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Archives from September 2009
Can America be Salvaged?
DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
I really don’t know what to say anymore, about a country in which proposing a new and better version of corporate-plunder masquerading as national healthcare gets you burned in effigy for being a socialist stooge by gun-toting angry mobs. I really don&rs...
In Praise of Senator Baucus
MIKE FERNER
We may not yet comprehend how big a favor Senator Baucus just did for his 330 million fellow citizens. But from today on, it is my personal crusade to insure that he gets at least a footnote in the history books. To be sure, I think Sen. Baucus’ legisla...
Sinking the Goldstone Report
NADIA HIJAB
Timing is everything. On Monday, the United States assumed its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council — the one the Bush administration had cold-shouldered, then boycotted. The U.S. representative declared in Obamaesque tones, "Make no mist...
System Failure in the Garrido Case
DAVID ROSEN
Americans were shocked by the kidnapping of 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard by convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy. During her captivity, the young girl was imprisoned for 18 years, repeated raped and gave birth to two children (with only Nancy Garri...
Mendelssohn as Organ Maestro
DAVID YEARSLEY
In this abundant year of composer anniversaries commemorating the births or deaths of Handel, Purcell, Haydn and Mendelssohn the English have good reason to claim all as their own. Only Purcell was a native to the island, but the German-speaking members of this quart...
Darkness, Dignity and Hope in Liberia
CHARLES R. LARSON
Even in the best of times, Liberia is a pretty forlorn place. Because the country was never a colony as were most areas of the African continent, there’s never been much of an infrastructure. The language spoken today is a pastiche of Pidgin English, nineteenth...
Let’s Make a Deal, Beltway Edition
MICHAEL WINSHIP
If you ever needed proof that Washington is governed by the Golden Rule – the one that says, he who has the gold, rules – you only have to look at the wagonloads of cash being dumped by big business into crushing President Obama’s domestic agenda....
Recession, Recovery and Reform
MARK WEISBROT
Corruption takes many forms in different countries and locations. Here in the United States it may not be as common to pay off a judge or a customs official as it is in most low and middle income countries, but we do have quite a bit of legalized bribery, especially ...
Vengeance, Barbarism and Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds
GILAD ATZMON
Once again Quentin Tarantino has managed to produce the impossible: ‘an anti Holocaust film’. The Holocaust film genre  can be grasped as a realistic cinematic representation of the ‘Jewish victim’ (innocent and harmless individual) confr...
Meet the Real Death Panels
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
More than 44,000 Americans die every year – 122 every day – due to lack of health insurance. That’s the startling finding of a new study – ...
Dr. Guillotin and Dr. Faustus
RON JACOBS
Marc Estrin has published eight novels.  His ninth, titled The Good Dr. Guillotin, is bei...
The Great Indian Rope Trick
FARZANA VERSEY
The soles of his feet were cracked like the soil in barren fields. He sat idly and drank khus sherbet. There weren’t any files spread before him. He was doing no work, only shaking his legs in that nervous frenzied manner of people in power who have to sit with...
Cry Me a River
BRENDA NORRELL
When Paul Zimmerman writes in his new book about the Rio Puerco and the Four Corners, he calls out the names of the cancers and gives voice to the poisoned places and streams. Zimmerman is not just writing empty words. Zimmerman writes of the national sacrific...
Palestinian Camps Are Ready to Erupt
FRANKLIN LAMB
Martyr’s Square, Shatila Camp Meandering the alleys and ground vapors of the wet fetid stench in Beirut’s Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, 27 years after the 1982 Sabra Shatila Massacre, one witnesses a dystopia.  This shanty ground, is the m...
The Slick Swindler
JOSHUA FRANK
While still in high school I had the pleasure of flying across the country to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong youth workshop on leadership and democracy. I remember the excitement I had knowing I was about to meet both of my Montana senators. Back then I was a proud...
The Mayor of Coconut Creek Gets Butterflies
ALAN FARAGO
A group of gritty citizens have organized a successful petition to put on the 2010 ballot in Florida an amendment to the state constitution called Florida Hometown Democracy. It is greatly feared by state business interests, including Associated Industries and the Fl...
The Financial Crisis, One Year Later
ROBERT WEISSMAN
One year ago, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, bringing to a head the growing chaos on Wall Street. In the days and weeks that followed Lehman’s September 15, 2008 collapse, credit markets would freeze, the stock market plunged, the government took a...
