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A New Push for Peace in Syria?

Shamus Cooke

Why are there no serious peace talks to end the war in Syria? After robbing over 130,000 people of their lives, and evicting over 9 million refugees from their homes, the Syrian war has infected nearly every region of the Middle East. Yet among the U.S. and its regional allies there are no public discussions about a […]

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The Elections: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Shamus Cooke

Eventually the tired game will exhaust itself. Beneath the billions of dollars, U.S. elections are lifeless events. The predictable flopping from Democrat to Republican and back again, with voters given no real choice but to punish the party in power — by electing the party that was punished previously. This endless, irrational dynamic is the […]

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Why Obama Rejected Peace With Iran

Shamus Cooke

How did Obama manage to botch U.S. foreign policy so stunningly? The promising speeches he gave in 2008 earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. But his inspiring words have since been buried in the rubble of Libya, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria. The region that once viewed Obama as a peace messiah now rejects him as […]

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Can Hong Kong Trigger a Chinese Revolution?

Can Hong Kong Trigger a Chinese Revolution? Shamus Cooke October 7, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Power concedes nothing without a demand.  Frederick Douglass, 1857* A historic showdown is shaking Hong Kong’s core, between the Chinese government and the mass movement confronting it. The people demand the removal of the Beijing appointed Governor and insist that they vote on his replacement. The Chinese government has vowed zero concessions, creating an inevitable […]

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Obama Reconsiders Attacking Assad

Shamus Cooke

Sometimes bad ideas die slowly. It was only one year ago that Obama announced he would bomb the Syrian government, only to change his mind at the last minute. Now the same fetid war talk is sprouting fresh roots in the ever-fertile U.S. military. Various media outlets reported that the U.S. military might “enforce a […]

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The Unspoken Consequences of Bombing Syria

The Unspoken Consequences of Bombing Syria
Shamus Cooke

Now that U.S. bombs are falling in Syria, will Islamic extremism be stopped in its tracks? Such a question is an insult to the intellect, yet it’s the dominant theory in Washington D.C., where years of Middle East war have taught politicians nothing. Not only will bombing yet another Middle East country create yet more […]

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Progressive Democrats Follow Obama to War in Syria

Shamus Cooke

It’s nearly impossible to find an anti-war congressperson nowadays. A bi-partisan consensus exists for an expanded war in Iraq and Syria — from the “radical” socialist Bernie Sanders to Obama’s right-wing nemesis, John Boehner. So enthused was Boehner that he ordered Republicans back to D.C. — during a peak campaign season — to vote for Obama’s plan […]

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The Giant Gaps in Obama’s ISIS Strategy

The Giant Gaps in Obama’s ISIS Strategy Shamus Cooke September 13, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Obama’s ISIS speech would have provoked outrage if Bush gave it. Now, however, Democrats and Republicans are united over foreign war to such an extent that a prolonged military campaign without congressional approval barely raises an eyebrow. So one year after an attack on Syria was rejected by the American public bombs will be dropping […]

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Don’t Settle For Less: $15 Now!

Shamus Cooke

Momentum is still growing for a $15 minimum wage. On August 4th150 cities rallied for $15 and union rights, with striking fast food workers engaging in civil disobedience. Meanwhile, San Francisco voters are expected to pass a $15 referendum in November, and Seattle starts to phase in $15 on January 1st. The city of SeaTac, […]

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Obama’s Paralyzed Presidency and the Push for War

Shamus Cooke

President Obama is breathing fresh life into the term “lame duck.” At home and abroad the president seems frozen, powerless to confront the most demanding political issues. From foreign wars to Ferguson the president’s lack of audacity seems destined to be his legacy. And while working class people in Ferguson are demanding justice at home, […]

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Will Obama Fight ISIS Without Allies? Obama’s No-Win War on ISIS

Shamus Cooke

The newest crisis in the Middle East has sucked the U.S. into yet another insoluble military problem. Obama is again considering a bombing campaign in Syria, after infamously not bombing the country last year. This time, however, he’s not targeting his enemy Bashar al-Assad, but his enemy’s enemy — ISIS — now referred to as the Islamic […]

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How ISIS Finally Became Obama’s Enemy

How ISIS Finally Became Obama’s Enemy Shamus Cooke August 9, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Suddenly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has become a threat worthy of American missiles. For years Obama completely ignored the biggest and most brutal terror group in the Middle East, allowing it to balloon into a regional power. No matter how many heads it severed or how much territory it conquered, ISIS just couldn’t […]

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How U.S. Support of Israel Undermines the U.S.

