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Archives from October 2012
The Racket of War
SANFORD KELSON
My name is Sanford Kelson. I was born in 1944, graduated high school in 1962 and am now 68 years old. I am a lawyer and I also teach in a special program for gifted and talented public school students. When I was growing up my education caused me to believe certain...
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s First Big Sellout
MIKE WHITNEY
So now we know why the banks fought tooth-and-nail to prevent Elizabeth Warren from heading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It’s because they were already planning their next big coup and didn’t want Warren in a position where she could make w...
Children Under Attack in Pakistan and Afghanistan
DAVE LINDORFF
Six children were attacked in Afghanistan and Pakistan this past week. Three of them, teenaged girls on a school bus in Peshawar, in the tribal region of western Pakistan, were shot and gravely wounded by two Taliban gunmen who were after Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old g...
The Savage vs. the Civilized?
LAWRENCE DAVIDSON
Back on 1 August 2012 I posted a piece entitled History on a Billboard.  It reported on the placement, in the northern suburbs of New York City, of informational billboards with  map...
Time for Full-Time Town Jesters
RALPH NADER
There’s an old saying “in humor there is truth.” Until the 18th century, British monarchs, surrounded by sycophantic entourages, retained court Jesters to tell them the truth in the garb of satire and motley costumes with donkey ears, red-flannel coxcomb and bells....
Debate #2: Is This All There Is?
DAN DEWALT
Tuesday’s Presidential debate spoke volumes about the sorry state of politics today. Granted, both contenders gave a good show: Obama was back on his game and Romney did his best to sound like Ronald Reagan. The pundits have been given a lovely hopper of fodder to h...
Militarizing South Korea
GREGORY ELICH
With the presidential election in South Korea just two months away, efforts are underway to lock into place a policy of confrontation with that nation’s neighbor to the north. When current South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office five years ago, he wasted little...
Half a Century Beyond the Cuban Missile Crisis
WINSLOW MYERS
Albert Einstein, the full measure of whose prophetic stature still has not been taken, wrote in a telegram to President Roosevelt in 1946: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrop...
Sweetheart Oil Deals
THOMAS KNAPP
To the extent that the second debate between US president Barack Obama and aspirant Mitt Romney is generating media punditry buzz, that buzz centers mostly around the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11: What did Obama know, when did he know it, ...
The Wrecking Society
DEAN BAKER
There is an old story from the heyday of the Soviet Union. As part of their May Day celebrations they were parading their latest weapon systems down the street in front of the Kremlin. There was a long column of their newest tanks, followed by a row of tractors pulling mi...
The Walmart Strikes
BARRY EIDLIN
For the past two decades, retail giant Walmart has served as a model for corporate America to emulate. Now, by forcing unions to break out of old habits, its workers might be showing the way forward for labor. Walmart stores and critical parts of its distribution c...
Embracing the Urban-Nature Ethic
JOSHUA FRANK
As I walk along the Los Angeles River on a cool fall afternoon, I gaze across a graffiti-ridden concrete embankment and imagine what this landscape must have looked like less than 100 years ago. The LA River today, which dumps the area’s urban runoff directly in the Pac...
Post Election Bombs
LINH DINH
If you’re a gun dealer, all shootings are good for business. Drive by, clan, gang, post layoff, adultery in flagrant, Russian roulette, Batman’s suburban theater premier, urban flash mob, gas station sniper, accidental, incidental, mercy, ruthless, righteous retaliati...
A Socialist Joins the Presidential Debates
BRUCE LESNICK
As everyone knows, the Democratic and Republican parties have limited and controlled the political narrative for generations.  In this way, they hope to convince people that the only “realistic” choice is between one or another party of the 1%.  At no time is this p...
And Then God Said…
DAVID MACARAY
No matter how disillusioned we are with Barack Obama—no matter how disgruntled or disappointed we are with the job he’s done as president—none of us would be silly enough to suggest that if only we had paid the man, say, $1,000,000 a year instead of that measly $400...
Japan’s Right: Going Nuke?
