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Archives from February 2009
Another Hamastan?
M. JUNAID LEVESQUE-ALAM
Many observers describe Israel’s political system as dysfunctional because it has likely produced a government hostile to the peace process. These observers forget that Israelis may have no interest in the peace process: the public just cast its largest votes f...
Who is a Terrorist?
MATS SVENSSON
There is a shrinking group of free people, people who believe in a context with everyone’s equal worth. This group still dreams about a society where everyone is included and for this, one is prepared to struggle. The hours are not enoug...
Benchmarking Obama
JOANNE MARINER
Less than a month into President Obama’s term, many of the Bush Administration’s worst counterterrorism policies have been left behind. Guantanamo has a set date for closure; CIA "black sites" have been banned; and the unfair military commission...
$400 in Change
GREGORY VICKREY
While the Obama administration continues to fly drones and launch missiles at human beings in the sovereign nation of Pakistan; and while the Obama administration extends the policies of the Bush administration on the points of rendition, torture, and state secrets; ...
The Truth About Colombia’s New Emperor
OSCAR GUARDIOLA-RIVERA
‘We’re at war here’, said Luis, as we sat to share a coffee in one of Colombia’s most prestigious Law Schools. ‘Any talk of peace plays into the hands of the terrorists’, he developed. ‘It’s a lie and a distraction. You...
Is Delta Pumping Driving Salmon and Orca Decline?
DAN BACHER
Increases in freshwater exports out of the California Delta, the operation of Shasta Dam and other inland habitat problems have not only led to the collapse of Central Valley salmon populations, but also threaten the southern resident killer whale population. ...
Venezuela Ends Term Limits
PATRICK IRELAN
Venezuelan voters have approved a referendum that ends term limits for the president and all other elected officials. Fifty-four percent of those who took part voted in favor of the measure Sunday. The Washington Post, in its colorful fashion, stated the matte...
Livni’s Bitter Options
URI AVNERY
Tantalus is punished by the Gods for reasons that are not entirely clear. He is hungry and thirsty, but the water in which he stands recedes when he bends down to drink from it and the fruit above his head continually evades his hand. Tzipi Livni is now under...
Iraq Reconstruction: the Greatest Fraud in US History?
PATRICK COCKBURN
Arbil In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn (£88bn) in a US -directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall...
The Meltdown
P. SAINATH
Many find it amusing that it took officials 11 months to declare a "recession" in the United States. Yet, it took more than 20 years to recognize worse. When does a crisis become "A Crisis?" First came ‘the boom’ — exploding debt...
Did George Washington Smoke Pot?
HARVEY WASSERMAN
Did George Washington raise hemp? Did he smoke it? Was he gay? The easy answers are definitely, probably, and maybe. The questions arise with pre-publication of the shocking satire PASSIONS OF THE PATRIOTS by “Thomas Paine,” which opens wi...
A New New Deal for the Arts
CARLA BLANK
In response to President Obama’s call for all Americans to contribute to our nation’s future, many suggestions gain inspiration from New Deal programs instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt to revive the nation from the financial devastation caused by...
Chavez’s Clarion Call
FIDEL CASTRO
It was 2006. I was really very ill but very much aware of what was happening. During those days around the middle of September, the XIV NAM Summit where Cuba was elected to the Presidency was ending. I could barely sit up and take my place at a table. That’s ho...
White Recession, Black Depression
DEDRICK MUHAMMAD And MICHAEL BROWN
During this Black history month the nation and the world anxiously watch the living Black history that is taking place with the first African American president. Yet at this very same moment the future of Black America is in an exceedingly precarious condition. ...
Who Remembers Guns and Butter?
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s policy of Great Society spending and Vietnam War is credited with the rising American inflation that persisted until checked by President Reagan’s supply-side policy. In Johnson’s time the American economy and th...
Striking a Blow Against Nuclear Power
HARVEY WASSERMAN
For the third straight year, against all odds, a national grassroots No Nukes campaign has stripped out of the federal budget a proposed $50 billion boondoggle for new atomic reactors. The victory gives a giant boost to solar, wind, efficiency, mass transit a...
Lincoln and the Collective Mind
SETH SANDRONSKY
What does it take to make a U.S. president lead effectively in a crisis? Turning to the past can help to answer the question. Eric Foner, a leading U.S. historian, has edited a collection of new essays on our 16th president’s heroic and tragic life and ...
