Archive | August, 2011

  • What Does S&P’s Downgrade of Japan’s Debt Mean?

    The New York Times reported on S&P’s downgrade of Japanese government debt to the 4th highest level.  It explained the downgrade by noting Japan’s continued weak growth, political problems, and concerns about deflation.  These are factors that might concern the Japanese public when they vote for their leaders, but it is difficult to see what […]

  • NATO in Hurry to Create “New Libya”

    Victor Nieto is a cartoonist in Venezuela.  His cartoons frequently appear in Aporrea and Rebelión among other sites.  Cf. “NATO’s intensified bombing: Frantic attempt to defeat Libya before Sept. UN vote on war & full General Assembly.  #Libya #NATO” (John Bazin, 21 August 2011); Larry Shaughnessy, “U.S. Has Nearly Doubled Air Attacks on Libya in […]

  • Messianism versus Democracy

    The Central government’s flip-flops on Anna Hazare are obvious: it went from abusing him (through the Congress spokesperson) for sheltering corruption, to extolling him for his idealism; from arresting him, without any justification, and getting him remanded to judicial custody for a week, to releasing him within a few hours.  But the Anna group’s flip-flops […]

  • Austerity Politics Descends on US States

    Last week, Democratic Governors in New York and Connecticut repeated the austerity politics of Greece’s Prime Minister Papandreou and Portugal’s Socrates.  In doing so, they likewise imitated the austerity politics of their Republican and Democratic counterparts across virtually all 50 states.  Austerity for labor and the public is everywhere capitalism’s Plan B.  After all, even […]

  • Libya News Roundup

    Richard Seymour (20 August 2011): “I think we would see a recomposition of the old regime, without Qadhafi but with the basic state structures intact.  The former regime elements would become regime elements, within a pro-US, neoliberal state with some limited political democracy.  In addition, those calling for intervention in Syria would be strengthened, as […]

  • Tearing Down the Wall?  Big Organizing Challenge Remains after Temporary Truce at Verizon

    The 45,000 Verizon union members returning to work on Tuesday, after a two-week strike, would do well to remember the words of VZ’s Marc Reed when picket lines were taken down on Saturday.  Said Reed: “We remain committed to our objectives.” Verizon’s executive vice-president for human resources wasn’t just referring to the company’s latest giveback […]

  • Brazilian Defense Minister Amorim Supports Withdrawal of Troops from Haiti — But When?

    One month ago I argued in this space that Brazil should set a timetable for getting its troops out of Haiti, since there is no war in Haiti and no legitimate reason — nor legal justification — for the UN military force (MINUSTAH) to be there.  Now Brazil’s new Defense Minister, Celso Amorim — who […]

  • Alaeddin Boroujerdi and Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh on What Iran Wants from Russia

      Russia Should Pressure U.S. to Lift Anti-Iran Sanctions: MP Russia should pressure the United States to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran, Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Friday. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has so far taken important steps in order to create transparency concerning its peaceful […]

  • FlagMan: The Man Who Removed the Israeli Flag from the Israeli Embassy in Egypt

      “#flagman the brave man that removed the Israeli flag from Israel Embassy in Cairo.  His name is Ahmed Shehata #Israel #Egypt.” — Mohamed Aboelkhier Video by Jonathan Rashad Cartoon by Carlos Latuff Jonathan Rashad is a young Egyptian freelance photographer, who started his career in 2008 at the age of 16.  Carlos Latuff is […]

  • Who Defends Syria’s Sovereignty?

    NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” is an excellent barometer.  Each day Ms. Rehm interviews figures from the commanding heights of the Washington establishment.  Elected officials, Pentagon officers, foundation grunts, academics, media personalities and reporters, and the diplomatic corps all pass through her studio. Syria was the focus of Ms. Rehm’s first hour on 17 August. […]

  • The Key to Progress in Nuclear Diplomacy with Iran

    We have long argued that there will not be a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue without explicit recognition — from the United States and other Western countries, first of all — of the Islamic Republic’s right to the full range of civil nuclear technologies and activities, including uranium enrichment.  Two recent developments affirm […]

  • Separating Fact from Fantasy in Bolivia: A Review of Jeffery R. Webber’s From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia

    The election of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, on the back of a mass rebellion that overthrew successive governments, has stirred great interest in this small Andean nation.  Given that the Evo Morales government recently celebrated its 2000th day in power — a feat in its own right for a country that has had around 180 […]

  • London’s Most Wanted

    “Wanted for Terrorism” Victor Nieto is a cartoonist in Venezuela.  His cartoons frequently appear in Aporrea and Rebelión among other sites.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at]  Cf. “David Cameron Back Councils Planning to Evict Rioters” (BBC, 12 August 2011); “[F]or the press and the western governments, those demonstrating in British, Greek, […]

  • Syrians Tweet Back to Obama

    After US President Barack Obama declared on 18 August 2011: “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” . . . Haneen Khaddour (18 August 2011): “Here we go again #american intervention.  No one wants you in #syria” Sate (18 August 2011): “Ya’ aha Obama.  So […]

  • Regarding the Situation in Syria: “We Do Not Share the US and EU Point of View concerning President Bashar al-Assad”

    Comment by Press and Information Department of Russian Foreign Ministry on a Question from Interfax News Agency Regarding the Situation in Syria Question: Please comment on the calls of US President Barack Obama and EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Answer: Our position on the […]

  • Workers Representing We Are Ohio Call on Governor to Repeal Senate Bill 5

    Today workers representing We Are Ohio and our 1.3 million supporters continued their call on Governor Kasich, Senate President Niehaus, and Speaker Batchelder to repeal all of Senate Bill 5, the unfair and unsafe bill that hurts us all.  We Are Ohio called on these leaders to first repeal all of Senate Bill 5 to […]

  • Deficits, Debts, and Deepening Crisis

    Standard and Poor’s downgrades US debt, stock markets gyrate around the world, Sarkozy and Merkel perform yet another empty summit, the Chinese and Japanese economies look worrisome.  Serious commentators worry about global recession, another global banking collapse, eurozone dissolution, and austerity programs that only make matters worse.  Nouriel Roubini, famed Professor at NYU’s Stern School […]

  • The “Debt Crisis” Myth

    The prevailing understanding of economic troubles in the U.S. and Europe, the world’s two largest economies, is mistaken in a number of ways.  First: Imagine that you are driving a car down a road packed with snow and ice and you are worried about an accident.  At the same time you are ignoring the fact […]

  • A First Ever Default?  Closing the Gold Window, Forty Years On

    During the recent “Debt Ceiling” debacle, many warned that the failure to lift the debt ceiling would lead to a “first ever” US default and to numerous financial catastrophes, including the demise of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. “First Ever Default?”  Think again. Forty years ago this month, on August 15, 1971, […]

  • Bounce in Core Energy Prices Lead to 0.5 Percent Rise in CPI

    The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent in July, following a 0.2 percent fall in June.  Over the last three months, headline inflation has run at a 1.8 percent annualized rate, compared with 6.2 percent from January to April.  Consumer prices less food and energy rose 0.2 percent last month.  Since April, these core prices […]