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 November 2009
Obama as the Manchurian Candidate
DAVE LINDORFF
I once wrote an article about former President George W. Bush saying that he was a perfect Manchurian candidate. That is, if his missing year when he was supposed to have been flying fighter jets with the Texas Air National Guard was actually spent in the former Sovi...
How Dare You Clean Up Our Mess?
DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
One of the few things that irritates me more than Barack Obama is Barack Obama’s critics. Or, at least, some of them.  I’m one of his biggest un-fans, and in that sense I join legions of progressives heartsick in watching this right-wing presi...
Crisis in Dubai
MIKE WHITNEY
The default in Dubai is not the beginning of Financial Meltdown 2.  Don’t look for dominoes here. Yes, it does raise serious questions about the vast debt-overhang in emerging economies–particularly East Europe. But, this is not a "sovereign def...
Pakistan and the Global War on Terror
MARA AHMED And JUDITH BELLO
Mara Ahmed and I were given the opportunity to interview Tariq Ali when he spoke at Hamilton College in Upstate New York on November 11, 2009, during his recent speaking tour of the United States. Tariq, a native of Pakistan who lives in England, is a well known writ...
Pay-to-Print
P. SAINATH
Ashok Chavan is the chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, whose prime city is Mumbai. He was reelected to that very powerful post in India’s state polls in October. Chief Minister Chavan received choice coverage in the days before the election. But any re...
On the Suicide of Mike Penner
NORM KENT
The suicide this past weekend of Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner, who for the last few years wrote under the byline of Christine Daniels, leaves me today with a desire to rant and rave over an insane anomaly in American human rights protections. Tit...
Israel’s Arab Women Workers Need Not Apply
JONATHAN COOK
Nazareth. Israel’s finance minister was accused last week of trying to deflect attention from discriminatory policies keeping many of the country’s Arab families in poverty by blaming their economic troubles on what he described as Arab society&rsq...
The Hollow Politics of Escalation
NORMON SOLOMON
An underlying conceit of the new spin about benchmarks and timetables for Afghanistan is the notion that pivotal events there can be choreographed from Washington. So, a day ahead of the president’s Tuesday night speech, the New York Times quotes an unnamed top...
It’s Obama’s War Now
GARY LEUPP
There are now at present some 68,000 U.S. troops and 42,000 allied forces occupying Afghanistan, in league with the Northern Alliance warlords and the corrupt and feeble Karzai regime in Kabul. President Obama clearly wishes to increase the figure and will announce b...
Growing Up Toxic
STEVEN HIGGS
The Indiana stretch of the Ohio River Valley is one of the most toxic environments on Earth. On Nov. 24, I took a road trip to Evansville and Mount Vernon to interview John Blair, president of the environmental group Valley Watch, and Marcella Piper-Terry...
Big Beer Takes Over
DON MONKERUD
Forget about kicking back and enjoying an American beer; a massive wave of consolidation is transforming the industry. According to a recent report by the Marin Institute, a California-based alcohol industry watchdog, a rush of buyouts and mergers in the last ...
The Devastating Consequences of the Corporate Health Insurance Bill
SHAMUS COOKE
Wading through the endless debate over health care has exhausted the patience of most Americans — the zigzags, obscure language, and long-winded discussion is inherently repulsive. But now the dust is starting to settle, and the Congressional vision fo...
A Paradigm Shift in Singapore?
RAMZY BAROUD
Like scores of journalists, I attentively listened as Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his closing remarks, and for the last time answering journalists’ questions. It was the conclusion of 17th Apec Economies Leaders’ Meeting in Singapo...
Science Fiction and Politics
RON JACOBS
Paul Kantner and Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane released an album titled Blows Against the Empire in 1970.  Besides the fact that it had an incredible lineup of San Francisco area musicians, it was also interesting because of its science fiction theme.&nb...
Planning for Poverty?
CARL GINSBURG
The word from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at last week’s community meeting in the Bronx was disappointing, to say the least. After promising “good jobs” during a recent campaign, how could a man with so many billions, and now fresh from a ...
Saving Grace
AMANDA MUELLER
Pulling up to the home of Gail and Robert Anderson, a large statute of the Virgin Mary sits in the yard welcoming guests into the home, while protecting the family that lives there. Next to the statute of Mary, inside of labyrinth of daisies, daffodils, tulips and ro...
