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The Bases of Empire

The Bases of Empire

By Catherine Lutz
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Tag: Government

Wrong Road to Recovery

Once again we may be fooling ourselves into thinking that the buying and selling of paper assets is the same as the buying and selling of tangible goods made by real workers.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 READ MORE


Castro’s Racial-Paradise Myth

In 10 trips to Cuba, I have met Afro-Cubans who told me with conviction of their opportunities under the Castro regime. But I’ve also heard bitter complaints about deep-seated racism that many black Cubans believe is getting worse.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / stan

You Can’t Teach an Old Predatory Lender New Tricks

Like an abused spouse, America continues to stand by the banks, hoping they’ll change their ways. TARP funds were supposed to trickle down to the average taxpayer, but Congress is now investigating complaints that bailed-out banks such as Bank of America and Citigroup are jacking up interest rates and engaging in predatory lending.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 READ MORE


Avigdor Lieberman
AP photo / Tsafrir Abayov

Israel’s Racist in Chief

It was unthinkable, when I was based as a correspondent in Jerusalem two decades ago, that an Israeli politician who openly advocated ethnically cleansing the Palestinians from Israeli-controlled territory, as well as forcing Arabs in Israel to take loyalty oaths or be forcibly relocated to the West Bank, could sit on the Cabinet.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 READ MORE



What You Dig

What do you get when you mix drugs, greed, God and a splash of Bristol Palin’s baby-daddy? The five most popular Truthdig stories from the last seven days.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Getting to Zero Starts With One Man

If Obama is successful in reducing our nuclear stockpile, it could make a monumental difference to the world’s security. Nuclear arms proliferation will never be stopped so long as the U.S. insists on maintaining a privileged position of global nuclear domination.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Susan Jacoby on William Goetzmann’s ‘Beyond the Revolution’

The great divide between religion that accommodates itself to secular knowledge and biblically literal religion that rejects any such knowledge that contradicts the Bible is the insufficiently explored story at the center of this Pulitzer Prize-winning historian’s most recent and otherwise compelling book.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Taliban, the Sequel

Ever since the Afghan war began, we assured ourselves that whatever else, we had one moral victory. We’d freed the women from Taliban rule. Now we know something very different to be true.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

The Father of Guantanamo

Indefinite and secret detention at the U.S. air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, was a fundamental breach of justice and morality when the Bush administration did it. It is made worse by the stench of hypocrisy when the Obama administration does it.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Muslims Still Under Siege

It turns out that people can still be arrested and deported based on the same charges they’ve been acquitted of in court. The U.S. Constitution protects people from “double jeopardy,” being charged twice with the same offense. But in the murky world of immigrant detention, double jeopardy is perfectly legal.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Now a ‘Soft War’ in Afghanistan, but It’s Still a Disaster

President Obama appears to have fallen for the oldest false dichotomy in the Pentagon repertoire, and the easiest one to sell to the American public. It goes like this: The world is divided between the Evil Folks and the Good. The Good Folks, being what they are, are naturally pro-American, once they get to know us.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Albert F. Hunt

The Business of War

Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Albert F. Hunt

The Business of War

Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Susan Walsh

Resist or Become Serfs

If we do not immediately halt our elite’s rapacious looting of the public treasury we will be left with trillions in debts, which can never be repaid, and widespread human misery which we will be helpless to ameliorate. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / World Economic Forum

Wall Street Showered Obama’s Top Economic Adviser With Riches

Lawrence Summers is the man President Obama turns to for insight into the economy, so it’s more than a little disturbing that the very financial institutions the taxpayers are now rescuing—to the tune of nearly $3 trillion—paid Summers almost $8 million last year. Goldman Sachs & Co., a major beneficiary of the government’s largesse, paid him $135,000 for one speech.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform at Last

Yes, this is the year Congress will finally give every American access to health insurance. For the first time since the passage of Medicare in the 1960s, the forces favoring action on health care reform are stronger than the forces of cynicism and obstruction.

Posted on Apr 5, 2009 READ MORE


The Irrelevance of Race

Not even three months have passed since Obama’s historic inauguration, and already it tends to slip the nation’s collective mind that the first black president is, in fact, black. There may be hope for us after all.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


This Is the Truth on Drugs ... Any Questions?

