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 March 2009
Supreme Test
LINN WASHINGTON, Jr.
During a jailhouse interview in 1978 a Philadelphia radical awaiting trial for a policeman’s death advanced a salient observation about a fundamental flaw in America’s legal system. The “System just make and break laws as it see fit!” n...
Winter Soldiers Come to Texas
GREG MOSES
Austin, Texas. In the stone-walled sanctuary of Central Presbyterian Church, three hundred faithful settle into pews as the dean of Austin peace activism, Fran Hanlon, previews how the rest of the weekend schedule has been planned for this Winter Soldier event...
The Myth of the "Powerful" Teachers’ Union
DAVID MACARAY
There’s a myth circulating out there that not only threatens to ruin the reputation of America’s school teachers, but has the potential to side-track any realistic hopes of education reform.  It’s the assertion that “powerful” teach...
Why Morocco Cut Ties with Iran
RANNIE AMIRI
"The Kingdom of Morocco has decided to break its diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran beginning this Friday” read the statement issued by Morocco’s Foreign Ministry on March 6. It seemed unusual for this North African nation...
The Case of Ahmed Zuhair
ANDY WORTHINGTON
Ahmed Zuhair, a 35-year old Saudi prisoner at Guantánamo — and a father of ten — has been on a hunger strike since June 2005, at the start of a fraught summer at the prison in which up to 200 prisoners (over a third of Guantánamo’s tot...
Impeach Obama!
CHARLES R. LARSON
Barack Obama should be impeached. He is wasting the country’s valuable time, frittering away the hours with needless minutiae. Item: Obama’s obsession with basketball. Earlier this week, the President spent seven minutes filling out a bracke...
A Nation of Immigrants
MICHAEL D. YATES
Every night on CNN, Lou Dobbs bashes immigrants. No matter what the subject, he manages to turn it into a horror story about the evils of people he calls “illegal aliens.” They steal; they cheat; they use drugs; they murder innocent people; they transmit ...
Barack and the Jets
STEPHEN MARTIN
Sometimes, during the 30-minute briefings that Mr. Summers delivers in the Oval Office nearly every day, Mr. Obama addresses him as Professor, as in, “What do you think, Professor Summers?” Sometimes, as he did in the Roosevelt Room one recent...
Invisible But Not Completely Insolvent
RICHARD RHAMES
“We’ll restore these newspapers to financial health. They’ll be great community citizens and we will provide wonderful return for your profit.” –Richard Connor, 3/12/09 The Blethen newspaper chain ...
Where has the Consumption Gone?
KENNETH COUESBOUC
The depth of financial crisis and of the resulting recession is the direct consequence of an increasingly disproportionate distribution of wealth, whereas the timing is due to the periodic coincidence of various debt cycles. The wealth produced by a nation is split t...
Manic Levity
LORENZO WOLFF
Angelo Moore needs a condom. Hell, he needs to double-bag it. After 30 years of explosive, orgasmic shows you’d think that the lead singer for Fishbone would be ready for a cigarette and a nap, but it seems as though nothing is going to stop him. Fishbon...
On Bach’s Birthday
DAVID YEARSLEY
Bach’s birthday is celebrated on March 21st. around the globe, perhaps even in every time zone. Born fifteen years before the German states adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1700, Bach and his music get their biggest airing on this day, all calendars now proper...
Slumdogs vs. Billionaires
P. SAINATH
It’s been the night of the long knives for India’s billionaire population. Their band has just been decimated, falling by more than half from 53 to 24. The latest Croesus Count, also known as the Forbes Billionaires list, makes that much clear. We also fe...
Happy New Year, Iran!
JOHN V. WHITBECK
On the occasion of the Persian New Year, President Obama has videotaped a personal statement to the Iranian people which is being portrayed in the Western media as a significant change, in both tone and substance, in American policy and an effort to "reach out&q...
The Economy in Two Eras of Democrats
SAM SMITH
Egregious as the bonuses being given the AIG crowd are, they are a miniscule part of the bailout and while they need to be dealt with, we shouldn’t obsess over them. Politicians and the media love to get us in a furor over minor segments of a much larger...
Back Into NATO
BINOY KAMPMARK
Last Wednesday, before the École Militaire, Nicolas Sarkozy promised what on paper seemed rather radical: the French armed forces would be re-integrated into NATO after an absence of 43 years.  Then, the redoubtable Charles De Gaulle gave US President Dwi...
