There are three important stories in the news within the past week relating to Latin America.
First, the Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams U.S. Special Representative for Iran. For those of us who have been interested in Latin America for decades, Elliott Abrams is a criminal who is widely despised. He should be in jail. If there was anything like a justice system for high level corporate, political and white collar criminals, he would be.
As Common Dreams (8/6/20 ) has noted, “Abrams is one of the architects of right-wing “regime change.” He “has made a career of lying and committing criminal acts that have led to the death and suffering of innocent people from Guatemala to Iraq.” “He embraces militarism, covers up for gross human rights abuses, and has a history of supporting authoritarian regimes.”
As if this wasn’t enough, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 as part of the Iran-Contra affair. He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush. Abrams admitted that he had willfully withheld information from congress in 1986 when he testified about the “secret Contra supply network and his role in soliciting a $10 million contribution for anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua” (the Contras).
See “CODEPINK Denounces Elliott Abrams’…” common Dreams. August 6, 2020
The second story is about the release of a report detailing a State Department plan for regime change in Nicaragua intended to oust popularly elected members of the Sandinistas.
Ben Norton reports in The Grayzone that:
The third, and related story, is that Joe Biden has recruited Anna Navarro to help him mobilize the Hispanic vote. The Democrats are opening positions of power within the party to a variety of never-Trump Republicans who have no goals or interests in common with publicly stated Democratic positions.
As Ban Norton (3/1/20) points out in his article published on The Gray Zone, Navarro has become “something of a celebrity among the anti-Trump republicans…” She has also become a welcome anti-Trump Republican voice among the corporate media. She is, for example, a frequent commentator on CNN and “The View.”
As Norton points out, “corporate media networks give Navarro a massive platform to attack progressives like Bernie Sanders and rebrand her neoconservative politics before impressionable liberal viewers who despise Trump, Navarro’s professional background has faced little scrutiny.”
Navarro, however, “lobbied for El Salvador’s corruption-drenched right-wing government.” “Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) documents reviewed by The Grayzone reveal that Ana Navarro and her Republican lobbyist husband, Al Cárdenas, have worked with some of the most corrupt right-wing governments in recent Latin American history, including leaders who have overseen egregious human rights abuses and been convicted for serious criminal offenses.”
“Navarro hails from a wealthy family in Nicaragua, and still today she remains a staunch supporter of the Contras, far-right death squads that the CIA armed and trained in the 1980s in a regime-change war targeting the country’s socialist Sandinista government. The Contras waged a relentless terrorist campaign, massacring and torturing civilians in hopes of destabilizing the country. And Navarro has celebrated them as freedom fighters.
Navarro, now calls herself a “strategist” has branded herself a “moderate.”
None of this bodes well for Nicaragua or Latin America. And, it only reinforces the argument that Joe Biden, the corporate Democrats and the corporate media are turning the Democratic Party into Republican-light. It gives us even less reason to stay with the party.
For those of you interested in why some of us are so reluctant to jump on the Joe Biden bandwagon, please take the time to listen to this podcast.
The corporate media is a complete waste of time. They failed us in 2016 and they are spectacularly failing us now. We must turn to other news sources. These are excerpts from The Nation Magazine.
Grey, Rohan, Nation Manazine, April 20/27 2020).
Biden indicated that as president, he would veto Medicare for All legislation because of concern over the price tag. “Biden has been a deficit hawk his entire career. As a Senator, he broke with his party to support a Repubican-sponsored balanced budget amendment, and as vice president he spearheaded efforts to achieve a bipartisan deficit reduction deal that included cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”
“In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama administration allowed millions to lose their homes in order to “foam the runways” for the banking system, while the Republicans cynically weaponized deficit and debt hysteria in order to deny the Democrats the political credit of a more successful recovery.”
“…much of the suffering attributable to this pandemic will not come from people directly contracting the virus, but from our collective failure to provide adequate care and support to the elderly, the physically vulnerable, the poor, and people in less fortunate countries during their hour of need. The virus itself may be a novel twist, but the broader story is regrettably all too familiar.”
Biden, in the debates, “…acknowledged that upon entering office in 2009, he and President Obama were informed by the Department of Defense that climate change was the single greatest threat to American national security—a point Sanders has been making for years. However, when the moderators pointed out that his climate plan was $14 trillion less than Bernie’s, he retreated into defensive bluster and nostalgic promises to restore the 2016 Paris Agreement. Gone was the sense of existential urgency and ambition that had animated his earlier remarks about the coronavirus.
