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Archives from August 2010
Visiting Gerardo
DANNY GLOVER And SAUL LANDAU
From the Ontario California airport some 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles we drove north on Highway 15, the road to Las Vegas. Cars with expectant amateur gamblers and loaded big rigs climb and descend the mountains where the Angeles and San Bernadi...
The End of Prison-Based Gerrymandering in New York
ANTHONY PAPA
This month legislation was signed into law by Governor Paterson that would bar legislative districts from counting imprisoned individuals in state prisons as part of their population. New York became the second state, following Maryland, to end the pract...
Israeli Loyalty Oaths
NEVE GORDON
Several weeks ago, hundreds of students demonstrated in front of Ben-Gurion University’s administration building. About a third of the protestors were expressing their opposition to the government’s decision to attack the relief flotilla, whi...
A Homeowners’ Rebellion
ELLEN BROWN
Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not ...
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Strange Spiritual Journey
MARTHA ROSENBERG
Early in the pages of Eat, Pray, Love, on her way to India, author Elizabeth Gilb...
The Mosque Saga
DAVE LINDORFF
The saga of the Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, deceptively dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque" by a right-wing clique with the avid support of Rupert Murdoch and his New York Post and Fox TV Network, exposes the right in America as a b...
Afghanistan and the Future of the Empire
MICHAEL NAGLER
"I have not become her Majesty’s first minister to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire.”  It was hard not to remember this proud declaration of Winston Churchill, as wrong-headed as it was confident, when General Petraeus argued last S...
Chickenfeed for the Soul
FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut. At 3:02 p.m. on August 17 Lebanon’s Parliament began its deliberation on granting basic civil rights to its Palestinian refugees and within four minutes agreed to alter article 50 of Lebanon’s 1964 labor law to ...
The Ugly Truth
SHELDON RICHMAN
Thanks to Wikileaks and heroic leakers inside the military, we now know the U.S. government has killed many more innocent Afghan civilians than we were aware of heretofore. We also know that American military and intelligence personnel roam Afghanistan a...
Why Iran’s Jews are Better Off Than Gaza’s Palestinians
MIKE WHITNEY
25,000 Jews live in Iran. It’s the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Iranian Jews are not persecuted or abused by the state, in fact, they are protected under Iran’s constitution. They are free to practice their ...
On Soccer and Bullfighting
VICENTE NAVARRO
I enjoy watching soccer. I used to play it in my youth in Spain, as do millions of Spanish youngsters. It is the most popular game in the country, particularly in working-class neighborhoods. But soccer also has a political meaning in Spain that for, the...
The Israeli Images
FARZANA VERSEY
Eden Abergil is, quite rightly, confounded. She cannot “understand what’s wrong” about her posting pictures of herself, a former Israeli soldier, posing with blindfolded Palestinian prisoners and uploading them on her Facebook page. ...
A Permanent Housing Collapse?
SHAMUS COOKE
The recent chaos that erupted when 30,000 people waited hours in the Atlanta, Georgia heat to receive applications for subsidized housing is a mere symptom of a worsening national problem. The housing market appears to be on a never-ending downw...
Democrats Go GOP on Tax Cuts
ANTHONY DiMAGGIO
President Obama supports letting many of the Bush tax cuts expire.  He’s defending the passage of a new round of tax cuts, promised to benefit America’s middle and working classes.  These cuts, however, would continue to benefit the...
We Need NASCAR for Politicians
TOM THOMPSON
Have you ever, like me, found yourself wondering, while watching or listening to politicians on what passes for the news these days, “Who are these people?” Have you ever found yourself wondering what makes them tick? ...
The Neoliberal Attack on Social Security
ALAN NASSER
Among Obama’s principal tasks right now are to reverse his dwindling popularity and to bolster the Democrats’ chances in the the upcoming fall elections. These are not unrelated objectives. He’s got to get people to perceive him as on t...
Deceptive Economic Statistics
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
On August 17, Bloomberg reported a US government release that industrial production rose twice as much as forecast, climbing 1 percent. Bloomberg interpreted this to mean that “increased business investment is propelling the gains in manufacturing,...
