Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Evo Morales

Noam Chomsky: Israel’s Actions in Palestine are “Much Worse Than Apartheid” in South Africa

Web Exclusive AUGUST 08, 2014

“In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid,” Noam Chomsky says. “To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid.

What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse. There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. … The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.

(Actually, until recently, Israel relied on the Palestinians to build the settlements, and cultivate the land. And they started to bring African immigrants to replace them, and now they want these immigrants out also)

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, Noam, you say that the analogy between Israel’s occupation of the territories and apartheid South Africa is a dubious one. Why?

NOAM CHOMSKY: There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. It was 85% of the workforce of the population, and that was basically their workforce. They needed them. They had to sustain them. The Bantustans were horrifying, but South Africa did try to sustain them. They didn’t put them on a diet. They tried to keep them strong enough to do the work that they needed for the country. They tried to get international support for the bantustans.

The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison. And they’re acting that way.

If you look inside Israel, there’s plenty of repression and discrimination. I’ve written about it extensively for decades. But it’s not apartheid. It’s bad, but it’s not apartheid. So the term, I just don’t think is applicable. (A rogue terrorist state?)

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser. Speaking to The New York Times, Eiland said, quote, “You cannot win against an effective guerrilla organization when on the one hand, you are fighting them, and on the other hand, you continue to supply them with water and food and gas and electricity. Israel should have declared a war against the de facto state of Gaza, and if there is misery and starvation in Gaza, it might lead the other side to make such hard decisions.” Noam Chomsky, if you could respond to this?

NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s basically the debate within the Israeli top political echelon: Should we follow Dov Weissglas’s position of maintaining them on a diet of bare survival, so you make sure children don’t get chocolate bars, but you allow them to have, say, Cheerios in the morning? Should we—

AMY GOODMAN: Actually, Noam, can you explain that, because when you’ve talked about it before, it sort of sounds—this diet sounds like a metaphor. But can you explain what you meant when you said actual diet? Like, you’re talking number of calories. You’re actually talking about whether kids can have chocolate?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Israel has—Israeli experts have calculated in detail exactly how many calories, literally, Gazans need to survive. And if you look at the sanctions that they impose, they’re grotesque. I mean, even John Kerry condemned them bitterly. They’re sadistic. Just enough calories to survive. And, of course, it is partly metaphoric, because it means just enough material coming in through the tunnels so that they don’t totally die. Israel restricts medicines, but you have to allow a little trickle in.

When I was there right before the November 2012 assault, I visited the Khan Younis hospital, and the director showed us that there’s—they don’t even have simple medicines, but they have something. And the same is true with all aspects of it. Keep them on a diet, literally. And the reason is—very simple, and they pretty much said it: “If they die, it’s not going to look good for Israel. We may claim that we’re not the occupying power, but the rest of the world doesn’t agree.

Even the United States doesn’t agree.

We are the occupying power. And if we kill off the population under occupation, not going to look good.” It’s not the 19th century, when, as the U.S. expanded over what’s its national territory, it pretty much exterminated the indigenous population.

Well, by 19th century’s imperial standards, that was Not problematic. This is a little different today. You can’t exterminate the population in the territories that you occupy. That’s the dovish position, Weissglas. The hawkish position is Eiland, which you quoted: Let’s just kill them off.

AMY GOODMAN: And who do you think is going to prevail, as I speak to you in the midst of this ceasefire?

NOAM CHOMSKY: The Weissglas position will prevail, because Israel just—you know, it’s already becoming an international pariah and internationally hated. If it went on to pursue Eiland’s recommendations, even the United States wouldn’t be able to support it.

