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Tag: History

When Trust and Media Were One

The greatest sorrow in marking Walter Cronkite’s death is the necessity of acknowledging that we have replaced his work ethic and wisdom with puffery and ideological pontification.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE



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


Black America’s New Reality

A century ago, when the NAACP was founded, black America was under siege. Some critics have wondered whether there is still a role for an organization like the NAACP. President Obama says there is.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


Pedophiles, Witches and Kids

If we have reached the point in society where basic adult concern for children is mistaken for evil, we’re back in Salem, 1692.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Susan Walsh

Pelosi’s Toothless ‘Commission’

Congressional leaders are expected to announce a new commission to investigate the causes of America’s financial disaster. But unless the speaker and her colleagues summon much greater courage than they have displayed to date, it will only highlight the failure of the Democrats to live up to their heritage.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


Sheldon Whitehouse
senate.gov

Confirmation Remarks Worth Revisiting

Supreme Court confirmation hearings are as much about politicians grabbing a little face time as they are about probing a nominee’s legal philosophy. Amid all the posturing and finger-wagging Monday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse spoke rather eloquently about what the court has become, and what it should be: “ ... A place ... where the comfortable can be afflicted and the afflicted find some comfort. ... ”

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Win McNamee, pool

White Men Can’t Trump

For the Republicans outraged at “wise Latina” Sonia Sotomayor, being white and male is seen as a neutral condition, the natural order of things. Any “identity”—black, brown, female, gay, whatever—has to be judged against this supposedly “objective” standard.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet

Netherlands to Return Artifacts to Iraq

Dutch art dealers have surrendered 69 artifacts that were stolen from Iraq following the U.S. invasion. The ancient objects will remain in the Netherlands until they can be returned to Iraq. In addition to losing 15,000 treasures stolen from Iraq’s national museum, the country has had to contend with rampant looting since the 2003 invasion.

Posted on Jul 9, 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


Robert McNamara

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Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


I Am Robama, and I Come in Peace

Number 44 has been spotted in Orlando, in the form of an animatronic addition to Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents. And it speaks with the president’s actual voice. It’s as creepy as it is amazing, and easily worth a quick look.

Posted on Jul 3, 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


Undo the Coup

The first coup d’etat in Central America in more than a quarter-century occurred last Sunday in Honduras. It was led by a graduate of the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, a military facility that has trained some of Latin America’s worst torturers, murderers and human rights abusers.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Bebeto Matthews

The Truth Alone Will Not Set You Free

The modern world, as Kafka predicted, has become a world where lies become true. And facts alone will be powerless to thwart the mendacity spun out through billions of dollars in corporate advertising, lobbying and control of traditional sources of information. The lines between artists, social activists and journalists have to be erased.

Posted on Jun 29, 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


Journalism in the Twitter Era

Journalism is famously described as “the first rough draft of history.” But the history of this Iranian moment is a first, rough hailstorm of bits and bytes, tweets and texts. In the tweet of Mousavil388: “One Person=One Broadcaster.”

Posted on Jun 24, 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


Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson
AP photo / Douglas C. Pizac

Ed McMahon Was an Everyman Till the End

Despite his fame, money and extraordinary résumé—he had been a Marine, pitchman, newsboy, ditch digger, talent show host and, of course, the most famous sidekick in the history of television—Ed McMahon came off as a likable everyday guy. Before his death Tuesday at the age of 86, McMahon even experienced the wrong end of the mortgage crisis, albeit with a Beverly Hills mansion.

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


Baracks Obama
White House / Lawrence Jackson

Obama Comes Closer to Meddling

The president reiterated Tuesday that he has no intention of “interfering with Iran’s affairs,” but he also dialed up his criticism of the regime’s crackdown from “it is of concern to me” to “I strongly condemn these unjust actions.”

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE


America’s History, Now on YouTube

Amid the Web site’s trashy home videos and other uneven chronicles of pop culture is a memorable new look at America’s past that whets the appetite for more free fun. The National Archives, in celebration of its 75th anniversary, has posted 17 videos to YouTube.

Posted on Jun 22, 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


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



White House / Lawrence Jackson

Obama Won’t ‘Meddle’ in Iran

President Obama says he is concerned about violence directed at protesters, but does not want “to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections.” He also warns that the “difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised.”

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



AP photo / Ben Curtis

Learning to Live With the Devil We Know

The protests in Iran have captured the imagination of Western media, but the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should come as no surprise. The world needs to move past the controversy of the Iranian elections and, like him or not, find a way to deal with President Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions.

