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 April 2009
The Secret Summit
FIDEL CASTRO
Neither represented nor excommunicated, only today could I learn what was discussed at the Summit of Port of Spain. They led us all to entertain hopes that the meeting would not be secret, but those running the show deprived us of such an interesting intellectual exe...
Pull Out of Iraq This Year
GEORGE McGOVERN
President Obama holds my admiration with high hopes for his message of change in Washington. It is puzzling, however, that he has adopted most of the previous administration’s formula for dragging out the withdrawal of our troops from the mistaken war in Iraq f...
Code Red for Single Payer
JOHN V. WALSH
Many activists have worked tirelessly for decades to win single payer, aka national health insurance, aka Medicare for all.  Rallies, letters to legislators, binding and non-binding referenda in many states have all been tried.  The one clear result is that...
A Modest (Transition) Proposal to Obama
NELSON P. VALDÉS
"… The despotic power of the master, the husband, and the father is no engine of tyranny, but usually and naturally a tie of affection, and a means of support and protection." - George Fitzhugh [1] "… ¿Qu&e...
Drone Attacks on Pakistan’s Indigenous Tribes
LIAQUAT ALI KHAN
In a case filed with the Pakistan Supreme Court, the petitioner states: “The Americans, like in Musharraf’s time, have also been given a free hand by President Zardari and fundamental rights of the (indigenous) people are being violated daily in tribal ar...
Obama’s Multi-Polar Middle East
NADIA HIJAB
Back in the Bush days we had "the Greater Middle East" — born on the way to a G8 summit in 2004. To some, the term was a source of humor in a part of the world with little to laugh about. To others, the nomenclature could not counter the perception of...
The Meeting in Trinidad
DAVE LINDORFF
President Obama deserves credit for breaking the half-century-long taboo in American politics of dealing with Cuba, and meeting with Raul Castro, Cuba’s current leader. He also deserves credit for dealing in a friendly manner with Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and...
The Meeting in Trinidad
DAVE LINDORFF
President Obama deserves credit for breaking the half-century-long taboo in American politics of dealing with Cuba, and meeting with Raul Castro, Cuba’s current leader. He also deserves credit for dealing in a friendly manner with Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and...
The FARC Can’t Dance
BELEN FERNANDEZ
Putumayo, Colombia. At a dance earlier this month in the village of Umbria in the southern Colombian department of Putumayo, an 18-year-old former FARC conscript named Milber attributed his lack of adeptness at the cumbia to the fact that he had spent the past...
India’s Press Nixes "R" Word
P. SAINATH
At least two major newspapers have informed their desks that the word “recession” is not to be used in connection with India. Recession is something that happens in the United States, not here. The word stands exiled from the editorial lexicon. If a rathe...
Defense Histrionics and Legalisms in Missoula
ANDREA PEACOCK
Missoula. Getting on the witness stand to be cross-examined by New York attorney David Bernick looks an awful lot like stepping into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson. Bernick is skilled and brutal; in the last seven weeks I’ve listened to him take apart som...
American Empire Foreclosed?
MARK ENGLER
Not long ago, excitement over American imperialism reached levels not seen in a century. “People are coming out of the closet on the word ‘empire,’” the right-wing columnist Charles Krauthammer told The New York Times in early 2002. Neoconserv...
Housing Bust Comes Roaring Back, Worse Than Ever
MIKE WHITNEY
Due to the lifting of the foreclosure moratorium at the end of March, the downward slide in housing is gaining speed. The moratorium was initiated in January to give Obama’s anti-foreclosure program — a combination of mortgage modifications and refinancin...
Ten Years After Columbine
HENRY A. GIROUX
For young people it just gets worse. Ten years after the Columbine tragedy, the debate over school safety has clearly shown that educators, parents, politicians, and the mainstream media  have created the conditions in which young people have increasingly become...
Housing Bust Comes Roaring Back, Worse Than Ever
MIKE WHITNEY
Due to the lifting of the foreclosure moratorium at the end of March, the downward slide in housing is gaining speed. The moratorium was initiated in January to give Obama’s anti-foreclosure program — a combination of mortgage modifications and refinancin...
Praising Moral Cowards, Ignoring Real Heroes
STEPHEN SOLDZ
It turned out to be harder than I expected to find the complete texts of the statements made by President Obama, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, and CIA Director Leon Panetta on Thursday as the Office of Legal Council torture memos...
