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U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith

War Without Purpose

Al-Qaida could not care less what we do in Afghanistan. We are fighting with the wrong tools. We are fighting the wrong people. We are on the wrong side of history. And we will be defeated in Afghanistan as we will be in Iraq.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Haldini

China Is Here

The planet’s already on the brink of resource exhaustion and climate catastrophe, and China is 17 times more populous than America was during our industrial era. If we just sit back and celebrate “miracles,” then there’s not going to be much of a world left.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 READ MORE


Health Insurance Whistle-Blower Knows Where the Bodies Are Buried

Wendell Potter is the health insurance industry’s worst nightmare. He’s a whistle-blower. Potter, the former chief spokesperson for insurance giant CIGNA, recently testified before Congress, “I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick—all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.”

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / SmackNHawaii

Gone With the Wind

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens has dropped his plan to build a huge wind farm in Texas, citing financing problems and challenges posed by the economic recession. The collapse of the project adds weight to the notion that we won’t have practical alternative energy generation until the governments of the world, and the populations they represent, make lasting commitments of money and attention.

Posted on Jul 12, 2009 READ MORE


Party of Franken, Party of Palin

Al Franken left showbiz to prove himself a serious policy wonk as well as a devoted family man; Sarah Palin transformed herself and her family into a reality television show. Their long, odd trips reflect the journeys of their respective parties.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


The Unemployed Will Roar

There’s a lot of argument in Washington about the economy, but if anyone’s looking for some clear voices, there are 650,000 of them just waiting to be heard. That is roughly the number of long-term unemployed who will begin losing their jobless benefits in September.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Two Standards of Detention

Nonviolent activists and Muslims are held in draconian conditions, while the man charged with killing Dr. George Tiller trumpets from jail the extreme anti-abortion movement’s campaign of intimidation, vandalism, arson and murder.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Progressives Flex Health Care Muscle

The progressive Democrats in Congress have had just about enough of all this bipartisanship, especially if it means scrapping a public health care plan. Rahm Emanuel recanted his hint of compromise to a room full of hopping-mad House liberals Tuesday night. Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made it clear that losing a public option was a deal-breaker for 10 to 15 Senate Democrats.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Hadi Mizban

So This Is What Victory Looks Like?

It is wishful thinking to believe that the Iraqi military will be able to hold the ruins of Iraqi society together without major U.S. intervention. The United States has assumed the role of Saddam’s Special Republican Guard, waiting to be called in to crush any sign of rebellion or insurrection. It’s a lose-lose situation with only one way out.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Paul Keleher

Public Option in Critical Condition

President Obama and most Democrats see a government-run health plan that competes with private insurers as vital to real health care reform, but a veto- and filibuster-proof majority just ain’t what it used to be. In the face of a massive lobbying effort, the White House has indicated a willingness to shelve the public option.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Long, Hard Summer

As the president and centrist Democrats in Congress haggle over the deficit, they could usefully recall that the party’s inability to deliver on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign pledges, particularly on health care, led to a stunning defeat two years later.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


Thomas Paine
Portrait by Auguste Millière

The Age of Paine

“That filthy little atheist,” as Thomas Paine was called by Theodore Roosevelt, has few monuments dedicated to his memory. Building a bronze and marble monument to Paine will never revive the republic, but his words still carry an electric current of freedom. His intellectual and political energy is always available for rediscovery.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Louis Lanzano

The Root of Madoff’s Evil

Bernard Madoff should be exhibit A in why the dark world of totally unregulated private money managers and hedge funds should be opened to the light of systematic government supervision. Instead, he is being treated as an aberrant menace.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Troops Leave Iraqi Cities, but Unsettled Issues Remain

Now that American troops are withdrawing from the cities of Iraq, the calculation must begin as to whether the loss of some half-million to million lives and the ruin of the infrastructure and social structure of Baghdad and much of the rest of the Iraqi nation have served some good purpose.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


Iraq Has Another One of Its Famous Turning Points

As the media trumpets sound for the pullback of American troops from urban areas in Iraq, the essential lesson of our involvement must be recalled: Nothing about our entanglement in Iraq has ever been as it seemed.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Khampha Bouaphanh

