Politics

What to Make of Barack Obama?

Exclusive: In his Second Inaugural Address, President Obama offered a powerful rejoinder to the Right by arguing that progressive reform fits firmly within the Founders’ vision of a strong country advancing the “general Welfare” and securing “Blessings of Liberty.” But does his rhetoric reflect the real Obama, asks Robert Parry.

New Hope for a Second Term

President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address surprised some pundits with his strong messages on climate change, immigration reform, gun safety and other social issues. But whether real action follows will depend on a shift in public consciousness, says Robert F. Dodge.

The Troubling Message of Inaugurals

Pundits talk about presidential Inaugurals as celebrations of democracy, but the pomp and circumstance – attended by Marine guards and punctuated by cannon fire – carry an implicit message of intimidation that is closer to monarchy than a people’s government, writes Joe Lauria.

The Second Amendment’s History

In his Second Inaugural Address, President Obama reaffirmed his intent to seek gun safety laws in the wake of the Newtown massacre, but the Right insists the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to own assault rifles. What is the real history of the “right to bear arms,” asks Beverly Bandler.

Looking Before a Leap into Africa

The Obama administration is pushing back against pressure to jump into a new “counterterrorism” conflict in northern Africa, with some officials saying an overreaction to unrest in Mali and Algeria could make matters worse. There’s also the danger of over-interpreting isolated events, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Moral Torment of Leon Panetta

Exclusive: Leon Panetta returned to government in 2009 amid hopes he could cleanse the CIA where torture and politicized intelligence had brought the U.S. to new lows in world respect. Yet, after four years at CIA and Defense, it is Panetta who departs morally compromised, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Roe v. Wade Turns 40

The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling granting women the right to abort unwanted or dangerous pregnancies, will be observed by opponents and proponents alike. Among its backers will be NOW president Terry O’Neill, who was interviewed by Dennis J. Bernstein.

The Right’s Dangerously Bad History

Exclusive: Reacting to President Obama’s modest executive orders on gun safety and his proposed legislation to Congress, the Right is engaging in hysterical rhetoric about “tyranny” and riling up angry whites to arm themselves. But key Republicans can’t even get their historical facts straight, notes Robert Parry.

The Iraq War ‘Surge’ Myth Returns

Exclusive: To win Senate approval as Defense Secretary, former Sen. Chuck Hagel likely will be forced to bow before Official Washington’s cherished myth of the Iraq War’s “successful surge.” To tell the more nuanced truth would open Hagel to another round of neocon attacks, writes Robert Parry.

America’s War for Reality

Exclusive: The United States has been on a three-decade binge of unreality, imbibing delusions that began with Ronald Reagan and have continued through the Tea Party. The challenge now is for rational Americans to show they have the toughness and tenacity to fight for the real world — and to save it, writes Robert Parry.