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Archives from June 2012
Fighting for the Soul of the Carpenters’ Union
SHAMUS COOKE
All working people should pay attention to the egregious assault on union democracy happening in the Carpenters Union’s Pacific North West Regional Council, which covers all the Carpenter’s Locals in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, and Montana. The Unit...
The Wuss Factor
LINN WASHINGTON, Jr.
A new book by former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell is another display of this man’s savvy proclivity for self-promotion. However, irrespective of the monstrous ego of this man known in Philadelphia as “Fast Eddy,” Rendell is on target with the alar...
Libya’s Aftermath Spills Into Tunisia
VIKEN CHETERIAN
Dinesh Thalpawila said that Shusha camp was a legend, but it was hard to understand what he meant at first. The camp is in south Tunisia seven kilometres from the Libyan border, between the Mediterranean-edge highway and the desert. As the Libyan uprising turned into arme...
Brownian Motion and the Defense Budget
WINSLOW T. WHEELER
The defense budget politicians are going ga-ga over a monster they helped to create: the “sequester” of $492 billion out of the defense budget over the next nine years—the broadly undesired effect of the Budget Control Act and the failed Super Committee of 201...
Cuba: a Society in Motion
ROGER BURBACH
In Cuba change is in the air. But such change should not be read as an end to the revolution. “The United States and the exile community are dead wrong if they think that regime change will take place at any time in the near future,” said Julio Diaz Vazquez, a ...
Vote “No” on Obama?
MICHAEL BRENNER
Barack Obama received a blast last week from one of his former Harvard law professors who made the case that he “must be defeated.”  Roberto Unger’s argument boils down to a damning indictment spelling out charges that the President has betrayed the progressive...
Why None of Europe’s Attempts to Save Itself Will Work
XIMENA ORTIZ
Even if the Greek and other European publics are seen capitulating to the whims of elites for the moment, that deference will probably not last. The Greek people appear to have been spooked into falling into line, by the barest margin, with a bailout package. But througho...
Jimmy Carter’s Penance?
MISSY BEATTIE
In a New York Times (NYT) opinion piece, Jimmy Carter opens with: “The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.” I read these words and focus on the present tense of “is”.  And I think:  When was this country e...
Single-Payer Supreme
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
We reject Romneycare. We reject Romney. We reject Obamacare. We reject Obama. Where does that leave us? With the American people. And for single payer. Medicare for all. On Thursday, Single Payer Action will again be...
Fukushima Forum
WEBSITE OF THE DAY
Fukushima Forum ...
The Evils of Humanitarian Wars
JONATHAN COOK
In a traditional cowboy movie, we know what to do: we look for the guy wearing the white hat to be sure who to cheer, and for the one wearing the black hat to know who deserves to die, preferably gruesomely, before the credits roll. If Hollywood learnt early to play on th...
China Embraces Ponzi-Bonds
MIKE WHITNEY
China is preparing to launch a program that will create the same complex debt-instruments that triggered the global financial crisis in 2008. The pilot program will allow banks to convert pools of loans into securities via off-balance shee...
Coup of the Elites
ROBERT HUNZIKER
The American plutocratic revolution is now complete. The proof is: There are no criminal charges for the housing bust and financial meltdown of 2008. Starting with Reagan in the 1980s, as of today the Right has won their decades-long overthrow for complete control of Amer...
Money, Power and Politics
ANN ROBERTSON and BILL LEUMER
There has been much talk recently about the impact of money on politics, especially in the wake of the Citizens United ruling that has ratcheted up the role of corporate money in political campaigns. Organized labor was quick to blame this ruling for its defeat in Wiscons...
The Coming Internet-Based Global War
RUSSELL D. HOFFMAN
If you think your computer might be vulnerable to hackers…. you’re probably right. Almost every week these days, I get an email from someone’s infected computer, asking me to open an attachment.  It was a local reporter’s system la...
Whatever Happened to the Arab Summer?
