FROM THE “LEGITIMATE” RIGHT TO BUY FIREARMS TO THE BAN ON ABORTION
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, gave legal status to the agreement approved by Congress that minimally restricts access to guns.
By signing the document, Biden took a step considered by many Americans as necessary, but insufficient, on the road to putting an end to the massacres caused by the promotion of violence and the indiscriminate sale and use of firearms.
It is important to note, because of its contradictory nature, that the June 23 congressional approval of this agreement was preceded by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that expands the right to bear arms.
The Supreme Court ruled to overturn a New York State gun ownership law, enacted more than a century ago, that placed restrictions on carrying firearms in public.
This decision may have implications in seven other states with similar laws: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the Supreme Court’s ruling “outrageous” and “reckless,” according to CNN.
It is worth noting that there are about 310 million guns in circulation in the northern nation. With a population of 319 million, that means that almost every American owns a gun, regardless of age.
A few hours after the Uvalde massacre, considered -after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut- as the deadliest in U.S. history, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held its annual convention, which was attended, among others, by former President Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz.
In the speeches of both politicians, highly committed to the NRA, ideologically, business-wise and, above all, politically, they criticized the Democrats’ proposal to push for stricter gun legislation.
Ted Cruz went so far as to propose increased security in schools, placing armed guards to deal with shootings.
Many interests are at work behind politicians’ support for the NRA. From the coffers of the powerful association flow the money that finances electoral campaigns, bills and vetoes against anyone who tries to limit the business.
When guns cease to be a profitable vein that finances careers and buys consciences, the path will begin to clear, the chants of death and the macabre hymn of gunfire will cease.
The U.S. Supreme Court also overturned the landmark 1973 ruling, known as Roe v. Wade, which determined that the right to abortion was a constitutional guarantee in the United States.
Ending this constitutional right is the result of a long-standing campaign by the nation’s most backward sectors, especially conservative Christians.
After it was confirmed, Trump called the decision “the greatest victory for life in a generation”; meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence expressed, “We must not rest and we must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the country.”
On the other side, President Joe Biden, taking advantage of the circumstances, in an address to the nation, pointed out that the only way Americans can protect abortion rights is by voting for Democrats in the November mid-term elections, reported BBC, and the leader of the Democratic majority in the Lower House, Nancy Pelosi, called the Supreme Court ruling an “insult” to women.
The non-profit association, Planned Parenthood, described the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as “dangerous” and “unprecedented”, as it will leave 36 million women of reproductive age unprotected, according to La Opinión.
Prior to the decision, access to this right was already out of reach for many women in the United States.
“This contrasts with many countries, including those in Western Europe, which offer access to subsidized, fully funded abortion services, universal health care, contraception and broader social programs,” said Risa Kaufman, director of U.S. Human Rights at the Center for Reproductive Rights.
It should be noted that this is not just in Europe. Closer to home, Cuba, the Caribbean island labeled a “dictatorship” by Washington, was the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to decriminalize abortion. In the Greater Antilles, abortion has been free and legal since 1961, and in 1965 the legal basis was created so that it could be performed within the framework of the National Health System.
THE COURT’S IMPARTIALITY IN QUESTION
Another ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrates the bias and ultraconservative bias that prevails in its decisions.
On June 27, the Court recognized the right of teacher Joseph Kennedy, a soccer coach at a school in the Bremerton, Washington, school district, to pray with his students at midfield after the game.
The Supreme Court ruled against the School District and in favor of Kennedy, who demanded the right to pray with his players after games at the 50-yard line. The decision significantly erodes the separation of church and state in public schools.
The school had determined that Kennedy’s practice violated the students’ religious freedom rights, and also created a security risk at the games, because the teacher had orchestrated a public spectacle by inviting the media and local politicians to attend; while Kennedy claimed that the school’s actions violated his free speech and free exercise rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington filed a brief with the Court, arguing that Kennedy’s prayers are not protected by the Free Speech Clause.
Students stated that they were forced to pray, and one player explained that he participated against his own beliefs, for fear of losing playing time if he refused.
We refer to the country that took centuries to classify lynching as a federal hate crime. For years, attempts were made, to no avail, to punish mob killings, of which people of African descent and other minorities were the main victims.
More than 4,400 African Americans were executed in the United States as a result of this practice between 1877 and 1950 alone, as documented by the Equal Justice Initiative.
The crimes were committed with impunity, often in public places and in broad daylight, and also affected, albeit to a lesser extent, other minorities such as Native Americans, Asians and Mexican migrants.
The division within the U.S. is becoming more and more pronounced; some even speak of a schism, of insurmountable polarization, of possible balkanization. The truth is that the borders between one and the other are very clearly distinguishable.
Whoever stops just for a moment to take a look at the panorama of American society in these times, will discover the depth and extent to which the most ultra-conservative and retrograde thinking has reached.
He will hear, amidst the paraphernalia of political showmanship and gunfire, the deafening roar of the dinosaurs that refuse to disappear.
Published: Saturday 23 July 2022 | 11:54:30 pm.
Juana Carrasco Martin | email@example.com
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Everything points to Donald Trump in the hearings of the U.S. House of Representatives Panel investigating the events of January 6, 2021, when a mob of supporters of the outgoing president, under the claim of fraud, stormed the Capitol in an attempt to reverse the election results that had given the triumph to Democrat Joe Biden.
Already that committee -chaired by Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, and whose vice-chair is Republican Liz Cheney-, enunciated in the first of six public hearings that there was an “attempted coup d’état” and held Trump responsible. But the question floating in the ether is: why is the Justice Department of the Biden administration not accusing and prosecuting him when the former president’s actions led to a serious disruption of American democracy and endangered the representatives of one of its main institutions?
Some of those representatives, the so-called progressives, are clamoring for him to be tried -even though at the time he was able to dodge impeachment-, and now without presidential powers, he can be convicted. This is because they consider that not prosecuting him can have serious consequences for democracy, since each testimony given in the hearings is demonstrating that the insurrection was violent and coordinated to silence the decision of the voters, the people. Furthermore, it showed and that far-right groups discussed the need to keep Trump in office and that he would have supported the mob’s calls to “hang” Vice-President Mike Pence, who was fulfilling his role of presiding over the House session that would certify Biden’s victory.
