Columns & Articles
11-11-11 is not a variant of Herman Cain’s much-touted 9-9-9 tax plan, but rather the date of this year’s Veterans Day. This is especially relevant, as the U.S. has now entered its second decade of war in Afghanistan, the longest war in the nation’s history. U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are appearing more and more on the front lines—the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street protests, that is.
The winds of change are blowing across the globe. What triggers such change, and when it will strike, is something that no one can predict.
The national memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. was dedicated last Sunday. President Barack Obama said of Dr. King, “If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there.” The dedication occurred amidst the increasingly popular and increasingly global Occupy Wall Street movement. What Obama left unsaid is that King, were he alive, would most likely be protesting Obama administration policies.
While President Obama has made concession after concession to both the corporate-funded tea party and his Wall Street donors, now that he is again in campaign mode, his progressive critics are being warned not to attack him, as that might aid and abet the Republican bid for the White House. Enter the 99 percenters.
The Occupy Wall Street protest grows daily, spreading to cities across the United States. “We are the 99 percent,” the protesters say, “that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”
On Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., Troy Anthony Davis was scheduled to die. I was reporting live from outside Georgia’s death row in Jackson, awaiting news about whether the Supreme Court would spare his life.
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.