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Archives from August 2009
Getting Away With Torture
DEEPAK TRIPATHI
Only about 20 years ago, the United States was the preferred destination for dissidents incarcerated and sometimes tortured in prisons in the Soviet Union and satellite states in Eastern Europe. Pictures of the brief journey on foot by the Soviet dissident, Anatoly S...
America’s Biggest Economic Problem?
MARSHALL AUERBACK
My bills are all due and the baby needs shoes and I’m busted Cotton is down to a quarter a pound, but I’m busted I got a cow that went dry and a hen that won’t lay A big stack of bills that gets bigger each day ...
How Congress Pays For Its Pork
WINSLOW T. WHEELER
When the Senate voted on July 21, 2009 to strip funding out of the National Defense Authorization Act for additional F-22 fighters, there was an important element to the vote that did not receive the attention it deserved. Like most advocates of "earmarks" ...
Forbidden Heroes
RICARDO ALARCÓN De QUESADA
“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place” Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll Remember Elian? The case of Elian González, a six year-old boy...
Time to Plan for the Worst
GREG MOSES
Anyone taking a crash course in market theory these days is seeing downside risks aplenty.  Market theory uses the term “correction” to describe the general system of a down.  But if these downside risks become reality, are progressive organizer...
The Honduran Coup
CONN HALLINAN
While the Obama Administration was careful to distance itself from the recent coup in Honduras—condeming the expulsion of President Manuel Zelaya to Costa Rica, revoking Honduran officals’ visas, and shutting off aid—that doesn’t mean influent...
Dead Tree Hysteria
GEORGE WUERTHNER
There has been a lot of hysteria in Montana over dead trees, and so-called “unhealthy forests” creating “catastrophic” fires. The basic theme is that fire suppression has led to fuel build-ups that are supporting unnaturally large blazes. Unfo...
Netanyahu’s Sister-in-Law Detained by Israeli Police
IRA GLUNTS
Even compared to the low ethical standards which most people, outside the United States, ascribe to the actions of the Israeli government of occupation, the recent decision of their Supreme Court to evict long-time residents of Arab neighborhoods and to replace them ...
Seeds of Destruction
ALAN FARAGO
In a series of reports, The Miami Herald discloses the astounding facts behind the $7 billion fraud of Stanford Financial. An absence of regulators. Shredded documents. Bags of cash airlifted from Miami International. It all sounds so Miami Vice. But it is more. Back...
There is No Recession
MIKE WHITNEY
Credit is not flowing. In fact, credit is contracting. When credit contracts in a consumer-driven economy, bad things happen. Business investment drops, unemployment soars, earnings plunge, and GDP shrinks. The Fed has spent more than a trillion dollars trying to get...
Orgy of the Dead
SOUSAN HAMMAD
Bethlehem It has been an unnatural string of days here in Bethlehem. Gone is the usual quaintness. Palestinian police are working overtime and coffee shops are being lit up by men in suits with cigars in town for Fatah’s sixth general assembly. The movem...
The Mystery Behind the Manson Murders
PAUL KRASSNER
Charles Manson was never a hippie. His real family included con artists, pimps, drug dealers, thieves, muggers, rapists and murderers. He had known only power relationships in an army of control junkies. Manson was America’s Frankenstein monster, a logical prod...
In Defense of Disruption
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
What do: Rush Limbaugh Barack Obama Newt Gingrich Nancy Pelosi PhRMA Families USA America’s Health Insurance Plans AARP Harry Reid Mitch McConnell and Fox News have in common?...
Israeli School Apartheid
JONATHAN COOK
Nazareth An Arab couple whose one-year-old daughter was expelled from an Israeli day-care centre on her first day are suing a Jewish mother for damages, accusing her of racist incitement against their child. Maysa and Shua’a Zuabi, from the villa...
Trial by FBI Investigation
DAVID PRICE
Beginning in the early 1990s, I spent about a dozen years slowly collecting, analyzing and compiling tens of thousands of FBI files detailing how dozens of American anthropologists were investigated and harassed by the FBI and various loyalty boards during the late-1...
It Pays to Have a Nuke
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
Remember when the two Chinese American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee,  were first convicted earlier this year and given 12-year prison terms in one of North Korea’s  labor camps? Working for a tv channel owned by former vice president Al Gore, ...
Unplugging the Next Big Thing
ROBERT BRYCE
On Wednesday, President Obama traveled to Indiana to announce the recipients of $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money designed to help energize the US battery manufacturing and research business. Obama said the grants are “planting the seeds of progress for ou...
