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 October 2013
Fukushima’s Radiation Gusher
JOHN LaFORGE
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.” — Thomas Pynchon, ...
Repo, Baby, Repo
MIKE WHITNEY
“Repo has a flaw: It is vulnerable to panic, that is, ‘depositors’ may ‘withdraw’ their money at any time, forcing the system into massive deleveraging. We saw this over and over again with demand deposits in all of U.S. histo...
Remembering EP Thompson
CAL WINSLOW
Edward Thompson, who died in 1993, will above all forever be remembered as the author of The Making ...
No Way Out
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
The year 2014 could be shaping up as the year that the chickens come home to roost. Americans, even well-informed ones, don’t know all of the mistakes made by neoconized and corrupted Washington in the past two decades.  However, enough is known to see that the ...
Secret Killings
BINOY KAMPMARK
Time and time again, casualties are the fascination of killing establishments.  Militaries find hope that the more they kill, the more effective they are.  Laws tend to lag, limping behind in battered form till they find a place in a court of law.  General Douglas MacA...
Class Struggle at the Waistline
MICHAEL SCHWALBE
Since 1980, the rate of union membership among U.S. workers has dropped by nearly half, from 20% to about 11% today. At the same time, the adult obesity rate has more than doubled, now standing at a little over 30%. The two trends are linked. Worker disempowerment, as ind...
A New Kind of War Is Being Legalized
DAVID SWANSON
There’s a dark side to the flurry of reports and testimony on drones, helpful as they are in many ways.  When we read that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch oppose drone strikes that violate international law, some of us may be inclined to interpret that...
The Self-Beheading House of Saud
PEPE ESCOBAR
Don’t count on a female Saudi playwright writing a 21st century remix of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger starring a bunch of non-working class Saudi royals. But anger it is – from King Abdullah downwards; not only at the UN’s “double...
The Elephant in the Shutdown
Rev. WILLIAM E. ALBERTS
Most people find the going really tough when they have two strikes against them.  Barrack Hussein Obama had three strikes against him before he even got to the White House.  Though he was vetted, and demonstrated he could be trusted to serve the interests of the ...
The Problem With the TPP
MARIO OBANDO
Over 600 official corporate advisors have negotiated a secret pact—the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). While President Obama has sought to ensure this “free-trade” agreement, little of the TPP has been revealed to the U.S. public. The lack of transparency sp...
A Meditation on US Political Rhetoric
GENE GLICKMAN
‘Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on. ‘I do,’ Alice hastily replied; ‘at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know.’ ‘Not the same thing ...
The Way Hollywood Frames Slavery
RUTH FOWLER
If we wanted to applaud a movie for superb acting, for faithful and dedicated adherence to an original text, for a sensory and almost tactile aesthetic of complicated brutality, then we must look no further than Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years A Slave’, the current darlin...
Why is Canada Subsidizing Racist Property Restrictions?
YVES ENGLER
In Canada it is illegal to restrict the sale of property to certain ethnic or religious groups but many of our business people and politicians promote an organization that does exactly that in Israel. Into the 1950s restrictive land covenants in many exclusive neig...
Counterfeit Unionism in the Empire
RICH GIBSON
With respect to nearly anyone who is trying to fight back in our current context, I differ from what most people think about the current state of US unionism. Of course, none of that can be split away from an analysis of our current circumstances which I believe is...
Detroit’s Dickensian Future
TOM STEPHENS
On Monday, October 21, 2013, in the absence of any more than the most minimal public disclosure and discussion of an issue of such historic and overriding importance to the People and city of Detroit, the Detroit City Council dealt a blow to the greed-fueled plans of Mich...
Dónde Están? Where are the Disappeared?
KATHY RENTENBACH
Dónde están? Where are they? They still don’t know. “Los desaparecidos”. “The disappeared.” They want to know. Forty years is a long time.  The Moneda, the presidential palace, bombed on 9/11/73.  President Allende, the first socialist president o...
The NSA’s Spying Operation on Mexico
LAURA CARLSEN
The latest analysis of Snowden leaks from the German magazine ...
The NSA Provides Tech Support for Assassinations? Shocking!
