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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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The Super Rich Reinvent U.S. Capitalism

Shamus Cooke

As U.S. corporate profits soar to record highs, food stamps for the neediest were quietly cut. The politicians who are demanding endless cuts to social programs — Democrats and Republicans alike — insist that the U.S. is broke, all the while conveniently ignoring the mountains of tax-free wealth piling up in the pockets of the super […]

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I super-ricchi reinventano il capitalismo USA

Shamus Cooke

An Italian translation of The Super Rich Reinvent U.S. Capitalism.  Mentre i profitti delle imprese statunitense hanno un’impennata record, i buoni alimentari per i più bisognosi sono tagliati in sordina. I politici che pretendono tagli infiniti ai programmi sociali – senza distinzione tra Democratici e Repubblicani – insistono che gli Stati Uniti sono alla bancarotta, […]

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Is Obama Fundamentally Shifting His Middle East Strategy?

Shamus Cooke

The Saudis and Israelis are fuming. Obama’s talks with Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani point to a possible new direction in U.S.-Middle East policy. Iran is the regional archrival of the Saudis and Israelis, who for decades have shared the mantle as the main U.S. allies in the Middle East. The Arab Spring has — along with […]

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The Coming Grand Bargain: “We’re All Neoliberals Now”

Shamus Cooke

After the U.S. government shutdown you’d expect Republicans and Democrats to remain at each others’ throats, so different was their vision for the country, or so it appeared. In reality, however, only a bit of the political theater was reserved for “Tea Party” Republicans to invest in their political future by denouncing Obamacare, which they […]

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Fast Food Workers Win a Union…through Zoolidarity

Shamus Cooke

This article originally appeared in Labor Notes.  Union members have watched in awe as fast food workers struck over the last year, calling for “$15 and a union.” Despite the slogan, however, the prevailing wisdom has been that union recognition isn’t really the goal; that’s too hard against giant employers insulated by a layer of franchises, […]

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Is Capitalism to Blame for the Syrian War Drive?

Shamus Cooke

Obama’s push for war in Syria seemed so deeply irrational, so crazed, that many people naturally asked, “Why is this happening?” And “who” wants it to happen? Few Americans actually believed that Nobel Peace Prizing winning Obama suddenly wanted to bomb Syria because “Assad gassed his own people” (especially when zero evidence was given to […]

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Labor Leaders, Obamacare, and the Fate of the Unions

Shamus Cooke

A funny thing happened a couple of months ago: labor leaders finally awoke from their coma and realized that Obamacare was not only bad for unions, but for working families in general. Once the biggest salespeople of the bill’s passage, union leaders are suddenly full of rage and “shock” at the realities of Obamacare. The […]

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Obama’s War Grows as Support Shrinks

Shamus Cooke

Some careful listening has exposed the lie that a U.S. attack (war) against Syria would be, as Obama put it, “a shot across the bow,” i.e. a “tiny war.” But even before the first missile is launched the birth of Obama’s baby war began to grow, and when it’s eventually unleashed it will resemble any other fully […]

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How the U.S. Left is Failing Over Syria

Shamus Cooke

It’s now painfully clear that Obama’s war on Syria is a replay of Bush’s march to war in Iraq, both built on lies. Zero evidence has been put forth that proves the Syrian government used chemical weapons. On the contrary, evidence has been recorded that suggests the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels are responsible for the attack. […]

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The Lie of “Limited” War Against Syria

Shamus Cooke

The rats are jumping ship. Obama’s strongest allies can’t stomach the stench of lies that are the foundation of the war effort against Syria. Even England, whose entire foreign policy is reduced to asking “how high?” when the U.S. says “jump,” opted to stay grounded for Obama’s war drive.  The Arab League, too, having long been […]

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