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 2009
Jimmy Carter’s Yuletide Apology
RANNIE AMIRI
In an open letter released this month to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), fo...
Read, Then Act
RALPH NADER
This is the golden age of muckraking books and documentaries but some of them may have escaped your attention because reviews and promotions cannot keep up with the sheer volume of material. Here are my recommendations for your Holiday and later reading time: ...
Paying the Price for Europe’s Identity Crisis
RAMZY BAROUD
It seems that the targeting of Muslims and Islam has become a kind of national theater in France. Unlike theater, however, the disturbing trend can, and will turn ugly – in fact to a degree it already has – if the French government doesn’t get a gri...
Love in an Inhumane Country
CHARLES R. LARSON
How many times has the Romeo and Juliet story been retold? Having asked that question, I’m not certain that Eritrean writer Sulaiman Addonia had Shakespeare in mind when he wrote his evocative story of two star-crossed lovers, not in Eritrea but in Saudi Arabia...
From the Little Ice Age, a Hot Christmas from Purcell
DAVID YEARSLEY
That we’ve reached the 350th year since the birth of Henry Purcell provided a sufficient and welcome excuse in this household to displace the perennial juggernauts of Christmas music—Bach and his Christmas Oratorio and the first part of Messiah by Handel ...
Disappointments in Samarra
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
Hazlitt got gloomily drunk for a fortnight after the battle of Waterloo, accurately anticipating that decades of reaction lay ahead, now that Boney had been definitely put away, with the Holy Alliance in the saddle and the French contagion safely bottled up. Smart fe...
Palestinians on the Brink of Explosion
NICOLA NASSER
"In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope,” Palestinian Christian leaders, representing churches and church-related organizations, meeting in Bethlehem on December 11, concluded in their 13-page document titled “Kairos Palestine –...
The Gift Nobody Wanted
DAVID MACARAY
Any union negotiator will tell you that no matter how high the stakes, how tense the talks, or how agitated or unglued the parties become, contract negotiations between labor and management are mind-numbingly boring affairs. Take away the shoptalk and protoco...
My Moral Dilemma for Hydrofracking
JOHN BLAIR
Natural Gas markets have been volatile but low for the last year and a half. Just four months ago, gas bottomed out at $1.88/mmbtu and closed yesterday at just about 300% of that figure at $5.55 after nearing $6 last week. Of course that comes after prices peaking in...
Further on Down the Road
KIM NICOLINI
I finally caught John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. This is...
Fear and Loathing at St. Vincent College
MICHAEL D. YATES
I attended St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (hometown of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer and once the home of Rolling Rock beer). When I was there, 1963-1967, it was a decent liberal arts college, about as liberal as a Catholic school could be. Keynes rule...
Who Will Pay For the Economic Collapse?
SHAMUS COOKE
First Iceland, then Ireland, now Greece. Much of Europe is mired in inescapable debt and bankrupt nations, the result of crashing banks, bank bailouts, and soaring unemployment. The U.S. and U.K. watch from a distance, knowing their turn is next. The European...
What It Takes to Build a Movement
MARK RUDD
Since the summer of 2003, I’ve crisscrossed the country speaking at colleges and theaters and bookstores, first with The Weather Underground documentary and, starting in March of this year, with my book, ...
Chase Bank Says F-You to Students at Holiday Time
ANTHONY PAPA
As reported by the New York Times, Chase Bank asked millions of Facebook users to "decide what matters" by casting votes for their favorite organizations. Participation comes with a chance to win $25K and a shot at $1 million. Chase ultimately rigged their ...
The Jailing of Jamal Juma
NADIA HIJAB
I remember the day I first met Jamal Juma. He was speaking at a United Nations conference in 2003 about the damage being done by Israel’s Wall. The audience was shocked: Many had heard that Israel had started carving a Wall in the West Bank in 2002, but they ha...
New Year’s Resolutions for the Drug Industry
MARTHA ROSENBERG
There was only one thing worse than being unemployed in 2009: working for the drug sector. Not only did the two biggest drug settlements in US history occur in 2009–Eli Lilly’s $1.42 billion for mismarketing Zyprexa and Pfizer’s $2.3 billion ...
