…us democracy, democrats, latin refugees, and silence…

…of us ‘latin leadership’, amid choreographed photo-ops, sound bites…

As desperate refugees flee their homes and possessions in such countries for their survival in Europe, the consequences of historical US ‘involvement’ in Latin America, in this case El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have not been unforeseen. These countries are not as far away as say, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq.

And to be considered, one consequence of such interventions has never been economic or social improvement in those countries where repression continues as endemic and prevalent, even under the guise of ‘democracy’ – Honduras would be catapulted backward and violently so, after the US-sanctioned overthrow of Honduras’ Manuel Zelaya in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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…’free trade’, corporate free-for-all? the fault, dear Ralphie, is not in…

…our stars, but in ourselves, that we are neither corporations nor their lackeys…

[As the Bard glowers at this abuse of one of his chef d’oeuvres – clearly, not hors d…]

And the challenge could not be more insurmountable, as Rex-cum-President would hold court among his fawning supplicants, and is interrupted by an interloper, ‘You’re In My House’: Obama Shuts Down Heckler At White House. Lest there be any doubt of ‘L’état, c’est moi!’,

“As a general rule, I am just fine with a few hecklers but not when I am up in the house,” he said later, to laughter from the crowd. “If you are eating the hors d’oeuvres, know what I’m sayin’? And drinking the booze.”

[bold added for emphasis]

Class, real class. Or should that be crass? Clearly, the peasants get the ‘booze’, the ‘elites’, the Dom Perignon, Château Neuf du Pape, and similar ‘unpronounciable’ boissons. (Was there not some ban against French in the US Congress, where ‘French fries’ would become ‘Freedom fries’ and similar asininity?) Hors d’oeuvres for the plebs, not ‘finger food’ – progress?

Yet such an exceptional performance of a graceless but educated ‘elite’ toward an impolite and under-educated illegal (!) that garnered media raves would fail to impress or deter or daunt Ralph Nader.

Nader continues to show fine form. This week he bemoans the fate that is to befall many of the US populace with the progress to passage of the plethora of ‘T’s’ – TPA, TAA, TPA, TTIP. In, King Obama, His Royal Court, and the TPP, one of the observations he makes, one, known to US legislators but ignored,

Only corporations, astonishingly enough, are entitled to sue the U.S. government for any alleged harm to their profits from health, safety or other regulations in secret tribunals that operate as offshore kangaroo courts, not in open courts.

The good news here is that this is a condition that faces very many countries, many weak countries, and no way, no how will the US have to undergo anything remotely similar. After all, which country writes and rewrites (and enforces) the rules, when the rules rule against it? The US and the multinational corporations (MNCs) and, especially, ICSID of the World Bank have not been particularly considerate toward many such countries. (It is already established that the US is a corporate ‘democracy’, with extravagant, media promoted, theatre.)

One case in point is El Salvador, a very poor country with great mining potential, but one with severe water supply problems. Poor country or not, El Salvador is being sued for wanting to prevent further pollution of its already severely contaminated water resources. A recent article from The Guardian is apt,  Lawsuit against El Salvador mining ban highlights free trade pitfalls. We begin to get a picture,

El Salvador is an impoverished country, but its citizens live above riches: the country has an estimated 1.4m ounces of gold buried underground, as well as silver and copper.

It may be surprising, then, that no mining is allowed. In 2008, after mining operations polluted the water supply in San Sebastián, sparking a clean water crisis, then-president Antonio Saca stopped issuing new mining permits. Its legislature has considered and failed to pass an official moratorium or permanent ban on mining since then, but the government has continued to deny all permit applications.

And here is where the Investor-State Dispute mechanism enters. As The Guardian would report,

The Pacific Rim case, which has been ongoing since 2009, has been a mix of public and private. Pacific Rim initially claimed that El Salvador had violated the Central American Free Trade (Cafta) treaty. The tribunal proceedings for the case were streamed on the internet and all documents were posted to the World Bank International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes website.

Then in 2012, the tribunal found that Pacific Rim, as a Canadian company, could not invoke Cafta. The company changed its claim, accusing El Salvador instead of violating its own investment law.

As we see, the corporation exercises the initiative, health or environmental cost irrelevant. TeleSUR would have its take, OceanaGold vs El Salvador: Foreshadowing ‘Trade’ Under the TPP?

The Central American country of El Salvador could be forced to pay US$301 million to Canadian-Australian mining multinational OceanaGold as the two face off in a World Bank investor-state tribunal with proven tendency to favor corporate interests over arguments for protecting national sovereignty, the environment, and human rights.

Where did OceanaGold come from? It is the new name – complicated, this corporation business. And, yes, should El Salvador lose, that US$301M is a hefty chunk of change for the country, some two percent of its GDP.

That has been one area of extreme vulnerability of such countries, though Bolivia has recently enacted law to ‘level the playing field’. Another area concerns Intellectual Property (IP) Rights – patents and copyrights. The medical benefits that flowed from generics in such countries may well be reduced. Dean Baker in his post at Truth-Out, The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Drug Patents and President Clinton, makes this point,

There are many serious issues raised by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the one that may have the greatest long-term impact is its provisions on drug patents. The explicit purpose is to make patent protection stronger and longer. While these provisions are likely to lead to higher drug prices in the United States, they will have their greatest impact in the developing world.

