Tag: United States

When Barack Obama landed in Israel, he pointed out its similarity with the United States. “We stand together because we share a common story — patriots determined ‘to be a free people in our land,’” he said. “Pioneers who forged a nation, heroes who sacrificed to preserve our freedom, and immigrants from every corner of the world who renew constantly our diverse societies.” (More…)

Kenya’s elections went better than expected. True, accusations of vote rigging have led the losers to contest the result. More alarming, however, both the newly-elected president and his running mate are under indictment by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. On the other hand, given that the December 2007 elections resulted in over 1,000 deaths and 300,000 refugees, the ICC cases are infinitely preferable. (More…)

Americans spend an inordinate amount of time on the road. In places like the Los Angeles, Houston and the Washington D.C. metropolitan areas, commuters may spend more time studying the cars ahead of them during stop-and-go traffic than they do their own spouses and children upon finally arriving home. That’s why bumper stickers are such an effective means of declaring one’s allegiances. (More…)

Prospects for peace seemed especially bleak at the beginning of 1989. Detente appeared on the brink of collapse. Washington showed a clear hand in the Soviet Union’s protracted war in Afghanistan. A scheduled meeting between Mikhail Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping meant a possible end to the Sino-Soviet split, and a renewed alliance against the US. (More…)

They’re ideal leftwing subjects. Irreplaceable, they can make demands of employers. Exploited, they’re inclined towards solidarity with one another. Foreign, they’re intensely marginalized, for cultural, as well as economic reasons. Impoverished, their hunger inspires them. In other words, they have something to fight for; not just anything, but social equality. (More…)

Former squatter Hannah Dobbz’ Nine-Tenths of the Law: Property and Resistance in the United States (AK Press) couldn’t arrive at a more fitting time. The housing crisis unquestionably complicated and challenged Americans’ notion of the American Dream of universal homeownership, leaving fertile ground to explore and question who or what grants the right to live in a dwelling.  (More…)

The US government is becoming a textbook example of dysfunction. Everyone thinks that about their government, with good reason. I will not, in this space, try to compare American dysfunction to that of any other country. But it’s time to look at how bad the situation has become, as it has been highlighted by the circus surrounding the confirmation of ex-Senator Chuck Hagel as the new Secretary of Defense. (More…)

It’s really easy to overlook a bandit sign. Just a few words of text and a telephone number, pasted to telephone poles in poor neighborhoods, advertising a roofing company, or the number of someone who’ll pay cash for your home or car, they prey on the needy.  Bandit signs are also an eyesore, creating more trash in already heavily polluted parts of American cities. And they’re illegal.  (More…)

Barack Obama has decided to go to Israel, with his new secretary of State, John Kerry preceding him. The White House has already stated that Obama is not using this trip to restart talks with the Palestinians. Obama will likely spend most of the time discussing Iran and Syria with Prime Minister Netanyahu. But eyes are still on the Palestinian issue. At some point, Obama will either decide, or be forced, to take it up again. (More…)

Did Israel step into the Syrian civil war, as a grim headline in Ha’aretz declared? At the time of this article’s writing, it doesn’t seem so, despite a good deal of bluster coming from Lebanon, Iran, and Syria itself. Still, by launching an unprovoked attack against a Syrian target, there can be little doubt that Israel has made the situation more sensitive. Further Israeli operations run an increasing risk of sparking a regional war.  (More…)

The United States is the only country where owning a gun is considered a God-given right. For some, perhaps, it is merely held to be a constitutional right (in this, it stands with only three other countries: Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico.) But whatever level of divinity is bestowed upon it, the gun is American culture’s Golden Calf. (More…)

Since its Christmas opening in the US, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained has generated an extraordinary amount of commentary. Some love it. Some hate it. Almost everyone who sees the film has strong opinions about it. But American fixations — use of the “N-word”, depictions of torture — have overshadowed its most prominent feature: the relationship between a German bounty hunter and his black protegé. (More…)