Christmas Eve Freedom Fighters
WILLIAM LOREN KATZ
This Christmas Eve marks the 172nd anniversary of a battle for liberty in 1837 on the banks of Lake Okeechobee, Florida, that helped shape the United States of America. An estimated 380 to 480 freedom-fighting African and Indian members of the Seminole nation threw b...
The Afghan Escalation and Women’s Rights
FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
One of the main arguments made by self-proclaimed "liberal humanitarian interventionists" in support of President Obama’s escalation of the Afghan War is that a return of the Taliban to power will condemn women to conditions approaching slavery. It is...
Cooing With Cash
CARL GINSBURG
Tis the season to be jolly, especially if you are a US corporation full up with cash. And many are. Cash reserves at US companies are at a 40-year high, with companies averaging 10 percent of market value in cash deposits or T-bills. In the health care and tech secto...
A Visit From St. Barack
DAVE LINDORFF
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the landNot a creature was stirring in Afghanistan.The bedrooms were bunkered with piles of hard stonesTo protect from attacks by the Predator drones.The children were huddled, afraid, in ...
Reform in Name Only
JAYNE LYN STAHL
The Massachusetts legislature, more than three years ago, passed what then governor Mitt Romney called "universal health care," a bill requiring state residents to carry health insurance if they can afford it and, if not, pay more in state income tax. ...
Obama, Progressives and the Press
MIKE WHITNEY
MIKE WHITNEY: President Barack Obama recently visited Dover Air Force Base where he was photographed with the flag-draped coffins of soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why did Obama do this and what was your reaction? Cindy Sheehan: "I th...
Interest and Profit
STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN
They fought about it in Shakespeare’s time. Shakespeare wrote a play about it. A character emerged depicting the essence of it. Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice”—a portrait of capitalism, in the period of transition from the feudal s...
Hollywood’s Human Terrain Avatars
DAVID PRICE
This week, as James Cameron’s 3D cinematic science fiction saga dominates the American box office, and tie-in products permeate fast food franchises and toy stores, it is worth noting an interesting bit of cultural leakage tying our own real militarized state t...
Bernanke and the Corruption of Washington Culture
DEAN BAKER
The Senate Banking Committee overwhelmingly voted to approve Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke for another 4-year term. This is a remarkable event since it is hard to imagine how Bernanke could have performed worse in his last 4-year term. By Bernanke&rsquo...
Can Migrants Save the Global Economy?
DEBAYANI KAR
The global economic crisis has devastated workers around the world, none more than migrants whose daily wages are dependent on the whims of global financiers. Witness Dubai. Even before the meltdown of Dubai World, migrants whose labor literally built Dubai from the ...
Et Tu, Barack?
RANDALL AMSTER
Less than a year into the Administration that was to save us from the perfidy of the past, it’s clear that business-as-usual still holds sway. Trillions for war, nothing for the poor. Trillions for banks, but the people — no thanks. Trillions more in debt...
Breaking Palestine’s Peaceful Protests
NEVE GORDON
"Why," I have often been asked, "haven’t the Palestinians established a peace movement like the Israeli Peace Now?" The question itself is problematic, being based on many erroneous assumptions, such as the notion that there is symmet...
Beware the Progressive Democrat
HELEN REDMOND
It’s not What you thought When you first began it You got What you want Now you can hardly stand it though, By now you know It’s not going to stop It’s not going to stop It’s n...
The Calender Girl Conspiracy
FRED GARDNER
Marilyn Monroe once said, "I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle." This would have qualified her for an ADHD diagnosis in California nowadays.  And if cannabis had been lega...
The Afghan Four
ANDY WORTHINGTON
Over the weekend, 12 prisoners were released from Guantánamo, as the Justice Department announced in ...
What Really Happened in Copenhagen?
BRIAN TOKAR
Detailed accounts from participants in the recent Copenhagen climate summit are still coming in, but a few things are already quite clear, even as countries step up the blame game in response to the summit’s disappointing conclusion. First, the 2 1/2 pag...
More Than a Sportswriter
DAVE ZIRIN
It didn’t make SportsCenter, but one of history’s most influential sportswriters died this week at the age of 98. His name was Lester Rodney. Lester was one of the first people to write about a young Negro League prospect named Jackie Robinson. He was the...
A Longer, Deeper Recession Looms
DAVE LINDORFF
If you google “recession easing,” you will find articles all the way back to April quoting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as saying that the recession is easing, and that the economy is “improving modestly.” Newspapers too, on their own...