[bold added for emphasis]

No great imagination is needed to envisage the likely impact of any merger among health insurance companies in the US – with the more robust patent protection of ‘free trade’ in force – and the deleterious effects beyond its borders. That the US populace is acquiescent, resigned to a regimen of high health costs and low benefits is no reason, no incentive for other countries to imperil or unravel their own social and economic gains – to benefit corporate, in particular US, interests.

…independent states or serfdom, for whom the bell tolls?…

 


…en honduras, ‘we came, we saw, he…

…well, not that ‘he’ in this case; instead, in the other, that ‘he’ was merely deposed and chaos unleashed…

The suffering of the Honduran people, and the violence and deaths, would continue unabated, and ignored by the US corporate MSM. After all, ‘Mission Accomplished’, and all that.

Addiction to that irrestible narcotic, power, often tends to invite the past to intrude as unwelcome guest to the present, an unpleasant presence that now routinely confronts the US President. And no different with one resolute candidate.

Deirdre Fulton in a very recent post over at common dreams returns those who have forgotten to a time recently past, that year, 2009, when the US President had attended V SOA. There, after a refreshing and promising exchange with the late Venezuelan President, he would, in a character defining moment, almost immediately and furiously backpedal, and allow his agents to then engage in gratuitous insults toward the late President Chávez. Read the rest of this entry »


…salome and the head of fifa?…

…that ‘white hat’ gunslinger, hero, who saunters into the bar and kills the ‘black hat’, and all others – just in case…

Or, as events unfold, the self-righteous ‘white hat’ US knows what it is doing (as usual) as it continues to score some curious own goooolssss…

The US corporate MSM, the US Stenographer Class, just loves the drama of corruption – only if outside the US. ‘World Cup of Fraud!’ ‘Red Card!’ ‘…bribe money takes soccer fields and balls away from kids…’ All this guff from exceptional US officials.

But not this, where half-million kids were deprived of the life needed to kick a football in a country that plays football and quite well? Nor this, for hundreds of thousands in, again, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria from wanton slaughter and destruction? (No need to touch Latin America and the Caribbean, overkill.) Read the rest of this entry »


…natural resources, their (foreign) ownership, and abuse – just one example…

…other examples abound – one, salvadoran activists, now in canada…

Informative stuff. One name here, Bechtel. One success, for the time being. From teleSURtv we get, Fifteen Years of Community Controlled Water in Bolivia

This year marks fifteen years of the victory of the communities of Bolivia over private water corporations. Not only did popular power reverse the plan to privatize the water, but the many hundreds of communities surrounding Cochabamba managed to keep their water as a common good, controlled and managed by the community directly and democratically.

Potable water, simple sounding – until there is that thing called thirst, or cooking. And, if there is water, the question: safe to drink, potable? And assuming the existence of families: the young, the old, the infirm, and few functional health care facilities, among other things. For such communities, the word ISDS (ICSID of the World Bank) may be utterly foreign, but they are forced to live and, even indigent, pay for, the consequences of its existence.

…once victims are not of the west, and not in astounding numbers (or property damaged), for the corporate MSM, then, celebrities must be celebrated, corporate sports ‘sported’…


…latin summits, us msm, amnesia and tabula rasa…

…a patronising statement in panama, and history begins anew…

In his attempt at misdirection the US President at the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama would mention ‘dark chapters in US (‘American’) history’ and a march, a memorial march, in Selma, Alabama, he had attended. On the latter it was impossible to deduce any positive contribution to the society from his participation, especially when a main organiser of that original Selma march had refused to participate in the photo-op event. On the ‘dark chapters’ when Latin and Caribbean leaders expect mature engagement, we are informed that he, not just a mere student of history, is accustomed to being ‘lectured’ to at such meetings.

And for the corporate MSM that statement of ‘recognition’, ‘acknowledgment’, would mean an ‘Honest’ Abe US President is a man of his word, ipso facto. A new day has dawned and US ‘assistance’ is now non malign. The US MSM’s disregard or distortion of the substance of Latin and Caribbean leaders’ interventions was not surprising. Of the more respectable US media, we have one that seeks to find light at the end of the tunnel.

The Nation’s Kornbluh in his article , Our Man in Panama: How Obama’s Summitry Could Change Relations With Latin America, sees and believes happy days are here for the region. An excerpt, Read the rest of this entry »


…those tides of march, and yet to crest for the us…

…with its many ‘wars’ – this one, ‘war on drugs’, which continues to devastate so many lives…

Ayotzinapa? 26 March, 2015, will have seen the sixth month since the ‘disappearance’ of 43 students (normalistas) from that town in September 2014. Only one has been identified, and through his DNA remains. The ‘Disappeared of Ayotzinapa’ is merely indicative of a phenomenon of ‘disappearances’, beheadings or corpse mutilations that is prevalent in several parts of Mexico. Some evidence has pointed to possible culpability of officials at many levels. A teleSUR news report on confidence in the Mexican President Nieto speaks volumes, 10 percent. Read the rest of this entry »