Category Archives: OPINION

The New Old Obama

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

For President Barack Obama, these are the days of never hearing an encouraging word. Not since his own supporters were losing faith in his presidential campaign in the summer of 2007 has Obama confronted so many bad reviews and such widespread frustration and angry criticism from his own side. Continue reading

Who Wants to Go Back to the ’50s?

By Bill Boyarsky/

Of all the ways President Barack Obama tried to rationalize his surrender to the Republicans, none was more infuriating than when he said the deficit deal would lead to the “lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was president.” Continue reading

The Bizarro FDR

By David Sirota

Barack Obama is a lot of things—eloquent, dissembling, conniving, intelligent and above all, calm. But one thing he is not is weak.

This basic truth is belied by the meager Obama criticism you occasionally hear from liberal pundits and activists. They usually stipulate that the president genuinely wants to enact the progressive agenda he campaigned on, but they gently reprimand him for failing to muster the necessary personal mettle to achieve that goal. In this mythology, he is “President Pushover,” as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently labeled him. Continue reading

The Stimulant Stimulus

Ilustración de Dan Goldman

Could something other than Rick Perry’s business-friendly policies be keeping the Texas economy buzzing?

 By Tina Rosenberg 

Texas is a jobs monster. Over the past two years, 37 percent of the net new jobs in the country were created in the state, a track record that governor and maybe GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is quick to tout. He credits his conservative, pro-business policies; skeptics say it’s mainly owed to immigration and the high prices the state is getting for its oil. But there’s another possible contributor to Texas’s growth that no one is talking about: the drug trade. Continue reading

Sorry Elizabeth, Wall Street Said No

By Robert Scheer

AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais President Barack Obama shakes hands with Richard Cordray after announcing his nomination as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is at Elizabeth Warren’s right.

So much for the meritocracy. Despite an elite education, effusive charm and brilliant wit, Barack Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, has ended up betraying his humble origins by abjectly serving the most rapacious variant of Wall Street greed. They both talk a good progressive game, but when push comes to shove—meaning when the banking lobby weighs in—big money talks and the best and the brightest fold. Continue reading

Casey Anthony and Why We Need to Fix Capital Punishment

AP / Red Huber, pool Casey Anthony walks out of the Orange County, Fla., jail with her attorney, Jose Baez, early Sunday morning. She was acquitted of murder last week in the death of her daughter, Caylee.

By Bill Blum/

… This is a man’s world
But it would be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.

—James Brown

In May 2010, long before Casey Anthony had become the protagonist in a national morality play and long before CNN Headline News hosts Jane Valez-Mitchell and Nancy Grace had assumed the role of a latter-day Greek chorus calling for her conviction, Anthony’s defense team brought a pretrial motion to remove the death penalty as an option in the case on grounds of gender discrimination. Continue reading


By Daisaku Ikeda (*)

TOKYO, Jul (IPS) The human spirit has a truly remarkable capacity -the ability to generate hope from the most devastating of crises. This ability to create value can be seen in the response to the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11. Continue reading

America’s Disappeared

By Chris Hedges/truthdig

Dr. Silvia Quintela was “disappeared” by the death squads in Argentina in 1977 when she was four months pregnant with her first child. She reportedly was kept alive at a military base until she gave birth to her son and then, like other victims of the military junta, most probably was drugged, stripped naked, chained to other unconscious victims and piled onto a cargo plane that was part of the “death flights” that disposed of the estimated 20,000 disappeared. The military planes with their inert human cargo would fly over the Atlantic at night and the chained bodies would be pushed out the door into the ocean. Quintela, who had worked as a doctor in the city’s slums, was 28 when she was murdered. Continue reading

The New Sputnik

*By Juan Cole/truthdig

In 1957, a United States shocked by the Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite bounced into action to compete on the world stage. More than 50 years later, in May of 2011, the U.S. is facing a new challenge. The Chinese Communist Party has decided to launch a crash program to produce green energy, a field where it already has a commanding lead over the U.S. The difference between 1957 and 2011 is that American politics in the meantime have been captured by parasitic or corrupt industries such as high finance and big oil and gas. The Green Gap produced by China’s increasing lead in the technologies of the future is not even headlined in America’s corporate mass media, much less galvanizing a nation of gas guzzlers and coal junkies. Continue reading

‘Entitlement’ Is a Republican Word

By Bill Boyarsky

At his news conference this week, President Barack Obama seized on a misleading Washington word—“entitlements”—to describe the badly needed aid programs that are likely to be cut because of his compromises with the Republicans.

“Entitlement” is a misleading word because it masks the ugly reality of reducing medical aid for the poor, the disabled and anyone over 65 as well as cutting Social Security. Calling such programs entitlements is much more comfortable than describing them as what they are—Medicare, Social Security and money for good schools, unemployment insurance, medical research and public works construction that would put many thousands to work. Continue reading

New China Will Be Red and Expert

By Dan Siegel

China may be returning to the days when its ideal communist was both “Red and expert,” and The Wall Street Journal is worried. In a recent article, the newspaper profiled one of China’s rising new leaders, Bo Xilai, Communist Party chief of Chongqing and a likely candidate next year for a position on the party’s Politburo Standing Committee. If chosen, Bo may help bring about a new synthesis of the political trends that have shaped China for the past six decades. The Journal is concerned that the ascendancy of new leadership may retard what it describes as the liberal economic policies that have fueled China’s growth since the end of the Cultural Revolution and the ascendancy of Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s. Continue reading

The rise of ‘Toxic Tom’ Corbett

By Betsey Piette/Philadelphia

Gov. Tom Corbett’s first state budget, with its massive draconian cuts in programs that have benefitted working and poor families in Pennsylvania, leaves little doubt: The corporations that poured millions of dollars into his campaign coffers got their money’s worth.

