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
The Bogus Success of the Surge
RAY McGOVERN
Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates summed up the administration’s dilemma on Afghanistan in a single question: “How do we signal resolve and at the same time signal to the Afghans and the American people that this is not open-ended?” I...
Globalization Unchecked
RAMZY BAROUD
A Muslim family sits across of me in café, in a largely Muslim Asia country. An older woman shyly hunches over and desperately trying to avoid eye contact with the giant plasma screen TV, blazing loud music on the popular music video channel, MTV. The scantily...
Hot Oil!
JOHN ROSS
In a catchy photo op staged this past August, officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are pictured handing over a four foot-long government check for $2.4 million USD to Mexican finance ministry officials as recompense for shipments of stolen Mexican oi...
Cyber Cuba
NELSON P. VALDÉS
I’m singing When the cat’s away The mice will play Political violence fill ya city Yeah-ah Don’t involve rasta in your say-say Rasta don’t work for no CIA Bob Marley + Wailers ...
A Religious Scoundrel
URI AVNERY
WHEN THE TV news starts with a murder, people are relieved. This means that no war has broken out, no suicide bomb has exploded, no Qassam rocket has been launched at Sderot. Ahmadinejad has not test-fired a new missile that can reach Tel Aviv. Just another mu...
Tamil Eelam
RON RIDENOUR
Sri Lanka—formerly Ceylon, in English, and Serendib in Arabic (which gave rise to the word serendipity)—is commonly referred to as the “pearl of the orient” due to its beauty and wealth of natural resources, flora and fauna. Today, it is a lan...
Do They Subscribe to GQ at the Pentagon?
BRIAN M. DOWNING
Something hits me every time I see American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. Several World War Two veterans and fellow Vietnam veterans I know have the same reaction. It has nothing to do with the politics of the wars. It’s the uniforms of our soldiers today, the...
Fear in Nicaragua
DANNY WEIL
Violence has broken out all over the country of Nicaragua this week.  Armed again, but this time organized by Sandinista thugs. I understand this is hard to swallow but I was in Nicaragua all last week, talking to sources I have in the Sandinista government and ...
Pig Hell at Wal-Mart Supplier
MARTHA ROSENBERG
"When he bolted her the first time, she didn’t die. She just stood there looking stunned as blood trickled from her forehead. She then got her bearings and tried to turn and run." "The gas cart was filled to the brim with pigs today, a tot...
Retail Sales as Combat
DAVID MACARAY
“Treat me nice, and I treat you nicer; treat me bad, and I treat you worse.” —Jimmy Hoffa Grocery shopping isn’t for the faint of heart.  Nor is it for the ignorant, the ill-prepared, the careless, ...
Buried Bonanza for Over-Builders
LAURA FLANDERS
I just don’t get it. When Congress approves gifts worth billions of dollars to people who don’t deserve a dime, why isn’t it front page news? On Nov. 6, when President Obama signed the Worker, Home-ownership and Business Assistance Act of 200...
Rush to Judgment on Terror Trials
WALTER M. BRASH
It wasn’t unusual that Rush Limbaugh went ballistic on his show, Nov. 13. He does that several times a day. It wasn’t unusual that he mixed a few facts with opinion and outright lies in his three-hour daily show. Fact checking for the man who call...
Israel’s Two-Tiered Justice System
JONATHAN COOK
in Nazareth. An Israeli judge made an historic ruling last week when he decided that an Arab teenager needed “protection” from the justice system and ordered that he not be convicted despite being found guilty of throwing stones at a police car du...
A First Look at the Military Commisions Act
JOANNE MARINER
In late October , President Obama signed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, which included a package of changes to the rules governing military commission proceedings. Called the Military Commissions Act of 2009, the new law replaces — and somewhat im...
Let’s Get Fiscal
MIKE WHITNEY
"Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency...
Obama’s Nuclear Option on the Yuan
DEAN BAKER
As a candidate, Barack Obama said he would "insist that China stop manipulating its currency because it’s not fair to American manufacturers." As president, Mr. Obama could have fulfilled that campaign pledge well before his visit to China this week....
War Vets Deported
JAYNE LYN STAHL
Astonishingly, more than 30,000 foreign born detainees face deportation at some 350 facilities nationwide. Nearly half are legal residents who committed crimes that range from homicide to misdemeanor drug possession, and were turned over to Immigration and Customs En...