(Israel needs the trade with Gaza, but the Gulf States stopped funding the Palestinians and the USA followed suit. Gaza basically relies on the EU for everything to survive)

AMY GOODMAN: You know, interestingly, while the Arab countries, most of them, have not spoken out strongly against what Israel has done in Gaza, Latin American countries, one after another, from Brazil to Venezuela to Bolivia, have. A number of them have recalled their ambassadors to Israel. I believe Bolivian President Evo Morales called Israel a “terrorist state.” Can you talk about Latin America and its relationship with Israel?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah, just remember the Arab countries means the Arab dictators, our friends. It doesn’t mean the Arab populations, our enemies.

But what you said about Latin America is very significant. Not long ago, Latin America was what was called the backyard: They did whatever we said. In strategic planning, very little was said about Latin America, because they were under our domination. If we don’t like something that happens, we install a military dictatorship or carry—back huge massacres and so on. But basically they do what we say. Last 10 or 15 years, that’s changed.

And it’s a historic change in Latin America.

For the first time in 500 years, since the conquistadors, Latin America is moving toward degree of independence of imperial domination and also a degree of integration, which is critically important.

And what you just described is one striking example of it. In the entire world, as far as I know, only a few Latin American countries have taken an honorable position on this issue: Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador have withdrawn ambassadors in protest. They join Bolivia and Venezuela, which had done it even earlier in reaction to other atrocities. That’s unique.

And it’s not the only example. There was a very striking example a year or so ago. The Open Society Forum did a study of support for rendition. Rendition, of course, is the most extreme form of torture. What you do is take people, people you don’t like, and you send them to your favorite dictatorship so they’ll be tortured. Grotesque.

That was the CIA program of extraordinary rendition. The study was: Who took part in it? Well, of course, the Middle East dictatorships did—you know, Assad, Mubarak and others—because that’s where you sent them to be tortured—Gaddafi. They took part.

Europe, almost all of it participated. England, Sweden, other countries permitted, abetted the transfer of prisoners to torture chambers to be grotesquely tortured.

In fact, if you look over the world, there was only really one exception: The Latin American countries refused to participate. Now, that is pretty remarkable, for one thing, because it shows their independence. But for another, while they were under U.S. control, they were the torture center of the world—not long ago, a couple of decades ago. That’s a real change.

And by now, if you look at hemispheric conferences, the United States and Canada are isolated. The last major hemispheric conference couldn’t come to a consensus decision on the major issues, because the U.S. and Canada didn’t agree with the rest of the hemisphere.

The major issues were admission of Cuba into the hemispheric system and steps towards decriminalization of drugs. That’s a terrible burden on the Latin Americans. The problem lies in the United States. And the Latin American countries, even the right-wing ones, want to free themselves of that. U.S. and Canada wouldn’t go along. These are very significant changes in world affairs.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Charlie Rose interviewing the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. This was in July. Meshaal called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Gaza.

KHALED MESHAAL: [translated] This is not a prerequisite. Life is not a prerequisite. Life is a right for our people in Palestine. Since 2006, when the world refused the outcomes of the elections, our people actually lived under the siege of eight years. This is a collective punishment. We need to lift the siege. We have to have a port. We have to have an airport. This is the first message.

The second message: In order to stop the bloodletting, we need to look at the underlying causes. We need to look at the occupation. We need to stop the occupation. Netanyahu doesn’t take heed of our rights. And Mr. Kerry, months ago, tried to find a window through the negotiations in order to meet our target: to live without occupation, to reach our state. Netanyahu has killed our hope or killed our dream, and he killed the American initiative.

AMY GOODMAN: That is the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal. In these last few minutes we have left, Noam Chomsky, talk about the demands of Hamas and what Khaled Meshaal just said.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, he was basically reiterating what he and Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas spokespersons have been saying for a long time. In fact, if you go back to 1988, when Hamas was formed, even before they became a functioning organization, their leadership, Sheikh Yassin—who was assassinated by Israel—others, offered settlement proposals, which were turned down. And it remains pretty much the same. By now, it’s quite overt. Takes effort to fail to see it. You can read it in The Washington Post.

What they propose is: They accept the international consensus on a two-state settlement.

