Obama Administration

Surveillance State Takes Offense

President Obama proclaims his love of “transparency” but has an odd idea what the word means. He generally defines it as sharing some information with Congress and the Courts but keeping the public in the dark and punishing those who ask too many questions, as William Blum explains.

Feinstein’s Phony Excuse for NSA Spying

After 9/11, the excuse for missing clues was too much data – trying to sip from a fire hose – but with the priority now excusing NSA spying, the metaphor is for more data – you can’t find a needle in a haystack without a haystack – a shift ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley dissects.

How Shutdown Hurts National Security

The Republican-induced shutdown of the federal government underscores the Right’s populist contempt for the nation’s democratic institutions. But the fiasco also has undercut America’s standing in the world and thus undermines U.S. security and global leadership, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Israel’s Lost Clout

The Israeli government and the neocons have long felt they can dictate U.S. policy in the Mideast, including demands for military strikes against “enemies.” But President Obama’s push for diplomacy on Syria and Iran may be challenging that longstanding reality, writes Lawrence Davidson.

Comparing Obama to Kissinger

Neocons and other war hawks criticized President Obama for not launching a military assault on Syria, but his decision to apply coercive diplomacy instead fits with many other U.S. precedents and showed a much defter touch than heavy-handed tactics used by Henry Kissinger, writes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

Playing Chicken with Food Safety

The U.S. Constitution empowers the federal government to “provide for the … general Welfare,” but free-market ideologues have distorted the Founding document’s plain language to fit their desires, including their new demands that food-safety rules be gutted, as Michael Winship explains.

The White Man’s Last Tantrum?

Exclusive: With the U.S. government shutdown and a threatened credit default, Tea Party Republicans are testing out a new system of national governance in which they get their way – or else. But is this the beginning of a new Jim Crow era of imposed white supremacy or just the white man’s last tantrum, asks Robert Parry.

‘Gun Rights’ of Domestic Abusers

The right-wing-controlled U.S. Supreme Court has put the supposed right of Americans to carry their firearms of choice over the safety of individuals who are potential victims of gun violence. That pattern may be tested again in a case to let some domestic violence offenders keep their guns, as Laura Finley explains.

America’s Government by Extortion

Exclusive: By forcing a U.S. government shutdown – and threatening a first-ever credit default – Tea Party Republicans are creating a new constitutional system which lets a determined white minority impose its will on the diverse American majority by inflicting so much pain that the extortionists prevail, writes Robert Parry.

Brazil’s Challenge to US Dominance

Exclusive: Brazil’s President Rousseff lashed out at U.S. spying during her UN speech, but there was a deeper message – the days when South America was Washington’s compliant “backyard” are over. The U.S. government now has the choice of forging a more equal relationship with the region or facing damaging isolation, writes Andrés Cala.