Finally, after America has frittered away billions of taxpayer dollars arming Latin American death squads and incarcerating more of its own citizens on nonviolent drug charges than any other industrialized nation, the government is starting to re-evaluate federal narcotics policy.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


America’s ‘Long War’ Will Be as Bloody and Pointless as Europe’s

The Thirty Years’ War occupies little space in the school texts of the English-speaking world, but its futility comes to mind when Richard Holbrooke speaks of the war he is supposed to manage, now the Af-Pak war.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


The Nobelists vs. Obama and Geithner

The president’s plan to bail out the banks reveals a deference to the existing financial system that puts him at odds with Nobel Prize-winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Close These Refuges for Scoundrels

The story of former AIG executive Joseph Cassano points up once more how tax and regulatory havens across the world encourage nefarious conduct, lack of transparency, evasion of taxes and corporate criminality.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE



senate.gov by way of Wikimedia Commons

Justice Dept. Wants Stevens Conviction, Charges Dropped

Former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska probably lost his seat because he was convicted of corruption charges, but now his guilt may be in doubt. At the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has asked a federal judge to set aside the verdict and dismiss the indictment because of prosecutorial shenanigans.

Posted on Apr 1, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Dan Balilty

Most Israelis Disapprove of Their New Government, Poll Finds

There’s no putting it any better than Haaretz did: “The Knesset approved Benjamin Netanyahu’s return as prime minister last night amid allegations that his new government is bloated, convoluted and unprepared to deal with Israel’s many problems.” The newspaper surveyed the Israeli public and found that 54 percent already disapprove of the new regime.

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE


Cars, Banks and Confusion

The president is telling Detroit to shape up or die while at the same time politely asking Wall Street, whose recklessness and greed caused this economic crisis, if it would be so kind as to accept another heaping helping of taxpayer funds.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


Change You Can Translate

If there is a trend in democratic nations now, it is toward younger politicians who express disenchantment with the status quo, more by questioning past approaches than by offering fully worked-out alternative systems.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Kevin Wolf

Obstruction of Justice

The facts surrounding the trial and imprisonment of Dr. Sami Al-Arian have severely tarnished the integrity of the American judicial system and made the government’s vaunted campaign against terrorism look capricious, inept and overtly racist.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



Jonathan Shapiro on ‘The Tyranny of Dead Ideas’

Matt Miller, a host of KCRW’s “Left, Right & Center,” has written a book full of necessary honesty and courage—a welcome effort to rid us of the nostrums and shopworn notions that cloud our thinking and constrain our politics.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE


Drugs, Guns and Reality

It’s an indictment of our fact-averse political culture that a statement of the blindingly obvious could sound so revolutionary. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton deserves high praise for acknowledging that the U.S. bears “shared responsibility” for the drug-fueled violence sweeping Mexico.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / U.S. Department of State

Labor Joins Israel’s Far-Right Government

Israel’s next government just got a little less ultraconservative, as Labor has agreed to join the coalition-in-progress of conservatives, nationalists and religious fundamentalists in exchange for a commitment to continue negotiations with the Palestinians. It remains to be seen, however, whether Labor’s MPs can stomach the agreement.

Posted on Mar 24, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Elizabeth Dalziel

Obama’s Plan to Save the World

Forget about terrorism for a moment. The potential catastrophe that climate change could unleash on America makes every other national security crisis pale in comparison. President Obama cannot secure the homeland without addressing this global emergency.

Posted on Mar 24, 2009 READ MORE


A Repairman, Not a Revolutionary

Timothy Geithner has not been a good performer, but he does have a vision. He sees an improved Wall Street, though one not fundamentally different from what we have now.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / billjacobus1

It Pays to Be White

Black and Latino communities have long suffered significantly higher unemployment rates than those of whites, but the economic collapse is taking labor inequity to new and alarming places. Jobs data shows that blacks and Latinos aren’t just more unemployed overall, but they’re losing jobs faster than their white colleagues.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Fight Against the Politics of Evasion

Critics who argue that he is asking Congress to do too much are finding it far easier to talk about an overloaded system than to tell those without health insurance that they will have to wait a few more years.