“…whatever it takes means embracing the inevitability of a head-on conflict with the self-interest of concentrated private capital. A few months ago, it would have sounded extreme to propose placing Amazon, Walmart, Netflix, Uber, and American Airlines under public ownership. But today the socially contingent nature of these corporate behemoths—from their financial engine, to their workforce, to the goods and services they provide—has been laid bare. If luxury perfume companies like Christian Dior and Givenchy can be repurposed to make hand sanitizer to save lives, surely we can consider the same for the companies responsible for essential basic staples such as food, ventilators, and toilet paper. We want clean hands. But we also want bread, roses, and the means to wipe our asses.”
I have tried my best not to look at the television today. Last night was just so infuriating. The celebratory champagne-uncorking of MSNBC pundits over their chosen candidate, Joe Biden, finally, finally winning a primary, was just revolting. Above you can see the facial expressions that characterized the coverage when Bernie won.
I was, however, pleased to see that Chris Matthews was not included in the coverage last night. I thought that perhaps (oh how naïve I am) that Matthews had been left out because of his outrageous attacks on Bernie Sanders. But, evidently, even though similar attacks were enough to get the pundit Jason Johnson fired, they were not enough to get the serial offender Chris Matthews fired. This is a true tragedy for all of us.
Matthews managed to escape being called to task over 1) likening Bernie’s win in Nevada to the Nazis invading France, 2) saying that Bernie would happily preside over Matthews being shot in Times Square, and 3) that Bernie would be the last person to stop and help if you were stranded on the side of the road. But, he has been removed from the air temporarily because he has been accused of inappropriate behavior with yet another woman.
According to the Hill, GQ columnist Laura Bassett accused Matthews of sexual harassment. In an opinion piece published Friday, Bassett claimed that Matthews told a network makeup artist to “keep putting makeup on her” and asked “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”
Bassett evidently wrote about the behavior, which occurred four years ago, previously but wasn’t confident enough to mention Matthews’ name. She said, however, that a number of women knew immediately who she was talking about.
“In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, ‘Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet,'” Bassett wrote. “When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.”
“Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. ‘You going out tonight?’ he asked. I said I didn’t know, and he said — again to the makeup artist — ‘Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this,'” Bassett also wrote.
Any woman who has even casually watched Matthews’ show recognizes this behavior. I try to avoid Matthews, but I can remember him conducting a weird voyeuristic and coercive direction of the camera on a woman one night. He kept telling the cameraman to come in closer and closer on the woman’s face. This started while the woman was talking. He finally made it into some joke, like they all do, but it was creepy, just creepy, disrespectful and juvenile.
According to Antony Leonardi and Mike Brest in the Examiner (2/2920), Matthews:
Matthews also referred to Sarah Palin and Salley Yates as “attractive.”
At this point in time, I don’t particularly care what’s gotten him off the air. I’m just grateful, but his behavior especially towards Sanders is just part of a larger network wide attempt to destroy one of the candidates for the Democratic nomination.
Also participating in this campaign have been Chuck Todd, Brian Williams, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid (who has been carrying this on since at least 2016) and now Rachael Maddow who participated in the general laughter of the panel when Brian Williams mocked the Sanders campaign last night. All of these people are complicit. Chris Hayes and Maddow have for the most part stayed out of the overt attacks indulged in by the likes of Joy Reid, but Maddow, as I said joined in the contempt for Sanders expressed by the panel last night and Chris Hayes has spent time repeating every negative trope about Sanders saying that this is what “people are saying.” People may be saying a lot of things but that doesn’t mean you have to repeat them on your television program.
But, I have no doubt that Chris Matthews will be at it again tomorrow night. He will perhaps apologize AGAIN, for his behavior, but I doubt they will fire him.
MSNBC has shown its true colors since Bernie Sanders demonstrated he was a viable candidate. The anchors mentioned above plus innumerable guests have slandered, mocked, distorted, ridiculed and generally propagandized in an effort to destroy Sanders’ campaign.
I am 69 years old and I have never, ever seen an entire news network participate in such an overt effort to distort the political process. If we survive as a democratic country, something I rather doubt at this point, this course of coverage engaged in by MSNBC will be studied and written about as a deplorable exercise in media interference in an election.
Enough of that. Another thing:
A final comment:
Biden is running an ad campaign asking why Bernie Sanders wanted to primary Obama. Biden is trying to imply that Sanders “didn’t have the back of the first African American” president. Biden is blatantly trying to call Sanders a racist. Well, let’s see why Sanders might, just might have thought about a challenge to Obama. Maybe because Obama richly deserved to be challenged? Maybe because it’s a democracy? But, no, it must be racism. I can’t even come up with one reason to challenge Obama except, oh yeah, how about stumbling all over himself putting Wall Street in his cabinet and then refusing to prosecute those responsible for the financial crisis? But, then again, I’m one of those “vicious” Bernie Bros. (Adrienne Elrod actually accused me of that and then blocked me.) I’m proud, proud of that.