PATRICK COCKBURN
Remember the euphoria early last year when long-established police states across the Arab world were tumbling down. Facile comparisons were made with the fall of communist states in Eastern Europe in 1989. Commentators spoke glibly of irrepressible political change in the...
How the Growth Machine Ate Florida
ALAN FARAGO
John DeGrove was the father of land use planning in Florida and the principal architect of the state land use agency, the Florida Department of Community Affairs. The agency was established in 1985 to oversee compliance with the Growth Management Act. Most Floridians are ...
Understanding Sarkozy
EVAN JONES
Dave Lindorff (‘Red-Baiting Hollande’, CounterPunch, 13 June) bemoans the difficulty of getting decent coverage of France in the US media. The problem is pervasive in the English-language media, for which Continental Europe is a foreign planet. France has long been a ...
A Tragic Week in Paraguay
JAVIER MANUEL RULLI and RETO SONDEREGGER
Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo has just been removed from office by Congress through political impeachment, an express trial that lasted only 24 hours. This manoeuvre must be seen as a coup to the democr...
Everyone’s Assange
BINOY KAMPMARK
Julian Assange has a few tricks left up his sleeve after his 16-month battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, and seeking asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London has been one of them.  He has managed to throw an assortment of spanners into the works of state since beco...
The Vampires of Daylight
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The Craziness of the Cuban Economic Blockade
ROBERT SANDELS
A Cuban official recently brought up a point that is seldom remarked in the foreign media, to wit, that the economic blockade — the centerpiece of US Cuba policy — is bad for the Cuban economy.  Who could have known? During a session in Geneva of the W...
Latvia’s Fake Economic Model
JEFFREY SOMMERS and MICHAEL HUDSON
Austerity’s advocates are declaring victory with Latvia’s battle against the European economic crisis and advocating it as the model for Greece & Spain to emulate.  Curiously, Latvians have been declaring this “win” by exiting their country. The “aus...
Egypt in Discouraging Times
MICHAEL NEUMANN
In those great days of January and February, Egyptians taught the world what courage is. Before then, it was thought obvious that if you were up against live fire, you ran like hell. No one so much as conceived the possibility that you should stand and fight, let alone wi...
Obama’s Killer Drones
MARJORIE COHN and JEANNE MIRER
The Bush administration detained and tortured suspected militants; the Obama administration assassinates them. Both practices not only visit more hatred upon the United States; they are also illegal.  Our laws and treaties prohibit torture. The Constitution forbids the g...
Radioactive Conflicts of Interest
ROBERT ALVAREZ
The U.S. government is going out of its way to downplay radiation hazards in the aftermath of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents. Last month, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) heralded an Energy Department-funded study indicating t...
Mexico’s Spring of Discontent Reaches Climax
PAUL IMISON
Mexico City. It’s been a long time coming but the outcome of the Mexican presidential election next Sunday is no longer a sure thing. Say “gracias” to those students from the University Iberoamericana in Mexico City – alternatively written off by t...
Public Teachers in the Crosshairs
DAVID MACARAY
During my twenty-odd years as a union rep in a big-time factory (a 44-acre paper mill), I had occasion to talk to over a hundred people about the things we most regretted in our lives.  It’s true.  That was our topic of discussion….regrets.  Things we ...
Obama’s Second Latin American Coup?
SHAMUS COOKE
The recent coup against Paraguay’s democratically elected president is not only a blow to democracy, but an attack against the working and poor population that supported and elected President Fernando Lugo, whom they see as a bulwark against the wealthy elite who...
The Menacing Plots of the MKO
KOUROSH ZIABARI
The ill-omened, inauspicious plots of the terrorist gang Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization against Iran seem to have no end. The recent letter signed by 44 U.S. Senators addressed to President Obama in which it was implied that time for diplomacy with Iran is over and other ...
Obama’s Leaked Diary
LINH DINH
6/16/12—Email from Lewinsky. Says she misses the spotlight, wants to get acquainted. Think I’ll pass. Bill’s taste ain’t mine, and she is fifteen years older. This photo can’t be recent. Nice negligee though. Michelle got similar, but when it’...