Geithner’s Coming Out Party
MIKE WHITNEY
This week was Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s coming out party. He was supposed to outline Obama’s Financial Stability Plan to the Senate Banking Committee. Wall Street was looking for clarity, but it didn’t get it. Instead, they got 25 minute...
Four Freedoms, Four Changes
TOM STEPHENS
Everywhere one looks today there’s crisis.  Economic collapse, war, environmental degradation, health, poverty, mis-education and corruption, all at the same time, with common roots and fruits.  What’s a poor boy/girl-man/woman to do in such ins...
At a Campus Sit-In Against Israeli Occupation
RON JACOBS
On Friday, February 6, the University of Rochester-SDS (UR-SDS) organized an occupation of Goergen Hall at the University of Rochester for peace and solidarity with the Palestinians.  The action was partially inspired by the wave of occupations across the UK in ...
An Easy Call for Obama on Joining a Union
DAVID MACARAY
On Thursday, February 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted to send the Hilda Solis nomination (President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Labor) to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.   While organized labor ...
Lincoln at 200
ALAN MAASS
FEBRUARY 12 marked 200 years since Abraham Lincoln was born, and that’s probably not news to you. It seems like every institution of American society and every voice of the political establishment is "honoring" the Great Emancipator on his 200th birth...
The Myth of Clean Coal
JOSHUA FRANK
Barack Obama seems to be following a dirty legacy when it comes to his official energy policy, a policy that has left Appalachia with fewer mountaintops every year. The price of oil per barrel fluctuated dramatically in the past year, and the U.S.’s depe...
The Suicide Rush
KATHY SANBORN
More soldiers than ever are committing suicide, and the Army apparently has no ready explanation. The top brass are perplexed. One Army official said, ?This is terrifying . . .We do not know what is going on.? I can tell you what?s going on. American troops ar...
The Body of the Worker
KIM NICOLINI
Mickey Rourke’s body bursts and bulges onto the screen in Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, and it doesn’t let go for the duration of the 110-minute movie. This is not just Mickey Rourke’s body, however; it’s the body of Randy “The ...
A Short History of Business Handouts
STEPHEN LENDMAN
Global economies are withering while Washington conceives "Financial Recovery Plan(s) from Hell," according to economist Michael Hudson in his latest February 11 article. Bankers demand more trillions, "or (they’ll) plunge the economy into financ...
Bowled Over
SAUL LANDAU
Super powers show they have the biggest stick in the playground just like Super Bowl competitors exhibit their super muscles. This year, I watched the Super Bowl not from the warm and crowded Tampa, Florida arena where tens of thousands made their religious pilgrimag...
Grassley Sounds Off on Obama’s Man at the Pentagon
CHUCK SPINNEY
The attached speech regarding the wisdom of the nomination of Bill Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense was made yesterday on the Senate floor by one of my heros, Senator Chuck Grassley, a pig farmer from Iowa.  Grassley has dogged the Pentagon about its shoddy a...
Venezuela Beyond the Referendum
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF
In late 2007, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez narrowly lost a vote on a constitutional referendum which would have allowed the President to run again in future elections.  Hardly discouraged, he pressed forward.  On Sunday, people will vote on a simila...
On the Rocks
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
I write these words at the end of a week in which: A new Democratic president, Barack Obama, via his Attorney General, has explicitly endorsed Bush’s policy on renditions and Bush’s refusal to recognize the jurisdiction of US courts in any legal p...
On the Road Again, Heading Towards Handel By Way of Elson and Mobley
DAVID YEARSLEY
My contribution to this year’s Handel commemorations is to give the great man his feet back. The impetus for this anatomical reconstruction stems from disagreements that rippled the waters in the later 18th century, long after both Bach and Handel were dead. It...
Deficit Nonchalance
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Who remembers economists’ hysteria over the “Reagan deficits”? Wall Street was in panic.  Reagan’s fiscal irresponsibility was bringing the end of the world. The fiscal year 2009 federal budget deficit that Obama is inheriting, an...
Pakistan on the Brink
BRIAN M. DOWNING
Pakistan might collapse. It faces regional insurgencies, political failures, rising Islamism (in the public and army alike), and reprisals from India over the Mumbai attacks of last November. The trouble in the US’s principal though duplicitous partner in the w...
Why Can Judd Gregg See What Obama Can’t?
