Sunday, April 19, 2009

If the Shoe Fits

At the recent Summit of the Americas, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega went on a 50-minute diatribe, much of which addressed the United States' historic oppression and exploitation of weaker Latin American countries.

President Obama did nothing to rebut or refute this attacks, causing some consternation among right-leaning bloggers.

But the thing is, we were imperialist jerks in Latin America for a century and a half. Maybe not so much anymore, but it's reasonable for Latin Americans to be kinda pissy about our periodic looting of their resources and interference in their governance.


Jeff Lutz said...


Anonymous said...

Why would the current occupant of the white house disagree. He is after all a marxist. There is no surprise that he is at east with communist. It would have been a surprise if he had not agreed.

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, you are right, John. We HAD horrible, anti-American policies in Latin America for a long time. And they are right to still be pissed off.

We were convicted of WAR CRIMES in Nicaragua and promptly refused to honor the payment. We were directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Latin Americans.

Anonymous may think it's "marxist," to not disagree with history or criticize someone for criticizing our policy. I think it is entirely reasonable.

I wonder if anonymous supported our deadly policies and war crimes in Latin America. If so, he/she does not have much room for moral preening.

JD said...


While I do agree with you and John, that there are some former ills committed by America, and I disagree on Anonymous' premise as to why Obama did not argue with the comments, I agree with his statement that Obama is a Marxist/Socialist. Then again, according the Ms. Garofalo, I am a red neck idiot that has no clue what the Boston tea party was about and because my dad is a vet, I am related to an activist. So in reality, it doesn't matter what I think because I am not edumacated enuff. (Not pointed at you Dan)


Anonymous said...

What are we supposed to do? Apologize for stopping communist? Given the realities of that era, stopping the communist was the right thing to do. It is true that tens of thousands of people died in the fight to stop communism. Thankfully communism was stopped. And again, there is no surprise that a brother in arms with Castro and Che would sympathize with Daniel. The truth is that beyond bananas, sugar, low grade crude and industrial grade raw materials, these nations have nothing to offer to America beyond people wanting to migrate.

Dan Trabue said...

What are we supposed to do? Apologize for stopping communist? Given the realities of that era, stopping the communist was the right thing to do. It is true that tens of thousands of people died in the fight to stop communism. Thankfully communism was stopped.1. We committed war crimes. We (the CIA) mined a civilian harbor in Nicaragua, a nation with whom we were not at war and which posed no threat to us. We were found guilty of this crime and no one is saying we didn't do it, that's not the question.

Do you oppose our nation committing war crimes? I do. I think our committing war crimes will always weaken our nation and undermine our Great Ideals. There is no shame in admitting when you've done something wrong. The shame is in ignoring it.

2. We supported terrorists. We gave money - illegally - to the contras who used terrorism to try to overthrow a legitimately elected democracy. When we support terrorists, we ALWAYS weaken our nation and undermine our great ideals.

Do you think there is anything wrong with admitting when we've done something wrong? Or, are you of the tribe that says, "My nation, right or wrong!"

We absolutely can not act like a rogue nation, committing war crimes and supporting terrorists and say it's okay because we're us and what we do is automatically okay. A great nation and a great people should have no reservations at all about admitting mistakes.

Do you disagree?

Dan Trabue said...

JD, Obama is simply not a socialist.

He just isn't. It doesn't matter how many on the Rabid Right say he is, he's not. Words mean things and Obama does not fit the definition of a socialist.

Is he to the Left of Bush? Well, sure. But what of it? One can be a capitalism-supporting, left-leaning democrat and not be a socialist.

By the definition some would use, most of our presidents would be a socialist, including St Reagan.

Anonymous said...

Mining the harbor of a Nicaraguan port effectively damaged both commercial, military and terrorist movement. In this setting, a war crime conviction is without meaning as the court involved was incompetent to pass judgment or impose a sentence.

But make no mistake, it was a war. Communism is a cancer to be destroyed not a condition to be managed. Regardless of how it comes into power, either with bullets or a "enhanced" ballot box, communism is a cancer to be destroy and not merely contained. Supporting the Contras to stop communism was the right thing to do. The congress was wrong to take the side of communist.