The Kidney Broker and the Money Laundering Rabbis
SAUL LANDAU
I thought of Cousin Harry when I read about the July 21 bust of five New York and New Jersey orthodox rabbis along with scores of New Jersey officials. Like the clean shaven, dapper and secular Harry, these long bearded and black garbed religious leaders and a ring o...
Expanding Human Terrain Systems?
JOHN STANTON
On 5 August 2009 the US Government’s General Services Administration and HQ Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC) sponsored a Bidder’s Conference for defense contractors looking to work in the US Army and Marine Corps Irregular Warfare program. The sub...
Protect Us From Our Friends
BRUCE E. LEVINE
For many people I know — especially many young people, Native Americans, and others alienated from American dominant culture — the difference between liberals and conservatives is only in technique used to coerce conformity and gain control. My fri...
Neighborhood Watch for Planet Earth
MICHAEL WINSHIP
For a bit of change, let’s talk about a different kind of health care reform – the kind that affects the health of the planet. The other evening, I was listening to All Things Considered on NPR. Robert Siegel was interviewing Dr. Hal Levison, a pla...
Legal Absurdities
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
It is always refreshing when awareness and consequences catch up with the absurd. For more than 40 years, some thought that the way to reduce criminal activity was to limit the number of crimes a person was permitted to commit before life in prison without parole bec...
RX For Healthcare
CARL GINSBURG
As the health care circus swings through town after town, and the inner sanctum of President Obama’s West Wing wrings its hands, fearing that a failure to win a “public option” will undercut their efforts to run –read, ruin – the America...
When Music’s the Character
LORENZO WOLFF
Music tends to be a very difficult thing to describe. If a record is really successful, no discussion should be necessary, it should be totally capable of standing alone. At best, critics and commentators can draw attention to the power of a record, or the depth of e...
Glimmers of Hope for Labor?
DAVID MACARAY
President Obama’s nomination of two labor union activists—attorneys Craig Becker and Mark Pearce—to the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) was greeted by two wildly divergent but predictable reactions.  On the one side, organized labor was, ...
Origins of Power
ANTHONY DiMAGGIO
The power of the Israel lobby is the subject of intense dispute in the U.S.  Seldom is an issue so passionately fought over, as critics of the lobby incite the furor of activists committed to protecting the U.S. and Israel’s “special relationship.&rd...
As Long as the Wars Continue, We Must Resist Them
RON JACOBS
As the casualty figures climb in Afghanistan and dip in Iraq and support for those wars plummets, the question of troop resistance remains on the table.  According to US military estimates, desertion and AWOL rates have climbed since the resistance in Iraq began...
The Mexican Genome
JOHN ROSS
When last May 11th, at the nadir of this spring’s swine flu panic, President Felipe Calderon strode to the flag-bedecked podium in southern Mexico City and, under the strictest health protocols, lowered his "tapaboca" (surgical mask) to punch the butt...
A Muslim American Hero
WAJAHAT ALI
One rarely imagines the quintessential image of an American hero having a Muslim, Arabic name. The Syrian American protagonist of Dave Eggers’ elegant and powerful new book ...
Vaucanson’s Faun and the Duck in the Attic
DAVID YEARSLEY
In 1746 the parfumier and glove maker Pierre Dumoulin left his native Lyon and headed north towards Germany, on his way to foreign lands to exhibit three remarkable objects constructed by the celebrated maker of automata, Jacques de Vaucanson. This unlikely trio was ...
Suicide Squad
STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN
It’s out in the open now. They can’t work us over anymore. We know who they are. Our own oligarchy is out to get us. Global capitalism, feeling the pulse of socialism, is fighting to make the world safe for corporate hegemony—and corporate A...
Sunday Morning on the Dunes
FRANKLIN LAMB
Ramlet el Baida, Beirut. It is hard to believe that it has already been three years since July 13 and 15, 2006, when American MK 82 and MK 83, 500 and 1,000 pound bombs, and four US TOW missiles, gifted to Israel, destroyed Lebanon’s oil storage facility...
The Message of the Glossy Ibis
MARK SETH LENDER
Scattered across the salt meadow a flock of Glossy Ibis feed in the hard morning light. The brilliance robs the color from their shining feathers until they turn, other-worldly, iridescent, flashing greens and russet browns. Their beaks, too long and strangely curved...
Economy on a Scaffold
MIKE WHITNEY
We’re making this way too complicated. It’s simple really. The Fed has only one tool at its disposal; to create more money. Typically, the way the Fed adds to the money supply is by lowering interest rates. When the Fed lowers rates below the rate...