How U.S. Support of Israel Undermines the U.S. Shamus Cooke August 7, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Blasting Gaza into rubble has affected the average American in ways that U.S. politicians will learn to regret. The result is more than bleeding heart sympathy for dead Palestinian children (430 at last count). There is a deeper political effect happening, as young and old alike realize for the first time the cancerous lies coursing through the […]

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How Obama is a Direct Accomplice in Israeli War Crimes

How Obama is a Direct Accomplice in Israeli War Crimes
Shamus Cooke

To assist in a crime makes one a criminal by any legal standard. And the biggest crimes of all are war crimes, since they kill en masse and showcase the cruelest form of human behavior. The fact that Israel is actively committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip is not open to debate, since a cursory […]

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Obama’s Influence Abroad is Evaporating

Shamus Cooke

There was once a time, not too long ago, when the U.S. government’s ability to steer the policies of other nations was near absolute. A U.S. president needed only to make a public statement denouncing another nation’s economic or military policy, and the effects would be instant. The countries that refused U.S. instructions were labeled pariahs, […]

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The Union vs. Corporate Showdown Has Officially Begun

Shamus Cooke

The attack on the U.S. labor movement just sharpened with the Harris vs. Quinn Supreme Court decision, aimed at the heart of concentrated union power — public sector unions. When you add in the Obama-led assault on public school teachers unions and the Koch brother-funded “Right to Work” laws, the labor movement appears to be […]

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Regional War Swallowing the Middle East

Shamus Cooke

When the Syrian war jumped its borders into Iraq, surrounding nations had a perfect chance to peacefully cooperate. They’ve thus far refused. The war in Syria now seems to be shifting to Iraq, and the big actors in the regional drama are recklessly pushing events toward more conflict that could transform a regional proxy war into […]

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Who Will Save Iraq?

Who Will Save Iraq?
Shamus Cooke

“We gave Iraq a chance” – President Obama Recent events in Iraq are a tiny foreshadowing of horrors to come. A glance at smoldering Syria reveals Iraq’s fate if current events continue. And while such a crisis demands that something be done, the solutions offered will only expedite Iraq’s descent into a prolonged nightmare. The rise […]

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ISIS and Regime Change in Iraq

Shamus Cooke June 21, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Is Iraq following Syria into the genocidal abyss? There have already been reported massacres on both sides, and more should be expected as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seeks to consolidate its victories while the Iraqi government mobilizes to reclaim what was lost. But don’t believe for a second that the overwhelming […]

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How Obama Lost Iraq and the War on Terror

Shamus Cooke

The fall of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, to an al-Qaeda linked militia elicited a curiously muted response from the Obama administration. Yes, Obama “denounced” the terrorist invasion, but when the Iraqi government asked for U.S. airstrikes to repel perhaps the most powerful terrorist group in the world, Obama thus far refused, only hinting at some […]

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Obama’s Syrian Policy Vetoed by Assad Election Victory

Shamus Cooke

“Assad’s days are numbered” – President Obama, February 2012 Living in denial is the easiest way to avoid hard truths, but it’s a horrible way for a government to conduct foreign policy. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry recently scoffed at the elections in Syria, calling them “meaningless.” The U.S. media obediently agreed, while the rest of […]

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The Democrats’ New Fake Populism

Shamus Cooke

It would have been hilarious were it not so nauseating. One could only watch the “New Populism” conference with pity-induced discomfort, as stale Democratic politicians did their awkward best to adjust themselves to the fad of “populism.” A boring litany of Democratic politicians — or those closely associated — gave bland speeches that aroused little […]

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Oregon Zoo Workers Bargain for $15

Shamus Cooke

The food service workers at the Oregon Zoo just raised the bar for the labor movement, organized and unorganized alike. The newly organized zoo workers recently joined the Portland Laborers Union Local 483, and for their first union contract they are insisting on $15 an hour. They currently make $9.10, Oregon’s minimum wage. The $15 proposal might […]

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San Francisco Rides the $15 Wave

San Francisco Rides the $15 Wave By Shamus Cooke
Shamus Cooke

It seems that Seattle has officially passed the $15 baton to San Francisco, and they’re running with it. On May 10th San Francisco had its first public organizing meeting to prepare for a ballot measure to raise the minimum wage to $15. The Labor movement and broader community organizations were well represented, and with them all the potential […]

