May 11, 2011
If you want to see how an ostensibly religious regime can be corrupted into something close to fascism, just take a look at contemporary Bahrain.
President Barack Obama and top administration officials have taken advantage of the killing of Osama bin Laden to establish a new narrative suggesting the event will pave the way for negotiations with the Taliban for peace in Afghanistan.
In 1870 – five years after the American Civil War ended – the disastrous long-term human and economic consequences of the conflict were becoming increasingly apparent, especially to the mothers of the sons and the wives of the husbands who had seen their patriotic men march off to that “inglorious” war and had come home dead or wounded.
Since Osama bin Laden’s killing on May 1, it has become shockingly clear that the terrorist leader did not spend most of the last decade on the run or hiding in caves. He was holed up in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad enjoying the comforts of family life with his twenty-something-year-old latest wife.
The United States was never meant to be a Christian nation. Instead, the Founders envisioned a secular state in which religion would be pursued with complete freedom, but they also understood the need for the young nation to have a moral compass.
As America’s morbid celebrations over the killing of Osama bin Laden begin to fade, we are left with a new landscape of risks – and opportunities – created by his slaying at the hands of a U.S. Special Forces team at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
On April 9, Condoleezza Rice delivered a talk in San Francisco. Or tried to. The former Secretary of State was interrupted repeatedly by cries from the audience of "war criminal" and "torturer". (For which we can thank Code Pink and World Can't Wait.)
The WikiLeaks documents released on Guantanamo prisoners indicate appalling military incompetence in haphazardly patching together sketchy and contradictory information that has allowed many high-risk terror suspects to go free, while low-risk or innocent detainees continue to be incarcerated.
In the aftermath of the resolution of the Great Birther bash-up, even as President Obama tried to lay the issue to rest by producing the document that showed, proved, verified, documented, and validated his birth in one of the great states of our disunion, it was said that its release would only fuel more debate and convince no one.
President Barack Obama touched off American celebrations with his Sunday night announcement that U.S. forces finally had killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but that long frustrating hunt might not have been necessary if George W. Bush had rejected neoconservative advice to pivot prematurely from Afghanistan to Iraq in late 2001.
A few days ago, I received my copy of Time magazine and found that the Rev. Rob Bell, a pastor of a megachurch in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a graduate of my alma mater, Wheaton College, had made the front cover.
Since the Gilded Age of the 19th century, the wealthy financiers and "robber baron" industrialists have been effectively purchasing power – and creating further revenue for themselves – by directing money into the coffers of business friendly politicians, who in turn vote for lower taxes, special exemptions, tax loopholes, deregulation, etc.
Some Americans, especially on the Left, seem to have almost forgotten that Barack Obama is an African-American whose rise to the presidency was one of the most unlikely political stories in U.S. history.
The news that President Barack Obama has picked Gen. David Petraeus to be CIA director raises troubling questions, including whether the commander most associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will tolerate objective analysis of those two conflicts.
On April 23, 1999, at 2:06 a.m. Belgrade time, as NATO was preparing for its 50th anniversary celebration in Washington D.C., two cruise missiles struck the Radio Televizija Srbija (SRT) headquarters in Belgrade.
Having laughed off Libyan government peace feelers, Official Washington is now beating the drum for a new round of “shock and awe” bombings and close-combat air strikes to “finish the job” of ousting Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
The introduction of NATO ground forces into Libya would be met by additional African and Moslem volunteers joining Libyan forces, according to sources close to Col. Muammar Gaddafi, who add that NATO’s targeting of government officials could provoke retaliation against Western leaders.
The Republicans are making a cynical bet that Americans over 55 really are the “greedy geezers” of conservative ideology, people who care only for themselves and not for their children and subsequent generations.
The influence of lobbies and special interests is a structural part of the U.S. political system and has been so since the founding of the nation. This being the case, the United States is not really a democracy of individuals. Rather, it is a democracy of competing interest groups or factions.
Afghanistan may be the graveyard of empires, but Iraq is home to a graveyard sense of humor. Iraqis wonder aloud whether the U.S. and Britain would have invaded Iraq if its main export had been cabbages instead of oil.
NATO’s one-month intervention in the Libyan civil war has demonstrated that – whether the West likes it or not – Col. Muammar Gaddafi retains significant political support in parts of the country and that a peace deal with him may be the only way to achieve the stated goal of saving civilian lives.
