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October 13, 2015
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Tropic of Chaos

Tropic of Chaos

By Christian Parenti

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Tag: Democracy

Chavez Loses

Posted on Dec 3, 2007 READ MORE

Putin Wins

Posted on Dec 3, 2007 READ MORE

twin towers on fire

America’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Agencies

“Spying Blind” author Amy Zegart gives Truthdig a status report on America’s intelligence agencies and explains why our intelligence system is so broken and why our democracy may be to blame.

Posted on Nov 29, 2007 READ MORE

Bhutto, Musharraf and Sharif
AP photos / Manuel Balce Ceneta / Adam Rountree / Lefteris Pitarakis

Playing Roulette in Pakistan

Everybody seems to have a pick for president, or even a couple of picks. Problem is, neither Musharraf nor Bhutto nor Sharif stands up very well when the historical record is scrutinized.

Posted on Nov 27, 2007 READ MORE

Turkish flag
AP photo / Murad Sezer

The Not-So-Sick Man of Europe Does Matter

The former weapons inspector and military intelligence officer argues that Turkey, once dismissed as the “sick man of Europe,” will be ignored by the West at its own peril.

Posted on Nov 23, 2007 READ MORE

Bush Gets Mugged

Posted on Nov 21, 2007 READ MORE

Bush and Musharraf
White House photo by Eric Draper

Bush Says Musharraf ‘Hasn’t Crossed the Line’

Just weeks after publicly fretting about Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorial power grab, George W. Bush has decided that the Pakistani president “hasn’t crossed the line” and “truly is somebody who believes in democracy.” It’s an assessment that would be comical if it didn’t have to do with the freedom of millions of people and the security of dozens of nuclear weapons.

Posted on Nov 21, 2007 READ MORE

Conscience of a Liberal cover

Nicholas von Hoffman on ‘The Conscience of a Liberal’

Why is it that so many voters continue to elect reactionaries who do their best to disenfranchise them? The answer, says Paul Krugman in his new book, is racism.

Posted on Nov 15, 2007 READ MORE

Musharraf and Bush
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Bush Stands by His Dictator

“The war on terror” made me do it. That’s the excuse that works for George W. Bush to rationalize his assaults on the rule of law, from arbitrary arrest to torture. So why not try some war-on-terror obfuscation to bail out his president-dictator buddy over in Pakistan?

Posted on Nov 13, 2007 READ MORE

Pakistan protest

Bhutto and Musharraf Clash in Pakistan

As the democratic crisis in Pakistan continues, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has broken with Musharraf and called for the president’s resignation, while Musharraf argues that “so-called democracy” would threaten the nation’s survival.

Posted on Nov 13, 2007 READ MORE


Posted on Nov 13, 2007 READ MORE


Putin: I’m Not Going Anywhere

Although term limits require Russian President Vladimir Putin to step down in May, many, including chess wizard and opposition leader Garry Kasparov, have speculated that he will find some way to maintain his influence. Putin, it seems, agrees, saying that if his party wins the next election, he will have the “moral right to hold those in the Duma and the Cabinet responsible for the implementation” of   his policies.

Posted on Nov 13, 2007 READ MORE

A Vote for Mukasey Is a Vote for Torture

U.S. attorney general nominee Judge Michael Mukasey admits waterboarding is repugnant, but refuses to say whether it amounts to torture. Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein voted for his confirmation anyway.

Posted on Nov 6, 2007 READ MORE

Musharraf Foe Calls on Pakistan to ‘Rise Up’

Pakistan’s ousted chief justice has called on the masses to “rise up and restore the constitution,” adding, “This is a time for sacrifices.” Iftikhar Chaudhry, who was fired and placed under house arrest when he refused to sign off on President Pervez Musharraf’s declaration of emergency, made the address by telephone. Mysteriously (or not), mobile phone service in Islamabad suffered a breakdown as Chaudhry was making his remarks.

Posted on Nov 6, 2007 READ MORE

Pakistani Gangster

Posted on Nov 6, 2007 READ MORE    

man behind bars
AP photo / Khalid Tanveer

Pakistan Crackdown Intensifies

The government of President Pervez Musharraf has expanded its crackdown on democratic institutions in Pakistan, detaining political rivals as well as journalists and rights advocates. Condoleezza Rice, meanwhile, has hinted that the U.S. will likely continue to send billions of dollars in aid to the increasingly dictatorial regime. Updated

Posted on Nov 4, 2007 READ MORE


Monks Venture Out in Burma

Despite a military crackdown that led to the death and capture of countless civilians, Buddhist monks are once again protesting in Burma, though in much smaller numbers than before. Still, human rights and democracy advocates consider it a promising development.

Posted on Oct 31, 2007 READ MORE

uncle sam

America Is Watching You

The “Last Days of Democracy” author warns that Congress is about to aid the Bush administration with its Orwellian plans by granting retroactive immunity to the telecommunications giants for helping the government spy on Americans.

