…democracy does have its price – especially us ‘democracy’…

…’compay ecuatoriano, ¿qué tal…100,000 o más dólares eeuu pa’ mi pobre partido demócrata?’…

This is the week that was. The very week the US would actively seek to avoid the glare of ignominy and worldwide opprobrium by ending its asinine sanctions against a proud and progressive Cuba would be the week that would add further evidence to that recently exposed by US Senator Elizabeth Warren. Simply put, the US has a price for its democracy. And the corporate party in power can dispense privileges to all and sundry – just write a serious cheque, and call it a campaign contribution.

Where to start? Why not Venezuela against which US politicians just recently gleefully imposed sanctions. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

…’don’t lie to me, argentina!’, glowers the hanging judge…

…as he readies the rope for the fallen damsel in distress…

Fine state of affairs that, some judge in some part of NYC threatens the independent nation of Argentina, population of a mere 41 or so million. Now that Shaft Judge Griesa is one bad mot quite interesting – but first a digression…

From the corporate BBC of empire and Jimmy Savile fame, we have, US appeals court says Colombians cannot sue Chiquita. But really. Why would Colombians expect to win a case against such a company in the US? We look at probability of victory. This article from counter punch puts the thing in perspective, Chiquita, Its Workers and Colombia’s Death Squads. Couple excerpts should guide us,

But, as Weiskoff [Time magazine reporter] adds,”You wouldn’t know how grateful Lindner [chairman and ceo, Chiquita] was by checking records at the Federal Election Commission; he gave the Democratic National Committee only $15,000 in the final 15 months of the campaign. Instead, D.N.C. officials instructed Lindner to give directly to state-party coffers, which are subject to far less public scrutiny than federal-election accounts. On April 12, 1996, the day after Kantor asked the WTO to examine Chiquita’s grievance, Lindner and his top executives began funneling more than $500,000 to about two dozen states from Florida to California, campaign officials told Time.”

Read the rest of this entry »


…venezuela and that chile model…

…but we start with Prof William Black in Ecuador…

There he also was interviewed on Ecuadoran TV, Gama. That interview dealt with the social and economic policies of President Rafael Correa. Prof Black’s views put into context the obsession of the corporate US with reining in, undermining, disrupting, such policies that have been more successful in improving the quality of life for all Ecuador’s citizens, not just that of its oligarchs. [Honduras, anyone?]

Over at the new economic perspectives blog, we find that interview. And the advantage is the English translation. NEP’s Bill Black on GamaTV in Ecuador

And, as we know, Ecuador did really have its share of US-inspired  ‘protests’, especially from one entity funded by USAID. The effort then to oust the democratically elected President had failed. But we turn to Venezuela, that Moby Dick. Read the rest of this entry »


…the other america, not just michael harrington’s…

Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.                                Charles Caleb Colton

We at the height are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.                                                                                                           William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, IV, ii

…two indicative quotations, from which will emerge the tableau…

Those in economics, social and economic development may well recall. In 1962 Michael Harrington published a small intense book called ‘The Other America’, where he identified and highlighted a very visible yet ‘invisible’ problem in the United States, significant poverty and destitution in a country of vast abundance. Harrington’s work provoked strong discussion and, finally, action as programmes were implemented to minimise an embarrassment to the country in the era of the ‘Cold War’. Lyndon Johnson, a former US President now deceased, was most associated with such programmes in an era when politicians were, well, not such easy, willing prey to special interests. That was then. And how times have changed.

The ‘sudden’ discovery of long established, substantial income inequality, or rather, the further widening of the class divide in the US seems to have provoked wry smiles and bemusement among so many, which is understandable. The data have been there. And the analyses have been there since the 1970s. Ken Laneworthy Lane Kenworthy who also works in the area observed over at his blog, consider the evidence, in September 2013, Income inequality and its effects,

 Over the past several years a large group of researchers in Europe, the U.S., and a few other countries have been looking at the rise of income inequality and its social, cultural, and political impacts. A number of working papers are available from the project’s webpage. One on the United States is here.

Read the rest of this entry »


…sub rosa? not so rosy, partner…

Ah, but for the blogs, social media and newer media…

The NY Times as the voice of the exceptionals, of the corporate-state, had come out in full support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership in its editorial, A Pacific Trade Deal. And this is a deal  that is being negotiated in secret with inputs from major corporate interests, little to none from legislators, and none from the citizens, including specialists from academia. The idea, for even the US, is to have a ‘done deal’ where its Congress can vote only on yea or nay, the new interpretation of ‘Fast Tracking’ now meaning no collaboration in the process with the people’s representatives – the subservience of other peoples is assumed. In other words, the NYT seems in possession of information that those who should, do not.

