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A Moral Fabulist
A couple of weeks ago Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate and self-appointed moral conscience for Holocaust survivors, praised the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes to make way for yet more illegal settlements in Jerusalem. His chilling statement ran in an ad placed inHa’aretz. Here are Wiesel’s appalling words: Though Wiesel offers himself as a paragon... Read More
Riots and the Underclass
What’s a riot without looting? We want it, they’ve got it! You’d think from the press that looting was alien to British tradition, imported by immigrants more recent than the Normans. Not so. Gavin Mortimer, author of The Blitz, had an amusing piece in the First Post about the conduct of Britons at the time... Read More
The most compelling argument against the existence of a vast conspiracy orchestrating the assassinations of Jack and Bobby Kennedy is that the brothers were never threats to ruling power. The Kennedys were card-carrying members of the global elites, ran in their circles, catered to their whims, administered their political and economic bidding. (Just ask Fidel... Read More
Note: On the eve of the fateful Israeli elections in 2001, Alex and I wrote a long profile of the vicious, sinister career of Ariel Sharon. In the wake of Sharon’s death, I revamped the essay as a corrective to the drooling eulogies which have gone so far as to label him an “Israeli Moses.”... Read More
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The Bombing of Pearl Harbor: What FDR Knew
Each Pearl Harbor day offers a fresh opportunity for those who correctly believe 
that Franklin Roosevelt knew of an impending attack by the Japanese and welcomed it as
 a way of snookering the isolationists and getting America into the war. And year by year the evidence continues to mount. The Naval 
Institute’s website featured a... Read More
“I’ve Never Met a Mormon Man Who Has Any Real Respect for Women”
What can we expect from a Mormon man in the White House? All the Mormon men I know are good at justifying anything with the doctrine of the Church. Take my uncle, former Mormon bishop, a chemist and head of what used to be called Morton Thiokol. He’s a sweet guy, and would call himself... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Two years after he was sacked by President Obama as the top commander in Afghanistan for suggesting to Rolling Stone magazine that the real enemy were "the wimps in the White House", General Stanley A McChrystal has recycled a perennial chestnut: Bring back the draft – i.e. a conscripted army, not the volunteer army of... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Since what is now going is being described as “the greatest financial scandal in the history of Britain” -- the Barclays imbroglio – I have a question to ask. Where are those tents outside St Pauls? Or ones in solidarity this side of the Atlantic? Where are the vibrant reminders that – as has happened... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
The predictable word is in from Rio: failure. The conference twenty years on from the huge Earth Summit, Rio 92, has been unable to produce even the pretense of an energetic verbal commitment of the world’s community to “sustainable principles.” The reason? These conferences have always been pretty fraudulent affairs, lofted on excited green rhetoric... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Regard the Greek political landscape and how dramatically it has changed from last November. On November 2, 2011, Greek prime minister George Papandreou flew to Cannes before a G20 meeting and received one of the most humiliating rebuffs in European history since Pope Gregory VII left Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV shivering in the snow.... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Never trust a president who claims he reads himself to sleep with the help of Marcus Aurelius. That was Bill Clinton, who claimed this thundering imperial bore never strayed far from his hand. Most certainly view with profound suspicion a president who professes to be guided in his conduct in grave moral matters by Augustine... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Let me whisk you to 1980 on one of Obama’s miracle drones. In the right-center we had incumbent President Jimmy Carter, derided as a man of peace, el wimpo. True his top foreign policy man was an unreconstructed Polish cold war warrior burning to bringing the Soviet Union to its knees. True, the two had... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
The news is in. White births are no longer a majority in the United States. The Bureau of the Census confirms that non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 of all births in the year ending July, 2011, while minorities including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent. I felt lonely and... Read More
A CounterPunch Diary
It started with lesbian couples in Vermont in the mid-90s, freaked out they’d lose their babies. Vermont Freedom to Marry was born, and is now the most powerful Democratic organization in the state, most certainly responsible for the victory of Gov. Peter Shumlin, elected in Nov 2010 and, nine months later, the first sitting governor... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Chen Guangchen, the Chinese human activist, got four separate articles in the New York Times for May 5. Jane Perlez and Michael Wines reported from Beijing on the deal that would get Chen and his family visas to the US, for him to take up a fellowship at NYU. Andrew Jacobs weighed in with the... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Watch Europe tip left and right as voters rise in fury against the austerity menu that’s been bringing them to utter ruin. In Holland, the right-wing Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders brought down the governing coalition on Monday bellowing his defiance for the "Diktats from Brussels", and asserting that "We must be master of our... Read More
An Envoi for Christopher Hitchens
On April 20 there’s a memorial for Christopher Hitchens at the Cooper Union in Manhattan. There’s a PEN tribute, also in Manhattan, on April 30. Here’s my own little envoi. The regular Diary, tumbrils and all, will resume next week. SCENE ONE Antechamber to Heaven, a large reception room in the Baroque style. A door... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
THIS has been a bad year for grand restaurants in the three- to four-star range and the clang of their closing doors raises the question - is the whole gastro-frenzy that stirred into life in the mid-1970s finally lurching towards closure? Goodbye Iron Chefs, sayonara "molecular gastronomy" in the style of Ferran Adria, farewell those... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Mitt Romney will be the Republican to face President Obama in the fall. Tuesday night was the clincher, as the Mormon zealot won in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington DC. He may stumble on, but the Catholic zealot Rick Santorum is finished. It’s hard to detect any alluring feature in Romney’s psychic or political make-up, and... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
I’d say the chances of George Zimmerman spending time behind bars for killing Trayvon Martin are about the same as Sergeant Robert Bales doing time for killing those 16 Afghan villagers the night of March 11. Zero. Like most things that happen in America these days, the Trayvon Martin case is turning into yet another... Read More
Only 25 Per Cent of All Americans Go to College and Only 16 Per Cent of These Actually Try to Learn Anything. Welcome a Nation of Helots.
