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 August 2009
Can the Washington Post Save Dick Cheney?
RAY MCGOVERN
The hack columnists of the corporate press are missing the most obvious explanation for former Vice President Dick Cheney’s widely reported “disappointment” with former President George W. Bush on the issue of pardons — self-i...
Life and Death in Baghdad as Americans Leave
PATRICK COCKBURN
Life in Iraq is getting better. Take one example: two or three years ago, tattoo artists in Baghdad were working overtime giving distinctive tattoos to men who feared they would be killed in the Sunni-Shia sectarian slaughter. Aware that the ...
Drought of Justice, Flood of Funds
P. SAINATH
Mumbai Sure, August is proving an unusual month. But what an extraordinary one July was. We celebrated the delivery of the cheapest car in the world and the costliest tur dal (pigeon pea) in our history within the same 31 days. And it took some...
Politics After Hope
HENRY A. GIROUX
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.  This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. N...
Health Care and the Seeds of Disunity
SAUL LANDAU
President Obama has a rough task promoting health care that will provide coverage for most Americans and reduce the cost of this basic service so that it doesn’t bankrupt the economy. In selling this obviously beneficial idea, he and his congressional al...
Israeli Land Sale
JONATHAN COOK
Tzipori. Amin Muhammad Ali, a 74-year-old refugee from a destroyed Palestinian village in northern Israel, says he only feels truly at peace when he stands among his ancestors’ graves. The cemetery, surrounded on all sides by Jewish homes and far...
Obama’s Immigration Reforms
WAJAHAT ALI
While attending the North American summit with leaders of Mexico and Canada, President Obama stated that no comprehensive immigration legislation would occur before 2010, thus predictably ensuring a commitment to the highly ineffective, unjust and draconian policies ...
Prison Games
DAVID MACARAY
On August 8, the California Institution for Men at Chino erupted in a violent, eleven-hour race riot (primarily Latinos vs. African-Americans) that resulted in 200 inmates being injured, 55 of them requiring hospitalization, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in pr...
Health Plans and Death Plans
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
"Medicine is nothing but a social science. Politics is nothing but medicine on a large scale." –Rudolf Virchow, reflecting on the revolutions of 1848 in Europe. The first illusion to chase off the stage is that...
Class, Race and Clint
KIM NICOLINI
Gran Torino is a heck of a last hurrah for Clint Eastwood. It is Eastwood’s ode to himself and his role in films while also being an ode to a dying breed of Americans – the union autoworker. It manages to combine rioutously fun self-reflexive humor with a...
The Geometries of Bob Dylan
GREG MOSES
The Bob Dylan Show this summer reaches its south-most destination at 27 degrees 48 minutes north latitude, half past four degrees into the Tropic of Cancer where fat velocities of rotation spin hysterical contradictions between centrifugal ups and centripetal downs....
Kind of Blue at Fifty: Stalked by Bill Evans’ Ghost
DAVID YEARSLEY
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue was released 50 years ago this coming Monday—August 17, 1959.  That was ten years after, and ten degrees cooler, than the little big band of Miles’ Birth of the Cool. With Kind of Blue the baby had grown up: sleeker, m...
Monsanto’s Man in the Obama Administration
ISABELLA KENFIELD
Michael R. Taylor’s appointment by the Obama administration to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 7th sparked immediate debate and even outrage among many food and agriculture researchers, NGOs and activists. The Vice President for Public Policy at ...
Colombian Elites Fear Bolivaran Revolution
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF
As a result of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s decision to allow six U.S. military bases on his country’s soil the propaganda war has heated up in the Andean region. In neighboring Venezuela, Hugo Chávez says Colombia is seeking to destab...
There Ain’t Much to Country Livin’
LORENZO WOLFF
A few years ago I heard about a band that was doing a kind of updated country-rock thing and went to seem them play Irving Plaza. They played for about an hour and half, dazzling what otherwise would have been a jaded New York crowd with their proud, aggressive songs...
Kind of Blue at 50, Stocked by Bill Evan’s Ghost
DAVID YEARSLEY
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue was released 50 years ago this coming Monday—August 17, 1959.  That was ten years after, and ten degrees cooler, than the little big band of Miles’ Birth of the Cool. With Kind of Blue the baby had gro...
Woodstock at Forty
PAUL KRASSNER
Along with 499,999 others on a countercultural pilgrimage 40 years ago, I was heading for the Woodstock Festival of Music & Love.  I was wearing my yellow leather fringe jacket for the first time.  In one of the pockets there was a nice little stash of ...
