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October 13, 2015
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For the Soul of Mankind

For the Soul of Mankind

By Melvyn P. Leffler

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Tag: Barack Obama

‘More’ and ‘War’: The Tao of Washington

In a sense, there are only two operative words in twenty-first-century Washington: more and war. In this context, there really is just one well-policed party of thought in town.

Posted on Jan 22, 2015 READ MORE

Imagine Something Different

“Imagine if we did something different.” Those were just six words out of close to 7,000 that President Barack Obama spoke during his State of the Union address.

Posted on Jan 21, 2015 READ MORE

White House/Pete Souza

Obama: Damn the Torpedoes

“This is good news, people.” With those five words, President Obama made clear that he thinks it’s far more important to win a long-term argument with his partisan and ideological opponents than to pretend that they are eager to seize opportunities to work with him.

Posted on Jan 21, 2015 READ MORE

Seattle Socialist Council Member Kshama Sawant Responds to Obama’s SOTU

“Some of the proposals Obama made tonight point in the right direction, on taxing the rich, on providing a free community college education, paid sick and maternity leave, and municipal broadband,” Sawant began.

Posted on Jan 21, 2015 READ MORE

AP/Mandel Ngan

State of the Union: Bright Ideas, Dim Future

Obama fans loyally hailed the speech as a triumph. But in the real world if you don’t have the votes you’re a loser.

Posted on Jan 20, 2015 READ MORE


Nerds, Rejoice: Obama Promises to Send Astronauts to Mars ... to Stay

What is it about men in the twilight of their presidencies that has them reaching to the stars?

Posted on Jan 20, 2015 READ MORE

Watch the 2015 State of the Union

Full text of the speech and video after the jump.

Posted on Jan 20, 2015 READ MORE

SOTU Preview: Obama to Pitch Plan to Raise Taxes on the Wealthy

President Obama appears as though he’s not about to take the whole lame-duck thing (not to mention the Republican-lockdown-on-Congress thing) sitting down, given his outline for Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Posted on Jan 18, 2015 READ MORE

Frederic Legrand - COMEO /

Paris’ Place in the Middle Eastern Wars

The recent excitement in Paris produced an occasion of great surprise to an American observer, certainly to one who witnessed the transformational fear exacted from America’s governing elite by the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Posted on Jan 13, 2015 READ MORE

Mitt Romney Readies for 2016 Reboot

As if the looming prospect of a Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush 2016 déjà vu-fest weren’t already giving us a bad case of political whiplash, here comes 2012’s square-jawed champion of the conservative elite, Mitt Romney, to further amplify Americans’ nagging feeling that we’ve all been to this rodeo before. Several times.

Posted on Jan 13, 2015 READ MORE

Texas Rep. Randy Weber Backpedals After Invoking Hitler in Tweet About Obama

On Monday, Rep. Randy Weber of Texas pulled a time-honored stunt, using new media, in just two easy steps.

Posted on Jan 13, 2015 READ MORE

AP/Markus Schreiber

How Free Is Free Speech in America?

The uncomfortable truth is that here, as elsewhere around the world, freedom of expression has never come easily and is nearly always threatened in one way or another.

Posted on Jan 13, 2015 READ MORE

Andrew F. Kazmierski /

The Community College Cause

Permit me to declare my bias: I came to revere community colleges for very personal reasons and learned to admire them because they are central to restoring social and economic mobility in our nation.

Posted on Jan 12, 2015 READ MORE

Obama Proposes Free Community College for Americans

On Friday, President Obama announced a plan to send some 9 million Americans to two years of community college for free.

Posted on Jan 10, 2015 READ MORE


Why Isn’t David Petraeus on Trial?

The U.S. government has treated principled whistle-blowers like treasonous spies, yet Attorney General Eric Holder has reportedly ignored recommendations from his own FBI and Justice Department to prosecute former CIA chief David Petraeus.

Posted on Jan 9, 2015 READ MORE

A Self-Perpetuating Machine for American Insecurity

Imagine yourself in January 1963, alive and chastened by a world in which you could be obliterated at any moment. Imagine as well that someone from our time suddenly invited you into the American future some 52 Januaries hence.