They say, “Yes, let’s have a two-state settlement on the international border.” They do not—they say they don’t go on to say, “We’ll recognize Israel,” but they say, “Yes, let’s have a two-state settlement and a very long truce, maybe 50 years. And then we’ll see what happens.” Well, that’s been their proposal all along.

That’s far more forthcoming than any proposal in Israel. But that’s not the way it’s presented here. What you read is, all they’re interested in is destruction of Israel.

What you hear is Bob Schieffer’s type of repetition of the most vulgar Israeli propaganda. But that has been their position. It’s not that they’re nice people—like, I wouldn’t vote for them—but that is their position.

AMY GOODMAN: Six billion dollars of damage in Gaza right now. About 1,900 Palestinians are dead, not clear actually how many, as the rubble hasn’t all been dug out at this point. Half a million refugees. You’ve got something like 180,000 in the schools, the shelters. And what does that mean for schools, because they’re supposed to be starting in a few weeks, when the Palestinians are living in these schools, makeshift shelters? So, what is the reality on the ground that happens now, as these negotiations take place in Egypt?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, there is a kind of a slogan that’s been used for years: Israel destroys, Gaza people rebuild, Europe pays.

It’ll probably be something like that—until the next episode of “mowing the lawn.” And what will happen—unless U.S. policy changes, what’s very likely to happen is that Israel will continue with the policies it has been executing.

No reason for them to stop, from their point of view. And it’s what I said: take what you want in the West Bank, integrate it into Israel, leave the Palestinians there in Non viable cantons, separate it from Gaza, keep Gaza on that diet, under siege—and, of course, control, keep the West Golan Heights—and try to develop a greater Israel.

This is not for security reasons, incidentally. That’s been understood by the Israeli leadership for decades.

Back around 1970, Ezer Weizmann, later the Air Force general, later president, pointed out, correctly, that taking over the territories does not improve our security situation—in fact, probably makes it worse—but, he said, it allows Israel to live at the scale and with the quality that we now enjoy. In other words, we can be a rich, powerful, expansionist country.

AMY GOODMAN: But you hear repeatedly, Hamas has in its charter a call for the destruction of Israel. And how do you guarantee that these thousands of rockets that threaten the people of Israel don’t continue?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Very simple. First of all, Hamas charter means practically nothing. The only people who pay attention to it are Israeli propagandists, who love it.

It was a charter put together by a small group of people under siege, under attack in 1988. And it’s essentially meaningless. There are charters that mean something, but they’re not talked about.

For example, the electoral program of Israel’s governing party, Likud, states explicitly that there can never be a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. And they not only state it in their charter, that’s a call for the destruction of Palestine, explicit call for it.

And they don’t only have it in their charter, you know, their electoral program, but they implement it. That’s quite different from the Hamas charter.

“First Indian President” in Latin America: Evo Morales of Bolivia?

Radical in Conservatism? And why the US is not happy with Morales?

Significant changes in Latin America have mystified writers, journalists, academics and policy-makers who purport to comment on developments in Latin America . 

The case of Bolivia and two term President Evo Morales (2006 – 2014) is illustrative of the utter confusion in political labeling. (Seeking a fourth term)

A brief survey of his ideological pronouncements, foreign policy declarations and economic policies highlights a very astute political regime which successfully manipulates radical rhetoric and applies orthodox economic policies with a populist style of politics which insures repeated electoral victories and an unprecedented degree of political stability and continuity.

The Most Radical Conservative Regime: Bolivia under Evo Morales

The Morales Regime in Perspective

From a comparative-historical perspective the Morales regime would probably be considered as the world’s most conservative radical regime or the most radical conservative regime. 

This apparent contradiction is resolved by examining the policies and practices of the regime.  But what is not in question is that the Morales regime, his advisers and government, have extraordinary wide backing. 