After months of pressure, the Obama administration has finally transferred Pfc. Bradley Manning to a military prison appropriately designed for pre-trial detention in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
Patriots Day commemorates the start of the American Revolution, the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, and the staggering British retreat to Boston. What’s less known is how the Americans outfoxed the British at one of their own strengths, intelligence.
I’m still smarting from Fox News describing me as “an elderly man” who, it was thought, might have had a sign or might have begun to shout out, and thus had to be “escorted out” of the auditorium while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was speaking at George Washington University on Feb. 15.
Some readers tell me that I devote too much time to the historical context of the American political/media crisis. They say I should focus more on its current manifestations, especially when there are so many to address. And these readers have a point.
Twenty years ago, there was a chance to expose some of the darkest secrets of Ronald Reagan’s presidency: how his men had sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s reelection campaign and how the Iran-Contra scandal had really begun.
The eight months of solitary confinement of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning at the Quantico brig has drawn national and international criticism in the last week. Support is growing for him around the world with 500,000 writing President Barack Obama in the last few days and with hundreds of top U.S. legal scholars criticizing his conditions of confinement.
The Pakistani military's recent demands on the United States to curb drone strikes and reduce the number of U.S. spies operating in Pakistan, which have raised tensions between the two countries to a new high, were a response to U.S. military and intelligence programs that had gone well beyond what the Pakistanis had agreed to in past years.
Just think for a moment about the 55-year-old Tea Party activist who today is caught up in the excitement over Rep. Paul Ryan’s “bold” Republican budget. Picture the activist adjusting his tri-corner hat, waving his yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, and thrilled that finally someone is getting serious about dismantling the socialist tyranny of Medicare.
The technologies that inflicted upon the world the ongoing tragedies in both the Gulf of Mexico and Japan serve a dangerous addiction, an addiction to blind optimism, a habituation of mind that allows us to dwell within provisional comfort zones but renders vast spaces of the world into death realms.
President Barack Obama has given his approval to a Pentagon plan to station U.S. combat troops in Iraq beyond 2011, provided that Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki officially requests it, according to U.S. and Iraqi sources.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, unveiled two proposals this week which if enacted would constitute a mortal threat to our nation’s health – particularly to the health of our seniors and our most vulnerable populations.
The consequences of three decades of anti-government Reaganism and free-market extremism are now coming clearly into view, a cruel and brutish America split sharply between a few lucky haves and many desperate have-nots.
The Obama administration’s decision to use a military tribunal rather than a federal criminal court to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others means the real motives behind the 9/11 attacks may remain obscure.
On March 20, Americans, in a vet-led assembly, gathered to support PFC Bradley Manning who is accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks and who has been held in solitary confinement at the Quantico Marine Base for seven months.
The neocon editors of the Washington Post, who have pushed the Iraq War since the beginning, are bummed out over the looming reality of America’s strategic defeat after eight years of fighting.
Before he went over that mountain top in April 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. said he had already seen the other side, as he spent his last days on earth fighting for the garbage men of Memphis while speaking out about the twin evils of war and poverty.
It will be recalled that after the September 2009 issuance of the Goldstone Report suggesting that Israel might be guilty of war crimes, Judge Richard Goldstone was barred from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah. That is how much resentment was produced by the critical report that bears his name.
The historical parallel most unnerving the Obama administration about the Libyan conflict is not Vietnam or Iraq, but Afghanistan in the 1980s, when the Reagan administration eagerly armed Islamic fundamentalists as a proxy force against Soviet troops only to see these “freedom fighters” morph into the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
There’s a joke making the rounds and it goes like this: Big Business, a Tea Partier and Organized Labor are sitting around a table. A dozen cookies arrive on a plate. Big Business takes eleven of them and says to the Tea Partier, "Pssst! That union guy is trying to steal your cookie!"
Spokespersons for NATO, European politicians, members of the Obama administration, and the President himself have been out and about seeking to articulate justifications for the ongoing intervention in Libya. For better or worse, their public statements do not always make sense.
Twenty years ago, in spring 1991, the United States was at a crossroads that would decide the near-term fate of American democracy, but that reality wasn’t apparent to many. What was clear was that the U.S. empire was resurgent.
