Hillary & The Urn of Ashes

By Conn Hallinan - Jan.30, 2016


                             “They sent forth men to battle.

                             But no such men return;

                             And home, to claim their


Comes ashes in an urn.”

                   Ode from “Agamemnon”

                   in the Greek tragedy

                   the Oresteia by Aeschylus

Aeschylus—who had actually fought at Marathon in 490 BC, the battle that defeated the first Persian invasion of Greece—had few illusions about the consequences of war. His ode is one that the candidates for the U.S. presidency might consider, though one doubts that many of them would think to find wisdom in a 2,500 year-old Greek play. 

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Syria: Shooting Down Peace?

By Conn Hallinan, Dec. 8, 2015

Why did Turkey shoot down that Russian warplane?

 It was certainly not because the SU-24 posed any threat. The plane is old and slow, and the Russians were careful not to arm it with anti-aircraft missiles. It was not because the Turks are quick on the trigger. Three years ago Turkish President Recap Tanya Endogen said, “A short-term violation of airspace can never be a pretext for an attack.” And there are some doubts about whether the Russian plane ever crossed into Turkey’s airspace.

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A Kingdom Stumbles: Saudi Arabia

By Conn Hallinan - Oct. 31, 2015

For the past eight decades Saudi Arabia has been careful.

Using its vast oil wealth, it has quietly spread its ultra-conservative brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world, secretly undermined secular regimes in its region and prudently kept to the shadows, while others did the fighting and dying. It was Saudi money that fueled the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, underwrote Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran, and bankrolled Islamic movements and terrorist groups from the Caucuses to Hindu Kush.

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By Harry Targ - 12.13.15

Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008 sent spirits soaring. The first African-American President had been elected. Also he had been an early opponent of the war in Iraq, indicated he supported worker rights to organize unions, and would take on the Wall Street bankers who were behind the dramatic economic crisis that was destroying the economy. Liberal pundits saw Obama’s election as a prelude to the institutionalization of a new New Deal that would reconstitute a reformist state for years to come. And, these pundits argued, the Obama electoral coalition would make the 2008 election a transformative one: liberal Democrats would dominate the federal government and several pivotal states in the East, Midwest, West, Southwest, and in a few Southern states. The eight-year foreign and domestic policy disasters of the Bush years, of necessity, would lead to a new and brighter future.

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Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000

By Conn Hallinan - Oct. 7, 2015

In spite of a well-financed scare campaign, and a not very subtle effort by the European Union (EU) to load the dice in the Oct. 4 Portuguese elections, the ruling rightwing Forward Portugal coalition lost its majority in the parliament, Left parties garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, and the austerity policies that have paralyzed the country for four years took a major hit.

Along with last month’s Greek election, it was two in a row for the European Left.

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Europe’s Elections: A Coming Storm?

By Conn Hallinan - 10.11.15

Between now and next April, four members of the European Union (EU) have held, or will hold national elections that will go a long ways toward determining whether the 28-member organization will continue to follow an economic model that has generated vast wealth for a few, widespread misery for many, and growing income inequality. The choice is between an almost religious focus on the “sin” of debt and the “redemption” of austerity, as opposed to a re-calibration toward economic stimulus and social welfare.

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