Brazil 1964-2014: #1

Notes on Brazil: 1964-2014 #1 It all began with Cuba in 1959.  That was a line in the sand for Tio Sam.  Kennedy launched the Alliance for Progress in ‘61, and caudillos throughout South and Central America lined up for lessons on how to prevent their own homegrown communists from reproducing what Fidel and El Che had brought down from the Sierra Maestras.  The School of the Americas’ manual of torture, … [Read more...]

Rio de Janeiro in 1964…

            Rio de Janeiro in 1964 remained the de facto seat of the Brazilian government and home to its corps of international diplomats.  Despite the fact that Brasilia, the modernist architectural ghost town erected in the scrublands of the country’s isolated interior was designated Brazil’s new capital in 1960, the foot dragging went on for years before the embassies and the governing bureaucrats … [Read more...]

The Chomsky Thread

The long stream of commentary and observations which follows was prompted by a series of staccato exchanges on email between Professor Noam Chomsky and me, Michael Uhl.  In the first exchange I received some unanticipated support from Chomsky about my critique of Nick Turse's book, Kill Anything That Moves.  But it is the second exchange that I would really wish to bring to the attention of a larger, albeit highly … [Read more...]

Of War and Syria: Two Views Against

Common Sense Says Don't Bomb Syria White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough recently claimed, "The common-sense test says he (Syrian President Assad) is responsible" for the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria and "should be held to account" (http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/U-S-Common-sense-test-shows-Syria-used-gas-4797534.php).  In fact, "common sense" would dictate just the opposite: That Assad would … [Read more...]

2 Poetic Remembrances of 911

1. September 11, 2013, Twelve Years After Twelve, a most significant number Twelve Jacobian elliptic functions and twelve cubic distance-transitive graphs Twelve items in a dozen and a dozen dozens in a gross Twelve cranial nerves in the human body Twelve hours in the a.m. and twelve in the p.m. Twelve days of Christmas and twelve months in a year Twelve signs in both the Western and Chinese … [Read more...]

Red Lines and Bombing in Syria: A Really Bad Idea

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Here we go again. Polls suggest the American people are fed up after two full-bore wars and the killing of an ambassador in Benghazi following our commitment to regime change in Libya. Yet, the Obama administration seems poised to launch another war in Syria. “We can’t do a third war in 12 years!" This exasperated response was not from a leftist peace activist ready to do civil disobedience; it was from Colonel … [Read more...]