Racist Universities?
JONATHAN COOK
Measures designed to benefit Jewish school-leavers applying for places in Israeli higher education at the cost of their Arab counterparts have been criticised by lawyers and human rights groups. The new initiatives are viewed as part of an ongoin...
Honk If You Love Caviar!
JOE BAGEANT
How about them political elites, huh? Five million bucks for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, 15K just to rent the air-conditioned shitters — huge chrome and glass babies with hot water and everything. No gas masks and waxy little squares of toilet...
America’s Runaway Military Spending
LAWRENCE WITTNER
The August 9 announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates of cost-containment measures at the Defense Department should not obscure two underlying facts.  First, as he conceded, these proposed economies will not result in cutting the overall Pe...
Bernanke’s Paralysis
DEAN BAKER
Last week the Fed announced that it would use the proceeds from retired mortgage-backed securities to buy up more government bonds. This may have a very modest effect in keeping long-term interest rates low, thereby giving a small boost to the economy. ...
Which Party Poses the Real Risk to Social Security’s Future?
MARSHALL AUERBACK
Social Security remains one of the greatest achievements of the Democratic Party since its creation 75 years ago. Although Republicans have historically fulminated against the program (Ronald Reagan once ...
"While Everyone Else Went to College, I Went to Jail"
GREG MOSES
The following conversation with Saad Nabeel was stitched together from more than a hundred emails during the months of July and August, 2010. PART ONE: AN AMERICAN KID Q: Where were you born and when did you...
Lock ‘Em Up
MICHAEL YATES
Sometimes events conspire to make you think that things are worse than you imagined. On August 3, Marilyn Buck died. Marilyn was a fighter in the struggle for racial justice and against the most virulent pestilence in the world—United States imperi...
Is Africa Still Being Looted?
PATRICK BOND
The continent’s own elites, together with the West and now China are still making Africans progressively poorer, thanks to the extraction of raw materials. Reinvestment is negligible and the prices, royalties and taxes paid are inadequate to compen...
Second-Class Citizens
GEORGE BISHARAT And NIMER SULTANY
Should Israel be encouraged to enact legislation guaranteeing equal rights for all of its citizens as part of any peace agreement with the Palestinians? Israel’s systematic discrimination against Arabs was highlighted recently...
Homeless and Hungry at College
ADAM TURL
As the mainstream press frets that the much-touted "economic-recovery" appears to have lost steam, the economic crisis continues to escalate for ordinary people. With official unemployment holding steady at 9.5 percent (real...
Hopes Dimming
RALPH NADER
The Obama Administration’s treatment of its current majority ownership of bailed out General Motors and its standoffishness toward the pioneering but troubled ShoreBank, a community bank based in Chicago, are lessons in how the Big/Bad fare in Wash...
Petraeus Speaks
JAYNE LYN STAHL
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs caused a furor last week when he called out media talking heads as "professional leftists" suggesting they be "drug tested." It’s unlikely that steroids are what Gibbs had in mind, but steroids have ...
Who Killed Hariri?
ESAM AL-AMIN
On Valentine’s Day in 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri left in his motorcade along the seaside highway, cruising towards his mansion. As the motorcade slowed down in front of the St. George Hotel in downtown Beirut, a huge explosio...
Losing It at the White House
DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
Hey, Robert Gibbs:  Screw you, and the president you rode in on. I’ve always heard former presidents and their staff remark about the insularity of working in the White House.  Now I see what they mean.  These p...
The Ecstasy of Empire
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
The United States is running out of time to get its budget and trade deficits under control.  Despite the urgency of the situation, 2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existent recovery.  As recently as August 2 Treasury Secretary Timothy ...
The Message of the Bulldozers
JEFF HALPER
On the day before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began, at 2:30 in the morning, workers sent by the Israeli authorities, protected by dozens of police, destroyed the tombstones in the last portion of the Mamilla cemetery, an historic Muslim burial grou...
