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Archives from January 2011
This Revolution is Brought to You by Al-Jazeera
CHARLES R. LARSON
This past Saturday, when I managed to pull myself away from Al Jazeera for a half an hour so I could run an errand, I discovered that the TV at the dry-cleaning store was on the same station. No Muslims work there and, although the TV is usually on, this was the first tim...
Tunisia, Then Egypt
LAWRENCE DAVIDSON
If the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt tell us anything it is that predicting the beginning of mass unrest is very difficult. Indeed, it is probably easier to predict the stock market. What one can do, however, is describe conditions that are likely to create a context...
The New Arab Revolts
POTHIK GHOSH
Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT His most recent book, ...
The Torture Career of Egypt’s New Vice President
STEPHEN SOLDZ
In response to the mass protests of recent days, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has appointed his first Vice President in his over 30 years rule, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. When Suleiman was first announced, Aljazeera commentators were describing him as a “...
Is the Game Really Over for Mubarak?
RON JACOBS
As I write this on January 31, 2011,  Al-Jazeera English is ireporting that six of its reporters have been arrested by the Egyptian military.  Meanwhile there has been ongoing speculation as to whether or not the Egyptian military will support the ongoing protests again...
Another Whitewash for Wall Street
MIKE WHITNEY
Maybe “whitewash” is too bland of a term to apply to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s (FCIC) report, but it certainly doesn’t break any new ground. Nor does it achieve its real purpose, which is to figure out what triggered the financial m...
A Strategic Crossroads in the Middle East
NICOLA NASSER
The Arab world is the beating heart of the overwhelmingly Muslim Middle East, and the Arab masses are angrily moving for a change in the status quo, practically dictated by the military, economic or political hegemony of the United States, which in turn is whipped by the ...
A Wikileak on the US and Al- Jazeera
KATHLEEN CHRISTISON
The United States has had it in for al-Jazeera at least since 2000, when the Qatar-based news network began reporting on Israel’s harsh treatment of Palestinians during the intifada and, a year later, covered the start of U.S. war-making in the Middle East, revealing to...
Can the Palestinian Authority Survive?
JONATHAN COOK
Nazareth. With the 18-year-long Middle East peace process finally pronounced dead, is the Palestinian Authority finished too? That is the question being asked by Palestinians in the wake of a week of damaging revelations that Palestinian negot...
The Fear, the Courage and the Bomb
JOSÉ PERTIERRA
Luis Posada Carriles’ attorney dedicated the entire day to the cross-examination of Gilberto Abascal, the witness who testified that he traveled to Miami on the Santrina with Posada in March of 2005. The interrogation went on far too long, despite what appeared to b...
Did Obama’s Promise Trigger the Arab Revolt?
FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
During his brilliantly run campaign of 2008, Barack Obama electrified the world with vague promises of change in foreign policy as well as domestic policy. (My take on his campaign strategy can be found here.) Two and a half years later, those promises are ashes. Nowhere ...
The Lurch of the Lemmings
P. SAINATH
One of the most enduring of media-created myths is that of mass suicide amongst lemmings, the little rodents that live mostly in and around the Arctic. A 1958 Disney documentary film, White Wilderness,  staged scenes of large numbers of lemmings marching mindlessly off a...
When the Arab Street Enforces the Constitution
LIAQUAT ALI KHAN
The peoples’ revolution is brewing in Tunisia, Yemen, and Egypt. These nations, unlike the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have established state constitutions that promise a democratic form of government and espouse the principle of popular sovereignty. Article 3 of the Tunis...
Doing It Big
MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: We are the American family. And we are exceptional. This is what sets us apart as a nation. (Applause.) We measure progress by the success of our people....
Great Britain in the Middle East
GRAHAM MacPHEE
Two recent news stories suggest that the question of the end of the British Empire is far from academic. The first is the astounding revelation from the leaked “Palestine Papers” that the British government has not only funded Palestinian security service...
The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto
RONNIE CUMMINS
"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." – Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011 In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’...
Remaking Tunisia
RAMZY BAROUD
Hunger strikes. These were the last resort for Tunisian activists as they fought against a brutal and highly oppressive regime. Prior to the ousting of Zineal-Abidine Ben Ali by an unprecedented people’s uprising on January 14, there seemed to be no end in sigh...
Salinger, Still Unknowable
CHARLES R. LARSON
Difficult to write a biography of a recluse. I understand the problem fully, from my own attempt to write a joint biography of Nella Larsen and Jean Toomer, two writers of the Harlem Renaissance who "disappeared" after the Renaissance was over. J. D. Saling...