The War on Predators
GEORGE WUERTHNER
In the past month or so, helicopters with gunners skimmed over the Alaskan tundra and forests shooting wolves to “protect” caribou herds. In Nevada, the state Fish and Game agency wants to kill more mountain lions to increase mule deer numbers. In Idaho, ...
A Song for the End of the World
LORENZO WOLFF
A little while back, a friend of mine was getting rid of his collection of LPs. I helped him organize his digital music collection, and in return he let me raid his storage space. Like a greedy kid, I took about 10 milkcrates full of records. Needless to say I haven&...
The Control of Food
JIM GOODMAN
On April 17, 1996 1,500 members of Brazil’s MST, the Landless Peasants Movement, having been evicted from their farms two years earlier, marched to the state capitol in Para to demand a return of their land so they could again feed their families. Instead of me...
Non-Violence in Palestine
RAMZY BAROUD
When one speaks of or advocates non-violence, does he promote such an idea because he believes that historically it has been a more effective means of liberation, or is it purely because he thinks that it is a more self-respecting means of struggle? In recen...
Persia Rising
FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut It may seem incongruous that in 2009, the U.S.A would have much competition from the Islamic republic of Iran for the hearts and minds of the Lebanese, a diverse 18 sect, highly sophisticated population, with a history of western attachments extending b...
Infiltrating Alpha 66
SAUL LANDAU
This conversation took place on April 1, 2009. Our film crew received Justice Department approval to talk with “the prisoner,” with a prison official in the room. Before his 1998 arrest, Gerardo Hernandez directed the operations of the other Cuban State S...
Home of the Barricaded, Land of the ‘Fraid
DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
There are few statistics as stunning as the following simple, single number:  The United States spends two times more on its military than all the other countries of the world, combined. Yes, that’s right.  All 200 or so of them.  Combined...
Monkey Music
DAVID YEARSLEY
A dozen years ago Cory Cullinan’s My Oyster did for the debut CD what Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre did for the Bil...
Statelessness: the Final Frontier
STEPHEN MARTIN
‘We were somewhere around an 18% unemployment rate on the edge of Fascism when reality began to take hold.  I remember saying something like ‘These Stateless Bastards want it all, nothing is never enough for their greed…’...
Personal Torture Laws
DAVID SWANSON
On August 1, 2002, then-Assistant Attorney General of the United States Jay Bybee sent an 18-page official memorandum from the Office of Legal Counsel to the Acting General Counsel of the CIA John Rizzo. Such memos are treated as laws within our government, not opini...
Economic Fallout Hits Families Hard
KATHY SANBORN
Picture a baby – shivering, hungry, with no place to sleep. Her mother, laid off six months ago and unable to find a new job, has just been put out of her home. Because the local shelters are full, both mother and child are going to spend the night in the freez...
The Greedsters Are Back!
RALPH NADER
How about a test of your injustice barometer? You might think that the reckless, avaricious, giant corporations, having shrunk the economy, cost millions of jobs and then demanded that taxpayers be dunned for years into the future for multi-trillion dollar bai...
The OAS Charter, Cuba and the United States
NELSON P. VALDÉS
The policy of the United States government with regards to Cuba is a VIOLATION of the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS). Rather than demand that Cuba should have a "democratic system" [as defined by the United States government], the Trni...
From the Bay of Pigs to Trinadad and Tobago
MANUEL GOMEZ
A lot of talk about Cuba policy, now that the President will visit with all the Americas, except Cuba, during the OAS-sponsored summit in Trinidad and Tobago on April 17-19.  The meeting will be ripe with both irony and tragedy.  The dates provide t...
On Sex Addiction
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK
Addictions. Gotta love ‘em. Gotta hate ‘em too, sometimes. But first, we gotta love ‘em, or we wouldn’t have ‘em in the first place. Addictions are the spices of our lives. Of course, too much spice spoils the enchilada. But remember, wi...
The MG Recovery Plan
MANUEL GARCIA, Jr.
Given: The U.S. economy is in a slump due to widespread failure of the finance, home mortgage and banking industries; and a loss of personal savings, credit worthiness and jobs by the population. Adverse social conditions are aggravated by widening losses of health c...
Tax the Rich!
DEAN BAKER
The quest to increase taxes on the wealthy is not a gratuitous attack on upper income households; it is driven by the need to raise more revenue to run the government. While many deficit hawks been irresponsible in raising fears of an impending collapse of the Americ...
The Curious Case of Benjamin Netanyahu
RANNIE AMIRI
It is one of the great paradoxes of the modern Middle East: When peace with the Palestinians is in sight, Israel will turn violent. This is quite understandable though, when one realizes that the entire raison d’être of the Jewish state is...