Posted on Oct 30, 2007 READ MORE

redacted constitution
Original from

The American Police State

A Dallas jury, a week ago, caused a mistrial in the government case against this country’s largest Islamic charity. The action raises a defiant fist on the sinking ship of American democracy.

Posted on Oct 29, 2007 READ MORE

Protest Paradox

Posted on Oct 26, 2007 READ MORE    

Jimmy Carter: Bush Will Make a Good Ex-President

Jimmy Carter told the new Web site Guardian America that, compared to the Bush presidency at least, George W. Bush will make a “very good” ex-president. Carter also said of Hillary Clinton’s seemingly insurmountable lead in the polls: “One thing I know is that, this far ahead of time in the past, it’s been impossible to predict the outcome of the election.”

Posted on Oct 25, 2007 READ MORE

AP photo / Jose Goitia, file

Castro:  Bush Could Start WWIII

Joining in the exciting game of apocalyptic Mad Libs that President Bush kicked off with his recent pronouncement that a nuclear-equipped Iran could start World War III, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has swapped out “Iran” for “Bush” and turned Bush’s accusation back at him in this latest round of doomsday fun.

Posted on Oct 23, 2007 READ MORE

twin towers on fire

America’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Agencies

“Spying Blind” author Amy Zegart gives Truthdig a status report on America’s intelligence agencies and explains why our intelligence system is so broken and why our democracy may be to blame.

Posted on Oct 16, 2007 READ MORE

Imagine Peace—A Ray of Light in Dark Times

John Lennon would have turned 67 years old last week had he not been murdered in 1980 by a mentally disturbed fan. On his birthday, Oct. 9, his widow, peace activist and artist Yoko Ono, realized a dream they shared.

Posted on Oct 16, 2007 READ MORE

propaganda poster

China: Democracy Isn’t for Us

China plans to stick with the economic and political reforms that have brought prestige, wealth and environmental catastrophe to the country, but don’t expect Beijing to turn its back on the Communist Party completely. As the official spokesman of the 17th party congress put it: “We will never copy the Western model of political system.”

Posted on Oct 14, 2007 READ MORE

Hugo Chavez
AP Photo / Victor R. Caivano

Marc Cooper on Hugo Chavez

A former translator for Chile’s Salvador Allende reviews three books evaluating the remarkable rise of Venezuela’s irrepressible Hugo Chavez.

Posted on Oct 11, 2007 READ MORE


Is Musharraf a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

The Mosaic Intelligence Report examines the political turmoil in Pakistan and wonders whether Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s hold on power is as tenuous as it looks.

Posted on Oct 8, 2007 READ MORE

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

Breaking the Taboo: Why We Took On the Israel Lobby

The editor of the provocative new bestseller by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt asks the authors (pictured above) whether their book is good for the Jews and good for America. 

Posted on Oct 4, 2007 READ MORE

Supreme Court

Justice for Sale?

The Supreme Court, arguably the most powerful institution in our democracy, manages to fly a bit under the radar. Take, for example, the $1.5-million advance Rupert Murdoch paid Clarence Thomas to write a book. Conflict of interest, perhaps? The Nation’s Jon Wiener thinks so.

Posted on Oct 2, 2007 READ MORE

Free Speech Ain’t Free. Oh, Wait a Minute. Yeah, It Is.

After all the brouhaha in New York this week, this seems like a good time to have us a little chat about free speech. Not restricted free speech. Not partial free speech. Not pseudo-, semi-, counterfeit, limited free speech. Not free speech on Wednesdays between 2 and 3 p.m. EDT.

Posted on Sep 29, 2007 READ MORE

protesting monks
AP photo

Violence Breaks Out in Burma

After a long and tense buildup over recent weeks, the standoff between Buddhist monks and security forces in Burma became violent on Wednesday, with differing reports bringing news of gunfire, deaths and mass arrests in the city of Yangon.

Posted on Sep 26, 2007 READ MORE

marching monks

Bush to Tighten Sanctions on Burma

President Bush has weighed in on the massive protests in Burma (Myanmar), saying he will boost sanctions against the country’s abusive military government. Meanwhile, thousands of Buddhist monks have defied government warnings and continue to demonstrate.

Posted on Sep 25, 2007 READ MORE

Clinton and Stewart

Bill Clinton on ‘The Daily Show’

The former president tells Jon Stewart about his new book, his wife’s quest to get back to “the best public housing in America,” why he might slit his throat if she’s successful, and how naps can save our democracy.

Posted on Sep 21, 2007 READ MORE

George W. Bush and Bill Clinton
AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

‘Giving’ and Taking

Bill Clinton has written a new book about charity, a fitting subject for a president who betrayed the poor and led his party into the arms of corporate America.