Setting the Story Straight on "Snowdown"
LAURA FLANDERS
New York is once again buried in snow, but this time more Brooklyn streets are plowed and trains are running, if delayed, to the outer boroughs. While everything slows down for the weather, it’s worth noting that the city’s managed to be prepared for the ...
Why Do We Write?
DAVID Ker THOMSON
Liam puts his hand into the jar of frosted cereal, grabs some chunks, and can’t get his hand out through the narrow opening.  “My hand somehow enlarged,” says Liam, who is ten in human years but younger in monkey years.&n...
Clockwork Orange America
SAUL LANDAU
The Tucson massacre yielded the media and politicians weeks of fodder for their nattering mills. Yes, Americans hate violence and love guns, just as we stand for peace and practice non-stop war.  It’s not hypocrisy. We are two nations – at least – livi...
How Green Became the Color of Money
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
A Touch of Babbittry Bruce Babbitt’s inglorious role in brokering the Deal of Shame, which restarted logging in the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest, shocked many greens. After all, Babbitt was viewed as one of them. He had been pr...
Treasury Yields are Blinking Red
MIKE WHITNEY
Treasury yields are "blinking red", but the Fed keeps acting like nothing’s wrong. What’s the deal? Let’s explain: Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s bond purchasing program (QE2) has sent the yield on the 30-year Tre...
Abascal’s Testimony Damages Posada’s Defense
JOSÉ PERTIERRA
All afternoon, the defense tried to convince the jury that one of the prosecution’s key witnesses, Gilberto Abascal, cannot be trusted. Attorney Arturo Hernández needs to impeach Abascal’s credibility, because his testimony against Luis Posada Carriles i...
60 Years of Disaster at the Nevada Test Site
JIM HABER
January 27 marks 60 years since the first atomic bomb test in Nevada. Codenamed "Able" it was tiny for a nuclear weapon: the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT, about 1/15 the size of the bomb that killed upwards of 130,000 people in Hiroshima. Anniversaries a...
Another Professor Fired for Views on Middle East
JOSHUA SPERBER
Brooklyn College fired PhD student Kristofer Petersen-Overton yesterday, one day after New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) sent a letter to BC president Karen Gould accusing Petersen-Overton of being an "overt supporter of terrorism." Hikind ...
The Dissolving Constitution
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
While people in Tunisia and Egypt have taken to the streets in attempts to gain their liberty, Americans are losing their liberty with minimal protest.  Even the American Civil Liberties Union seems unfocused.  At a time when we are being surrounded by a po...
Wal-Mart, Food Deserts and Genuine Sovereignty
DEVON G. PEÑA
Let us begin with a "defining moment," courtesy of the Oxford World Dictionary: Commissariat (k?m??s??r??t) Definition: chiefly Military department for the supply of food and equipment. ...
Technological Fundamentalism
ROBERT JENSEN
If humans were smart, we would bet on our ignorance. That advice comes early in the Hebrew Bible. Adam and Eve’s banishment in chapters two and three of Genesis can be read as a warning that hubris is our tragic flaw. In the garden, God told them they c...
Hezbollah is the New Government of Lebanon. Now What?
FRANKLIN LAMB
This observer tends to get a haircut about every four months whether he needs it or not.  But this morning I got more than a trim from my Hezbollah friend and barber, Abass, named after Abass ibn Ali, the brother of Hussein, both martyrs and  heroes of the ...
Americans on Austerity
ANTHONY DiMAGGIO
The public rebellion against the bi-partisan campaign to cut entitlement and welfare spending appears to be gaining steam among the American public.  Nothing close to the rebellions in the streets against austerity that we’ve seen throughout the rest of th...
President Gasbag
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
After watching President Obama’s state of the union, plus the first Republican response to it by Rep Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and the second response by Rep Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, chair of the Tea Party caucus in Congress, it‘s  hard to ...
Inside Obamanomics
ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
President Reagan did not make any bones about his intention to reverse the New Deal economics when he set out to promote the Neoliberal economics. Likewise, President George W. Bush did not conceal his agenda of aggressive, unilateral militarism abroad and curtailmen...
Two Systems of Justice
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Leandro Andrade, 52, sits in Ironwood State Prison, about 200 miles east of Los Angeles, California. He’s there for life. What did Leandro do wrong? In 1995, he stole five videotapes from a K-Mart in ...