DOUGLAS VALENTINE
Glenn Greenwald has announced that he is going to revolutionize the news business.   Ta Da! ...
Bahrain, Where Tear-Gas Shells Replaced the Pearl
PATRICK COCKBURN
Two-and-a-half years ago the Bahrain government bulldozed the Pearl Monument, whose tall, graceful pillars held a giant pearl as a symbol of the island kingdom, because it had become the rallying point in the capital, Manama, for pro-democracy protesters. The author...
Torturing and Jailing Palestinian Children
ZIAD ABBAS
Although I have been living far from Palestine for a few years and I am now in my forties, I still have nightmares about the Israeli army invading my house when I was a child and about the first time I was tortured. This is the reality most Palestinian former prisoners li...
Captain Phillips and the Somali Pirates
PAUL GOTTINGER and KEN KLIPPENSTEIN
Captain Phillips is a movie about the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama commercial container ship by Somali pirates. Pirates, one of Americans’ most beloved figures—consider the popularity of the recent Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy...
Fracking Indigenous Country
MACDONALD STAINSBY
If anyone doubted that it’s a good thing that Sun News in Canada has been both going broke and also denied the ability to force their way onto Canada’s basic cable system (vastly expanding their audience and getting themselves included in most homes with telev...
The Coming Grand Bargain
SHAMUS COOKE
After the U.S. government shutdown you’d expect Republicans and Democrats to remain at each others’ throats, so different was their vision for the country, or so it appeared. In reality, however, only a bit of the political theater was reserved for “T...
Guilt-Edged Insecurity
FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut Being subjected to the Zionist lobby can get tedious—particularly its chronic parading of an often disoriented and fast-deteriorating fellow, who should surely be tending a vegetable or flower garden somewhere in Occupied Palestine, where h...
NSA’s Latin American Mandate
BINOY KAMPMARK
Spying on Mexico has been a US hobby for years.  Fittingly, it was Edward Snowden who disclosed what we all suspected: Mexican officials and their citizens are fair game, their authorities of key importance to interests in Washington.  The German weekly Der Spiegel...
Native American Youth Suicides and the Sequester
RAMONA TAHERI
Statistics concerning Native American death rates as compared to the rest of the United States population deserve much more attention than they receive. In 2010, Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, compiled a report entitled...
Shutdown at the Port of Oakland
YVONNE YEN LIU
About 30 truckers and 150 supporters rallied in front of SSA’s terminals at the Port of Oakland yesterday. The truckers formed a picket line in time for the 7pm shift of ILWU longshorman. Unfortunately, ILWU Local 10 called the Oakland Police to stand guard in front...
Blood Money
NORMAN POLLACK
Blood money is money obtained at the cost of another’s life.  Webster’s Collegiate is not known for Left-inspired definitions, yet even to include the entry is tacit recognition the practice is widespread.  Let’s add, however, it is also (using that strict definit...
Victims of War
HOWARD LISNOFF
Just about one year ago an article appeared in The Daily Beast written by Jamie Reno concerning the number of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (“Nearly 30% of Vets Treated by V.A. Have PTSD,” October 21...
The Neutering of the NSA Archives
CHRIS FLOYD
1. Clancy Lives! Take heart, you fans of slam-bang super-spy adventure stories! Tom Clancy is not dead; he lives on in the pages of the Washington Post, channeled through the airport-thriller prose of Barton Gellman — one of the small coterie of media ...
Machiavelli in the House of Saud
PEPE ESCOBAR
Life is good if you’re a member of the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, officially known as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). You can crush the Arab Spring at will. You can hire goons all across dar-al-Islam to advance a sectarian Sunni-Shi’ite divide. You can be d...
Beware the Grand Bargain
MARK WEISBROT
The rest of the world must have been fascinated at the spectacle of the U.S. government shutdown and threatened default on our public debt.  Here is a country that not only has no public debt problem, but can pay any foreign creditors in its own currency – i.e. money t...
The Gitmo Witch Trials
HAZEM I. KIRA
A little more than three-hundred years ago, the most notorious case of mass hysteria erupted in Salem, Mass.  Thankfully, the witchcraft trials, which took place in the pre-revolutionary era, would serve as a cautionary tale for the nation’s Founding Fathers who wishe...
