Taking notes 27: Is there a method in Syrian madness?

by Slavoj Žižek We all remember President Obama’s smiling face, full of hope and trust, when he repeatedly delivered the motto of his first campaign: “Yes, we can!” – we can get rid of the cynicism of Bush’s era and bring justice and welfare to the American people… Now that the US is approaching a decision about attacking Syria, we can imagine peace protesters shouting at Obama: “How can you advocate another military intervention?” Obama the reluctant warrior looks back at them and murmurs perplexed: “Can I? Should I?” And this time, he is right. All that was false in … Continue reading Taking notes 27: Is there a method in Syrian madness?

The vanishing point of democracy

by Henry A. Giroux We live at a time in the United States when the notion of political enemies has become a euphemism for dismantling prohibitions against targeted assassinations, torture, abductions and indefinite detention. Under the elastic notion of permanent war and the use of Orwellian labels like terrorists, enemy combatants, enemies of the state or the all-encompassing “evil-doers,” the United States has tortured prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo for more than a decade. It also kidnapped suspected terrorists, held them in CIA “black sites,” and subjected them to extraordinary rendition — “the practice [of] taking detainees to and from … Continue reading The vanishing point of democracy

Getting serious about politics

by Zoltan Zigedy Economic relations clarify politics just as politics can return the favor. In truth, it is impossible to fully understand one without an understanding of the other, and especially without a grasp of their inter-relationship. No doubt that explains the wisdom of the classical economists (and Marx and Engels) in describing their studies as “political economy.” Similarly, the failure to systematically integrate the two social domains explains the frustration of the modern-day academic economists, even Nobel laureates, who fume about the politicians standing in the way of their ready solutions to the current global economic crisis. A case … Continue reading Getting serious about politics

Taking notes 3

There are many lines that need to be crossed for things to be made better. For some it is daunting and means ‘crossing the Rubicon’. Recently, it was the attempt to cross the ‘Buffett line’ (or impose the ‘Buffett rule’) which the corporate-owned American congress stopped Obama from doing. The US is predictably prevented from even a token stance of doing what is right by its political system that actively stymies the interests of the people. It has lost the chance to ensure that those making over a million dollars annually pay a minimum effective tax rate of at least … Continue reading Taking notes 3

The decline of America

by Noam Chomsky In the 2011 summer issue of the journal of the American Academy of Political Science, we read that it is “a common theme” that the United States, which “only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal — is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay.” It is indeed a common theme, widely believed, and with some reason. But an appraisal of US foreign policy and influence abroad and the strength of its domestic economy and political institutions at home suggests that a … Continue reading The decline of America