Feature Stories

April 23, 2006

Former Bloomington resident Anthony Arnove's latest book, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal (The New Press, 2006) is a bold statement of the rationale for the immediate removal of U.S. armed forces. He spoke with The Bloomington Alternative during a recent visit.

TPH: In the introduction to your book you write of the "need to transform the irrational economic and political system that led to the wars in Vietnam and Iraq and that is today very directly threatening the survival of the human species." Why is that important?

AA: The moment you start looking at the situation in Iraq, you can't escape other political questions, like what are the real interests that the United States has in the Middle East? I think a number of people see you have to talk about oil. If not for oil do you think we would have gone into Iraq?

Oil is the essential commodity for the world capitalist system. Why do we have such an irrational relationship to oil rather than developing alternative means that are more environmentally sustainable and less politically destabilizing? Because it's not profitable for those who are in positions of power under the existing profit system.

February 11, 2006

A review of Jeffrey St. Clair's new book,
Grand Theft Pentagon

Once upon a time in America, there was a form of newspaper reporting known as muckraking. Some folks preferred to call this form of reporting "investigative reporting." No matter.

Whatever it was called, the purpose of the reporting, the reporters, and the papers that ran the articles was to expose corruption, graft and just plain old evil in the echelons of government and big business.

Of course, there was also a hope that this exposure would end the reported abuses or, at the least, get rid of the worst abusers and most corrupt men involved.

September 6, 2005

Susan Swaney hopes to build on some Hoosiers’ knowledge about the historic labor leader Eugene V. Debs, a man whose time she argues has returned.

“People have either never heard of him or barely heard of him,” the artistic director of the Bloomington-based Voces Novae chamber choir says. “They’ve read about him in their high school government textbooks, along with the muckrakers and Theodore Dreiser. You know, it was kind of a paragraph in my high school text.”

Indeed, history written in the post-McCarthy era, she argues, has all but forgotten Debs, at best, or maligned him, at worst.

“He was kind of tainted,” she says. “The implication was he was one of those pinkos who was always stirring up trouble,” which, as those who attend the May 19 Voces Novae performance of Eugene V. Debs: An Indiana Original will learn, is an apt description.

February 20, 2005

The following is an excerpt from Jeffrey St. Clair's forthcoming book Grand Theft Pentagon, to be published in July by Common Courage Press.

Lockheed-Martin is headquartered in the Bethesda, Maryland. No, the defense titan doesn't have a bomb-making factory in this toney Beltway suburb. But as the nation's top weapons contractor, it migrated to DC from southern California because that's where the money is. And Lockheed rakes it in from the federal treasury at the rate of $65 million every single day of the year.

From nuclear missiles to fighter planes, software code to spy satellites, the Patriot missile to Star Wars, Lockheed has come to dominate the weapons market in a way that the Standard Oil Company used to hold sway over the nation's petroleum supplies. And it all happened with the help of the federal government, which steered lucrative no bid contracts Lockheed's way, enacted tax breaks that encouraged Lockheed's merger and acquisition frenzy in the 1980s and 1990s and turned a blind eye to the company's criminal rap sheet, ripe with indiscretions ranging from bribery to contract fraud.

Now Lockheed stands almost alone. It not only serves as an agent of US foreign policy, from the Pentagon to the CIA; it also helps shape it. "We are deployed entirely in developing daunting technology," Lockheed's new CEO Robert J. Stevens told New York Times reporter Tim Weiner. "That requires thinking through the policy dimensions of national security as well as technological dimensions."

April 11, 2004

Current bestseller lists are packed with titles capitalizing on the public's eagerness to find out what goes on behind the scenes in U.S. government. But the most revealing political book I've read recently is a work of historical fiction set in the latter part of the 18th century. Warrior Woman: The Exceptional Life Story of Nonhelema, Shawnee Indian Woman Chief (Random House, 2003), serves as an antidote to one-sided stories marketed as American history by cable news outlets as well as book publishers.

Warrior Woman is a collaborative effort by Owen County residents James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain Thom. Jim Thom's historical novels are renowned for their attention to detail and historical accuracy. Combined with his wife's detailed knowledge of Shawnee culture and customs, this book is a gripping tale masterfully rendered by gifted storytellers.

November 29, 2003

A handful of trips to the P.O. Box over the past few weeks and months have produced a small but growing collection of books from writers interested enough in Bloomington Alternative readers to send free copies of their books for review. With the holiday shopping season now upon us, it seemed like a good time to share some of the stories we're getting.

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