Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
Archives from January 2014
The Extraordinary Otis Pike
KARL GROSSMAN
These days it’s the scandal involving widespread surveillance by the National Security Administration. Four decades ago it was the investigation of U.S. intelligence agency abuses by a committee chaired by Congressman Otis G. Pike. The panel’s report, revealing a patt...
State Rape
WILLIAM SHEPPARD
When the basic premise of the drug war is that we do not own our own bodies, the recurring theme of police sexual assault in the media over the last several months seem less like freak occurrence and more like an expected, perhaps its inevitable outcome. Last year there w...
Climate Change Hits Alaska
ROBERT HUNZIKER
Valdez, Alaska carries the moniker: the “snowiest place in the United States,” receiving on average 300-to-600 inches per year. Additionally, Valdez is the end of the line for the Tans-Alaska Pipeline that carries oil from the ...
Just be a Decent Human Being
ANDREW SMOLSKI
Too many weeks have gone by. Too many words on paper turned to ash. Each essay incinerated, one by one. Stupid ideas and ridiculous notions piled up as too many awful topics. Who cares about Woody Allen’s oedipal driven cinema with his constant self-critique ending cont...
Folk Tales and Foreign Policy
KARL NORTH
In the tale of the boy who cried wolf, a boy who is tending sheep and serving as a lookout for wolves seeks to relieve his boredom and gain attention by crying wolf when in fact there is no wolf. This decision/policy succeeds for a while, then it no longer works. A syste...
Why Capitalism Can’t Fix Our Most Urgent Problems
GARY ENGLER
Can capitalism solve the problems of global warming and growing inequality? It seems to me this is like discussing the issue of inappropriate hypersexual imagery bombarding 11-year olds and then asking: Can Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga fix the problem? Real ca...
Sexual Witch Hunts, Here and There
LOUIS PROYECT
Made in 2012, “The Hunt” is Denmark’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards ceremony scheduled on March 2nd with all the usual red carpet, tuxedo and designer gown nonsense. Apart from “Philomena”, it puts all the other English l...
Welcome to Stoney Spring
RON JACOBS
One of my favorite bands of the past decade is the California rock country ensemble I See Hawks in LA. Sometimes electric, other times acoustic, the unceasingly intricate and melodic guitar work, sweet vocals and lyrical sensibility featured across I See Hawks’ catalog ...
Obama’s State of the Union Address
NORMAN POLLACK
Coming off of a speech on surveillance at DOJ less than two weeks ago, Obama, in his State of the Union Address, its perfect complement, gives evidence of shifting further to the Right than previously, not so much by what he said (what on reading the latter, I termed mani...
This Just In
MISSY BEATTIE
Last Thursday, I was nearly inconsolable, having submitted my article midafternoon. If only I’d waited. I’d written about W. VA’s chemical spill, big industry’s latest egregious assault on what’s called Chemical Valley, an invasion, like war, that’s destroying...
The XLVIII Super Brag
PIER ANGELO
We are a country of excess. We are obsessed with size, quantity, speed, guns, monster trucks; with the Big Gulp, the economy pack, the party size, two-for-one regardless of what it is, the Whopper, the quadruple Big Mac and all-you-can-eat-buffets. We put foodstu...
The Tempests of Capitalism
KIM NICOLINI
Sites of production become mobile, while paths of distribution become fixed and routine. Factories are now like ships: they mutate strangely, masquerade, and sometimes sale away stealthily in the night, in search of cheaper labor, leaving their former employee...
Gertrude Stein in Love
CHARLES R. LARSON
Hassan Najmi’s gossipy romp about artists in Paris in the 1920s, Gertrude, should be t...
The Class of 1714
DAVID YEARSLEY
C. P. E. Bach was the towering German composer of the generation that succeeded the titans of the first half of the eighteenth century, J. S. Bach and Handel; it was a generation long demeaned by later music historians as merely “pre-Classical,” an inconsequential run...
What We’re Listening to This Week
COUNTERPUNCH STAFF
Jeffrey St. Clair Various Artists, I Heard the Angels Singing: Electr...
Bloody Sunday Revisited
EAMONN MCCANN
Editors’ Note: Today marks the anniversary of the massacre by British paratroopers of 14 civil rights marchers in Derry on January 30th 1972 – “Bloody Sunday”. The families of the slain were to fight an epic campaign against the lies of the Briti...
The Politics of Starvation in Syria
PATRICK COCKBURN
Homs, Syria. “Bread is a dream for children inside Yarmouk Camp,” says Fuad, a Syrian Palestinian music teacher who tries to help bring food to the 20,000 Palestinians besieged inside Yarmouk. Standing by a barrier of sand and rubble that blocks an ent...
Neoliberalism or Death!
PEPE ESCOBAR
US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) address was a somewhat surrealist spectacle. Way beyond avalanches of PR spin, the US government for a long time has not exactly done wonders for the public good. So as it advertises itself in front of a dysfunct...
India’s Coal Inferno
SARAH STIRK
Champa’s eyes are surrounded by dark circles and her face is thin and drawn. It began with a fever, pain in her limbs, and she was then diagnosed with tuberculosis. “I was diagnosed with TB two ye...
Staples Plucks Postal Jobs
ALEXANDRA BRADLEY
Staples’ latest ad slogan is “What the L?” That sounds like what postal workers said when they found out the retail chain planned to steal their work. The Long Island, New York, local of the American Postal Workers Union didn’t waste any time after the news...
The State of the Union, Obama-Style
ROBERT FANTINA
There is no question that President Barrack Obama is a gifted orator. He rose to fame as the junior senator from Illinois, and was propelled to the White House, at least partly because of his skills as a speaker. In his five years as president, he has often used that skil...
Pete Seeger: a Dissenting View
NOEL IGNATIEV
Following the August 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact, the Communist Party strongly opposed the “imperialist war,” and Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers made some great antiwar songs which were published in an album called “Songs for John Doe”: Remember when th...
Things Are Going Great
DAVID MACARAY
If we look back at, say, the last 100 years or so, we might be tempted to declare that all the really important “social” issues before us have demonstrably improved. While that’s an ambitious and wildly optimistic statement, it’s more or less true. From a purely s...
Ten Principles to Guide the Young Activist
RAMZY BAROUD
In a recent radio interview with a National Public Radio affiliate in Juneau, Alaska, I was asked if I had advice for a 16-year-old Palestinian student, Haitham. He had just arrived in the US as part of a school exchange program, and, admirably began reaching out to his p...