Thursday, June 21, 2007

Confronting Empire

Please note that our blog has moved. Our new blog, Confronting Empire, is available at

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

U.S. Military Spending

Two striking visual representations of spending on military might. In chart 2, note how low spending was just after the end of WW2 and how little it dropped after the collapse of the Communist Menace. Chart 3 depicts U.S. defense spending in preparation for the impending invasion from outer space - or maybe just to keep the rest of the world in line.

Source for images:
Miriam Pemberton and Lawrence Korb, "A Unified Security Budget for the United States, 2007," Foreign Policy In Focus, May 3, 2006,

Friday, November 03, 2006

Influencing Nicaraguan Elections

A revealing window into the methods the U.S. is willing to use to influence foreign media as a means to influencing foreign elections is provided by this excerpt:
Even some of America's friends here think Mr. Trivelli has been heavy-handed. Carlos Bricen[~]o, a U.S. citizen who heads a television station in Managua, says he was telephoned by a deputy of Mr. Trivelli who said the election was a matter of U.S. national interest and suggested his news coverage should reflect that concern. "The U.S. has lost the parameters of what is permissible and what is totally unacceptable," Mr. Bricen[~]o says.

Another excerpt is notably honest in itassessmentnt of the relevant history:
The U.S. has a turbulent history with Nicaragua, which it has treated as a kind of protectorate.

JOSE['] DE CO[']RDOBA, "A Cold War Ghost Haunts Elections In Nicaragua," Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2006; Page A1 [from an email listserv posting]

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tidbits on Slavery

Economic historians now believe the rise of plantation colonies added millions of acres of cultivated land to the European economies, diversified output, stimulated a new type of consumption and enabled these societies, by the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to pull ahead of South and East Asia, which had been the world's most prosperous and civilized regions.
It is sobering to reflect that Africa was carved up by the colonial powers in the name of suppressing the slave trade. While the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 was a cynical travesty of antislavery, some genuinely abolitionist impulses did lend support to colonialism.

ROBIN BLACKBURN, "The New World Order," The Nation, November 13, 2006, .

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Between the plague and the cholera

Kieran Prendergast argues:
there is a big dynamic among the membership [of the UN] to try and keep the United States within the system [of international law] and that gives rise to a certain flexibility in accomodating (sic) U.S. concerns. The image I’ve used before when these things get very difficult may be that the choice is between the plague and the cholera. Neither is desirable, but better the cholera than the plague. So you’ve seen many instances when the United States really wanted to do something and exercised its persuasive powers, the membership was willing to go a long way to compromise—even sometimes against its better judgment.

Kieran Prendergast, “Interview with Sir Kieran Prendergast, Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs,” The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, VOL. 30:1 WINTER 2006, accessed 22 Aug. 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Photo From Lebanon

The caption reads: "A large banner looms over the now nearly empty streets of downtown: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stares intently, with piercing fangs and blood dripping from her lips. 'The massacre of children in Qana is a gift from Rice,' the banner says." (Photo: PAUL ASSAKER, MCT)

[Leila Fadel, "Lebanon Gripped by Anti-American Sentiment," McClatchy Newspapers, August 11, 2006. Accessed online at <>]

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Essay Publication Success

An essay of mine that recounts my (brief) experiences working with the Service Employees International Union has been published in Monthly Review Zine. Let the ad hominem attacks begin.

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