Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
Archives from October 2006
The Meaning of Lula’s Victory
ROGER BURBACH
Luis Inácio "Lula" da Silva’s resounding electoral victory with over 60 percent of the vote places Brazilian politics on a new footing. While many on the left remain critical of Lula for the limited reforms of his first term, his very victor...
A No-Win Elecion for Women
SUNSARA TAYLOR
Last week George Bush, in a campaign season when many Republican candidates are choosing not to appear together with such an unpopular president, made a point of standing alongside Don Sherwood. The reason for Bush’s special visit is that Sherwood, a Republi...
Vote for James H. ‘Jim’
NIRANJ ...
My son is taking a class on ‘Elements of Comedy’ at his school this quarter. Hearing him talk of distinctions between ‘ridiculous’ and ‘ludicrous’, ‘preposterous’ and ‘absurd’, all of which we had in our...
Those Damned Democrats
SHARON SMITH
In the final countdown to the November 7 election, Democrats.com has already begun celebrating. Calling for candle light vigils outside polling stations across the nation on election night, the website’s blue-clad supporters will bear moral witness against v...
Targeting Nicaraguans’ Stomachs
BEN BEACHY
Imagine the following: you and your family decide to remodel your kitchen. Your neighbor, also the principal at your children’s elementary school, hears of the plan and immediately states his opposition. He argues that the remodeling project is not the sort ...
Freedom to the Detained; Punishment for the Assassins
Subcomandante MARCOS
OFFICIAL NOTICE OF THE REVOLUTIONARY INDIGENOUS CLANDESTINE COMMITTEE – MILITARY COMMAND OF ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION. MEXICO. 30 OF OCTOBER OF 2006. TO THE TOWNS OF MEXICO: TO THE TOWNS OF THE WORLD: TO ALL THE OTHERS IN MEXICO AND NORTH ...
Nine Words
EDWARD HUMES
When Ronald Reagan convinced the nation that the nine most dangerous words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help, the Gipper knew better, even if his audience didn’t. Reagan was a member of the WW II generation...
The Third and Final Act: Attacking Iran
WILLIAM S. LIND
The third and final act in the national tragedy that is the Bush administration may soon play itself out. The Okhrana reports increasing indications of "something big" happening between the election and Christmas. That could be the long-planned attack on...
Democratic Candidate’s Wife Asks Sheehan Not to Protest the Iraq War
STEPHEN S. PEARCY
When America’s leading anti-war activist, Cindy Sheehan, got a phone call last week from Jan Brown, wife of Democratic Congressional candidate, Charles D. ("Charlie") Brown, the last thing in the world Cindy expected was a plea from Ms. Brown, &quo...
Bush Opens National Parks to Bio-Prospecting
MICHAEL COLBY
We interrupt this election season to remind you who really has control of the government, the land and our lives: U.S. corporations. So while the two parties put on their best seductive dance for prospective voters in November, the merry corporations just keep rol...
Who’s Afraid of an Iranian Bomb?
URI AVNERY
At the height of the epic Battle of Britain in 1940, when British airmen were killed at an appalling rate ("never was so much owed by so many to so few"), an official in charge of propaganda had a bright idea to raise morale. On the walls at the Royal Ai...
The Veil and the British Male Elite
ALI KHAN
In line with the feminist bumper sticker "Well-behaved women do not make history," Aishah Azmi, a Muslim woman born in Cardiff and raised in Birmingham, is determined to disobey the British male elite and make history. Azmi fully veils her face in the pu...
The Natural Step for Eco-Villages
TIM MONTAGUE
Sweden has a penchant for safety and cleanliness. Swedes invented the Volvo, one of the safest automobiles. Volvos are built to minimize harm to passengers during accidents, and they are built without toxic flame retardants. Swedes invented the safety- match and d...
The Obscene Views of Avigdor Lieberman
AKIVA ELDAR
The prevalent comparison between Avigdor Lieberman and Joerg Haider does an injustice to the Austrian nationalist whose party joined the government in the winter of 2000. Haider is far from being a righteous man, but even in his most fascist days, he never called ...
I Was Wrong About Thomas Friedman, the World’s Wealthiest Pundit
NORMAN SOLOMON
Last week my column was a parody of how Thomas Friedman writes about the global economy. Since then, I’ve learned that I was in error on a matter that shines some light on the worldview of the syndicated New York Times col...