Drone War Over Pakistan
JED BICKMAN
The cloak of secrecy and mendacity that covers the shadow war the United States is waging in Pakistan undermines democratic values both in the battle against the Taliban and back home. Our strategy relies on backroom deals, on proxy warriors and private mercenaries, ...
An Insult to Humanity
RICARDO ALARCÓN De QUESADA
On March 6, 2009 twelve separate amicus briefs were presented in support of the Cuban Five’s petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court, the largest number of amicus filings ever to have urged Supreme Court to review a criminal conviction. Eight b...
The Filmmakers vs. the Capitalists
PAM MARTENS
Did you ever expect a corporation to have a conscience, when it has no soul to be damned and no body to be kicked?  —  Edward, First Baron Thurlow We’re about to find out if the filmmakers can succee...
America’s Strange Health Care Debate
STEPHEN GREEN
I cannot  recall any other major policy debate in America in my adult lifetime in which there has been so much passion and “certitude” and so little discussion of the facts. Sound bites in news programs, newspaper editorials, political speeches on th...
Killing the Messenger
ANTHONY DiMAGGIO
The Pew Center for public opinion research has released its September study of public trust in media, and the picture isn’t very pretty.  Americans are pessimistic when it comes to the quality of reporting in the corporate press.  This should hardly b...
EuroPeace: the Sounds of Silence
ERIC WALBERG
After being the playground for 20th century militarism, after finally uniting with no enemies in sight, you think that Europe would be the world’s bulwark for peace. But a continent that rejected the US war in Vietnam is in thrall to US militarism as never befo...
The Unheard Call
RICARDO ALARCÓN De QUESADA
Having exhausted their appeal efforts, the Cuban Five petitioned the Supreme Court to review their case. They were not asking too much. It was a case deserving the attention of the Justices for a number of reasons, some of a really exceptional nature. All alon...
Is Bagram Obama’s New Secret Prison?
ANDY WORTHINGTON
On Monday, one day after the New York Times and the ...
The Unsung Heroes of the Financial Crisis
DEAN BAKER
Last year, as the collapse of the housing bubble was threatening to turn Wall Street into a pre-industrial economy, many leading financial commentators were blaming short-sellers for the meltdown. They argued that the fundamentals of the financial industry were essen...
The World Seed Conference
ROBIN WILLOUGHBY
Last week marked a little-known and under-reported symposium held in Rome under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation – the World Seed Conference. Although the subject may appear obscure, the conference theme and the issues discussed, includi...
Bring That "Boy" Down
JAMES RIDGEWAY
President Carter said yesterday what everyone knows. Any journalist who covered the Democratic presidential primary between Obama and Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania could not possibly have missed the naked hatred of the man based on the fact he is black..Comments su...
Justice Follows Direct Action
BENJAMIN DANGL
Richard Gillman, the former CEO of Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors factory where over 200 workers organized a victorious sit-in last year, has been sent to jail on eight charges including felony, theft, fraud, and money laundering. After the judge announce...
Torture and Accountability
RAY McGOVERN
Unlike many of my progressive friends, for me the current administration’s behavior on torture is a glass half full.  In my view, the real scandal is how very few have taken a sip. Sure, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have a...
President Mao-bama’s Little Red Primer
SUSIE DAY
Lesson One See the U.S. President. See the U.S. President give billions of tax dollars to help failing investment firms. See the U.S. President decide that terrorism suspects can be held without trial in “prolonged detention.” See the U.S. Preside...
Obama and Pentagon Pork
WINSLOW T. WHEELER
On Aug. 17 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, President Barack Obama gave waste and pork in the defense budget a thorough tongue lashing. It was well said, but also a little pathetic if you consider what the porkers in Congress are up to. The words f...
The Nuttiness of the War on Terror
FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
The US government has just released a translation of Osama bin Ladin’s latest 9-11 anniversary message to justify his anti-American Jihad. (See below.) Given the expenditure of resources and blood this man has triggered, it deserves careful reading by every tax...
The Story of My Shoe
MUTADHAR Al-ZAIDI
MUTADHAR al-ZAIDI, the Iraqi who threw his shoe at George Bush gave this speech on his recent release.  In the name of God, the most gracious and most merciful. Here I am, free. But my country is still a prisoner of war....