Things are bad when a president who says he wants out of Iraq and claims American soldiers will soon start to withdraw from Afghanistan succumbs to international and domestic pressure to do the heavy lifting in yet another civil war — this time in Libya.
The New York Times and the Washington Post both believe that the United States should have begun bombing Libya before the United Nations Security Council approved the mission – a sign that the two preeminent American newspapers continue their slide into neoconservatism.
The announcement by U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy in congressional testimony that the United States would continue to carry out "counter-terrorism operations" from "joint bases" in Afghanistan well beyond 2014 signaled that President Barack Obama has given up the negotiating flexibility he would need to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban leadership.
In Berlin, Germany, in early 1939, at Friedrichstrasse railway station, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, my grandmother placed my mother and her older sister, with a few family valuables sown into their clothing, on a Kindertransport bound for Great Britain.
If you think the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) couldn't possibly make its prisons more inhumane no matter how hard it tried, you are wrong. It has created CMUs, or Communications Management Units, where the “management” part consists of denying inmates virtually all communication with their families and the outside world.
Richard Falk, the United Nations Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, told the world organization’s Human Rights Council that the "continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians are creating an intolerable situation."
Like Jake LaMotta and his brother Joey in the bloody boxing classic Raging Bull, we are gluttons for punishment. So here we are again, third week in a row, defending NPR against the bare-knuckled assault of its critics.
It's been a long time since I sat in a college literature class and learned about the theater of the absurd, the work of great writers like Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and Camus, among others.
American neoconservatives worried that the pro-democracy wave sweeping the Middle East might take out only "moderate" Arab dictators, but the neocons now see hope that uprisings will topple "enemy" regimes in Libya and Syria.
Last week, Detroit News auto critic, Scott Burgess, resigned after a “Chrysler dealer complained about his review of the Chrysler 200 — the centerpiece of the company’s 'Imported from Detroit' advertising campaign."
The failure of the General Electric nuclear reactors in Japan to safely shut down after the 9.0 Tahoku earthquake – on the heels of last year’s catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the deadly methane gas explosion in Massey’s West Virginia coal mine – underscores the grave dangers to human society posed by current energy production methods.
Since Saturday night, the United States, France, and Britain have been bombing Libya with cruise missiles, B-2 stealth bombers, F-16 and F-15 fighter jets, and Harrier attack jets. There is no reliable estimate of the number of civilians killed.
On a state visit to Chile on Monday, President Barack Obama deflected questions about U.S. support for the late Augusto Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship by warning against the risks of becoming “trapped by our history.” But a clear and present danger to the United States is that it is being trapped instead by false and misleading narratives.
There is no question that the Christian church of the first three centuries regarded itself as a nonviolent community. It makes perfect sense. Jesus clearly taught and modeled the nonviolent love of friend and enemy, and his earliest followers tried to do so.
Whether you believe that the United Nations resolution authorizing extensive intervention in the Libyan civil war is justified or not, and whether you believe that the admittedly eccentric 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi over a complex and fractious tribal society has been cruel, there is one thing that all objective observers should be able to agree on.
The number of civilians killed in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids in Afghanistan last year was probably several times higher than the figure of 80 people cited in the U.N. report published last week, an IPS investigation has revealed.
As Americans turn to their news media to make sense of the upheavals in the Middle East, it’s worth remembering that the bias of the mainstream U.S. press corps is most powerful when covering a Washington-designated villain, especially if he happens to be Muslim.
Although people can be educated in a variety of ways, experience is a particularly effective teacher. Consider the Japanese who today are certainly learning how dangerous nuclear power can be.
The United States government, in violation of international human rights treaties, is trying to prevent the return to Haiti of twice-elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was deposed in a U.S.-backed coup d’etat in 2004.
A number of years back, Pauline Kael took Steven Spielberg to task for his depiction of rural Georgia circa 1909 in his movie, “The Color Purple,” averring that Spielberg's only field of reference seemed to be images culled from cinematic history, rendering his movie tone deaf regarding the rhythms and cadences of life during the era.Read on.
George Orwell argued that controlling language offered the ultimate tool for getting people to accept the unacceptable – such as the catastrophic risks of operating nuclear power plants.
It appears the most serious offense you can commit in Washington these days is telling the truth. You get a pass on torture, aggressive war, killing civilians, lying, destroying evidence and such, but don’t dare give honest information to the American people.
