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Archives from May 2009
Obama and Abortion Rights
SHARON SMITH
As soon as the news surfaced that President Barack Obama had been invited to speak at the University of Notre Dame’s 2009 commencement ceremony, the fanatical wing of the nation’s anti-abortion crusade began assembling the smoke and mirrors needed to masq...
The Next Leg Down
MIKE WHITNEY
Collapsing home prices and credit markets continue to put downward pressure on consumer spending, forcing the Federal Reserve to take even more radical action to revive the economy. Last week, Fed chief Ben Bernanke raised the prospect of further monetizing the debt ...
New Orleans for Sale
JORDAN FLAHERTY
The video grabs your attention immediately. Young people in the Lower Ninth Ward hold up signs that read: “looter,” “we’re still here,” and “America did this.” Amid empty lots and damaged houses, poet Nik Richard delivers thi...
Waterboard the Fed
DEAN BAKER
To my knowledge, no one has proposed waterboarding the Fed. However, the response of much of the country’s political leadership to the suggestion that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit the Federal Reserve Board might lead people to think that wat...
Rethinking the Costs of Peace
JOSH RUEBNER
In pledging to trim ineffective spending, President Obama declared that ?there will be no sacred cows and no pet projects. All across America, families are making hard choices, and it’s time their government did the same." By asking earlier this mon...
New Orleans for Sale
JORDAN FLAHERTY
The video grabs your attention immediately. Young people in the Lower Ninth Ward hold up signs that read: “looter,” “we’re still here,” and “America did this.” Amid empty lots and damaged houses, poet Nik Richard delivers thi...
Was the Indian Election a Debacle for the Left? If So, Why?
DEEPANKAR BASU
In the recently concluded 2009 general elections to the lower house of the parliament (Lok Sabha), the social democratic, parliamentary left in India, composed of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and a bunch of smaller le...
Fearful Pride
MANUEL GARCIA, Jr.
The US Geological Survey detected a 4.7 magnitude seismic event at 00:54 GMT on the 25th of May at Hwaderi, near Kilju City in North Harnkyung province in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK = "North Korea") at 10 km (6 miles) below the su...
Obama and Abortion Rights
SHARON SMITH
As soon as the news surfaced that President Barack Obama had been invited to speak at the University of Notre Dame’s 2009 commencement ceremony, the fanatical wing of the nation’s anti-abortion crusade began assembling the smoke and mirrors needed to masq...
Fearful Pride
MANUEL GARCIA, Jr.
The US Geological Survey detected a 4.7 magnitude seismic event at 00:54 GMT on the 25th of May at Hwaderi, near Kilju City in North Harnkyung province in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK = "North Korea") at 10 km (6 miles) below the su...
Was the Indian Election a Debacle for the Left? If So, Why?
DEEPANKAR BASU
In the recently concluded 2009 general elections to the lower house of the parliament (Lok Sabha), the social democratic, parliamentary left in India, composed of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and a bunch of smaller le...
The Gitmo Appeasment Plan
MARJORIE COHN
Two days after his inauguration, President Obama pledged to close Guantánamo within one year. The Republicans, led by Senators John McCain, Mitch McConnell and Pat Roberts, immediately launched a concerted campaign to assail the new president. They claimed his...
Israel’s Terrorists
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
London’s Daily Telegraph has become a weird newspaper, owned by twin brothers who are creepy characters and whose purchase of the publication caused many a shudder. The paper has become a dismal tabloid caricature of its formerly dignified self. Its emph...
The Next Leg Down
MIKE WHITNEY
Collapsing home prices and credit markets continue to put downward pressure on consumer spending, forcing the Federal Reserve to take even more radical action to revive the economy. Last week, Fed chief Ben Bernanke raised the prospect of further monetizing the debt ...
Israel’s Terrorists
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
London’s Daily Telegraph has become a weird newspaper, owned by twin brothers who are creepy characters and whose purchase of the publication caused many a shudder. The paper has become a dismal tabloid caricature of its formerly dignified self. Its emph...
Memorial Day in the Land of the Weak and Wussy
DAVE LINDORFF
There may have perhaps have been a time when America was a land of at least some brave people. although arguably a nation that celebrates as heroic a history that features lots of people with modern guns and cannons conquering and destroying another people who were l...
