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 March 2014
Cracks in the House of Saud
PATRICK COCKBURN
President Obama flew to Saudi Arabia to patch up relations with King Abdullah at the end of last week in his first visit in five years. The alliance had been strained by Saudi anger over US negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme and Obama’s refusal to go ...
Obama’s Sleepwalk Toward War
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Does Obama realize that he is leading the US and its puppet states to war with Russia and China, or is Obama being manipulated into this disaster by his neoconservative speech writers and government officials?  World War 1 (and World War 2) was the result of the ambition...
The Brave Souls of Palmyra
FRANKLIN LAMB
Palmyra, Homs Governorate, Syria This observer, seemingly ever miscalculates life’s realities. For example, he deluded himself recently into believing that Hezbollah guys were about the wildest, luckiest and fastest drivers from the archeological sites i...
Wall Street Journal ♥ Pakistani Army
CHARLES PIERSON
The Wall Street Journal has a great big woody for the Pakistani Army.  Witness the Journal’s fawning love note on March 11.  The page one story by Yaroslav Trofimov proclaims:  “In Its Own War on Terror, Pakistan Piles Up Heavy Losses.” The ...
Contracting and Expanding the NSA’s Powers
BINOY KAMPMARK
Can we be generous enough to say that Edward Snowden scored a considerable coup last week with the change in Washington’s attitudes to the National Security Agency? Even by his own admission, the whistleblower is pleased that the bulk collection of records may well be s...
How the US Undermined the Copenhagen Climate Summit
OLIVER TICKELL
Today the IPCC revealed its latest information on how human emissions of greenhouse gases are affecting planet Earth, and will continue to do so way into the future. The diagnosis, and the prognosis, both make terrifying reading. We can expect declining crop yields...
Enduring Security
RALPH NADER
“What do you know about Winsted’s firemen?” my mother asked me one day when I was eleven years old. “They jump into fire trucks and go put out fires fast,” I replied. “Well, you should also know,” she added, “that they’re volunteers and they risk their l...
Banking Union Time Bomb
ELLEN BROWN
“As things stand, the banks are the permanent government of the country, whichever party is in power.” – Lord Skidelsky, House of Lords, UK Parliament, 31 March 2011) On March 20, 2014, European Union officials ...
Hitting Mr. Modi Where It Hurts
PRAFUL BIDWAI
Over the past month, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal did something no other leader has so far done to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi. He embarked on an “inspection tour” of Gujarat, talked to hundreds of ordinary people a...
How Many Americans Are Alive Today Thanks to Ralph Nader?
CLANCY SIGAL
You’re driving at night in a General Motors compact car, a Cobalt or Cruze or Ion, and without warning the brakes, gas pedal and airbag suddenly give out.  You hurtle into a tree and kill yourself.   The police and forensic experts are in the dark about what happen...
Muslims and Same Sex Marriage
FAISAL KUTTY
Can Muslims accept same-sex marriages? This has been a thorny question since the first jurisdictions began legalizing same-sex marriage. It took on a new urgency in the wake of the...
Occupy isn’t dead
BURKELY HERMANN
Infamously, corporate mogul Arthur Jensen told Howard Beale in the movie Network that the “world is a business.” That was thirty-eight years ago. On September 17th 2011, a new movement was born to counter this ideology enshrined in neoliberal globalization, wit...
Good Wife vs. Bad Congress
WALTER BRASCH
For almost a year, the people of the critically-acclaimed and popular CBS drama, “The Good Wife,” kept a secret, one so powerful that viewers were shocked by the abruptness of what happened on screen, March 23. Will Gardner (portrayed by Josh Charles), one of t...
The Forgotten Political Prisoners in Germany
SOHEIL ASEFI
Berlin. I still remember Tehran Zoo when I was about five years old. There I saw for the first time insanity brought on by long-term isolation, sensory deprivation, and solitary confinement. Little did I know that it would not be the last, or that I would ...
Ukraine’s Crisis
GILBERT MERCIER
The referendum in Crimea on March 16, 2014 will probably attach the peninsula to the Russian federation. While it is unlikely that NATO will intervene and seek a direct military confrontation with Russia, the United States and the European Union are already cooking some b...
Viewing the Ukraine Crisis From Russia’s Perspective
FLOYD RUDMIN
Tromsø, Norway. Events in Ukraine are moving fast and faster.  Dangers of economic paralysis in Ukraine and of wider war with Russia are very real.  This essay will argue that we all need to notice our historical biases in perceiving and mispercei...
