An account of the 1983 Wells Fargo robbery organized by the Puerto Rican crackerjack A-Team Los Macheteros. With a more or less in-depth profile of ViAn account of the 1983 Wells Fargo robbery organized by the Puerto Rican crackerjack A-Team Los Macheteros. With a more or less in-depth profile of Victor Gerena, may he be well and healthy wherever he is.
Digressions on Puerto Rican history and contemporary (80's) politics. The book closes with a general panorama of the indictments, but no coverage of the trial. As we all know, much later Ojeda Ríos jumped parole and left his ankle monitor at the door of the Claridad newspaper office (I was working there at the time). He was a successful fugitive for 15 years. In 2005 he fought FBI agents that had surrounded his home in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, and was ultimately shot dead.
This book IS NOT about Los Macheteros. That book has yet to be written....more
Seeing how so many entrepreneurs and corporate types have this book on their shelves, I was wary. I dislike blatant celebrations of power, money and uSeeing how so many entrepreneurs and corporate types have this book on their shelves, I was wary. I dislike blatant celebrations of power, money and upmanship. I finally went through it and found it immensely to my liking: philosophical, poetic, and wonderfully logical. I'm a fan of war narratives and that aspect resonated with me with full force, too.
I can see why this book is so appealing to the greedy money sharks and business strategists that count it towards the distinction of being "an avid reader". Sure, whatever. I wonder, though... I wonder if they can glean the bigger lesson here, about how to live one's life and surmount the abstract obstacles we are faced with every day....more
I "borrowed" this book from a hotel library in Playa del Carmen last summer. I just finished it today. I relished it. I see so many of the behaviors dI "borrowed" this book from a hotel library in Playa del Carmen last summer. I just finished it today. I relished it. I see so many of the behaviors described here reenacted in our current cultural wars, especially among my liberal brethren. The same obsession with ideological purity, the same appetite for purges, for branding as a "counterrevolutionary" whoever does not toe the line. The word has changed, though, and been substituted by many others. I'll leave it to you, kind reader, to figure out which ones I mean.
Mao, like Fidel, like Hitler, like Franco, like Mussolini, was a big child coddled by childish and frightened masses. And as incompetent, self-indulgent, megalomaniac, and arrogant as the rest of them. Dr Zhisui narrates the gradually unfolding nightmare of a 1984'ish totalitarian dystopia where dissent, in deed, word, and thought, was proscribed, and where friendships, casual support, and tenuous social ties were minutely tallied and recorded to better recompense, or punish, members of the party. A scenario of crippling claustrophobia that reached its climax during the hysterical Cultural Revolution.
Lady Macbeth is a nun in a convent compared to the stifling, ambitious, venomous Jiang Qing, a character that will stay with me against my will, like one of those terrible songs that play in a loop in your brain and slowly drive you insane.
Next up, Jung Chang's Mao: The Untold Story....more
An amazing book written by an amazing essayist and thinker. Funny, scathing, sarcastic, dead on, precise, and unforgiving. Thomas King (Cherokee) unpaAn amazing book written by an amazing essayist and thinker. Funny, scathing, sarcastic, dead on, precise, and unforgiving. Thomas King (Cherokee) unpacks five centuries of Indian-White relations, a history where the goal seems to be to deprive Native Americans of their land base through the off-hand, casual breaking of treaties they have signed with the US and Canadian governments. It is especially funny to read this book in light of the inspirational speeches one hears occasionally during this electoral season, so rife, on one side, with lofty ideas of equality, compassion, respect of other cultures… and so poisoned on the other with hateful racism, violence, and xenophobia. One of them truly represents the USA as pertains its institutional true behavior and actual political praxis. The other is just shallow, hypocritical marketing and shameless doublespeak. And this book proves it.
Many things prove it, I’d wager. King ends his book pushing hard for a positive note. I wonder what his thoughts are today, when once again the United States government fails to honor its agreement with a First Nation, this time the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota, through whose territory the United States intends to run an oil pipeline. This project has already been vetoed by White residents who refuse to put their water supply at risk. Obviously the government is not going to put Native American interests before White interests, so guess who’s gotta pick up the bill?