CONN HALLINAN
Behind the current impasse among China, Japan and Taiwan over five tiny specks of land in the East China Sea is an influential rightwing movement in Japan that initiated the crisis in the first place, a crisis it is using it to undermine Japan’s post-World War II peace ...
The Corruptions of Language
PATRICK COCKBURN
“Never believe anything until it is officially denied,” is a useful saying, advising scepticism towards whatever the government claims to be doing. This is the right mental attitude for any journalist or observer of the political scene. But for sniffing out of...
United States Imperialism Unleashed
BEN SCHREINER
With signs of a global economic downturn mounting, US aggression across the Middle East and North Africa ratchets up.  And once again, US imperialism stands poised to swing open the gates of Hell. The choice presently confronting humanity, then, is one between imp...
The Unseen Casualties of the Budget War
DAVID DONEFF
You’ve heard about the severe budget cuts to K-12 schools, and you’ve probably seen countless stories about the dire straits colleges and universities are in. Chances are, you don’t know much about the schools that have been hit the hardest: California’s adult sch...
Understanding Global Capitalism
SAUL LANDAU
During rare breaks from stories about who will become the next President of he US Empire, we news watchers stare at Greek and Spanish citizens engaged in massive protests against government austerity programs while the commentator babbles about  “fears” of these coun...
America RIP
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
During the second half of the 20th century the United States was an opportunity society. The ladders of upward mobility were plentiful, and the middle class expanded. Incomes rose, and ordinary people were able to achieve old-age security. In the 21st century the o...
Obama and His Silent Base
NORMAN POLLACK
During the Great Depression, America was a different nation.  We were drawn togther as a people, even or especially in extreme hardship.  Class was a salient term, one to build on, not an object of ridicule subject to obfuscation.  We accepted responsibility for one an...
The Privilege of Being Human
JOSEPH NEVINS
Although you would not know it from what passes for debate during the ong...
Muslim Protest and the Language of the Unheard
SOHAIL DAULATZAI
“Why did one straw break the camel’s back? Here’s the secret, there’s a million other straws underneath it.” – Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), “Mathematics” The controversies around “free speech” and Muslims th...
Why the Left is Losing and How We Can Win
CHARLENE OBERNAUER
Why We’re Losing Hope. It’s something that all activists need to sustain ourselves. Hope that we’ll win a fair union contract from our greedy employer. Hope that people will show up to our film screening or donate to our online fundraiser. Ho...
Obama’s War Record
Jack A. Smith
When Sen. Barack Obama ran for the presidency in 2008 many wishful-thinking Democratic voters viewed him as a peace candidate because he opposed the Iraq war (but voted yes on the war budgets while in the Senate). Some others assumed his foreign/military policy would be a...
The Teacher vs. The Billionaire
SARAH BLASKEY AND PHIL GASPER
It’s not often that a public school teacher gets the chance to debate a billionaire “reformer” about the future of education. But events in Chicago have been anything other than ordinary since the ...
Losing Their Grip in Afghanistan
ASHLEY SMITH
Now in its eleventh year, the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is reeling from crisis to crisis. The U.S. government has spent nearly $600 billion on the war, yet the Taliban insurgency is unbowed. Afghan National Security Forces, which the U.S. is training, hold their over...
The Battle Over California’s Proposition 37
BINOY KAMPMARK
“What makes you think you have the right to know?” – Danny DeVito, Video supporting Prop 37 California’s Proposition 37, which seeks mandatory labeling for genetically modified foods, has sparked a debate about food in the United States ...
Paternalism and The Sheriff’s Wife
CAROL NORRIS
As a psychotherapist who works with many survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence (sometimes one and the same), I always default to believing a survivor’s story. Always. In many cases, she’s already been devalued, disbelieved, belittled, judged, scruti...
Fair Trade Comes Home
STAN MAHAN
Most coffee and chocolate aficionados are generally well-versed on the Fair Trade movement, which organized to offer producers in developing countries better trade deals than would normally be offered to them by large corporate purchasers. Today’s ma...
Obama v. Romney Rematch: Louis v. Schmeling 2?
ISHMAEL REED
I’m a fight fan. I watch Boxeo, HBO, Showtime, Golden Boy, Broadway Boxing and consult MaxBoxing.com and ...
