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Archives from April 2008
On Hypocrisy Over Tibet
JOHN V. WHITBECK
I have been watching with growing amazement and concern the assaults on the bizarrely quasi-religious Olympic Torch as it has staggered through London, Paris and San Francisco, as well as the self-righteous pronouncements by certain European "leaders" (...
Rendition to Jordan
JOANNE MARINER
"Why Jordan?" The question puzzled Abu Hamza al-Tabuki, a Saudi citizen who claims that US agents arrested him in Afghanistan in December 2001 and, after interrogating him in Pakistan, flew him in a private jet to Jordan. Because he was not Jordanian and...
Petraeus Sets Up Iran
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Last week’s congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and Green Zone administrator Ryan Crocker set the propaganda stage for a Bush regime attack on Iran. On April 10 Robert H. Reid of AP News reported: "The top US commander has shifted the focus f...
Hot Messages to Sex Dancer Doom Condi’s New Finnish Pal
P. SAINATH
(The writer acknowledges the invaluable inputs of the Helsinki Bureau) The news that Finland’s foreign minister Ilkka Kanerva has lost his job after sending 200 raunchy SMS messages to an erotic dancer drives another nail in to the stereotype of bor...
The Meaning of Hizbullah’s Big Win
M. SHAHID ALAM
On January 31, 2008, when the Winograd Commission submitted its final report on the Second Lebanese War of July 2006, this was a first in Israeli history: a report on why the Israeli military had failed in a war. The Winograd Commission offers a quite hones...
Airline Deregulation Makes a Hard Landing
CARL FINAMORE
One of 70-million travelers a year, I flew out of Chicago’s huge four-terminal O’Hare airport to San Francisco on April 9 in a United Airline B-767 aircraft. The large Boeing jet holds 244 passengers and was unexpectedly full. Optimistically h...
A Trillion Dollar Rescue for Wall Street Gamblers
MICHAEL HUDSON
If the move to a Unitary Executive of unfettered presidential power frightens you, America’s radical right turn to Unitary Finance should compound your fears–and your debts as well. The financial events of the last two weeks of March 2008 demonstrate t...
A Cleric, a Pol and a Warrior
PATRICK COCKBURN
The iraqi government has decided that the moment has come to crush the Mahdi Army and the followers of Muqtada Sadr once and for all. Despite its failure to eliminate his militiamen in Basra at the end of March, the government, with American backing, is determined...
Suicide and Cymbalta
MARTHA ROSENBERG
Ask about published reports of 470 completed suicides of people on antidepressants since Prozac debuted in 1988 and the drug ...
The Bitterness Thing
DAVE LINDORFF
I haven’t lived in rural Pennsylvania or in rural Indiana, but I have lived in rural upstate New York, in towns where there are so few Democrats that on some local election ballots, not a single position, from town council to justice of the peace, has a...
Education Entrepreneurs
SETH SANDRONSKY
U.S. public schools have been getting help from the New Schools Venture Fund since 1998. It "seeks to transform public education by leveraging the power of entrepreneurs to effect change," its Web site said. How? NSVF determines "the most powerful l...
Bush’s Brand of Morality
ROBERT FANTINA
Although it is now long forgotten, if one tries one can recall that, during the 2000 presidential election, one of candidate George Bush’s rallying cries was that he would ‘bring morality’ back to the White House. Some gullible voters, although n...
Meeting David Wilson
PRAIRIE MILLER
The least talked about subject by far, in the incessantly gabby culture that characterizes America, is that shameful buried past of slavery, and the social and family blood ties that intimately connect the two races but whose relationships with one another have lo...
In Praise of Hippies and the Counter-Culture
BILL HATCH
These thoughts are provoked by Gerald de Groot’s Reflections on The Sixties Unplugged, an arrogant volume by an ignorant historian which argues that the ’60s counterculture achieved nothing of lasting importance. There are two kinds of hypocris...
Olympic Torch Toasts US Candidates
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
Looking for the Olympic torch in San Francisco last Wednesday was every bit as uncertain as a snark hunt and by the end of a bleak day for Chinese dignity the likelihood of a US boycott of the opening ceremony in Beijing in August had markedly increased. S...
Huffing and Puffing to Failure
MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
This week: CNN’s obsession with the reflection in Dick Cheney’s sunglasses. This is not reportage. It’s inanity, filler. Bill Clinton. He needs to stay at home, bake cookies and stuff them in his mouth when he gets the urge to bring up an issue t...