DAVE LINDORFF
Hand it to Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH).  The conservative senator from the Granite State turned down an appointment to the position of President Barrack Obama’s Secretary of Commerce citing “irreconcilable differences.” Citing the latest Sena...
Venezuela’s Term Limits
GEORGE CICARRIELLO-MAHER
The story is a familiar one. Amid the collapse of two-party dominance, an independent leader rises to power. In an effort to calm frazzled nerves, he insists he will respect the rule of law and the will of the voters by maintaining the peaceful transfer of power at t...
Tate Cruises
CHARLES THOMSON
Tate Cruises, the venture whereby the Tate gallery provides lecturers to P & O Cruises, has, in the words of Will Gompertz, the Tate’s director of media, the dual advantage of being not only “a good opportunity to develop new audiences”, but als...
The Nightmare in Somalia
LEN WENGRAF
U.S.-BACKED Ethiopian troops withdrew from their remaining positions in Somalia at the end of January, bringing an end to a two-year occupation carried out in the guise of the "war on terror." The Ethiopian Army invaded Somalia in December 2006, over...
Mr. Darwin’s Reluctant Revolution
PHIL GASPER
Charles Darwin’s ideas revolutionized biology in the 19th century, but they also had a profound and lasting impact far outside narrow scientific circles, challenging religious dogmas and affecting almost every field of human knowledge. Yet Darwin himself...
Venezuela Beyond the Referendum
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF
In late 2007, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez narrowly lost a vote on a constitutional referendum which would have allowed the President to run again in future elections.  Hardly discouraged, he pressed forward.  On Sunday, people will vote on a simila...
Israel’s Ball Boys
CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM
Last May I spent a day at the French Open with my daughter.  What fascinated most were the rituals of the ball boys, creatures trained to run, race, scream through the air if a ball even hints at dropping.  The toadying boys rocket about the court, chasing ...
Freaking Out With Danny Barnes
LORENZO WOLFF
Danny Barnes is a freak. Not in that professional Ziggy Stardust way, but more like the subject matter of the Weekly World News. His headline would be "Banjo Clairvoyant Found in Texas", and he would totally eclipse Batboy or the fact that Elvis who works a...
Obama’s Awful Financial Recovery Plan
MICHAEL HUDSON
This is a major expansion of Dr Hudson’s piece  that ran for some hours on yesterday’s site. AC/JSC Martin Wolf started off his Financial Times column for February 11 with the bold question: “Has Barack Obama’s presidency already f...
The Largest Wave of Suicides in History
P. SAINATH
is the rural affairs editor of The Hindu and is the author of Everybody Loves a Good Drought. A regular contributor to CounterPunch,  he can be reached at psainath@vsnl.com.     ...
The Largest Wave of Suicides in History
P. SAINATH
The number of farmers who have committed suicide in India between 1997 and 2007 now stands at a staggering 182,936. Close to two-thirds of these suicides have occurred in five states (India has 28 states and seven union territories). The Big 5 – Maharashtra, Ka...
French Echoes of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
JEAN BRICMONT
At each new war waged by the West, certain leftist or pacifist movements fall back on a “neither-nor” position.  “Neither Milosevic nor NATO”, “Neither Bush nor Saddam”, and, now, rejecting both Israel and Hamas in the same br...
Pakistan, Not Afghanistan, Is the Main Event
PETER LEE
A Polish engineer is beheaded in Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban threaten attacks on Islamabad. In a desperate effort to turn around the struggle against Islamicist extremists, the Pakistani government considers permitting the imposition of sharia law in a key battle...
Judges Nabbed, Jailing Kids for Kickbacks
DAVE LINDORFF
When I was a journalism fellow at Columbia University back in the late 1970s, one of the guest speakers on our program’s schedule was then SEC Chief of Enforcement (and former CIA chief counsel and now Federal Judge) Stanley Sporkin. I remember during a dinner...
Politics on the Panamericana
BELEN FERNANDEZ
In December 2008 Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa paid a visit to his counterpart in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The two leaders pledged to intensify bilateral relations through initiatives such as the export of assorted Iranian technological know-how to Ecuador a...
Who’s Running Guantánamo?
ANDY WORTHINGTON
On January 20, the answer to that question seemed obvious. In his inaugural speech, with George ...
Change We Can Smoke?
FRED GARDNER
The day after it was written here that California cannabis producers and distributors would have to live in fearful confusion until the new President’s new Attorney General appointed a new DEA Administrator, the White House provided reassurance that the incomin...