The Wages of Compromise
JOE MOWREY
Oh happy day! It’s mission-accomplished time in Iraq (again), the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has evaporated into history, landmark financial reform and health care reform legislation has passed, the economy is recovering, and we’ll be ou...
Failing Haiti
MARK WEISBROT
The "international community" is in charge of rebuilding Haiti, and one thing has become clear: they are not interested in any kind of democracy there, not even the low level of "democracy" that they have committed to in Iraq or Afgha...
US Embraces Honduran Thugocracy
LAWRENCE REICHARD
On June 28 President Obama officially accepted the credentials of Jorge Ramon Hernandez Alcerro, the new envoy to the U.S. from the post-coup regime in Honduras.  At the ceremony Obama gushed effusively about the new Honduran government’s deep...
How the Defense Industry is Hosing Obama and the Taxpayer … Again
FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
Monastir, Tunisa On 3 March 2010, CounterPunch carried my critique of the Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which was released in February.  QDRs have a long history of...
Mexico Considers Legalizing Drugs
DANIEL ROBELO
The question of whether legalizing drugs would help reduce the killings in Mexico has made front page news this week and is causing unprecedented debate around the world. Last week, former Mexican President Vicente Fox called on his country "...
Chernobyl’s Million Dead
ROBERT ALVAREZ
It’s been 24 years since the catastrophic explosion and fire occurred at Chernobyl in the Ukraine. The accident required nearly a million emergency responders and cleanup workers. According to a ...
Shooting Cans
KEVIN ALEXANDER GRAY
One of the many racist jokes I heard in the 70s during my time in the military starts with two white soldiers on the rifle range. One soldier asks the other how he learned to shoot so well. “I like shooting cans right off the fence," the other...
Do Union Members Make the Best Workers?
DAVID MACARAY
Of all the obnoxious myths about labor unions (e.g., they’re too strong, they’re too weak, they’re mobbed-up, they’re anachronistic, they’re undemocratic, etc.) the one that most rankles is the claim that union members don&r...
Glitch in the System
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
For where’s the state beneath the firmament That doth excel the bees for government. Guillaume de Salluste, Divine Weeks and Works [1578] It’s a comfort to the older ...
Airport Insecurity
BETSY ROSS
I’m a 1K flyer, meaning I fly over 100,000 miles a year with United, and I consider myself fairly inured to the indignities of travel by now. But, going through my first Whole Body Back-Scatter X-ray at the Denver airport recently took frequent fly...
Freedom From Want
SAM WELLINGTON
Summer evenings in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia are something to behold. The air is thick, almost stagnant, and astir with crickets—literally a galaxy of them, whose nightly chorus goes uninterrupted, save the occasionally obnoxious car stereo...
A Global War on Flooding?
LAURA FLANDERS
The flooding in Pakistan has displaced 2 million people, killed at least 1600 and affected 14 million.  It should be affecting all of us. A disaster of global proportions, requiring a global response, as Gwynne Dyer noted not lo...
Bradley Manning and the Secret World
JOHN GRANT
Poor Bradley Manning. The kid can’t catch a break. Not only does the military have him locked in some inhuman solitary hole where they can slow-torture him using the latest approved methods, now his troubled private life is being broadcast for a...
A Somalian Story
CHARLES R. LARSON
In Nadifa Mohamed’s first novel, Black Mamba Boy, the main character’...
Naked Lunch of American Politics
STEPHEN MARTIN
A paranoid man is a man who knows a little about what’s going on William S Burroughs In the realm of Politics particularly, dreams can be dangerous to possess. For example, Martin Luther King had a dream, whi...
Needing You
MISSY BEATTIE
Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs believe that more than 6000 veterans will commit suicide in 2010. According to an article in Foreign Policy, an average of one soldier a day committed suicide in June. ...
A Cuban Adventure With Lee Lockwood
SAUL LANDAU
In July 1967, I met Lee Lockwood at the Mexico City ticket counter of Cubana de Aviacion. He had black curly hair a confident almost smug look and he toted camera bags. “I loved your book, the best, most honest book on Cuba,” (Castro&rsquo...