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Archives from May 2012
Claudio Abbado’s Return to Berlin
DAVID YEARSLEY
When Beethoven’s 9th or other large-scale works for orchestra and chorus are performed in Berlin’s famed Philhamonie concert hall the Podiumplätze—those seats directly behind the orchestra—are taken by the choir. That gives a sense of...
No Mouse Music
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Imagine There’s No Marriage
ANDREW LEVINE
Team Obama is on to something. Worried that fear of a greater evil may not be enough to assure the President’s reelection, they concluded, not without reason, that it was time to throw the base a crumb.  And so it is that Obama voiced a few kind words, only words, abou...
The Ordeal of Pérez Méndez
TODD MILLER
It’s true, Pérez Méndez doesn’t look 21. He has the soft facial features of a 14 year old child or younger, which make the interaction between him and U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Marshall in the Tucson federal courthouse even more painful to watch. Pérez Ménd...
Too Big to Jail
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Brandon Garrett has pulled together a database of all the deferred and non prosecution agreem...
The Plan to Kick Greece Out of the Eurozone
MIKE WHITNEY
“Men and women of Greece, it is with a sense of dignity and patriotic duty, that we made the decision not to betray your hopes and aspirations…The pro-bailout parties did not simply want us to support a government that would impose more austerity, ...
Is Syria Going Straight to Hell?
PETER LEE
Back in February I wrote for Asia Times about the Chinese diplomatic initiative on Syria, which is now largely repr...
Agent Orange Tested in Okinawa
JON MITCHELL
Recently uncovered documents show that the United States conducted top-secret tests of Agent Orange in Okinawa in 1962, according to a veterans services employee. The experiments, believed to have taken place under the auspices of Project AGILE — a classified pro...
Preying on the Poor
BARBARA EHRENREICH
Individually the poor are not too tempting to thieves, for obvious reasons. Mug a banker and you might score a wallet containing a month’s rent. Mug a janitor and you will be lucky to get away with bus fare to flee the crime scene. But asBusiness Week ...
Gutting START; Re-Starting a Nuclear Arms Race
ROBERT ALVAREZ
The U.S. House of Representatives will soon take up the proposed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. (H.R. 4310). Attached is a section by section analysis of the nuclear weapons provisions I did over the past ...
Joshua Bell in the DC Metro Station
KATHLEEN PEINE
Urban dictionary calls it “granny spam”. The kind of email Thomas Kincaid would send you if you were his luminous pal- and if he wasn’t busy in the afterlife urinating on Winnie the Pooh. Those emails bring to mind being tied up on an Ikea couch, forced to watch ...
Walk to the NATO Summit
BUDDY BELL
On what is now the 17th day of our walk from Madison to Chicago, the
number 165 does not seem to encapsulate all the progress we have made.
We are 17 days and 165 miles away from the day I drove into Madison,
 where news arrived that Air Force One had descended on p...
How Texas Executed the Wrong Man
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Paul Krugman’s Economic Blinders
MICHAEL HUDSON
Paul Krugman is widely appreciated for his New York Times columns criticizing Republican demands for fiscal austerity. He rightly argues that cutting back public spending will worsen the economic depression into which we are sinking. And despite his partisan Demo...
The Student Debt Bomb
LAURA FLANDERS
President Obama doled out the most shocking stream of commencement cliches to the graduating class of Barnard College Monday. To offer just a taste: “The question is not whether things will get better — they always do… The question is whether ...
No Country for Rich Men
SAM PIZZIGATI
Back in 1863, a short story took the American reading public by storm. Edward Everett Hale’s “The Man without a Country” told the tale of a poor treasonous soul sentenced to spend the rest of his life endlessly sailing the world in perpetual exile, as a ...
Obama, Labor and Marriage Equality
MARK VORPAHL
Since President Obama made his very calculated public statement announcing that he was “personally” in favor of same sex marriage, among the many commentators who have rushed to his support have been a significant number of Labor leaders. Richard Trumka...
Bilingualism Scott Walker Style
JEFFREY SOMMERS and CHRISTOPHER FONS
With only three weeks left in Wisconsin’s historic recall election of Governor Scott Walker, a video has emerged with the potential to reverse the fortunes of this newly anointed star of the American radical conservative movement. Serious lies have brought down m...
Erasing the Nakba
NEVE GORDON
Be’er-Sheva, Israel. I first heard about the Nakba in the late 1980s, while I was an undergraduate student of philosophy at Hebrew University. This, I believe, is a revealing fact, particularly since, as a teenager, I was a member of...
Nurses vs. High-Speed Traders
SARAH ANDERSON
Of all the street actions leading up to the NATO summit, the one that might seem most perplexing is a nurses’ rally for a tax on securities trades. Financial markets are pretty remote from hospital bedsides, you might think. Why would nurses get mixed up in an is...
The Prospects for European Disunion
BINOY KAMPMARK
Europe is, economically speaking, in dire straits, and the two most powerful economies on the continent are, at least on paper, led by individuals with considerable differences. The previous French President Nicolas Sarkozy was not merely regarded as a man of austerity bu...
Hollywood and Obama
HOWARD LISNOFF
Although “Let’s go on with the show” is a lyric from the Broadway show “Annie Get Your Gun” (1946), in “Obama’s New Courting of Hollywood Pays Off,” (The New York Times, May 9, 2012) readers don’t have to be anywhere near The Great White Way in ...
Restructuring Detroit
THOMAS STEPHENS
Dedicated to the students of the Southwest Detroit Freedom School, for taking personal responsibility!  “…the more you have, the more you can have.” – Arundhati Roy, ...
