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Archives from May 2010
Obama’s Drone Blitz
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
They seek him here, they seek him there, Those drones they seek him everywhere. Bin Laden struck? – Or maybe missed? That damned, elusive terrorist. With apologies to Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpe...
The "Black Jail"
STEPHEN SOLDZ
A recent pair of articles by Marc Ambinder of the ...
Rediscovering Realpolitik?
ERIC WALBERG
The irony in current relations between Russia and America is that the US has been far more ideological, perversely so, in the past two decades than Soviet foreign policy ever was. Russia is now expanding its economic and political relations with its f...
The Rand and Rachel Show
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
American politics continue their plunge into ritual farce. Last week we had the spectacle of progressives rallying to the right-wing Elena Kagan, largely on the grounds that it’s improper of dirty minded Republicans, not to mention Glenn Greenwa...
Meltdown in the EU
MIKE WHITNEY
Global markets have plunged for more than a month, wiping out more than $5.3 trillion in total market value. Ostensibly, the catalyst was Greece’s large deficits, but that’s only part of the story. Under the terms of the Maastricht Treaty,...
The Death Squads’ DC Embassy
DANIEL KOVALIK
On May 13, 2010, staff from the Washington Office on Latin America (“WOLA”), a D.C.-based human rights organization, met with long-time Colombian Ambassador Carolina Barco at the Colombian Embassy in Washington. At this meeting, WOLA staff...
How to be an "Eligible Suicide"
P. SAINATH
Kafka might have envied the script. In Delhi, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar informed the Rajya Sabha on May 7 that there had been just six farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha since January. The same day, same time in Maharashtra, Chief Minis...
How Small Towns Produce Big Music
DAVID YEARSLEY
Music lovers often express amazement when they hear a great concert in a small town played by local musicians. World-class art is proper to big cities or resort-style festivals, not to backwaters—so runs the reasoning behind this attitude. But t...
What Justice Goldstone Learned the Hard Way
NEVE GORDON
Richard Goldstone has learned a lesson or two in the past year. Ever since Goldstone, a self-proclaimed Jewish Zionist South African judge, authored a UN report charging Israel (and Hamas) with war crimes, he has been subjected to a well-orchestrated ...
The Story of Kamau Marcharia
KEVIN ALEXANDER GRAY
Who is Kamau Marcharia a.k.a. Robert John Lewis and why should anyone care about him?   And, how did he get tangled up in sex offender punishment and politics, voting rights litigation and school board representation, nuclear energy, race politics and black...
Harvard’s Truth Problem
LAWRENCE VELVEL
Question: What do John Roberts, Bernie Madoff, Elena Kagan, Richard Blumenthal, Allen Stanford, George W. Bush and Adam Wheeler have in common? Answer: All of them have shown lack of respect for truth and honesty. John Roberts told senators and the co...
Why the Financial Reform Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough
Sen. RUSSELL FEINGOLD
Editors’ Note: Yesterday, Feingold voted to filibuster the senate’s financial reform bill. In this May 6 speech on the floor he explains his objections to the legislation. — JSC / AC I am glad the Sen...
Nuclear Swap Meet
GARETH PORTER
The agreement on draft Security Council resolution sanctions against Iran has grabbed the headlines on the Barack Obama administration’s response to Iran’s nuclear swap proposal brokered by Turkey and Brazil. But the more consequential response is the ack...
A Black Hole
URI AVNERY
JUST TO die of envy. How the British manage to do these things! What a democracy! What dignity! Elections within a month. A new coalition within five days. A change of government within 70 minutes. A visit to the queen. The departing prime mini...
Kagan and Black America
MARGARET KIMBERLEY
A Republican senator pledged to turn Barack Obama’s health care bill into his Waterloo, a reference to Napoleon’s defeat which put an end to his reign of conquest in Europe. Of course the mirage-like reform did pass and the Republicans’ prediction d...
Energy Sprawl
GEORGE WUERTHNER
New legislation designated to encourage energy independence and less reliance on oil could backfire and indirectly create new pressures for massive forest destruction. Large scale commercial wood biomass energy poses a threat to our forest ecosystem, human health and...
Who Strikes, and Against Whom?
ALAN NASSER
“I have 13 bankers in my office, and they say if you go forward with this you will cause the worst financial crisis since World War II.” From a phone call from Lawrence H. Summers, deputy secretary in the Clinton Treasury, to Brooksley...