You’d think that Canada is off the hook, but you’d be wrong. A North American first world nation with a better PR budget than the US, Canada usually lords it over us all as a model society… Right. Those of you who, probably with a little help from Justin Trudeau, have swallowed that headline, please step right over this way and come get a generous serving of Thomas King to set your eyesight straight....more
I liked this book for what is trying to achieve, and I admire and respect Nawaz's work and activism. But something rubbed me the wrong way while readiI liked this book for what is trying to achieve, and I admire and respect Nawaz's work and activism. But something rubbed me the wrong way while reading this dialogue. It seemed to me that a significant portion of the book is spent by Nawaz explaining himself to Harris to the point that he looks to be placating him. In my opinion Harris also has some explaining and placating to do; instead, he comes off as an immaculate representative of moral rectitude and rational standards, completely ignoring (and thus forgiving and/or erasing) the role of US foreign policy in the radicalization of Middle Eastern youth, both in Muslim majority countries and in the West. His ignorance of US foreign policy, if it indeed is ignorance, is heartbreaking. If it is not ignorance but deliberate concealment, it is heartbreaking just the same. His attitude cannot be explained by saying that he was playing the devil's advocate, sorry. At least Nawaz comes off as sincere, knowledgeable, cooperative, erudite, really eloquent and committed. Sam failed, I am sorry to say, reduced to the indignity of playing a priest receiving confession and intercalating admonishments. This is further proof that Sam needs to do an honest reassessment of his positions. You can only be so logical and rational before you start sounding cuckoo.
If you, like me, preside over a secret society, then you know how chaotic the meetings can be. Buy a gavel and this book, and say goodbye to all yourIf you, like me, preside over a secret society, then you know how chaotic the meetings can be. Buy a gavel and this book, and say goodbye to all your problems. Everybody will have his or her say, issues will be discussed, decided upon and CLOSED, and in general everything will move so much more swiftly....more
Almost the entirety of this book, but specially the last three chapters, can be read to the tune of The Benny Hill Show musical theme. I can almost piAlmost the entirety of this book, but specially the last three chapters, can be read to the tune of The Benny Hill Show musical theme. I can almost picture the bungling CIA agents bumping into desks, stepping on rakes and dropping things on the floor as they deny information to their FBI peers; fail to follow up on memos with crucial information; deny information again; tease the FBI with pictures of suspects but not tell them their names; obstruct investigations and justice; have all the evidence to uncover the plans to attack New York and fail to make the necessary links (or fail to submit them to the people who had the links but lacked the evidence); KNOW that the suicide pilots were inside the United States and do nothing, not even notify the FBI; ALLOW the suicide pilots to come in the United Sates in the first place; and so on and so forth. Some conspiracy theorists maintain that 9/11 was an inside job, but Wright's narrative, however compelling it might be to these theorists (it would seem the CIA wanted 9/11 to happen), tells me something different: American intelligence agencies are run by morons.
This is the story of the interagency rivalry that resulted in the death of 2,753 people. It is also the story of an unlikely villain, a soft spoken, gangly Saudi millionaire, and his calculating, intellectual Egyptian associate: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. It is also the story of Sayyid Qutb, author of Milestones, the book that laid the foundations for modern Islamic supremacy movements.
As always, Wright is thorough, cold, emotionless, as he lays everything on the table. The book's ending is nothing short of spectacular....more
Beyond its more obvious editorial deficiencies, this is an important, relevant, necessary book. An inspiring book. A book for your edification. AboutBeyond its more obvious editorial deficiencies, this is an important, relevant, necessary book. An inspiring book. A book for your edification. About Puerto Rico and its unwholesome relationship to the United States there are so very few books: I'm thankful that this one exists.
It has been a controversial book among the Puerto Rican intelligentsia, both in and out of the island... Good. It means it touched a nerve. Let's keep it going.
