Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair Many American presidents have blundered in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, but Donald Trump’s personal involvement in the region has been particularly disastrous.  President Eisenhower introduced the CIA to the world of covert action, when he ordered the overthrow of the legitimate government of Iran in 1953.  President … Continue reading “Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure”

“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”

A-10 training on bombing range in Nevada. Photo: DoD. “The Department of Defense’s ability to conduct realistic live-fire training, weapons system testing, and essential operations is vital to preparing a more lethal and resilient force for combat. . . . Starting in the late 1990s, the Department became increasingly concerned about “encroachment” pressures adversely affecting … Continue reading ““Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!””

Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran

The Battle of Borodino by Peter Von Hess, 1843. + It’s easy to plot wars when you’re at no personal risk after your plans go to shit. At the Battle of La Moscova (or Borodino, if you’re Russian) in 1812, 70 generals were killed in a single day. In all US military campaigns since the … Continue reading “Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran”

It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair Liberal journalist and author David Cay Johnston, a frequent cable news commentator, was right to title his 2018 book on the Trump presidency “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America.” Trump is a creeping fascist train-wreck – an authoritarian disaster whose lawyer recently … Continue reading “It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought”

Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair The American political establishment seems determined to go down in flames and take the rest of the world with it. Under the delusion that neoliberal, neoconservative corpse-in-waiting Uncle Joe Biden is ‘what voters want,’ the Democratic Party has once again substituted marketing logic for a political program. On the plus … Continue reading “Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline”

2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!

Photograph Source: United States Army – Public Domain U.S. ships are involved in provocative “freedom of navigation” exercises in the South China Sea and other ships gather ominously in the Mediterranean Sea while National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo along with convicted war criminal Elliot Abrams conspire to save the … Continue reading “2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!”

Springtime for Biden and Democrats

Summertime is coming; the “debate” season is near.  It will not taper off on until the primaries and party caucuses get underway.  What a dreary prospect!  Take heart, though, in the fact that, in this post-midterms world, with the Zeitgeist moving boldly and unashamedly to the left, some good could come of it. Also, if Joe … Continue reading “Springtime for Biden and Democrats”

The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin Climate change is the apex crisis of all time and the US military is the prime crisis multiplier. As we approach the horizon of … Continue reading “The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos”

Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?

Image Source: James Montgomery Flagg – Public Domain Earlier in 2019, the US Congress utilized its power to wage or not wage war and voted to end US involvement in the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen. Donald Trump vetoed the bill and it died. Meanwhile, the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies were ramping up pressure … Continue reading “Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?”

Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell

Photograph Source: Tim Pierce – CC BY-SA 4.0 Disclaimer: CounterPunch is not endorsing or supporting Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or any candidate. This is purely analysis. Elizabeth Warren’s decision to turn down an invitation from FOX News to appear on a town hall event has become something of a controversy on the left. It seems … Continue reading “Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell”

The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair With the attempted coup in Venezuela now nearing its four-month mark, commentators in the corporate-owned Western press are scratching their heads as to why Washington’s plan for its proxy, Juan Guaido, to topple the government of Nicolas Maduro has so far failed to materialize. Of course, all of the real … Continue reading “The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed”

Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated

Photo Source: Joe Bidens Senate Photo – Public Domain A strong plurality of voters, 8-12% more than prefer Joe Biden first, are undecided ahead of the 2020 Democratic primary according to a YouGov Blue poll fielded and released quietly after Joe Biden’s entry into the race. YouGov’s partner, Data for Progress, helpfully took the rare … Continue reading “Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated”

Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective

Illustration by Nathaniel St. Clair I was in Venezuela from April 26 to May 5, 2019. It was the fifth time I have been there in a span of 14 years, so I was able to put things I saw on this trip in that context. My first visit was in 2005. I saw people … Continue reading “Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective”

Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?

Photograph Source: Rhododendrites – CC BY-SA 4.0 Having been a journalist for 57 years now, I’ve gotten to know many public officials. The smartest person in politics I’ve ever known—and I’ve told this to folks for years—is U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler. In Jerry Nadler, chairman of the key panel now investigating President Donald Trump and … Continue reading “Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?”