The Obama Paradox
ANDREW LEVINE
Barack Obama ran for office promising change; he delivered continuity.  But then, continuity brought change – for the worse. In 2008, “change” meant whatever voters wanted it to mean.  Like the candidate, the word was a Rorschach inkblot. Many, proba...
MSNBC Hosts Ignore Unionization Effort
MICHAEL ARRIA
A couple months ago, MSNBC host Ed Schultz ignited something resembling an online controversy by ducking some important questions about unionization efforts at Peacock Productions. Peacock Productions is the nonfiction production wing of NBC News and The Writer’s Guild ...
Capitalism and Income Inequality
ROB URIE
A lot has been written in recent years in the liberal / progressive press about ‘income inequality,’ the unequal distribution of income and wealth in Western capitalist democracies. President Barack Obama and the prior half-century of ‘liberal’ Democrat Presidents...
The Harder You Work, the Richer They Get
PETE DOLACK
It is not your imagination — you are working harder and earning less. Despite significant productivity gains during the past four decades, wages have remained flat. This is a global phenomenon, not one specific to any country. It is not a matter of the viciousnes...
Ukraine’s IMF Deal
JACK RASMUS
On March 27, 2014, the IMF released the broad outlines of its terms and conditions for loans and other measures for the Ukrainian economy. What those terms and conditions mean is less a rescue of the Ukrainian economy than the onset of a Greece-like economic depression fo...
Serious Problems with the FBI’s Story about Killing of a Witness in Florida
DAVE LINDORFF
In the voluminous report issued by Florida State’s Attorney Jeff Ashton’s Office on the killing in Orlando last May 22 of a witness/suspect under interrogation by the FBI — an investigation that concluded that the shooting was “justified” — there is no...
The Floods of Forgetfulness
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
From February 4 through February 10 of 1996 an embedded low-pressure system sat over the Pacific Northwest, drawing warm waves of rain from the eastern Pacific. Coastal Oregon was drenched with more than 23 inches of rain. Portland was lashed with 12 inches and the Cascad...
Colonization, Slavery and Plunder
DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM
Primogeniture is in the index, but not primitive accumulation. There’s no entry for expropriation, nor enclosure. The index contains no mention of race and racism, but it does direct us to multiple lengthy discussions of Rastignac’s dilemma. There’s also...
Tunisia: Change Without Change
SERGE HALIMI
The Arab revolts in Egypt, Syria and Libya have not turned out happily, which leaves Tunisia as the last source of potential optimism in the region. None of the social aspirations that sparked its December 2010 uprising have been fulfilled. But after a long political cri...
Why the EU Can’t Isolate Russia
PEPE ESCOBAR
German Chancellor Angela Merkel could teach US President Barack Obama one or two things about how to establish a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As if Obama would listen. He’d rather boost his constitutional law professor self, and pompously l...
Obama’s Iraq Fairy Tale
SHELDON RICHMAN
I promised myself that I would no longer comment on what Barack Obama has to say, because it’s just not worth the time and effort. Obama’s public remarks are comprehensible only if you keep one thing in mind: he, like other politicians, thinks most people are morons....
On Climate Impasse
SUBHANKAR BANERJEE
Oso is a small rural community along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. It’s in the State of Washington, where I live. As of Wednesday morning, the death toll in the tragic mudslide in Oso has ...
Journalism’s Search for Metaphor and Meaning
ROBERT JENSEN
The fundamental failure of Dean Starkman’s The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis a...
Ukraine: New Leaders, Same Oligarchs
JEAN-ARNAULT DERENS and LAURENT GESLIN
The Donbass Palace Hotel, off Lenin Square in Donetsk, is the most luxurious in eastern Ukraine. Rooms in this flagship of Rinat Akhmetov’s empire cost around $500 a night, much more than the average monthly wage. Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine, was a close associ...
A Big Squeeze
SETH SANDRONSKY
The editorial board of the Sacramento Bee, my hometown’s only daily newspaper, did it. They discussed declining income for the U.S. middle class without mentioning labor unions (Editorial: “Middle-class squeeze shows up in retail spending patterns,” Feb. 9, 2...
Philly DA Expresses Dubious Expertise on Prejudice
LINN WASHINGTON, Jr.
Philadelphia’s District Attorney, Rufus Seth Williams, the first African-American in Pennsylvania to hold a powerful top prosecutor post, persistently projects himself as an expert on racism. Commendably Williams has acknowledged the corrosive impact of racism wi...