Progressive legislators warn that if the Attorney General has brought charges against more than 850 people for their participation in the events, and if all the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place, why not do it with the main instigator?
When things reach this point, the recent statements to CNN by Trump’s former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, about his express participation in the organization of coups in other countries -a confession to be taken into account, since he also served in the administration of Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush, the son-, seal the riddle about the character in question, who was warned by more than one of his close collaborators in the administration that he had lost the elections, among them his Attorney General, Bill Barr.
But he did not listen to any of them and decided to speak to the most extremist of his followers in front of the White House that “Three Kings Day”. Their “gift” shook the United States and perplexed the world, urging them to march to the legislative hill, to “fight like hell” for his presidency, there where the session presided over by his vice-president, Pence, who in Trump’s eyes turned out to be a “traitor”, was taking place.
Cassidy Hutchinson’s recent statements before the panel are among the most enlightening about the degree of Trump’s stubbornness and contribution to the events in his intention of not moving out of the White House. This is because even though some of his mansions were waiting for him. Among them was the one located in the most sympathetic, understanding, warm and Floridian Miami, headquarters of other extremist, anti-Cuban and anti-Bolivarian groups, which Trump served in abundance.
As much as they tried to influence and intimidate Hutchinson, a senior aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, she dropped very high-caliber bombshells to the panel in her 20 hours of testimony. Among these was that Trump knew that some of those listening to him on January 6 were armed and, moreover, demanded official protection for those supporters and even wanted to march with them to reclaim “his presidency.”
The moment of chaos depicted on Trumpian grounds after the November 2020 presidential election, with the then-president insisting on his victory, staff members at the Pennsylvania Avenue executive mansion, campaign operatives, members of his Cabinet and Congressional leaders urging and even pressuring him to admit Biden’s victory and withdraw the rhetoric that the election had been stolen from him, became more acute that January 6. It was only the decision by Secret Service bodyguards not to allow him to go to Capitol Hill and Barr’s warning that such an attitude could lead to criminal charges against him, prevented his intention to do so.
There are other facts that make him responsible for what happened: he did not give the order to deploy the National Guard in view of the seriousness of the situation. He did not make the slightest effort to work with the Justice Department to coordinate and deploy law enforcement forces, among other contemplative or complicit attitudes.
According to the video statement of U.S. Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mark Milley, it was Mike Pence who ordered National Guard troops to respond to the attack.
The reality is that although new evidence of his involvement comes to light with every witness, he continues to say that January 6 “represented the greatest movement in the history of our country.”
If Trump faces several possible charges, there are already those who advocate adding one more, that of witness intimidation, under the legal title of 18 USC 1512(b), given the pressures exerted on Hutchison.
The big decision
But the worst of all is that Donald Trump, without officially declaring it, wishes to be reelected in 2024 and, campaigning for politicians of his tendency for representative, senatorial or gubernatorial positions that will be at stake in the mid-term elections next November, he [in fact] crusades for himself.
He just published in an interview with New York Magazine that his “big decision” will be announced before or after the midterm elections and added that “people want him to run.” The Post reported that Trump has begun meeting with major donors to discuss the 2024 election, and his team has instructed others to have an online infrastructure ready if he announces soon.
The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Trump well ahead of his likely Republican rivals, averaging 53 percent of the vote, and more than doubling the next closest challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 20.5 percent.
In mid-June, Trump released a 12-page rebuttal to the hearing on the events of Jan. 6. In it, he accuses Democrats of creating the panel to distract the country from the problems it faces, which are indeed many: “Seventeen months after the events of Jan. 6, Democrats are incapable of offering solutions,” Trump said in the statement released through his Save America PAC, created in November 2020 for campaign fundraising. “They are desperate to change the narrative of a failed nation,” he added and does not turn the page on their false accusations of fraud in the 2020 election.
The “big decision” would not be this House of Representatives panel that has no power to judge him, it only investigates and collects evidence of the coup attempt. [The “big decision” would be] a judicial process and substantiated accusations by the Attorney General at the head of the Justice Department, Merrick Garland. However, according to The New York Times, he [Garland] “has given no indication that the department is building a case against Trump”.
Of course, the background seems to be the tremendous legal and political implications of the case, and perhaps fears that Trump’s extremist supporters will stage other scenes of pressure and violence.
Perhaps they are waiting for a closer proximity to the November elections of this year or to know the results and the support that the results may or may not give to the politicians supported by Trump and to Trump himself, who as it is known has donors and lawyers to face the trial if it happens.
For now, the former president “is still at large and unvaccinated”, as my grandmother would say.
By: Iroel Sánchez
July 14, 2022
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
If physical geography, the availability of domesticatable plants and animals, and belonging to the temperate climate band in which these were able to expand on both sides of the Fertile Crescent (Diamond, 2020) determined the superiority of European societies in colonizing much of the world, contemporary geopolitics is becoming determined by agents interacting outside of physical space and operating intangibly.
The classic capitalist contradiction between the character of work (increasingly social, i.e., increasingly needing to be performed by a greater number of people and/or organized groups) and that of capital (increasingly concentrated) is manifested in times of the Internet as a handful of U.S. companies known as GAFAM (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft), Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) or GAFAT (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Twitter), which increasingly concentrate the metadata resulting from the increasingly intense and encompassing activity that human beings carry out through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The commercialization of such metadata (Wilson, 2019) enables a level of efficiency in advertising – be it for travel, consumer goods or political projects – that has only multiplied the effectiveness with which those who already previously concentrated the lion’s share of resources of all kinds. They benefit from the increasingly unfair distribution of wealth and their control over communication processes.
Social networks are not new: from a sociological point of view, they have always existed among humans (Wasserman; Faust, 1994). Each person already belonged to overlapping networks of family, friends, community, work, student or union networks, long before TikTok, Linkedin or Instagram burst into our lives. But the growing use of these platforms has made these previously invisible relationship systems tangible and capitalizable. Every search, every exchange, every text, video or photo post, and those who interact with them, as well as the accompanying metadata (date, time, gender, topic and geographic location of the participants, among others), are employed to find, connect and intentionally use affinities and phobias at a speed previously unthinkable. That process is possible thanks to technological developments such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (Bello-Orgaz; Jung; Camacho, 2016).
