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Warren won’t be Clinton’s running mate. Thank God for that.

According to this morning’s front page Boston Globe story, it is now highly unlikely that Secretary Clinton will choose Elizabeth Warren to run with her as the VP nominee on the Democratic ticket. Thank God for that. It’s not that I don’t support my senator, and it’s not that I don’t want to see Hillary Clinton win the election. The opposite is true on each count, and this is part of the reason I am glad there will be no Clinton-Warren ticket. Obviously, I have no truck with the shamefully high number of Bernie supporters who are either planning to vote for a third party or, even worse, to vote for Donald Trump. To do so would be to repeat the mistakes that progressives made in the 1920s and 1930s….

Hating Hillary and Underestimating Trump: Echoes from an Ugly Past

Some on the left see Hillary Clinton as no better than Donald Trump, and will either vote for some third party or, even worse, for Trump himself. The latter figure reportedly includes 22 percent of Bernie Sanders’ supporters. This is not the first time progressives have grappled with these questions – and made such glaring blunders. On August 2, 1935, the Bulgarian Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov delivered the main report to the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International, then meeting in Moscow. In his speech, he argued that progressives should unite with everyone they could possibly work with to defeat the fascist danger and maintain – or recover – democracy. While the Holocaust had not yet happened, and its full scale would not be…

Initial thoughts on Orlando

Marx famously wrote that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, and then as farce. He was right about the repetition, and about the sheer lunacy of how historical moments repeat. However, farce is at the very least amusing, and there is little humor to go around as the American cycle of violence continues its seemingly endless iterations. As we once again try to make sense of a senseless tragedy, the familiar characters have all taken their places in their respective positions and are even now on stage, repeating their lines from a tired script. I have little to add; instead, I have a few thoughts that do not necessarily relate to each other, listed below. I’m writing from Worcester, Massachusetts, far from Orlando, but I lived in Miami and…

From Fatwa to Jihad

Most comments on the rise of radical Islam tend to fall into either a left or right wing version of political scientist Samuel P. Huntington’s argument, first developed in 1992, that we are in the midst of a clash of civilizations. With the collapse of the Communist bloc, he argued, the world would become increasingly dominated by contradictions between rival civilizations, groups so distinct that they were bound to clash. Of these there were many, but the biggest conflicts were likely to arise between the “civilizations” Huntington dubbed the “Western” and the “Islamic.” The extreme right wing shows its acceptance of this theory through crude attacks on anything Muslim, whether by protesting an Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan or burning copies of the Koran….

Book Review: The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves—and Why it Matters

Over the past few months, North Korea has been been in the headlines even more than usual. A partial list includes a revelation through the Wikileaks documents on the Afghanistan war that Osama bin Laden’s money man flew to North Korea to buy weapons, the seizure of a South Korean fishing ship (again) and threatening to blow the entire peninsula to hell because South Korea accused the North of sinking one of its ships. Most recently we’ve seen Jimmy Carter travel to Pyongyang to secure the release of Aijalon Gomez, an American who was sentenced to eight years of hard labor after straying across the border into North Korea from China. During his seven-month imprisonment, Gomez was driven to such despair by the experience that…

I’m not going to protest President Obama

EDIT: When this post was originally written, it was roundly criticized on leftist and Stalinist websites as being too subservient to the Democratic Party. We’ve learned a lot in the intervening years, including that much of the anti-Democratic (and anti-democratic) “left” posturing actually came out of Russia itself. As it turns out, much of what I said below was right: those who condemned Obama for this or that were wrong, and they didn’t learn: they did the same thing to Secretary Clinton, harping on every single wrong or perceived wrong. I hope the American left, including many in the Sanders camp, will move beyond this kind of thing. One can dream… (April 11, 2017) I’ll say it out front: I’m not going to spend my time…

Venezuela provides low-cost heating oil to US needy

BRONX, N.Y. – Residents of the Fordham-Bedford cooperative housing project, home to thousands of working-class people, were facing desperate times. Many were unable to pay their electric bills, and their lights were shut off. A desperate mother had lost her job and could not afford to pay the rent. This holiday season promised to be hard for the parents: they weren’t going to be able to afford gifts for their children. Then Citgo stepped in. On December 6, Democratic Representative Jose Serrano, along with Citgo CEO Felix Rodriguez, leaders of neighborhood organizations, and Venezuela’s ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, delivered the first installment of 400 million liters of Citgo heating oil earmarked for New York City, to be sold to those in need…

Venezuelas Chavez gets UN ovation

UNITED NATIONS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received tremendous applause from world leaders at the United Nations World Summit Sept. 15 after a passionate speech assailing the Bush administration and world capitalism. He then toured New York City, was greeted by enthusiastic crowds, and repeated his offer of oil and other assistance to low-income Americans. In their speeches at the UN gathering, many world leaders indirectly criticized the Bush administration for causing wars and exacerbating poverty. Chavez openly voiced these criticisms — and condemned imperialism in general. He received the biggest ovation of any speaker, many observers stated. “It is unpractical and unethical to sacrifice the human race by insanely invoking a socioeconomic model that has a galloping destructive capacity,” Chavez said, referring to the…

Forced labor: a global menace

UNITED NATIONS—Anna, now 21 years old, was born in the Ukrainian town of Kamenets-Podolsky, then still a part of the Soviet Union. During her early childhood, she led a typical family life and her basic needs were met. She lived with her mother and father, who was an engineer. Her life began to change radically in 1991, when socialism in the USSR fell apart. Her entire town was plunged into poverty as its main employer shut down. Her family was left jobless, until her father went to work for lower wages as a mason. The transition proved too much for him, and his health declined until, eventually, he died. With her family life destroyed, Anna became desperate. She struggled on until someone she had met…

March 5 student strike to demand books not bombs

NEW YORK – Under the slogan “Books not bombs,” thousands of students at hundreds of campuses across the country are planning a one-day strike on March 5 to demand better funding for public education and an end to the Bush administration’s drive for war in Iraq. The strike is shaping up to be the biggest student action since the Vietnam War. “We just can’t sit in our classes while our government is doing something that’s going to affect the world for decades to come,” Amanda Crater, a spokesperson for the coalition organizing the strike, the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC), told the World. “Every dollar spent on the [war] is a dollar that could have been spent for the schools. I mean, where…

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