Columns & Articles
2,000 people occupied Wall Street on Saturday. They weren’t carrying the banner of the tea party, the Gadsden flag with its coiled snake and the threat “Don’t Tread on Me.” Yet their message was clear:“We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”
Death brings cheers these days in America. In this week’s Republican presidential debate, when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked, hypothetically, if a man who chose to carry no medical insurance, then was stricken with a grave illness, should be left to die, cheers of “Yeah!” filled the hall. When, in the prior debate, Gov. Rick Perry was asked about his enthusiastic use of the death penalty in Texas, the crowd erupted into sustained applause. This dynamic is why challenging the death sentence to be carried out against Troy Davis by the state of Georgia on Sept. 21 is so important.
The body bag marked “Victim 0001” on Sept. 11, 2001, contained the corpse of Father Mychal Judge, a Catholic chaplain with the Fire Department of New York. His was the first recorded death from the attacks that morning. His life’s work should be central to the 10th anniversary commemorations of the Sept. 11 attacks: peace, tolerance and reconciliation.
“When one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it,” wrote Joseph Goebbels, Germany’s Reich minister of propaganda, in 1941. Former Vice President Dick Cheney seems to have taken the famous Nazi’s advice in his new book, “In My Time.”
The White House was rocked Tuesday, not only by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake, but by the protests mounting outside its gates. More than 2,100 people say they’ll risk arrest there during the next two weeks. They oppose the Keystone XL pipeline project, designed to carry heavy crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
What does the police killing of a homeless man in San Francisco have to do with the Arab Spring uprisings from Tunisia to Syria? The attempt to suppress the protests that followed. In our digitally networked world, the ability to communicate is increasingly viewed as a basic right. Open communication fuels revolutions — it can take down dictators. When governments fear the power of their people, they repress, intimidate and try to silence them, whether in Tahrir Square or downtown San Francisco.
Democracy Now co-host, Juan Gonzalez, reports in the New York Daily News that on the 10th day of the most important labor fight in America, hundreds of striking Verizon workers have vowed to stay out as long as necessary.
In 1945, the U.S. suppressed reports of its A-bombs. In 2011, Japan censors Fukushima’s radiation. When will we learn?
President Barack Obama touted his debt ceiling deal Tuesday, saying, “We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have borne the biggest brunt of this recession.” Yet that is what he and his coterie of Wall Street advisers have done.
Military contract whistleblower Bunny Greenhouse’s legal win is welcome, but U.S. taxpayers are out $5 trillion for the wars of Bush and Obama. Why isn’t war a central issue in the U.S. debt talks?
“People say that Australia has given two people to the world,” Julian Assange told me in London recently, “Rupert Murdoch and me.” Assange, the founder of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, was humbly dismissing my introduction of him, to a crowd of 1,800 at East London’s Troxy theater, in which I suggested he had published perhaps more than anyone in the world. He said Murdoch took that publishing prize. Two days later, the Milly Dowler phone hacking story exploded, and Murdoch would close one of the largest newspapers in the world, his News of the World, within a week.
The contagion affecting Rupert Murdoch and News Corp has spread rapidly in the US. The FBI is investigating potential criminal hacking of the voicemails of victims of the 9/11 attacks. Lawmakers and grassroots groups are also calling for an investigation into whether the bribing of police was a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. As News Corp is a US corporation, registered in the business-friendly state of Delaware,even bribery abroad could lead to felony charges in the US.
President Barack Obama just announced a reversal of a long-standing policy that denied presidential condolence letters to the family members of soldiers who commit suicide. Official silence, however, has long stigmatized those who die of self-inflicted wounds. The change marks a long-overdue shift in the recognition of the epidemic of soldier and veteran suicides in this country and the toll of the hidden wounds of war.
Last Saturday was sunny in London, and the crowds were flocking to Wimbledon and to the annual Henley Regatta. Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blower website Wikileaks.org, was making his way by train from house arrest in Norfolk, three hours away, to join me and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek for a public conversation about WikiLeaks, the power of information and the importance of transparency in democracies.
Think of “food terrorism” and what do you see? Diabolical plots to taint items on grocery-store shelves? If you are Buddy Dyer, the mayor of Orlando, Fla., you might be thinking of a group feeding the homeless and hungry in one of your city parks. That is what Dyer is widely quoted as calling the activists with the Orlando chapter of Food Not Bombs—“food terrorists.” In the past few weeks, no less than 21 people have been arrested in Orlando, the home of Disney World, for handing out free food in a park.
New details are emerging that indicate the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan is far worse than previously known, with three of the four affected reactors experiencing full meltdowns. Meanwhile, in the U.S., massive flooding along the Missouri River has put Nebraska’s two nuclear plants, both near Omaha, on alert.
A grim irony of Mexico’s failed offensive against drug trafficking is that the US has supplied cartels with guns – deliberately even.
The media has been awash with New York Congressmember Anthony Weiner’s string of electronic sexual peccadillos. Punctuating the sensationalism, and between the TV commercials from the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries, are story after story of extreme weather events. Herein lies the real scandal: Why aren’t the TV meteorologists, with each story, following the words “extreme weather” with another two, “climate change”? We need modern-day eco-Paul (or Paula) Revere to rouse the populace to this imminent threat.
While most in the United States were recognizing Memorial Day with a three-day weekend, the people of Honduras were engaged in a historic event: the return of President Manuel Zelaya, 23 months after he was forced into exile at gunpoint in the first coup in Central America in a quarter-century.
Vermont is a land of proud firsts. This small New England state was the first to join the 13 Colonies. Its constitution was the first to ban slavery. It was the first to establish the right to free education for all—public education. This week, Vermont will boast another first: the first state in the nation to offer single-payer health care.