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / epicharmus

Putting the ‘Toxic’ Back in Tarp

The Toxic Asset Relief Program was originally designed to save the banks from their bad bets by purchasing toxic assets, but has since evolved into something of a multipurpose slush fund. Now the Obama administration is getting back to the business of buying junk, elaborating on a plan that sent the Dow tumbling when it was first announced. Update

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE



Jacob Heilbrunn on Alger Hiss

Susan Jacoby’s lucid new book reminds us that the Hiss case offered a vengeful postwar right a golden opportunity to tar the New Deal as a crypto-communist conspiracy—and why it still matters.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


A Government of Men, Not Laws

In the 21st century Gilded Age, the blue-collar shower-after-work crowd is given the tough, while the white-collar shower-before-work gang gets the love, and never before this week was that doctrine made so clear.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Sarah Palin
Flickr / geerlingguy

Sarah Palin Doesn’t Want Your Money

Sarah Palin is turning down about half of her state’s stimulus money, complaining that Washington is trying to engineer a bigger Alaskan government with funding for health care, energy programs and schools. Schools? How dare you, Washington?

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


If You’re a ‘Little Guy,’ a Contract Means Nothing

If only the contracts entered into by shop-floor workers at auto plants were as inviolate as those secured by the incompetent pirates of the American International Group.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE



barackobama.com

Good News and Bad News for Alternative Lifestylists

The good news: The United States now supports a U.N. statement urging governments everywhere to decriminalize homosexuality. The bad news: In the words of the State Department, “supporting this statement commits us to no legal obligations,” such as ending discrimination in employment, housing and the military in the U.S. itself.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE



Geithner image from Presidencia de la Nación Argentina

Geithner’s Bonus Plan as Perplexing as His Other Proposals

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has sent Congress an explanation of his plan to deal with the AIG bonus fiasco. Essentially, Treasury will dock the $165 million in bonuses from AIG’s next bailout payment. Here’s a question: If AIG can do without that $165 million, why were we giving it to the company in the first place?

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Mark Lennihan

N.Y. Attorney General Investigates AIG’s ‘Staggering’ Bonus Mess

In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, reprinted here, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo shares what his office has discovered so far about AIG’s scandalous bonuses, which “made more than 73 millionaires in the unit which lost so much money that it brought the firm to its knees, forcing a taxpayer bailout.”

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Those Hit Hardest Get No Bailout

Taxpayers’ bailout money for AIG bonuses has rightfully provoked a massive backlash against AIG, Wall Street, President Barack Obama and his economic advisers, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Time to Put the Clamps on Tobacco

An idea that has been around for years now has reached that rarest of moments: There is a political environment that should, if reason prevails, produce legislation to require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Tony Platt on Wall Street Terror Attack

Beverly Gage’s new book exhumes a nearly forgotten tale of class warfare—call it 9/16.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009 READ MORE


For Competition Before They Were Against It

Republicans insist that “competition solves health care,” and tell us that government programs are worse than private health insurance. So, don’t they welcome a private-versus-public competition, believing that the former will trump the latter? Well ... uh ... no.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


A Bad Fix Would Be No Fix

Advice to solve the financial crisis before even thinking about health care, energy or education is either misguided or disingenuous. Fortunately, Obama seems to be ignoring all the chatter.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


The Point of Pointing Fingers

Obama speaks disdainfully of “ideology,” but there comes a time when first principles need to be articulated. Conservatives have entered this fight with guns blazing while progressives have hidden behind a Maginot Line armed only with the word pragmatism.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Lynne Sladky

A Changing Community Now Wants Softer U.S. Policy on Cuba

A majority of Florida’s Cuban-Americans, including many former hard-liners, have come to oppose a U.S. embargo strategy that has proved futile over the decades.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


Put Single-Payer on the Table

Obama promises health-care reform, but he has taken single-payer health care off the table. While single-payer reduces the administrative costs and removes the profit that insurance companies add to health-care delivery, such solutions get almost no space in the debate.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE


If Only Obama Were as Radical as They Say

While conservatives cry socialism, the president is trying to steer a moderate course. Moderation, however, may be the wrong recipe. There is something deeply disturbing about the drip, drip, drip of billions into the banking system with no apparent impact.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE


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