The Disney-fication of CBGB
ALEXANDER BILLET
There is something obscenely wrong with what sits in the former location of CBGB. Some of what defined the legendary rock club remains; a few walls are still covered with fliers and graffiti. But the stage has been replaced with a tailoring shop: the kind you see ...
Back to Square One
GEORGE S. HISHMEH
Sixty years ago this month, my mother rushed one morning into the bedroom that I shared with my younger brother, Suhail, and told us to dress quickly because we are travelling by sea very shortly to nearby Beirut, Lebanon. We had had quite an evening the ni...
Want to Save the Economy?
MIKE WHITNEY
Insolvency’s dark shadow hangs over Wall Street. One major player, Bear Stearns, has already gone under, and from the looks of it, another investment giant may be on the way down. It’s getting ugly out there. The so-called TED spread*, which measures t...
Olympic Torch in Buenos Aires
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina’s new president, must have heaved a huge sigh of relief. Though politicians feared that protests could mar the arrival of the Olympic torch in Buenos Aires, the day passed uneventfully enough. Athletes ran the...
Film Scores and Westerns: the Stealth Cavalry of Empire
DAVID YEARSLEY
Music is as crucial to the Hollywood Western as horses, Winchester rifles, whisky, and all-male campfires. These and other symbols unite a wide array of films, from The Searchers to Brokeback Mountain. It’s the film score that does most of the work o...
The New New Left in Latin America
RON JACOBS
As it has been throughout much of its history, today’s Latin America is a continent of change. Unlike much of its history, the forces that seem to have the upper hand right now are those that have been historically shut out. The poor, the indigenous, and the...
America’s Jones for War
DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
Seeing John McCain and David Petraeus talking about the Iraq debacle this week is a frightening reminder of how easily we Americans are able to slip into war. And how frequently we do. And how hard it is to get out once we’re in. Assuming, of course, we even...
Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr
PATRICK COCKBURN
In early March 2004, I went to visit the office of al-Hawza, Muqtada al-Sadr’s newspaper in Baghdad. There were only a few staff there, but they were relaxed and friendly. I talked to a young man called Hussein who was a student in the French department at M...
Booked Up
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
The Consequential Damages of Nuclear War: The Rongelap Report. By Barbara Rose Joh...
The Basra Battles
RAMZY BAROUD
When it comes to Iraq, reporters appear intent on omitting or fabricating news. The latest battles in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city and a vital oil seaport, furnished ample instances of misleading and manipulative practice in corporate journalism ...
The British Prime Minister and the Tate’s Tin of Shit
CHARLES THOMSON
I have fallen foul of the British Prime Minister, or, to be more accurate, the Prime Minister’s web site, specifically that part of it which allows anyone to post an online petition to Gordon Brown (he, in case you hadn’t noticed, is now the British PM...
Another Defining Moment in Iraq
CONN HALLINAN
When the Battle of Basra opened on Mar. 25, President Bush described it as a "defining moment" for the U.S.-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Within days, however, the White House was scrambling to distance itself from the shellacking ...
Eating South Florida
ALAN FARAGO
It is no surprise that appointments to Florida’s state agencies charged with protecting the environment are the truest indicator of the governor’s mind set. With two new appointees announced to the governing board of the water management district, Gove...
On Waking Sleeping Giants
DAVE LINDORFF
During my six-year sojourn in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, one of the things I came away with was a sense of how generally un-nationalistic and non-patriotic the Chinese people were. Caught up in the struggle first to simply survive and then, in the mid-90s...
Let Them Eat Ethanol!
SHARON SMITH
Wall Street millionaires have spent months mourning their losses from once ridiculously over-valued investments. Yet these same free market cheerleaders remain blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the crisis facing the real victims of the unfolding global meltdo...
Revenge of the Ghetto Nerd
WAJAHAT ALI
The Ghetto nerd came to America at age 6 with his impoverished Dominican family, like so many others before them, yearning to taste the "American Dream." The Ghetto nerd suffered the brutal jabs and blows of the "American reality" as his family...
The Clintons and Their Sordid Colombia Advocacy
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF
With the Pennsylvania primary fast approaching on April 22, Barack Obama will have the opportunity to end the race for the Democratic nomination once and for all. If he wins by only a slim margin in the state, the "punditocracy" will declare him the pres...
