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 December 2011
The ECB’s High Wire Act
DEAN BAKER
At this point the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is almost getting boring. We’ve seen the same script played out over and over with country after country. The basic story is the markets begin a run on the debt of a country: Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain etc. The...
Where the Marijuana Legalization Movement Began
JOHN SINCLAIR
Detroit. I’d like to offer my most profound thanks to Amy Cantu and her people at the Ann Arbor District Library for their heroic efforts in dredging up the past and making...
Return of the Disappeared
REBECCA SOLNIT
Usually at year’s end, we’re supposed to look back at events just passed — and forward, in prediction mode, to the year to come. But just look around you! This moment is so extraordinary that it has hardly registered. People in thousands of communities across th...
Wars Without End
HOWARD LISNOFF
In “The Absence of a Draft Makes Americans Feel Immune to War” (December 7, 2011), Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report makes the argument that an all-volunteer military has ushered in the “most militaristic period in American history.” While I agree with For...
Christmas Gifts for a Collapsing America
LINH DINH
Homelessness Starter Kit, $29.99. For the myriad who were hustled by a bank into an impossible mortgage, then foreclosed upon. For the long-retired yet taxed right out of their own homes. For recent college grads who are jobless, of course, and too dispir...
Prism Break
RANDALL AMSTER
Social movements, when broadly construed and successfully applied, serve as something akin to elaborate filters. By holding a mirror up to society, a movement causes us to reconsider basic assumptions and structural processes...
Do Private Military Contractors Have Impunity to Torture?
LAURA RAYMOND
Unbelievably, in 2011 this question has not yet been settled in the courts of the United States. Human rights attorneys are headed back to court in the coming month to argue that, yes, victims of war crimes and torture by contractors should have a path to justice. ...
Down the Afghan Drain
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday ordered the release of a prominent presidential aide two hours after his arrest on corruption charges, according to two officials in the office of Afghanistan’s attorney general.  The release capped a comedy of errors in wh...
Four Psychologists at the Gates of Hell
ROY EIDELSON
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” ...
What If Occupiers Armed Themselves?
BRIAN J. FOLEY
You’ve probably noticed that our government and corporate-owned media treat the Occupy Movement differently from the Tea Party. Think back to how some Tea Partiers brought guns to their protests, where some protesters even suggested killing President Obama. ...
Is Cancer Epidemic in America?
RUSSELL D. HOFFMAN
A friend and I were looking back at 2011. She remarked about all the cancer she’s seen this year.  Last month she lost a close friend — a woman in her 30s.  Another friend, 40, has bladder cancer for the second time. My step-mother recently mad...
Sanctioning Syria
ELIAS AKLEH
Economic sanctions are arrogant open acts of war against other nations. Their goal is to devastate the lower and middle classes and to weaken the country. The regime of the imposing country believes that its economy is superior and is so influential that other countries a...
Smoke and Mirrors in Haiti
MARK SCHULLER
In many senses the lack of progress following Haiti’s earthquake centers on housing. Assessing the damage, a team evaluated 382,256 housing units in Port-au-Prince. Of these, 205,539 were tagged “green,” ready for human habitation, 99,043 “yellow,” requiri...
The Legacy of Kim Jong Il
JOHN FEFFER
Kim Jong Il was only the second leader that North Korea ever knew. He ruled in the shadow of his father, Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea. The son had none of the charisma of the father, and none of the credentials either. Kim Il Sung fought as a guerrilla against ...
The Drug War Transformed
TOM BARRY
“This is a terrorist insurgency,” says Connie Mack, the Republican who chairs the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mack, who introduced the Enhanced Border Security Act in mid-December, believes that the Merida Initiative ...
Sri Lanka’s Truth Commission
GIBSON BATEMAN
Readers will find no big surprises after reading the final report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons ...
The Few, the Proud, the Very Rich
WEBSITE OF THE DAY
The Few, the Proud, the Very Rich ...
Propagandizing for Perpetual War
MIKE LOFGREN
According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States has appropriated $806 billion for the...
OWS Meets Trinity Episcopal Church
LAURA FLANDERS
Occupy Wall Street attempted to set up a new camp on a dusty strip of church-owned land in lower Manhattan, Saturday. Occupy 2.0 failed (at least 50 protestors were arrested) but the effort did succeed in stirring up a storm about property, power and the church just in ti...
The Phony Payroll Tax Battle
DEAN BAKER
The economy badly needs stimulus. The collapse of the housing bubble caused us to lose more than $1.2 trillion in annual demand. Residential construction collapsed when the bubble burst, falling by more than 4 percentage points of GDP, which translates into approximately ...
America, Land of the Fearful, is No Place to Hitch-Hike
DAVE LINDORFF
Yesterday, I hitch-hiked to the gym. If I tell that to any of my friends, they look at me like I’m crazy. Yet if I had said the same thing 40 years ago, it would have been like saying, “I just drove over to the store” or “I just had lunch.”  No on...
US is Losing the War Against IEDs
SHERWOOD ROSS
Even though it has spent at least $60 billion to destroy them, the Pentagon is losing the battle to combat the Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs), which have accounted for two out of every three U.S. casualties in Iraq and Iran. This won’t stop the Pentagon, t...
America’s Silent Collapse
SAM SMITH
One of the curiosities of being chronically ahead of the mainstream is that periodically you suddenly discover that you’re not. For example, over the past decade I’ve putting forth the notion, seemingly bizarre to many, that the First American Republic was over and th...
Raging Against the Machine
DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
If it feels to you a bit reminiscent of 1968 these days, that’s because it is. And that’s a good thing. It’s starting to look like 2011 was the year of Basta!, when people finally woke up and found the voice with which to say Enough!  To say that it c...
