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Recent Z Nightly Commentaries
Landau: A Tale Of Two Extraditions
Jul 06, 2010
The US government demanded that Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding extradite a drug dealer. When Venezuela made similar demands on Washington, for arguably the Hemisphere’s most notorious terrorist, the Justice Department brushed off the request.
Landau: Israel Gives Jews A Bad Name
Jun 23, 2010
After Israeli commandos murdered nine people and wounded scores of others in international waters, I concluded that Israel continues to give Jews a bad name. The US government and media, in their effort to kiss the Israeli lobby’s ass, contributed to what Margaret Atwood called “a shadow hanging over Israel.” She referred to its continued inhumane treatment of the Palestinians in occupied territories, including its control over access to Gaza.
Landau: Another Far Right Outing
May 31, 2010
I laughed when 61 year old Reverend Baptist minister George Alan Rekers got outed after his most excellent European vacation with a 20 year Rentboy.com. “Anti-Gay Activist Cavorts With Male Hooker,” the headline might have read.
Landau: GM’s Shell Game
May 17, 2010
On April 21, the Wall Street Journal published an op ed by Ed Whitacre, CEO of General Motors, claiming GM had paid back the money it had borrowed from the government -- plus interest. GM ads boasted of their rapid repayment of the company’s TARP loan debts...
Landau: Dan Ellsberg
Apr 12, 2010
In 2005, teaching a history class to university juniors and seniors, I mentioned the Vietnam War. I noticed glazed looks in the eyes of several students. I asked a young woman born about a decade after that war had ended: “You know when the Vietnam War occurred, right?”
Landau: Pentagon Appetite 2/2
Mar 05, 2010
During pre game Super Bowl ceremonies Queen Latifah sang America the Beautiful. Following her, American Idol winner Carrie Underwood began warbling the Star Spangled Banner. Four jet fighters swished over the stadium. Did any of the cheering crowd or the tens of millions watching on TV ask how much it cost to have the thrill of two screaming jets offer the public supersonic foreplay before extra large men smashed and bashed through the thin membrane (the line) to reach the tantalizing quarterback?
Landau: Elephant in US Living Room
Mar 01, 2010
History quiz: Name the greatest robbery committed in the last 100 years...
Landau: The Hottest Decade
Feb 19, 2010
Global temperatures varied because of changes in ocean heating and cooling cycles. `When we average temperature over 5 or 10 years to minimize that variability,' said Dr. James E. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, one of the world's leading climatologists, `we find global warming is continuing unabated.'" John M. Broder NY Times Jan. 21
Landau: Universal Disorientation
Feb 03, 2010
Look at the front page of the New York Times (Jan 17)... and you'd swear that chaos and violence are running rampant in Haiti, that everyone from journalists to relief workers must be risking their necks just to venture out into the streets... Then listen to the audio feed from the same Times reporters... It turns out there are just a few pockets and a small number of vandals at work. The overwhelming majority of Haitians are attempting to survive without trashing their stores and knifing each other over welfare supplies. Even more ironic, the Times audio report says that fears of such violence are playing a part in delaying the aid effort, with relief workers leery of possible danger. Unfortunately the Times itself, by playing the sensational photos...is itself putting out a badly distorted picture of what is actually going on.
Landau: Magical Realism
Jan 22, 2010
For U.S. magical realists, a coup becomes a coup after Washington defines it as such. On March 10, 1952, Cuban General Fulgencio Batista grabbed power and sought to legitimize his coup by holding fake elections. Magically, the coup makers won; Washington recognized Batista.
Landau: Naked Empire
Jan 13, 2010
The Senate passed a $626 billion "defense" budget without discussion. Since 1947, when the War Department became the Defense Department, Congress has allocated trillions of dollars, but all for offense and with dubious results: Korea (1950-53), Vietnam (1964-74), Iraq and Afghanistan. None of those countries attacked or threatened us.
Landau: Almost One Year
Dec 20, 2009
After eleven months in office, Barack Obama has hardly revolutionized â€“ or even altered â€“ the major dysfunction that confronts our system. A man of obviously good values â€“ read his books and speeches â€“ he has yet to show convictions. He has tinkered to keep terrible problems from getting much worse â€“ a kind of political plumber without access to equipment that would redo the entire system.
Landau: A Serious Man
Nov 14, 2009
Over decades of movie addiction, I know after depositing my fee for entrance, somewhere between the candy counter and the seat, I lose my critical sensibilities by putting on a pair of invisible (virtual) glasses, instruments of optical delusion that allow me to see almost anything I want in any movie.
Landau: The Embargo
Nov 02, 2009
The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to end the US Economic, Financial and Commercial Embargo of Cuba. The Cubans claim the embargo cost them over $242 million in 2008 alone. The embargo, Cuba claims, makes foreign capital unavailable because investors face possible sanctions for doing business with Cuba.
Oct 26, 2009
After Fidel Castro's abdominal surgery in the summer of 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assured Cubans in Bush's name: "You must know that you have no greater friend than the United States of America." This great pal showed amity by not allowing Cubans to see relatives and limiting the amount of remittances their families could send. By increasing the hardships, Bush's logic presumes, Cubans would feel motivated to rebel against their government and not direct their anger at US cruelty. With friends like Bush and Rice, Cubans don't need enemies.
Landau: News From Raul
Oct 09, 2009
On September 20, President Raul Castro dropped in unannounced to see a family member who had invited me and other American friends to visit. Dressed in a white guayavera shirt and neatly pressed beige trousers, his black shoes highly polished, Raul kissed and hugged his relatives, bumped fists with a couple of the Americans and then offered observations on US-Cuba policy.
Landau: Covert Memories
Sep 29, 2009
In Miami, several retired U.S. officials remembered the early 1960s, when the CIA sent hundreds of employees to join other government bureaucrats to process and recruit thousands of Cuban exiles to destroy the Cuban revolution. Assassination plans abounded, from poisoned cigars and wetsuits for Fidel Castro, to a sniper rifle smuggled in by his comrade to a sophisticated poison pill. The capsule's designer imagined the pills dissolving in Fidel's chocolate milkshake, which he drank regularly at the former Havana Hilton Hotel's ice cream bar. These Hollywoodesque creations came from the CIA laboratory of Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the Agency's ghoulish technology maven. Most of the plotters and erstwhile assassins of that era, like Gottlieb, have died.
Landau: Modern Scandals
Sep 12, 2009
By 2012, college professors will stare into the glazed eyes of their students as they refer to non existent weapons of mass destruction and routine torture of suspected terrorists. Like the Vietnam War (estimated 4 million Vietnamese and 55,000 plus American casualties), and Watergate, these scandals occurred, in students' minds, sometime after the Greco-Roman era.
Landau: Asian Typhoons
Aug 31, 2009
During early and mid August typhoon Morakot killed unknown numbers of Chinese, Taiwanese and Filipinos, dislocating millions, provoking landslides and hampering rescue efforts. The rising waters destroyed homes, public buildings and bridges; buried entire villages. Asia suffers from its worst weather in half a century.
Landau: Nuclear Gang
Aug 24, 2009
A group of scientists, military officials and government bureaucrats signed an informal pact with the Devil. The contract became public in August 1945, when US bombers nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.