Justice Goldstone at Brandeis
HARRY CLARK
Justice Richard Goldstone spoke at Brandeis University on November 5, with former Israeli UN ambassador Dore Gold, on a program entitled “The Challenge of the UN Gaza Report.” Goldstone, a South African jurist and former prosecutor of International Crimin...
The US Must Solve Its Own Economic Problems
MARK WEISBROT
President Obama is in Asia this week and has promised to say something about the exchange rate between the Chinese yuan and the U.S. dollar. It would be good if some enterprising journalist asked him why the United States is worried about the Chinese dumping their do...
The Andolan in Kathmandu and the Revolution to Follow
GARY LEUPP
"So far,” notes Peter Lee of the Asia Times, “Western media have reported remotely and som...
California Democrats Urge Obama to Leave Afghanistan
NORMAN SOLOMON
This week begins with a significant new straw in the political wind for President Obama to consider. The California Democratic Party has just sent him a formal and clear message: Stop making war in Afghanistan. Overwhelmingly approved on Sunday by the Californ...
Campus Watch Copy Cats
JONATHAN COOK
in Nazareth. Right-wing groups in Israel want to create a climate of fear among left-wing scholars at Israeli universities by emulating the “witch-hunt” tactics of the US academic monitoring group Campus Watch, Israeli professors warn. The ...
We Need Health Care, Not Insurance
CAROL MILLER
A very complex, mandatory private insurance scheme recently passed the U.S. House. The public is being overwhelmed by sound bites on one hand about how great it is, on the other, how terrible. We are hearing few of the details that are actually in the bill. Having re...
Doctors Light Up
NORM KENT
"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." – DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young Docket No. 86-22. 1988. Better late than never, I suppose. ...
Genocide in Sri Lanka
RON RIDENOUR
"Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are our enemies… Our country is really the whole world, and all the revolutionaries of the world are our brothers." – Fid...
Torture Resisters Arrested at Fort Huachuca
BRENDA NORRELL
Human rights activists protesting torture being carried out by the United States marched to the main gate at Fort Huachuca Army Intelligence Center, where five crossed into the base and were taken into custody on Nov. 15. "Rogue assassinations and torture...
Shining a Light on the Roots of Terrorism
RAY McGOVERN
"I think that we’re going to shine a light on something that a lot of people don’t want to look at” is how American Civil Liberties Union attorney Denney LeBoeuf put it, according to The New York Times on Saturday. No problem, says Attor...
Obama’s Flawed Case Against Single Payer
ALAN NASSER
The liberal imagination has broadened the scope of what it wants to dismiss as unrealistic, utopian and unpragmatic, i.e. as for all practical purposes impossible. These claims have typically been accompanied by the assurance that “This is not something that Am...
Pot Doc Down
FRED GARDNER
Hany Youssef Assad, MD, who has approved cannabis use by some 40,000 patients over the past seven years, is having his license revoked by the Medical Board of California.  The board issued its order Oct. 23. Assad can no longer see patients after Nov. 23.&n...
Godless China
JOHN V. WALSH
Imagine there’s no Heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky…… It’s easy if you do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too.  –John Lennon...
The Coen Bros. Brutalize Job
SAUL LANDAU
Over decades of movie addiction, I know after depositing my fee for entrance, somewhere between the candy counter and the seat, I lose my critical sensibilities by putting on a pair of invisible (virtual) glasses, instruments of optical delusion that allow me to see ...
Obama, Hatoyama and Okinawa
DOUGLAS LUMMIS
Naha, Okinawa Walking distance from the US Consulate in Okinawa is a Starbucks coffee shop.  My wife and I sometimes go there, because they let you sit at the tables and work, so long as you sometimes order coffee.  When Kevin Maher was US Consul, he...
How I Stopped Hating Thanksgiving and Learned to be Afraid
ROBERT JENSEN
I have stopped hating Thanksgiving and learned to be afraid of the holiday. Over the past few years a growing number of white people have joined the longstanding indigenous people’s critique of the holocaust denial that is at the heart of the Thanksgivi...
Health Care Reform: DOA
DAVE LINDORFF
I never thought I’d find myself thanking the women-loathing, Christian fundamentalist-pandering Democrats in Congress for anything, but here it is: Thank you Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich), for your outrageous amendment to the House version of the health insu...
