• Israel

    RIP Amos Oz

    The great Israeli author and leftwing political activist Amos Oz has died at the age of 79. Rather than attempt a grand overview of his life and works (his 1966 book Elsewhere Perhaps, set in a border kibbutz, may be the great Zionist novel), I will quote from some of my posts about him at Harry’s Place. During the 2014 Gaza war, Oz– who fought in the 1967 and 1973 wars– was interviewed by Deutsche Welle. He restated his commitment to “a two-state-solution and coexistence between Israel and the West Bank: Two capitals in Jerusalem, a mutually agreed territorial modification, removal of most of the Jewish settlements from the West…

  • Latin America,  The Left

    RIP Teodoro Petkoff

    I just found out that Teodoro Petkoff, a former Communist guerilla in Venezuela turned democratic socialist and a brave opponent of the regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, died in October at the age of 86. Petkoff, editor of the opposition newspaper Tal Cual, was kind enough to answer some questions from me back in 2005. The same year he published a book contrasting the kind of democratic Left he believed in with what he considered the reactionary, caudillo-style Left embodied by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. In 2015 Petkoff was unable to travel to Madrid to receive an award from the Spanish newspaper El Pais; he had been…

  • Syria,  Trump

    Trump declares victory against the Islamic State in Syria, orders withdrawal of US forces

    More evidence that President T doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.   The Trump administration is planning to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria, a defense official said Wednesday, as President Trump declared victory over the Islamic State. The president, in a message on Twitter, said the United States had “defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” His statement came shortly after news organizations reported that the White House had decided on Tuesday to abruptly remove the entire U.S. force of more than 2,000 troops from Syria. In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the United States had…

  • Human Rights,  Hungary

    Hungary’s “slave law” sparks protests

    When the leader of a government proudly proclaims an “illiberal state”: when his government passes a law restricting press freedom and undermines independent media; when that government tolerates antisemitism in its own ranks; when it forces the closure of a respected independent university and turns it founder into a figure of demonic omnipotent evil; and when tightens its control of the judiciary; is it any surprise that it also attacks workers’ rights? Hungary is seeing its largest protests in years, triggered by an employee-hostile law. But for the protesters, it’s about a lot more. Meanwhile, the government, led by strongman PM Viktor Orban, smells a conspiracy. For days, thousands of…

  • Galloway

    Checking in on Galloway

    Ever since he stopped compulsively running for political office (and sometimes actually winning), we haven’t paid much attention to the horror show that is George Galloway. But one of his latest tweets is noteworthy for its downright Trumpian undercurrents. Please note: unless I have evidence to the contrary I will henceforth regard every journalist in this country as an agent of the British state. A spy. A liar, deceiver and subverter of democracy in Britain. #Zinoviev #ForgersGazette #Codswallop #JukeBox #IntegrityInitiative — George Galloway (@georgegalloway) December 10, 2018 And his attack on “liberal media viciousness” reminds me of a bumper sticker I sometimes see, distributed by the rightwing Media Research Center.…

  • Russia,  Saudi Arabia

    Glad to see each other

    There’s nothing like a common interest in murdering dissidents outside one’s own borders to bring folks together. Putin and MBS greet each other with huge smiles and handshake in Buenos Aires pic.twitter.com/2jlHUfONO1 — Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) November 30, 2018

  • Far Right,  Israel

    Rivlin rejects Israel-supporting neo-fascists

    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who possesses a moral compass that his fellow Likudnik Benjamin Netanyahu frequently lacks, once again has distinguished himself as a man of the Decent Right. Responding to a CNN survey which raised serious concerns about European adults’ knowledge of the Holocaust and anti-Semitic notions, Rivlin told the network: “We must… work with the whole world to fight against xenophobia and discrimination, of which anti-Semitism is a variant.” In the interview which was to be broadcast Thursday, the president said “There are neo-fascist movements today that have considerable and very dangerous influence, and sometimes they also express their strong support for the State of Israel. “You cannot…

  • Science,  Trump

    Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States

    On the one hand: Report released today by the Trump administration finds climate change “is transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us.” w/@chriscmooney https://t.co/so4HrQMbOP — Brady Dennis (@brady_dennis) November 23, 2018 “This report draws a direct connection between the warming atmosphere and the resulting changes that affect Americans’ lives, communities, and livelihoods, now and in the future,” the document reads, concluding that “the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’…

  • Far Right

    Alphas and red pills and Orcs, oh my!

    “To better understand extremists, you need to look at their cultural references” My latest on why the Alt-Right loves Huxley, the Matrix and LOTR >> unherd.com/2018/11/alt-ri… Posted by James Bloodworth on Friday, November 23, 2018 I’m not going to accuse anyone who is a fan of Brave New World, The Matrix or Lord of the Rings of being a latent or overt alt-Right sympathizer. I don’t think James Bloodworth is doing that either. But I choose to take a modicum of pride in never having read either book or seen the movie, and never having had the least desire to do so.

  • Saudi Arabia,  Trump

    Trump’s “blood for oil” bargain with the Saudis

    When Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein invaded and occupied Kuwait in 1990, the “anti-imperialist” Left, opposing a military response, took up the slogan “No Blood for Oil!” Did concern about oil supplies figure in to the decision by the US, the UK, France and other countries to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait? Probably to an extent. But it was far from the only reason. The Iraqi invasion was a clear-cut case of aggression, and the consequences of allowing Saddam to get away with it would have been disastrous for all kinds of reasons. The “No Blood for Oil!” slogan was heard again as the US and the UK prepared…