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Archives from November 2013
Is Obama’s Policy of “Tough Diplomacy” Really Withering Away?
SASAN FAYAZMANESH
The first four years of the Obama Administration were marked by imposing an unprecedented set of sanctions and military threats against Iran. However, since July 2013 fewer sanctions have been imposed and less military threats issued. Indeed, the Obama Administration—al...
Fear of the People’s History
JOHN PILGER
England is two countries. One is dominated by London, the other remains in its shadow.  When I first arrived from Australia, it seemed no one went north of Watford and those who had emigrated from the north worked hard to change their accents and obscure their origins an...
The Other Police State
DAVID ROSEN
On November 20th, the Center for Corporate Policy, a Washington, DC, good-government group, issued a revealing study, “...
An Interview With Muqtada al-Sadr
PATRICK COCKBURN
The future of Iraq as a united and independent country is endangered by sectarian Shia-Sunni hostility says Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia religious leader whose Mehdi Army militia fought the US and British armies and who remains a powerful figure in Iraqi politics. He w...
The Killing Floor
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR and ALEXANDER COCKBURN
The other day we were forced to listen to an NPR interview, by Terry 
Gross, presumably, with some fellow talking about his garden, about which he had 
evidently written a silly-sounding book. After firing off some well-honed clichés 
about the importance of the ga...
Best Military in the World, Really?
JOHN LaFORGE
In response to regular reports of atrocities by US soldiers, drone controllers, pilots and interrogators, the White House routinely tries to help. Every president promises to honor our armed forces and says ours is the finest military of all, etc. At last year’s Veteran...
Boosting Profits While Wages Sag
MIKE WHITNEY
Abenomics is based on the idea that if you give rich people a lot of money, they’ll spend it and the economy will get better. There are a few minor flaws to the theory, however, like the fact that it doesn’t work. While trickle down has greatly impacted the sa...
The Real Cost of GM Animal Feed?
ANDREW WASLEY
At first glance the frozen bundles could be mistaken for conventional joints of meat. But as Ib Pedersen, a Danish pig farmer, lifts them carefully out of the freezer it becomes apparent they are in fact whole piglets – some horribly deformed, with growths or other ...
The Greatest Danger to Israel is the Stupidity of Its Leaders
URI AVNERY
The greatest danger to Israel is not the putative Iranian nuclear bomb. The greatest danger is the stupidity of our leaders. This is not a uniquely Israeli phenomenon. A great many of the world’s leaders are plain stupid, and always have been. Enough to look at w...
Burning History in San Salvador
SARAH MASLIN
At the crack of dawn on Thursday, Nov. 14, three armed men broke into the offices of Pro-Búsqueda, a non-profit in San Salvador that reunites families with children who went missing during El Salvador’s 1979-1992 civil war. They beat up the guards, poured gasoli...
How “El Gallito” Conquered Obama
STEWART J. LAWRENCE
They don’t call Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez “El Gallito” — “The Little Rooster” — for nothing. It’s not just his diminutive size, but his outspoken style. Apparently, he’s always trying to “wake people up.” And one of his favorite t...
Technocrats or Humanists?
WILLIAM MANSON
In his book Harvard and the Unabomber, Alston Chase describes how Theodore Kaczynski, a 16-year-old Harvard student in 1958, suffered traumatizing abuse as an unwitting test-subject in a CIA-connected experiment designed to manipulate human behavior under intensiv...
The Sorry State of East Asia in the 21st Century
ADAM CHIMIENTI
In what may be the final blow for Thomas Friedman’s absurd and rather boring theory known as “The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention,” the latest developments in the unfortunate island disputes in East Asia have the US and China once again gearing u...
France’s Tax Revolt
TOM GILL
France is in revolt over tax. In recent weeks the protagonists have ranged from drivers of heavy goods vehicles, wealthy cereal farmers, and even the...
The World According to Gap
FARZANA VERSEY
Gap has managed two marketing scoops within a short period. It got a Sikh model, Waris Ahluwalia, to be the face of its Holiday 2013 campaign, and when one of the hoardings was defaced it ...
China’s Air Defence Identification Zone
BINOY KAMPMARK
The Chinese are certainly getting cocky in the cockpit, though they are doing so with occasional moments of refrain.  Beijing claimed on Thursday that there was “no question” of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) being established near the Indian-Chinese bo...