"In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a first-class education," President Obama famously declared in his 2010 State of the Union Address, just as millions of high schoolers across the nation were embarking on the annual ritual of picking their preferred colleges and preparing the grand tour of the prospects, with parents... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
In the wake of the lethal rampage by a US sergeant who killed 16 Afghans in the early hours of March 11, the Taliban have put a halt to talks with the Americans and President Hamid Karzai has demanded that NATO troops pull out of the villages and return to their camps. As with the... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
The Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld two-term Republican Gov. Haley Barbour’s pardons. This quintessential southern good old boy issued 203 of them in January on his last day in office, a hefty total for Mississippi. Barbour’s predecessor, Ronnie Musgrove, issued just one, to a fellow in the joint for a marijuana bust. Under fierce attack,... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Suddenly the right has gone truly crazy. It must be sunspots. We’re three years into sunspot cycle number 24 and it crests in activity with 59 sunspots in early 2013, the weakest sunspot cycle in a hundred years, therefore not much help in the earth’s current cooling phase, during which – contrary to warmist doctrine... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Surely Rick Santorum is the most fanatical Christian to run for the Republican nomination in the modern era, maybe any era. Next to him Pat Robertson, billionaire founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, who ran for the nomination in 1988, has the tolerant, glassy-eyed bonhomie of the late Dean Martin. Robertson has always been in... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Few spectacles have been more surreal than senior US officials – starting with the President, the Secretary of State and the US ambassador to the UN - solemnly lecturing Assad and his beleaguered Syrian government on the need to accommodate rebel forces whose GCC sponsors are intent on slaughtering the ruling Alawite minority or driving... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
If you want a sense of what could well lie in store for Syria, go no further than Anthony Shadid’s report from Libya in the New York Times for February 9. Shadid, a good reporter, describes a dismembered country, rent by banditry: One martial enterprise of some of these Misuratan militias is to attack a... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
The day after the Florida primary, when all eyes were fixed in astonishment on the victorious Gov. Romney expressing his indifference to the sufferings of the poor, the Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, gave a speech in Brussels. He said that as early as mid-2013 American forces in Afghanistan will step back from a combat role.... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Sick with disappointment that I missed the Tin-Tin movie showing in Eureka, I had to settle for Obama’s State of the Union and Thursday’s Republican debate in Jacksonville. Await a presidential State of the Union address with keen anticipation? It’s like saying one looks forward to taking a niece to the Nutcracker. The last time... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Newt Gingrich is a one-man, made-in-America melting pot. Here’s a committed devotee of tooth-and-claw capitalism, vultures perched on both shoulders, advocate of 8-year old black children working as janitors – campaigning with a pro-worker film of which John Reed or Ken Loach would be proud, paid for by a rabidly anti-union billionaire who thinks Israel... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
The world’s press is choc-a-bloc with “if” questions about Iran and war. Will Israel attack? Is Obama, coerced by domestic politics in an election year, being dragged into war by the Israel lobby? Will he lunch the bombers? Is the strategy to force Iran into a corner, methodically demolishing its economy by embargoes and sanctions... Read More
As New Hampshire Goes…
He stuck his foot in his mouth a couple of times in the final days, but on Tuesday millionaire Mormon Mitt Romney cantered past the winning post in the New Hampshire primary with 39 per cent of the votes cast. Libertarian Ron Paul ran second with 23 per cent. Another millionaire Mormon, Jon Huntsman, got... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
First up: “sustainable.” It’s been at least a decade since this earnest word was drained of all energy, having become the prime unit of exchange in the argot of purposeful uplift. As the final indication of its degraded status, I found it in President Obama’s “signing statement” which accompanied the whisper of his pen, as... Read More
The Deranged Chorus
A Catholic former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania once rated the dumbest man in the US Congress crested Tuesday night in Iowa’s see-saw battle among candidates for the Republican nomination and ran a virtual tie with Mormon millionaire Mitt Romney. Well after chilly midnight on caucus night in the Midwestern state, Iowa’s Republican Party declared Romney... Read More
CounterPunch Diary of the Year