In February 2021, large technology companies accounted for 13 out of every 100 dollars valued on the Wall Street Stock Exchange (Carbajal, 2021), surpassing the marketing of armaments. Speaking of armaments, one might wonder if the investment for psychological warfare, understood –according to the US Army Manual– as the action of “influencing foreign populations by subjectively expressing information to influence attitudes and behavior, and to obtain compliance, non-interference or other desired behavioral changes” (Headquarters, 2005), is not part of those economic values, in a scenario of new hybrid wars led by the US political-military apparatus and intelligence community.
Hybrid warfare is a term whose use has been increasing among several theorists (Bartolomé, 2019; Gavrov, 2017; Piella, 2019) to refer to the combination of economic aggression, irregular warfare, financing of internal opposition, psychological warfare, terrorism, regular warfare, economic blockade and sabotage, and cyberwarfare. In Latin America, the two countries in which the United States has employed this mix of methods to change the regime are Cuba and Venezuela (Sanchez, 2020). Its culminating point has come during the Trump administration, and it involved, in the Cuban case, the approval of 243 economic restriction measures (MINREX, 2021), with the millionaire financing to internet media and opposition groups, which in November 2020 articulated an attempted soft coup with the support of the US embassy in Havana (Robinson, 2021); this had its aggravated version last July 11. This time it was a concerted operation in the digital public space.
In a scenario of an increase in the main indicators of the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, as a result of the entry and circulation of more aggressive variants in some areas of the country, a coordinated campaign was developed from abroad, replicating mechanisms and protagonists already used during the coup d’état in Bolivia and in interventions against Venezuela, among others. According to Spanish analyst Julián Macías Tovar, the operation was structured in three phases: the first one made use of the SOS Cuba label, “requesting help through false and automated accounts that massively mentioned artists from all over the world”.
The second phase installed in the media the call for a “humanitarian corridor” and invoked the support of artists. The third phase consisted of demonstrations that were accompanied by maximum diffusion in networks and the use of tags that became a global trend. “The method is repeated, the synergic strategy in networks, media and mobilizations” (Macías Tovar, 2021); the intensive use of robots, algorithms and accounts created for the occasion or with automated patterns, fake news and manipulated images, in addition to the invisibilization of different demonstrations in support of the government and the Cuban Revolution.
The analysis of some of the key profiles in this network operation shows a relationship with the Atlas Network organization, linked, on the one hand, to conservative think tanks and supporters of the free market in Latin America and, on the other hand, to the U.S. government itself through the National Endowment for Democracy (Indymedia Argentina, 2021).
How the Internet has changed
If in the past the computer was for many only synonymous with IBM, and automobile with General Motors, today, for most earthlings, the internet is synonymous with Facebook and Google, and operating system means Android or Windows.
The involution of the Internet – from an ideal element for free expression, knowledge, communication and equity, to a space for political polarization and hatred – has generated multiple alarms. Barack Obama himself has expressed his concern in this regard. The former president of the United States has been one of the main promoters of the Internet, which he considered during the most important speech during his visit to Havana, without any nuance, “one of the strongest engines of growth in the history of mankind” (Obama, 2016). However, during a more recent interview with British Prince Harry, he drew attention to how social networks can divide societies (Yeginsu, 2017).
“Today, for most earthlings, the internet is synonymous with Facebook and Google.”
Alerts were not lacking: on May 18, 2012, a joint statement by a group of civil society organizations ahead of the United Nations meeting in Geneva for “Enhanced Cooperation on Internet-related Public Policy Issues” noted that “what was once a public network of millions of digital spaces is now largely a conglomeration of spaces owned by a few” (Joint Civil Society Statement, 2012).
The revelations (Hu, 2015) of former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden about how adversary governments, and also allies, critical infrastructures and citizens of any country can be spied on even in their most intimate relationships by the US intelligence apparatus, with total impunity, were not known at the time.
The Covid-19 pandemic increased the permanence of people on the networks, and therefore, the profitability with which U.S. Internet companies operate. On average, users spend in 2021 about 6 hours and 42 minutes on the internet each day, about the same amount of time spent sleeping; and of the seven most visited sites only one is not hosted on U.S. servers (Social, 2021).
Any company or political party can now micro-localize the recipients of a message, on a network such as Facebook, or in the results of a search engine such as Google, based on age, sex, geographic location and professional profile. This is how a product or a news item is positioned. Cambridge Analytica went a step further (Wilson, 2019) by systematizing into political types the user profiles on Facebook to adapt to each one the message for which advertisers paid them: “Hillary is corrupt,” and perhaps she is, but no less so than this procedure employed to win her the election. The election of Donald Trump owes something to it (Berghel, 2018), as does Brexit (Heawood, 2018) and other processes where money has managed to transform itself into the action of technological tools to intervene in reality and push it in the direction in which the powerful consider.
The logic of a system that turns everything it touches into merchandise has been found in the trade with data derived from the use of the internet a way of expansion towards what has been called “platform capitalism” (Srnicek, 2017).
To blame the internet, and not the economic and political asymmetry of the pre-existing physical world, with the economic, political and military hegemony that has achieved control over it, would be a mistake. It would also be a mistake to ignore the fact that it is part and consequence of the dynamics of a system that tends to concentrate financial and material resources in fewer and fewer hands.
In the name of freedom of expression on the Internet, the United States disqualifies Moscow and Beijing, but as Evgueny Morozov points out, one does not have to agree with the way Russia and China regulate freedom of expression to notice a difference, at least in the discourses, of the three powers: Russians and Chinese defend access to data generated by their citizens on their own soil, while the United States pretends to access, and in fact accesses, data generated by anyone anywhere (Morozov, 2015). And when countries that Washington considers democracies (such as Brazil during Dilma Rousseff’s government) tried to establish sovereignty over their citizens’ data and force them to be stored on servers located in their territory, they were immediately dissuaded.
Latin America, digital backyard of the United States?
The main exchange point for Latin American traffic is not in the region, but in Miami: the Network Access Point (NAP) of the Americas. Even in countries blockaded by the United States, such as Cuba and Venezuela (Social, 2021), the use of U.S. social networking platforms predominates, and it is through them that Washington has stimulated and articulated regime change agendas in those countries (Elizalde, 2019).