His allies include leaders of the social movements at home, as well as overseas investors and  mining executives, trade union leaders and domestic bankers; agro-business exporters and business leaders and Indian coca farmers, all enthusiastic supporters of the “First Indian President” in Latin America and the region’s leading advocate of extractive capital!

The Morales regime has won every election, six in all, since 2005, including two Presidential elections, each by a larger margin.

His vote has increased from 50% to 60% and Morales, looking to national elections in 2014, promises to garner 70% of the ballots.  No President in the history of Bolivia has secured consecutive electoral victories, and ruled democratically for such an extended period of time (8 years)with political stability.

The Morales Formula:  Radicalism at the Service of Orthodoxy

The most striking aspect of the eight year rule of Evo Morales is his rigor and consistency in upholding orthodox economic policies – right out of the handbook of the international financial organizations.           

 Fiscal Policy

The Morales regime has exercised tight control over government spending, ensuring a budget surplus and keeping social spending and public investment at levels comparable to previous neo-liberal regimes. 

Pay raises for public sector workers are modest, barely keeping ahead of increases in the cost of living . 

The government has held the line against public sector unions, strongly resisting strikes and other forms of labor pressure. 

As a result, bankers and business people, both national and foreign, have benefited from low taxes, a stable currency and business friendly fiscal incentives.

Trade Policy

The Government has aimed for and secured favorable trade balances, based on the export of mineral and agricultural commodities. 

The Morales regime has used the billion dollar surpluses to triplicate foreign reserves, $14 billion dollars, guaranteeing foreign investors access to hard currency, when it comes to remitting profits. 

The boom in export earnings is a result of high commodity prices and an increase in government royalties.  Only a small share of the high earnings has gone into public investments in manufacturing and social programs; most funds remain in the banks

At best the regime has increased spending on infrastructure to facilitate the transport of agro-mineral exports. (As during colonial policies)

Investment Policy

The Morales regime has encouraged and protected large scale foreign investment in mining and agriculture.

It has not nationalized any large mining operation.  Instead it has bought shares in forming joint ventures and increased taxes to a modest and acceptable degree.

Corporate profits are high, remittances are unencumbered, environmental and safety regulations are lax and labor conflicts are at historical lows.

Labor Policy

The Morales regime has encouraged labor union officials under its influence, to negotiate, hold down wage demands and accept moderate increases, just above the rate of inflation.

 Morales has not increased labor’s power and prerogatives at the workplace, nor allowed labor any influence in shaping its extractive capital development strategy. 

Increases in the minimum wage have been incremental; the majority of labor, especially in the rural sector, live at or below the poverty line. 

Morales has rejected any notion of workers co-participation in public sector enterprises and upholds the authority of capital to hire and fire workers without adequate indemnification except under specific circumstances.

Morales, via his party (MAS – Movement to Socialism) exercises decisive influence over the leaders of the labor confederation (COB) and Indian movements, thus ensuring social stability and political certainty for the business elite.

His period of labor peace is in sharp contrast to the general strikes and popular rebellion of the previous decades.

Class Harmony:  Landlords and Indians, Mine Owners and Miners

Among the greatest achievements underlying Morales successful implementation of orthodox economic policies, has been his success in building a political and social coalition including historical adversaries.

During the first four years of his term as President, Morales faced strong and at times violent opposition from the regional elite in Santa Cruz , the wealthiest region in the country

He also faced powerful ‘personalist’ (caudillos) political opponents in Cochabamba and Sucre .  Using his mass base and the military he crushed the most violent opposition  and negotiated  political and economic pacts with the leading business and agricultural families.

  Henceforth agro-business plantation owners received subsidies and tax exemptions to encourage exports and land-reform for landless peasants  was relegated to marginal public lands,while small landholders received title to their existing plots Promoting  agro-export  became an integral part of Morales development strategy. 

Morales extended his electoral coalition to incorporate the elites in Santa Cruz , formerly the bastion of the Right.

