07 September, 2006

inflated hope's whoosh, protectionism, 'free trade,' & old-long war

inflated hope & that whoosh sound of escaping air:

"Though the numbers are dwindling, some people still go through their whole adult lives thinking that the next Democrat to hunker down in the Oval Office is going to straighten out the mess, fight for the ordinary folk, face down the rich and powerful.

". . . the greater the hunger for change, the more thunderous the popular cries for decisive, radical action, the more rapid will be the puncturing of all hopes, as though the whole point of the electoral exercise . . . had been to demonstrate to those foolish enough to have thought otherwise the lesson that all hopes and fierce expectations notwithstanding, business will continue as usual." Alexander Cockburn

"protectionism for the few, international trade and competition for the many":

From 1972 to 2001, the bottom 20 percent of wage and salary earners got only 1.6 percent of the increase in this income over the three decades. The majority got less than 11 percent. But the richest one percent received 18.4 percent of the increased income – vastly more than went to the majority of Americans.

The "managed globalization" designed by our political leaders has contributed very much to this upward redistribution of income. The key word here is "managed." It is not, as the pundits argue, simply the result of market forces combined with technological changes in communication and transportation.

The architects of the global economy have not thrown their friends and neighbors – the doctors, lawyers, executives and other professionals – into brutal international competition with the tens of millions of highly-educated, English-speaking people who would be willing to do their jobs at half the salary. That is why, for example, our doctors earn twice as much as their counterparts do in the rich countries of Europe.

. . . our political leaders have devoted decades of careful and often protracted negotiations to rewriting the rules of international commerce so that the nearly three-quarters of Americans that do not have a college degree would face lots of global competition. Partly as a result of these changes, the real wage for most workers in the US has barely grown over the last 30 years – about 9 percent – while productivity, or the amount that is produced by an hour of labor, has grown more than 80 percent.
Mark Weisbrot

the schoolyard bully:

The three countries most likely to lose trading preferences with the United States--Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela--have said U.S. proposals to open a giant free trade zone among the countries of North and South America unfairly favor U.S. companies.

"As a strategy, the U.S. may not renew trade preferences...so as to pressure countries in the region to sign free trade agreements," said Romy Calderon, an economist at the non-profit Latin American Association of Development Financial Institutions (ALIDE), in Lima, Peru.

Preferences will be reviewed because the Bush administration has not had success promoting the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), a program that would turn all of the Americas into a free trade zone, Calderon told OneWorld. "The U.S. sees this as an alternative way to advance the FTAA little by little," he said.

Latin American countries largely opposed the Bush administration's free trade agenda at that summit [the presidential summit of the Americas held in Mar del Plata, Argentina in November 2005], according to the Washington, DC-based women's rights group MADRE, because "the U.S.-driven economic processes of the past two decades [has] worsened poverty, income inequality, displacement, and cultural and environmental destruction." [snip]

Free trade agreements threaten food security and public health, the group said, adding that they can often undermine democracy, increase militarization, and lock countries into supporting U.S. foreign policy like the war in Iraq. link

& in the old-long war-that-dare-not-speak-its-name:

(targets: "individual human rights campaigners, trade unionists and journalists"
"The official strategy against human rights campaigners seems to be three folded: government authorities publicly question their legitimacy, mount unfounded legal processes and fail to bring to justice those who commit the attacks, even when evidence is widely available.

"Impunity faced by those who attack human rights activists is a dangerous weapon. It sends the message that civilians must refrain from demanding justice."

Amnesty International called on [Colombian] President Uribe to use his second term in office to tackle the endemic impunity for human rights violations by:

1) Publicly recognizing the legitimacy of human rights activists

2) Ensuring that those responsible for human rights violations are brought to justice

3) Preventing the use of unfounded criminal charges against human rights activists.

Luis Torres, a human rights campaigner from the community of El Salado, has represented his community before the authorities in relation to two massacres allegedly carried out by army-backed paramilitary groups. He also campaigned on the conditions for the safe return to El Salado of community members who had fled following threats from the guerilla group FARC. On 26 May 2005, he was charged with rebellion and detained. He was conditionally released on 8 June 2005. However, the investigation remains open despite obvious flaws in the evidence.