Dirty Bombs Over Lebanon
ROBERT FISK
Did Israel use a secret new uranium-based weapon in southern Lebanon this summer in the 34-day assault that cost more than 1,300 Lebanese lives, most of them civilians? We know that the Israelis used American "bunker-buster" bombs on HizbollahR...
Liberal Doormats: Tread on Us
LANCE SELFA
The self-styled "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party"–the liberals who try to rally the Democratic base for every election–are always the good soldiers. In a party increasingly consumed with offering a Republican-Lite agenda, they ...
Evil in the Valley
BRIAN DOWNING
For several months now, there have been troubling reports of a number of Iraqi civilians murdered over the past year by American troops. The military has recently indicted several soldiers and marines. Not all the evidence is at hand and no one has been convicted....
European Islamophobia
LEE SUSTAR
European politicians from London to Moscow are bashing Islam and immigrants, legitimizing politics previously limited to the anti-immigrant extreme right. The latest high-profile venture in Islamophobia is taking place in Britain, where Labour Party ministe...
Normalizing Torture
BRUCE JACKSON
Let’s start with the definition of torture in the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the United States is a party. Torture, the Convention says, is any act by which severe pain or suffering...
The Death of Empathy
ROBERT JENSEN
One of the most devastating consequences of unearned privilege — both for those of us on top and, for very different reasons, those who suffer beneath — is the death of empathy. Too many people with privileges of various kinds — based on...
Hogwash
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
I grew up south of Indianapolis on the glacier-smoothed plains of central Indiana. My grandparents owned a small farm, whittled down over the years to about 40 acres of bottomland, in some of the most productive agricultural land in America. Like many of their nei...
Perversions of Power
DAVID ROSEN
The Mark Foley scandal places in stark relief the moral hypocrisy that underscores the Bush administration’s attitude toward sexuality and power. Foley has rationalized his inappropriate (if not illegal) behavior with adolescent boys behind what some media p...
On Peters and Principles
RUSS FINE And DEE FINE
On Friday, September 29th, Congressman Mark Foley (R, Florida,) resigned in sordid shame. Years from now, he may be immortalized as nothing more than a name on a political trivia game card as the Janus-faced congressional crusader who, as Chairman of the House Cau...
Oppression Affects All People
MAURUS CHINO
Years ago, in more simple and personal times, I decided to write a letter to then U.S. Congressman Manuel Lujan, regarding the first Oñate Statue that is currently on display in Alcade, NM. It was not an easy thing to do, as I had never taken part in any so...
Why Bunny Greenhouse Sits in a Corner
SHERWOOD ROSS
Bunnatine Greenhouse sits in a cubicle in a far corner of an office in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers(USACE) headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., where, she says, "I am treated like a non-person." Months crawl by yet her immediate supervisor just...
Democrats By Default?
JEFF TAYLOR
If control of Congress changes hands in January, it will be because the Republicans lost, not because the Democrats won. The national Democratic Party is not trying to win elections this year. It is sitting back, playing it safe, and watching the Republican Party ...
Why Bush is Seeking Confrontation With North Korea
GREGORY ELICH
North Korea’s nuclear test and UN sanctions have brought relations between the U.S. and North Korea to their lowest point since President Bush took office. Yet it was only little more than a year ago that for one brief moment hopes were kindled for a diploma...
Bush’s Mea Culpa Speech, First Draft
SAUL LANDAU And FARRAH HASSEN
Former Secretary of State James Baker, co-chairing a bipartisan commission on Iraq, offered Bush a prudent version of imperialism. He didn’t quite call for immediate U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, but he questioned Bush’s refusal to talk with Iran an...
The Global War on Fashion
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
"It is circumstance and proper timing that give an action its character and make it either good or bad." Agesilaus, quoted in Plutarch’s Lives Timing is important. So, it seems, are clothes Back in Apr...
Fear and Loathing in the North
TOM BARRY
President Bush signed a bill this week authorizing the construction of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Immigration experts and counterterrorism experts say that this new plan to barricade the southern border will have little impact on immigration fl...
The Horrors of Extraordinary Rendition
MAHER ARAR
Canadian citizen MAHER ARAR, who is barred from entering the United States, delivered his acceptance speech for the ...
