Articles and Posts by Alexander Cockburn:
War Cries from a Defeated Man(2)
Ritual trumphalism about America’s righteous mission in the closing sentences of his speech did not dispel the distinct impression during President Obama’s 33-minute address to cadets at West Point Tuesday night that we were listening to a man defeated by the challenge of justifying the dispatch of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.
A Year of Obama(5)
A year after Obama’s triumphant election, hauling substantial majorities in the House and Senate on his coattails, the progressive sector sits trying to warm its hands before the bonfire of all its hopes. An awful “health reform” bill has cleared the House and is now headed for marriage with some even more ghastly Senate version from which we may be saved only by a filibustering Lieberman, Obama’s initial mentor in the Senate.
All the Populism Money Can Buy(23)
Across the country last weekend, there were antiwar demonstrations, modest in turnout, but hopefully a warning to Obama that war without end or reason in Afghanistan, plus 40,000 more troops to Kabul, is not why people voted for him.
A Gift from the Ramparts of Capital…(5)
Of the four U.S. presidents who have been given a Nobel Prize—Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama—the one who’s shown the cleanest pair of heels when it comes to escaping the world’s guffaws for the absurdity of the award is Jimmy Carter.
Obama is by nature a booster—like the first stage of the missile lofting its payload into the upper atmosphere. A huge bang, a mighty whoosh and then a few miles up, a fizzle as the Obama-booster burns out and drops back to earth. Who knows what happened to the payload? He doesn’t seem to have much stamina or even strategy for getting useful things done. No wonder he leaped on the “secret Iranian nuclear facility.”
The Right Wing’s Prince of Gonzo(8)
The “Prince of Darkness”—aka Robert Novak—who died this week of a brain tumor, was the Hunter Thompson of the right, albeit with predictable differences. Thompson, like Rimbaud, espoused a total disordering of all the senses—with materials as varied as ayahuasca, LSD, cocaine and tequila whereas Novak stuck to booze. Thompson blew his brains out, whereas Novak fell prey to the Enemy Within—not Communism against which he inveighed for decades in the Cold War, but a brain tumor.
Teddy Kennedy’s disasters were vivid. His legislative triumphs, draped in this week’s obituaries with respectful homage, were far less colorful but they were actually devastating for the very constituencies—working people, organized labor—whose champion he claimed to be.
White America is never more vividly and comically racist than when trying to excuse impromptu racist utterance or deny the racism of American society, which is manifest in every number, every graph and scatter plot in the annual Statistical Abstract of the United States.
A Damned Murder Inc.(16)
Some time in early or mid-1949, a CIA officer named Bill (his surname is blacked out in the file, which was surfaced by John Kelly in the early 1990′s) asked an outside contractor for input on how to kill people. Requirements included the appearance of an accidental or purely fortuitous terminal experience suffered by the Agency’s victim.
Obama’s Biden Problem(7)
Despite our high expectations, Vice President Joe Biden’s first months in office were disappointing. This, remember, is the man who opened the more recent of his two futile runs for the presidency by saying of Obama that he was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”