Z Nightly Commentaries
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Recent Z Nightly Commentaries
Nov 02, 2008
On infrequent news reports from Iraq I occasionally recognize a place I filmed. In late September 2002, I saw Baghdad, Kerbalah, Najaf, Hamidayah and other Iraqi cities through the camera lens. Saddam Hussein had just announced he would allow UN weapons inspectors to return to Iraq. US politicians and pundits ignored the implications of his action. But in Baghdad, visiting foreigners breathed sighs of relief. If Saddam had weapons, they concluded, the best forensic experts in the world with sophisticated technology would find them. Saddam knew this, so it meant he didn't have WMD. As soon as the inspectors concluded their search and failed to find the alleged stash, Bush would have lost his reason to go to war.
Landau: No Butter
Oct 27, 2008
We all learned - again -Truth occupies a unique space in American politics: the taboo corner. I don't refer to John McCain's "always putting my country first," or his pious eschewing of special interests; or Barack Obama's solemn oath to escalate the war in Afghanistan and kill Bin Laden.
Landau: Election Musical
Oct 20, 2008
Historians will write of the 2008 election campaign as a bizarre comedy in which audiences watched the United States morph from the top of its imperial trajectory into the sick joke of the early 21st Century. It stars not just the cancerous -- in body, mind and soul - John McCain, the modern would-be emperor without clothes and Sarah "Pinup" Palin, who sings in "pompom palaver" (Maureen Dowd), but pious imperialist Democrats who play straight men in this televised farce.
Oct 11, 2008
We know Bush started the war in Iraq on impulse. It only took a year or so for the impulse to realize itself. But why have major political figures and mass media continue to accept the nuttiness of this bloody gag and report that the president and his fellow "warriors" are winning five years after Bush first declared we had won?
Landau: Letter to Bush
Sep 20, 2008
I wanted to review your accomplishments and thank you for your persistence in helping our Cuban revolutionary regime. Specifically, you provided needed aid that helped us improve the economy, boost our trade relations and make our succession a peaceful one. Of course you did not intend to do so.
Landau: Gold Winners
Sep 16, 2008
In 776BC, the Greeks first allegedly celebrated physical beauty alongside skill, courage, strength and will. The ethical character of their naked athletes would honor Zeus, top Dog in the pantheon of Gods. Slaves did not qualify, of course, but Greek rulers offered an olive crown - peace - to the ancient equivalent of today's metal medal winners. During the games, warring nations took a time-out. The TV competitor for the 2008 games featured war between Russia and Georgia. But the Olympic charter still calls for "sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity."
Aug 28, 2008
Stupid leaders interpret words to satisfy their political desires. They miss vital nuances in dangerous international relations. On August 7, Mikheil Saakashvili ordered Georgia's armed forces to invade South Ossetia, a secessionist province bordering Russia. In so doing, he joined other heads of state who won dunce caps with disastrous decisions based on failure to understand the obvious.
Landau: Cuba's Reforms
Aug 15, 2008
Cuban leaders have begun a reform process - combining certain ministries, opening up more farming possibilities and decentralizing certain functions. They have not given clear signals as to what model will emerge. The government appears determined to following the familiar path of pragmatic and cautious approaches to problems that have arisen over five decades, especially those aggravated because of the 1991 Soviet collapse. As the October 2009 Communist Party Congress grows nearer, the results of discussions throughout the country, the Party may add new wrinkles in Cuba's half century quest to build a just system. Do not expect Cuba to abandon meaningful socialism.
Landau: 55 Years After Moncada
Aug 06, 2008
You can't build socialism in one country, chanted revolutionaries throughout much of Europe as the Bolsheviks took power in 1917. In four years, under Lenin's leadership, the audacious insurrection had extended to the far reaching corners of the Tsarist Empire. But attempts to duplicate the first overthrow of capitalism failed in other European countries. By 1921, socialism began to develop in one country, the largest land mass in the world. The Soviet Union endured as a painfully inefficient state-directed economy and repressive society for some 70 years before it imploded.