Rogue President
MICHAEL CARMICHAEL
The president seems confused. After making a curious remark observing that the war in Iraq was placing a strain on the psyche of America, President Bush has become the primary focus of concerns about a strained psyche. Last week, the president uttered more...
Playlist
DAVID VEST
Last Man Standing, by Jerry Lee Lewis (Artist First) After bouncing aro...
The Legacy of Gillo Pontecorvo
JOE ALLEN
Gillo Pontecorvo, one of the great revolutionary film directors of all time, recently passed away at the age of 86. He is best known for two classic films about the struggle against colonialism, The Battle of Algiers (1966) and Queimada/Burn! (1969). ...
Pushing India Toward a Dollar Democracy
ASEEM SHRIVASTAVA
In an article concerned with the rapid urbanization of India and China, a writer for London’s Financial Times (August 5/6, 2006) points out that Bangalore "has become a byword for a catastrophic failure of urban planning." Interestingly, he ...
The Distortions of Sebastian Mallaby on Social Security
SETH SANDRONSKY
As U.S. midterm elections near, the topic of political honesty draws some pundits like moths to light. Take Sebastian Mallaby in the Washington Post of October 23. "Every honest politician knows that entitlement spending on retirees is going to bust th...
In Search of a Real Inter-Religious Dialogue
Rev. WILLIAM ALBERTS
In a September 12, 2006 lecture on faith and reason at the University of Regensburg in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI used a monologue to propose a "genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today." ( "Faith, Reason and the Universit...
Why Nancy Pelosi is Wrong
DAVE LINDORFF
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in an interview with Lesley Stahl of CBS News, said impeachment would be "off the table" if Democrats take over the House of Representatives in November, calling it a "waste of time." She couldn...
The General Who Called Out the Devil
RON JACOBS
The reaction of most mainstream US politicians to Hugo Chavez’s recent rhetorical flourish during his speech at the United Nations where he called George Bush the devil certainly showed the world how much of a threat the Washington powermongers consider his ...
Islamic Fascisms?
ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
President George W. Bush and the neoconservative handlers of his administration have added a new bogeyman to their long and evolving list of enemies: "Islamic fascism," also called "Islamofascism." This wanton flinging of the word "fascism...
A Cruel and Unusual Reality
LILY HUGHES
"I DIDN’T do it." Those were the words that Michael Dewayne Johnson scrawled in his own blood as he died from a self-inflicted slashed neck–hours before he was scheduled to be put to death in the Texas death chamber. Johnson’s ho...
The Charnel House of Baghdad
MIKE WHITNEY
There are three things wrong with the current policy in Iraq. Occupation, occupation and occupation. Foreign occupation is the reason why over 90% of Iraqis want the Americans to leave their country. It is the reason why nearly 50% of Iraqis believe ...
Like a Soldier
STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier. Kipling ...
How to Save Vermont
TIM MATSON
Vermont’s got problems. Skyrocketing property taxes, surging energy costs, overpriced health care, job flight because businesses can’t afford to pay decent salaries. Even the fall foilage has lost its sparkle. We’ve got one overstressed old nuke ...
The Crimes of Greed vs. the Crimes of Government
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
During my professional lifetime, liberals and the left-wing have focused on failures and misdeeds of the private sector, while libertarians and conservatives have focused on the failures and misdeeds of the public sector or government. It turns out that both sides...
From "Mission Accomplished" to "Mission Impossible" in Iraq
PATRICK COCKBURN
"It sounds like a face-saving way of announcing a withdrawal," commented an Iraqi political leader yesterday on hearing that the US military commander in Iraq and the chief American envoy in Baghdad had said that Iraqi police and army should be able to t...
The Police Raid on My House
CARLOS ZORRILLA
When I received the very early phone call around 6:15 on the morning of the 17th of October informing me that there were "very many policemen" headed my way, I did not hesitate. I closed down my computer, said goodbye to my son, and left my home. I didn&...
The Blood of October
MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
This morning, I awakened to the news that five more US troops were just killed in Iraq, bringing the total this month to 96. October has been deathly cruel to Americans and to Iraqis. Yesterday, during George Bush’s news conference, the president did ...
Madonna’s African Safari
JENNIFER MATSUI
Dear Madonna, You are no doubt dismayed by the public outrage that has greeted your decision to adopt a baby boy from Malawi–a country that most people in the West probably only know from the ad campaigns of charitable organizations showing sickly bab...