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 January 2013
Another Assault by Corporations on Consumers’ Right to Know
KATHERINE PAUL AND RONNIE CUMMINS
How do you keep consumers in the dark about the horrors of factory farms? By making it an “act of terrorism” for anyone to investigate animal cruelty, food safety or environmental violations on the corporate-controlled farms that produce the bulk of our meat, eggs and...
Indian Farmers Trapped and Desperate
GRAHAM PEEBLES
India has the largest number of smallholder farmers in the World, 600 million by some estimates. From this army of workers one impoverished desperate man, or indeed woman, with a noose of debt around their neck takes his or her own life on average every thirty minutes, A ...
Obama: Words and Deeds
RALPH NADER
A friend asked me what I was thinking while listening to President Obama’s inaugural address. Here were my reactions: Obama: “They [the Patriots of 1776] gave to us a republic, a government of and by and for the people.” The flood of money-shaping elec...
The Importance of Revenue
ANDREW FIELDHOUSE
Via Ezra Klein comes a ...
Jakarta’s Killer Floods and the Elites
ANDRE VLTCHEK
It is ‘biasa’ – business as usual – at the ‘Mall Of Indonesia’ in North Jakarta. As if there has been no tragedy of a great magnitude that occurred in this city just a few short minutes drive from its pseudo-Baroque arches and security guards. ...
Night of the Optimists
URI AVNERY
It was the night of the optimists. Tuesday at 10.01 pm, a minute after the ballot boxes were sealed, the three TV news programs announced the results of their exit polls. The dire predictions of the pessimists were scattered to the winds. Israel has n...
The Movie “Zero Dark Thirty” Wishes It Was But Isn’t
PETER LEE
As the moving finger of chaos hovered over Mali and Algeria last week, I took another look at Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers. I am somewhat puzzled that this movie is not at the heart of the Zero Dark Thirty debate. B...
From Wounded Knee to Idle No More
RON JACOBS
The American Indian Movement’s (AIM) best known and most controversial protest began in February 1973 in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, a small town on the Pine Ridge reservation. Wounded Knee Two began as a conflict within the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe between the s...
The March of the MegaStores
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
The plots, plans and antics of multinational jumbostore companies are in the news at the moment, and reports show that many of them are, to be kind, not altogether to be trusted. Adverse publicity has been met by energetic damage control on which no expense has been spare...
Celia Sanchez and the Cuban Revolution
SAUL LANDAU
It’s about time,”I commented when I heard that Nancy Stout had written a biography of Celia Sanchez...
US-led Sanctions Contribute to the Destruction of Syria’s Millenary History
FRANKLIN LAMB
What a difference a week can make. The heaviest snow in Syria in a quarter-century, some claimed, last week’s storm closed for a time even the main highway from Damascus to Beirut. But that was then and now its spring in Damascus, or so it feels to those of us us...
Obama Silent on Labor
BRETT WARNKE
Women.  Gays.  African-Americans.  All are groups whose historical and contemporary injustices have mobilized America’s liberal base.  President Obama offered acknowledgement in his second inaugural and even a few historical allusions, mentioning “Seneca Falls, Se...
Herzog in Siberia
LOUIS PROYECT
Back in 1954 François Truffaut coined the term auteur (the French word for author) to describe how certain directors shape their films according to a unique creative vision. According to auteur theory, directors such as Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray, Alfred Hitchco...
Why I Won’t be Voting for ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ in Any Category
DAVE CLENNON
I’m a member of Hollywood’s Motion Picture Academy.  At the risk of being expelled, for disclosing my intentions, I will not be voting for Zero Dark Thirty—in any Academy Awards category. Everyone who contributes skill and energy to a motion p...
Pebble Mine: Qui Bono?
KEEGAN BIRCHFIELD and STACY VEGA
Pebble Mine is a hot topic today both in Alaska and nationally.  Proponents and opponents have spent millions to assess impacts both economically and environmentally, but we shouldn’t we take a more holistic approach to impacts?  In a best case scenario, Pebble Mine l...