Tribalism is a dusty relic of a antique era. Like other dead ends, it lies in the attic of history abandoned as a failure along with communism and it's less caustic cousin socialism. But when it comes to the place of our nation within the world, what's good for America is good for the world. If something is not good for America, it does not matter what even the world thinks. There is no obligation on our part to accept anything for the sake of the world that is not good for us. And if it comes down to choices, then America first is always the best policy.

Within the entire world there are a few rogue nations. America is not one of them. Within the entire world there are a few nations that have genuine power. America is one of them. It may not satisfy those who are more european in their taste, but American power has been paid for by America. It would be utter folly to now squander that position of strength by surrendering the prerogatives of power.

Dan Trabue said...

Anonymous said:

Regardless of how it comes into power, either with bullets or a "enhanced" ballot box, communism is a cancer to be destroy and not merely contained.Well, speaking for myself and I believe a great number of folk who love our American ideals, I find your statement above much more frightening than any "commie" threat.

You're saying, in effect, "it doesn't matter if this is what the people of Nicaragua want for their gov't, we must destroy them if they as a sovereign nation decide to have a more socialist approach to their own economy."

That is a chilling and horribly anti-American (and anti-Christian, if you're into that) sentiment. I will always stand opposed to such xenophobia and irrational hatred.

You are saying, Supporting terrorism (contras) and supporting war crimes (ie, violating our own laws) was the right thing to do. You are seriously and deadly wrong. Obama, with all his flaws and shortcomings, does indeed reflect a change away from that sort of anti-American "patriotism," and God bless him for it.

Dan Trabue said...

Anonymous also said:

But when it comes to the place of our nation within the world, what's good for America is good for the world. If something is not good for America, it does not matter what even the world thinks.
Wait a second... You're pulling my leg, right? You're not serious. You had me going there for a while. I thought that was serious (and seriously ridiculous) commentary, but I get it. This is a gag.

No one is seriously this idiotic. You got me.

This IS a joke, right?

JD said...


socialist  [soh-shuh-list]
–noun 1. an advocate or supporter of socialism.
2. (initial capital letter) a member of the U.S. Socialist party.

socialism  [soh-shuh-liz-uhm]
–noun 1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.He says things like this and acts like this. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck.

I, ultimately am more disturbed about Congress as a whole, but that is a whole other debate, just as this comment is a sidetrack of the post.


Anonymous said...

The "laws" passed by a democrat controlled congress were given all the respect they were due, and then duly disregarded as not in the best interest of America. It is no surprise that the current foreign national occupying the white house is at ease with those who do not have our best national interest at heart. God blesses the just. He even blesses the unjust, so there is hope for obama.

obama is a classic socialist. Wash the definition however you might want, that stain remains. He wants to take money from those who earn it and give it to those who have not earned it. He is not just a liberal, he is a left-wing extremist. Was Reagan a perfect conservative? No. But he was at least a citizen of the United States. And at least he worked to build up our nation rather than destroy it from the inside.

Anonymous said...

This IS a joke, right?

In a word, "No."

JD said...

If Anonymous is going to be so bold, I would really like them to admit who they are. If you truly believe what you are saying and have no problem defending your argument, you also should not be ashamed to share your identity.

Just a thought.


Dan Trabue said...

Anonymous said:

The "laws" passed by a democrat controlled congress were given all the respect they were due, and then duly disregarded as not in the best interest of America.Really? So, you're advocating that we NOT be a nation of laws and rules, but rather one that makes up crap as we go along? And this is NOT a rogue nation, how?

Fortunately for our great nation, anarchists such as our anonymous friend here are a tiny and frustrated minority.

Long may they live in frustration.

Andy B. said...

Dan, Thank you for your continued efforts, but this exchange just gives further support to the practice of non-response to anonymous comments. I (among others) just kind of made that a bloggging rule a while back, and my life has been much less frustrating. If it's anonymous, it gets no response.

Andy B. said...