Sleepwalking Through the Minefield
JOHN ROSS
Mexico City. This week’s "Three Amigos" Summit of North American heads of state in Guadalajara offered all the excitement of watching Barack Obama and rightists Stephen Harper (Canada) and host Felipe Calderon sleepwalk through a minefield....
The Commons, the Castle, the Witch and the Lynx
PETER LINEBAUGH
One day at Crottorf we eat mouthwatering strawberries and yogurt for our lunch-time sweet. Crottorf is the name of a castle, or schloss, in Westphalia, Germany.  Twenty-one of us are assembled from around the world to discuss the commons. We come from In...
Why a Debtor’s Revolt Would Work
MARSHALL AUERBACK
Once all the TARPs are tidied up and the quarterly profits no longer a revelation, American consumers will still be swaddled in debt.  What’s to stop them from just walking away from it–and who’s to say, if the banks keep this kind of behavior ...
Bulletins From Clunkerville
MIKE WHITNEY
Is the economy really recovering or is it all just hype? Here’s what we know. The Fed doesn’t drop rates to zero unless its facing a 5 alarm fire and needs to pull out all the stops. The idea is to flood the markets with liquidity in order to avoid...
Unconditional Negotiations, Now!
RON JACOBS
It’s time to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai, the occasionally independent client of Washington in Kabul, went on record again on July 19, 2009 in favor of this move. In unequivocal terms, he told the London Sunday Times "I don&rsq...
Egyptian Economics 101
CHARLES R. LARSON
Khaled Al Khamissi’s imaginative narrative, Taxi,...
What Actually Happened in Fatah’s Elections?
ESAM AL-AMIN
“He is our guy.” George W. Bush speaking of Palestinian security chief Muhammad Dahlan, June 4, 2003 The U.S. government has been meddling in the Palestinian internal affairs since at least 2003. Its effort is to t...
Sexual Torture, Yet Again
DAVID ROSEN
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) recently released a little-covered report, “Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel.” The media’s failure to report on this important study is unfortunate. [PHR, “Broken Laws, Br...
Sick Heil!
TIM WISE
If you get a chance, today or perhaps tomorrow, do yourself a favor. Look up some file footage, perhaps on YouTube, of Adolf Hitler, addressing his followers. I know, it doesn’t sound like the best way to spend your day, or even a few minutes of it, but trust m...
Boycott Whole Foods
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
John Mackey is a right wing libertarian. He’s a union buster. He believes that corporations should not be criminally prosecuted for their crimes. He has just launched a campaign to defeat a single payer national health insurance system....
Single-Payer and Medicare
DAVE LINDORFF
Some critics have written, in response to my article calling for extension of the single-payer plan called Medicare to all Americans, that actually Medicare is a badly flawed program that leaves America’s elderly without coverage for many important health servi...
When the Dead Have No Say
NORMAN SOLOMON
Official Washington is buzzing about “metrics.” Can the war in Afghanistan be successful? Don’t ask the dead. Days ago, under the headline “White House Struggles to Gauge Afghan Success,” a New York Times story made a splas...
Succession and the Pakistani Taliban
BRIAN M. DOWNING
Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), reportedly has been killed by a US drone strike in S. Waziristan. Aides have claimed he is not dead, but a more recent claim that he is “gravely ill” is probably backtracking and foreshadowing a...
Letting Cheney Off the Hook
JOANNE MARINER
Attorney General Eric Holder appears to be on the verge of appointing a federal prosecutor to investigate Bush-era interrogation abuses. Citing current and former US officials, the Los Angeles Times said Holder was planning an inquiry that would be narrow in s...
Iran Versus Honduras
DAVID MANNING And MIRIAM COTTON
The furore over Mahmoud Ahmajinedad’s apparent success in last months Iranian presidential elections tells us a few important things about how the dominant media feels democratic deficiencies, alleged or otherwise, should be reported. According to the Ir...
Burning Forests for Electricity
MICHAEL DONNELLY
“All technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent.” —David Brower Like one might expect from a Dr. Seuss character, the Once-ler of old has morphed into the Renew-ler in these “Sustainable&...
I Hate to Bother You
EDUARDO GALEANO
I’d like to share with you some questions–some flies that keep buzzing in my head. Is justice right side up?  Has world justice been frozen in an upside-down position?  The shoe-thrower of Iraq, the man who hurled his sho...