The ecological crisis posed by the exploding and leaking nuclear power plants in Japan following the massive earthquake and tsunami there presents an opportunity for Americans to rethink nuclear power.
I live in a university town just west of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both the town and the university share the same name, hence West Chester University. WCU is a publicly owned institution and part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).
Today’s American political crisis has many facets, but a key one is narrative – how the history and ideals of the United States are understood by the public. The strategic importance of narrative is why the Right has invested so much in building media to redirect and control the national storylines.
Government budgets are as much moral statements as the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount. The language is different, but the essence is the same. Budgets reveal the values of the nation.
The eulogies for Washington Post columnist David Broder and the chaos surrounding National Public Radio have coincided as an unintended commentary on what went wrong with the U.S. news media.
I write to you in your capacity as the commander-in-chief of the armed services of the United States to express my concern, indeed my outrage, at the way in which the prosecution of U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is being conducted.
Reports that Bradley Manning is being held nude every night at the Quantico Brig, then forced to stand naked in the hallway while he waits for his clothes, shows the inconsistency of the treatment of Manning with basic American values of due process, fair trial and human dignity.
Two clandestine operations during hard-fought presidential elections of the past half century shaped the modern American political era, but they remain little known to the general public and mostly ignored by historians. One unfolded in the weeks before Election 1968 and the other over a full year before Election 1980.
CNBC, the top U.S. business news channel, is running propaganda ads in support of unbridled capitalism, including a 1979 clip of right-wing economist Milton Friedman besting talk show host Phil Donahue in a debate over the merits of greed.
Amidst all the stirring political upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East, the name "Marshall Plan" keeps being repeated by political figures and media around the world as the key to rebuilding the economies of those societies to complement the political advances, which hopefully will be somewhat progressive.
Okay, I know we don’t write much about sports, but I had a thought about how to resolve one of the sticking points in the NFL negotiations with the players’ union – the issue of expanding the regular season schedule to 18 from 16 games.
The term “class war” has been extricated from the archives of another era, while divisions over the future of the economy have become a battleground in which the adversaries yell at each other, but rarely engage in any discourse with each other in a shared language.
Many big issues fill our daily news – political upheaval in the Middle East, budget-cutting in Washington, and a challenge to public unions in Wisconsin – but there is another dark storm cloud on the horizon, the renewed battle over the issue of church and state.
There is no doubt that Julian Assange, the head of the WikiLeaks organization, and Bradley Manning, the soldier who allegedly leaked U.S. classified documents, are being singled out and made examples of by the Obama administration.
The CIA shared with George W. Bush’s Justice Department the details of how an interrogation strategy – with an emphasis on forced nudity and physical abuse – could train prisoners in “learned helplessness” and demonstrate “the complete control of Americans.”
The mysterious fortune of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak got an early boost from millions of dollars in cash bribes delivered by CIA-connected arms merchants in the late 1970s, according to two participants.
A disorderly conduct charge against former CIA analyst Ray McGovern – for standing silently with his back to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – was dropped on Wednesday in what McGovern called a victory for the constitutional right to dissent against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Establishment Washington, Defense Secretary Robert Gates enjoys a charmed life based on a charming persona. The Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) is always ready with fulsome praise for his “candor” and “leadership” – and even for his belated recognition that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were nuts.
If there were ever a doubt about whether the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is “a real journalist,” recent events should erase all those doubts. Indeed, they should put him at the forefront of a movement to democratize journalism and empower people.
Twenty years ago, with a resounding victory in a 100-hour ground war against Iraqi troops in Kuwait, the first Bush administration completed the restoration of a powerful public consensus, a renewed national commitment that the United States should act as the world’s imperial policeman.
When Defense Secretary Robert Gates told West Point cadets that you’d have to be crazy to commit U.S. troops to wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, media commentators quickly detected a slap at his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, who oversaw those conflicts.
If you have the stomach to listen to the likes of Glenn Beck or track the antics of people like Sarah Palin, you might get the idea that today’s American political conservatives are a bunch of radicals and extremists. And, as we will see, you would be correct.
"More cheese, less sleaze!" That was the funniest group chant at Tuesday’s rally of several hundred union and other progressive activists outside the Manhattan headquarters of Fox News.
As the youth-led Freedom Movement of 2011 spreads rapidly across the Middle East, one can only wonder what would be happening in Iraq today if the U.S. had not invaded eight years ago.