Sir Bono: the Knight Who Fled From His Own Debate
DAVE MARSH
As CounterPunch and Rock and Rap Confidential disclosed in September, last May U2’s Bono confronted Irish journalist Gavin Martin ...
Permanent Damage From Temporary Logging Roads
GEORGE WUERTHNER
The latest attempt by the Forest Service to make logging palatable is “temporary” roads. A lot of research has found that logging roads are among the biggest impacts to forest ecosystems. (For a good review of road impacts see ...
Why Business is Hysterical About Card Check
MIKE WHITNEY
Big business has launched a no-holds-barred propaganda blitz against the Employee Free Choice Act. Their goal is to scare people into believing that if the bill passes it will trigger higher unemployment and a deeper recession. According to opponents, there’s e...
The Crash of France’s Nuclear Poster Child
HARVEY WASSERMAN
The myth of a successful nuclear power industry in France has melted into financial chaos. With it dies the corporate-hyped poster child for a "nuclear renaissance" of new reactor construction that is drowning in red ink and radioactive waste. ...
Was the Bailout Itself a Scam?
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Professor Michael Hudson (CounterPunch, March 18) is correct that the orchestrated  outrage over the $165 million AIG bonuses is a diversion from the thousand times greater theft from taxpayers of the approximately $200 billion “bailout” of AIG. ...
Taxing Problems
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
Prominent people have, over the past few months, taught us things about taxes for which we should be grateful. Our teachers have gone from the very lowly (see Joe the Plumber) to the very sophisticated (see Tom Daschle). Joe taught us the very simple lesson t...
Iraq’s Broken Culture
KATHY SANBORN
This week marks the sixth anniversary of the coalition of the willing’s invasion of Iraq. Because American mainstream news headlines continue to trumpet, “The sky is falling!” vis-à-vis the economy, the anniversary of an immoral occupation is...
New Mexico Abolishes the Death Penalty
DIANN RUST-TIERNEY
March 18, 2009, was Death Penalty Abolition Day in New Mexico! New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has signed into law the bill to repeal the death penalty in that state.  New Mexico has become the second state since 1965 to legislatively abolish the death...
Where Are We Leaving Iraqi Women?
YIFAT SUSSKIND
If you haven’t thought about the Iraq War as a story of US allies systematically torturing and executing women, you’re not alone. Likewise, if you were under the impression that Iraqi women were somehow better off under their new, US-sponsored government....
The Real AIG Conspiracy
MICHAEL HUDSON
It may seem odd, but the public outrage against $135 million in AIG bonuses is a godsend to Wall Street, AIG scoundrels included. How can the media be so preoccupied with the discovery that there is self-serving greed to be found in the financial sector? Every TV cha...
Bedouin Villages Left in the Dark Ages
JONATHAN COOK
El-Bat, Israel Little Ashimah Abu Sbieh’s life hangs by a thread — or more specifically, an electricity cable that runs from a noisy diesel-powered generator in the family’s backyard. Should the generator’s engine fail, she could die w...
Beware the Madoff Diversion!
RICHARD GROSSMAN
Sure, there are crooks out there. But the overwhelming majority of actions by corporate directors and managers that have created today’s messes have been legal. Not only legal, but also widely regarded as necessary and essential to sustain the American...
Why Obama’s New Cuba Rules Violate the Constitution
NELSON P. VALDÉS
Section 621 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 authorizes Cuban ancestry persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to travel to Cuba to visit close relatives for an unlimited period of time once every 12 months and to engage in travel-related tr...
On Being Whole Not Holy
Rev. WILLIAM E. ALBERTS
Religion is automatically seen as inherently good for people, yet it often stunts a person’s emotional, intellectual and multicultural growth.  While there are important exceptions, it stresses believing over thinking, certainty over inquiry, conformity ov...
Israel’s American Chattel
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
“I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country. “The ...
Who’s Calling the Shots Now?
DAVE LINDORFF
It may not be obvious today, and certainly it’s not how the corporate media reported it, but future historians are likely to look back at March 13, 2009 as the day that American imperialism began it’s inexorable decline.  That’s the day that Ch...
The Death of the American Newspaper
JOHN ROSS
Ink drizzles through my punctured veins. Indeed, the toxins that ooze from chemical inks and pulp during a lifetime of reading and writing for newspapers may well have contributed to the tumor that now weighs upon my liver. Genetics predisposed me to such con...
The City That Ended Hunger
FRANCIS MOORE LAPPÉ
"To search for solutions to hunger means to act within the principle that the status of a citizen surpasses that of a mere consumer." – CITY OF BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL In writing ...