This N-Word Sh-t is Completely Effed Up
JOHN ESKOW
The one and only time my mother ever kicked my ass was when I called Sammy Russo a nigger.  The whole scenario was bizarre, for at least four reasons: 1) though I was eight years old, and verbally acute, I did not know the actual meaning of “nigger;” 2) my friend Sam...
Obama DOE Fracked Gas Export Study Contractor’s Tobacco Industry Roots
STEVE HORN
At first, it was kept secret for months, cryptically referred to only as an “...
End of the Culture Wars?
DAVID ROSEN
The reelection of President Obama represents not only the popular support by a majority of voters for a second Democratic administration, but the deeper crisis gripping the Republicans.  While 2012 was a significant victory, its real significance will only be fully evide...
Why I Do Not Want to Leave Palestine/Israel
LYNDA BURSTEIN BRAYER
It is not by accident that I have been asked on several occasions, and not least by members of my own family, why I remain in the Jewish state of Israel. I am an implacable anti-Zionist and have left the Jewish religion formally, becoming a possible “meshumedet̶...
A New Model Drone Resolution
DAVID SWANSON
In the absence of state or federal laws, localities around the United States are proceeding to put unmanned aerial vehicles in our skies as they see fit.  The federal government has authorized the flight of 30,000 drones, and the use of drones up to 400 feet by police de...
Sport and the Sublime
M. G. PIETY
I watched a lot of TV as a kid. That was before cable, so finding something interesting could be challenging. I was channel surfing one day when I happened on some diving. I didn’t know anything about diving. but even people who don’t know anything about it can apprec...
Feeling Like a Big Shot
MISSY BEATTIE
I’ve been lying in bed, temperature elevated, bones on fire, achy, and questioning the decision to reject Big Pharma’s flu vaccine. Vowing to better prepare for the next germ wave, I hit  Google—to search symptoms, foods to bolster the immune system, tips. A...
The Great Dismal
PHIL ROCKSTROH
“Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”  – Albert Camus The repercussions of our acts — the constructs we create — endure well past the dissolution of our ...
Dilemmas of an Online Film Watcher
JOE GIAMBRONE
I clicked over here and over there, looking for something watchable. Site after site, they want more and more information about me. First it was my email address. And my birthday (which they never got accurately). And my name (ditto). Now I’m the subject of numerous dat...
Forging An Independent Foreign Policy
CESAR CHELALA
On January 23, 2013, The Jerusalem Post reported on a meeting held by Chuck Hagel, President Barak Obama’s defense secretary nominee, in which Hagel stated his strong commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and to maintaining Israel’s qualitative...
The Great White Camel
RANDY SHIELDS
Probably many people have read the informed and thoughtful commentary on the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” by ...
A Simple Story About Two Fucked Up People
KIM NICOLINI
David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook may very well be the Feel Good Movie of the Year even if we ultimately end up feeling good by accepting our imperfections and embracing how dysfunctional we are as people. Playing on classic Hollywood screwball comedies ...
Hijacking Education’s Sanctuary
CHARLES R. LARSON
Two incidents in Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s richly moving account of his years during secondary school in Kenya, ...
Painful Paeans to America
DAVID YEARSLEY
Panic set in not for the obvious reasons: the blinding white stone of the Capitol dome, ramparts and columns resembling nothing so much as Albert Speer’s ...
Dorbin, DeWald and Ford
POETS' BASEMENT
A Soviet of Sound, 1986 by SANFORD DORBIN   Here’s Sviatoslav Richter scouting the steppes by train. Stops ad lib in some unpromising village & his aides have a concert organized in an hour. A t...
Saudi Arabia v. Qatar on Syria
PETER LEE
With all the reams of reporting on Syria, I am surprised that relatively little is written, in English anyway, about the divergence of aims between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Qatar backs the Muslim Brotherhood and, it appears, would not object to a brokered deal to en...
Tortured at the Movies
MICHAEL BRENNER
Zero Dark Thirty is writing our collective history for us – engraving it on the American psyche. The graphic images of who we are and the deeds we have done are intended to inspire confidence and to soothe qualms – now and in the future. We are a Resourceful pe...
