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Archives from April 2012
In the Fields of America’s Green Prison
DEAN GALARO
In Honduras there is almost no middle class. Either you are wealthy and politically connected, or you make ends meet with agricultural work, probably on a banana plantation or coffee finca. You work, your children work, and the lack of social mobility means you will proba...
Could Martin Luther King Jr. Get a Job in Today’s America?
Rev. JESSE JACKSON
Would a young Martin Luther King Jr. be able to get a job in America today? Would one of the thousands who went to jail in support of Nelson Mandela? Or the brilliant kids at the center of Occupy Wall Street? Unless we begin to enforce the Civil Rights Act, m...
The Children of Fallujah
ROBERT FISK
For little Sayef, there will be no Arab Spring. He lies, just 14 months old, on a small red blanket cushioned by a cheap mattress on the floor, occasionally crying, his head twice the size it should be, blind and paralysed. Sayeffedin Abdulaziz Mohamed – his full name â...
The Olberman Affair
JOHN DEAN
At the end of March, Keith Olbermann was terminated from his position as the anchor of “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” and Chief News Officer at Current TV.  A few days later, on April 3, Keith appeared on David Letterman’s “The Late Show,” where he talked abo...
What Lies Across the Water
STEPHEN KIMBER
I am a late-comer to the case of the Cuban Five. I stumbled on the story a few years ago while researching a novel—a love story—set partly in Cuba. During a trip to Havana in the spring of 2009, I struck up a friendship with a guide who was showing me the city ...
Fareed Zakaria: At War With History
GREGORY HARMS
Political commentator Fareed Zakaria, in a recent Time magazine article entitled “A Region at War with Its History,” ponders the question, “Why does it seem that democracy has such a hard time taking root in the Arab world?” For...
Deadlock Over Syria
ALAIN GRESH
Patrick Seale’s 1965 classic, The Struggle for Syria, describes the battle for control ...
Negotiating With Iran
ABOLGHASEM BAYYENAT
The first round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries – the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany – concluded in Istanbul with a rare expression of optimism and satisfaction by both sides. The two sides agreed to resume t...
Cashing In on Foreclosures
JOHN CAVANAGH and SCOTT KLINGER
Inside and outside of Wells Fargo’s annual meeting in San Francisco yesterday, thousands of angry protesters decried the bank’s leading role in the loss of millions of American homes to foreclosure. If you want to know why the protesters are so angry, consider ...
Citigroup Shareholder Revolt on CEO Pay
EILEEN APPELBAUM
In a wake-up call to corporate boards across the United States, Citigroup’s shareholders recently took advantage of the new “say-on-pay” provisions of the Dodd-Frank law to vote down CEO Vikram Pandit’s $15 million pay package. Shareholders have be...
Wendell Berry: Jefferson Lecture
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Why Fukushima is a Greater Disaster Than Chernobyl
ROBERT ALVAREZ
In the aftermath of the world’s worst nuclear power disaster, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world posed by the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site are far from over.   After repeated warnings by former senior Japanese offi...
Disillusion With the Euro and Europe
DIANA JOHNSTONE
Democratic elections in the NATO member states serve one clear purpose. They contribute to the self-satisfaction concerning “our values” needed to justify military intervention in the imperfect internal affairs of other countries.  But do the citizens really decide p...
Dealing with the Real Anders Breivik
JEFF SPARROW
How, exactly, could a right-wing terrorist convince liberals he was, in fact, a right-wing terrorist? It’s a question Anders Breivik no doubt ponders. Remember, before embarking on his murderous mission, Breivik compiled and distributed a lengthy manifesto...
Inconvenient Truths About Tar Sands Action
The INSIDER
August 2011’s 350.org/BillMcKibben-lead ...
Mexican Elections Roll into Action
PAUL IMISON
Mexico City Let’s all praise democracy! Until twelve years ago, Mexicans had to bite their collective tongue while each crooked Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) president appointed his successor via the “dedazo” – or big finger-point. But th...
A Persian Gulf of Tonkin in the Making?