America’s ICE Backwards Approach to Immigration

While the nation’s understaffed immigration courts strain under a backlog that has grown to more than 200,000 cases, thousands of new border agents have been hired and the number of government attorneys who argue for deportation has increased by 35 percent, pushing more cases onto an already overburdened system.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama and the Stone Tablets

The president has shied away from handing Congress his own plans on “stone tablets,” but if he doesn’t intervene in the health care debate, and soon, lawmakers are going to send him an unworkable monstrosity of a bill.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

The Sickening Influence of Campaign Contributions

Democrats who are talking down Obama’s health care initiative tend to have something in common—their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Courtly Politics

The United States Supreme Court claims to be above politics, and it sometimes even achieves that aspiration.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE



Collage from Fox and James Montgomery Flagg

Public Option or Bust

Health care reform is shaping up as astronomically expensive, but that’s only if private insurers and Big Pharma get their way, writes Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Without competition from the government—a public option—the health care industry will continue to gouge and Americans will still be in the weeds, a trillion dollars poorer.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Brennan Linsley, pool

Foreclosure Fiasco

The Bush-Obama strategy of throwing trillions at the banks to solve the mortgage crisis is a huge bust. The financial moguls, while tickled pink to have $1.25 trillion in toxic assets covered by the feds, along with hundreds of billions in direct handouts, are not using that money to turn around the free fall in housing foreclosures.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Free Speech vs. Surveillance in the Digital Age

Tools of mass communication that were once the province of governments and corporations now fit in your pocket. As these technologies have developed, so too has the ability to monitor, filter, censor and block them.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE


Iran’s Regime Reveals Its Brutality

The truly significant result of the suppressed Iranian revolt is that the most important Islamist radical movement in the contemporary world has demonstrated that it has become a brutally repressive dictatorship whose leaders rig elections and beat down clear popular demands.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE


Obama ‘Strongly Condemns’ Iran Crackdown

The president opened his Tuesday press conference by saying, “The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions… .”

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / @@:@@

Iran Election Watchdog Stands by Results

Iran’s Guardian Council has found “no major fraud or breach in the election” and will not annul the vote, a spokesman announced Tuesday. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, jumped into the fray, calling on the Iranian government to “respect fundamental civil and political rights.”

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / STR

Symbols Are Not Enough to Win This Battle

You don’t overthrow Islamic revolutions with car headlights. And definitely not with candles. Peaceful protest might have served Gandhi well, but the supreme leader’s Iran is not going to worry about a few thousand demonstrators on the streets, even if they do cry “Allahu Akbar” from their rooftops every night.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ali Zare

Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away

Iranians do not need or want us to teach them about liberty and representative government. We gave to the Iranian people the corrupt regime of the shah and his savage secret police and the primitive clerics that rose out of the swamp of the dictator’s Iran.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


Daring to Dream

Most of the great American advances, from the airplane to the Constitution, were born from reinvention, not tinkering. For all the positive, even admirable steps Obama’s America seems poised to take, the aspirations still seem too small, too unimaginative, too confined by old conceptions of how things must work.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Deficit Could Be Obama’s Achilles’ Heel

President Obama once said the deficit “keeps me awake at night.” He’s not alone. Three recent polls show that while Obama’s approval ratings remain high, most Americans are preoccupied with the deficit and many question about whether the president is willing and able to rein in spending.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE


The AMA’s Unhealthy Obsession

The real question is not what the AMA will support or whether the attitudes of the AMA have changed, but why anyone would still heed its policy prescriptions. Very few national organizations have been so wrong for so long about the matters most salient to their own members.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


Max Baucus
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

The Bipartisanship of Fools

Where did we get the idea that the only good health care bill is a bipartisan bill? Is bipartisanship more important than whether a proposal is practical and effective?

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


Why Patch-and-Fill Won’t Do

At the moment, Republicans are gleeful and Democrats glum because of a Congressional Budget Office analysis—based on an incomplete and early draft of what is likely to be the most liberal-leaning health care proposal to emerge from the Senate—that shows the measure just won’t get the job done.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama’s Economic Misfits Finally Get It

On Monday, two men with considerable responsibility for enabling the banking meltdown confronted the error of their ways. Hopefully Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers’ sudden conversion to common sense indicates the seriousness of the banking regulation plan that their boss, President Obama, will present to Congress today.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / SFBart

Obama OKs Some Benefits for Gay Federal Workers’ Partners

It would take new legislation to extend full health coverage to the same-sex partners of federal employees, but President Obama, via presidential memorandum, will grant some benefits to them. Update: Progress or pandering?

