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Impossible Desire: Depthless Dreams, Tropes of Control

You can’t leave the bones that you were born withYou’re trapped in the world that you’ve been torn with … Middle-aged crazies, unrequited lovers, the repressed, the refused, the confused, the misplaced, living in dreams, personal, political … feeling the heat, never touching the fire …. For such as these, herewith the draft of a brief, syncopated essay. *Artwork: Untitled, by Lonnie Atwood, 1962

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Distant Mirror: A Nation of Patsies, 50 Years On

*Below is a slightly revised version of my column in the latest print version of CounterPunch magazine. Alex Cox was in full flow, holding forth across the candle-glittered wine glasses and fine china plates. The two of us had more or less gate-crashed High Table at an Oxford college. He had been artist-in-residence there for a year, but that year had passed and it was not entirely clear that he retained his dining privileges — much less the right to invite a hick from the sticks for a free feed with the Fellows. But there we were. He was in

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Shackles and Chains: Detroit as a Template for Democracy’s Destruction

Glen Ford brings the heat, and the truth, about one of the most important — and unreported — stories of our day: the shackling of Detroit. Over the past year, we have seen the citizens of a major American city openly, ‘legally’ stripped of the right to govern themselves and forced into a form of indentured servitude in order to enrich a small predatory elite whose own machinations had driven the city to ruin. It is an extraordinary — and sickening — spectacle. Detroit is now under the control of an unelected “Emergency Financial Manager,” Kevyn Jones, forcibly imposed by

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Ashes to Ashes: The Downward Arc of the American Dream

This is my latest column for the print version of CounterPunch, published last month. *** I flew into Washington the day the government shut down. I had come back to America to scatter my mother’s ashes in the sea. It was her last request: to put her to rest in the Atlantic Ocean, off Myrtle Beach, where she had spent some happy times more than half a century ago. I made my way to Tennessee, where her ashes were waiting in a black plastic box on the mantlepiece in our family home. All along the line, facilities and services were

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Choosing Murder: The True Nature of the System Laid Bare

Just a reminder: this is the true nature of the bipartisan, militarized “security state” now headed by the progressive Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. When you support the Laureate — however “savvily” and “critically” — when you support the system — hoping to “reform” it from within — this is what you are supporting. From the Guardian: The last time I saw my mother, Momina Bibi, was the evening before Eid al-Adha. She was preparing my children’s clothing and showing them how to make sewaiyaan, a traditional sweet made of milk. … The next day, 24 October 2012, she was dead,

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From Dissident Gold to Imperial Dross: The Neutering of the NSA Archives

1. Clancy Lives!Take heart, you fans of slam-bang super-spy adventure stories! Tom Clancy is not dead; he lives on in the pages of the Washington Post, channeled through the airport-thriller prose of Barton Gellman — one of the small coterie of media custodians doling out dollops from the huge archive of secret NSA documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Drawing on that archive of what should be shocking, empire-undermining revelations, Gellman and his co-authors last week penned a story that is, in almost every respect, a glorification of state-ordered murder: a rousing tale of secret ops in exotic lands, awesome

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Sacred Parishes: Draining the Poison Out of This Whole Land

Just got back from an epic journey through the old Confederacy to carry out a final, filial duty, and I recollected this piece from days gone by, days before the filial became so final. I want to revel with the dead and goneDown there where life itself becomes a song….    

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Chemistry Equations: the Pious Virtuosos of Violence

Here is my most recent column for the print version of CounterPunch, which was published last month. *** As we all know, the use of chemical weapons is the most heinous crime that can be committed by a brutal, aggressive government: a brazen act of state terror, an offense against all humanity. Those who perpetrate such actions put themselves beyond the pale; indeed, they rank themselves with Hitler himself, as a succession of America’s highest officials has pointed out in recent weeks. And that’s why the details of the infamous chemical attack in the Middle East resonate with stark moral

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