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Archives from April 2013
Celibacy Mischief
CHARLES R. LARSON
Remember the punch line to Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint (1969)?  At the end of the...
Songs of Tax Resistance
DAVID YEARSLEY
A handful of tax resisters lingered outside of the post office in downtown Ithaca on Monday into the early evening when I walked by, my return already filed electronically earlier that day. The protesters formed a small but respectable group, middle-aged and orderly, with...
Davies and Beaudin
POETS' BASEMENTS
The Cave by ROBERT A. DAVIES   The poet is saying his poem, has opened his picture gallery.   One is crawling into a cave the floor covered in cigarette butts dried shit and blood where...
Terrorizing the Economy
LAURA FLANDERS
Two acts of cruelty claimed lives this tax day.  One was criminal, bloody and shocked a nation. The other was routine, legal and potentially way more deadly. They both rely on secrecy. The bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon were planted by we don’...
Why Do We Have Congressional Chaplains?
DAVID MACARAY
Why do we have them and why do they make $170,000?  Actually, the Senate Chaplain makes a bit less than that (in 2011, he made $155,000).  That’s probably because the Senate Chaplain has only 100 potential customers, whereas the House Chaplain has 435 of them.  In an...
A Hundred Deir Yassins and Counting
RAMZY BAROUD
Few with any sense of intellectual or historical integrity would still question the bloody massacre that took place in the village of Deir Yassin 65 years ago, claiming the lives of over 100 innocent Palestinians. Attempts at covering up the massacre have been dwarfed by ...
Economic Drones
DEAN BAKER
Did an Excel error cost you your job? This is what people around the world should be asking after researchers at the University of Massachusetts uncovered a ...
Getting Capitalism and Inequality Dead Wrong
ANDREW SMOLSKI
Recently I was at the book store with my wife and I politely asked her if she would buy me an issue of Foreign Affairs (March/April 2013). After some slight prodding she gave in and purchased me the journal. See, I was intrigued by the article “Capitalism and Inequality...
Cluster Bombs Come Home
NORMAN SOLOMON
After the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country’s politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion — and reflexive “doublethink,” which George Orwell described as willingness “to forget any fact that has be...
Defense Budget: Something’s Got to Give
WINSLOW T. WHEELER
President Obama’s budget for the Department of Defense for 2014 is a strange document. As if to justify its disconnect from reality, someone in the administration advertised it to the press as basic to Obama’s overall negotiations with Republicans. If true, th...
Greenwashing from Coast to Coast
SASHA ROSS
If you live in Oregon, you are familiar with the spectacle of greenwashing at the highest levels of political theater. As Portland gears up to host the UN’s World Environment Day, the international attention almost obscures the plans for multiple freeway expansions, a N...
Canada’s Destructive Foreign Aid
YVES ENGLER
The Canadian International Development Agency is no longer. In its recent budget the Conservative government collapsed CIDA into Foreign Affairs, creating the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. While there was plenty of commentary on the Tories...
America, Kingdom of the Armed
NORMAN POLLACK
I cried Monday evening when I first heard the news.  Deaths, severed legs, chaos, disbelief, silence.  Maybe I cried because as a runner in my youth I somehow knew the immediate experience, desecration of an intensely human celebration of life.  Then slowly the ...
Terrorism of the State
RON JACOBS
The interview is one of the journalist’s best tools. If done right, an interview provides a considerable amount of information about the views of the interviewee and interviewer, while also informing the reader about the subjects covered. Certain journalists made the in...
The Tar Sands Pipeline and Independent Eco-Politics
SCOTT McLARTY
Those of us who participated in the #ForwardOnClimate Rally against the tar-sands pipelines in Washington, DC, on Feb. 17 (http://350.org/en/s...
Neither Justice Nor Reconciliation
DIANA JOHNSTONE
Paris. Do international criminal tribunals contribute to reconciliation between parties to armed conflicts? On April 10, the question was discussed during a “thematic debate” at the United Nations General Assembly – but not by everybody. The U...
America’s Miserly Minimum Wage Needs an Upgrade
RALPH NADER
America’s highest-paid CEO last year, John Hammergren of McKesson Corp., received compensation of over $131 million. That is the equivalent of about $63,000 per hour, or $10,000 more than the annual median household income in the United States. Meanwhile, some of th...