Local Governments in Crisis
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Local Governments in Crisis ...
Failure in Rio
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
The predictable word is in from Rio: failure. The conference twenty years on from the huge Earth Summit, Rio 92, has been unable to produce even the pretense of an energetic verbal commitment of the world’s community to “sustainable principles.” The reason? T...
How the Euro Might be Derailed
MARSHALL AUERBACK
The European financial officials are preparing their policy package to deal with the current crisis for the meeting scheduled next week. It is not clear whether any of the proposals will be able to stop the ongoing bank run. Here are some of the rumored proposals: ...
The Great Pretender Throws His Base a Bone
MIKE WHITNEY
Barack Obama has the worst record on immigration of any president in US history. No one else comes close. In the last 3 and a half years, Obama has rounded up, detained and deported more than 1.2 million immigrants, roughly 400,000 per year. That’s more than double...
Obama Sells Out Labor and the Environment … Again
ROB URIE
This week the Obama administration was caught hiding behind secrecy agreements to mask its role in the latest ‘free-trade’ deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The pact is designed to further shift legal and regulatory authority from governments to mu...
Why Milošević Yielded
ANDREW COCKBURN
Paul Wilson, in his review of Madeleine Albright’s Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembranc...
The Social and Ecological Crises of Capitalism
CHRIS WILLIAMS
“It’s impossible!” I said. “No Johnny, we’re impossible.  It’s like it always was ten million years ago.  It hasn’t changed.  It’s us and the land that’ve changed, become impossible, Us!...
Washington and Damascus
SAUL LANDAU
Syria has become dangerous. Syrians get killed and wounded almost daily. Their neighbors have also felt the impacts of violence: refuges in Turkey and outbreaks of fighting in Tripoli’s streets in Lebanon where peace depends on a nuanced arrangement between Christians a...
Our Muslim Brothers
URI AVNERY
Everybody knows by now why we are stuck in Palestine. When God instructed Moses to plead with Pharaoh to let his people go, Moses told him that he was unfit for the job because “I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Actually, in the He...
Health Care is a Right, Not a Mandate
MARK VORPAHL
Any day the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most at risk is this act’s “individual mandate” which requires everyone to buy health insurance from a private insurer or face a steep fine. If...
A Dream Deferred
JOSEPH NEVINS
Yannick Grijalba would seem perfectly suited to benefit from the immigration policy reform announced by the Obama Administration last week, one that one will postpone the threat of deportation for many young people living in the United States without government authorizat...
The State of Siege in Gaza
RAMZY BAROUD
On June 14, fifty international organizations marked the fifth anniversary of the Israeli siege on Gaza by calling on Israel to end its blockade of the small, impoverished strip. “For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade ...
A World of Refugees
AUGUSTA CONCHIGLIA
Under international law, a stateless person is one who “is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law” (...
Are Palestinians Being Scapegoated Over Army Killings in Lebanon?
FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut The killings of three Palestinian refugees this past week including Ahmad Qassim  from Nahr al Bared ( ‘cold river’) camp near Tripoli and 15 year old Khaled al-Youssef from Ein el Helwe (‘ the beautiful eye’)  30 miles south of Beirut in ...
Fidel in Haiku Mode
NELSON P. VALDES
Recently a number of journalists and commentators have wandered whether Fidel Castro has lost his marbles [or as it is said in Cuba, “perdió la chaveta"].  Thus, Paul Haven of the  Associated Press in Havana on June 19th“ wrote, “So acolytes and detracto...
Chris Hayes and the Elites
THOMAS H. NAYLOR
I consider myself to be a huge fan of MSNBC talk show host Chris Hayes.  His Saturday – Sunday morning political news analysis talk show known as Up w/Chris Hayes is hands down the best news commentary program on American television.  It is arguably the only ...
When Anonymous Money Speaks…
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
Secrecy and a free, democratic government don’t mix. –Harry S. Truman, Merle Miller, Plain Speaking The mark of a great politician is the ability to change his/her mind.  Mitch McConnell is a great politician.  (So...