After Durban
PATRICK BOND
Durban, South Africa. Looking back now that the dust has settled, South Africa’s COP17 presidency appears disastrous. This was confirmed not only by Durban’s delayed, diplomatically-decrepit denouement, but by plummeting carbon markets in the days imme...
The Contradictions of Vaclav Havel
BINOY KAMPMARK
If your conscience is clear, you’ve nothing to worry about. Your innocence will be proved, but you have to fight for it!  I believe that if one doesn’t give way, truth must always come out in the end. ...
Deep Green Resistance
THOMAS H. NAYLOR
Aric McBay and Lierre Keith’s provocative new book Deep Green Resistance (Seven Stories ...
The Dream of the Suburbs
WebSITE OF THE DAY
The Dream of the Suburbs ...
Greece in Chaos
NOËLLE BURGI
“Who knows what tomorrow will bring?” people ask in Athens, Salonika and right across Greece. There’s a sense of collective imprisonment, individual uncertainty and impending catastrophe. Yet Greece has had a turbulent history, and the Greeks have always...
Take Local Police Out of Immigration Enforcement
BILL QUIGLEY and SUNITA PATEL
Nations and organizations around the globe observed yesterday as International Migrants Day. Twenty-two years ago, on December 18, 1990 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers a...
From Arab Spring to Sunni Spring?
PATRICK COCKBURN
A year ago the popular anger that grew into the Arab Spring was first ignited by an impoverished Tunisian fruit and vegetable seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set fire to himself after his cart, his sole means of feeding his family, was confiscated by police. Within days, pi...
Draghi’s Stealth Plan
MIKE WHITNEY
Mario Draghi has settled on a plan to pull the EU banking system back from the brink and hammer down sovereign bond yields at the same time. The European Central Bank chief has announced that he will launch an emergency liquidity assistance program on December 21, that wi...
How Business Schools Came to Be the Way They Are
DAVID WARSH
If, as still seems possible, Mitt Romney becomes the nominee of the Republican Party, then the US presidential campaign in 2012 will consist of a competition between two men with very different preparations for the job: one, a political organizer who found a home in law s...
Big Shoulders in Chicago and Kabul
KATHY KELLY
Kabul NATO/G8 meetings are scheduled to take place from May 19-21 next year in Chicago.  Plans are ramping up everywhere. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen exulted over bringing NATO and the G8 to Chic...
Snatched For Photographing Michael Bloomberg’s Cops
STANLEY ROGOUSKI
My arrest, or, more accurately, my assault was personal. I was taking photographs of the police arresting Occupy Wall Street demonstrators at the December 12 Winter Garden flash mob, which had been organized in solidarity with the port shutdowns on the west coast, ...
Cultural Genocide in Lake County, CA
WILL PARRISH
As you read these words, one of the Northern California East Bay Area’s wealthiest men is getting away with an act of cultural genocide.  Construction crews employed by wireless technology magnate John Nady began trenching grading, excavating, and building atop Rat...
Occupy the NRC
MICHAEL LEONARDI
A new and important phase in the Occupy movement began last week as Occupiers from Occupy Toledo crossed the border into southeast Michigan to target the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at a public meeting held to promote the construction of a new Fermi 3 Nuclear Power Plan...
The Scream of the Butterfly
RON JACOBS
The Doors are one of those groups that achieved fame via their own unique path.  Their musical style borrows from the blues but includes hints of John Cage, the seeming chaos of free jazz and the beautiful not quite anarchy of Messiaen. Lyrically, they could be as comple...
Clemency and Restoration in New York
ANTHONY PAPA
Every year about this time I write to the governor of New York and ask him to go on a rescue mission and to people convicted under the notorious Rockefeller Drug Laws.  These are individuals who have already served enormous amounts of time but are stuck in prison and hav...
Farewell to C.H.
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
I can’t count the times, down the years, that after some new outrage friends would call me and ask, “What happened to Christopher Hitchens?” —  the inquiry premised on some supposed change in Hitchens, often presumed to have started in the period he tried to ...
Gingrich, Israel and the Palestinians
URI AVNERY
What a bizarre lot these Republican aspirants for the US presidency are! What a sorry bunch of ignoramuses and downright crazies. Or, at best, what a bunch of cheats and cynics! (With the possible exception of the good doctor Ron Paul)”. Is this the best a...
Why Euro Plan Is Doomed to Fail
GABRIEL KOLKO
There are extremely important differences between this decade and the period after the First World War and through the early 1930s. The most crucial is that no fascist or Communist or revolutionary threats exist now if the great economic powers do not meet the econ...
Understanding Unemployment
ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
“A study of the struggle waged by the English working class reveals that, in order to oppose their workers, the employers either bring in workers from abroad or else transfer manufacture to countries where there is a cheap labor force. Given this state of af...
Face-to-Face with the NYPD
IBRAHIM DIALLO
“It is far more important to hold accountable the enforcers of the law than the perpetrators because if you don’t, you will have a nation of warlords. – Mahmood Mamdani. New York’s Finest (also known as ...
The CIA, Cuba and Operation Peter Pan
SAUL LANDAU and NELSON P. VALDES
“Los niños nacen para ser felices.” — José Martí On November 19, 2011 NPR broadcast “Children Of Cuba Remember: Their Flight To America.” Reporter Greg Allen claimed the 1960-62 journey from Cuba to the United States...
Congressional Tyranny, White House Surrender
RALPH NADER
Paraphrasing Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of Capitol Hill. A majority of Congress is just about to put the finishing touches on an amendment to the military budget authorization legislation that will finish off some critical American rights under our Cons...
Why Do They Hate Us?
DAVE LINDORFF
Even as President Obama and War Secretary Leon Panetta announce the “end” of the Iraq War, a US “covert war” against Iran, as the National Journal put it in a ...