The Dogs of War Still Growl
EUGENE SCHULMAN
I’m getting a real kick out of all the Monday morning quarterbacking about the Geneva nuclear talks agreement between the P5+1 and Iran.  Almost everyone has weighed in with varying opinions, from MSM editorials to local bloggers, about whether this was a good deal...
Salafist Crimes Against Islam in Syria
FRANKLIN LAMB
Damascus Reports from across Syria, and increasing coming in from many areas including Aleppo, Qalamoun and Reqaa lay bare massive crimes being perpetrated against the Syrian people in the name of Islam from areas under Salafist control.  A recent German...
Health Care in India
GRAHAM PEEBLES
To speak of growth is to allude to one thing only: economic development, GDP and GNP figures, which of course should be increasing for the world to stay on track to become a global shopping emporium. The word has been confiscated by the economically erudite and the politi...
A Fight in San Joaquin Valley
MATT FORD
As the affluence of society depends increasingly on the uninterrupted production and consumption of waste, gadgets, planned obsolescence, and means of destruction, the individuals have to be adapted to these requirements in more than the traditional ways.” ...
A Hard Blow to Political Freedom in Egypt
ALESSANDRA BAJEC
Twenty-one women -including girls as young as 15- were handed down heavy prison sentences by Alexandria Misdemeanour Court on Nov. 27, after being arrested, end of October, for protesting against the military’s July 3 ouster of President Morsi. The Egyptian court senten...
Commerce or Community
ELLIOT SPERBER
Because the history of the United States is comprised of contradictions (proclamations of liberty, for instance, are coupled with the practice of slavery), it should come as little surprise to find that the holiday of Thanksgiving – so steeped in hyper-consumerism...
Walmarting the Rivers and Oceans
DAN BACHER
Walmart has been in the headlines in recent weeks after the retailer announced plans to keep its stores open this Thanksgiving, forcing Walmart employees to cancel many of their holiday plans. Numerous blogs and alternative media outlets have also reported on the 1...
‘High’ Hypocrisy on Capitol Hill
LINN WASHINGTON JR.
Florida U.S. Congressman Trey Radel, recently convicted of possessing cocaine, rightly wears the label of Drug War hypocrite, but assigning that total to just that one prominent felon helps tends to hide the long-standing stench of Drug War hypocrisy that extends from Cap...
Diplomacy via B52s
NORMAN POLLACK
China’s air defense identification zone is all the rage in US national-security discussions and planning, a true godsend because furnishing pretext for heightening and accelerating the American geopolitical project embedded in the doctrine and being executed in the now-...
Another Thanksgiving
MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
All week, I’ve said, “Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,” to friends and strangers, while being conflicted by disparate considerations and visuals. Here’s something that’s renting storage space in my head, streaming my consciousness, a stanza of mythology I learned ...
Inside the Largest Fracked Oil Spill Ever
STEVE HORN
Tesoro Logistics — the company whose pip...
The Surreal Story of My Brother’s Arrest
A Sister
Editor’s note: The grammatical mistake in the article’s first paragraph is entirely unlike the author, a normally punctilious writer and thinker, and is retained as evidence of how much the event that occasioned the piece upset her. On Tuesday my 19-year...
Interpreting Pakistan, Changing the World
RAZA NAEEM
Stop all the clocks  … let the mourners come.  - WH Auden December 1, marks the tenth death anniversary of the late Hamza Alavi. My reflections for this piece will chiefly consist of my memories of my lone meeti...
Saving Africans from African Savagery
ANN GARRISON
The hunt for the infamous Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are back in the news.  Some even say ...
The Sophist Working Class
ANDREW SMOLSKI
This essay is the first in a series of essays I am writing on the importance of sophism to politics, especially American working class politics. The essays will not be coming out any order or on any set date. Each essay will be numbered, allowing you to know which one...
Women, War, and the Working Class
DOUGLAS VALENTINE
In the previous installment in the Political Poetry series, Afaa Weaver described his urge, as an African American poet, “to touch the proletarian vernacular at its deepest point.” A few days after the feature on Weaver appeared in Counterpunch, I received an e...
Play This Film Loud!
RON JACOBS
It remains one of the most exquisite concerts ever filmed. My friend Rich and I fantasized about buying tickets when sales were announced in the early fall of 1976. We sat in his apartment near the University of Maryland’s College Park campus doing bong hits and running...
Video Games Normalize Animal Cruelty
JON HOCHSCHARTNER
Animal exploitation is all pervasive in video games. Not in itself a problem, this virtual exploitation is a reflection of speciesist reality. But by presenting exploitation uncritically, interactive media helps to normalize that reality. This is not to say that, a...
