Author Archives: William Blum

How should we react to terrorism?

I hadn’t planned on returning to this subject so soon, if ever, because of the distasteful experience of last summer when at least 50 of my subscribers canceled because I said that terrorism carried out by Islamics was to some extent motivated by their religion, an hypothesis rejected by what I see as the “politically correct” who took it to be an unjust attack upon an ancient and noble religion. The fact that I, a leftist, a comrade, would say such a thing was especially hard for them to take. Continue reading

The United States and the Russian devil: 1917–2017

Conservatives have had a very hard time getting over President Trump’s much-repeated response to Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly’s calling Russian president Vladimir Putin “a killer.” Replied Trump: “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. You think our country is so innocent?” Continue reading

Russia is a threat to US world dominance

If anyone knows where to find this long list please send me a copy. Continue reading

That tired old subject

Senator Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, declared two years ago, “Ultimately, freedom of speech is about ascertaining the truth. And if you don’t believe there’s a truth, you don’t believe in truth, if you’re an utter secularist, then how do we operate this government? How can we form a democracy of the kind I think you and I believe in . . . I do believe that we are a nation that, without God, there is no truth, and it’s all about power, ideology, advancement, agenda, not doing the public service.” Continue reading

The Great Wall of Mr. T

So much cheaper. So much easier. So much more humane. So much more popular. . . . Just stop overthrowing or destabilizing governments south of the border. Continue reading

Cuba, Fidel, Socialism . . . hasta la victoria siempre!

The most frequent comment I’ve read in the mainstream media concerning Fidel Castro’s death is that he was a “dictator”; almost every heading bore that word. Since the 1959 revolution, the American mainstream media has routinely referred to Cuba as a dictatorship. But just what does Cuba do or lack that makes it a dictatorship? Continue reading

Soviet observation: ‘The only difference between your propaganda and our propaganda is that you believe yours.’

On November 25, the Washington Post ran an article entitled: “Research ties ‘fake news’ to Russia.” It’s all about how sources in Russia are flooding American media and the Internet with phoney stories designed as “part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders.” Continue reading

State-owned media: The good, the bad, and the ugly

On November 16, at a State Department press briefing, department spokesperson John Kirby was having one of his frequent adversarial dialogues with Gayane Chichakyan, a reporter for RT (Russia Today); this time concerning US charges of Russia bombing hospitals in Syria and blocking the UN from delivering aid to the trapped population. When Chichakyan asked for some detail about these charges, Kirby replied: “Why don’t you ask your defense ministry?” Continue reading

A collection of thoughts about American foreign policy

Louis XVI needed a revolution; Napoleon needed two historic military defeats; the Spanish Empire in the New World needed multiple revolutions; the Russian Czar needed a communist revolution; the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empire needed World War I; Nazi Germany needed World War II; Imperial Japan needed two atomic bombs; the Portuguese Empire in Africa needed a military coup at home; the Soviet Empire needed Mikhail Gorbachev . . . What will the American Empire need? Continue reading

Cold War today, tomorrow, every day until the end of the world

“Russia suspected of election scheme. U.S. probes plan to sow voter distrust.” Continue reading

Political correctness demands diversity in everything but thought

For 50 years I’ve been painstakingly cataloguing the brutal militarism and human-rights violations of US foreign policy, building up in the process a very loyal audience. Continue reading

If you like Obama, you’ll love Trump

Oh what fun we have with the nonsense that flows out of the mouth of Donald J. Trump. The man is suffocatingly banal, racist, dishonest, inarticulate, uninformed, uneducated, narcissistic, a bully, just plain stupid, and an asshole (or in the immortal words of my people—a schmuck!). I would guess that as the boss of his own enterprises for many years, with the power and the habit of firing people, he eventually became deeply accustomed to not having his thoughts seriously questioned or challenged, to the extent that he really believes the crap that comes out of his mouth and doesn’t really understand what others actually think of him. Continue reading

Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?

“Self-described socialist” . . . How many times have we all read that term in regard to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders? But is he really a socialist? Or is he a “social democrat,” which is what he’d be called in Europe? Or is he a “democratic socialist,” which is the American party he has been a member of (DSA—Democratic Socialists of America)? And does it really matter which one he is? They’re all socialists, are they not? Continue reading

Is it terrorism or is it religion? Does the question matter?