Adventures in Polarization
DAVID MACARAY
All the talk about the extent to which American politics have become “polarized” causes one to ask how serious the phenomenon actually is.  How pervasive and deep-seated is it really?  Is it as alarming as it’s made out to be, or is it one...
The Auld Triangle Goes Jingle Jangle
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
Obama’s dipped below 50 percent in public approval, which—so the pollsters tell us—is nothing particularly unusual for a new president at this stage of the game. Next week, he’s scheduled to announce that that he’s ordering 34,000 more t...
China Kowtow
JAMES ROTHENBERG
President Obama has been under media fire for kowtowing to China on his visit there, specifically for not publicly mentioning the host country’s human rights record. No wonder! Hypocrisy is the favored tool in foreign policy diplomacy, and here the President fa...
Mayday, 1960
TRAVIS KELLY
“Who controls the past, controls the present. Who controls the present, controls the future.” -– George Orwell In an editorial penned on November 20 at Truthout.org,  “What Obama Is Up Against,&rdqu...
52 Words That Shook Washington
FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut "It is the right of the Lebanese people, Army and the (Hezbollah led—ed.)Resistance to liberate the Shebaa Farms, the Kfar Shuba Hills and the northern part of the village of Ghajar as well as to defend Lebanon and its territorial waters in ...
The True Price of Oil
SAUL LANDAU
From my window in Alameda overlooking San Francisco Bay, I watch hundreds of men and women in white suits, some with masks, busily uprooting slimy sea plants and gently grabbing birds with feathers coated in black grease. Abutting the public beach, this “bird p...
Cash for Cheesedogs?
MARTHA ROSENBERG
The recession is having one positive effect. The national cholesterol is going down. More than half of Americans have cut back on meat, many becoming "recession-bred flexitarians," says Gourmet magazine–people who use meat as a condiment not a...
Post-War Internment Hell for Tamils
RON RIDENOUR
"The impunity with which the Sri Lankan government is able to commit these crimes [referring to 2009 war atrocities, including brutal internment of 300,000 Tamils] actually unveils the deeply ingrained racist prejudice that is precisely what led to the marginali...
Obama as LBJ
FRANKLIN SPINNEY
With President Obama poised to announce our "new" strategy in Afghanistan next Monday, the courtiers and pundits in Versailles on the Potomac seemed to have reached a consensus that he will opt for an escalation in Afghanistan of 35,000 troops. Such a polic...
What Father Made Us Sing Before the Turkey
DAVID YEARSLEY
Where have the great hits of Puritan remembrance gone? Thanksgiving is perhaps the most unmusical date in the festival calendar. Even Halloween has its diverse genres of scary music. For many Thanksgiving passes without the slightest melody. We learned no song...
Overtly Racist Regimes in the 20th Century
HEATHER GRAY
In his book “The Souls of Black Folk” in 1903 W.E.B. DuBois stated profoundly that “the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color-line”. It is perhaps unlikely that DuBois speculated the excessive degree to which that would be th...
The Autumn of Chinua Achebe
CHARLES R. LARSON
The occasion of a new book by Chinua Achebe—Africa’s most celebrated writer and author of Things Fall Apart, the great African novel—cannot be ignored.  It’s been twenty years since his previously published book and more than that since h...
The Transformers
DAVID Ker THOMSON
"You haven’t heard of the Transformers?” asks Sebastian.  His height in feet is six, his grade, eight, shoe size, eleven.  Like he’s not a transformer himself. “No.  What’s the general category?  1960&rsqu...
Blame Larry Summers
MIKE WHITNEY
Barack Obama’s chief economic advisor, Lawrence Summers, is determined to sabotage a second round of stimulus. And, he’s getting plenty of help, too. Congressional Democrats are dragging their feet because they’re worried about the political backlas...
Coal Kills
JOSHUA FRANK
So you thought smoking cigarettes was bad for your health? Try living next to a coal-fired power plant. That’s the diagnosis Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) relayed to the public in a comprehensive medical study released on November 18 called ...
The Timeline for a New Mexican Revolution Comes Due
JOHN ROSS
Mexico City Fact: Every 100 years on the tenth year of the century, Mexico explodes in extravagant social upheaval.  In 1810, this distant neighbor nation declared its independence from the Spanish Crown, signaling monumental bloodletting – hundreds...
How About a War on Poverty Instead?
JAYNE LYN STAHL
The local news was replete with images of First Lady Michelle Obama in the elegant, strapless designer gown she wore for this White House’s first state dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I like to look at gowns by Naeem Khan as much as anyone, but as we ...