Landau: Obits for Opposites
Jul 28, 2008
In 1977, James Abourezk (D-SD) had just returned from Cuba. He and his fellow South Dakota Solon, George McGovern, had sought to use basketball diplomacy. The University of South Dakota's team played Cuba's national team. President Carter had supported the effort since it coincided with his own initiative to gradually restore relations with Cuba. Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) tried to stop this process...
Landau: Truth In Comedy
Jul 26, 2008
Have mainstream politicians grown so out of synch with the needs of the people that only comedians address the issues? Traditionally, the court jester dared shine a satiric light on imperial problems. In our society, standup comics and "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" under the guise of clowning get away with exposing corporate rip offs and self-serving government agencies. The mainstream media accept these thug operations as national axioms.
Landau: New Orleans
Jul 20, 2008
The French Quarter vibrates with sounds and smells of perpetual Spring Break. Was a film crew shooting the young men and women, drinks in hands, screaming "let's party." No. The celebrants were acting goofy on their own, as they routinely do in Ft. Lauderdale and Cancun....
Landau: Huckster & Tomsky
Jul 03, 2008
Elvis was to rock and roll what Marilyn Monroe was to Hollywood movies, a great box office star, provoking teen-agers and, with Marilyn, the world's "sex kitten," even "mature" men. Like Elvis, she also failed to find contentment. At age 42, in 1977, Elvis overdosed on "prescription" drugs. You can find Graceland, his 14 acre estate with old fashioned white-columned mansion, on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee, just north of Mississippi. In 1983, this "shrine" invited the public to a post mortem view of Elvis' life. In 2006, it became a National Historic Landmark. Indeed, the parking lot contains cars bearing license plates from many states.
Jun 22, 2008
In June 2008, Tom and Huck (Saul and his friend Marin) return as two senior citizens not on a raft but in a rented car, driving from New Jersey south and then west through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and into Illinois where we see the Mississippi River near Murphysboro.
Landau: This Mess
Jun 02, 2008
Bush made a sacrifice. He stopped playing golf, to symbolize his sympathy with the troops in Iraq. He did not, however, stop playing give video golf. For Bush to forgo other pleasures might require he start another war.
Landau: Cuba Will Live
May 16, 2008
At a May 2 dinner in Miami hundreds of Cuban exiles, the vast majority of them in the Viagra generation, feted Luis Posada Carriles. This homage to the man suspected of masterminding the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner that blew up over Barbados in October 1976 attracted a well known, aging radio personality. Tomas Garcia Fuste described Posada as “a real hero who has spent his life fighting for the freedom of Cuba.” Fuste, who attended the dinner, said “Posada saw from the beginning that Fidel was a communist and began his heroic fight against him.”
Landau: Crises At Home
May 11, 2008
If you live in affluent neighborhoods you might have conditioned yourself to ignore the significant sector of US society that gets in your face by showing they're poor, suffering from disease and acute angst - if not worse.
Landau: Leave Iraq
Apr 22, 2008
Iraq-satiated Democrats face a formidable political challenge: If they win in November, can they extricate the country from Bush's illegal war, which apparently can't be won by US military forces and has drained material and psychic resources?
Landau: Future Presidents
Apr 07, 2008
I request that as your first act in office you end the "War on Terror." Such action, I submit, would make most Americans feel more secure. Millions of us are sick of the word "terror," of feeling terrified. Terror means fear; fear precludes hope and confidence. You advocate hope. "Yes, we can." To do things, we need to be freed from White House panic harangue.
Landau: The Monroe Doctrine
Mar 25, 2008
As very few celebrate the anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, most of the world recognizes Bush’s compulsion to mass violence as an act of pre-medieval arrogance and ignorance. Like Vietnam and Korea before it, the Iraq and Afghanistan experiences have sapped imperial resources at home.