Gone With Only 59 Candles
MARTHA ROSENBERG
"Variety says I have more starts than MGM," said John Hughes on the phone, a little baffled by Hollywood’s reflexive embrace of him as the next great director. Being the Next Big Thing in Hollywood was not necessarily his plan. But thi...
Where are the Arabs to Stand Up for the Hanoun and Ghawi Families?
BOUTHAINA SHAABAN
I would like you to try and imagine someone forcing his way into your home without permission and ordering you at gun point to leave the safe home you have built through a lifetime of toil and hard work and turned into a nest for your children and grandchildren. ...
10 Questions to Ask If You Find Yourself at an ObamaCare Town Hall Meeting
DAVE LINDORFF
1. If Canada’s single-payer system is so god-awful, why have repeated Conservative governments at the provincial and national level in Canada never touched it? Canada is a democracy. If Canadians don’t like their health care system, why haven’t they...
Terror Australis
BINOY KAMPMARK
Australia, the earth’s largest island continent, has had those customary fears associated with the nation still believing in notions of virgo intacta. Immigrations regulations are strict; intruders by leaky boats and unreliable rafts are treated with suspicion....
Labor and the Conventional Wisdom
DAVID MACARAY
When regular people (and by “regular” I mean theater people—actors, actresses and directors who do Equity Waiver-type theater in and around Los Angeles) learn that I used to represent an industrial labor union, they’re tempted to sidle up to m...
Spinning the Economic News
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Last Friday a Bloomberg.com headline read: “U.S. Stocks Gain, Treasuries Drop as Unemployment Rate Declines”.  Let’s have a look at the reported decline in the rate of unemployment. Do you believe that the US auto industry added 28,000 ...
Justice in Wonderland
RICARDO ALARCÓN De QUESADA
“Sentence first-verdict afterwards” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll This is the second part in Ricardo Alarcón’s series on the Cuban Five. Cl...
The Future of Florida Bay
ALAN FARAGO
Can Florida Bay be restored? Yes. But we are twenty or thirty years beyond the time where nature’s resiliency might have proven shortly. Florida Bay is heavily damaged. Its water quality bears little resemblance to what sustained remarkable biodiversity. Today,...
Nigeria on the Brink
MICHAEL J. WATTS
When Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and her entourage touch down this week in Abuja, the bright new capital of the Nigerian federation, their hosts will try to put the best face on what is the gravest political crisis the country has faced since the civil war ende...
The Assimilation of Niranjan Ramakrishnan
NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN
By NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN The story of Saul becoming Paul on the way to Damascus is part of Biblical lore. At the risk of inviting the predictable "You’re no Saul (or Paul)", let me tell you the story of my own conversion — of how NIRANJAN R...
Ghostwriting Your Meds
JAMES RIDGEWAY
Under Obama’s plan—assuming there is a plan—the pharmaceutical industry in all likelyhood escapes price regulation. For its part,the industry promises $30 million to support the elderly in Medicare to buy brand name drugs. Controversy often ...
Boycotting Big Beer
BENJAMIN DANGL
When Obama sat down for a beer in the White House Rose Garden with Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley, they all turned their backs on the smaller, craft brewers of the country. Obama chose Bud Light, Gates asked for Red Stripe, and Crowley drank Blue Moon. O...
Inside Iran’s Most Infamous Prison
REZA YAVARI
Many persons who protested the results of Iran’s July election were arrested and sent into an infamous prison called Kahrizak, located south of Tehran, opened two years ago as a “temporary” facility and ordered closed two weeks ago by di...
Why Aren’t Progressives Disrupting ObamaCare Town Halls?
DAVE LINDORFF
Many progressives are getting all bent out of shape over the "brown shirt" rabble organized by health industry PR firms to disrupt the so-called "town meetings" being organized all over the country by Democratic members of Congress. What th...
A Moral Person
URI AVNERY
On the morrow of the Six-day War, Amos Kenan came to my editorial office. He was in a state of shock. As a reserve soldier, he had just witnessed the emptying of three villages in the Latrun area. Men and women, old people and children, had been driven out in the bur...
Red-Baiting and Racism
TIM WISE
Throughout the first six months of his administration, President Obama–perhaps one of the most politically cautious leaders in contemporary history–has been routinely portrayed as a radical by his opponents on the far-right. In particular, persons who hav...