Obama’s Raid on Social Security and Medicare
DEAN BAKER
President Obama’s efforts to appease Washington’s Serious People ran into serious obstacles last week. Responding to the cries of the Washington deficit hawks, President Obama proposed cutting Social Security by adopting a different measure of the rate of inflation f...
A Wake-Up Call for Venezuela?
MARK WEISBROT
After a short but bitterly fought, insult-laden campaign, Chavista standard-bearer Nicolás Maduro defeated challenger Henrique Capriles, thus assuring continuity in Venezuela after the death of President Hugo Chávez last month.  But the election was much closer than th...
A Violent Act Again in a Violent Nation
DAVE LINDORFF
I ran the Boston Marathon back in 1968, and, my feet covered with blisters inside my Keds sneakers, dragged across the finish line to meet my waiting uncle at a time of about 3 hours and 40 minutes. It was close enough to the time that the current bombing happened in this...
Competitive Grieving
BINOY KAMPMARK
Three people are dead, and over a hundred injured after the bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon on Monday. As yet, no group has been found, or perpetrator identified with certainty. The police are scouring the pathway of the marathon anticipating more explosive devices. ...
Before the Collapse, a Call to Action
KEVIN ZEESE and MARGARET FLOWERS
Before we get to the impact of the Obama budget, let’s explode a critical myth: there is no recovery (at least for the 99%). Last month’s unemployment numbers revealed the fraud of the unemployment rate.  Even though the country produced less than 90,000 new jobs, wh...
Hell Has Come Home
LINH DINH
In Sartre’s “No Exit,” hell is depicted as a room with two women and a man, which is fair enough, for a threesome is never what you envisioned it would be, in the privacy of your own hell. Hell is also “other people,” “les autres,” for in the company of anot...
The Venezuelan Guarimba
CLIFTON ROSS
Merida, Venezuela. Your Spanish lesson for the day is guarimba, (feminine, as in ‘me voy a la guarimba’ I’m going to the guarimba) the blocking of roads, lighting of tires, and sometimes involving defensive acts of rock-throwing, a...
The War on Tragedy
SANFORD KELSON
President Obama declared that the bombing in Boston was a ‘tragedy.’ No investigation is needed. It is self-evident that the bombing was a tragedy. Delay will be interpreted as weakness. The US must declare a war on tragedy immediately. The...
The French Spring
ISRAEL SHAMIR
Paris. This year, the spring in France is unusually cold and rainy, coming up after the frosty and long winter. Only last Sunday was different: the sun pushed the clouds away, for the first time for a few months, and immediately the lucid Parisian air warm...
Taking Grandma to the Curb
LARRY DORSHKIND
Dear Mr. President, With regards to your FY2014 budget proposal to cut $230 billion from Social Security payments over 10 years (as almost everyone knows, you propose to use a “chained CPI” to determine cost of living adjustments), I commend you for the...
NRA Weekly Press Releases
CHARLES R. LARSON
Item:  Man dies at NRA-sponsored race at the Texas Motor Speedway, in Fort Worth, after shooting himself, following an argument with others. Wayne LaPierre: “If all NASCAR fans at the event had carried guns, this death could have been avoided.  The NRA d...
The Mindset of North Korean Elites
GARY LEUPP
On March 27 Kim Jong-un, the “Dear Respected Marshal” and leader the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, severed the last military hotline between North and South. Three days later he announced that the DPRK was renouncing the armistice agreement of 1953 and “e...
The Boston Marathon Bombing, Drones and the Meaning of Cowardice
BARRY LANDO
Paris. As I write this, we still don’t know who was responsible for the horrific bombing attack in Boston. Perhaps it will turn out to be the work of home grown rightwing nuts; perhaps it’s the act of foreign terrorists. But, whatever the source, what ...
Housing’s Breakout Year
MIKE WHITNEY
Housing is back. Prices are rising, sales are strong, inventory is low, and according to a recent survey, 82 percent of real estate agents believe that it’s “a good time to sell a house.” Also, a new report prepared by the ULI Center for Capital ...
A Short History of Primitive Accumulation
MICHAEL PERELMAN
The choice of Adam Smith as an introduction to a discussion of primitive accumulation might seem curious even though he inadvertently began the discussion of the concept.  Like a modern astrophysicist trying to understand the Big Bang, he asserted that “the accumul...