Looking at Torture
DIANE CHRISTIAN
We torture modernly in secret—in prisons, covert locations, other countries. At the same time our movies and television are full of violent images of mangling bodies and brutal interrogations. But the film and tv images belie reality and permanent damage. When ...
Two Sides of the Same Coin
SIBEL EDMONDS
“In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill… we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.” – Plato ...
The Trouble With Prison
KENNETH E. HARTMAN
In his Republic, Plato’s allegory of the cave describes how the limited perception of man leaves him measuring the world with only the distorted reflections of reality.  The trouble with prison, as it is perceived, is the shadows are further distended by a...
Mexico’s Shock Doctrine
JOHN ROSS
Upon returning to Mexico City after 100 days in Gringolandia dealing with a personal health crisis, I was met at the door of the downtown hotel where I have bedded down for the past quarter century by a uniformed security guard in jackboots and blue surgical mask who...
"War on Pot" Overrides "Support Our Troops"
FRED GARDNER
In transcribing Phil Northcutt’s recollections of combat, I misspelled the name of his commanding officer, killed by a suicide bomber in Ramadi.  Northcutt emailed: "Captain Patrick Rapicault, 34, was killed when a V...
Day of the Dead
CINDY SHEEHAN
I was on an airplane flying to Orange County from Sacramento to attend the al-Awda Conference; which is a Palestinian Right’s Conference. Al-Awda translates to "The Returning, " when the Pilot’s voice filled the cabin to make an announcement tha...
Learning to Read in the Pacific Northwest
DANIEL WOLFF
My prologue to the readings from my book How Lincoln Learned to Read in the Pacific Northwest ...
Der Spiegel Tries Again
FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut The headline was dramatic. The strongly pro-Israel German weekly Der Spiegel offered bold “new information” it claimed came from secret sources and documents, stemming  “inside investigative sources who wefromre working on th...
Netanyahu Goes to Washington
URI AVNERY
Barack Obama is often compared to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but it is from the book of another Roosevelt that he has taken a leaf: President Theodore Roosevelt, who, 108 years ago, advised his successors: “Speak softly and carry a big stick!” This...
Prolonged Detention and the Rule of Law
Sen. RUSSELL FEINGOLD
Dear Mr. President: I am writing to convey my appreciation for your speech of May 21 on security and values, but also to express several concerns, particularly about your intention to design a system for what you called “prolonged detention.” ...
No Military Commissions; No Preventive Detentions
ANDY WORTHINGTON
First off, the President has lost none of his oratorical powers. His ...
Sgt. Northcutt’s Homecoming
FRED GARDNER
Phil Northcutt saw the map of Iraq on the wall and started talking about his time there. He’d been stationed in Ramadi, Al Anbar Province, in 2004. PN: There was this main street, ‘Route Michigan,’ like a 4-lane highway going through town wi...
King Abdullah’s 57-State Solution
RANNIE AMIRI
"What we are talking about is not Israelis and Palestinians sitting at the table, but Israelis sitting with Palestinians, Israelis sitting with Syrians, Israelis sitting with Lebanese. And with the Arabs and the Muslim world lined up to open direct negotiations ...
Handel’s Ghost … Again
DAVID YEARSLEY
I began and ended my column last week by rhetorically conjuring Handel’s ghost, but had no idea then that his house in Brook Street was actually haunted.  A Counterpunch reader informs me that in the summer before reopening as a museum  to the compose...
The Follower as Leader
FARZANA VERSEY
History is often about a play of words. The man of the moment who has taken the oath of office for the second term is an actor in search of ‘no character’. It is the invisibility of the persona that is his trump card. It works in a situation where...
The Poison in the System
MIKE WHITNEY
In a little more than a decade, Credit Default Swaps (CDS) trading ballooned into a lucrative multi-billion dollar industry which has changed the fundamental character of the financial system and  increased systemic risk by many orders of magnitude. CDS, which w...
What Kind of State?
NADIA HIJAB
Arab and Israeli commentators have pretty much outlined the speech Barack Obama will deliver in Egypt during his June visit, even though he is still meeting with the region’s leaders in Washington. While some are optimistic, many are fearful. Israelis f...
Joy
DAVID KER THOMSON
We’d been passing the time as pleasantly as one does when one is holding up posters revealing assorted facts about the squish rate. That’d be how often Canadian cars run over schoolchildren. Beats chatting about the weather, which in these parts is apt to...
