articles 2015

Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max

Presidential candidate Joe Biden is adding lies on top of lies to cover up his backing of the Iraq invasion. At last week’s ABC/DNC debate Biden lied about his Iraq record, just like he did at the first two debates. In the July debate, Biden claimed: “From the moment ‘shock and awe’ started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress.” More

Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor

The corporate media talking-head commentary on the third Democratic presidential debate last Thursday night focused on two things: Beto O’Rourke’s call for a federal confiscation of the nation’s assault weapons and Julian Castro’s attempt to humiliate Joe Biden by suggesting that the former vice president had forgotten what he said about his health care reform program two minutes before. More

Why Mattis is No Hero

Last week the corporate media were going all out to lionize former Marine General and Secretary of Defense James Mattis in tandem with the publication of Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, his memoir of his lengthy career (Co-authored with former Undersecretary of Defense, Bing West, also a marine officer and veteran of Vietnam). As this celebratory gala of war and warrior hood lapses yet another military idol will have joined the pantheon. When George H.W. Bush launched Desert Storm in 1991 and “kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all” he also claimed to re-elevate the glory of the American way of war whereby the exceptional U.S. would defend the underdogs of the world against the predations of Hitlers reborn. Thereafter “Mad Dog” Mattis’s career would unfold. More

Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate

If there is an upside to Brexit, it is this: it has made it increasingly hard to present Jeremy Corbyn, contrary to everything the corporate media has been telling us for the past four years, as anything but a political moderate. In truth, he is one of the few moderates left in British – or maybe that should read English – politics right now. The fact that still isn’t obvious to many in Britain is a sign of their – not his – extremism. More

Trump, Trade and China

Rarely a day passes when one or another U.S. ruling class institution or personality fails to criticize President Trump’s unilateral imposition of ever increasing and broad-ranging protective tariffs against Chinese imports. Trump’s critics include the Democratic Party as well as leading Republicans, the prestigious corporate “newspaper of record,” The New York Times and the aptly dubbed “ruling Read more

Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis

Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which experienced three massive meltdowns in 2011, is running out of room to store radioactive water. No surprise! But now, what to do about phosphorescent water? Addressing the issue, Japan’s environmental minister Yoshiaki Harada held a news conference (September 2019). Unfortunately, he proffered the following advice: “The Read more

The Democrats and the Climate Crisis

CNN performed a public service with its Climate Crisis Town Hall in late August 2019. Democratic presidential candidates facing the climate change monster Democratic presidential candidates (Joe Biden (D-former vice president in the Obama administration), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mayor Read more

Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu

Do you want to know the real reason Trump canceled the peace talks with the Taliban? Okay, here’s the hot poop. Our satellites detected goats. Yes, you read that correctly, goats, goats in goated communities. There was no mistake. Goats grazed on some of them there hills in Afghanistan. Now of course, goats, by themselves, Read more

Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir

While the conflation of religion and politics by the ruling party of a “democratic” and “secular” India gnaws at those of us who are invested in pluralism, those Indian-Americans who are closely aligned with the upsurge of Hindutva nationalism are gearing up to welcome Prime Minister Modi in Houston on September 22nd.  These transnational subjects, safely Read more

Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution

This year was the 50th anniversary of the Venceremos Brigade delegations to Cuba, a special affair for Cuba and its Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). We participants can agree with what one former brigadista wrote us, “I went in 1971 and it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. Cuba Read more

Socialism Made America Great

From single-payer health care to climate change, the 2020 Democrats have ambitious plans. But these new, grand, and green deals aren’t as radical as some make them sound. In fact, big public projects are what made America great. When President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower took office in 1953, America had been buffeted by the Great Depression Read more

Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t

As a Senator, John F. Kennedy authored Pulitzer Prize-winning Profiles in Courage in 1957 to highlight the integrity by eight United States Senators who did what they felt was best for the nation not their party and they suffered accordingly. This week Conservative Party members in Britain’s Parliament demonstrated that type of unique political courage. They voted Read more

Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz

This past July 16, the work of Fernando Ortiz was declared a National Heritage. It was a moving moment, charged with a particular electric spirituality, one I shared with Barnet, Eusebio, Torres-Cuevas and others, and an act of justice regarding an essential component of the foundations of our culture and the nation itself. In his Read more

Altruists of the World Unite!