Getting Lehman Bros. Wrong … Again
DEAN BAKER
There are few economists who would defend the decision to allow Lehman Brothers to go bankrupt last September. Its collapse induced a worldwide panic that sent stock markets plummeting and caused credit to freeze-up. In the subsequent months, the downturn went into o...
AIG and the Posturing Democrats
JAMES G. ABOUREZK
My friend, Congressman Mo Udall, used to tell the story of the congressman in the 1930s who introduced Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s court packing plan.  FDR wanted to do away with opposition to his recovery plans by the Court. The legislation caught ...
Victory for the Left in El Salvador
RICHARD GOTT
El Salvador is the most tragic and oppressed country in the Americas, yet today it wakes up to a new dawn of hope and anticipation, with the election victory of Mauricio Funes, the candidate of a historic leftwing party, the Farabundo Martm National Liberation Front ...
AIG and the Posturing Democrats
JAMES G. ABOUREZK
My friend, Congressman Mo Udall, used to tell the story of the congressman in the 1930s who introduced Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s court packing plan.  FDR wanted to do away with opposition to his recovery plans by the Court. The legislation caught ...
Obama and the Empire
BILL And KATHLEEN CHRISTISON
Various people have asked recently, “What are the implications of the global economic crisis for US policies in the Middle East, and will Middle East countries lean more or less toward the US as they suffer their own economic crises?”  Not simple que...
Dog Mutilations vs. Cosmetics
WALTER BRASCH
Legislatures in Pennsylvania and Illinois are considering bills that would reduce or eliminate what animal welfare advocates call mutilations, and what breeders and American Kennel Club (AKC) call “breed standards.” Because dogs are considered by state la...
Cuts for Autoworkers, Bonuses for Derivatives Traders
PETER MORICI
Washington and the nation are enraged that AIG is paying millions in bonuses to retain financial wizards who sold insurance on mortgage-backed securities with few assets to back up their promises. backed securities with few assets to back up their promises....
Ireland’s Blast From the Past
HARRY BROWNE
DUBLIN. This year, the snakes are back. The Irish national holiday on St Patrick’s Day may be a chance to wear the green and drain a few beers elsewhere in the world, but around here it’s a moment to take stock, if we dare. The cupboard has ...
The National Ponzi Scheme
ALAN FARAGO
It is now clear how the "ownership society" was part of a Ponzi scheme that skimmed the cream from financial derivatives tied to mortgages and used earlier profits to pay off later adopters; spreading wealth through a well organized supply chain to create, ...
Mr. Bernanke Spreads the Fire
MICHAEL HUDSON
On the March 15 CBS show “60 Minutes”, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke used a false analogy already popularized by President Obama in his quasi-State of the Union Speech. He likened the financial sector to a house burning down – fair enough, a...
The National Ponzi Scheme
ALAN FARAGO
It is now clear how the "ownership society" was part of a Ponzi scheme that skimmed the cream from financial derivatives tied to mortgages and used earlier profits to pay off later adopters; spreading wealth through a well organized supply chain to create, ...
Mr. Bernanke Spreads the Fire
MICHAEL HUDSON
On the March 15 CBS show “60 Minutes”, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke used a false analogy already popularized by President Obama in his quasi-State of the Union Speech. He likened the financial sector to a house burning down – fair enough, a...
U.S. Human Rights Abuses in the War on Terror
JOANNE MARINER
Since September 2001, the U.S. government has been directly responsible for a broad array of serious human rights violations in fighting terrorism, including torture, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, and unfair trials. In many instances, US abuses were ca...
Redbaiting on the Left
JOHN WALSH
The War on Iraq drags on with no clear end in sight.  The war on Afghanistan is being escalated.  The war on Pakistan has also been stepped up, a war undeclared by Congress, therefore unconstitutional and the basis for an impeachment.  All this has hap...
Shooting Tristan Anderson
SCOTT HANDLEMAN
I had the honor to get to know Tristan Anderson last year as his lawyer in a nonviolent protest case. Last Friday, at a rally against the ongoing construction of Israel’s "separation wall," Tristan was shot in the head by a high-velocity tear-...
Down But Not Out
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF
In light of the Salvadoran right’s fear-mongering campaign in advance of the Central American nation’s Sunday presidential election, which has sought to portray leftist candidate Mauricio Funes of the Farabundo Martí Liberation Front (FMLN) as a ki...