How US Tax Breaks Fund Israeli Settlers
JONATHAN COOK
in Nazareth. Israeli peace activists are planning to ratchet up their campaign against groups in the United States that raise money for settlers by highlighting how tax exemptions are helping to fund the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank. ...
The Deal That Led to the Srebrenica Massacre
AFSHIN RATTANSI
And so the United Nation’s Yugoslav war crimes court fines its own former spokeswoman, Florence Hartmann $10,000 for contempt. Judge Bakone Moloto lambasted the woman who was the public face of the court for more than half a decade as knowingly and wilfully int...
Up in Wood Smoke
KAREN KORENOSKI And MICHAEL YATES
Residents of Boulder, Colorado take pride in the city’s livability. The town has won “more accolades than any other city in America for its recreation, culture, health, business climate, and overall quality of life.” It has been voted “Number ...
Congress Needs More Catcalls
DAVE LINDORFF
Rep. “Joe” Wilson (R-SC), the cracker bigot who offended Congressional decorum by shouting “You Lie!” during President Barack Obama’s health policy address last week, claims his outburst was the result of his emotion getting the best of ...
Lehman Died So TARP and AIG Might Live
MIKE WHITNEY
"Lehman’s fate was sealed not in the boardroom of that gaudy Manhattan headquarters. It was sealed downtown, in the gloomy gray building of the New York Federal Reserve, the Wall Street branch of the U.S. central bank." – Step...
Government Spending is the Solution–Not the Problem
MARSHALL AUERBACK
Tens of thousands of people marched to the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, carrying signs with slogans such as "Obamacare makes me sick" as they protested the president’s health care plan and our so-called “out-of-control spending”. The marchers w...
Government Cheese
DAVID MACARAY
During the 1980s I was a negotiator on a contract bargain that began with great promise and optimism but ended in a 57-day strike.  Our 5-man negotiating team had sat at a table in a cramped room of the Holiday Inn for more than four months, arguing with the com...
IAEA Conceals Evidence Iran Nuke Docs Were Forged
GARETH PORTER
The International Atomic Energy Agency says its present objective regarding Iran is to try to determine whether the intelligence documents purportedly showing a covert Iranian nuclear weapons programme from 2001 to 2003 are authentic or not. The problem, according to...
Three Faces and a Homeland
BOUTHAINA SHAABAN
One of the most memorable faces which inhabit my conscience is the face of that Palestinian woman, Um Kamel, the owner of a house next to al-Aqsa mosque.  The Zionists paid her $1 million per square meter of her house, but she refused to sell, although she knew ...
The Plight of the Bumblebee
ADAM FEDERMAN
Bombus franklini, a North American bumblebee, was last seen on August 9, 2006. Professor Emeritus Robbin Thorp, an entomologist at UC Davis, was doing survey work on Mt. Ashland in Oregon when he saw a single worker on a flower, Sulphur eriogonum, near the Pacific Cr...
The Federal Twist
STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN
We’ve been witnessing a torrent of twisted logic, lately, in the jousting over the Obama Administration’s health care plans. The Obama mantra seems to be that in order to get more health care we have to cut it. This is scaring the pants of...
In Defense of the Undocumented
ALVARO HUERTA
As the son of Mexican immigrants, in the current climate of hyper-xenophobia in the U.S., I often ask myself: Where’s our Gandhi who will stage a prolonged hunger strike for the humanity of undocumented workers?  Where’s our Martin Luther King with t...
Can Journalism Schools be Relevant in a World on the Brink?
ROBERT JENSEN
Journalism schools have much in common with the mainstream news media they traditionally serve. As the business model for conventional corporate journalism collapses and digital technologies reshape the media landscape, journalism schools struggle with parallel probl...
Mexico Loses Its History
JOHN ROSS
Mexico City On the eve of the Bicentennial of its Independence from the Spanish Crown and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, this republic is awash with patriotic colors. The official countdown to the twin Centennials begins on Mexican Independen...
The Danes Do It Better
M. G. PIETY
Throughout the three years I lived in Canada, and the eight years I lived in Denmark, I would periodically return to the U.S. to see family and friends. I would regale my American acquaintances with stories of what it was like to live in a land with little to no pove...
Wall Street Under Obama
SHAMUS COOKE
After the financial levees broke and the crumbling banks ushered in the economic crisis, angry people clamored for drastic change in the financial system. Obama reflected these feelings well, at times using radical rhetoric to denounce the banking titans. What he pro...