Reading some of the comments in this wall, I confirm what I've always observed: educating the people of the United States about how their government deals with the "rest of us" is an uphill battle and a thankless job. I am glad Nelson A. Denis has taken it upon himself to do it with such brio, passion, and verve....more
This is a nauseating exposé of the ethical enormities perpetrated by the Clintons via the Clinton Foundation... but more importantly, it is an X-ray oThis is a nauseating exposé of the ethical enormities perpetrated by the Clintons via the Clinton Foundation... but more importantly, it is an X-ray of the hypocrisy that serves as a platform for the so-called US liberal leadership.
And these are supposed to be the good guys.
According to this thoroughly researched book, the Clinton Foundation is a colonial enterprise that operates almost exclusively at the fringes of the developed world. It takes advantage of the social, fiscal, and political shortcomings of developing countries to land multimillion dollar deals that benefit Bill and Hillary's friends (having previously made generous donations to the Clinton Foundation), and that are utterly detrimental to the democratic advancement of the countries where they take place. And all this under the cover of a narrative rife with humanitarian motifs and liberal goobedlygook.
As a citizen of a developing country, I've always known that first world riches are predicated on the subjugation of third world economies. That is the nature of the beast. War and conquest are not the techniques used to accomplish this anymore, of course. The new way is more of a nuanced, long con; the results are the same. The Clintons are a very successful pair of grifters that have perfected a synchronized scam using the US government as leverage.
Given what this book denounces, combined with what we already know of this couple (Whitewater, cattle futures, the Lincoln Bedroom rentals, Benghazi, etc.), the fact that they are not even under investigation is beyond me....more
I’m sorry to have to tell you, but the terrorists won. And when I say "terrorists" I mean the Saudi team led by a Saudi millionaire. Yep. This book byI’m sorry to have to tell you, but the terrorists won. And when I say "terrorists" I mean the Saudi team led by a Saudi millionaire. Yep. This book by Mohamedou Ould Slahi confirms it. The 9/11 attacks achieved what was intended, and what was intended was clearly not just to topple the WTC towers. What was intended was to spin the United States in a cycle of stupidity, violence, ignobility, and abuse; to trap it in a mire of hate; to force it to shed its ideals of justice and due process and adopt torture, unfairness, torment, blindness, corruption, kidnapping and irrationality as the guiding principles of its quest for “peace”; to turn it into a terrorist state itself, pushing it to embrace terror as the best tool in its "war on terrorism." The terrorist attacks on 9/11 have turned the United States into an ideological oxymoron.
And Slahi is a great narrator. He shows us in great detail, not only the ramshackle state of intelligence gathering by government agencies; the incompetence of interrogators; the sadism of low ranking guards; the amateurish, superficial, sophomoric knowledge of the Guantánamo personnel about political, cultural, historical, geographical and even militaristic issues (not to mention their ridiculous, comic-book style moral-building strategies); and the involvement and engagement of professional psychologists in the torture of detainees… but also the degradation of American women, enlisted and not, deployed as sexual bait in the interrogation room and as key players in sexual humiliation techniques.
Slahi has been imprisoned for 13 years now. In all those years, the United States has not charged him with any crime, nor has any concrete evidence been brought against him. He has endured horrific torture, and still manages to be fair, graceful, witty and humane.
(As an interesting aside, Slahi’s kafkaesque, orwellian living hell was only assuaged by the kind, humane, and friendly treatment he received for a while at the hands of an all-Puerto Rican platoon… who was quickly dismissed.)
After reading this book, and in the wake of the Ferguson, Garner, and other scandals, it becomes clear that the US finds itself in no capacity to bring freedom and democracy to the world and rescue nations from their own “evil ways”, as it is wont to believe… but is itself in dire need of rescuing. ...more
A humane narrative of life in an orwellian prison state, seen through the eyes of defectors... And not just any defectors. These are the voices of subA humane narrative of life in an orwellian prison state, seen through the eyes of defectors... And not just any defectors. These are the voices of subjects loyal to "The Great Marshall", defenders of state ideology. Their journey is not unlike the journey of a believer turned atheist. An important book for those interested in totalitarian systems....more