JOHN LaFORGE
The aircraft carrier Enterprise has moved into the Persian Gulf, although it’s an antique, slow-moving target and a potential lightening rod for war on Iran. As a retired Navy man told me last month, “A couple of torpedoes would stagger the thing, and then ...
Sarkozy’s Hard Right Tactics Backfired
PHILIPPE MARLIERE
For the first time in the Fifth republic, an incumbent president was beaten into second place in a first round marked by a solid turnout (80.16%). Nicolas Sarkozy has qualified for the second round, but François Hollande is on course to become the next French president....
Prosecutor Misconduct & the Obama Administration
LINN WASHINGTON, Jr.
One of the issues driving protesters participating in the April 24, 2012 Occupy The Justice Department demonstration is an issue that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knows well: prosecutorial misconduct. Holder knows this misconduct issue well because he has crit...
South Africa’s Dangerously Unsafe Financial Intercourse
PATRICK BOND
Just before last weekend’s meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) board in Washington, South Africa’s Finance Minister dropped us an obscure news item: “Gordhan concerned about rand volatility”(Reuters, April 16). Hid...
Why Do Venezuelan Women Vote for Chavez?
MARIA PAEZ VICTOR
If the the international press is to be believed, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is a dictator, a menace to the region and is driving his country to the ground.  If that is so, why do his people vote for him in landslide numbers?  Why does he have an enormous follo...
39 Ways to Limit Free Speech
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Why Paul Krugman is Full of Shit
ROB URIE
Late last week Princeton University economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a piece on his NY Times blog that history will view as the best evidence to appear in at least several decades of the utter irrelevance of mainstream economics. The piece purport...
The Shame of Nations
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER
On April 17, 2012, as millions of Americans were filing their income tax returns, the highly-respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its latest study of world military spending. In case Americans were wondering where most of their tax m...
The Calculus of Egypt’s Presidential Race
ESAM AL-AMIN
“President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from his position as president of the republic.” Uttered by former Vice President Omar Suleiman on the evening of February 11, 2011, these words set in motion jubilations by millions of Egyptians celebrating the ultima...
The Housing Market Doldrums
MIKE WHITNEY
The housing market is in terrible shape. Prices have dropped 35 percent from their peak, 1 in 5 mortgage holders is underwater, and another 2 million people will face foreclosure this year. And, as bad as things are now, they’re going to get a whole lot worse if th...
Youth of Color: Watched and Shot
MARK LEWIS TAYLOR
Trayvon Martin and Mumia Abu-Jamal. One is dead. One languished on death row for thirty years. They are separated in age by a generation, separated by different locations and different life-histories, but their stories of being under surveillance, watched and shot, inters...
The Le Pen Factor
BINOY KAMPMARK
As with every election, the readers of the tea leaves often have a habit of misreading the signs. Confusion becomes its own most valued currency.  The first round of the French presidential elections revealed that Marine Le Pen has achieved formidable gains – somewhere...
The Obama / Netanyahu Rift
GARY LEUPP
There are some indications of a widening split between top officials over the way to engage Iran within the framework of the 5+1 talks. On the one hand, there are those, echoed by Obama himself, who argue that a deal over the Iranian nuclear program is possible. On the ot...
What Should People Fight For?
ROBERT JENSEN
After an engaging half-hour interview with India’s pre-eminent Marxist economist during a conference at New York University, I told a friend about my one-on-one time with Prabhat Patnaik. “There are Marxists in India?” came the bemused response. “I thought ...
Connecting the Dots of Prejudice Through Prose and Plays
JOSEPH P. BLAKE
I believe that absolutely nothing happens in a vacuum. There is always a connection between why things happen and the something (or someone) that made it happen. All too frequently that connection is not easily apparent, and that creates problems. I’m conv...
Democracy in the Streets
HOWARD LISNOFF
Several months before the 2008 general election, I stood with two other antiwar demonstrators outside of the town hall of a small town in Massachusetts. One of the other two demonstrators had demonstrated for peace there each Saturday at noon since just prior to the incep...
