Matching Grant Challenge
alexPureWhen I met Alexander Cockburn, one of his first questions to me was: “Is your hate pure?” It was the question he asked most of the young writers he mentored. These were Cockburn’s rules for how to write political polemics: write about what you care about, write with passion, go for the throat of your enemies and never back down. His admonitions remain the guiding stylesheet for our writers at CounterPunch. Please help keep the spirit of this kind of fierce journalism alive by taking advantage of  our matching grant challenge which will DOUBLE every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, CounterPunch will get a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate. –JSC (This photo of Alexander Cockburn and Jasper, on the couch that launched 1000 columns, was taken in Petrolia by Tao Ruspoli)
 Day 19

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

To Tell the Truth The Sorry State of the Union

The Sorry State of the Union

by BEN ROBERTS

In just a few short hours we will hearing from George Bush on the State of the Union. This is an event in which the sitting President addresses the country in a speech that is supposed to sum up the financial, social, and political health of this nation. This speech will mark Bush’s two year anniversary as President of this country. More than likely there will be a collective groan as George Bush preens himself, massacres the English language, and makes wild outlandish claims and forecasts in a speech to have us believe that this nation is in fine health overall. You can buy that if you like. The truth is that right now America is on emergency life support, and the prospect for recovery look absolutely grim. How can this be? Who is responsible for our grim predicament you ask? For your answers look no further than the man at Pennsylvania Avenue using smoke and mirrors trying to convince you, against all logic, that you are doing just fine.

Let’s look at this nation’s financial health. America has not been in such bad shape financially probably since the Great Depression. States are facing terrible and unprecedented economic woes. Most are unable to meet their financial obligations, and are slashing badly needed programs, leaving the majority of their needy residents to manage best way they can. This state of affairs is not entirely Bush’s fault. Some states are in such predicaments because of runaway spending sprees that have finally caught up with them. However, one of the single main reasons for their predicament is the burdensome security and health costs they have had to assume due to Bush never ending war on terrorism.

The financial health of this country at the national level is not any better than that of the struggling states. The Wall Street free for all where corporate captains pillaged this nation’s finances has resulted in a stock market free fall. Confidence has been lost in America’s financial system and will not be repaired soon. Why such pessimism you ask? Well, the President himself seems to have been closely linked to the corporate giants Enron and Arthur Anderson who have fallen from grace and taken both this nations consumer confidence and hard earned savings with them in their tumble into the economic abyss. How can we expect improvement in this nation’s financial health anytime soon under such conditions where, from all appearances, we have a fox standing guard at the henhouse? If that’s not bad enough, this nation’s reserves, such as the ample Social Security surplus, have been virtually ransacked for Bush so called war on terrorism. This nation, with huge surpluses when Bush took office, is now mired in a deficit. It shows in the layoffs and jobless benefits scores of Americans have to resort to.

If we believe this nation’s financial health is bad, then just take a look at the social predicament of this nation. In the name of war on terrorism George Bush has taken a wrecking ball to the Constitution, curtailing citizens rights in the so called Patriot Act, attacking anyone who exercises free speech, and especially those who say something the Administration does not want to hear. Using a combination of mass fear, misinformation, and no information, Bush and his cohorts are well on their way to turning America, this beacon of democracy, into a reserve of fear, uncertainty, mistrust, victimization, and absence of free expression. A state of affairs that would make Senator Joseph McCarthy beam with delight. At present citizens of particular ethnicity are locked up indefinitely, profiled, and now asked to furnish information on those within their group. How divisive and Orwellian. Add to this the fact that mainstream media has, for all practical purposes, abdicated its oft claimed responsibility to keep the American citizen informed with investigative and unbiased reporting, and we cannot but agree that the current social health of this nation leaves a lot to be desired.

Currently we have a situation in American politics where we have a Republican President, Republican Senate, and Republican Congress. There is no counterbalancing force to keep American politics honest and evenhanded. The political health of this nation can be summed up in the comments by Senator Trent Lott at the event honoring Senator Strom Thurmond. His comments were an insult to black America, and displayed what seems to be the current political climate in the American government where Republicans feel that they can say and do as they like. Bush expressed similar behavior when he bragged that he refused to provide the General Accounting Office with information of White House dealings with Enron. Bush, in a TV interview added to this when he said “I am the President of the United States. I don’t have to answer to anybody.’ Such thinking harbors a political climate that is not in the best interest of the American citizen and the world community.

Speaking of the world community, we can take one look at American foreign policy and we quickly see the “I don’t have to answer to anybody’ mentality displayed. The Bush Administration policy of preemptive strike, axis of evil, nations targeted under US nuclear posture, and go it alone war on Iraq clearly bear out this mentality. Such thinking is dangerous for the world and international politics. It is taking us down a slippery slope. It seems as if this Administration is opening an international political Pandora’s box. The political health of America, both domestically and internationally, is in dire straits. So when Bush gives his State Of The Union address in a few hours and describes the union as a picture of heaven on earth and a mansion on the hill, we should remember the sorry state of affairs in this country, that we think of as the greatest country on earth.

BEN ROBERTS is a newsletter editor, freelance writer and published author. His book Jackals of Samarra, can be found at iUniverse – A Unique Bookstore Experience , and at all the major Internet book outlet sites. Be prepared for a surprise reading this action adventure novel set in the Gulf, as today’s news headlines seem to be ripped right out of its pages. Definitely a case of life imitating art. Ben can be contacted by email at: grandt730@aol.com