Economy

Obama’s Not-So-Terrible Year

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Official Washington is giving a big thumb down to President Obama’s performance in 2013. But his diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East and even some of his troubles with Obamacare and the NSA could ultimately make the year a historic turning point, says Robert Parry.

Big-Money Politics Gains Ground

Anti-government crusader Grover Norquist.

The Right’s “war on government” – or perhaps put more accurately, its “war for unbridled corporate power” – continues to rack up victories, routing reformers who have tried to block big-money dominance of democracy, writes Michael Winship.

No War Over Rocks

Islands at the center of the territorial dispute between China and Japan. (Image credit: Jackopoid)

U.S. foreign policy remains captive to unipolar hubris, enforced by neocon pundits who demand military interventions to solve the world’s problems. But this kneejerk response is particularly crazy when applied to Asian disputes over rocks far at sea, says Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

Latin America Finds Its Footing

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner.

Exclusive: While the U.S. and Spain have wallowed in the Great Recession swamp, Latin America has begun breaking free of the old order that bogged down progress. Now, the region is restructuring relations with its old international masters, as Andrés Cala explains.

What Mandela Did and Didn’t Do

President Obama Speaks at a Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela on Dec. 10, 2013. (White House photo)

While an inspiring tale of resilience and reconciliation, Nelson Mandela’s saga also marked a failure of black South Africans to transform their hard-won political power into economic equality, as domestic and foreign whites retained the reins of money, as Danny Schechter writes.

Does Christmas Obscure Jesus?

Jesus of Nazareth delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted by artist Carl Bloch.

The Christmas season celebrates the regal myth of Jesus – his supposedly miraculous birth and royal lineage as a king of kings – but that loses sight of the historical Jesus and his revolutionary message of justice for the poor and powerless, as Rev. Howard Bess reflects.

Economic Blowback from Iran Sanctions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a press conference in Iran. (Official Iranian photo)

Economic sanctions have notched some successes, like freeing Nelson Mandela and ending South Africa’s apartheid, but other sanctions have lost sight of practical reforms and become destructive ends in themselves, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes about Iran.

The Ideology of Ecocide

Hurricane Sandy as it approached the U.S. coastline. (Credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab)

The U.S. Constitution mandates the federal government to provide for the country’s “general Welfare,” but the Right’s self-proclaimed “constitutionalists” object to any efforts to curb the catastrophic threat of global warming, as Lawrence Davidson notes.

Fear in a Handful of Dust

Fire boat crews battle the blazing off-shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010, one of the many environmental catastrophes in recent years. (Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

The Grand Irony may be that Earth is the only spot in the Universe where intelligent life evolved, and it then made the Earth unlivable, the ultimate crisis in an age of an ossified order that poet Phil Rockstroh addresses.

Earth: Life’s Only Known Home

Image of Planet Earth taken from Apollo 17

New thinking about the universe asserts that there may be many planets with the potential for life but only one that is known to have overcome the extraordinary odds of life actually developing – and humans are threatening to destroy that, as Winslow Myers notes.