1. In 1987, after the First Intifada started, I remember sitting in a coffee shop in New York and overhearing words that stung and burned and never left me. I wrote down my thoughts in a sketchbook at the time, but never brought them forward; I forever regret not having said anything at the time. Last Sunday, two-and-a-half decades later, I took part in the debut of the Third Intifada in Maroun Ar-Ras at the border between Lebanon and Palestine. I recall these words now, updated as the occasion warrants.

     


  2. In case you didn’t know it, what’s called a “recession” in White America is called a “depression” in Black America. During much of last year white unemployment held steady at around 8.8 percent. Down the block, though, it was about 12 per cent for Latinos and in Afro neighborhoods across town it averaged 16 per cent. And as unemployment spiked at 24 percent for white teens last year it hit 45 percent for black teens, according to the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University.

    To his credit, President Obama signed a $26 billion federal aid package last summer to help the states rehire teachers and save public service jobs, where many Afro-Americans earn their paychecks. But at the same time Obama keeps pushing needless wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq—-the last of which alone is costing Americans three trillion dollars.

     


  3. Israel is now dictating conditions to the US and upbraiding President Obama for having the nerve to suggest finally following UN Resolution 242, which has long called for a return to the 1967 borders of Israel. He says it should be the border of the two states of Israel and Palestine. It is long past time to end all military aid to Israel.

    When I was growing up in the 1950s Israel was seen in my Minnesota community as a brave outpost of kibbutzim egalitarianism amidst a harsh Arab environment of hatred and bloodlust. Jews had traded European persecution for Arab persecution.

     


  4. The crisis is now in its fourth year, and everyone agrees that it’s all about one thing: jobs. First the politicians: Obama has declared that jobs will be his number one priority for the rest of his term. That is the decisive electoral issue; it’s the standard according to which people should judge the government’s performance. Economic experts of all stripes debate the effectiveness of the two stimulus packages in terms of job creation and offer various competing models for reducing unemployment. And then there are the main players in the economy, the businessmen who always complain about the difficulties they face in their efforts to create jobs: tight credit, tax burdens, overly regulated labor markets, and the new health care reform law, implying that their private interest in the use of wage labor is a service to the people. And finally the majority of the population for whom, of course, everything revolves around their only source of income: while most workers worry quietly about losing their jobs or about their prospects for finding one, others have gone out on the streets with signs reading, “save our jobs!” appealing to the government to do everything it can to save their employers.”

     


  5. "Although America’s greatest Interior Secretary, Harold Ickes, who had the post for nearly a decade under FDR, was from Chicago, the playbook for presidential transitions calls for picking a Westerner for Interior, as long as the nominee isn’t a Californian. Pick someone from Arizona or New Mexico or Colorado. Of course, Colorado has produced two of the worst recent Interior Secretaries: James Watt and Gale Norton. Ken Salazar may make it three.”

     


  6. "Pinko terror-symps and the “rule of law” gang  may cavil and whine at the lack of legal propriety in the execution of Osama , but it’s not cutting much ice with liberal America.  For long years what might be called the “progressive” segment of American voters have chafed at Republican gibes that their guy Obama is a wimp, all the more irritably because deep down many of them thought the charge had some merit.”

     


  7. "Hey man, aren’t you from New York. A plane just hit the World Train Center.”

    “What? What kind of plane?”

    “It’s all over the news.”

    I put down the bar bells, hustle into the television room of my gated Florida community and see wreckage, smoke, and flames.

    My first counterintuitive thought is, Wow, what a job, I wish I was working.

    I was lucky.

    What follows is the worst day in department history. New York City lost 343 firefighters.

    I lost 45 friends.

     


  8. It will come as no surprise to the hundreds of people gathered for a conference I have just returned from, that Greece’s ‘bail-out’ package agreed 12 months ago has failed to provide a solution to the country’s debt problems.


    Organised by an unprecedented cross-section of Greek civil society, the international event launched the call for Greece (and now Ireland) to open their debts to the people of those countries for a public discussion as to how just and legitimate those debts really are. Campaigners from Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, Morocco and Argentina told Greek activists to ‘stand on their shoulders’ and not go through 30 years of devastating recession at the behest of international institutions like the International Monetary Fund.”

     


  9. One hopes that this is the beginning of the end of Mexico’s “Drug War”, the nearly five-year long conflict between the Felipe Calderon administration and the drug-trafficking organizations that are tearing up the country. Sunday, May 8, saw “Marches for Peace” in 25 of Mexico’s 31 states, with the granddaddy of them all taking place between Cuernavaca, Morelos, and Mexico City’s Zocalo Square, the symbolic heart of the nation. Marches of solidarity also took place in the US, Canada, Europe and Brazil. The Mexico City march was organized by Javier Sicilia, a journalist and poet whose son was murdered in Cuernavaca two months ago, and who has since become a figurehead for Mexico’s burgeoning anti-war movement; a war waged by the government against its own people, resulting in nearly 40,000 deaths since 2006.”

     


  10. "Bad laws,” Edmund Burke once said, “are the worst sort of tyranny.”

    The millions of people who have been protesting - from Tunis, Egypt and Libya, to Bahrain, Yemen and Syria - appear to have recognised this truism and are demanding the end of emergency law and the drafting of new constitutions that will guarantee the separation of powers, free, fair and regular elections, and basic political, social and economic rights for all citizens. 

    To put it succinctly, they are fighting to end tyranny.”