Thanksgiving Day to Mourn
A D HEMMING
On Thanksgiving Day this year we will need to mourn not celebrate this insane day of genocide the Pilgrims against the Pequot Indians in 1637 carried out the most gruesome manner, thus making a day similar to Holocaust Day to say never again. The slaughter of these indige...
Going Broke and Bonkers in Barcelona
MICHAEL DICKINSON
“Wanna good shagging?” asked a voice from a doorway as I was leaving the road of my hostel, about to enter Barcelona’s main pedestrian street, Las Ramblas, one night a couple of weeks ago. I turned and looked at the inquiree, a short plump young Spanish brune...
Travels With Leila
DAVID ROVICS
I was sitting on a plane catching up on editions of my favorite BBC program, From Our Own Correspondent, and caught one about a reporter’s experience with trying to travel with her toddler, while working, doing interviews, filing stories, etc. For understand...
Reimagining Wuthering Heights
CHARLES R. LARSON
Here’s something different: shifting Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to Japan with t...
Sonic Trash
DAVID YEARSLEY
Praised by some as the summation of Robert Redford’s distinguished acting career, his latest film begins without music, just the stillness of a calm sea at dawn, the wide-screen expanse bathed in myriad shades of blue reluctantly relinquishing the pink glow of a sun not...
Milanović, Pereira and Scully
POETS' BASEMENT
Tripartition for Aleksinac (1999) by BRATISLAV MILANOVIĆ 1 Instead of basking in the grip of light, this morning he lies bathed in death, under April plum trees in bloom between tulips blown apart...
Activist Malpractice
MICHAEL DONNELLY
“I will say it again: the marketing of hope and change Obama is THE most brilliant ad campaign ever perpetrated on USians. And, like in many other ‘campaigns,’ desperate people cling to an illusion…cuz the reality is so seriously effed up that...
Thanksgiving in Humboldt County
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
It’s Thanksgiving here in America, a day of infamy for turkeys. At my place in Humboldt County, northern California, turkeys learned their lesson a few years ago, when five fine specimens of Meleagris gallopavo—wild turkey to you—wandered onto my property. I...
Gaza is Flooded with Sewage and Conspiracies
RAMZY BAROUD
The latest punishment of Gaza may seem like another familiar plot to humiliate the strip to the satisfaction of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, and the military-controlled Egyptian government. But something far more sinister is brewing. This time, ...
Damning the Mekong?
TOM FAWTHROP
The Khone Falls on the Mekong river in southern Laos, close to the Cambodian border, is “an ecologically unique area, so rare in nature that every effort should be made to preserve all of Khone Falls from any development”, according to a Mekong River Commissio...
Shake ‘Em Up at Harvard Law School Day
RALPH NADER
Those of us who worked with an energetic corps of Harvard Law students thought October 24, 2013 would be a galvanizing, historic day at that training ground for corporate law firms. The students left no stone unturned in promoting a full day of presentations by lea...
Obama’s Middle East Grand Strategy
DEEPAK TRIPATHI
President Obama is on a diplomatic offensive on several fronts in the Middle East. The six-month interim agreement between the major world powers, five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the European Union, and Iran to restrain its nuclear program is being d...
A Pre-Conspiracy Theory
DAVE LINDORFF
I’m going to engage here in a thought experiment which may make some readers a little queasy, but bear with me. It’s been half a century since the wrenching experience of having a charismatic young president cut down by bullets in what most Americans apparently...
Older Tactics Resurface to Stop Fur Business
MARTHA ROSENBERG
The fur biz, like the ivory biz, is forgotten but hardly gone. Not too many Americans wear fur or buy ivory anymore–or beam at the photo of the hunter Melissa Bachman posing with her murdered lion. The problem is the bloodshed has gone overseas. Thanks to the...
Hiring Ex-Convicts
DAVID MACARAY
Anyone who clings to the belief that serving time in prison constitutes “paying one’s debt to society” has obviously never done time or tried to get a job after being released.  Even if your crime was non-violent and non-invasive (e.g., drug possession) and your ti...
The Real Purpose of International Aid to Haiti
YVES ENGLER
Step one for everyone trying to make the world a better place should be listening to those they wish to help. This is certainly true in the case of Haiti, a longtime target of Canadian ‘aid’. But, while Haitians continue to criticize Ottawa’s role in thei...