Does the Climate Movement Really Mean What It Says?

Photograph by P J Hansen – CC BY-SA 2.0 When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them….Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is … Continue reading “Does the Climate Movement Really Mean What It Says?”

Climate Change was No Accident

Years ago, tobacco companies discovered the link between their products and lung cancer. Did they warn their customers? No — they denied the link entirely, misleading the public for decades while killing their customers. Similarly, ExxonMobil scientists made startlingly accurate predictions about climate change as early as 1982 — and then spent millions of dollars … Continue reading “Climate Change was No Accident”

Debunking Myths About Wealth and Race

I don’t get that much hate mail — except when I write about race. This spring I coauthored a report called “Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide.” My coauthors and I found that the median white family today owns 41 times more wealth than the median black family and 22 times more wealth … Continue reading “Debunking Myths About Wealth and Race”

Iran Notes

“Boys go to Baghdad, but real men go to Tehran” – Bush official, 2003 Gibbon in his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire writes of the Romans, “They endeavored to convince mankind that their motive was not the temptation of conquest but was actuated by the love of order and justice.” West Asia, the Middle East … Continue reading “Iran Notes”

Social Carrying Capacity Politspeak Bamboozle

As a scholar and social scientist I get annoyed when concepts are deployed for partisan purposes without regard for intellectual integrity. Having said that, I suspect that most politicians would find my distress silly, which is to be expected of a breed that exists to promote partisan ends using whatever rhetoric serves the immediate purpose. … Continue reading “Social Carrying Capacity Politspeak Bamboozle”

The Pompeo Smirk

No wonder Mr. Pompeo awkwardly laughed or, as it was described by some observers, “smirked,” when asked about the reports of the execution of four of the people with whom Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo had been negotiating a few shorts months ago. Their roles might have been reversed. The smirk made its appearance when … Continue reading “The Pompeo Smirk”

Trotsky, Bukharin and the Eco-Modernists

Faith merely promises to move mountains; but technology, which takes nothing “on faith,” is actually able to cut down mountains and move them. Up to now this was done for industrial purposes (mines) or for railways (tunnels); in the future this will be done on an immeasurably larger scale, according to a general industrial and … Continue reading “Trotsky, Bukharin and the Eco-Modernists”

Will Burning at the Stake Come Next?

We’re living in the most perilous time for abortion rights and reproductive freedom since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. While some erosion of abortion rights has occurred over the decades — parental consent laws, waiting periods, procedure curtailment — the fundamental right has largely been by ruled by the courts, and viewed by … Continue reading “Will Burning at the Stake Come Next?”

Bolton and the Road to the War He Wants

Isn’t it obvious? A moronic president with no firm principles other than the preservation of his base’s support chose as his third national security advisor the notorious John Bolton. Bolton is using his position to try to guide the supposedly isolationist president into more wars of imperialist aggression. He is the Wormtongue in Trump’s court, … Continue reading “Bolton and the Road to the War He Wants”

The Christchurch Pledge and a Regulated Internet

It had to come.  A massacre, broadcast in real time and then shared with viral automatism; the inevitable shock, and the counter from the authorities.  The Christchurch shootings, inflicting fifty-one deaths upon worshippers at two mosques in quiet New Zealand on March 15 this year, have spurred Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.  Laws have been passed … Continue reading “The Christchurch Pledge and a Regulated Internet”

Florida’s Sex Wars: the Battle to Decriminalize Sex Work

On May 3rd, the Florida legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 540 that extends the Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database to include “johns” and “pimps” as well as sex trafficking victims and sex workers. In a follow-up press release, the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Behind Bars warned state legislators, the “registry will be open to the public & … Continue reading “Florida’s Sex Wars: the Battle to Decriminalize Sex Work”

Trump: Importing Dangerous Medicines and Food and Keeping Consumers in the Dark

Conservatives favor consumer choice. Consumer information is vital to make that choice meaningful. Corporatists, masquerading as conservatives, do not care about informed consumer choice. Donald Trump is a corporatist, as are the vast majority of Republicans in his Cabinet and in Congress. Corporatists do not even want you to know where products are made. Today, … Continue reading “Trump: Importing Dangerous Medicines and Food and Keeping Consumers in the Dark”