In particular, any analysis of Internet use and access in Cuba must start from the more than 60 years of aggressions of all kinds by the U.S. government against the island. A report approved by the United Nations General Assembly by 187 votes in favor, 3 against and 2 abstentions (Nations, 2019) documents in 922 630 million dollars the damage caused to the Cuban economy by that policy since its inception, taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against gold. The same report sets at $55 million the damage of U.S. restrictions on Cuban telecommunications in 2018, including the denial of access (censorship) to “top technology sites, making it difficult to self-prepare or train remotely. Such are the cases of Cisco, VMWARE, Google Code, Google Web Designer and Google Page Speed Insights” (Cuba, 2019: 26).
Information from May 2021 from the Union of Computer Scientists of Cuba states that there are more than 50 technological information and e-commerce sites whose access is blocked on the island by the U.S. government, including platforms such as Zoom, and most software repositories (Guevara, 2021).
Since the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, Washington allocated significant financial resources to propaganda against Cuba, starting in 1960 with Radio Cuba Libre (Radio Swan) until the creation in 2018 by the Donald Trump administration of the Internet Task Force for Cuba; passing through Radio Martí (1986) and Television Martí (1990) during the Reagan administration. With the advent of the internet those financings, averaging $50 million annually, were transferred to the network. Radio Television Martí alone has received 36.1 million dollars in one year (Cuba Encuentro, 2006). Other projects, always associated with Internet communication, received in the first three years of the Trump administration, through the Agency for International Development, close to 50 million dollars; in turn, the aforementioned National Endowment for Democracy received 23 million dollars for what they call “projects to promote democracy” in Cuba (Project, 2021).
The Cuban government’s policy with Radio and Television Martí, and some other media that directly receive this financing, has been to block access to their contents, while others may even have more aggressive positions, but are not exclusively dedicated to propaganda against Cuba (El Nuevo Herald, El Diario de las Américas, ABC) are accessible from the island. It is therefore a defense of national sovereignty in the face of external aggression and not an act of censorship.
The growing access to social networks in Cuba is illustrated by the fact that in January 2021, 7.7 million Internet users were reported, of which 6.28 million are users of social networks, out of a total population of 11 million inhabitants (Social, 2021). In this context, the platforms have become the main stage of action to disseminate the content produced by Washington-paid media. A report by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) had made known in its 2019 projections that “working with independent Cuban journalists and encouraging citizens to create user-generated content on the Island for OCB (Office of Broadcasting to Cuba, which operates Radio and Television Martí) platforms remains a top priority.”
OCB’s digital strategy has become social networking consistent with metrics that place YouTube, Google and Facebook among the most visited sites in Cuba. With the use of AVRA technology, Radio Martí’s programs evolved to visual radio and were broadcast via Facebook Live along with TV Martí’s programming. This provides OCB with an additional efficient and cost-effective distribution outlet for both its radio (visual radio) and television content. In fiscal 2018, OCB will establish digital teams on the Island to create unbranded local Facebook accounts to disseminate information. Native pages increase the chances of appearing in the news feeds of Cuban Facebook users. The same strategy will be replicated on other preferred social networks (Governors, 2019:31).
As Internet users relate to Internet content through intermediaries (social networks and search engines), the companies that manage these intermediaries become the eyes and ears of those who think they are surfing the net (Pariser, 2011). The fact that the intermediaries used by Latin Americans are all American is not exactly the way to the often mentioned second independence of the region.
Is there an alternative?
The integrationist processes in Latin America have seen their heyday with the realization of a few projects in the ICT area. One of these is the ALBA 1 submarine cable, which allowed Cuba to access the Internet from Venezuela, extending from Camurí, near the port of La Guaira, in the State of Vargas (Venezuela), to Siboney beach, in Santiago de Cuba. While the U.S. blockade made it impossible to connect the country to the dense network of cables close to the Cuban coasts (for example, the one that runs from Cancun to Miami, only 32 km from Havana’s Malecon), it was necessary to lay 1,062 km at a cost of 70 million dollars (Cubadebate, 2010).
The multinational information multiplatform TeleSur is another such project. But at the continental level, extra-regional companies have prevailed over alliances between Latin Americans in search of technological sovereignty and taking advantage of the cultural and linguistic unity that characterizes the region.
The Internet model assumed as “free” search service (Google) or social networks (Facebook) is based on these companies selling audiences to others who pay to reach the selected segment of their billions of users (Pimienta; Leal, 2018); and whoever pays the most will always arrive first, although not necessarily with more truth or with products of higher cultural or educational quality.
The practically infinite availability of content, and the fact that any user from any location can become a supplier of images, sounds, videos or texts, have not meant a diversification of the consumption of cultural products by audiences. On the contrary, a good part of these users, due to the phenomena of induction and social control, which far from diminishing have deepened with the extension of the Internet, are imitators of the cultural models that radiate from the United States to Latin America and that even before the arrival of the Internet dominated the screens of Latin American television sets and movie theaters, as Fabio Nigra points out.
The interaction between loyalty – for having managed to define the viewer’s taste – and economic power is unbeatable: through concentration, large capitals do not compete with each other and manage to penetrate markets by the easy way, offering good quality products at prices that are more than accessible due to their production at scale; Or by the hard way, starting with commercial and economic pressures, intertwining their own needs with the pushing capacity that the US government can exert, through economic support, direct or indirect subsidies, restrictions on the production of other countries, threats of blockades or sanctions, interstate agreements where, with the appearance of mutual convenience, a reduction in costs is achieved for the producer, whose capitals are transnational, but based in the United States, and so on. At the same time, with the establishment of easily understandable narrative formulas, together with the appeal to an aesthetics that, although it was built over the years (classic editing, naturalism in the performances and scenarios, linearity in the evolution of the plot), after much trial and error admitted to delimit what is going to have a result in the viewer and what would not achieve the intended effect; both elements allowed obtaining a high percentage of guaranteed commercial success (with the necessary ups and downs) (2020).
“The interaction between loyalty – for having succeeded in defining the viewer’s taste – and economic power is unbeatable”.