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More Seattles, Please

More Seattles, Please by Shamus Cooke, April 17, 2014
Shamus Cooke

You’d think unions would accept the enthusiastic public support for a $15 minimum wage as a gift-wrapped campaign sent from the heavens. If unions organized campaigns for $15 nationwide, they’d win the support and admiration of hundreds of thousands, who would then be ripe for joining. A labor movement on life support would receive a […]

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New Lows for Obama’s Failed Middle East Policy

New Lows for Obama’s Failed Middle East Policy By Shamus Cooke
Shamus Cooke

Obama seemed so traumatized by his Middle East blunders he decided to take a break, giving Ukraine a try instead. The distraction was just what the president needed. And the U.S. media followed obediently, while barely glancing at the flames in the rear-view mirror — until another explosion piqued their interest. The predictable break down of peace talks […]

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The Fight for $15 Finally Comes to Portland

Shamus Cooke

Like the Occupy movement before it, the “fight for $15” came to Portland as a transplant. Portland activists watched events in Seattle with a skeptical eye, but Seattle’s “fantasy” of $15 was transformed into an emerging reality, now replete with the support of the Mayor and City Council who are working on a plan to implement […]

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Obama’s Far Right Foreign Policy

Shamus Cooke

“Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” — ancient proverb The conflicts in Ukraine, Venezuela, and Syria have one thing in common: the U.S. government is in favor of the groups who aspire to topple — or who have toppled — the government in power. Thus, U.S. politicians are […]

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The Murky Politics of the $15 Minimum Wage

Shamus Cooke

Seattle now resembles a mini-Venezuela. It’s not a perfect comparison, but like the average Venezuelan the people of Seattle are experiencing an explosion of political consciousness. Recently I took the three-hour drive from Portland, and although Seattle is only a couple of hundred miles away, it’s politically thousands of miles ahead of “progressive” Portland.  The “fight for […]

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SEIU 503 Rank and File Defeats Mega-Local Merger

Shamus Cooke

This article also appeared on Labor Notes. Union democracy triumphed in Oregon February 1 when rank-and-file members of Service Employees Local 503 organized to reject a top-down merger with SEIU Local 49. The merger would have created a two-state, 65,000-member mega-local in the Pacific Northwest. Union leaders—the upper echelon of elected leaders taking their marching […]

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Top Three Media Lies About the Syrian Peace Talks

Shamus Cooke

The media spin machine is again kicking into high gear, perfectly timed to accompany the “Geneva II” Syria peace talks. The lies are necessary to give the Obama administration an upper hand in the peace negotiations, which are not being used to pursue peace, but instead, to accomplish the Obama administration’s longstanding goal of Syrian regime […]

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The Left after the Failure of Obamacare

Shamus Cooke

It’s satisfying to watch rats flee a sinking ship. This is because onlookers knew the ship was doomed long ago, and swimming rats signify that the drawn-out tragedy is nearing an end. A collective sense of relief is a natural response. The rats who propped up the broken boat of Obamacare are a collection of liberal […]

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Last Chance for Peace in Syria: Will Obama Sabotage the Geneva II Syria Peace Talks?

Shamus Cooke

The war in Syria grinds on, an endless wreckage of shattered limbs and lives. The blood flows across borders, fueling the religious sectarian killing across the Middle East that is the life-blood of the Syrian conflict. Hopes rose in Syria after Obama’s last minute decision not to “punish Assad” with a missile attack. Then came the U.S.-Iran […]

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Are Obama’s Middle East Peace Talks Sincere?

Shamus Cooke

Should we trust Obama to be honest in his peace talks with Iran and Syria? His lightning shift from warmonger to peacemaker surprised everyone, including his closest regional allies — Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — not to mention the entire U.S. congress, many of whom seem intent on sabotaging the Iran peace talks by […]

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Unternehmensgewinne Steigen auf Rekordhöhe – Die Superreichen Erfinden eine Neue Spielart des Amerikanischen Kapitalismus

Shamus Cooke

A German translation of The Super Rich Reinvent U.S. Capitalism. Während die amerikanischen Unternehmensgewinne auf Rekordhöhe ansteigen, werden Lebensmittelhilfen für die Bedürftigsten in aller Stille gekürzt. Die Politiker, die weitere endlose Kürzungen der Sozialhilfe verlangen – Demokraten ebenso wie Republikaner –, beschwören die Krise in den USA – und übersehen dabei geflissentlich den sich ständig […]

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