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Obama Pride
flickr.com

The Fierce Urgency of Whenever

Andrew Sullivan has some sharp words for how the Obama administration is dealing with LGBT issues: “I lived through eight years of the Clintons and then eight years of Bush. Through it all, gay people were treated at the federal level like embarrassments or impediments. With Clinton, we were the means to raise money. With Bush, we were the means to leverage votes by exploiting bigotry. Obama seemed in the campaign to promise something else.”

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Chalmers Johnson on the Cost of Empire

Author, scholar and Truthdig contributor Chalmers Johnson passed away Nov. 20. In his honor, we are reposting this 2009 book review, which, like much of Johnson’s work, remains relevant to this day.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Lou Cannon on Ronald Reagan

The debate over our 40th president’s role in ending the Cold War continues with the publication of James Mann’s “The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan.”

Posted on May 1, 2009 READ MORE


Look to the Law—Not to Whether Torture ‘Works’

The calls for an independent commission to investigate torture usually argue that a congressional investigation, or a Justice Department criminal investigation, would become so politicized as to be hopelessly compromised. I am not sure this is true.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


Zimerman
harrisonparrott.com

Polish Politics at the Piano

Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman’s debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles took a political turn on Sunday night when he took a moment before his final number to announce that he wouldn’t play in the U.S. again as long as America pursues an imperialist agenda on the world stage.

Posted on Apr 27, 2009 READ MORE


Too Old

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Posted on Apr 27, 2009 READ MORE    


Europe Needs No Part in Doomed Afghan War

If Obama had wanted to give the NATO allies prudent advice about how to avoid terrorist attacks, he should have told them to have nothing to do with the American war on terror, even if it is now under Obama management.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Torturers Should Be Punished

The door to bringing torturers to justice is open only a crack. Whether it is kicked open or slammed shut is not up to the president. Though he may occupy the most powerful office on Earth, there is a force more powerful: committed people demanding change.

Posted on Apr 21, 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



Apple Goes to War

The military has been deploying Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone, loaded with software that aids in translation, intelligence gathering and shooting people. Military iPods will “display aerial video from drones and have teleconferences with intelligence agents halfway across the globe.” We civilians are still waiting for copy and paste.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE


The Downside

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Posted on Apr 19, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ahn Young-joon

Up, Up and Away: The West’s Hysterical Reaction to North Korea

North Korea has come under strong international criticism and sanctions for its missile launch, but as a signatory to the 1966 Outer Space Treaty, it is legally permitted to pursue space launch activity. Besides, where is the pandemonium when Japan, Pakistan, Israel, India, Russia and the U.S. refine, test and launch their own ballistic missiles?

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE


Delusions of Omnipotence

American foreign policy is based not on what we can do, but what Washington wants to do, hence the blunders of Korea, Vietnam and even the Cold War, which the Soviets were kind enough to lose. Even now, the new president is extending the “Long War” on a still more ambitious scale.

Posted on Apr 16, 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



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Megan E. Sindelar

The Pirates Might Prefer Fish to Guns

Obama’s promise that the U.S. and its allies will put an end to Indian Ocean piracy had the forceful ring to it that good American citizens like to hear, but half the NATO navies aren’t going to change the desperate circumstances that turned Somalia’s fisherman into pirates.

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



DoD / Lee Craker

Obama Shows the Troops Some Love

The president on Tuesday made a surprise visit to Baghdad, where he expressed his gratitude to a raucous group of troops: “We have not forgotten what you have already done, we are grateful for what you will do, and as long as I am in the White House, you are going to get the support that you need and the thanks that you deserve from a grateful nation.”

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



U.S. Air Force / Master Sgt. Kevin Gruenwald

Defense Secretary Trims Fat Around the Edges

Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined his spending cuts on Monday, scrapping, among other boondoggles, the F-22, a fighter plane that apparently specialized in Super Bowl flyovers. Despite the cuts, America still spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. And then there’s the cost of two wars to think about.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama Wants a Nuke-Free World

The U.S. led a round of chest-thumping following North Korea’s alleged missile test Sunday, but President Obama also acknowledged that the United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons against others and, as such, has a “moral responsibility” to lead the world toward a nuclear stockpile of zero.

Posted on Apr 5, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Lee Jin-man

World Reacts to North Korean Launch

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting following what North Korea described as a satellite launch but what the U.S. and South Korea said was actually a long-range missile test. The U.S., the European Union, Japan and South Korea have all weighed in with varying degrees of concern, while China and Russia have urged calm and restraint.

Posted on Apr 5, 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



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Sarah Furrer

Awakening on the Wrong Side of the Bed

The Awakening movement isn’t very happy these days. The U.S. has been paying Sunni militants to turn their guns from American soldiers to al-Qaida foreign fighters, a program that has been celebrated for reducing violence in Iraq and is now falling apart. In the words of one Sunni leader who spoke to NPR, “The Americans completely abandoned us.”

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



IDF

Israel’s Gaza Inquiry Finds Israel Innocent

The Israeli military has exonerated itself after investigating the recent comments of soldiers who alleged abuses in Gaza. The military said in a statement that the accounts, which described the casual shooting of women and children, were “based on hearsay and not supported by facts.” Nine Israeli human rights groups have called for an independent investigation.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


‘How Did This Country Get Stuck With an Empire?’