As a regional group, Latin America still produced only 46.5% of its total free-to-air television programming in the 1990s and imported the remaining 53.5%, half of which – 25.5% – came from the United States. In cinema, in the country with the highest production (Argentina) at its best, national production was a substantial minority on the screens compared to U.S. production (15% vs. 77%) (DEISICA, Department of Study and Research of the Argentine Film Industry Union).
The “alternative” to this situation, which emerged with the rise of the Internet, has not been a Latin American chain of audiovisual content in cinema, series, music or shows, but the presence of Netflix in the homes of the region. Less than 30% of internet access in Latin America is to locally sourced sites, and that access is mostly associated with commerce and financial services, not cultural products (Sharma; Arese Lucini, 2016).
“While the digital divide has decreased, the cultural divide has increased.”
World Stats reported that, in May 2020, in Africa only 39.3% of people accessed the internet, compared to 87.2% of Europeans and 94.6% of North Americans; while in Latin America the level of connectivity reached 68.9%. But while the digital divide has decreased, the cultural divide has increased and the influence of sectors historically aligned with U.S. policies towards the region cannot be said to be minor, something visible in the neoliberal ebb that followed the fall of the Zelaya government in Honduras and the subsequent processes with which figures such as Jair Bolsonaro and Juan Orlando Hernández came to power. More internet, under Latin American conditions, has not always been synonymous with more democracy.
Thanks to the internet, diversity can be better disseminated, but homogeneity has been imposed more effectively and in a more accelerated manner. All voices, all languages, can have their space in the network of networks, but the hegemonic loudspeakers of the physical world have multiplied their influence in it.
As we have already mentioned, the intensive use of ICTs and the dissemination of false information in the political campaigns of Jair Bolsonaro, in the post-electoral coup process in Bolivia in 2019 or in the recent events in Cuba, are not an example of service to Latin American democracy (Elizalde; Molina, 2020).
“Universal socialization tools have become the enabler of U.S. global surveillance.”
Since June 2019, people applying for a U.S. visa have to hand over their profiles in social networks, their email addresses and the telephone numbers they have used in the last five years (Garcia, 2019). We know that mass surveillance, understood as the monitoring of people’s behavior, has always been the great temptation of authoritarian powers, however, at present, we are witnessing democracies that have developed sophisticated clandestine surveillance networks putting at stake the very tradition of which they are supposed to be part (Ramonet; Assange, Chomsky and Sacristán, 2016). This is how universal socialization tools have become the facilitator of global surveillance by the United States, which is not going to stop using that information even if, as will happen in most cases, it decides to deny visas to applicants.
A byproduct of that decision is self-censorship: How many people will limit their expression on the Internet because they ever plan to apply for a U.S. visa?
If the hegemonic actors of the cultural industry, whose influence has multiplied with the Internet and social networks, exert a great seduction on the populations of the planet, selling the American dream; the realization of the journey towards that dream needs the self-censorship of those aspiring to put their heads on Uncle Sam’s not always fluffy pillow.
It has not been enough for the United States to gain access to the servers of major internet companies, nor the ability to, using global networks, attack critical infrastructures of its adversaries – as it has done with Venezuela (TeleSur, 2019) or Iran (Chen; Abu-Nimeh, 2011) -; violate the rules of free trade – as it has just done with the Chinese company Huawei (Ciucan, 2020); induce behaviors in social networks to overthrow governments that are hostile to it; in addition to building false leaders; turning the most obvious lies into truths, based on almost infinite repetitions; and viciously persecuting those who use them to disseminate information that is uncomfortable for them – let us remember Assange – or harassing to the point of suicide those who advocate – like Aaron Swartz – for a truly democratic internet at the service of all (KNAPPENBERGER, 2017).
The alliances between US tech companies and the State Department were very convincingly exposed (Assange, 2014). Of its bipartisan character can attest to one of the most important executives of the king of internet search: Jared Cohen, whom Assange calls “Google’s director of regime change”, and who worked with both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton and then went on to lead Google Ideas.
The attempt to lead digital activism in Latin America also began early for the State Department when in November 2010 the Personal Democracy Forum Latin America (PDF) convened “the region’s top digital leaders to discuss, along with other digital leaders from around the world, how technology is breaking into politics. There, the Department’s Director of Innovation, Alec Rossles, assured bloggers and tweeters in the region that the Internet is the “Che Guevara of the 21st century” (Ross, 2010; Ross; Scott, 2011). Imagine, for a moment, Che Guevara handing over to Washington all the metadata of Latin Americans, along with their email addresses, social media profiles and phone numbers.
While the U.S. government has taken care of cyberactivists in Latin America and especially trained and financed them for the changes it wants to see in the region (Falcón, 2020), the lefts that have been or are in government have lacked popular education strategies for digital sovereignty.
There is a lack of teaching programs at all levels of education to train not only critical receivers, but active participants capable of creatively harnessing the potential of the Internet.
Studies point to the absence of relevant local content and the lack of skills in the population as the main constraints to digital inclusion (Sharma; Arese Lucini, 2016). Can there be a break with geopolitical control external to the region without solving these aspects, if regional alliances both at governmental level and social subjects with institutional support for the development of infrastructures and platforms for content production are conspicuous by their absence?
The answer is the same for other challenges: regional integration. Only with it, informatization from below, with ventures that meet the needs of communities in the digital environment, accompanied by an education that enhances and stimulates the cultural and sovereign use of ICTs, would contribute to the social change that the region demands.
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La cronología completa puede verse en Granma, 2018.
Revista Electrónica Internacional de Economía Política de la Información, la Comunicación y la Cultura. Disponible en: https://seer.ufs.br/index.php/eptic/issue/view/1128?fbclid=IwAR1ZLrGj_EDe9omhKO06tchsYOpFW4d73w09ji1m0oVMJkMWeM8Efv3gP8I
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
“I love the Cuban people very much. I had good human relations with Cuban people and I also confess: with Raul Castro I have a human relationship”, said Pope Francis in an interview granted to Univision TV.
His words in favor of the island have raised many reactions of solidarity and, also, comments among the haters of the Cuban Revolution.
This U.S. media “consulted” the Supreme Pontiff to hear his views, one year after the destabilizing attempts of July 11, 2021 in Cuba. However, His Holiness’ answers were supportive of the Cuban government and people.
“Cuba is a symbol. Cuba has a great history. I feel very close, even to the Cuban bishops”, ratified the Argentinean religious.