To counter US destabilization, Morales terminated the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) activity, and expelled US Ambassador Goldberg following his blatant intervention in regional politics. 

Morales convoked a  constituent assembly to write a new constitution for a “plurinational state” which consolidated Indian allegiance to the  Morales regime.  Decentralized cultural diversity ensured conformity to centrally planned orthodox economic policies

Foreign Policy:  Radicalism Abroad Complements Orthodoxy at Home

While working closely and in conformity with agro-mineral, banking and foreign MNC interests at home, Morales launched a series of anti-imperialist manifestos against US intervention in Venezuela; repeatedly denounced the US blockade of Cuba; opposed the US backed military coup in Honduras’ and defended Argentina’s claim to the Malvinas Islands (what the Anglo-Americans call the Falkland Islands).

Morales joined the radical regional bloc, ALBA, initiated by President Chavez and supported ‘regional integration’ which excluded the US .  He denounced the TPP (The Trans Pacific Pact) as a ‘neo-liberal project’.

Evo Morales praised Edward Snowden and his revelations; denounced NSA spying and was especially indignant with Spain and France when his flight from Moscow was diverted and denied landing rights.

At the same time that he was denouncing European collaboration with the US Empire, he was addressing major investors in Spain urging them to invest in Bolivia under favorable terms.

Evo’s radical pronouncements were directed at imperial interventionist policies, especially coup-promotion and integrationist schemes that isolated Bolivia from its political allies and Latin American economic partners.

At the same time, Evo was careful to differentiate between imperial militarism which threatened his regime and foreign investment (economic imperialism) which fit in with his economic development strategy.

In this context, friendship with Fidel Castro provided radical legitimacy for his overtures to the world’s leading mining conglomerates.

The Social Policies of a Radical Conservative

On December 22, 2013, Evo Morales surprised his enthusiastic leftist backers when he pronounced his support and defense of child labor and opposed ILO’s (International Labor Organizations) global campaign to ban it.

According to Morales child labor was essential to supporting poor family income.

According to Morales, Bolivia ’s 850,000 child laborers (about one-fifth of Bolivia ’s labor force) employed in factory, field and mining developed a “social conscience” in sweat shops.

Inadvertently Morales revealed the extraordinarily lax labor code and lack of concern for the education and health of growing children.

In fact in Bolivia low-wage child labor depresses wages for adult workers. Child labor serves a “reserve army” allowing employers to replace militant adult workers.  Cheap labor is rampant in Bolivia , which has the lowest minimum wage in South America :  90 cents an hours (USD) and the lowest monthly salary ($143 USD).

Despite nearly $15 billion in foreign reserves and trade surpluses, 51.3% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. 

social expenditures have only marginally increased and have been accompanied by increases in inequality: the top tenth percentile receives 45.4% of household income and the bottom 10 percentile 1%.  The gini coefficient which measures inequality is 58.l2 (2009) compared to 57.9 in (1999).

Bolivia still depends on the export of raw materials and the import of finished goods.

Its main exports are oil and staples and it imports petroleum products, finished goods and prepared foods.

The promise to “industrialize” iron ore, petrol, zinc and tin has yet to take place.

The major agricultural export crops, soybeans, cotton, sugar cane, coffee are produced by large plantation owners grouped in the Santa Cruz ‘100 families’.

The most lucrative export for small farmers and peasants is coca leaf – the raw material for cocaine.


The Morales regime has successfully imposed a political economic model which has generated an unprecedented decade of political and social stability and a growth rate between 4% and 6%.

He has secured joint ventures and investments from over 50 of the biggest multi-national corporations and is in good standing with the international financial organizations.

Morales has received financial aid from both leftist ( Venezuela ) and rightist regimes (European Union).  The Morales regime has secured an ever increasing percentage of votes, over the past decade, ensuring the continuity of policies, personnel, institutions and the class structure.

Morales has successfully co-opted formerly militant trade unionists  and peasant leaders, through radical rhetoric, stipends and subsidies.