A great tragedy of the United States is that the answer to many of the country’s domestic problems is obvious, even simple, but can’t be done because of a dominating political/media dynamic that rules that solution out.
It’s not just Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recent efforts to strip public employees of their right to collectively bargain that have citizens of his state outraged. Walker is nothing short of a radical hell-bent on privatizing the public sector of Wisconsin.
It was not until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walked to the George Washington University podium last week to enthusiastic applause that I decided I had to dissociate myself from the obsequious adulation of a person responsible for so much death, suffering and destruction.
The inspiring moments when President Obama appeared before the cameras, and thus the world, to declare that the dictator Hosni Mubarak must step down and the people of Egypt must be given the inalienable right to self-determination are now in the past.
The national Republican leadership embraced anger during the first two years of Barack Obama’s term with rank-and-file Republicans even brandishing guns at rallies. But anger is suddenly a bad thing again, at least when expressed by public employees defending their collective bargaining rights.
The uprising in Egypt has to be added to the truly world-changing events that I have witnessed in my life. The others I would call “the big three”: World War II, the American civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War.
Forced at gunpoint this weekend to clean out a lot of old paper files in anticipation of some home improvements, I ran across some articles and obituaries I had saved following the death, a little more than five and a half years ago, of the late, great Ann Richards, former governor of Texas.Read on.
Sometimes the hypocrisy is just overwhelming. So, it probably shouldn’t surprise us that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would deliver a speech hailing the peaceful protests that changed Egypt while 71-year-old Ray McGovern was roughed up and dragged away for standing quietly in protest of her support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.Read on.
Iranian parliamentarians presented an ugly scene on Tuesday with raucous chants calling for the executions of two opposition leaders – and the U.S. news media was quick to denounce the Iranian government – but there is a complex history that Americans aren’t getting.Read on.
Despite evidence that the Taliban insurgency had grown significantly in 2010, the U.S. intelligence
community failed to revise its estimate for Taliban forces as part of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan in December.
Twenty years ago, as Americans were celebrating Valentine’s Day, Iraqi husbands and fathers in the Amiriyah section of Baghdad were peeling the remains of their wives and children off the walls and floor of a large neighborhood bomb shelter.Read on.
On the long morning after, protesters returned to Tahrir Square to clean it up and savor their victory. There were even some initial scuffles with the military that may be over-anxious to assert control and show it is in charge.
One of the really progressive acts that followed the end of World War II was the establishment of the principle of universal jurisdiction (UJ), a legal process that allows states that are signatories to various international treaties and conventions (such as the Geneva conventions) to prosecute alleged violators of these treaties, even when these violations are committed outside the country’s usual jurisdiction.
I’m surprised that otherwise intelligent people continue to believe the myth that the media is “liberal.” I think it’s worth discussing what a liberal media would look like if we had one, so we can better understand that we don’t have one.Read on.
As the news broke on Saturday that former President George W. Bush had abruptly canceled his scheduled appearance this week in Geneva to avoid the risk of arrest on a torture complaint, my first thought was — how humiliating, not only for Bush but, by extension, for all Americans.Read on.
The central justification of the U.S.-NATO war against the Afghan Taliban - that the Taliban would allow al Qaeda to return to Afghanistan - has been challenged by new historical evidence of offers by the Taliban leadership to reconcile with the Hamid Karzai government after the fall of the Taliban government in late 2001.
How unseemly for New York Times executive editor Bill Keller to look down so disdainfully at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, with a nasty ad hominem portrayal in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets.”
When you’re listening to the many tributes to President Ronald Reagan, often for his talent making Americans feel better about themselves, you might want to spend a minute thinking about the many atrocities in Latin America and elsewhere that Reagan aided, covered up or shrugged off in his inimitable "aw shucks" manner.
Egypt is an alarm that signals the urgent need for change in U.S. foreign policy. It provides President Obama an opportunity to transform a foreign policy that has often had the opposite effect than was sought and is undermining U.S. economic and national security.Read on.
Almost seven years have passed since I spent some time in the Middle East. The closest I get to the opinions of "the Arab street" these days is the fellow who runs the delicatessen a block away from me.Read on.
The political crisis sweeping the Middle East is another part of Ronald Reagan’s dark legacy that is shattering into chaos even as the United States prepares to lavishly celebrate his 100th birthday.Read on.