Regarding the normalization of relations between the Greater of the Antilles and the U.S., he said: “I was happy when that small agreement was reached with the United States, which President Obama wanted at the time and Raul Castro accepted it, and it was a good step forward, which has been stopped now”. And he added that at the moment there are probing dialogues to shorten the distance between the two nations.
After being questioned about the press labeling him as “communist”, he criticized the tendencies of certain media groups “very ideologized, who dedicate themselves to ideologize the position of others”.
The actions implemented to facilitate the clearance of travelers and cargo through the border managed to reduce the average stay time of passengers in Cuba’s air terminals to 45 minutes, Yamila Martinez Morales, general director of Customs Processes at the General Customs of the Republic (AGR), told Granma.
She added that the digital declaration was implemented for travelers arriving in the country by air, through the D’Viajeros platform, and to date, 8% of the total number of passengers who have cleared through Customs have used this form.
On the other hand, he said that 58% of the total of checked-in baggage is identified as containing exempt products, and 89.5% of the total of checked-in baggage is in the green channel (passengers who do not have to make an import declaration upon arrival, and therefore have an expedited departure).
Another measure is the customs treatment that allows importing or exporting goods with total or partial suspension of duties and taxes on the condition that they are re-exported or re-imported within a certain period of time, without having undergone any modification, except for their normal depreciation, as well as the application for pre-dispatch of passengers.
In the case of parcels, Mr. Martínez Morales pointed out that postal dispatch was automated, direct delivery without the addressee’s presence was implemented, old loads were solved, and delivery time was reduced to less than 30 days.
On this point, Nelson Cordovés Reyes, head of the AGR, highlighted the work carried out, which, although it still has several problems to be solved, it has gained in agility, and proof of this are the nearly three million shipments cleared by Customs in the first half of the year.
Similarly, the Customs Single Window for commercial procedures was established, which allows foreign trade operators to provide Customs with the documentation and information needed to comply with the requirements for processing regimes, formalities and other customs procedures, as well as timely notification of the results of the procedure.
Cordovés Reyes pointed out that, in addition to this, work is also being done to include electronic payment facilities and further streamline the processes.
He expressed that the AGR continues to improve the system of attention to the population throughout the country, and that they are attentive to the criteria both on digital platforms and through conventional channels.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Matanzas: Although blackouts annoy and provoke the most varied reactions, especially if they are repeated and at night, the people are grateful to the workers who work in the sector, and especially to those involved in the restoration of electricity.
Ángel Luis Valdés Cárdenas, a maintenance specialist at the José Martí Diesel Power Plant, located in the industrial zone of the capital city, a short distance from the Antonio Guiteras CTE, lives the gratitude for this daily effort in a very curious way.
“I am one of those who close the door of the house and hide when they turn off the power, because as soon as they see me, the people in the neighborhood start to protest: “look, this is the one to blame for the lack of electricity, that’s why we are like this now”, they say among other things.
“Everything, of course, is in a joking tone, because I know that deep down it is the way my neighbors express their admiration for my work and feel proud that an electrical worker lives in the community,” says the 66-year-old engineer, a resident of the Matanzas town of Juan Gualberto Gómez, in the municipality of Unión de Reyes.
After feigning that response of disgust, he admits, he is asked a thousand and one questions about the electric power situation in the province. “That is normal because everyone wants to know what is happening and how and when we are going to get out of this predicament.”
He assures us that the workers of his medium are not safe from the interruptions in the electric service either.
“Sometimes, when I leave for work at dawn, there is no power in town, and when I return I find the same situation. That’s hard because our job is precisely to provide electricity”.
Ángel Luis Valdés works at the José Martí site, since its commissioning in 2018, a plant that has 16 electric generators that operate with diesel, which is known as distributed generation.
Right now, he says, there are only ten in technical conditions to offer service, which contribute more or less about 12 megawatts between them all. The rest are shut down due to breakdowns or shortages of spare parts, he says.
“I believe that at the beginning these types of equipment were subjected to overexploitation, since they are conceived as support to the Electric System, basically during peak hours, and for almost two years they were active 24 hours a day.
“According to technical requirements, after 6,000 hours of operation, the motor components must be replaced. All of them have already far exceeded that workload and none of them, as they say, has even had a screw changed.
“It is good to clarify that these machines are very expensive. The price of one injector (each engine takes 16) exceeds 20 000 euros, so it is not difficult to imagine how costly it is for the country to acquire them.”
He is pleased to emphasize the importance of distributed generation as a backup for thermoelectric power plants and maintains that, so far, the engines have not stopped for lack of oil.
Undoubtedly, this is a great contribution, he stresses. “If it weren’t for these engines, blackouts would be more frequent and prolonged.”
Ángel Luis Valdés, who previously worked for more than 20 years in the mechanical industry, must travel daily to the José Martí site in the city of Matanzas, some 50 kilometers from his native Sabanilla.
Dressed in his blue overalls, he can be seen going from one end of the plant to the other, attentive to every detail and to any setback that could alter the correct operation of the equipment.
-What is the life of an electrical worker like?
“I admire and raise both hands for the personnel in Health, Education and many other specialties, but I love what I do and I feel great joy for our contribution to the country’s economy and the tranquility of the people.”
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The month of July is for Cubans an unequivocal synonym of Revolution. Of this month is the glorious 26th, when the Apostle was reborn to guide, from the immensity of his legacy, Fidel and the entire generation that continued the irreversible path towards the full dignity of Cuba.
So much human greatness, so much sacrifice, so much history, are sacred causes; symbolic expressions of our perseverance, resistance, principles and sense of justice.
This people has fought tirelessly for its independence. It triumphs every time they try to drown it, it stands irreverent in the face of those who try to rob it of its right to decide how to live; therefore, it will never bow down to provocations or threats.
Proof of this has been the economic, commercial and financial blockade, the practice of State terrorism, the attempted invasion. And since nothing has served the overthrow plan, our enemies are betting on the so-called soft coup. The most insolent expression was rehearsed on July 11, 2021, ignorant of the depth with which the roots of the Revolution reach the bellies of those who make it, perfect it and keep it firm.