Droning On and On
JOANNE MARINER
I’m struck by contrasting public views on the US drone warfare program. In the United States, where the public has long been aware of the program, drone strikes have received increased critical attention in recent months because of the disclosure that an Americ...
A Bad Omen for America
ELIZABETH GOULD And PAUL FITZGERALD
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of the law! Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every ...
The Tragedy of Managed Expectations in the Gulf
ALAN FARAGO
Where is the Gulf oil? This morning googling the question produces 16,676 related articles. It is the spatter of zeitgeist, of Youtube clips, talk shows, nightly news, CSPAN and press conferences from sea to sea shining with petroleum. The hidden clouds of oil spille...
Gen X Justice
DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
Elena Kagan is the perfect Supreme Court pick for Barack Obama. In fact, in so many ways, she is Barack Obama. Moreover, they both represent their generation well.  They are the leading edge of Generation X, and they...
Elena Kagan and Monsanto
JOSHUA FRANK
Alfalfa is the fourth largest crop grown in the United States and Monsanto wants to control it. On April 27, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could well write the future of alfalfa production in our country. Fortunately, for those who are conc...
Thomas Friedman Reports Progress in Mexican Baby Names
BELEN FERNANDEZ
In the mid 1990s, before the responsibilities of The New York Times foreign affairs columnist were largely reduced to complaining about the deficiencies of the Arab/Muslim world, Thomas Friedman used to write with more frequency about things like Mexico. ...
The Feminization of Mexican Agriculture
JOHN ROSS
Santa Cruz Tanaco. When I first settled into this tiny Purepecha Indian village high in the Meseta Tarasca of west-central Michoacan state 50 years ago, few women tilled the land. Tending the "milpa" (corn patch) was strictly a man’s work. The...
What’s That Lurking in Your Meat?
MARTHA ROSENBERG
IMany food consumers worry about pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria in their meat. But according to a new government report, they should worry more about veterinary drugs, pesticides and heavy metals in their food. A new Office of Inspector Gener...
Sestak, Israel and Iran
JEFFREY BLANKFORT
Readers who are already celebrating the long overdue departure of Arlen Specter from the the US Senate should be advised, to borrow a phrase from noted plagiarizer, Joe Biden, that there was “no space between” the foreign policy positions of long-time Pen...
The Road to Recession
MIKE WHITNEY
Debt woes in Greece have sent bond yields soaring and increased the prospect of sovereign default. A restructuring of Greek debt will deal a blow to lenders in Germany and France that are insufficiently capitalized to manage the losses. Finance ministers, EU heads-of...
Why are Voters So Mad?
LAURA FLANDERS
An 800 billion dollar stimulus package, a budget boost for schools, an agreement with Russia on nukes, reduced forces in Iraq, not to mention healthcare "reform" — with a record of accomplishment like that, say Obama supporters, why are voters so mad?...
Gaza Fever
GRETA BERLIN
We’ve all caught the fever, every one of us who works to send boats to Gaza. From August 2006, when a handful of us started the Free Gaza Movement, every one who has joined us has been stricken with a bad case of the disease. It is chronic. It sometimes causes ...
From Ecological Disaster to Constitutional Crisis: the Long Struggle Over the Xingú Dams Comes to a Climax at Belo Monte
TERENCE TURNER
Once again, the indigenous peoples of the Xingú valley in the Brazilian Amazon are planning to make the long journey to the town of Altamira, where the Trans-Amazonica highway crosses the Xingú. Their ultimate destination will be the island of Pimental ...
Apartheid Roads
JONATHAN COOK
The construction of sections of a controversial segregated road network in the West Bank planned by Israel for Palestinians — leaving the main roads for exclusive use by settlers — is being financed by a US government aid agency, a map prepared by Palesti...
Why Are You So Afraid of Us?
AK PRESS COLLECTIVE
Dear readers: We here at AK Press were both shocked and (we’ll admit it) thrilled when right-wing media mogul Glenn Beck held up our new book on the Greek Insurrection of December 2008 on his FOX News program a couple of weeks ago, a...
It’s Too Bad Keynes Didn’t Write in English
DEAN BAKER
Keynes explained the dynamics of an economy in a prolonged period of high unemployment more than 70 years ago in The General Theory. Unfortunately, it seems that very few of the people in policymaking positions in the United States or Europe have heard of the book. O...
