From the Archive: President Obama has nominated Hyatt Hotels heiress Penny Pritzker to be the next Commerce Secretary. Pritzker, also a major fundraiser for Obama’s two presidential campaigns, faced controversy because of her role in the sub-prime mortgage disaster, as Dennis J. Bernstein reported in 2008.
For decades, the U.S. government has worked to bend respected human rights groups to the goals of Official Washington, often by spreading around money and credentialing the easily co-opted. The strategy has touched groups like Amnesty International and now PEN, write John V. Walsh and Coleen Rowley.
Exclusive: The neocons and their Republican allies bloodied former Sen. Chuck Hagel with ugly smears, but he won Senate approval to become Defense Secretary. The neocons’ failure to exercise this “veto” now stands as a sign of their diminished standing with the Obama administration, writes Robert Parry.
President Obama’s choice of Sen. John Kerry to be Secretary of State puts a former Vietnam veteran who spoke out against the war in a key U.S. foreign policy position. Kerry’s long career also suggests Obama wants the world to know that he will emphasize diplomacy in his second term, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: Republicans have blasted U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice for her TV comments about the fatal attack in Benghazi, Libya, but her real unfitness to be Secretary of State rests in her excessive careerism and insufficient compassion, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Exclusive: On Saturday, a fire swept through a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing some 120 workers trapped behind locked doors. WalMart, one of the factory’s clothes buyers, quickly distanced itself from the tragedy, but WalMart’s profiting from sweatshops is a long-term pattern, writes Barbara Koeppel.
Mali, where Islamists have claimed control of the remote north, is the latest front in the so-called “global war on terrorism,” partly a spillover of conflicts in northern Africa. But should the U.S. get involved, asks the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
Exclusive: Rep. Darrell Issa and the Republicans are making political hay from last month’s killings in Libya of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. But the real blame traces back to Official Washington’s endless interventions in the Middle East, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
The neocon response toward the anger against the U.S. on the Arab and Muslim “street” is to lash out at those countries and to chastise President Obama for his early efforts at out-reach. But Middle East specialists Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett say the real problem was the lack of follow-through.
American politicians like to show how tough they are by citing some disagreeable behavior by a disdained government and sponsoring sanctions legislation to punish that country. However, politics also make such laws hard to repeal even as circumstances change, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.