My Problem with Led Zeppelin
LORENZO WOLFF
Sometimes rediscovering an old favorite can be a rewarding experience. All of the hidden corners that you explored in the past show themselves in a different light, and ideas that were confusing or unclear are now plain as day. Unfortunately as I put a copy of Led Ze...
Why We Love to Hate Pirates
SONIA CARDENAS And ANDREW FLIBBERT
Make no mistake about it. We hate Somali pirates. What’s more, we love to hate them. In a survey by the Pew Research Center (17-20 April 2009), the capture of the American-flagged Maersk Alabama was the most closely followed news story of that week, displacing ...
Porn Wars
DAVID ROSEN
Craigslist, the most popular Internet listing service, announced recently that it would, in effect, remake its popular “erotic services” category into “adult services.”  It acted under pressure from a number of state attorney generals for...
Why the Left Should Cheer Hannity and Limbaugh
JAY DIAMOND
The relationship of low-brow talk radio and the GOP is not a symbiotic one but a parasitic one, with the parasite being low-brow gargoyles like the relentlessly smear-mongering Sean Hannity and the devoured host being the GOP. Full Disclosure: Being in the sam...
How Not to Win Votes for Team USA
FRANKLIN LAMB
Baabda Palace, Beirut U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Beirut with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman aboard a U.S. military helicopter at 11:50 am Friday morning. Biden was greeted at Beirut’s airport b...
Climate Change and Intellectual Property Rights?
MARK WEISBROT
The battle over “intellectual property rights” is likely to be one of the most important of this century. It has enormous economic, social, and political implications in a wide range of areas, from medicine to the arts and culture – anything where t...
Why We Love to Hate Pirates
SONIA CARDENAS And ANDREW FIBBERT
Make no mistake about it. We hate Somali pirates. What’s more, we love to hate them. In a survey by the Pew Research Center (17-20 April 2009), the capture of the American-flagged Maersk Alabama was the most closely followed news story of that week, displacing ...
An Endlessness of Almost Ending
BEN SONNENBERG
In the beautiful prologue to James Hammer’s distinctive (and distinguished) first film, Ballast, a black boy of about 13 runs across a bleak and desolate field in the Mississippi Delta. He startles a flock of white geese into flight, a flock, which as he runs t...
Card Check is Pronouced Dead
DAVID MACARAY
Earlier this week it was acknowledged by labor officials and Democratic insiders that the EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act), as presently written, wasn’t going to pass.  While the bill may be reintroduced in a different form, the crucial “card check&rd...
Swine Flu Fallout
CONN HALLINAN
The recent scare has served to reveal one of medicine’s great scandals: the systematic plunder of nurses and doctors from the developing world by the U.S. Europe, Canada and Australia. A study by the George Washington University School of Public Health found th...
Some Positive Directions in Public Health?
HEATHER GRAY
This is not a new assessment, but it’s fairly clear that the well being of independent science and public health policies fluctuate depending on leadership in Washington. Will Obama make a positive difference? He has stated that an ideologically based science t...
The Latest AfPak War
CARLO CRISTOFORI
The June, 2002, National Assembly (Loya Jirga) held in Afghanistan to select the head of state was rigged by the Bush administration, forcing the former king, who had majority support among the delegates, to withdraw from consideration*. This shows that the "Bus...
The Binds That Bond
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK
We are swinging into Show Mode here at the Speakeasy, sorting the whips, untangling the chains, shining up the crosses and scrubbing the dildos in preparation for our pre-Bondage Ball Gala with the Broken Door LA, a benefit for the highly endangered Make-Love-Not-War...
Bush, God, Iraq and Gog
CLIVE HAMILTON
The revelation this month in GQ magazine that Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary embellished top-secret wartime memos with quotations from the Bible prompts a question. Why did he believe he could influence President Bush by that means? The answer may lie in...
A Friendly Financial Intervention
DEAN BAKER
There are times when excessive government spending can be a drag on the economy, but now is clearly not that time. In case anyone missed it, the private economy has collapsed. It has been shedding jobs at the rate of more than 600,000 a month for the last six months....
His Terrible Swift Sword
RON JACOBS
On the New York side of Lake Champlain sits the little town of North Elba.  Outside of the town is the homestead of American anti-racist revolutionary John Brown.  When I lived in Vermont, I made a trip across the lake one May Day to commemorate the man who...