With the deployment of a large-scale political-communication operation, they wanted to opportunistically take advantage of the combined impacts of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, of the economic crisis derived from it, and of the measures that tightened the blockade to an unprecedented level.
The clearest objective? To generate the false idea that the shortages and material difficulties are due to the inefficient management by the revolutionary government, and to cover up the real cause: the inhuman economic siege by the United States.
Before the world, they sold the notion of a social outburst intended to “overthrow the dictatorship”. But their plan had a flaw: they underestimated the unity of the nation, the majority support for the revolutionary project, the will to not allow peace and social conquests to be undermined. That condemned them, as always, to the most resounding failure.
They have not yet understood that continuity in Cuba is not demagogy, and that defending the Revolution at whatever cost is necessary is not an empty slogan, but a firm resolution that the people unveil, putting their chest out in the face of the audacity of their enemies.
Because the dangers are certain, the Cuban people have always been in combat readiness. This was demonstrated on July 11, when they crushed that skirmish in just a few hours.
Under that precept, with an open heart, as if Fidel, Raul, Marti and all the heroes of the Homeland were speaking, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, called [on the people] to defend the Revolution in the streets, and the people, without hesitation, were already there.
It was an act of fidelity to the legacy of the Commander-in-Chief, who, just as on January 8, 1959, he had set the mode of action in situations of imminent danger: “I tell you that the first thing I will always do, when I see the Revolution in danger, is to call on the people. Because by talking to the people we can save blood; because here, before firing a shot, we have to call the people a thousand times…”.
And with full courage, these people asserted their condition of supreme protector of this work, and showed that the tranquility of the citizens is sacred, and that the just and sincere demand [of the people] does not need violence to be heard.
These same people are the ones who reject impunity, because no one in the service of foreign interests has the right to subvert the order of this sovereign nation.
Poor those who wanted to kidnap, for their paymasters, July 11, the date on which the revolutionaries defeated a vandalistic coup d’état.
The 26th of July is so important in the history of the nation that the month to celebrate it is so short. How can we make so much glory fit if we also add to it the crushing victory of the 11th; so similar to that 13th in which Maceo, in 1895, made an entire army of Spaniards flee in disarray in the fields of Peralejo?
For the artful mercenary attack, and for the illusory eagerness to get a “beachhead” from which to clamor for Yankee intervention, there was already a place and a date that are the most serious shame of the empire: Giron.
However, if in their servile purpose, the enemies of Cuba insist on giving themselves a Girón with each attempt, they will have one each time, as in April 1961, as in July 2021.
Revolutionary Cuba, meanwhile, remains cheerful and at peace, on the side of reason, truth and justice. We know that times are hard, but we also know that together we are capable of overcoming the pitfalls of a circumstantial reality, whose complexities are not exclusive to our country.
We continue and will continue to stand up, with a critical vision, with a transforming spirit, with creative resistance and with dreams and hopes always thought for a future in Revolution.
Posted: Sunday 10 July 2022 | 12:11:13 am.
Juana Carrasco Martin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The United Nations has turned on the red light bulb for the United States after the Supreme Court reversed the right to abortion, thus taking away from the women of the northern nation a constitutional right that had been recognized for 49 years.
The decision by six of the nine justices of the highest court to uphold the ban on abortion in the southern state of Mississippi and five to four to overturn Roe v. Wade, removes American women and girls from the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was adopted in December 1979 by Resolution 34/180 of the United Nations General Assembly.
That UN standard protects females broadly and even recognizes their right to reproductive health, and, in opposing the effects of discrimination, includes violence, poverty and lack of legal protection, along with denial of inheritance, property rights and access to credit, among others.
Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Missouri, Kentucky, Idaho, the Dakotas, Utah, Wyoming and Oklahoma are among nearly half of the states that have indicated or explicitly stated they will ban the pregnancy termination procedure. The UN has expressed solidarity with the women and urged the U.S. to accede to the Convention, which it originally signed but did not ratify, as 189 of the 193 UN member states have done. The other three countries that have also failed to ratify the Convention are Iran, Somalia and Sudan.
The international body makes an essential argument: that legal access to abortion procedures helps reduce maternal mortality and ensures women’s right to bodily autonomy. It turns out that the United States exhibits a maternal mortality rate that is incongruent with the technical-scientific development and wealth of that country. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2020, 861 women died from pregnancy-related complications, 14 percent more than in 2019, when 754 died, the highest maternal mortality rate of any high-income nation in the world.
Last February, the CDC, in a new report, showed a slight but steady increase in the number of women dying annually due to pregnancy or childbirth in the United States, and we highlight another piece of information given by the official record of statistics: the maternal mortality rate among black women is still three times higher than that of white women.
This brings another painful point in the figures of inequalities in a country that is going backwards daily in a journey to the seed of the most extreme puritanism and conservatism, and in this case not only is this backward march undeniable, but it is inhumane that from now on abortion is not authorized as a legal procedure in cases of rape, incest, threats to the life or health of the pregnant woman or girl or in the face of serious fetal deterioration.
We mentioned the situation of Black women, but it is aggravated in all cases of low-income or poor women. The Hill, in its analysis of the situation, cited a 2014 report, by which the Guttmacher Institute. Guttmacher found that 75 percent of abortion patients were considered low-income or poor, and commented that the costs of having an abortion are now rising when the expense of the medical procedure will be joined by travel to another state and even care for the pregnant woman’s other potential children. Three out of four women who have abortions are considered poor or low-income, The Hill stressed.
“Among the 75 percent of abortion patients who are poor or low-income, 49 percent live below the federal poverty level and 26 percent live between 100 percent and 199 percent of the poverty level, according to 2014 research,” said the article in that Washington political publication.
This situation will worsen if we take into account the affectations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, when 20 million jobs were lost, as data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company highlight that hundreds of women are being left out of the economic recovery process in the United States and are staying at home taking care of their families, among other causes because of the difficulty of finding reliable and affordable child care, and those figures in an AP report show that September 2021 counted about 2.5 million fewer women in the workforce compared to the same period in 2019.
Coupled with this is another element of inequality affecting women: the wage gap, which increases if you are Black or Latina. Before the pandemic, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, that gap averaged about 19.5 percent, with a woman earning only 80.5 percent of what a man earns.
These are just some of the weaknesses of U.S. democracy, which, for more than a few, is deteriorating or at least faltering.