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 READ MORE


The Islamic Republic Is Not in Danger

Few think that the demonstrations in Tehran, and now in other Iranian cities, can produce a change in regime. What is being challenged is the reactionary social and political form the Iranian system has assumed under Ahmadinejad and the most conservative clerics.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

The American Empire Is Bankrupt

This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and the Politics of Short Memories

Business has been on the ropes since last fall’s financial collapse, but the first glimmerings of recovery are calling forth a capitalist counteroffensive.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE



Megan Hustad on Class in America

Two memoirs—Eve Pell’s “We Used to Own the Bronx” and Christopher Buckley’s “Losing Mum and Pup”—demonstrate, each in its own way, that all that glitters is not gold and that the price exacted by extreme social anxiety is very high indeed. A feast of the higher gossip and raw meat for social anthropologists.

Posted on Jun 12, 2009 READ MORE


The Lone Wolves Among Us

The white supremacist who allegedly took a rifle into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and killed a security guard is more than a bitter, demented old man. He is a known figure in the domestic hate industry and a reminder that words have consequences.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


Why So Scared of a Public Plan?

Big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying frantically (and spending millions of dollars) to foreclose the possibility of the most promising aspect of health care reform: a public insurance option.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Vahid Salemi

Ahmadinejad Blames Hitler and Israelis for Rivals’ Success

Iran’s rowdy presidential campaign shows no signs of boredom heading into Friday’s election. Perhaps feeling the heat from rival Mir Hossein Mousavi, sitting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused his opponents of “a return to Hitler’s methods” and collaborating with “Zionist entities.”

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ben Curtis

America’s Foreign Policy Phobias Are Overblown

Recent developments in the Middle East and Central Asia, from Iran’s raucous election to Pakistan’s tribal revolt against the Taliban, cast doubt once again on Washington’s basic assumptions and anxieties.

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / ivanx

An Army of Fun

Here we go again. The Center for Public Integrity crunched the numbers and found that between 1998 and 2007, Defense Department personnel enjoyed “more than 22,000 trips worth at least $26 million, sponsored by an array of foreign governments, private companies and other groups which have business with the Pentagon.”

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE


Sheila Bair
AP photo / J. David Ake

A Republican to Save Us

You probably don’t know much about Sheila Bair, but she is looking out for you, and that is why the big guys on Wall Street and their allies in the Obama administration are out to get her.

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE


Two Men Who Stood Under the Plunderers’ Knives

Ken Saro-Wiwa and Alberto Pizango never met, but they are united by a passion for the preservation of their people and their land, and by the fervor with which they were targeted by their respective governments.

Posted on Jun 9, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / The TruthAbout...

Some Banks to Repay Bailout Funds

Some of the country’s major banks are prepared to pay back money they borrowed under the TARP program, but don’t get too excited. The initial repayment is expected to be a meager $50 billion, which Timothy Geithner wants to inject right back into other troubled banks.

Posted on Jun 9, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / dok1

Supremes Stall Chrysler Deal

The Supreme Court has put the brakes on President Obama’s plans to bail out the auto industry, ordering a stay of the sale of Chrysler to Fiat. Before the ruling, the administration said blocking the deal would have “grave consequences” for Chrysler. Also, it could threaten the government’s plans for the much larger and more complicated GM. Update

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


Yao Ming
Keith Allison

China to Censor Online Porn, Possibly Basketball

Starting July 1, every computer sold in China will come bundled with software designed to block access to pornographic sites and whatever else parents—and, critics fear, the government—want to keep at bay. As one of the software’s developers explains, “If a father doesn’t want his son to be exposed to content related to basketball or drugs, he can block all Web sites related to those things.”

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Hold Your Applause

We may thrill to Obama’s rhetoric, but very few of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are as deluded. They grasp that nothing so far has changed for Muslims in the Middle East under the Obama administration.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


Harry and Louise Need Health Reform

Remember the imaginary couple who appeared in the television ads that helped beat President Clinton’s health plan 15 years ago? That duo and the corporations behind them have switched sides in the debate, and for a good reason: 50 million new customers.

Posted on Jun 7, 2009 READ MORE


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