Thin Ice From Here to the Horizon
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
On any rational assessment the popular new president is skating on thin ice. Pollyanna bulletins about the economy puff up from the White House and Federal Reserve, like auguries of a new Pope through the  Vatican chimney. “Habemus spem.” We have hop...
Obama’s Chimerical Marijuana Policy
FRED GARDNER
January 20 Americans cry tears of joy and relief as Barack Obama is inaugurated. His supporters include millions of citizens who hope the new President will take steps to end marijuana Prohibition. Jan. 22 DEA agents conduct a raid on a South Lak...
Economic Recovery for Whom?
DON MONKERUD
Banks and financial institutions created a speculative bubble in the housing market and made huge profits selling exotic securities bought with borrowed money. Somehow, they lost control. Now people are discovering they aren’t as rich as they thought the...
Banning Barbie
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
It is refreshing to have a bit of silliness introduced into a world consumed by weighty problems seeking resolution. For our examples we turn to West Virginia and the European Union. West Virginia is concerned with beauty and the European Union is concerned with ugly...
No Amnesty for Torturers
DAVE LINDORFF
Back in 1965, as a 15-year-old kid, I had a chance to spend half a year as a student at a boy’s gymnasium (high school) in Darmstadt, the cultural capital of the German state of Hesse, which had the distinction of having been one of a handful of cities in Germa...
Tearing the Whole Building Down
RON JACOBS
Sonic waves.  Rock and roll sensibilities.  Psychedelic blues guitar and rhythmic creativity that very few manage.  Superlatives do not exist to describe the sonic treat that met the audience  at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Caroli...
A Bulletin From the Captain of the Titanic
MIKE WHITNEY
"We are starting to see glimmers of hope across the economy." President Barack Obama, April press conference. Retail sales fell in March as fearsome job losses and tighter credit conditions forced consumers to cut ba...
Obama’s First Foreign Policy Disaster?
KEVIN PINA
The Obama administration and the international community have largely remained silent the past two weeks concerning a decision by Haiti’s election council to move forward with controversial Senate elections scheduled for April 19. A visit in early March by form...
Another Ethanol Producer Goes Bust
ROBERT BRYCE
The recurring lesson emerging from the corn ethanol scam is this: too many mandates and subsidies are probably worse than none at all. Evidence of that can be found by looking at Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings, the Illinois-based ethanol producer. Last week, the ...
From Iraq to Appalachia
RONALD TESKA
WHAT DO the Iraq and Appalachia have in common? More than you may think. Both are occupied by U.S. energy corporations, resulting in colonization. It’s oil in one case and coal in the other, but make no mistake about it: The modus operandi and consequences are ...
See the Forest
GEORGE WUERTHNER
There’s an old cliché that one can’t see the forest for the trees. It is used to describe people who are so focused on some detail that they fail to see the big picture. Nowhere is this failure to see the forest for the trees more evident than the ...
Predator Blowback
GARETH PORTER
The U.S. programme of drone aircraft strikes against higher-ranking officials of al Qaeda and allied militant organisations, which has been touted by proponents as having eliminated nine of the 20 top al Qaeda leaders, is actually weakening Pakistan’s defence a...
The Surreal Life of Franklin Rosemont
PAUL GARON, DAVID ROEDIGER And KATE KHATIB
Franklin Rosemont, celebrated poet, artist, historian, street speaker, and surrealist activist, died Sunday, April 12 in Chicago.  He was 65 years old.  With his partner and comrade, Penelope Rosemont, and lifelong friend Paul Garon, he co-founded the Chica...
Thinking Like an Afghan
PAUL FITZGERALD And ELIZABETH GOULD
For years now, Washington’s political class has been locked in a hand-wringing debate over what to do about Afghanistan. Should the U.S. continue to plan for an extended military engagement? Can “moderate” Taliban somehow be peeled away from fanatic...
The Top 10 Enemies of Single-Payer
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Most people, when they arrive in Washington, D.C., see it for what it is – a cesspool of corruption. Two reasonable reactions to the cesspool. One, run away screaming in fear. Two, stay and fight back and bring to justice those who have cor...
Latin America Changes
BENJAMIN DANGL
After Bolivia beat the Argentine soccer team led by legendary Diego Maradona by 6 to 1, Maradona told reporters, "Every Bolivia goal was a stab in my heart." Bolivia was expected to lose the April 1 match as Argentina is ranked as the 6th best soccer team i...