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Joseph A. Palermo
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Professor of History, California State University, Sacramento. Professor Palermo's most recent book is The Eighties (Pearson 2013). He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (Columbia, 2001); and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Idealism (Pearson, 2008). Before earning a Master's degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Palermo completed Bachelor's degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master's degree in History from San Jose State University. His expertise includes Robert F. Kennedy; the 1960s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1980s; and the history of American foreign policy. Professor Palermo's most recent academic article appears in A Companion to John F. Kennedy edited by Marc Selverstone (Wiley Blackwell, 2014) titled Robert F. Kennedy. He has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 (Scholarly Resources Press, 2003); and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon (CQ Press, 2004).

Entries by Joseph A. Palermo

Mitch McConnell Is Just Getting Started

(12) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 6:13 PM

Anyone who doubts Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's drive and ability to wield power unhindered by any sense of fair play in pursuit of plutocratic ends should read Allen Raymond's 2008 book titled: How To Rig An Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative. Raymond recounts his career as a political...

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The 25th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Panama

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 4:28 PM

With President Barack Obama's decision to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba we might be entering a new era where the ghosts of America's past military interventions in the Caribbean and Central America finally can be placed in a more realistic perspective.

Throughout the 1980s, the Reagan administration...

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'We Tortured Some Folks,' But 'That's Not Who We Are'

(55) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 5:18 PM

Last August, President Barack Obama admitted to the press: "we tortured some folks." But he also added that torturing people "is not who we are." His CIA director, John Brennan, calls the CIA torturers "patriots." So which is it? Are they "patriots," deserving of our admiration,...

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The Incredible Shrinking Democratic Party

(16) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 7:01 PM

The internal sniping and bickering has already begun among Democratic ranks but it's their own damn fault. The internal debates following the 2014 midterm elections highlight the ideological schizophrenia that continues to plague the Democratic Party.

Is the Democratic Party the party of labor unions or the...

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The 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

(2) Comments | Posted November 8, 2014 | 10:17 AM

Many historians trace the seeds of the momentous events of November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, as being planted back in August 1975 when 35 nations, including the United States, unanimously approved the Helsinki Accords. Helsinki's "Final Act" recognized the sovereignty of East Germany and other Soviet...

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Midterms 2014: An Extremely Brief Autopsy

(3) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 7:11 PM

With the dust still settling around the 2014 midterms and so much bloviating commentary inundating us as every pundit in the land tries to interpret the meaning of the elections, we might step back for a moment and try to analyze some of the reasons for this latest Republican romp....

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The Gary Webb Story: Still Killing the Messenger

(3) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 8:54 PM

Few things are better at getting the word out about a past injustice than a Hollywood movie and Kill the Messenger starring Jeremy Renner and directed by Michael Cuesta does so with depth and drama. For the first time the true story about the courageous investigative...

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Students of Jefferson County Colorado Give the Nation a History Lesson

(2) Comments | Posted September 28, 2014 | 11:26 PM

When high school students in Jefferson County, Colorado walked out in protest against the right-wingers on the school board who purged their history curriculum of content they deemed "unpatriotic" they probably learned more in a week of direct action than they could...

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Ken Burns' 'The Roosevelts' Reveals Everything Wrong With Our Current Political Class

(17) Comments | Posted September 21, 2014 | 9:39 PM

Ken Burns' seven-part PBS series on the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, is a remarkable achievement. Burns sheds a poignant new light on the personal and public lives of three monumental figures in 20th Century American history. And in doing so,...

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The Real Winners (and Losers) in America's New War Against ISIL

(14) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 4:21 PM

Che Guevara famously called for "one, two, many Vietnams!" The idea was that constant warfare around the globe could at some point bleed dry the United States. Today, we hear similar calls for "one, two, many Iraqs!" Yet these noises aren't coming from a charismatic socialist revolutionary but from American...

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Ferguson, Missouri: Opening Up Old Wounds

(6) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 7:49 PM

It's difficult to write about the racial and political implications of the killing in Ferguson, Missouri, of an unarmed African-American teenager, Michael Brown, at the hands of a white police officer without rehashing what has been said a million times. When the inevitable incidents of police brutality or racially-tinged violence...

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It Can Be Done: Negotiate an End to the Siege in Gaza

(8) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 8:10 PM

The gutless American political class has abdicated its responsibility for the actions of the Israel Defense Forces. Few people living in the Middle East or anywhere else make the distinction between the United States and Israel, nor should they with all those weapons stamped "made in the USA." It's supremely...

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Iraq and the Neocons: The Sequel

(161) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 9:43 AM

It makes perfect sense that out of the horrors of the war in Iraq a resistance army would arise that is far more pernicious, ruthless, and fanatical than the original enemy the US sought to defeat. The level of sectarian violence Iraq has experienced from 2003...

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Smearing Private Bergdahl: the Republican Right Descends to a New Low

(68) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 9:32 AM

I thought Karl Rove's 2004 Swift Boating of John Kerry's Vietnam service record in the US Navy was pretty disgusting, but the recent smears against President Barack Obama for winning Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release have descended to a new low. Instead of rejoicing in the homecoming...

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The FCC, Net Neutrality, and Corporate Power

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 6:55 PM

With the Federal Communications Commission's proposed rule changes that could sound the death knell for Net Neutrality, context matters. And the context within which citizens must operate who want to defend a free and open Internet is one of relentless corporate lobbying and political power.

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Welcome to "Post-Racial" America

(77) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 6:41 PM

On November 5, 2008, the day after the country elected its first African-American president, an op-ed appeared in the Los Angeles Times written by the conservative black academic Shelby Steele titled "Obama's Post-Racial Promise." In it Steele asks: "Doesn't a black in the White House put the lie to both...

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The CIA Is Not a Fourth Branch of Government

(123) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 5:08 PM

John F. Kennedy once said he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds." He reached that conclusion after CIA officials, including Director Allen Dulles, had misled him on many of the planning details of the disastrous April 1961 Bay of...

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Plutocrats Despising the Poor: An American Tradition

(168) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 4:39 PM

It's not surprising that greater numbers of Americans these days tell pollsters they believe corporate CEOs are grossly overpaid, or that they support an increase in the minimum wage, or agree with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren's proposal to open an alternative banking system through the U.S....

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'President Chris Christie': How Does That Sound Now?

(110) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 9:11 AM

Just when you think you've seen everything in American politics another story line develops where fact is wilder than fiction. From the time he was first elected New Jersey governor in 2010, the corporate media gave mad love to Chris Christie. He was a "new" kind of Republican...

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Maybe It's Time to Find a New Word for "Reform"

(77) Comments | Posted January 8, 2014 | 2:58 PM

George Orwell famously examined the malleability of political language in the hands of society's rich and powerful. "Political language," he wrote, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Throw in the innovations and conscious attempts to manipulate...

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