Posted on Jan 8, 2015 READ MORE

Barack’s Sock

Posted on Dec 30, 2014 READ MORE


Economic Facts Get in the Way of Presidential Ambitions

Uh-oh. Now that the economy is doing well, what are Republicans—especially those running for president—going to complain about?

Posted on Dec 29, 2014 READ MORE

AP/Ramon Espinosa

What the U.S. Can Learn From Cuba’s Food Revolution

Long before President Obama’s historic opening, American and Cuban foodies have been exchanging cutting edge ideas in agriculture and health.

Posted on Dec 29, 2014 READ MORE


Everybody Calm Down

We now seem to be living in the Age of High C, a period when every fight is Armageddon, every foe is a monster, and every issue is either the key to national survival or the doorway to ruin.

Posted on Dec 29, 2014 READ MORE

How States Are Redistributing the Wealth

In 2008, candidate Obama was lambasted for supposedly endorsing policies of wealth redistribution. Yet only a few years later, the most explicit examples of such redistribution are happening in the states, and often at the urging of Republicans.

Posted on Dec 26, 2014 READ MORE

pisaphotography /

Activists Are Not to Blame for Murder of Police

It is absurd to have to say this, but New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, activist Al Sharpton and President Obama are in no way responsible for the coldblooded assassination of two police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday.

Posted on Dec 23, 2014 READ MORE


Who Is to Blame for North Korea’s Internet Collapse?

Wait—North Korea has the Internet?

Posted on Dec 22, 2014 READ MORE

White House/Pete Souza

The Duck That Roared

In the short run, President Obama has demonstrated that the term “lame duck” has its limits.

Posted on Dec 22, 2014 READ MORE

Truthdiggers of the Week: Pardiss Kebriaei and the Center for Constitutional Rights

The senior attorney at the celebrated civil liberties group is pushing for the prosecution of U.S. officials who tortured detainees and terrorism suspects—an issue the Senate’s report on the subject was conspicuously silent about.

Posted on Dec 21, 2014 READ MORE

‘Left, Right & Center’: The Sony Hack and Cuba

Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer and the other “Left, Right & Center” panelists discuss Obama’s year-end news conference, during which the president said Sony should have consulted him before canceling the release of “The Interview.” Also, is it a new world for Cuba?

Posted on Dec 20, 2014 READ MORE

The Visual Explorer /

On Cuba, Republicans Know Only Failure

Listen carefully to the Republican leaders and presidential hopefuls roaring with outrage over President Barack Obama’s courageous decision to normalize relations with Cuba; listen very carefully, because no matter how long or how closely you listen to them, there is one thing you will surely never hear.

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 READ MORE

White House/Pete Souza

The Treasury Secretary’s Misperceptions About Wealth

By Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s reckoning, being a millionaire does not constitute living high above the ranks of ordinary people.

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 READ MORE

Attila JANDI /

A Win for the Cuban People

President Obama’s historic opening to Cuba is long overdue—and has a chance of hastening the Castro dictatorship’s demise.

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 READ MORE

Obama Authorizes Sanctions Against Venezuelan Socialists

The American president has signed legislation that freezes assets and revokes travel visas belonging to Venezuelan officials who stand accused of violating the human rights of opponents of the South American nation’s socialist government.

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 READ MORE

The Senate Drone Report of 2019

Three years into a sagging Clinton presidency and a bitterly divided Congress, the 500-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s long fought-over, much-delayed, heavily redacted report on the secret CIA drone wars was finally released. Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) took to the Senate floor, and said…

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 READ MORE

Obama and the Beginning of the End of the Cuban Embargo

The failed United States policy against Cuba, which has for more than half a century stifled relations between these neighboring countries and inflicted generations of harm upon the Cuban people, may finally be collapsing.

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 READ MORE

President Obama and Congress Just Gave Your Savings Account to JPMorgan

With the passage of the 2015 federal budget bill, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon got lawmakers to repeal a key part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law and allow banks to use the savings accounts of ordinary Americans to gamble in the stock market on behalf of hedge funds, corporations and the rich.