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



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



news.bbc.co.uk

America’s Bombs Are Still Exploding in Laos

When the United States finished bombing Laos back in the early 1970s, it left behind an estimated 80 million unexploded bombs. They are still exploding, maiming an average of 300 people a year in the sparsely populated country. What horrors will our current adventures bring decades from now?

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE


Being Obama Matters

I used to fear that the president was overestimating the power of his personal history as an instrument of foreign policy. Now I wonder if he might have been underestimating.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
commons.wikimedia.org

‘We Have It in Our Power to Begin the World Over Again’

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Thomas Paine, a man who rallied the American people in the fight for independence from Britain, denounced political corruption and defended “free and rational inquiry” in the face of organized religion. He famously wrote, “The world is my country. All mankind are my brethren. To do good is my religion.”

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Susie Linfield on How to Think About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A provocative new book, “One State, Two States,” by revisionist Israeli historian Benny Morris breaks a taboo by asking whether anti-Zionism has become the anti-imperialism of fools. Can his polemic act as the ax that helps break up the frozen and brittle nature of a debate over the seemingly intractable war between Palestinians and Jews?

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Damian Dovarganes

Prop. 8 and the Misery of the Law

The right to rebel is my real subject here, but the misery of the law is not incidental. No good case can be made for rebellion as an unqualified good in itself. But the right to rebel also cannot be limited to the rebel causes that were won long ago and have passed over into our national mythology.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


A Lemon of a Bailout

With GM’s bankruptcy filing on Monday, we the people have become majority owners of a museum-quality piece of industrial history.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Khalid Mohammed

War Is Sin

Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE


What Will Obama Say in Cairo?

Next week President Barack Obama travels to Cairo to deliver what is expected to be a major statement on relations between the United States and the Islamic world, but informed skeptics predict his new approach to the region will resemble the late months of the Bush administration.

Posted on May 29, 2009 READ MORE


Richard Nixon
White House / Archives

The New York Times’ Watergate Blunder

Back in 1972 the FBI’s acting director gave a New York Times reporter the impression that the president was personally involved in Watergate, but the tip died a quick and historic death in the Times’ Washington Bureau, according to the reporter and editor involved. One went on to law school, the other took a long vacation and no one bothered to follow up.

Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Lawrence Jackson

Obama Sends Rebs a Wreath

President Obama decided not to break with White House custom this Memorial Day and sent a wreath to honor the fallen Confederate soldiers who wanted nothing to do with the Union. But he also started a new and long-overdue tradition by honoring the hundreds of thousands of black Americans who fought against the South.

Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE


Packing Heat in the Parks

With their usual steely conviction, contempt for the rights and safety of others, and string of nonsensical arguments, gun supporters in Congress managed to push through a law to allow national park visitors to carry loaded weapons—openly or concealed—in the millions of acres of wilderness, scenic byways and historic sites.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Sen. Arlen Specter on Switching

The Pennsylvanian is only the 21st active senator in U.S. history to switch parties. Here is what he had to say about his change of loyalties.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Enough With This ‘100 Days’ Nonsense

On what basis have the cable channels decided that President Obama’s first hundred days are the most important thing to happen in the history of the world? As in the case of FDR before him, much has happened in the beginning of the president’s first term—and there is much more to come.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


The Devils We Know

The initial response to the flu outbreak, which may have the potential to become a pandemic, illustrates first of all how sensitive and responsive the global health-monitoring system has become.

Posted on Apr 27, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Eve Pell on America’s Culture of Punishment

“Cruel and Unusual” by Anne-Marie Cusac reveals a startling reality: Since 1973, America’s imprisonment rate has jumped more than five times and is now the highest in the world. Why?

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 READ MORE



White House / National Archives

Reagan and Nixon Greeted Despots, Too

Few aspects of American politics are as ridiculous and dangerous as the right-wing urge to substitute macho posturing for foreign policy.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


When Fascism Came to America

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize, wrote a novel entitled “It Can’t Happen Here” to influence the 1936 presidential election. He was off by about 66 years.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

When Slapped, Slap Back

(Editor’s note: Eugene Robinson is the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary.) It’s hard to argue with the results thus far from President Obama’s “no drama” approach to governing, but I think he should learn to chew a little scenery when the occasion demands.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Nam Y. Huh

Where’s Rev. Wright When You Need Him?

Israel and the United States will together boycott the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Geneva. Racism, an endemic feature of Israeli and American society, is not, we have decided, open for international inspection. It’s times like this President Obama would do well to heed the sermons of his former pastor.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE


Pacifica Radio at 60: A Sanctuary of Dissent

The oldest independent media network in the United States turns 60 years old this week as a deepening crisis engulfs mainstream media.

Posted on Apr 14, 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


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