And things were moving along in such splendid secrecy until one zealous representative of the disadvantaged people of the world stepped forward with a ‘Not so fast!’ WikiLeaks has released, for now, an excerpt, the Intellectual Property Rights chapter of a draft agreement, of those top secret negotiations. And, well, the excerpt does validate suspicions and concerns that citizens of the signatory country itself are in great danger of being more subject to the corporate class.

That release has been covered by RT with TPP Unrcovered: WikiLeaks releases draft of highly-secretive multi-national trade deal, over at firedoglake, WikiLeaks Reveals Provisions of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Where Countries Oppose United States. Over at naked capitalism, Yves Smith in some detailed analysis also covered the lethargy being shaken among some members of the US Congress with, House Pushing Back on Trade Deal; More Detail on How Secret Arbitration Panels Undermine Laws and Regulations, as some alert and engaged commenters break the news of the WikiLeaks release. Of the reliable mainstream press, from the UK, The Guardian, WikiLeaks publishes secret draft chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership. And those just a sample. And the establishment media? Silent.

From the region. Just one example of egregious misdeeds from that corporate sense of exceptionalism, of impunity. Ecuador, the country, continues to have serious, still not yet resolved problems with a delinquent US corporation, Chevron, as a consequence of the large scale pollution in an Amazon area of that country, as reported by RT, Dirty dealings: Chevron’s toxic pollution fine reduced to $9.5bn.

Then, again, for the looming corporatocracy the idea is to promote utmost secrecy in its dealings and to silence, quickly and permanently, all those who would bring to light government and corporate misfeasance and malfeasance, and to achieve final corporate control of abused citizens, now irrespective of nationality. Ah, but for the likes of WikiLeaks…


…oligarchs of the ‘backyard’, a snippet…

One thing children learn from early is, ‘nunca alborotar el avíspero’, never disturb a hornet’s nest.

Thing is so many oligarchs see themselves as exceptional, exempt from that admonition. Here we have one who plunges headlong into a sting fest, yet another case of fools rush in.

In this blog post, The Oil Oligarchs Want Me to Know How Much They Hate President Correa Prof William K Black addresses not just the specifics of the title of his post, he shows the other implications. He shows, among other things, how the role of Transparency International can be subverted. A snippet

Chavez’ political foes ran a clever attack on him that disgraced Transparency International (TI).  Chavez’ most virulent opponents, including Coronel, ran Venezuela’s branch of TI.  They proceeded to use TI-Venezuela as cover for their partisan attacks on their political opponents who the Venezuelan people elected to office.  TI-Venezuela gave the PDVSA the lowest rating on transparency claiming that it failed to make key information publicly available.  TI’s claim was false.  When the claim was exposed as false TI claimed that the data were not available at the time they wrote their report.  That claim was also exposed as false.  TI refused to correct its false attacks.

To those unfamiliar with the countries of the region, the ‘backyard’, this post should allow for a better understanding of the issues that seem to ‘suddenly’ dominate the establishment media of the North. The tendency to demonise democratically elected and popular leaders such as the late Hugo Chávez, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales, leaders who seek to implement policies for the betterment of all of society, especially the unnecessarily disadvantaged, can be then better understood.

…To remember the ‘outrage’ of the establishment media of the North at the wanton spying by the US on private citizens of the South, their political leaders, their institutions and their industries is to realise the objective of the establishment media and their oligarchs…


…it’s not yet over, but what an october for history’s greatest…

The rapid descent continues as paranoia, ruthlessness and recklessness of the behemoth, ‘the greatest country in the history of the world’, combine to ensure the inevitable. Let us count the ways, just a few…

Edward Snowden, non-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, continues to enlighten the countries of the world. Uncontrolled espionage conducted against all countries of the world, including the US. And for all, the espionage is on personal privacy, not quite the much bruited and fear-inducing ‘terrorism’. For other than the US the espionage extends far beyond personal privacy to the political, institutional, industrial and economic – with a dollop of economic ‘manipulation’ (destabilization?), when needed. Ally, friend or foe – no difference.

Following a disclosure from Snowden reported by Le Monde on total espionage on France, the ever diplomatic US issues the statement that should rank as the joke of the month, as per The Guardian:

“The president and President Hollande discussed recent disclosures in the press – some of which have distorted our activities, and some of which raise legitimate questions for our friends and allies about how these capabilities are employed,” the White House said in a statement.

[Bold added for emphasis] Read the rest of this entry »