Posted on Dec 14, 2014 READ MORE

The Abolition of Abolition

A long-dreaded transformation from hope to doom is taking place as President Obama ushers the world onto the no-turning-back road of nuclear perdition.

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 READ MORE

President Obama Tells Other Black Americans What They Already Know

President Obama’s observation that racism is “deeply rooted” in U.S. society is an understatement. Racism is as American as the Fourth of July, and ignoring this fact doesn’t make it go away.

Posted on Dec 8, 2014 READ MORE

Racial Profiling Will Continue at U.S. Borders

New rules curtailing the use of racial profiling won’t apply to border agents, who will still be allowed to consider race and ethnicity when stopping people at airports, international crossings and immigration checkpoints.

Posted on Dec 6, 2014 READ MORE

Mikhail Metzel/TASS

America’s Superpower Thinking Is a Bad Habit From a Bygone Century

China is emerging as the new Number One, while the policy makers in Washington can’t get their heads out of the Cold War.

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 READ MORE


Why Some of the Most Conservative Republicans Are Pro-Immigration

Take, for example, studies arguing for a liberalized immigration policy by the Cato Institute, a conservative libertarian think tank started by the vast wealth of right-wingers Charles and David Koch.

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 READ MORE

DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

A Soldier Among Chickenhawks

Chuck Hagel’s departure from his post as defense secretary has been attributed to his failure to fit in with the Obama cabinet’s crowd. Among his other reported deficiencies was that he was only a sergeant in Vietnam, twice wounded.

Posted on Nov 25, 2014 READ MORE

U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

Does Hagel’s Departure Pave the Way for Combat Troops to Iraq?

It’s a surprise to see President Obama actually fire someone. But I have to worry that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s forced departure may signal further expansion of U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Syria.

Posted on Nov 25, 2014 READ MORE

White House/Pete Souza

Obama Exposes Republican Malfunction

The president’s immigration action has forced the contradictions of the Republican establishmentarians into the sunlight.

Posted on Nov 24, 2014 READ MORE

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Jr. Dies at 78

Marion Barry Jr., who began his career in public service during the civil rights era and spent four terms as mayor of Washington, D.C., died late Saturday night in his hometown at age 78.

Posted on Nov 23, 2014 READ MORE

Who Benefits From the White House Immigration Plan?

The announcement of President Obama’s executive action on immigration elicited threats of retaliation from congressional Republicans. Here are some of the winners and losers.

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 READ MORE

Talking to Edward Snowden Is the Next Best Thing to Sex, Says John Perry Barlow

This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: The poet and activist says his friend Edward Snowden’s mind “is like cool, clear spring water.” Also: Robert Scheer on President Obama’s immigration overhaul, Keystone XL dies in the Senate, and Kasia Anderson breaks down the Bill Cosby rape allegations.

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 READ MORE

Talking to Edward Snowden Is the Next Best Thing to Sex, Says John Perry Barlow

This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: The poet and activist says his friend Edward Snowden’s mind “is like cool, clear spring water.” Also: Robert Scheer on President Obama’s immigration overhaul, Keystone XL dies in the Senate, and Kasia Anderson breaks down the Bill Cosby rape allegations.

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 READ MORE

Keystone, Climate Change and the Cold

It was a dramatic scene in the Senate this week. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren, presiding, announced the defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline, a Crow Creek Sioux man from South Dakota sang out in the Senate gallery.

Posted on Nov 20, 2014 READ MORE

AP/Evan Vucci

Immigration: Presidents Have the Power, but Does Obama Have the Guts?

Protecting immigrants from deportation, permitting them to come out of the shadows, is the right thing to do.

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 READ MORE

White House/Pete Souza

Obama Remains High-Handed—And Wrong—About Ukraine

For a man who had taken a stunning electoral blow two weeks earlier, Barack Obama completed his Asian trip with an air of unperturbed leadership of the world.

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 READ MORE

Photo by Caleb Smith

Don’t Blame Obama When Boehner Won’t Do His Job

The only reason President Obama has to act on immigration reform is that House Speaker John Boehner won’t.

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 READ MORE

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