What Thatcher Wrought
DEEPAK TRIPATHI
The death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher on the day Britain’s Tory-led government introduced major changes to disability benefits which, according to charities, would eventually lead to as many as six hundred thousand disabled people losing state support ma...
Where are the Eulogies for Thatcher’s Victims?
JOSEPH RICHARDSON
London. No sooner had the news broken of Margaret Thatcher’s death than the glorious tributes came flooding in, a veritable deluge of unreserved praise for the Britain’s first female Prime Minister. ...
An Interview with Richard Wolff
ED RAMPELL
Richard Wolff got his B.A. from Harvard, a Master’s in economics from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California and a Ph.D. in economics from Yale. Wolff is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and a Visiting Professor in the graduate pr...
America is a Smuggler Nation
TOM BARRY
Smuggler Nation is revisionist history in the best sense. This is not the oft told, routinely taught story of America’s emergence as a major nation and a global power, forever bound by its commitment to the rule of law in trade and society. Rather in ...
Sugar Workers Return After 20-Month Lockout
DAVID MACARAY
Approximately 1,300 members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union (BCTGM) from Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota, who’d been locked-out since August 1, 2011, by the Moorhead, Minnesota-based American Crystal Company, voted on April 13 to a...
Ike’s “Chance for Peace,” Revisited
N.D. JAYAPRAKASH
Delhi. Sixty years ago, on 16 April 1953 – soon after he had assumed office as the 34th President of USA, President Dwight Eisenhower had delivered an address before the Am...
Murder by Representation
JAMES ROTHENBERG
Gun violence has taken up much of the national conversation since the Newtown, Connecticut massacre. It was a new low point. The complicated question is what can be done to deter or prevent future occurrences. There is an unsaid assumption in this that such gruesom...
Money for Militarism Not for People
DAVE LINDORFF
What’s wrong with the Obama administration’s proposal to change the way Social Security checks are adjusted for inflation from using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to instead using something called a “chained” CPI? Let’s start with the fundamental problem...
In Defense of Amira Hass
LAWRENCE DAVIDSON
Amira Hass is a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. She reports on Palestinian affairs in the occupied territories and, over the years, has come to understand the Palestinians’ plight from their own point of view. On 3 April 2013 Hass wrote an op-ed ...
The Doctrine of Kimilsungism
NILE BOWIE
Each year on April 15th, North Koreans pay homage to the founder of their nation, Kim il-Sung – the most revered figure in the North Korean psyche. Despite the tense state of affairs on the Korean peninsula and war-like rhetoric emanating from the North, the mood in the...
Kerry and the Fake Peace Process
JOHN V. WHITBECK
For almost two decades, the seemingly perpetual Middle East “peace process” has been like a hamster-wheel for Palestinians and a merry-go-round for Israelis All the movement has been a form of running or turning in place. Nothing ever really changes. As S...
Testing Hegemony
NORMAN POLLACK
Realpolitik, its claims to the contrary, has usually been a fraud, dealing neither with practical politics, in contradistinction to an ideological posture, worldview, or weltanschauung, nor with a pragmatic grasp of reality, in contradistinction to a ...
The Korean Crisis: Just Who is the Mental Case?
JERRY KROTH
In view of the fact that the U.S. military has quite unexpectedly announced North Korea has the capability of launching a nuclear weapon atop a missile, and in view of the fact that the young, untested, unstable, paranoid, and maybe even trigger-happy, North Korean leader...
Deceiving North Korea
BINOY KAMPMARK
The BBC has become whipping boy of the squeamish, the education establishment and parents.  Some of the battering of late has been deserved – an appallingly indifferent culture to the sexual wiles of the late Jimmy Savile was the most conspicuous example about how thin...
Obama’s Misguided Agenda
DEAN BAKER
The debate around the budget is getting ever further removed from reality. As every budget expert knows, the reason that we have seen large budget deficits in the last five years is that the economy plunged following the collapse of the housing bubble. This collapse cost ...
Report From Havana
CHRIS GILBERT and CIRA PASCUAL
Havana. If there has ever been any question that the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) is essentially a political organization – one that took up arms guided by a political vision and will abandon them when that political strategy leads th...