The Open-Ended Global War on Terrorism
PEPE ESCOBAR
And the winner of the Oscar for Best Sequel of 2013 goes to… The Global War on Terror (GWOT), a Pentagon production. Abandon all hope those who thought the whole thing was over with the cinematographic snuffing out of “Geronimo”, aka Osama bin Laden, fur...
Five Ways of Looking at the New Knesset
NEVE GORDON
This is the way the results of the elections are being presented in the Israeli press: Centre Left Bloc                               Right Bloc ...
Trade Unions and the Strike in Britain
JOSEPH RICHARDSON
London. Two events from 2010 abundantly illustrate the unfair double-standard to which Trade Unions are subjected. In May, cabin crew at British Airways prepared to go on a series of 5 day strikes to protest management’s victimisation of workers w...
The Real Reason for the Decline of American Labor Unions
KRIS WARNER
Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual summary of unionization in the U.S. It reports that in 2012, the union-membership rate of wage and salary workers was 11.3 percent, compared with 11.8 percent in 2011. The trend has been downward for so...
Who Profits from Climate Catastrophism?
DAVID CORREIA
Environmental determinism is the theory that the physical environment, including the climate, sets hard limits on human society. Scholars and authors who subscribe to this theory, most notoriously Jeffrey Sachs and Jared Diamond (more on them later), argue that we can loo...
The Impossible Discourse of the ‘Arab Spring’
RAMZY BAROUD
A reductionist discourse is one that selectively tailors its reading of subject matters in such a way as to only yield desired outcomes, leaving little or no room for other inquiries, no matter how appropriate or relevant. The so-called Arab Spring, although now far remov...
Islamic Law, Adoptions and Kafalah
FAISAL KUTTY
“There hasn’t been a concerted push to open doors for Muslim orphans because the expectation would be that those efforts would fall flat…” — ...
Kennedy’s Reefer Madness
SIA HENRY
Back in November 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults. These bold statements by the voters of Colorado and Washington have incited unexpected push back, most n...
You Can Never Go Home Again
RAOUF J. HALABY
People woke up on the second of January and found the whole world about them altogether changed. … For in the night it had snowed. In the dark hours after midnight the dim flakes started falling softly over the town....
Illegal Pot Farms Are Destroying Public Lands
JOSHUA FRANK
It was the largest pot bust in one of the most weed-friendly states in the country. In the spring of 2011 a SWAT team, with National Guard choppers hovering overhead, broke up a mammoth grow operation and confiscated 91,000 marijuana plants in Eastern Oregon. In total, th...
Nuclear Weapons Waste in Your Water Bottle, Hip Replacement, Baby’s Toys, Jungle Gym?
JOHN LaFORGE
Even the deregulation-happy Wall St. Journal sounded shocked: “The Department of Energy is proposing to allow the sale of tons of scrap metal from government nuclear sites — an attempt to reduce waste that critics say could lead to radiation-tainted belt buckles, surg...
The Asian Pivot as a New Form of Warfare
WINSLOW T. WHEELER
It’s old, and likely thoroughly forgotten now, but last summer the Washington...
The US / Qatar Alliance
NICOLA NASSER
In his inaugural address on January 21, U.S. President Barak Obama made the historic announcement that “a decade of war is ending” and declared his country’s determination to “show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully,” bu...
Neoliberalism Can’t Die Soon Enough
RAJESH MAKWANA
Last year alone, the world’s 100 richest people earned a combined additional income of $241 billion. According to new calculations, redistributing just a quarter of this vast quantity of money would enable governments to wipe out extreme poverty for an entire year. ...
Obama Endorses Stonewall?
GARY LEUPP
At first I wasn’t sure I had heard right. “…Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.” Does Obama, I wondered, mean that Stonewall? Or is there some battle by that name I’ve never learned about? It soon became clear, that yes, he was referri...
Vietnam: Déjà Vu All Over Again
MICHAEL UHL
Jonathan Schell‘s probing review of Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves...
Yes, There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch
MARK WEISBROT
Economists like to say there’s no such thing as a free lunch – this was even the title of a 1975 ...