Purity Tests Can be a Good Thing

The Democratic primaries are heating up. One notable feature of the race is the strong presence of progressive candidates — which has many in the establishment wing of the party worried. Former president Barack Obama, whose moderate vice president Joe Biden is now in the race, recently decried the alleged “purity tests” he saw on … Continue reading “Purity Tests Can be a Good Thing”

Modern Merchants of Death: the NSO Group, Spyware and Human Rights

Arms manufacturers of old, and many of the current stable, did not care much where their products went.  The profit incentive often came before the patriotic one, and led to such dark suspicions as those voiced by the Nye Committee in the 1930s.  Known formally as the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, … Continue reading “Modern Merchants of Death: the NSO Group, Spyware and Human Rights”

Anarchism & Reconciliation, Part II

White men had a soul, and lost it. The pivot of life had been quenched in them, and their lives had started to spin in the reverse direction, widdershins. That reversed look which is in the eyes of so many white people, the look of nullity, and life wheeling in the reverse direction…. – D. … Continue reading “Anarchism & Reconciliation, Part II”

Game of Thrones and the Truth About Class (Spoiler Warning)

In the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones the city of King’s Landing is sacked and razed by Daenarys Targaryen and her armies. Viewers were as stunned as Jon Snow as they watched the story’s supposed heroine rain destruction upon the Lannister soldiers and the innocent from above while her forces did so from the … Continue reading “Game of Thrones and the Truth About Class (Spoiler Warning)”

The Options Trump Puts on the Table

Is President Trump about to invade Venezuela? His advisors continue to say — in increasingly forceful terms that — “all options are on the table”, and that military intervention to restore Venezuela’s constitution” may be necessary.” For his part, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a news program last Sunday commented that President Trump could launch a military attack against Venezuela … Continue reading “The Options Trump Puts on the Table”

The Pompeo/Bolton Tag Team

There was little pretense that when former UN Ambassador John Bolton became President Trump’s National Security Adviser and former Rep. Mike Pompeo moved into the Secretary of State position, that either would bring a professionally credible and respectable presence to  world diplomacy or foreign affairs. It is fair to say that both have surpassed any … Continue reading “The Pompeo/Bolton Tag Team”

Where Lyme Disease Came From and Why It Eludes Treatment

A new book called Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons by Kris Newby adds significantly to our understanding of Lyme disease, while oddly seeming to avoid mention of what we already knew. Newby claims (in 2019) that if a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer had not made a confession in 2013, the secret that … Continue reading “Where Lyme Disease Came From and Why It Eludes Treatment”

Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

In 1901, when Dr. Alois Alzheimer started talking to his patient Mrs. Auguste Deter, a 50-year-old patient, he immediately realized that there was something wrong with her. Her responses to his questions were not only repetitive and wrong, but she quickly seemed to forget them. Sadly, she was aware of her helplessness, which caused her … Continue reading “Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease”

Our Problems are Deeper than “Capitalism” (and “Socialism” Alone Can’t Solve Them)

Complaints about “capitalism” have become more common the last few years in the United States. This has been a welcome development. Anytime the collective perspective is widened, it’s beneficial to at least some degree. In a complementary way, calls for “socialism” have also become more frequent. We can credit these trends to social conditions. First, … Continue reading “Our Problems are Deeper than “Capitalism” (and “Socialism” Alone Can’t Solve Them)”

America’s Roadless Rules are Not Protecting Public Wildlands From Development

Four percent of the nation’s forested public wildlands remain undeveloped today. These landscapes are either designated wilderness or lands that qualify for designation. Many lands not protected as wilderness are called roadless areas. There are approximately 60 million acres of unprotected roadless lands on our national forests. They provide crucial fish and wildlife habitat and … Continue reading “America’s Roadless Rules are Not Protecting Public Wildlands From Development”

Delegislating Wilderness

I maintain many designated areas in the United States no longer meet the definition of the 1964 Wilderness Act and must be delegislated if the impacts of industrial recreation are not controlled to maintain an untrammeled state. These controls can only the placed by the Federal government from the consent of the governed, a difficult … Continue reading “Delegislating Wilderness”