Blaming the Narcos in Mexico
STUART EASTERLING
On October 30, fifteen people were killed in a single massacre in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. It was, sadly, not even the largest mass killing this year, thanks to the “drug war” raging along the border with the United States. This massa...
Moderns, Models and Martyrs
FARZANA VERSEY
If you believed the Indian media, then not only do Pakistani women possess cleavages and midriffs but their displaying these body parts is considered a fight against militancy. “Bare shoulders, backless gowns and pouting models are wowing Pakistan&rsquo...
War, Peace and Paramilitaries in Colombia
CHARLES R. LARSON
Think of the vast canvases of the great war novels you’ve read (The Naked and the Dead, Catch-22, the archetypal War and Peace) and then shrink your topography drastically (even more so than in The Red Badge of Courage).  If you do that, you can imagine th...
At the Side of the Frontman
LORENZO WOLFF
Working as a sideman for singer songwriters for the past few years has taught me a lot about knowing my place.  At the end of the day, an instrumental musician is there to support the frontman and try to stay out of the way as much as possible, but despite my se...
Wal-Mart Death Stampede Revisited
DAVID MACARAY
It was a scene reminiscent of “The Day of the Locust,” a 1975 film based on Nathanael West’s shattering iconoclastic novel.  The movie ends with a riot breaking out at a Hollywood movie premiere, where a frenzied mob tramples to death a child a...
No More Star Spangled Eyes
RON JACOBS
I’ll never forget the day my dad came back from Vietnam.  It was in February 1970.  I was fourteen and opposed to the war.  My mom, some neighbors and us kids had made a banner saying Welcome Home.  We drove to BWI airport near Baltimore, un...
Meet Our Afghan Ally
PATRICK COCKBURN
Just when President Barack Obama looked as if he might be railroaded into sending tens of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan the American envoy to Kabul has warned him not to do so.  In a leaked cable to Washington sent last week, the US ambassador to ...
Exposing Timberland
CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER
Look out Timberland. Nike foe Jeffrey Ballinger has the New Hampshire-based maker of outdoor wear – primarily boots – in his sights. Ballinger has cult hero status in the labor movement. His big deal? Exposing mistreatment of N...
Cornering the Market on Ambition
CARL GINSBURG
The recent arrival of a handful of farmer’s markets to the Bronx and the speed with which fresh fruits, vegetables and fish are bought up on market days is proof positive that people on limited budgets do in fact enjoy eating exactly like the monied classes. Fr...
Big Oil Takes Over Marine "Protection" in California
DAN BACHER
Corporate greenwashing in California under Arnold Schwarzenegger, the "green governor," has become so bizarre and egregious that no political satirist, comedian or novelist could concoct fictional schemes that rival the reality of current politics in the st...
Can the Major Speak?
VIJAY PRASHAD
Words have ensnarled the rampage at Fort Hood. Nothing more needs to be said. Thirteen dead, and thirty-one injured. What sets this massacre apart from the bombing at Oklahoma City (with 168 dead) and Columbine High (with 12 dead), is that the assailant here is a Mus...
Short Cuts in Afghanistan
TARIQ ALI
It’s been a bad autumn for Nato in Afghanistan, with twin disasters on the political and military fronts. First, Kai Eide, the UN headman in Kabul, a well-meaning, but not very bright Norwegian, fell out with his deputy, Peter Galbraith, who as the de facto rep...
Lebanese Students Advise Obama on How to Get It Right
FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut. If those in Lebanon watching the news on 11/12/09 blinked they might have missed an interesting news item. It appeared at approximately 4:20 pm on Narharnet.com, the pro-US/Saudi news website. The news item read “4:16 pm, American Ambassa...
Death By Denial
MARY LYNN CRAMER
“While investigators probe for a motive behind the mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas Thursday, in which an army psychiatrist is suspected of killing 13 people, military personnel at the base are in shock as the incident ‘br...
One in a Hundred
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
On official Pentagon statistics about one per cent of members of the US armed forces today are Muslims, though the actual quotient is no doubt higher, since the 1 per cent number is based on initial declarations of religious persuasion on an official form. The Army h...
Beggars’ Belief
JON MITCHELL
The first American invasion of Iejima occurred on April 16th, 1945. U.S. Army accounts chronicle in meticulous detail the vicious battle for this small island, situated three miles west of Okinawa Hontou. One thousand troops aboard eighty landing craft stormed Iejima...