Archive | August, 2008

  • The hurricane

    In my last reflection of Tuesday afternoon, August 29, when Hurricane Gustav unexpectedly formed and started to threaten our country on the same day when our Olympic delegation returned, I wrote: “We are lucky to have a Revolution! It is a fact that nobody will be neglected…Our strong, forceful and farsighted Civil Defense protects our people…The growing frequency and intensity of these natural phenomena show that the climate is changing due to the actions of human beings. The current times demand ever increasing dedication, steadfastness and conscience. It doesn’t matter if the opportunists and traitors also benefit without contributing anything to the safety and well-being of our people.”

  • Traitor

    Anyone looking for a good movie about traitors can skip the new Don Cheadle vehicle Traitor.   Despite all the action movie hype, it won’t be around long, anyway. Traitor is not a movie about traitors, or a sensitive post-mortem on why people might become “traitors.”  That old chestnut “The Man without a Country” is […]

  • Are Industrial Unions Better than Craft?  Not Always.

      Which is better — craft unions or industrial unions?  The debate is as old as the labor movement itself, and one that resists simple answers. Craft unions organize workers along occupational lines.  Industrial unions join everyone who works for one employer, or one industry, into one union. The argument surfaces in the dispute between […]

  • Georgian Crisis: Vis-à-vis Russia, 56% of the French in Favor of Compromise

    EXCLUSIVE POLL.  As the crisis between Russia and Georgia intensifies, 56% of the French want France to seek compromise with Moscow, according to a CSA-Le Parisien–Aujourd’hui en France poll to appear in the Saturday edition. Asked about the position to adopt towards Russia, only 27% advocate a hard-line position after Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s declaration […]

  • Free Speech, or Weapons Free?Anti-Islamic Invective and War

    Anti-Muslim material — the short film Fitna and the Danish cartoons spring to mind — usually raise hell when they first appear. They also raise some interesting questions. The propagandists have certainly enjoyed their handiwork.  Vilifying the enemy flavor of the month always wins vigorous rounds of applause (and money) from the right quarters.  The […]

  • Revitalizing the Memory of Sacco and Vanzetti

    I wanted a roof for every family, bread for every mouth, education for every heart, light for every intellect.  I am convinced that the human history has not yet begun — that we find ourselves in the last period of the prehistoric.  I see with the eyes of my soul how the sky is diffused […]

  • Would Jesus Ride a Donkey or Elephant to the Conventions?

      As the election draws closer, we will hear more and more about the politics of Jesus, as liberals and conservatives jockey to place the shining halo of Christianity over their own heads.  Without saying it, they will imply, “Jesus would have voted for me!” Putting aside for a moment the rudeness of regularly forcing […]

  • The Return of Russia

      The question of responsibility for the conflict in the Caucasus didn’t trouble us for long.  Less than a week after the Georgian attack, two French commentators, experts on all things, pronounced it “obsolete.”  An influential American neo-conservative had set the tone for them.  Knowing who started the conflict is “not very important,” Robert Kagan […]

  • Beyond Voting: Guerrilla Gardeners, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Pirate Programmers

    This US election year, an unprecedented number of voters will likely head to the polls to cast their ballots in an exercise that should take just a few minutes to complete.  But what about the rest of the minutes left in the year?  Author and activist Chris Carlsson has some suggestions for social change beyond […]

  • Faculty Resist Raising Funds for Endowed Chair Named after “Good-time Charlie” Wilson

    When University of Texas faculty members opened the local Austin newspaper in mid-August, many were surprised to read that that their institution was raising funds for an endowed chair to honor Charlie Wilson, described charitably by the paper as “the fun-loving, hard-living former East Texas congressman portrayed by Tom Hanks in last year’s ‘Charlie Wilson’s […]

  • Anti-Maoism, McCarthyism, and the Indian State

    Being the only “policeman” who “has ever risen to so much influence in India,” Indian National Security Adviser MK Narayanan seldom minces words in revealing the designs of the Indian State for “national security.”  He recently pronounced the focus of the state’s strategy against leftist militancy in the country.  In an interview with the Straits […]

  • The Only Good Muslim Is the Anti-Muslim: Liberals’ Fear of Islam

    For some, Barack Obama’s stature as a man of the Left has fallen precipitously, like late autumn leaves shed by branches bowing to the will of winter. Disappointment has often been self-inflicted.  Supporters have dipped their pens deeply into the inkwell of Obama’s inspiring story and written their own lines on Afghanistan, oil drilling, or […]

  • What went unsaid about Cuba

    I have carefully followed the Western media’s reaction to my Sunday reflections on the Olympic Games in China. Actually, rather sensitive events were overlooked while others were highlighted ad libitum by the advocates of world plunder and exploitation.

  • Of Jobs Lost and Wages Depressed: The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Employment and Wage Levels in the Philippines, 1980-20001

    Introduction Despite the vast literature examining the link between trade liberalization and economic growth, empirical studies still fail to provide conclusive and unequivocal evidence supporting the link.  What most of these studies emphasize is that openness, accompanied by a country-specific mix of appropriate complementary policies (macroeconomic and financial policies, education, infrastructure, institutional capacity and governance), […]

  • Latin America in the 21st Century: New Visions New Challenges

    Join us for a stimulating discussion about the social and political changes currently sweeping through Latin America.  Learn how progressive governments backed by powerful social movements are gaining momentum and joining forces to shift power into the hands of their people and foster alternative models of development based on cooperation and regional integration.  Find out […]

  • Three Years after Katrina: While Republicans and Democrats Gather and Celebrate, A City Still Searches for Recovery

    As headlines focus on conventions and running mates, the third anniversary of Katrina offers an opportunity to examine the results of disastrous federal, state, and local policy on the people of New Orleans.  Several organizations have released reports in the past week, examining the current state of the city, and grassroots activists have plans to […]

  • Sailing into Gaza

      On Saturday, after 32 hours on the high seas, I sailed into the port of Gaza City with 45 other citizens from around the world in defiance of Israel’s blockade.  We traveled from Cyprus with humanitarian provisions for Palestinians living under siege.  My family in Michigan was worried sick. They are not naïve.  They […]

  • Israel’s Outposts Seal Death of Palestinian State

    Yehudit Genud hardly feels she is on the frontier of Israel’s settlement project, although the huddle of mobile homes on a wind-swept West Bank hilltop she calls home is controversial even by Israeli standards. Despite the size and isolation of Migron, a settlement of about 45 religious families on a ridge next to the Palestinian […]

  • The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons

    Will shared resources always be misused and overused?  Is community ownership of land, forests, and fisheries a guaranteed road to ecological disaster?  Is privatization the only way to protect the environment and end Third World poverty?  Most economists and development planners will answer “yes” — and for proof they will point to the most influential […]

  • A gold medal for honor

    If one were to statistically work out the number of facilities, sport fields and sophisticated pieces of equipment we just saw in the recently concluded Olympic Games, accessible to every one million of the world’s inhabitants; the number of swimming pools for diving and polo, artificial underfoot for track and field competitions or field hockey, basketball and volleyball courts, rapids for kayak races, cycle tracks for speed-bike races, firing ranges, and so on and so forth, one could conclude that they are beyond the reach of 80 percent of the countries that were represented in Beijing, which is equivalent to billions of people around the planet.