On Friday evening, Jan. 21, after reading a short story by James Thurber, titled The Scotty Who Knew Too Much, Keith Olbermann abruptly closed his program by informing his viewers it would be his last. This out-of-the-blue exit will go down in broadcast history as one of the most bizarre.Read on.
I watched Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk about the ongoing events in Egypt. In essence, he said that if the demonstrations against the 30-year-old dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak succeeded the world could get an Iranian-style regime in Egypt and that would be the end of democracy.Read on.
Groundhog Day brings to mind various associations, including the fervent hope of this snow-buried Bostonian that Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow this year and spring will come early. This may be the one good thing about global warming.Read on.
What’s left out of a movie about history often interests only a few experts in the field. However, the release of one that chronicles the successful sub rosa American effort to bleed the Soviet Army in Afghanistan in the 1980s may prove to be an exception.
The death throes of the Mubarak regime in Egypt signal a new level of crisis for a U.S. Middle East strategy that has shown itself over and over again in recent years to be based on nothing more than the illusion of power.
The reason people in Tunisia, Egypt, and other parts of the world have been influenced to some extent by the work of WikiLeaks is that they have read or heard about the material that WikiLeaks has helped to make public.
If the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt tell us anything, it is that predicting the beginning of mass unrest is very difficult. Indeed, it is probably easier to predict the stock market.Read on.
In the last year of his life, Martin Luther King Jr. questioned U.S. military interventions against progressive movements in the Third World by invoking a JFK quote: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
As the United States celebrates Ronald Reagan’s centennial birthday, the defining proof of his greatness as president will be represented by two sequential film clips – Reagan in Berlin ordering Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” followed by scenes of the Berlin Wall coming down.
The Detroit Tigers are retiring the great baseball manager Sparky Anderson's number 11 this season. "It's a wonderful gesture," Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg wrote. "I just wish Sparky could see it."Read on.
U.S.-Russian relations are on the upswing – with the new treaty reducing deployed long-range strategic missiles (New START), an agreement on nuclear cooperation, and an arrangement to transport supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan through Russia. But there is much more to be done.
When Yasir Arafat took over the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1969, he changed it from a tool of the Egyptian government to a dynamic united front seeking national liberation for the Palestinian people.Read on.
On Sunday, I attended an informal talk given in a parish hall by the Justice Department’s Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. His topic: “The way his work for justice is defined by his faith.”
All over Europe and in much of the rest of the world, a new fictional hero has engaged the fascination of millions of readers. His name is Mikael Blomkvist, and he’s the protagonist of the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.Read on.
Ted Koppel, whose broadcasting career got a big boost from the Iranian-hostage crisis in 1980, doesn’t seem aware that the long-running cover-up of how Republicans sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations has collapsed – or Koppel may simply prefer to stick with the safer version of the story.
In Ukraine, where media diversity is often defined by which powerful oligarch controls which TV station, one network, TVi -- known for its independent investigative style -- is under intense legal pressure, with its owner not part of Ukraine's power circles.
Keith Olbermann’s abrupt departure from MSNBC should be another wake-up call to American progressives about the fragile foothold that liberal-oriented fare now has for only a few hours on one corporate cable network.
Most people do not realize the meaning of being a Baptist. Theologically, we cover the full spectrum from right to left. We are scattered politically throughout Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers and None of the Above. Our hallmark is freedom.Read on.
According to Laura Rozen, a journalist specializing in foreign policy matters and writing in Politico, the Obama administration is seeking "new ideas from outside experts on how to advance the [Israeli-Palestinian] peace process."
Barry Zorthian, who died last month at the age of 90, was one of the last surviving U.S government officials who shaped America’s role in the Vietnam War, a man who also stood at the shadowy intersection between press management and psychological warfare.
The continuing WikiLeaks controversy has focused needed attention on a number of important issues: whether, for example, Julian Assange was justified in releasing classified information in order to make government more accountable, whether the release of the information put U.S. intelligence sources and methods at risk, and whether the legitimate need for secrecy in certain government activities occasionally provides cover for government activities that public officials would have trouble justifying if they took place in the open.
On the eve of the Chinese President’s visit to the United States, and the intense speculation about his intentions — and ours — I found myself in a dark room at the Anthology Film Archive in the East Village watching a spectacular documentary by Chinese filmmaker Zhao Liang called “Petition.”