The Cameron Response to Edward Snowden
BINOY KAMPMARK
In the latter part of last week, it became clear that any drives to reform the intelligence community in the United Kingdom would focus less on that community than the behaviour of those who had reported on its activities.  Spies will be spies, and those who scribble dow...
How Iraq Was Turned into a Mercenary War
PATRICK COCKBURN
The US and British governments never appreciated the hatred with which Iraqis at all levels regarded foreign security contractors. They were detested as freelance gunmen with licences to kill or maim Iraqis, safe in the knowledge that they had the same immuni...
Functional Aspects of Dysfunction
NORMAN POLLACK
“Kicking the can down the road” is an overused, much abused description—along with “stalemate,” etc.—of the current US political scene, as though a blistering ideological conflict has taken place and will continue (with Obama and the Democrats the saviors of t...
Was Management to Blame for Two BART Deaths?
DAVID MACARAy
Two unions—SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 1021 and ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) Local 1555—went on strike against BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) on Friday, October 18, after a week of marathon negotiations broke down without a settlement. ...
The Semantics of Revolution
MUSA al-GHARBI
Many in media and academic circles seem to pride themselves on having advanced beyond the “...
The Betrayal of Native Americans
LAURA FINLEY
Last I heard, contracts negotiated between two consenting and capable parties are supposed to be binding, with repercussions if one party violates what has been agreed upon and codified into a legal document.  That is, of course, ...
Corporate Welfare in the Forest
GEORGE WUERTHNER
The Forest Service is under extreme political pressure to log our national patrimony, whether it makes any economic or ecological sense. A good example of a needless, ecologically damaging, and economically wasteful logging proposal is the proposed $1.4 million Pole Creek...
Poetic Justice in Kansas
DAVE LINDORFF
Talk about turnabout being fair play. In a surprising break with the pattern of looniness that seems to characterize law and politics in the state of Kansas, the state’s Supreme Court on Friday indefinitely suspended the law license of former Kansas Attorney Gene...
Is Jerry Brown Running Scared?
DAN BACHER
Over 60 people, including indigenous leaders, environmentalists and labor activists, gathered at the Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday, October 17 from 5:30 to 7 pm to protest the Blue Green Alliance’s honoring of Governor Jerry Brown with its “Right Stuff”...
Empire of the Senseless
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
For the sake of argument, let’s assume the following to be true: Barack Obama is not a stooge, a cipher, an empty suit, or a puppet. He is not incompetent, indecisive, or deranged. He is, in fact, intelligent, purposeful, and rational. Let us further assume that Obama i...
Savage Irrationalities
ANDREW LEVINE
The titans of American capitalism no longer control their useful idiots; just talking them down from the ledge was touch and go.  The Tea Party has become their Frankenstein. Their favorite political instrument, the GOP, is already a casualty; it may be damaged be...
New York is Drowning in Bribes and Corruption
PAM MARTENS
The insidious greed and public looting that Wall Street has nurtured to an art form in New York City is metastasizing like a virulent tumor strain throughout the state, fraying the social fabric and crushing people caught in its grip like bugs. On Tuesday evening, ...
The Democrats Can’t Defend the Country from the Retrograde GOP
RALPH NADER
The Congress, that polls show the American people would like to replace in its entirety, has “kicked the can down the road” again, putting off the government shutdown until January 15th and another debt ceiling showdown until February 7th. ...
Counting the Human Cost of War
PATRICK COCKBURN
An additional half million Iraqis died because of war and occupation between 2003 and 2011 according a new survey based on more rigorous research than those carried out in the past. The study, which is the result of a collaboration between researchers from the US, ...
DEA: Law and Science Unto Itself
JOHN KELLY
In an empty, muted family court, with armed guards at its doors, D.C. Superior Court Judge J. William Ryan released a discovery order revealing that the DEA’s analysts are producing false marijuana test reports resulting in wrongful convictions...
Abenomics in 14 Words
MIKE WHITNEY
Ferrari sales are going gangbusters in Japan, but beer sales have started to fizzle. That’s all you really need to know about Abenomics. According to Bloomberg: “Ferrari said sales in Japan will rise by 30 percent this year….(Sales have already) i...