War’s Unanswered Questions

“Over these last few years, given the wars it has waged and the international treaties it has arbitrarily reneged on, the U.S. government perfectly fits its own definition of a rogue state.” — Arundhati Roy You have the world’s largest military, you’re going to use it, right? Donald Trump and his team, led by National Insecurity Advisor … Continue reading “War’s Unanswered Questions”

A Novel We Can All Relate To

America is still discovering itself. The rise of Donald Trump alerted those citizens who thought they alone defined our culture and values to the existence of a significant population holding very different views– and the will to back a candidate who might speak for them. (Thus, the most unlikely candidate entered the White House.) Political … Continue reading “A Novel We Can All Relate To”

Review: Ziya Tong’s “The Reality Bubble”

Our inability to act is sadly, once again, at the core of Ziya Tong’s The Reality Bubble: Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions That Shape Our World, an exhaustive account of what we do not see. Some of what Tong records in her powerful analysis of our collective blindness (climate change, for example) … Continue reading “Review: Ziya Tong’s “The Reality Bubble””

Somewhere Beyond Corporate Media Yemenis Die

Somewhere Beyond Corporate Media Yemenis Die(Parody of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg)  Somewhere beyond corporate media Yemenis die, Folk rarely heard of, yet our weapons they’re killed by. Somewhere beyond corporate media Al Qaeda of AP expands, Saudi/US war crime crony, sanctity of human life be damned. Yemenis wish the … Continue reading “Somewhere Beyond Corporate Media Yemenis Die”

What 50 Countries are Backing Guaidó? Who Knows? Who Cares? If the Media Say It Enough It Must Be True

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair American media still refer to Juan Guaidó, America’s hand-picked “legitimate leader” or “legitimate president” of Venezuela, as having an “administration.” The truth is that his “administration” — consisting of advisors and other opposition leaders — are all either arrested and being held by the government, hiding, seeking asylum in various foreign … Continue reading “What 50 Countries are Backing Guaidó? Who Knows? Who Cares? If the Media Say It Enough It Must Be True”

Israel/America or Netanyahu/Trump?

Photograph Source: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem – CC BY 2.0 The late Uri Avnery (1923-2018), the doughty Israeli seeker of peace with the Palestinian people, posted almost weekly on CounterPunch. Avnery was savvy enough to know that the Zionist failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians meant that Israel could never be a “normal” state, no … Continue reading “Israel/America or Netanyahu/Trump?”

Europe is Powerless in Growing Conflict Between the US and Iran

Photograph Source: rockcohen – CC BY-SA 2.0 Brexiteers in Britain are denouncing the EU as an all-powerful behemoth from whose clutches Britain must escape, just as the organisation is demonstrating its failure to become more than a second-rate world power. The EU’s real status – well behind the US, Russia and China – has just … Continue reading “Europe is Powerless in Growing Conflict Between the US and Iran”

A Criminal Affair: United States Imposes War on the Venezuelan People

Illustration by Nathaniel St. Clair To replace Venezuela’s government with one to its liking, the United States uses special war-making tools. The plan is to make Venezuelans suffer enough so that, desperate, they will accept whatever government is presented. Troops and weapons aren’t required. That approached worked in Chile in 1973, but so far in … Continue reading “A Criminal Affair: United States Imposes War on the Venezuelan People”

Is Emergency Evacuation from Seabrook Reactor Even Possible? Public Hearings Demanded

Ever wonder if the nuclear reactor near you has an evacuation plan that would work in an emergency? Have you ever been stuck in barely moving traffic on an interstate highway even when there was no crisis, no sirens, and no panic? People driving Interstate-95 near the Seabrook reactor in New Hampshire have, and they … Continue reading “Is Emergency Evacuation from Seabrook Reactor Even Possible? Public Hearings Demanded”

The Threat of Political Climate Change

In the Americas, the Trump tsunami has swept across both continents and the “pink tide” of progressivism has all but disappeared from the southern half of the hemisphere. In Europe, with the recent exception of Spain, the left has been banished to the political margins. In Africa and Asia, socialism has devolved into nationalism, authoritarianism, … Continue reading “The Threat of Political Climate Change”