Insurance Reform, in Brief
DICK J. REAVIS
For the past few weeks Americans who consider themselves leftists have been arguing among ourselves about whether we should declare any support for the medical insurance reform bill that the Senate passed early Monday. I have nothing to add to the dispute, exc...
Woodstock’s Dirty Secret
LAURIE KIRBY
Woodstock, New York I’m proud of my small town’s worldwide association with peace. Many times during the 24 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve stood in peace vigils on the Village Green – and provided a bit of local color for visit...
Palestine’s Gift of Christmas
MANUEL GARCIA, Jr.
I am no longer religious, however, the season and the way the people I live among express it, prompt these reflections. A few days ago, I attended a Christmas music choral concert in which my young daughter performed. I think a sense of peace would easily be t...
The Death of the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri
RANNIE AMIRI
“When a scholar dies, a breach takes place in Islam which cannot be filled until the Day of Judgment.” – Prophet Muhammad “On the Day of Judgment, God will be pleased with a person who honors and respects a Muslim s...
Relocating Guantánamo
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Obama’s dwindling band of true believers has taken heart that their man has finally delivered on one of his many promises–the closing of the Guantanamo prison. But the prison is not being closed. It is being moved to Illinois, if the Republicans permit. ...
The Best Way to Stop a War
RON JACOBS
I read today (December 22, 2009) that the last bunch of US Marines in Iraq are scheduled to leave early next year.  As everyone knows, this means that more than 120,000 US troops will still be in Iraq after that Marine unit’s departure.  I...
Sexual Politics in the Age of Obama
DAVID ROSEN
Coming to the end of Year 1 of the Obama presidency, a growing number of Americans who voted for him and other Democrats feel deeply dispirited. Some feel betrayed, having drunk deeply from the hope cool-aid and now waking with a wicked sense that little promised wil...
Flares in the Darkness
NORMAN SOLOMON
The winter solstice of 2009 arrived as a grim metaphor for the current politics of healthcare, war and a lot more. “In a dark time,” wrote the poet Theodore Roethke, “the eye begins to see.” After a year of escalation in Afghanistan, s...
Obama in the Shark Tank
RALPH NADER
The ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus (535-475 BC) said that "character is destiny." He might have added that "personality is decisive." Where is Barack Obama in this framework? The venerable historian, James MacGregor Burns, in his boo...
The Medicare Murder Mystery
MARY LYNN CRAMER
“It was a cold and snowy night in December 2008, when the insurance company Executive Officer sat alone in his brightly lit office suite. He himself was all a glow with warm fuzzy feelings as he composed a memo to his staff advising them of his pla...
Bernanke Tightens the Noose
MIKE WHITNEY
Ben Bernanke has been a bigger disaster than Hurricane Katrina. But the senate is about to re-up him for another four-year term. What are they thinking? Bernanke helped Greenspan inflate the biggest speculative bubble of all time, and still maintains tha...
Bordering on the Ridiculous
URI AVNERY
THIS WEEK I enjoyed an hour of happiness. I was on my way home, after collecting William Polk’s new book about Iran. I admire the wisdom of this former State Department official. I was walking on the seaside promenade, when I was seiz...
The Fate of California’s Forests
MARK SCARAMELLA
In the beginning there was Union Lumber, which begat Georgia-Pacific and Boise-Cascade, which begat Louisiana-Pacific and Masonite and Jackson State Forest, and Georgia-Pacific begat Hawthorne Timber (aka the Washington State Pension Fund), which begat U...
Now, I’m Really Getting Pissed Off
DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
Hey did you hear about the iconic African-American guy who plays golf, and whose relationship with the public is in a free-fall lately? No, as a matter of fact – I’m not talking about Tiger Woods. You know, I’ve really been trying not ...
Law & Order in Pennsylvania
WALTER M. BRASCH
Dick Wolf, who created "Law & Order" and its two successful spin-offs, "Law & Order: SVU" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," should probably consider establishing a branch office in Pennsylvania. ...
Why the Af/Pak War is Illegal
MARJORIE COHN
President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize nine days after he announced he would send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. His escalation of that war is not what the Nobel committee envisioned when it sought to encourage him to make peace, not war....