Vladimir Lenin

Between 1973 and 1990 scores of people were disappeared by the US supported fascist regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. They were incarcerated, tortured and thousands were murdered. In fact, the official total of those killed by the regime is just over 40,000. But some critics suggest it was much higher. Pinochet was able to do all of this with the blessing of the CIA who assisted him in the coup against the elected President, Salvador Allende, and in his reign of terror afterward…


It was just a couple of weeks ago that President Trump was both inciting and praising anti-lockdown protesters around the country. These included armed white militia men who stormed state capitol buildings demanding an end to public health measures to curb the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus. Many of them were filmed harassing nurses and blocking ambulances from reaching hospitals, but to Trump they were all just “good people.” He did this all while the deaths in the US from the pandemic lurched toward the 100,000 mark, the highest recorded death toll for any nation on the planet.

But…


At a certain point in an age of absurdity the normalization of madness becomes so common that it is almost indiscernible to most in the thick of it. Indeed, late capitalism, the stage which is undoubtedly preceding complete barbarism, has produced an endless stream of absurdities which not only insult the senses of those who possess a conscience and a modicum of critical thinking skills, but can also deliver a fatal injury as we are seeing unfold in real time with tepid or reckless responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Donald Trump’s ceaseless spin of the truth is already legendary. But…


Just months ago, few would have thought it possible that a submicroscopic ball of genetic coding could bring the world’s wealthiest powers to their knees. But it has. In the space of a few months the Covid-19 virus projected its spiky arms not only into the delicate cells of the human lung, but into the very membrane of the global economic and political order itself. The United States, being the emblem of this order, has also become the biggest example of its enormous failure. In desperation, the American Empire, the wealthiest and most powerful one humanity has ever known, is…


The current reckoning unfolding against powerful men in the United States whose alleged abuses are being reported on every day by the corporate media has made me reflect on a performance by artist Marina Abramovic done in 1974. Filmed on camera, she stood in a room for six hours and allowed the audience to do anything they wanted to do to her body without resistance. It was a piece that left me shaken. …


“You must love nature,” she said as she passed; a stranger noticing me picking up the careless refuse dropped by another who apparently doesn’t. Her comment strikes me as a somewhat absurd but common sentiment, and it stays with me throughout my hike. Industrial society seems to easily compartmentalize nature as just another interest or a hobby.

I smile at her as I hastily stuff the discarded plastic water bottles and chip bags into a sack I keep in my back pack, while thinking of the engorged body of a dead seabird I saw dissected by a meticulous biologist right…


Last night President Trump vowed to expand the war in Afghanistan. The longest war in American history, started by George W. Bush (with the help of his father who made preliminary advances in the 20th century) and carefully maintained by Barrack Obama who dropped over 26,000 bombs around the planet in his last year alone. Afghanistan has been called the “graveyard of all empires” which may be hyperbolic and ignores the enormous suffering Afghans have had to endure after each foreign incursion. But with each passing year that phrase carries more weight. …


Ancient empires all had one thing in common. They developed myths that served to obscure the pathology inherent to their very existence. They created barriers of irrational tribalism and superstition that cloaked cogent warnings of descent and collapse. They became drunk with pious self importance and bread and circuses filled their days and nights while they ignored the anger in the streets and the famine in the fields. In short, none of them saw the end coming. But, alas, it did come.

I, like every other American, was raised hearing similar myths. I was instructed that we were the “good…

Kenn Orphan

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