John, It is very hard to travel in Latin America without speaking to people who know and will talk about the truth of US abuse there for the past hundred years plus. I have vivid memories of hearing stories all over Guatemala and the pleas of the people there to not let the truth die, but to come home and tell the stories until they are heard. Thank you for sharing your perspective on this issue.

John Wilks said...

Take money from those who earn it?

So you really think those CEOs earned vast amounts of money? Or how about those Wall Street types?

The workers make goods and provide services. The execs sell those goods and services. Without executives, those who produce goods and provide services could run an economy on barter alone if needed.

Without service providers and goods-makers, executives would have nothing to sell and Wall Street would have no viable companies to invest in.

The rich get rich through the labor of others.

Yes, the rich have a right to gain a return for their hard work and their risk-taking.

But no one on the top of a corporate ladder has the right to get rich while those who actually produce the product or service languish at or near poverty.

I hate socialism. I truly do.

But if capitalism in this country continues to cheat the producers and providers, the whole system deserves to fall down.

The game is rigged to abuse those who make the system work. Things need to change.

Hopefully, change will come through some corporate responsibility.

If not, then the government absolutely must step in.

Obama is a populist. You haven't seen a socialist yet in America.

But if the uber-rich keep doing what they have been doing, socialism will eventual gain a foot-hold.

In other words, right now, Obama is the best hope of saving capitalism.

John said...

Andy, that's my approach, too. It's very rare for me to engage anonymous commentors.

Anonymous said...

Anarchy? Perish the thought! But the day and hour has so far not yet arrived that this nation is ruled by laws written by the U.N. If the U.N. doesn’t like something we do, let them pass a resolution. We all know U.N. resolutions are very effective.

If the lack of a name is problematic, then just all me Al.

Only a heart of stone would remain untouched by painful stories of human suffering. This is true of every side in every war that has ever been fought. If the truth is told, then tell the whole truth about war and the lasting legacy of pain that is found on each side. Let’s not pretend that innocence takes sides.

Governments print money. But people make money. Some make more than others. Those who make less are not automatically paragons of virtue and those who make more are not automatically demons in designer suits. They are people who take their skills, determination, effort and ability to produce and meet the demands of the market and then do their best to gain the best result they can for themselves and their families. It is not evil to make money. It is not evil to make only a little money. But it is evil to parrot the lie that one man owes another man an apology simply because they are not equal.

We live in a moneyed economy because it allows a more efficient exchange of goods and services than what was previously possible by barter. In that earlier economy those who had more cattle or land were not thought evil because others did not own livestock or land. But greater economic opportunity came as society moved from barter to specie to currency as a medium of exchange.

An economy is not a rigged game show nor is it an abusive spouse. To say such or believe such a thing is a copout. An economy is an integration of people related in terms of goods and services produced not in a vacuum but bought and sold in a context of interdependence. If one is heavily invested in a mythology of class warfare, then in frustration one may lambast and hate those of whom one is jealous or envious. One can even pretend that all business owners and operators are privileged social pariahs who cheat their way to undeserved success at the expense of innocent downtrodden men and women who are not capable of competing in the market place. One will of course have to ignore the many men and women who build businesses by hard work, effort and a willingness to assume risk in the hope of potential financial and professional reward. It is because of these men and women that countless other men and women have jobs by which they can earn the money to provide for their families.

Rich or poor, no man has a right to gain a return for their hard work and risk-taking. They have only the right to freely seek to gain the best result possible for what they seek to accomplish. And if the results for everyman are not equal, that is not unjust. For all men are not equally capable. All men are not equally talented. It would be unjust if all men were only expected to be equal when some have the capacity for excellence. Capitalism is not perfect. It may even need a Savior. But obama is only a messianic pretender in whom one finds lots of hype but no hope.

Anonymous said...

"The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the congenial one of bewailing - but, first, of denouncing - the conduct of others."

Anonymous said...


Too bad you are anonymous; your most recent post is enough for me to wish that you had your own blog to visit.


doodlebugmom said...

never a dull moment over here, is there?