Chris Fuller’s Brilliant Debut
BEN SONNENBERG
Loren Cass, the beautiful, brutal, moving first film by the 21 year-old Chris Fuller. was shot with what its distributor, Kino International, aptly calls a “bare-bones crew.” Its location (St Petersburg, Florida) is established in the opening image with a...
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered
ROBERT DODGE, MD
This week marks the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan August 6th and 9th, respectively, killing a quarter of a million people. For two generations since these horrific nuclear explosions, mankind has lived both in fear an...
Obama’s Israel Albatross
ELAINE C. HAGOPIAN
Obama came into office vowing to resolve the Palestine question. He also vowed to approach the ME with civility and diplomacy, especially Iran, to iron out issues of mutual concern.  The two-pronged plan was aimed at removing the Palestine question f...
The Conservative Counter-Attack in Latin America
MIGUEL TINKER SALAS
I would submit that events in Honduras are not isolated, but rather part of a conservative counterattack taking shape in Latin America. For some time, the right has been rebuilding in Latin America; hosting conferences, sharing experiences, refining their message, wo...
The Health Care Reform Sell-Out
DAVE LINDORFF
President Obama and the Democrats who currently run Congress have been hoist on their own collective petard by their craven and gutless refusal to consider adopting a Canadian-style single-payer system to finance health care in the US, or simply to expand Medicare, w...
The Hardest Working Man in Animal Rights "Terrorism"
MICHAEL DONNELLY
On November 8, 1986, Rod Coronado and David Hewitt emerged after laying in freezing rain for an hour and destroyed the control room of the whaling station (read: slaughterhouse) on an Icelandic fiord. They then quickly entered the nearby offices and confiscated recor...
Let’s All Have a Beer
ISHMAEL REED
It’s not surprising that some whites, who monopolize the means of expression both electronically and in print, mainstream and progressive, would automatically take Sgt. James M. Crowley’s word against Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s even though Crowley&rsq...
The Expiring Economy
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Tent cities springing up all over America are filling with the homeless unemployed from the worst economy since the 1930s. While Americans live in tents, the Obama government has embarked on a $1 billion crash program to build a mega-embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, t...
Keeping Track of the Empire’s Crimes
WILLIAM BLUM
If you catch the CIA with its hand in the cookie jar and the Agency admits the obvious — what your eyes can plainly see — that its hand is indeed in the cookie jar, it means one of two things: a) the CIA’s hand is in several othe...
Rabbis Ban Marriage for Israeli "Untouchables"
JONATHAN COOK
Tel Aviv . Two immigrants from the former Soviet Union staged a very public wedding in the streets of central Tel Aviv this week to highlight the plight of hundreds of thousands of Jews barred from lawfully marrying in Israel. Nico Tarosyan and Olga Sa...
The Public Option in Banking
ELLEN BROWN
President Obama has repeated his call for a public option in health care, in order to create some competition for the insurance companies and keep them honest. We the people need to call for a public option in banking, in order to create some competition for the priv...
The Incredible, Shrinking Health Care Plan
NORMAN SOLOMON
Like soap in a rainstorm, “healthcare reform” is wasting away. As this week began, a leading follower of conventional wisdom, journalist Cokie Roberts, told NPR listeners: “This is evolving legislation. And the administration is now talking ...
The Destruction of the Black Middle Class
DEDRICK MUHAMMAD And BARBARA EHRENREICH
To judge from most of the commentary on the Gates-Crowley affair, you would think that a "black elite" has gotten dangerously out of hand. First Gates (Cambridge, Yale, Harvard) showed insufficient deference to Crowley, then Obama (Occidental, Harvard) pile...
Privatizing the Airwaves
STEVE MACEK And SCOTT SANDERS
The much-delayed switchover to digital TV is now behind us. On June 12, all full power TV stations in the country ceased their analog broadcasts and made the final switch to a digital only format. In the lead up to the DTV transition, the public’s attent...
Obama Needs to Take a Stand on Trade
JIM GOODMAN
When President Obama attends the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) meeting (or the more innocuous sounding, North American Leaders Summit) in Guadalajara next week he has the opportunity to keep some campaign promises. The SPP has been referred to as t...
The Myths of Afghanistan
WILLIAM BLUM
On the Fourth of July, Senator Patrick Leahy declared he was optimistic that, unlike the Soviet forces that were driven from Afghanistan 20 years ago, US forces could succeed there. The Democrat from Vermont stated: "The Russians were sent run...