The American media continues to tout the reduced violence in Iraq without foreseeing the long-term potential for a resumption of severe ethno-sectarian violence and the absence of mechanisms — à la Sudan — to defuse it.Read on.
Fifty years after Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Jan. 17, 1961, speech on the “military-industrial complex,” the threat he identified has morphed into a far more powerful and sinister force than Eisenhower could have imagined. It has become a “Permanent War State,” with the power to keep the United States at war continuously for the indefinite future.
On Jan. 13, the Pentagon commemorated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with an address by Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department’s general counsel, who insisted that today’s wars are not out of line with the iconic Nobel Peace Prize winner’s teachings.Read on.
A United Nations-backed tribunal, which has conducted a long and troubled investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, issued a sealed indictment on Monday amid expectations that members of Hezbollah will be blamed.
On Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued his prophetic warning about the military-industrial complex, anticipating the increased political, economic, military and even cultural influence of the Pentagon and its allies.Read on.
It seems that I have upset some folks on the Left again, this time by mentioning – deep inside a story about Sarah Palin’s proclaimed victimhood over the Tucson massacre fallout – that groups like the 9/11 “truthers” also have contributed to America’s crazed political environment.
What happened in Tucson is not new to American life. It happens every day across the country. Indeed, murders using guns are so common that little note is taken until a high-profile person is the target or the numbers of dead are shockingly high.Read on.
Fascism is one of those words that sounds like it belongs in the past, conjuring up, as it does, marching jack boots in the streets, charismatic demagogues like Italy’s Mussolini or Spain’s Franco and armed crackdowns on dissent and freedom of expression.Read on.
Jared Loughner acted as a domestic suicide terrorist in the political “battleground” of American politics. His YouTube postings and “good-bye” phone messages are ominously reminiscent of the traditional farewell videos of Islamist martyrs.Read on.
If actions speak louder than words, the U.S. military has seemed to confirm the pessimistic findings of the National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) on the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which the military had recently pooh-poohed.
The Society of Professional Journalists [SPJ] is preparing to jump on the "kick Helen Thomas when she is down" campaign by retiring a lifetime achievement award that honors this great American journalist.
As far as we know, the often tearful, new House Speaker John Boehner hasn’t shed a tear over the near-fatal wounding of his Arizona colleague Gabrielle Giffords, but the folksy Sarah Palin sounded a solemn note as she went to her Facebook page to mourn the close-range shooting of the just-reelected Democratic congresswoman.Read on.
The full story of the bloody Tucson, Arizona, rampage that killed six and grievously wounded a U.S. congresswoman has yet to be pieced together, but the tragedy reminds us of the risk to democracy from both violent political rhetoric and reckless exaggerations about “victimhood.”
Five years ago, we became aware that something significant was happening among Christian churches. Young people were leaving churches in huge numbers, most with no intention to ever return.
As the House of Representatives was engaged in its reading of an abridged version of the U.S. Constitution – leaving out parts like the sections on slavery that would make the Founders look bad – I was reminded again of the power of false narrative, especially at a time when the American Right dominates the U.S. media landscape.
Here is an interesting piece of news from the Washington Post: "A group of prominent U.S. Republicans" went to Paris last month to attend a rally of the French Committee for a Democratic Iran. This organization just happens to be intimately connected with the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK).
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia unintentionally revealed the hypocrisy of the Right’s rhetoric about “originalist” interpretations of the U.S. Constitution with his comments about how the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection under the law” doesn’t mean equal rights for women.
Finally, Congress appears ready to hold some high-profile hearings – except they won’t be about the most important scandals of the past decade, like how the United States was misled into the Iraq invasion, how the Afghan War was bungled, how torture became a U.S. practice, or how bank deregulation and Wall Street greed nearly destroyed the economy.
Perhaps President Barack Obama should give himself a waiver on the ban prohibiting U.S. government employees from downloading classified cables released by WikiLeaks, so he can better understand the futility of his Afghan War strategy.
When we think of the great struggles of our day we almost always think in terms of movements and groups. There are Communists and Fascists, Capitalists and Socialists, Jews and Muslims, Zionists and Christian Fundamentalists, Democrats and Republicans, Western Civilization and its rivals, ad nauseum.