Slouching Toward the Ballot Box
ANDREW LEVINE
A year ago, thanks to Occupy Wall Street and the movements it spawned, American politics took a turn for the better.  People were in motion – a small minority, of course, but enough to put change on the agenda, not in the meretricious Obama sense, but for real. ...
The Housing Market’s “Phantom Inventory”
MIKE WHITNEY
The housing market is getting better. It’s getting better all the time. Foreclosure activity is down, sales are picking up, shadow inventory is shrinking, and prices are rising for the first time since President Obama launched his First-time Homebuyer Credit ...
Obomney vs. Romobama
CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM
Few creatures in American political discourse today are as simpleton and grotesque as the Obama liberal when trying to distinguish his candidate from the rest of the prostitutes seeking office.  Behold, for example, the fellow author on the raft next to me, somewhere rec...
SUNY Buffalo Defends Controversial Shale Gas Institute
STEVE HORN
On Friday, SUNY Buffalo’s President’s Office released a ...
The Struggle for Egypt’s Soul
DEEPAK TRIPATHI
London. When the official announcement of Mohamed Morsi’s election as Egypt’s president was made following a tantalizing period of uncertainty, I had raised some questions about the country’s constitutional future. I had also suggested that a multila...
The Myth of U.S. Manufacturing Decline
JOHN V. WALSH
“We are not making stuff anymore in America,” is the word on the street. “Our industrial base is eroding,” say the academics. In short the decline of domestic U.S. manufacturing is conventional wisdom. The problem is that it is not true – not even close. And thi...
A Nobel Laureate on the Degeneration of the Peace Prize
MAIREAD MAGUIRE
Belfast. Alfred Nobel was a visionary who believed in a demilitarized peaceful world.  In his Will he left his Nobel peace prize to those who would work for ‘fraternity among nations’,’abolition or reduction of standing armies’, and ‘holding and...
Why Chavez Won
GABRIEL HETLAND
On October 7th, Venezuelans voted to give Hugo Chavez a fourth term as president. With a historic turnout of over 80% of the electorate (a remarkable figure in a country where voting is not mandatory), Chavez handily defeated opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonsk...
On the Execution of Jonathan Green
ELIZABETH ANN STEIN
I slept fitfully Wednesday night after Texas’s Herculean and ultimately successful efforts to execute Jonathan Green on the appointed day. One of the most troubling aspects of the event was the intense personal involvement of some of our nation’s finest...
Nobel Rot
BINOY KAMPMARK
Melbourne. One wonders whether having a peace prize makes an assumption about redundancy and diminishment in advance. Ever year, the arguments seem to mount.  This year, the choice of the European Union being the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize struck ...
Turkey’s Policies at a Crossroads
RAMZY BAROUD
It seems that media consensus has been conclusively reached: Turkey has been forced into a Middle Eastern mess not of its own making; the ‘Zero Problems with Neighbors’ notion, once the foreign policy centerpiece of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), is all but ...
Why is Mitt Romney Trying to Kill Me?
CLANCY SIGAL
Under the influence of the painkiller Dilaudid, and dog-tired after another day of fighting for my life with my private health insurance company, I glimpsed ...
The Myth of American Military Superiority
WINSLOW T. WHEELER
You hear it routinely during congressional events involving defense issues, when a defense secretary wants to ...
On Wasting Your Vote
M. G. PIETY
A disturbing number of Americans are going to end up wasting their votes in this next election. They’re unhappy with the status quo, but instead of changing it, they’re only going to reinforce it. I’m not talking about democrats who are so unhappy with Obama that th...
America on the Cusp of Fascism
NORMAN POLLACK
I use “fascism” here not as a cliché, but as an historical-structural formation principally rooted in the mature stage of capitalism, in which business-government interpenetration (what the Japanese political scientist Masao Maryuma called the “close-em...
How Obama Expanded the National Security State
CHASE MADAR
During his election campaign in 2008, Barack Obama promised to close the prison at Guantánamo, repeal the Patriot Act of 2001 that authorised new domestic surveillance, and protect military and intelligence whistleblowers against government reprisals. It was a pledge to ...