Cases received by Amnesty International also reveal that individual attacks, such as killings and threats, are part of a wider strategy to clamp down on reports of human rights violations and on the links between paramilitary groups and the army. link
"Some years from now, in an economic refugee relocation "Enterprise Zone," your kids will ask you, 'What did you do in the Class War, Daddy?'

"The trick of class war is not to let the victims know they're under attack. That's how, little by little, the owners of the planet take away what little we have."
Greg Palast

Palast, Pascarella Face Homeland Security Charges (September 7th, 2006 )
by Zach Roberts

Yes, the rumor’s true. Greg Palast is facing a criminal complaint from the Department of Homeland Security stemming from his filming the Hurricane Katrina investigation for Link TV and Democracy Now. The film’s producer, Matt Pascarella, is also facing the legal wrath of Big Brother.

It appears the complaint is about filming a sensitive national security site owned by Exxon petroleum. It seems that photographing major Bush donors is now a federal offense.

Reached at an undisclosed location, Palast says, “Let’s not get over-excited. They haven’t measured us for our orange suits yet.”

During questioning by Homeland Security, Palast asked, “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be looking for Osama? Or for guys with exploding shoes? … We’re journalists.” At Palast’s request, Homeland Security confirmed that Louisiana is, indeed, still part of the USA but did not respond when asked if the First Amendment applies there.

Watch part one and part two of Palast/Pascarella’s film. (In association with BigNoise Films) BigNoise Videographer Jaqui Soohen has not been charged.
"At 5pm on September 9, 2005 Haitian Photo-Journalist Jean Ristil, working for the Associated Press, and Pacifica Radio journalist Kevin Pina were arrested, carried away by masked SWAT members of the Police Nationale d'Haiti (PNH). The police claimed they were searching for "weapons" at the church where 600 to 800 children are fed daily, but the journalists felt it likely that they were planting weapons in an attempt to frame the church’s outspoken liberation theologian Father Jean-Juste." link

Flashpoints Radio listening:
(9/6/06): Dahr Jamail reports on" the killing fields in US-occupied Iraq," Sam Bahour on "Silent Ethnic Transferring of Palestinians Out of Palestine," Eleine Brower of The World Can't Wait Campaign, and a report on FBI Infiltrates Peace Groups"

(9/5/06): "John Ross reports from Mexico City on the decision to make Calderon the next President of Mexico despite massive fraud; also, a free-wheeling discussion with former high-level CIA analyst Ray McGovern, focusing on the neo-cons’ drumbeat towards war with Iran, the bombing of Lebanon and the continued use of torture by the US government"
"social projects and ‘power’ projects" (or discord left of Evo):

"To say that women are a political subject that for centuries was denied the right to speak, with which they emptied us of our own contents whether with arguments of complementariness, of submission, of exclusion or inclusion. In the end, all women come to the same end, women are ahistorical, apolitical and invisible. And all social pacts are pacts are made between categories of men according to the culture they pertain to, their skin color, the social class they pertain to or the ideology they subscribe to. And this social pact signifies a convivial pact regarding the interests of categories of men about hegemonic projects in which some are above others.

"Today in Bolivia, Indigenism and Leftism repeat themselves and find themselves next to neoliberalism in the same phallic, patriarchal posture, a posture that ratifies the confusion between social projects and ‘power’ projects, the control of society, the submission of the ‘other,’ as the only interest around which history and politics should revolve." María Galindo
The only lifeline is a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which provides basic healthcare. MSF's three doctors are the only ones in the whole of southern Somalia - a region of one million people. Steve Bloomfield

"Cut off from any continuity or need to disrupt, never to be lost in a sea of words, like a rope pulled taut, he knows only the sudden snap of a thing at its end." (p. 57)

". . . the feeling that I had to find a new way of rethinking things." (p. 65)

Ammiel Alcalay, from The Cairo Notebooks, (1993)


Blogger Janet said...

Congrats on your writing home. Welcome to the neighborhood.

I've always enjoyed your words, thoughts and ideas. They enrich and empower many. Thank you

I'll add you to my linkydink thing.

Take care!

11:20 AM  

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