Saturday, September 14, 2019

A critical analysis of 21st century progressive Latin American governments in “Latin America’s Pink Tide: Breakthroughs and Shortcomings”

ZNET has just posted excerpts of my introduction to the book “Latin America’s Pink Tide: Breakthroughs and Shortcomings.” One of the points I make is the criticism of Pink Tide governments for often not having taken advantage of moments in which their parties were in a position of strength in order to deepen the process of change and take harsh measures to combat corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency. An example was Maduro’s strong position vis-à-vis the opposition following the Chavista handsome victory in the municipal elections of December 2013 and then the defeat of the opposition-led “guarimba” protests of 2014. That moment stands in sharp contrast with his current situation in which his back is up against the wall. A similar propitious moment was in Brazil after Lula won the 2006 presidential elections with over 60 percent of the vote. These and other criticisms (and “self-criticisms”) need to be widely discussed and assimilated on the left.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Que es el impacto a largo plazo del fenómeno de los gobiernos progresistas latinoamericanos llamado el “Pink Tide”?

La revista académica “Revista Política Latinoamericana” de la Universidad de Buenos Aires publicó una entrevista conmigo titulado “Los retrocesos de la izquierda latinoamericana post-2015: ¿Que significan?” Rechazo la tesis que esas derrotas ponen en evidencia un “fin del ciclo” en el cual los avances de los gobiernos progresistas llamados “Pink Tide” van a ser borrados y olvidados.

If the Defense Department is diverting billions for Trump’s wall, does the Pentagon really need all that it's getting?

The Pentagon is diverting 3.6 billion dollars of its budget to help build Trump’s wall. Shouldn’t people be asking the obvious?: Does the Pentagon really need all of the $686 billion it got this year for military spending? Shouldn’t the issue of military spending be in the front and center of the 2020 presidential debate?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Site of John Brown’s Raid of 1859 – A Century and a Half Later

What tourists in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia get to see is all about the Civil War battle that took place in 1862, and very little about John Browns raid of 1859, a much more significant and meaningful event.

John Brown’s raid was a momentous occurrence because, unlike what US historiography long maintained, it was not a half-baked scheme but rather a well thought out plan to arm the slave population to confront their oppressors. It could have worked, particularly because the U.S. army armory in Harpers Ferry was so well supplied. It also demonstrated the bravery and determination of some northerners – not only Brown who was white, but many in the African American community in the north who sympathized with him – to oppose and fight against social injustice. The raid sent shock waves throughout the south and undoubtedly scared some members of the northern elite as well.

The audio on the bus from the parking lot to the town was all about the town’s history and the civil war; the only reference to John Brown was to call his raid a "desperate action." The walking tour guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining (an A rating on that score) but his narrative was focused on the Civil War battle which illuminated the military genius of the south’s two outstanding generals, Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. When the guide entered the fire engine house where Brown was captured by Lee, he just mentioned Brown passingly. The most disappointing aspect was that the armory which Brown attacked was subsequently destroyed and never reconstructed.

One of the few references to John Brown’s raid cast it in a negative light. It’s in memory of a victim of the raid, an employee of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co. who happened to be African American. The message: Far from helping African Americans, John Brown’s raid inflicted harm on them and here is the proof.  

One of the plaques presents both sides of the story. On the one hand, the statement by the United Daughters of the Confederacy that “the people of the South who owned slaves valued and respected their qualities” more so than did any other class. On the other hand, the statement by the famed African American historian W.E.B. Du Bois (who later joined the Communist Party) who vindicated John Brown’s actions.

This reminds me of what they taught me in grade school. That there were good slaveholders and bad ones. The implication being that slavery wasn’t that bad after all. Must we give equal time to those who perpetuate nefarious actions?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

U.S. cyber attack on Iran may set off a new type of arms race

The U.S. cyber attack on Iran with the help of hackers is without precedent in that never before have actions of this type been so blatant and so obviously carried out by Washington. The attack will have repercussions, particularly because of what the hackers themselves may go on to do. In addition, the attack is likely to set off a cyber-style arms race involving many countries. In short, nothing good can come of this. 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Unforeseen Consequences of Arms Escalation

To what extent did the U.S.-Israeli cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear centrifuges in 2010 – which destroyed the nation’s infrastructure and then extended to other countries – contribute to the ransomware attacks which have wreaked havoc on municipalities throughout the U.S.? 

To what extent did the CIA’s biological warfare experiments contribute to the origination of AID’s?

And to what extent could the resumption of the arm’s race as a result of Trump’s withdrawal from the INF arms treaty – and his resumption of missile testing – contribute to the spread of nuclear arms technology and the possibility that it falls into the hands of terrorists?

These are issues that the mass media should – and have failed to – raise in order to bring about a national debate over these life-and death issues.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Trump: Sanctions against Israel are Illegitimate; not so in the case of Venezuela


Trump supports Israel’s decision to deny visas for U.S. congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar on grounds they support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (bds) against that nation. Yet at the same time the Trump administration attacks Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s decision to pull out of negotiations with representatives of Juan Guaidó in Barbados because he supports Washington’s sanctions against Venezuela. Nothing is surprising anymore.