The Politics of Illusion
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Why Jamie Dimon’s $2 Billion Gambling Loss Will NOT Speed Financial Reform
ANDREW COCKBURN
Among the more laughable  features of  commentaries on Jamie Dimon’s recently revealed $2 billion (at least) gambling losses are earnest pronouncements that the debacle will stymie the efforts by Dimon and Wall Street in general to further deregulate the financial ind...
Five Reasons Drone Assassinations are Illegal
BILL QUIGLEY
US civilian and military employees regularly target and fire lethal unmanned drone guided missiles at people across the world.  Thousands of people have been assassinated.   Hundreds of those killed were civilians. Some of those killed were rescuers and mourners. ...
NATO in the Dock on Libya Bombing
VIJAY PRASHAD
On May 14, 2012, Human Rights Watch released an important report, Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties ...
An Audacious Nuclear Hypocrisy
LINDA PENTZ GUNTER
With audacious hypocrisy, American pro-nuclear pundits have been indulging in the familiar sport of losers – the relentless bashing of the more successful. With nuclear energy rapidly losing favor around the globe, the industry’s boosters have taken to blaming ...
The National Security State Wins (Again)
WILLIAM ASTORE
Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, the media is already handicapping the presidential election big time, and the ...
Keffiyeh Crime in Turkey
MICHAEL DICKINSON
On February 20th 2010 Cihan Kırmızıgül, a junior industrial engineering student of Galatasaray University, was waiting at a bus stop in Istanbul after a visit to a college friend’s home.  Suddenly he was approached by Turkish police who arrested him violently, one ...
The Parchin “Stand-Off”
GARETH PORTER
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano has signaled that there will be no IAEA agreement with Iran in the meetings in Vienna Monday and Tuesday on the terms for Iranian cooperation in clarifying issue of alleged nuclear weapons work. ...
The Horrible Things That Empire Offers Us
FIDEL CASTRO
A piece of news released by AP, the most important US news agency, dated today in Monterrey, Mexico, explains it with irrefutable clarity.  This is not the first, and certainly it won’t be the last, about a reality that puts paid to the mountain of lies with which the ...
What Gay Marriage Can Teach Us About Economic Recovery
SAM SMITH
The excitement over Obama’s acceptance of gay marriage, albeit on a state by state basis, illustrates two often overlooked political points: •   The lesser of two evils occasionally does something right, which, in fact, is what defines his lesserdo...
The Pirate Party Knows Where the Money Is
DEAN BAKER
One of the oddities of recent election results in Germany and elsewhere in northern Europe is the rise of the Pirate Party. This party received 7.8 percent of the vote in North Rhine-Westphalia yesterday, making it the 4th state government in Germany in which it has enoug...
Mother Jones Deserves Her Own Stamp
DAVID MACARAY
A fiction writer would be hard pressed to invent a character whose life was more tragic and sorrowful, yet more inspiring and socially relevant than that of Mary Harris Jones, better known as “Mother Jones.” Born in 1837, in Cork, Ireland, the teenage Mary Harr...
Koodankulam Nuclear Action
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Why America is Doomed to One Disaster After Another
GABRIEL KOLKO
Both Europe and the United States confront great crises; while they are different in certain regards they have important similarities too.  America’s crisis is both military and economic; they are interrelated because America has a huge deficit, in large part be...
Did the White House Direct the Police Crackdown on Occupy?
DAVE LINDORFF
A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawye...
What’s NATO Ever Done?
JOHN LaFORGE
Wondering why anyone would confront NATO’s summit in Chicago this month? A look at some of its more well-known crimes might spark some indignation. Desecration of corpses, indiscriminate attacks, bombing of allied troops, torture of prisoners and unaccountable dr...
Romney the Bully
MARJORIE COHN
Last week, I was invited to speak to 40 high school freshman about human rights. When we discussed the right to be free from torture, I asked the students if they could think of an example of torture. They said, “bullying.” A major problem among teens, bullying can le...
Netanyahu’s Bluff of the Century
PATRICK COCKBURN
There has always been something stagey and contrived about Israel’s blood-curdling declarations that it is going to bomb Iran, but as a strategy it has worked astonishingly well, at home and abroad. Benjamin Netanyahu has been expert at manipulating Israelis’ ...
Idiocy as WMD
LINH DINH
Borges writes, “dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.” As a preeminent mind, Borges rightly considers the mind to be a man’s greatest asset, for without min...
How to Stop a Bio-Waste Incinerator
LINDA GREENE
Dr. William Sammons, an expert on the health and environmental effects of biomass combustion, has traveled to southern Indiana from the East Coast numerous times to testify at public hearings against burning biomass for energy. Biomass includes everything biologica...
Honoring a Terror War Architect
RAY McGOVERN
Since even readers of the New York Times are aware of deputy national security adviser John Brennan’s ...
Taking It to the Streets in Spain
DANIEL RAVENTOS and JULIE WARK
The citizens of Spain have taken to the streets and squares in great numbers to demand their rights. Estimates vary enormously. Spain’s right-wing government claims that 22,000 people came out in Barcelona in the demonstrations on 12th May while the organiser...
Grounded By US Airways
SAM SMITH
For the modest project of flying from Nashville TN to Portland ME, it recently took me 12 hours, twice as long as scheduled. So far as I could determine accidents or weather were not in any way involved. It started when, at Washington DC, US Airways decided at the ...
Hopelessly Devoted
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Gay Marriage – It May Destroy Western Civilization, But It Sure is a Wonderful Fundraiser
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
It started with lesbian couples in Vermont in the mid-90s, freaked out they’d lose their babies. Vermont Freedom to Marry was born, and is now the most powerful Democratic organization in the state, most certainly responsible for the victory of Gov. Peter Shumlin, e...