Milan’s Missing Trees
FRANCESCO DONATI
Milan. In major European cities, policy makers and civil servants often boast about taking actions to advance environmental protection: cleaning the air, supporting sustainable development, aiding conservation networks, and avoiding sanctions by the Europe...
The Philanthropic Complex
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At the Pearly Gates
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
On April 20 there’s a memorial for Christopher Hitchens at the Cooper Union in Manhattan. There’s a PEN tribute, also in Manhattan, on April 30.  Here’s my own little envoi. The regular Diary, tumbrils and all, will resume next week. SCENE ONE ...
The World’s Largest Open-Air Gulag
RALPH NADER
Have you heard much lately about the 1.5 million Palestinians illegally imprisoned by the Israeli government in the world’s largest open-air Gulag? Their dire living conditions, worsened by a selective Israeli siege limiting the importation of necessities of life – me...
Bernanke’s Plan for the Middle Class
MIKE WHITNEY
Do you want to understand what the Fed is doing, but don’t have time to wade through volumes of tedious economics writing? Well, now the pros at dshort.com have made all that possible. They’ve reduced 4 years of monetary policy into one chart that ill...
Foundations and American Power
JOAN ROELOFS
Zbigniew Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard (1997) noted that “Cultural domination has been an underappreciated fac...
Will Iran War be Another October Surprise?
ANDREW LEVINE
Will Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu concoct a war with Iran?  Not if they have a tenth of the sense they were born with.  But that’s not much consolation when we’re dealing, on the one hand, with a vulture capitalist and one time Mormon bishop whose flip floppin...
In Camus’ Image
THOMAS H. NAYLOR
When I first read Albert Camus’s The Stranger as a college student in 1957, it went righ...
Afghan Screams Aren’t Heard
KATHY KELLY and HAKIM
Last weekend, in Kabul, Afghan Peace Volunteer friends huddled in the back room of their simple home. With a digital camera, glimpses and sounds of their experiences were captured, as warfare erupted three blocks away. ...
Chinese Melamine or American Vioxx: Half a million dead and no questions asked
RON UNZ
In contrasting China and America, pundits often cite our free and independent media as one of our greatest strengths, together with the tremendous importance which our society places upon individual American lives. For us, a single wrongful death can sometimes provoke...
Unplugging Americans From The Matrix
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Americans, the British, and Western Europeans are accustomed to thinking of themselves as the representatives of freedom, democracy, and morality in the world. The West passes judgment on the rest of the world as if the West is God and the rest of the world are barbarians...
The Aftermath of Deepwater Horizon
JORDAN FLAHERTY
On April 20, 2010, a reckless attitude towards the safety of the Gulf Coast by BP, as well as ...
Getting Serious About Syria
SAUL LANDAU
The Syrian conflict continued to boil — or boil over — when Syrian troops fired across the Turkish border on April 9, apparently killing either fleeing refugees or armed combatants. Then the UN team entered and began monitoring a shaky ceasefire – sha...
Bahrain: Formula None
RANNIE AMIRI
Bahrain’s royal family hopes you too will believe the 14-month uprising that began (or more properly stated, resumed) last February in the tiny Gulf nation, is now over. Order, peace, tranquility and the legitimacy of monarchal rule are what they despera...
Incomes, Not Taxes, are the Real Issue
ROBERT URIE
Every year Tax Day, the income tax-filing deadline in the U.S., brings out the usual assortment of right wing cranks and pleading liberals who agree in principal that capitalism, such as it is, is the greatest economic system among the one that they know of but differ on ...
The Unlearned Lessons of the BP Oil Spill
ROBERT WEISSMAN
The BP disaster taught us many things: Giant corporations cannot be trusted to behave responsibly, and have the ability to inflict massive damage on people and the environment. We need strong regulatory controls to curb corporate wrongdoing. We need tough penalties to pun...
Son of the Housing Bubble
DEAN BAKER
It’s often said that the difference between the powerful and the powerless is that the powerful get to walk away from their mistakes while the powerless suffer the consequences. The first-time homebuyers’ tax credit provides an excellent example of the privile...