January 5 Torture is now solidly installed in America’s repressive arsenal, not in the shadows where it has always lurked, but up front and central, vigorously applauded by prominent politicians. Rituals of coercion and humiliation seep through the culture, to the extent that before Christmas American travelers began to rebel at the invasive pat-down searches,... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Too bad Kim Jong-il kicked the bucket last weekend. If the divine hand that laid low the North Korean leader had held off for a week or so, Kim would have been sustained by the news that President Obama is signing into law a bill that puts the United States not immeasurably far from the... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
I can’t count the times, down the years, that after some new outrage friends would call me and ask, “What happened to Christopher Hitchens?” -- the inquiry premised on some supposed change in Hitchens, often presumed to have started in the period he tried to put his close friend Blumenthal behind bars for imputed perjury.... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
When in doubt, wheel on Teddy Roosevelt. It's in every Democratic president's playbook. TR was president from 1901 to 1909. He was manly, ranching in North Dakota, exploring the Amazon and nearly expiring on the River of Doubt. He was an imperialist con amore, charging up San Juan Hill, sending the Great White Fleet round... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Slapstick depends on repetition. The clown always slips in the pile of elephant crap, inevitably walks into the ladder. By such standards Mitt Romney is now the undisputed slapstick king of America. About every four to six weeks the pundits shout out in unison, “That’s it. Finally. It’s a wrap for Romney!” But then, a... Read More
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CounterPunch Diary
The last time we met Michael Bérubé on this site was back in 2007, and he was up to his neck in a rubbish dump, where I’d placed him, in the company of other promoters of the 2003 war on Iraq: where, I asked, are those parlor warriors now? Had any of them reconsidered their... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
From Manhattan, to Nashville, to St Louis, to Portland, Oregon, to Oakland, California, the police this week moved in to clear out the Occupy Wall Street protesters from the various downtown plazas or squares where they'd established their peaceable focos. The mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan, had earlier acknowledged a conference call between 18 mayors,... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
As he prepares to follow Gov. Rick Perry into the oubliette of campaign history Herman Cain can at least console himself that as an alleged harasser of women, his was certainly a classier act than that of a man who not only got elected president in 1992 but was triumphantly reelected in 1996, each time... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Three years of President Obama, as of today. Count and weep. Just over a year from now Americans will be deciding whether to reelect Barack Obama or… probably Mitt Romney. In the latter case this is to assume that that Mitt, a Mormon and family man – both danger flares -- doesn’t get caught up... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Remember Tillikum? Back in 2010 I likened this proud mammal, at 6 tons and 22 feet long the largest orca whale in captivity, to Spartacus. Tillikum was kidnapped by whale-slavers off Iceland at the age of two in 1983. Deliberately starved as part of his “training” in a Sealand tank in Victoria, Canada, Tillikum has... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Denied post mortem imagery of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, the world now has at its disposal photographs of Muammar Qaddafi, dispatched with a bullet to the head after being wounded by NATO’s ground troops outside Sirte. Did the terminal command, Finish Him Off, come via cell phone from the US State Department whose... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
First, a simple rule: utter absurdity in allegations leveled by the US government is no bar to a deferential hearing in our nation’s major conduits of official opinion. Suppose the CIA leaks a secret national security review concluding that the moon is actually made of cheese, and the Chinese are planning to send up a... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Threaten the stability of Saudi Arabia, as the Shi’a upsurges are now doing in Qatif, and al-Awamiyah in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province and you’re brandishing a dagger over the very heart of long-term U.S. policy in the Middle East for over half a century. In 1945 the chief of the State Department’s Division of... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Consider the present dilemma of Texas governor Rick Perry, whose trajectory as the potential Republican presidential nominee now threatens to emulate the fate of the Challenger spaceshuttle in 1986. What went wrong? The necessary political attributes appeared to be in place to please the Tea Party’s foot soldiers whose season of maximum political effectiveness is... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Did you catch Obama’s populist twitch? The moment when he tossed aside the stifling cloak of compromise, and like Joshua before the walls of Jericho issued the trumpet call to the disheartened Democratic base that henceforth it will be the battlements guarding the untaxed rich that would tumble under his assault, while the “entitlements” would... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
But first, a simple rule for killers: If you are going to murder someone in the United States, don't try to get the job done in Texas. Keep your captive alive in the car till New Mexico, which recently banned the death penalty, or press on to California, which retains the death penalty but makes... Read More
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