The biggest joke on the planet may be the phrase “national security.” It almost always justifies something brutal, whether outright murder (a.k.a. war) or climate apartheid — the rejection and condemnation of refugees who are fleeing terrible conditions in their homeland, often created or intensified by climate change. Thus Mark Morgan, acting director of U.S. Read more

Farewell, John Bolton

The firing (or, he insists, the resignation) of John Bolton as national security special assistant is being treated by some observers as a great loss for coherence and professionalism in the conduct of US foreign policy. Josh Rogin at the Washington Post, for example, writes on September 11: “Republicans on Capitol Hill lost a key Read more

The Age of Constitutional Coups

In 2017, in the wake of a failed military putsch the previous year, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Erdogan held what the British journalist Patrick Cockburn rightly calls “a blatantly rigged referendum which marginalized parliament and gave him dictatorial powers.” Erdogan won a narrow majority that “was only achieved late on election night when the head of the electoral board overseeing the election decided that votes not stamped as legally valid, numbering as many as 1.5 million, would be counted as valid.” Erdogan then implemented a national educational curriculum that devalued secular liberal ideas and science and emphasized religious and “national values.” More

Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left

The neoliberal revolution that has been underway since the mid-1970s fundamentally reoriented American governance toward the interests of capital. While the distance between government and the so-called private sector was never that great, all pretense that government served the broader public interest was cast aside in favor of state-corporatism. This wasn’t simply a matter of privatizing the public realm— it overlaid a capitalist rationale on all public undertakings. More

Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics

As we move past the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, it helps to be aware of the changes in U.S. political culture that have transformed this nation over the last two decades. I teach a history class at Lehigh University, titled “The War on Terrorism in Politics, Media, and Memory,” which is billed as examining the “meaning” of this war, via an exploration of “personal experiences and critical perspectives on the war,” as depicted in official rhetoric, the news media, and popular film. More

Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus

+ What I learned at the debate last night…. + We’re going to be stuck in the middle with Klobuchar… + Booker: such fancy rhetorical skills in the service of nothing. + The common theme seems to be that the Democrats will “unify” America. Is a “unified America” a 54-46 split? + Bernie’s voice may not Read more

Jeremy Corbyn: Electoral “Chicken” or Political Mastermind?

Britain’s hard-right Tory Prime Minister, Boris Johnson (BoJo the Racist Clown), recently told US Vice President, Mike Pence, that Labour’s genuinely left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is “a gigantic chlorinated chicken.” The official Tory Twitter account even featured a Photoshopped image of Corbyn wearing a chicken costume, making the joke (which doesn’t even work) that the Read more

The Vox Populi

“President Trump touched something inside me. He speaks like me and he talks like me.” – Fayetteville, NC Trump rally “Make Empathy Great Again” – T-shirt voice Donald J. Trump won the presidency partially because of his already existing Reality TV celebratory status. Audiences got used to his dealing tactics and he became proficient in Read more

The Pirates of Gibraltar

On April 17, 2019, a tanker named Grace 1 left Iran for an unspecified destination with reportedly 2.1 million barrels of crude oil, worth some $130 million. According to a March 20 report in Reuters about how Iran tries to evade US sanctions, the Grace 1 was “Panamanian-flagged and managed by Singapore-based shipping services firm.” The Grace 1, TankerTrackers reported, was built in 1997 and, given its age and size, was not allowed to dock at many ports. It therefore had a history of handling ship-to-ship fuel oil transfers at sea. It would typically receive fuel oil from Iran, the source stated, and then deliver it to smaller vessels. More

Hong Kong and the Future of China

Something didn’t quite add up. This past weekend, protestors were rallying outside the American embassy in Hong Kong. They were waving American flags. They were singing The Star-Spangled Banner. One 24-year-old protester wore a red Make America Great Again hat. Some signs at the protest read “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong.” “The Chinese government Read more

The Likely End to Roe v. Wade?

A 2017 U.S. government report, “SUPREME COURT DECISIONS OVERRULED BY SUBSEQUENT DECISION,” notes, “while the Supreme Court sometimes expressly overrules a prior decision, in other instances the overruling must be deduced from the principles of related cases.” The report identifies 237 Court decision that have been either overturned or revised. A handful of key Court cases illustrates Read more

When You Mess With Creation Myths, the Knives Come Out

I would have ended my challenge to “Hamilton, The Revolution” after a four night reading of the script that took place at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe last January. It was one of the actors, Robert Mailer Anderson, a filmmaker (Windows on the World) and novelist, who said that he’d put up money for a full Read more

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