He has successfully converted them into “guardians of the status quo”.  He has converted Santa Cruz oligarchs into political allies.

Morales has isolated and stigmatized dissident peasant organizations and environmental groups protesting infrastructure and agro-mining projects devastating the environment as “tools of imperialism”.

Even as he invites imperial MNC to take over natural resources.

Morales has been a master, without peer in Latin America , at justifying orthodox, reactionary policies with radical rhetoric

In defense of extractive capitalist depredation he cites Pachamama the Indian goddess of the Mother Earth; in defence of the exploitation of child labor he claims work inculcates  social consciousness and contributes to family income. 

He provides a ‘bonus’ for school children while more than a third are out of school slaving at below minimum wage jobs (and achieving a “social conscience”). 

He provides a minimum pension that does not even cover basic survival living while he boasts of budget surpluses, a stable currency and the addition of billions annually to foreign reserves. 

He speaks to anti-imperialism yet embraces their neo-liberal economic orthodoxy. 

He describes his regime as a “government of workers and the poor” while his economic and social policies favor the top 10%. 

Evo Morales has secured a political-economic formula which has succeeded in gaining the support of the left and right, Fidel Castro and the IMF, the Santa Cruz agro-oligarchy and the Indian peasant coca farmers. 

He has defeated US destabilization and intervention by expelling AID and the DEA and strengthened the capitalist state and increased capitalist profits.

 The Morales model of ‘radical conservatism’ is probably not for export to other ruling classes in Latin America . 

After all how many Indian presidents with a mass following and orthodox economic policies are there in the world?  How many leaders can proclaim a “plurinational decentralized state” and centralize political power and economic decision-making in the hands of a small mestizo technocratic elite?

There is no doubt that Evo Morales is an exceptional leader, his multi-faceted politics reflect his genius as a political manipulator

He is not a social revolutionary or even a consequential social reformer.  His regime is certainly not a government of workers and the poor.  But Evo Morales is Bolivia ’s most successful democratic capitalist ruler and he is still expanding his electoral base.  The question is how long the “other 50%” will swallow his political chicanery.?

Bolivia Social economics does work: Evo Morales elected for third term

Ellie Mae O'Hagan

Evo Morales campaigns for the presidency
Evo Morales in the runup for the vote at the inauguration of a thermo-electric plant in Yacuiba in September 2014. Photograph: Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty

The socialist Evo Morales, who yesterday was re-elected to serve a third term as president of Bolivia, has long been cast as a figure of fun by the media in the global north.

Much like the now deceased Hugo Chávez, Morales is often depicted as a buffoonish populist whose flamboyant denouncements of the United States belie his incompetence.

And so, reports of his landslide win inevitably focused on his announcement that it was “a victory for anti-imperialism”, as though anti-US sentiment is the only thing Morales has given to Bolivia in his 8 years in government.

More likely, Morales’s enduring popularity is a result of his extraordinary socio-economic reforms, which – according to the New York Times – have transformed Bolivia from an “economic basket case” into a country that receives praise from such unlikely contenders as the World Bank and the IMF – an irony considering the country’s success is the result of the socialist administration casting off the recommendations of the IMF in the first place.

According to a report by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, “Bolivia has grown much faster over the last eight years than in any period over the past three and a half decades.”

The benefits of such growth have been felt by the Bolivian people: under Morales,

1.. poverty has declined by 25% and

2. extreme poverty has declined by 43%;

3. social spending has increased by more than 45%;

4. the real minimum wage has increased by 87.7%; and,

5. perhaps unsurprisingly, the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean has praised Bolivia for being “one of the few countries that has reduced inequality”.

In this respect, the re-election of Morales is really very simple: people like to be economically secure – so if you reduce poverty, they’ll probably vote for you.