March Madness: Brought to You by the Teamsters
DAVID MACARAY
Nice to see the NLRB finally slap down the smug and dictatorial NCAA, and rule in favor of what are politely called “student-athletes.”  The NLRB has decided that scholarship players have the right to join or form a labor union.  Odd as that seems, Northwestern’s ...
Premature Executions
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
 Once again I have been asked to explain a matter legal. The question that has been referred to me is on its face a simple one but in reality has a quirk that makes the answer unexpected.  The question is, what is the highest court in the land?...
To Strike or Not to Strike
ADRIENNE JOHNSTONE and ANDY LIBSON
The threat of strike loomed over recent teacher contract talks in both Portland and St. Paul. Both settlements were reached without workers going out on strike. Yet the threat itself, along with rallies and actions to back up the threat, produced real contractual gains. T...
Time to Dissolve the Arab League?
AHMAD BARQAWI
Welcome to yet another “useless” Arab League summit, here’s what one should expect: feudalistic political back-stabbing, cheap exploitation (and exacerbation) of ongoing human tragedies, indecipherable hoarse voices reading out poorly translated transcripts of Ameri...
Changing the Flag
URI AVNERY
New Zealand decided to change its flag. This was only briefly mentioned in the media here. But it is a significant example for us. The old flag is based on the British one, the Union Jack, which signifies the union of England, Scotland and Ireland. The three differ...
Big Oil Lobbyist Serves on Federal Marine Protected Areas Panel
DAN BACHER
A prominent California oil industry lobbyist not only served as a high ranking official overseeing the creation of marine protected areas in California, but also currently sits on a federal marine protected areas advisory panel, according to information published on the N...
McKibben: Red, White, Blue and Gold(man Sachs)
CORY MORNINGSTAR
An investigative report on the global “movement” to divest from fossil fuels. [Read Part 1 and ...
Strikes and Class Consciousness
RON JACOBS
Strikes by labor have a way of bringing individuals’ consciousness to the foreground. This is especially true when the workers on the picket line primary work is serving the public. Teachers, police, firemen, public works and transit workers fall into this category and,...
The ISO’s Secrecy Fetish
LOUIS PROYECT
The International Socialist Organization published an article on March 6th by Tim Koch titled ...
Food and Water Wars
ROBERT & JACK HUNZIKER
The “warming of the Arctic” could become one of the greatest catastrophes in human history, even exceeding the notoriety of Adolf Hitler and Genghis Khan. Likely, it will impact more people than the combined effect of those brutal leaders. In fact, global warming may ...
Egypt’s Military Solution
BINOY KAMPMARK
More of the same, it would seem, is heading your way if you are living in Egypt. Egypt’s now ex-defence minister, Field Marshal Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, is readying himself for power. He does so by way of caution and a puritanical script favouring austerity. “I cannot ma...
Global Guantánamo
SOHAM PATEL
A few weeks ago, as I was standing outside Target on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, an elderly woman approached me and shared her life experiences in the Twin Cities. She told me something that has been troubling me since our conver...
Massing for Global Confrontation
NORMAN POLLACK
This was the week to bring Europe and the US into a unitary mold of fighting trim. If Crimea had simply been offered to Russia as bait to be nibbled, then Russia hauled in, the result could not be better. As it is, the US structured the Crimean coup in anticipation of Put...
Ogaden to Dadaab in Search of Peace
GRAHAM PEEBLES
It was dark when I arrived at Wilson Airport, Nairobi for the 7am United Nations charter flight to Dadaab. I was in Kenya to meet refugees from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia and record their stories. Accounts of false imprisonment, murder, rape, torture at the hands of th...
Art Palestine International’s 2014 Exhibit
RAOUF J. HALABY
In part, Mary Evangelista’s  bio reads as follows: “… [She] has many years’ experience as a critic and curator. Her past exhibitions have included Art New Zealand, a touring exhibition of contemporary Maori and New Zealand artists, two exhibiti...
Hating Animals or Capitalism?
MARK EPSTEIN
Antonio Gramsci once wrote that the type of ethics exhibited by some bourgeois philanthropic and benevolent associations was “akin to the morals of the societies for the protection of animals” or similar language (I am quoting from memory). In ...
An Unlikely Solution to Our Children’s Reading Ailments
BARBARA NIMRI AZIZ
American children are in the doldrums. Not their persons. It’s their reading skills that are in steady decline. In science, math and ...
Glam, Bam, Thank-You, Ma’am!
KIM NICOLINI
I’m lucky to live in a town that has an independent theater that not only shows recent art house films and old cinema classics and cult favorites, but that also periodically screens classic rock concert films. Most recently I attended a screening of DA Pennebaker’...