A Surge in Demands on Goverment for Jobs
ANN ROBERTSON And BILL LEUMER
Thanks to the government bailout, bankers and brokers are now self-righteously pocketing their record bonuses, reassured by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein that they are doing “God’s work” (The New York Times, November 17, 2009). There is no humil...
The American East India Company
FARZANA VERSEY
Minutiae have rarely been of such importance. Or symbolic. A white tent might have been more appropriate for an Arab head of state, but it works just as well for a fairytale. There was special vegetarian food to tickle the guest’s palate. Most important of all ...
Get Ready for the Obama / GOP Alliance
JEFF COHEN
With Obama pushing a huge troop escalation in Afghanistan, history may well repeat itself with a vengeance. And it’s not just the apt comparison to LBJ, who destroyed his presidency on the battlefields of Vietnam with an escalation that delivered power to Nixon...
The Gasification of Indiana
JOHN BLAIR
When the Indiana Gasification plant was first proposed for Rockport by the Daniels administration in November 2006, the price of natural gas was on the rise at around $9/mmbtu. Suddenly taking coal’s hydrocarbons and converting them to usable "syngas"...
Mumbai in the Shadow of Kashmir
VIJAY PRASHAD
Kashmir hangs over Mumbai, whose Gateway to India accepted the assailants who struck a year ago today. It haunts it. When mass movements wither, bitterness remains with the movements’ fugitives, many of whom plot amongst each other to contrive their ret...
The Truth Behind the Turkey
TOM MOUNTAIN
Eating the once noble turkey,  nominated by that one intellectual giant amongst the founders of the USA, Benjamin Franklin, to be our national bird, has come to symbolize much of what is wrong about celebrating this holiday. The original turkey was a wily...
Moral Relativism at Fort Hood
SAM HUSSEINI
What do you suppose he was telling the soldiers, that after what they had done they OUGHT to feel bad?" –Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation about Nidal Hasan That would be a good start, but perhaps not very likely give...
We Remember the Popol Vuh
GREG MOSES
Crawling down below Meauan Mountain, where ground meets sea level, the first grandson of America whispers a plot that will bury a bad god forever.  The crawling insurrectionist is Hunahpu, Jr. and there on the whiteness of a giant pyramid stone at Mirador, Guate...
The Blair-Bush Conspiracy on Iraq
DAVE LINDORFF
Most Americans are blissfully in the dark about it, but across the Atlantic in the UK, a commission reluctantly established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown under pressure from anti-war activists in Britain is beginning hearings into the actions and statements of Briti...
The Case of Lynn Stewart
MARJORIE COHN
The Jurist In a decision that reflects the post-911 terrorism hysteria, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of A...
Handing It to France
BINOY KAMPMARK
It was not something to be proud of.  I’m not going to party. –Bixente Lizarazu on French qualification for South Africa 2010, TV Channel TF1, Nov 20, 2009 That much air time, and colu...
Finish the Job?
MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
I received an email from the Friends Committee on National Legislation, urging me to call the White House and voice my opinion about additional troops to Afghanistan. Recently, I decided no more of this waste-of-time bullshit. But I needed to vent. I had just read th...
An Interview with Honduran Coup General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez
BELEN FERNANDEZ
When I arrived last week at the headquarters of the joint chiefs of staff of the Honduran military in Comayagüela—twin city of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras—I was informed that General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez had been delayed in ...
The Impending Release of Gilad Shalit
RANNIE AMIRI
The release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, appears imminent. The recent flurry of activity in Cairo of high-profile Israeli and Hamas officials along with their Egyptian and German intermediaries point to a deal taking place in upcoming days, nicely t...
Weak-Kneed in China
RALPH NADER
There was something both sad and strange about President Obama’s weak presence in China last week. Sad because he arrived with no seeming goals and left empty handed just after visiting the ancient Great Wall, which he said gave him a perspective on time...
In Praise of Adam Lambert
NORM KENT
"Part of what I love about being a live performer is that sometimes you just are in the moment and sometimes things just happen.." -Adam Lambert I come to praise Adam Lambert, not to bury him. This is an artis...
The Blair-Bush Conspiracy on Iraq
DAVE LINDORFF
Most Americans are blissfully in the dark about it, but across the Atlantic in the UK, a commission reluctantly established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown under pressure from anti-war activists in Britain is beginning hearings into the actions and statements of Briti...