From the Archive: The urgent question facing the advanced capitalistic societies of Europe and the United States is: can “free markets” still meet the people’s needs or will those needs be sacrificed to the market’s demand for “austerity” — and if so, what does that mean for democracy — as Robert Parry asked in 2009.
Much of Europe has swallowed the bitter medicine of austerity on orders from conservative economic theorists, only to find that the supposed cure has made matters worse. Now, elections in France and Greece indicate that Europeans want a new approach that stimulates growth, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
From the Archive: Robert Draper’s new book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do, describes Newt Gingrich and other Republicans plotting on Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day how to sink his presidency. But that plot has been obvious for years in GOP obstruction of Obama’s recovery plans, as Robert Parry noted in 2010.
Since the rise of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, America’s rich have been on a roll, with their tax rates slashed by more than half and a concentration of both wealth and power at the top, a restoration of an earlier time of inequality and exploitation, as Lawrence S. Wittner recalls.
As the richest one percent consolidates its wealth and power, the 99 percent are fed junk food for the mind and the body, explaining the overwhelming sense of emptiness even amid the obesity of physical and mental over-consumption, a wrenching human dilemma that ultimately must be confronted, writes Phil Rockstroh.
Despite economic recession and government austerity, the world’s military spending continued to grow last year, exceeding $1.7 trillion, with the United States accounting for more than two-fifths of that money, as Lawrence S. Wittner reports.
The Occupy movement vows to reemerge this spring with a focus on May Day, the traditional day of workers’ protests. But Occupy’s call for a general strike on May 1 may be undercut by the movement’s unwillingness to lay out specific reforms to help the 99 percent, notes Danny Schechter.
For 15 years, Ai-jen Poo has been fighting for the rights of domestic workers in the United States, an organizing task that many labor experts thought impossible given the sketchy information about who these housekeepers and caregivers are and where they work. But she has scored some stunning successes, Dennis J. Bernstein reports.
It seems Campaign 2012 will turn more on how Americans view President Obama and what he has done than how they view his likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who comes across as a conservative cipher. So, Beverly Bandler says Americans should make a fair and clear-headed assessment of Obama’s record.
Exclusive: Army Sgt. Robert Bales stands accused of murdering 17 Afghan civilians, a crime that some trace to the financial pressures his family faced back home. However, to the rich financial swindlers, the ruining of Bales’s family – and many others – is just another day’s work, writes Mark Ames.