Digging for Trouble
YIGAL BRONNER And NEVE GORDON
"Archaeology has become a weapon of dispossession," Yonathan Mizrachi, an Israeli archaeologist, said in a recent telephone interview with us. He was referring to the way archaeology is being used in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in the oldest part ...
The Problems with the Conservation Reserve Program
GEORGE WUERTHNER
There was a recent article in the New York Times (April 9, 2008) describing how many farmers, in light of rising grain prices, are hoping to cancel their contracts for the Conservation Reserve Program or CRP. Few people outside of the farm belt have heard of this ...
Prostitutes Don’t Do Funerals
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
Why can’t Americans be more like the French? The slightly mangled line from My Fair Lady is inspired by the fascination with which we in the United States have viewed the sexual peccadilloes of assorted leaders as compared with how such behaviour is perceive...
The Military’s Distintegrating Family Life
JACOB G. HORNBERGER
Last Sunday’s New York Times Sunday Styles section had an article entitled, "After War, Love Can Be a Battlefield" by Leslie Kaufman. The article was about the stresses and strains that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have placed on soldiers...
Driving Up Debt and Dragging Down Growth
PETER MORICI
Today, the Commerce Department reported the February deficit on trade in goods and services was $62.3 billion. This was up from $59.0 billion in January and about 5.3 percent of GDP. The deficit was pushed higher by rising prices from many industrial supplies and ...
Slavery in the Fields
ELIZABETH SCHULTE
José Vasquez couldn’t stand any more. On November 19, he and two other workers escaped through a ventilation hatch in the box trailer where they had been locked up for the night. For more than a year, the three immigrants and a dozen more ...
Snitch or Else …
HAROLD AUSTIN
Many prisoners may, (or may not) understand the importance of national exposure of a State created situation. One that would certainly cause injury, possible death, of any prisoner who seriously seeks "retirement" from any form of (self-destructive) gang...
The Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr
ASHLEY SMITH
At the end of March, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, with U.S. political and military support, launched Operation Knight’s Assault to assert government control over Basra and several other cities dominated by rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi A...
Tibet for the Tibetans!
MATHIEU VERNEREY
The repression of the recent demonstrations in Tibet has shocked international public opinion. Thousands of Tibetans took to the streets, first in Lhasa, then in other towns, waving the Tibetan flag and chanting slogans demanding independence. They represent a cle...
Labor Unions Will Never Get a Fair Shake
DAVID MACARAY
This year will mark the 20th anniversary of a defining moment in the history of the Republican party, one that reminds us of just how extreme the Republicans’ devotion is to unimpeded turbo-capitalism, and how phony their professed commitment to "f...
Sex and Violins
PAUL KRASSNER
Progressive sex author Susie Bright had some questions for me: SB. Paul, what’s the story of the first "dirty picture" you ever saw? PK. When I eleven or twelve, my older brother, George, had somehow obtained nude photos of movie...
Lost in the Fumes
KARYN STRICKLER
In 2004 I was recruited by grassroots activists to run, as a reform candidate, for a spot on the national Sierra Club Board of Directors. At the time, I believed that election was going to be a battle of the old guard versus the reformers. I thought then that the ...
Enough Already!
ROBIN MITTENTHAL
One classic definition of insanity involves doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. A twice-divorced friend of mine who recently married again seems insane in this way. So, unfortunately, do most economists, policy-makers ...
The Fading American Economy
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy lost 98,000 private sector jobs in March, half of which were in manufacturing. Today 13,643,000 Americans are employed in manufacturing, of which 9,849,000 are production workers. Government e...
Colombian "Magnicidio" Remains a Mystery After 60 Years
PAUL WOLF
Nothing captures the imagination of the Colombian people, or is more emblematic of the Colombian conflict, than the unsolved mystery of the murder of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan on April 9, 1948. An extraordinarily popular caudillo, Gaitan’s shrill voice and dramat...
Alien Invasion!
WAJAHAT ALI
If one listens to the hysterical rhetoric of certain pundits and politicians, one would surely believe America is being attacked or infiltrated by nefarious aliens. Like the paranoid ranting of actor Kevin McCarthy in the famous last lines of Invasion of the Body ...
Confronting the Economic Crisis
DAN LA BOTZ
When I was growing up in the 1950s, a photo of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1932-1944) still hung in the homes of some family members and friends. Our only four-term president was remembered by them as the leader-and even the savior-of the country. Those l...