Posted on Sep 17, 2007 READ MORE

Tear Down That Wall

I sat down with former President Jimmy Carter last week at the Carter Center in Atlanta. The Center was hosting a conference of human rights defenders, people at the front lines confronting repressive regimes around the globe. After a quarter-century of humanitarian work through the Carter Center, monitoring elections, working to eradicate neglected tropical diseases and focusing on the poor, Jimmy Carter now finds himself at the center of the storm in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Posted on Sep 13, 2007 READ MORE

From Fear to Farce

After 9/11, my husband started each morning reaching for the remote and saying, “Let’s see if they caught Osama.” This greeting began as an expectation, evolved into a lingering hope, and finally deteriorated into irony.

Posted on Sep 13, 2007 READ MORE

Obama: Not Everything Is Bush’s Fault

So far the Democratic primary race has been something of a competition over who most disapproves of our unpopular president, so it was a surprise when Barack Obama on Wednesday let this fly: “Part of the problem here is not just George Bush and the White House.” (Gasp!) He went on to promise a more open government under his care, arguing that our democracy is not democratic enough.

Posted on Aug 15, 2007 READ MORE

Lebanese Strike a Blow at U.S.-Backed Government

True, the U.S. may be able to “spread democracy” to other nations throughout the world, but, as The Independent’s Robert Fisk points out, that doesn’t mean that the U.S. can control how those nations exercise their democratic rights.  Take Lebanon, for example, where, Fisk wryly notes, “The Arabs have, once more, followed democracy and voted for the wrong man.”

Posted on Aug 10, 2007 READ MORE

The Bush School of Medicine

Posted on Aug 10, 2007 READ MORE    

Corporate Flag
Illustration courtesy of Adbusters

The Last Days of Democracy

Truthdig speaks with Elliot Cohen, author of “The Last Days of Democracy,” who argues that the United States is in political and cultural decline, with media and telecommunications giants engaged in “a well-organized effort to hijack America.”

Posted on Aug 2, 2007 READ MORE

Prescott Bush

Bush’s Grandfather Linked to Fascist Plot

Back in the 1930s a general by the name of Smedley Butler exposed a plot to overthrow the government of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and install a fascist oligarchy backed by some of America’s most powerful business leaders and conservatives. Prescott Bush, grandfather of George W., was among those linked to the plan. BBC Radio investigates.

Posted on Jul 25, 2007 READ MORE

Kevin and Pat Tillman
Courtesy of the Tillman Family

Tillman and Kovic on War and Sacrifice

In honor of Memorial Day, Truthdig presents two of the most powerful pieces we’ve featured by two invaluable veteran voices—Kevin Tillman (pictured) and Ron Kovic—who remind us of the brutal human costs of war.  (Click here to read Kovic’s article.)

Posted on May 27, 2007 READ MORE

Fantastic Idea

Posted on May 12, 2007 READ MORE    

Railroading Democracy

Posted on May 2, 2007 READ MORE

AP Photo/Serkan Senturk

Turks Rally for Secularism in Government

Crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands gathered Sunday for a pro-secularism rally in Istanbul, calling for a secularist democracy in Turkey amid concerns that presidential candidate Abdullah Gul, whose Justice and Development Party has Islamist ties, will let his beliefs influence his actions if he wins the election.

Posted on Apr 29, 2007 READ MORE

Baghdad Wall
AP Photo / David Guttenfelder

Mr. Bush, Tear Down These Walls!

With his security barrier in Baghdad, a wall along the Mexican border and the provocative missile defense shield plan in Europe, President Bush’s interest in barrier-building is a betrayal of his conservative forebears that does not bode well for the spread of freedom and democracy.

Posted on Apr 26, 2007 READ MORE

Putin Puts Kasparov in Check

Vladimir Putin’s regime, with the aid of 9,000 police officers, attempted to prevent a rally in Moscow by arresting opposition leader Garry Kasparov along with dozens of other protesters and even some journalists. The chess phenom has accused Putin of trampling on democracy.

Posted on Apr 14, 2007 READ MORE

Fighting a Mockery of Democracy

With the 2008 presidential election on the horizon, a novel plan to circumvent a constitutional amendment and eliminate the anti-democratic Electoral College is gaining momentum in Maryland and other states.

Posted on Apr 3, 2007 READ MORE


Posted on Mar 24, 2007 READ MORE    


Media Critic on Why It’s Only Getting Worse

Jeff Cohen joins Truthdig to talk about life in the big media trenches, why news coverage is only getting worse, and how horse race politics and the corporatization of information are killing American democracy. Cohen was the communications director for the 2004 Dennis Kucinich campaign, founder of Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, and author most recently of “Cable News Confidential” (excerpted here).

Posted on Mar 23, 2007 READ MORE

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