With military personnel deployed in 150 countries, Bill Maher says bringing the troops home from Iraq is only the tip of the iceberg. “Can you imagine if there were 20,000 armed Guatemalans on a base in San Bernardino right now? Lou Dobbs would become a suicide bomber.”

Posted on Mar 30, 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 / kikasso

Rabbis Stirred Holy War, Israeli Soldiers Claim

Some Israeli soldiers have accused military rabbis of pushing holy war in Gaza. “This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,” said a reserve sergeant quoted by the L.A. Times.

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / M. Spencer Green

America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout

The methods used to attain what we want, we are told by reality television programs, business schools and self-help gurus, are irrelevant. Success, always defined in terms of money and power, is its own justification. Our moral collapse is as terrifying, and as dangerous, as our economic collapse.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama Looks for an ‘Exit Strategy’ in Afghanistan

The president has frustrated his anti-war base with plans to escalate the war in Afghanistan, but he told “60 Minutes” on Sunday that he’s not looking to stay indefinitely: “What we can’t do is think that just a military approach in Afghanistan is going to be able to solve our problems. ... So what we’re looking for is a comprehensive strategy. And there’s got to be an exit strategy.”

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE


What Is the Point of NATO?

NATO today, approaching its 60th birthday, faces the prospect of sending home all of its units not willing to fight in Afghanistan under the American flag. They will go home to “defend” Europe. From whom?

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

U.N. Human Rights Investigator Accuses Israel of War Crimes

Richard Falk, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, writes in his annual report that Israeli actions during the recent offensive in Gaza constitute war crimes. Falk, who was denied entry to the region by Israel, says Hamas’ human rights record should also be investigated.

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


Russia Red Square Tank
foreignpolicy.com

Mutually Assured Defense Spending

A hawkish speech by President Dmitry Medvedev may signal a massive overhaul and escalation of the Russian military. Fears of a growing threat posed by NATO have pushed Russian officials to plan a modernization of the country’s conventional and nuclear forces by 2011.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE


Sarkozy’s Courtship of NATO Defies Rationality

France’s president has lived up to the stereotype that his people, fond as they are of home vacationing and generally convinced of their own superiority, not infrequently fail to know what they are talking about when dealing with foreign countries.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young

Military Rapes Jump 9 Percent

“Military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq,” said Rep. Jane Harman in response to the news that the number of sexual assault reports in the military last year increased by about 9 percent to 2,923. The Pentagon believes the actual number of assaults is five to 10 times higher, because most go unreported.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE



AP pool photo / Aleksey Nikolskyi

Barack Obama, Meet Team B

The president must be getting bad advice. Why else would he offer not to build a missile defense system he doesn’t want in exchange for Russia’s help with an Iranian nuclear weapons program that doesn’t exist?

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


Practice Course

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Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE    



AP photo / Andy Wong

We Are Breeding Ourselves to Extinction

All efforts to save the planet will be useless if we do not cut population growth. By 2050, the planet will have between 8 billion and 10 billion people, according to a recent U.N. forecast. And yet studies, books and documentaries that deal with various crises fail to discuss the danger of all those billions of hungry people looking for a better life.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE


Why Did So Few Americans Give a Damn?

Justice Department documents that demonstrate the Bush administration’s view of the president’s constitutional power in a “state of war” tell us things we suspected but didn’t want to know.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Redacted memo
aclu.org

Nine Secret Bush-Era Documents Released

The Justice Department has released nine secret memos and opinions written by the Office of Legal Counsel that authorized some of the Bush administration’s unlawful national security policies.

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / Photographer's Mate 1 Shane T. McCoy

CIA Torture Coverup Was Worse Than We Knew

Remember those two videotapes documenting “enhanced interrogation” that the CIA destroyed, despite a judge’s order to preserve such evidence? Well, it turns out the agency wiped 90 more just like them.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE



Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte

It’s Obama’s War Now

Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, President Obama said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Foraggio Fotographic

At Last, Accepting Some Clues From Across the Pond

We suddenly seem willing to consider sensible ideas that were always deemed unthinkable. Soon we may be mature enough to observe how other developed countries address problems that have baffled us for generations.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Marcin Wichary

Mexican Drug Lords Depend on Gun-Crazy America

More than 6,000 people died in Mexico’s drug war last year, far too many as a result of U.S.-purchased firepower. Though Mexico has strict gun laws, smugglers have no trouble legally purchasing military-grade weapons, such as AK-47 rifles, in the U.S., and then shipping them south of the border, where they are used with devastating effect.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

A Choice Between Peace and Peril

Bibi Netanyahu’s assumption of power in Israel sets the stage for a huge campaign by the Israeli government, and its well-oiled lobby groups in Washington, to push us into a war with Iran, but a stable relationship with Iran would do more to protect Israel and our interests in the Middle East.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Fear, U.S. Folly in Afghanistan

Except for the brief NATO intervention in Kosovo and Serbia, all of the significant U.S. military expeditions since the Cold War have been fought against Asians, and we have lost nearly all of them.

Posted on Feb 19, 2009 READ MORE


Good News for the Taliban

We seem to have spent our way—to the tune of $864 billion—into allowing our friends the Pakistanis to enter into a peace treaty, or something that looks like it, with the Taliban.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Paul Morse / Pete Souza

Good Money After Bad

Congressional Republicans, with the exception of that embarrassingly shrunken contingent of three moderates, will rue their legacy of deep indifference at a time of true national emergency, one that makes George W. Bush’s far more costly war on terror now seem an absurdly irrelevant exercise.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


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