The Return of the Nigger Breakers: a Ghetto Reading and Writing Rat Responds to His Critics
JILL NELSON
Editors’ Note: The following is an interview of Ishmael Reed conducted by award-winning novelist, JILL NELSON, author of ...
Liability Caps, From Oil Spills to Nuclear Meltdowns
HARVEY WASSERMAN
As BP destroys our priceless planet, its lawyers gear up to save the company from paying for the damage. The same will happen- –only worse—with the next atomic reactor disaster. By law, BP may be liable for only $75 million o...
Inviting Labor to the Tea Party
DAVID MACARAY
Last week, the National Mediation Board (NMB) announced that it was changing the way union recognition elections were conducted under the governing language of the Railway Labor Act (RLA).  In addition to America’s railways, the RLA has jurisdiction over t...
Tiger’s Inflamed Joint
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK
Tigergate has gone from being a figurative pain in the neck to a literal one.  Yes, Tiger Woods himself has insisted that the spasming neck pain that inspired him to quit the Players Championship has “zero connection” to the SUV crash that tore ...
Drones and Democracy
KATHY KELLY And JOSH BROLLIER
Islamabad. On May 12th, the day after a U.S. drone strike killed 24 people in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, two men from the area agreed to tell us their perspective as eyewitnesses of previous drone strikes. One is a journalist, S...
Salazar Unleashed
JOHN HALLE
Following the announcement of the right wing rogues’ gallery which would serve as Obama’s cabinet, the appointment of Ken Salazar, a well known shill for the oil and gas industry, elicited comparatively little comment. Among the few...
Tunnel Darkens for Obama’s Afghan War
PATRICK COCKBURN
Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in London Saturday as US generals express doubts that they are having any success in fighting the Taliban. The US and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen Stanley McChrystal, who was boasting of military progress only three m...
Not Your Father’s Playboy
GAIL DINES
Playboy’s June issue features a 3D centerfold – complete with the requisite geeky 3D spectacles. This latest gimmick, just a few months after their Marge Simpson feature, speaks to desperate times for the magazine. Hollywood certainly got a boost from Ava...
Getting to Know Elena Kagan
RALPH NADER
Given the Niagara of commentary on the nomination of Elena Kagan to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, we know very little about the nominee. For friend and critic alike, the predominant view of Ms. Kagan is that she has publically...
The Arrogance of Ignorance
FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
Nisos Kos, Greece. A report by Jonathan Landay and Dion Nissenbaum for McClatchy Newspapers provid...
SEC Admits to Inadequate Tools to Conduct Investigation
PAM MARTENS
SEC Chair Mary Schapiro made a stunning admission during House subcommittee hearings last week seeking answers to the May 6 hit and run in the stock market which briefly trimmed 998 points off the Dow and caused massive losses to small investors who had placed stop l...
Pressured From All Sides in Pakistan’s Swat Valley
KATHY KELLY And JOSHUA BROLLIER
In May of 2009, under tremendous pressure from the United States, the Pakistani military began a large-scale military operation in the Swat District of Pakistan to confront militants in the region. The UNHCR said the operation led to one of the largest and fastest di...
Fighting Massey Energy
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
For 30 years, Chuck Nelson worked in the Coal River Valley in West Virginia. Mining coal. For most of those years, he worked in union mines. Then came Massey Energy. Massey bu...
The Case of Faisal Shahzad
AYESHA IJAZ KHAN
When British Pakistani, Amir Khan, rose to fame as a promising young boxer, overnight he became the symbol of a modern multicultural Britain.  This is unsurprising.  Everyone likes to own a good thing.  But the equally British (born and bred) 7/7 bombe...
Amal and Her Children
JOHNNY BARBER
In late November of 2008 I was in Damascus, Syria interviewing Iraqi refugees. My translator recommended we spend some time at the UNHCR to see how Iraqis were processed after their arrival in Syria. After contacting the UNHCR we were invited t...
The Iraq Exit Plan
RAED JARRAR
Last week, rumors that the U.S. might delay the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq led to much confusion and concern. These rumors are thankfully not true, and both the U.S. and Iraqi leaderships are going ahead with the agreed upon plan. Th...
Operation Tarmac
JAMES BOVARD
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the federal government feared that people would lose faith in the government’s promise to protect them. The feds had dismally failed to stop the 19 hijackers who took down four planes and sowed panic from coast to coast. So the ...