From the early days of America’s War on Terror, and even before then, I advocated seeing terrorists as more than just mindless, evil madmen from another planet. I did not believe they were motivated by hatred or envy of American freedom or democracy, or of American wealth, secular government, or culture, although George W. Bush dearly wanted us to believe that. The terrorists were, I maintained, driven by decades of terrible things done to their homelands by US foreign policy. There should be no doubt of this I wrote, for there are numerous examples of Middle East terrorists explicitly citing American policies as the prime motivation behind their actions. And it worked the same all over the world. Continue reading

Democratic socialism

The candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a “democratic socialist”, for the US presidency has produced an unprecedented barrage of discussion in the American media about just what is this thing called “socialism”. Most of the discussion centers around the question of government ownership and control of the economy versus private ownership and control. This is, of course, a very old question; the meat and potatoes of the Cold War ideological competition. Continue reading

The ideology of the American media is that it believes that it doesn’t have any ideology

So NBC’s evening news anchor, Brian Williams, has been caught telling untruths about various events in recent years. What could be worse for a reporter? How about not knowing what’s going on in the world? In your own country? At your own employer? As a case in point I give you Williams’ rival, Scott Pelley, evening news anchor at CBS. Continue reading

Cuba made simple

“The trade embargo can be fully lifted only through legislation—unless Cuba forms a democracy, in which case the president can lift it.” Continue reading

Let Cuba live! The Devil’s List of what the United States has done to Cuba

On May 31, 1999, a lawsuit for $181 billion in wrongful death, personal injury, and economic damages was filed in a Havana court against the government of the United States. It was subsequently filed with the United Nations. Since that time its fate is somewhat of a mystery. Continue reading

Some thoughts about this thing called ideology

Norman Finkelstein, the fiery American critic of Israel, was interviewed recently by Paul Jay on The Real News Network. Finkelstein related how he had been a Maoist in his youth and had been devastated by the exposure and downfall of the Gang of Four in 1976 in China. “It came out there was just an awful lot of corruption. The people who we thought were absolutely selfless were very self-absorbed. And it was clear. The overthrow of the Gang of Four had huge popular support.” Continue reading

Dumb and dumber

Remember Arseniy Yatsenuk? The Ukrainian whom US State Department officials adopted as one of their own in early 2014 and guided into the position of prime minister so he could lead the Ukrainian Forces of Good against Russia in the new Cold War? Continue reading

Murdering journalists . . . them and us

After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech. We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

Reason Number 13,336 why capitalism will be the death of us

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria—the “superbugs”—if left unchecked, could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050. New drugs to fight the superbugs are desperately needed. But a panel advising President Obama warned in September that “there isn’t a sufficiently robust pipeline of new drugs to replace the ones rendered ineffective by antibiotic resistance.” Continue reading

American exceptionalism and American torture

In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979, the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds. Continue reading

Russia invades Ukraine. Again. And again. And yet again . . . using Saddam’s WMD

“Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.” Continue reading

Al Franken, the liberals’ darling

I receive a continuous stream of emails from “progressive” organizations asking me to vote for Senator Franken or contribute to his re-election campaign this November, and I don’t even live in Minnesota. Even if I could vote for him, I wouldn’t. No one who was a supporter of the war in Iraq will get my vote unless they unequivocally renounce that support. And I don’t mean renounce it like Hillary Clinton’s nonsense about not having known enough. Continue reading

The Berlin Wall, another Cold War myth

November 9 will mark the 25th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. The extravagant hoopla began months ago in Berlin. In the United States, we can expect all the Cold War clichés about The Free World vs. Communist Tyranny to be trotted out and the simple tale of how the wall came to be will be repeated: In 1961, the East Berlin communists built a wall to keep their oppressed citizens from escaping to West Berlin and freedom. Why? Because commies don’t like people to be free, to learn the “truth.” What other reason could there have been? Continue reading

Why you can’t believe what you’re being told about ISIS

You can’t believe a word the United States or its mainstream media say about the current conflict involving The Islamic State (ISIS). Continue reading

Will they EVER leave Cuba alone? No.

The latest exposed plot to overthrow the Cuban government . . . Oh, pardon me, I mean the latest exposed plot to bring democracy to Cuba . . . Continue reading

Cold War Two

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy. Continue reading

Yankee blowback

The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009-September 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The US Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors. Continue reading

Who is more exceptional: the United States or Russia?

I was going to write a commentary about President Obama’s speech to the graduating class at the US Military Academy (West Point) on May 28. When he speaks to a military audience the president is usually at his most nationalistic, jingoist, militaristic, and American-exceptionalist—wall-to-wall platitudes. But this talk was simply TOO nationalistic, jingoist, militaristic, and American-exceptionalist. (“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.”) To go through it line by line in order to make my usual wise-ass remarks, would have been just too painful. However, if you’re in a masochistic mood and wish to read it, it can be found here. Continue reading

Edward Snowden is upset with the snooping but not the system?

Is Edward Snowden a radical? The dictionary defines a radical as “an advocate of political and social revolution,” the adjective form being “favoring or resulting in extreme or revolutionary changes.” That doesn’t sound like Snowden as far as what has been publicly revealed. In common usage, the term “radical” usually connotes someone or something that goes beyond the generally accepted boundaries of socio-political thought and policies; often used by the Left simply to denote more extreme than, or to the left of, a “liberal.” Continue reading