Continue reading


By Pascal Lamy (*)

GENEVA, Jul (IPS) Globalisation dominates our era, but it is an increasingly fragile dominance. Even as global integration delivers enormous benefits -growing wealth, spreading technology, the rise of billions of people in the developing world- it also creates new risks -financial instability, economic imbalances, environmental stresses, growing inequalities, cyber penetration- that we seem to have difficulty managing. Continue reading

The Huge, Inhuman Power of The Real ‘War Lords’

By Baher Kamal | Human Wrongs Watch

Politicians in rich countries use to cry to the sky and tear their hair out, warning against migrants and refugees’ alleged extraordinary threats and exceptional danger, while blaming them for all the troubles that their obedience to the “market lords” and the “war lords” has been causing. Continue reading

Senate Reform for the People, Not the Politicians

Deborah CoyneDeborah Coyne/Canadians Without Border

Reform of the Canadian Senate is long overdue; a respected, elected second house of Parliament is needed more than ever to ensure diverse regional concerns are well-articulated and integrated into national action in order to deal with critical 21st century challenges and to ensure a respected Canadian voice in world affairs. Continue reading

U.S. mayors against the bombings

By Manuel E. Yepe

Mayors from across the United States met in Baltimore this month to set public policy for the billions of people living in big cities whose safety and well-being depend on municipal services. While Congress in Washington considered allocating another $118 billion to conduct wars next year, mayors dealt with these issues, much closer to their constituents. Continue reading

European Authorities Risking Financial Contagion in Greek Showdown; Where Is the U.S. Government?

By Mark Weisbrot*

This article was published by The Guardian Unlimited (UK) on June 25, 2011. If anyone wants to reprint it, please include a link to the original.

The European authorities are playing a dangerous game of “chicken” with Greece right now. It is overdue for U.S. members of Congress to exercise some oversight as to what our government’s role is in this process, and how we might be preparing for a Greek debt default. Depending on how it happens, this default could have serious repercussions for the international financial system and the U.S. (and world) economy. Continue reading

U.S. impunity and international conflicts

HAVANA.—The United States, the principal violator of international law, will never appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC), in spite of its policy of aggression, interference and expansionism, stated Nicolás Fernández, member of the Cuban International Law Society, speaking at the 5th International Summer School, Havana 2011 and the 7th Humanitarian International Law Symposium. Continue reading

Is the Crisis of Capitalism Terminal?

Leonardo Boff

Theologian/Earthcharter Commission

I believe the present crisis of capitalism is more than cyclical and structural. It is terminal. Are we seeing the end of the genius of capitalism, of always being able to adapt to any circumstance? I am aware that only few other people maintain this thesis. Two things, however, bring me to this conclusion. Continue reading

USA:Victories won in struggle to protect sacred burial grounds

By Terri Kay/Vallejo, Calif.

On day 59 of the encampment to protect Sogorea Te — the sacred Shellmound ancient burial grounds at Glen Cove, Vallejo, Calif. — Native people from many reservations along with supporters gathered for a special Spiritual Gathering June 11. The Native nations represented included Cachil Dehe/Colusa Band of Wintu, Elem Pomo, Grindstone Wintu/Wailaki, Northern Chumash, Chemehuevi, Tuolumne Me-wuk, Pit River, Maidu, Mono, Karkin Ohlone and Rumsen Ohlone. Continue reading

The Global Climate Regime on the Brink

By Martin Khor*

IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

GENEVA (IDN) – We agreed in Bali in December 2007 to build a much stronger international climate regime to better cope with recent alarming analysis of the disastrous effects of climate change. But instead of achieving this new regime, we now see quite unbelievably an attempt to dismantle even the weaker regime that we now have. Continue reading

Ban’s Second Term: The Case for a Woman Secretary-General

By Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury*

 EW YORK, Jun 20, 2011 (IPS) – Last Friday’s recommendation to give the incumbent U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon another five-year term drew the international community’s attention to another opaque, non- democratic process that is the hallmark of the 15-member Security Council’s decision-making. Continue reading

The magical realism of body counts

A gypsy named Melquiades who died many years ago in Singapore returned to live with the family of Colonel Aureliano Buendia in Macondo, because he could no longer bear the tedium of death. These are the kinds of characters that populate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magnificent work One Hundred Years of Solitude. Today they also seem to occupy the tribal badlands of Pakistan’s north-western frontier. Continue reading

CUBA: Economic Reforms Hitting Women Hard

By Dalia Acosta

HAVANA,  (IPS) – Women in Cuba are gaining ground in public life and earn the same wages as men. But the gender gap in the workplace is still a challenge for women, who are finding the odds more heavily stacked against them as the government of Raúl Castro adopts economic reforms aimed at “updating” the country’s socialist system. Continue reading

Massive popular uprising in Greece

Yorgos Mitralias*

Two weeks after it started the Greek movement of ‘outraged’ people has the main squares in all cities overflowing with crowds that shout their anger, and makes the Papandreou government and its local and international supporters tremble. It is now more than just a protest movement or even a massive mobilization against austerity measures. It has turned into a genuine popular uprising that is sweeping over the country. An uprising that makes known at large its refusal to pay for ‘their crisis’ or ‘their debt’ while throwing the two big neoliberal parties, if not the whole political world into complete disarray. Continue reading