A Welcome End to the Hariri Era
RANNI AMIRI
Parliamentary democracy is a tricky thing. Prime ministers come and go as alliances shift and majorities change. As this week’s uproar in Lebanon proved, it is a reality outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri has yet to grasp. Lebanon’s sectarian po...
Seems Like Old Times in Honduras
BILL QUIGLEY And PAM SPEES
In recent  remarks on U.S.-Latin American relations made at the Brookings Institute, Arturo Valenzuela, a State Department official with responsibility for the region, commented that  Honduras, two years removed from a coup that U.S. officials on the ground called illeg...
Torture in US Prisons
SHERWOOD ROSS
The corrosive, solitary confinement being inflicted upon PFC Bradley Manning in the Quantico, Va., brig is no exceptional torture devised exclusively for him. Across the length and breadth of the Great American Prison State, the world’s largest, with its 2.4-million...
When Palestine Was at Stake
HARRY CLARK
The future of Palestine was at stake in the 1940s, and the fundamental clash of interests, between Zionist Jews and Palestinian Arabs, was also a fundamental clash of principles. The differences are shown by a comparison of the liberal Arab nationalist, the Zionist binati...
Pictures of Devastation
SARA MANN
To me, the word is Moonscape. It is a sanitary color of manilla or yellow. It is sterile. It is a phone call from a woman who will be making three phone calls soon after mine. It is a broken light bulb laying near a trash bag. It is a pile of laundry to be washed. It is a...
The Return to Social Darwinism
DAVID ROSEN
The Great Recession of 2007-2009 was more than a financial and political crisis. At root, it was a moral crisis. Bernie Madoff and a handful of other racketeers were prosecuted, but all those actively or passively involved in the financial scam were ...
The UAW vs. Indian Casinos
DAVID MACARAY
Looking back on it, was it wildly optimistic for organized labor to assume that a people who’d been as screwed-over as Native Americans—who’d been disrespected, slandered, lied to, disenfranchised, and systematically murdered—would automatically be sympathetic to ...
Bach Amid the Turbid Floodwaters of Sin
DAVID YEARSLEY
Flood waters are coursing through three continents. After the devastating Asian floods of last summer, the latest flooding has claimed more than a hundred lives in South Africa; the Canadians are now darkly forecasting Spring floods in Manitoba that could surpass the Floo...
What Class Says About Food
LIAM HYSJULIEN
It’s hard to get behind any food movement (if they can even be categorized as such) these days. While I tend to eat healthy—spending roughly a third of my income (which as a graduate student isn’t very hard) on organic, local foodstuff (mostly bulk grains, v...
Lebanon
CONN HALLINAN
Lebanon is a complex place indeed, but it is not quite the labyrinth it is made out to be, and, if France, the United States, and Israel would stop putting their irons in the fire, the country’s difficulties are wholly resolvable. But solutions will require some und...
Cutting the Corporate Income Tax
RAHUL MAHAJAN
I listened to the State of the Union speech. What I heard, though, was not President Obama’s string of irritating platitudes, but the sound of a nation bent on self-destruction. I don’t say this lightly. Intellectuals have been talking about the fall of...
Balancing the Budget by Starving the Students
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
Republicans have begun describing how the United States of America at the state and national level can become a better place by spending a lot less money and not raising taxes. Congress took the first step at the end of 2010 when it dealt with the tax law. It decided to e...
The Revolution Shall be Tweeted
BINOY KAMPMARK
The prophets of social media are getting excited.  Not only can such forms of media as Twitter and Facebook often prove to be banal time wasters, they can also generate revolutionary excitement.  Communities connected by messages instantaneously gather to promote their ...
The Egyptian Revolution
GARY LEUPP
January 28, 2011, Day of Rage. I’m watching live coverage of the Egyptian revolution on Al-Jazeera TV.  Cairo is swarming with hundreds of thousands, defying the curfew, hurling stones at the police. The images recall the Palestinian youth waging ...
Blasts From the Past
RON JACOBS
It’s funny how one can remember the very first time we heard a particular song.  Usually, it’s because that song dramatically shifts the idea of what music can be.  Other times, it’s because that song speaks so accurately to the listener about somethin...
Reliving Duvalier; Waiting for Aristide
LAURA FLYNN
In the 1980s, when the armed forces of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s regime set about exterminating "Haiti’s Creole pigs", they would come to Haiti’s rural villages, seize all of the "pigs", pile them up, one on top of the other, in lar...