We will see fateful results that will have no name, but only cold numbers in the statistics.
The United States is becoming increasingly polarized. Dire times are sure to come.
A memorial will be announced at a later date.
Received by email
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a woman’s constitutional right to reproductive freedom is just one of the revisions to be made by the highest judicial authority dominated by traditionalism and backlash
Posted: Saturday 02 July 2022 | 10:40:22 pm.
Juana Carrasco Martin
email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
In the 1950s, in my neighborhood in Vedado, where apartment buildings and some residences for middle-class professionals were being built on barren land and on land occupied by citadels or old houses that were being demolished, a family with two high-rise apartments was the talk of the town when their purpose was “leaked” there.
The doctor who owned the building had his private practice and clinicthere for an exclusive clientele, American ladies who were spending a “vacation on the Caribbean island”, destined to have an abortion, all as discreetly as money allowed, to circumvent the laws of her country, which prohibited that medical practice and as did the laws of Cuba.
The interruption of pregnancy was only declared free and legal in Cuba in 1961. It was a clear and fair vision of the woman’s right to decide about her body and the possibility of doing it without taboos and in a safe way for life. This was put into practice from 1965 in the National Health System. It is said that pregnant women’s mortality due to illegal and unsafe abortions decreased to practically zero.
It was in 1973 that the United States succeeded, after a judicial struggle initiated in 1970, in legalizing abortion when Jane Doe, the pseudonym used by Norma Leah McCorvey, a woman from Dallas, denounced Henry Wade, district attorney of that Texas city, to demand her right to have an abortion – she had two children and her lawyers filed her petition because she had been raped – and the judges of the highest judicial authority in the United States ruled in favor of making abortion a constitutional right.
Nearly two decades later, in 1992, that decision was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in a 5-4 vote. However, the most backward segments of a deeply puritanical society, often associated with religious beliefs, persecuted medical personnel, activists and women alike for the practice of women’s free reproductive rights.
Attacks on clinics, assassinations, and individual threats, were also coupled with judicial persecution. According to data from the National Advocates of Pregnant Women (NAPW), a women’s legal defense organization, since 1973 more than 1,700 women have been imprisoned or detained and prosecuted for the criminalization of pregnancy.
Of course, NAPW is concerned about what may happen from now on, when the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling, and termination of pregnancy will no longer be a constitutional right, Each of the 50 states of the Union will impose the rules and limits on pregnant women, which translates into 166 million women in the United States being in their hands and unable to make decisions over their bodies and lives.
In this summer of 2022, what was believed for 49 years to be a step forward and definitive, was cut short by the 6-3 decision of the current Supreme Court. It was tailored to the stalest mold and extreme traditionalism of a good part of American society, because President Donald Trump was able to appoint three of the nine judges, tipping the balance in such a way that leaves a legacy of right-wing thinking and decision-making power that will weigh on American society for many years, since the terms of a Supreme Court justice is for life.
Now women who need or want to terminate a pregnancy will have to travel to the “liberal” states where it is allowed or to neighboring countries such as Canada and Mexico, for example, in order to make their own decision. Some commentaries emphasize how the persecution and trials could lead them to prison, even with accusations of murder or manslaughter.
A commentary in The Hill, signed by Liberty Vittert, under the headline “The biggest danger in overturning Roe: your phone could send you to prison,” warned, “You’re scared, you’re alone and you’re pregnant. You can’t keep the baby and you want an abortion. However, the state you live in had a trigger law that automatically made abortion a crime when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week. You decide to have an abortion anyway at a clinic that is still doing it 100 miles from your hometown.
“Now you’ve committed a crime, and the police have a new arsenal of evidence to arrest you at their disposal. Did you use Google Maps or Waze to drive to the clinic? Police can get warrants or subpoenas to get your Apple or Google cell phone location data to see where you went and how long you stayed there. Did you stop using your period-tracking app? Law enforcement can get that data. Did you Google an abortion clinic? Law enforcement can get that data.”
Although hypothetical, not fiction as related, abortion has once again been criminalized and any action linked to it is considered a crime or offense, can be investigated, prosecuted and convicted and since the Supreme Court made its ruling final, “trigger laws” banning the medical procedure have already gone into effect in several states.
Objectively, the Supreme Court’s action has divided the nation, and demonstrations for and against it came face to face in front of the Temple of Justice, a monumental marble edifice whose quarries of provenance almost identify the current ideological makeup of the nine justices: those stones came from Vermont, liberal and politically independent-minded; from Georgia, the state that was the icon of segregation; from Alabama, which continues to recall the black belt of slavery in its cotton fields; from Spain, where Franco’s phalanx drowned a people; and from the fascist Italy of Benito Mussolini, to whom the architect builder thanked for his marble contribution.
A first step on a path of retrogression
This overturning of Roe v. Wade is only the first back-to-the-darkness ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a series that will undoubtedly transform the country. The warnings about this retrograde process have been coming ever since Trump began appointing conservative justices and upsetting the balance.
Already, New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee has scheduled a July 13 hearing on the impact of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, which she called having “devastating effects” for generations. She sees it as the culmination of a years-long public campaign by Republicans to appoint a Supreme Court that would uphold draconian restrictions on people’s reproductive health care.
Naomi Klein, a leading scholar and environmentalist, asserted in an article in The Intercept that the United States is in the midst of a “shock-and-awe judicial coup,” a military term for a surprise and frightening attack that allows for quick victory over an adversary that has been terrorized by the power of force, in this case by the force of power. We cannot ignore the fact that a Supreme Court decision is not subject to appeal.
To the blow to abortion rights, Klein added the blow to gun control laws and the authority of the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the use of fossil fuels, to the benefit of exploitative corporations, even to the detriment of the sovereignty of indigenous nations in the U.S.
It is not new and her warning that can be read in her major study The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism [In its Cuban edition: “La Doctrina del Shock: El auge del capitalismo del desastre”, published in Cuba by Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2016.] On the Supreme Court’s docket there are other issues of impact, even affecting democracy itself, the right to vote, the redrawing of electoral districts and these judges do not seem to be precisely neutral….
It is clear that American democracy is deteriorating and on the part of the Supreme Court, the process is underway. There will still be much to tell and to analyze.