It’s true that Morales has made enemies in the White House, but this is probably less to do with rhetoric than the fact that he consistently calls for the international legalisation of the coca leaf, which is chewed as part of Bolivian culture but can also be refined into cocaine (via a truly disgusting chemical process).

Before Morales was first elected, the Telegraph reported: “Decriminalisation would probably increase supply of the leaf, which is processed into cocaine, providing drug traffickers with more of the profitable illicit substance.”

In fact the opposite has happened – in the past two years, coca cultivation has been falling in Bolivia.

This inconvenient fact is a source of great consternation to the US government, which has poured billions of dollars into its totally ineffective and highly militaristic war on drugs in Latin America.

Morales has – accurately in my view – previously implied that the war on drugs is used by the US as an excuse to meddle in the region’s politics.

Having said this, it would be dishonest to argue that Morales’s tenure has been perfect.

Earlier this year the Bolivian government drew criticism from human rights groups for reducing the legal working age to 10.

But what most news outlets neglected to mention is that the government was responding to a campaign from the children’s trade union, Unatsbo, which sees the change in legislation as a first step to protecting Bolivia’s 850,000 working children from the exploitation that comes with clandestine employment.

Although Bolivia has made massive strides in reducing poverty, more than a million of its citizens still live on 75p a day – a legacy of the excruciating poverty of Bolivia before Morales took office.

Nevertheless, Morales must make reducing the number of child workers a priority during his third term.

Not doing so will be a serious failure of his progressive project. In terms of social reforms, Morales should heed recent calls from the public advocate of Bolivia, Rolando Villena, to legalise same-sex civil unions and pave the way for equal marriage.

He should also follow the lead of Uruguay’s president, José Mujica, and completely liberalise abortion, which would be a good first step to tackling the country’s high rates of maternal mortality.

And Morales must also address the criticism of indigenous leaders who accuse him of failing to honor his commitments to protect indigenous people and the environment.

But however Morales uses his third term, it’s clear that what he’s done already has been remarkable.

He has defied the conventional wisdom that says leftwing policies damage economic growth, that working-class people can’t run successful economies, and that politics can’t be transformative – and he’s done all of this in the face of enormous political pressure from the IMF, the international business community and the US government.

In the success of Morales, important political lessons can be found – and perhaps we could all do with learning them.


Finally, it’s happening. The waking up of what is Israel and Zionism

Zeina Saab posted on FB this July 31, 2014

“The world is waking up. Slowly. But it’s happening.

Magic Johnson and other NBA players have cancelled their trip to Israel.

Disney heiress has just divested from an Israeli company.

Several Latin American countries, including Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador have recalled the Israeli ambassadors or severed trade ties with Israel.

Major celebrities are speaking out.

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have written an open letter condemning Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Many others, including John Legend, Madonna, Mia Farrow, and Russell Brand are also clearly voicing their disgust with Israel’s policies.

Millions are protesting around the world.

None of these protests have stopped the widespread destruction of Gaza, not yet.

And it won’t bring back all the 1,300+ dead.

But if enough pressure is applied on Israel, eventually we may be able to hope that one day it will be held accountable for its crimes against humanity, so that “Never Again” really will mean “Never Again” for all.”

Tonnie Choueiri shared this

From 1978 to 1994, Rabbi Henry Siegman  served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the US “big three” Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League:

Rabbi Henry Siegman – a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories – says the following on Gaza:

“When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis.

It should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success.”

 Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman says:

“What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. …

The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life?

Couldn’t Israel have done something that did not require that cost?

And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation.”


” It’s disastrous. It’s disastrous, both in political terms, which is to say the situation cannot conceivably, certainly in the short run, lead to any positive results, to an improvement in the lives of either Israelis or Palestinians, and of course it’s disastrous in humanitarian terms, the kind of slaughter that’s taking place there.

It leads one virtually to a whole rethinking of this (Zionism) historical phenomenon


Andrew Bossone posted:

Does an entity “release” a statement if it gave the same exact statement two years earlier?
The Pentagon, 2014 on Israel accessing $1.2 billion ammunition stockpile:

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.”

The Pentagon, 2012, on selling $647 million precision bomb kits and munitions to Israel:

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.”

Note: Evo Morales, Bolivia President lambasted Israel and the US as terrorist States.

Odd news; stupid and funny news; (Apr. 24, 2010)

            Town council of Soubey in Switzerland is dismantling its unique mobile phone antenna. Ecologist, electromagnetic sensitive individuals, and the wrecked of high technology are flocking to this primitive paradise.  Apparently, electromagnetic waves damage the hemato-encephalic brain barrier and affect brain healthy activities.

            New Moore Island relieved India and Bangladesh of a stupid contention: it was submerged by the ocean.

            Male in red shorts and female Ourang Outang (chimps) in blue shorts are boxing away in Thailand rings.  Thos champion chimps protect their faces involuntarily: their trainers box their heads relentlessly.

            Bolivia has no sense of time.  The government is inciting civil servants with bonuses to show up on time to work.  Professors at universities may come half an hour late to lectures: it is far better than the habit of frequent days off.  Evo Morales showed up two hours late to a press conference at the presidential palace: reporters had long gone.

            US Marines in Afghanistan love to disturb Taliban lovers: They turn on the loud speakers volume max on heavy metal songs such as Metallica, Thin Lizzy, and Offsrings. Heavy metal songs can be heard two miles away. Health care providers are not covering deafness syndromes of Afghani marines.

            Mafias in Italy could not function if not completely supported by wives and mothers.  Apparently, villages that are bases for mafia activities 90% of the residents are members of the mafia because mothers and wives incite men to belong to the community and reap the advantages of economic boom.  The new born is made to select a key or a knife: the key symbolizes police force and jails; the knife is the honor of the mafia members.  Mothers adjust the location of the knife to increase the odd of the baby touching the knife.

            Switzerland counts 30,000 “mailbox” companies that have no location or secretaries. 85% of these “mailbox” companies are created by foreign companies with the sole purpose of avoiding paying taxes in their country of origins. Officially, these companies host about 100 billions dollars but obviously, the real figure is far higher.

            Good news for luxury maniacs: there is over production of cultured pearls.  Prices have depreciated drastically: Time to bargain hard.  A few of these companies are throwing away the pearls to the pork and swine.

Public figures said last two weeks; (Feb. 18, 2010)

Actor Robert Duval said: “My often says that a good meal and a lovely tango suffice to be happy. She is right.”

Clare Short, Ex British Minister for international development on Blair PM decision for Iraq’s pre-emptive war: “The climate within the government sessions was like living in a psychiatric ward”

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin who walked on the moon is for canceling the project on moon exploration: “We have been there” (Let us move on and care for earth and people living on earth)

Neil Barofsky, general inspector of the US treasury, said: “The road is still ascending but this time around the car is faster” (This fast ascension should greatly worry us all since jobless rates and foreclosures are increasing)

The newspaper magnate of News Corp Rupert Murdoch said: “Platforms are proliferating but all these intelligent technologies are empty recipients.”

Avi Shapira, president of Israel comity for the preparation of earthquakes, said: “What happened in Haiti can happen in Israel”

Actor Johnny Depp denying news of his death: “I am not dead; I am in France”

President Barrack Obama: “I prefer being a good president for one term rather than a mediocre one for two terms”

President of Bolivia Evo Morales: “I am proud to announce that the period of humiliated and mendicant Bolivia is over.  People all over the world have decided to regain liberty and dignity”

Italy’s PM Silvio Berlusconi said: “Less immigrants less criminals”

Secretary General of Sweden Academy Peter Englund said: “I am taking paternity leave. This period will not hurt the Academy nor disturb the power structure between the sexes”

Tennis player Andy Murray after losing the game said: “I cry like Roger Federer but I don’t play as well as he does”




June 2023

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