Economics for the general reader

2016-12-28

Economics professor, John Quiggin, continues with his Economics in Two Lessons text. A draft piece he has made available at the crooked timber blog for comments and critiques, which may lead to a tightening up of the text directed at the general reader. (The privatisation of public enterprises is a timely topic.)

In the current post, Public Services: Excerpt from Economics in Two Lessons, Quiggin provides a link to the draft text to date, and in pdf format.

A slight investment of time should bear rich fruit, and confirm nagging doubts on the honesty of economic analysis so often proffered by the corporate MSM. The internet offers many rewards, and inexpensively – this is but one powerful example.

Wonder Woman?

2016-12-28

Many should recall that the United Nations Organisation had selected as its inspiration, as role model for all women and girls a famous woman, a fictional woman, Wonder Woman. That cartoon character, half-naked, is ever decked out in a bikini made from a tiny US flag, and wearing tall black boots – and the UN officials saw no problem with that.

Fortunately protests would lead to the withdrawal of that offensive character – obviously nowhere in the whole wide world was there any woman, a living person who could serve as inspiration, as role model. Yet, throughout the year there has been ample evidence of the existence of such women – in this case, Latin America.

Which brings us to this recent post in TeleSUR, Indigenous Women Led Environmental Struggle in 2016. A brief introduction,

Women are leading the struggle in Latin America against environmental destruction as well as Indigenous rights, but they often face assassination, jail, threats and violence.

They not only fight against gender inequality, but also demand wider societal transformation of a patriarchal system that doesn’t work for them as women — even though it is working exactly how it’s supposed to.

These women are engaged in life-threatening struggles, yet their battles seldom attract the attention of the corporate Western media – and for obvious reasons. That UN officials should have overlooked such role models is something of an indictment of the corporate (and other) drift of that organisation. Yes, Wonder Woman.

 

Fidel Castro, 13Aug1926 to 25Nov2016

2016-11-27

The unexamined life is not worth living. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz.

For over sixty years, from Argentina to Canada, there has been no leader of his stature and influence, and none so admired – except in the US and some of its supplicant dependents. Read the rest of this entry »

¿A Uruguay? Ou, au Canada!

2016-11-14

¡Pasmado! Do cry for me, Uruguay. Or, welcome to the real world of fantasy.

If one remembers, or is reminded, there was much excitement sometime ago, from the very responsible US media of a likely, very strong spike in US tourism to Uruguay, a Spanish-speaking country way down there. For beaches, as in the Caribbean or similar spots? ¡De ninguna manera! The great expectation was based on the legislative debates and then approval there of the sale of limited quantities of marijuana, with the aim of allowing the country to focus more on crimes that are crimes and other more pressing issues than ‘taking a puff’. So, a voyage to the ‘outer limits’ for just a puff? Mercifully for Uruguay, shortly after there would come the news that similar legalisation would be allowed in some states of the US.

And with the president-elect of the US who failed to lose the elections, and did so badly, came other news. Anger and fury of many of his non-supporters who had bought with credit card or other their New Balance shoes. Such anger and fury that – oh! over there the responsible media and tv cameras to record! – they had something of a Bonfire of Inanities (and Stupidities) as they burnt their shoes at the steak (?), because some New Balance official might have indicated support for the president-elect. The good news is that such campaigners for a lower ‘carbon foot-print’ certainly did show those climate-deniers how to do it, and ‘virally’ so.

Then would appear the joyous dénouement, as the astute corporate media would report, ‘staying on message’, seriously so. Au Canada! Pick up the children after school. Head to the airport. Or just drive (or yacht off) to Canada to be greeted rapturously by grateful Canadians and transported immediately to the old home and same schools and same neighbourhood, in Canada. Yet that strong evidence of being in Canada, an inability to pronounce ‘about’ other than strangely. But still there would remain that impediment, the patriotic and resolute refusal to learn to speak a second language, French, in the bi-lingual country. Ô Canada!

Yet, given such responsible, media-conditioned US voters, there is still shock that the president-elect (or even Boris Badenov) would or could have lost, popular vote or not? Seriously?

Democracy and the US presidential elections

2016-11-12

The democracy most know has over the years undergone a radical transformation in the United States. Where one person, one vote would traditionally work, in the US the candidates in general tend to represent the corporations that fund their candidacy and political positions. The two political parties which admit of no serious contenders have become corporate, and the citizens they are elected to represent have been largely ignored – until the next voting cycle approaches. Read the rest of this entry »

Some lights just go out; others flicker – but only for a while

2016-10-30

Smiles, then laughter, a certainty. Reflecting, reminiscing – alone or with loved ones – and we discover the richness that other lives add to our own, and how much who we are is shaped by such experiences.

Then one day, not death, but dementia knocks.A light starts to flicker, then does so between long pauses, then goes out. And it is traumatic enough when a parent (or older relative) is afflicted. From The Guardian, which has presented a commendable series, a son reflects on his father, Buona notte Papa: the long goodbye to a parent with dementia

‘Somehow along the way, he and Mum (mostly Mum) raised four healthy boys in a remote country town.

‘But now, three years from that first diagnosis, all this is lost to him.

‘He struggles to remember our names. Once loquacious, he is reduced to a muddle between English and Italian. He has no road sense, is usually unaware of his surroundings, and requires constant supervision.’

Some of Mark Brandi’s recounting is very familiar, and does strike that emotional chord with some resonance.

And the thing about it. For the younger set, that trauma turns to nagging anxiety when the disease strikes one of the previously ‘immortal’ group of ‘wastrels’, and that one is even younger.

Which is why, all along the way, so many of us continue that quaint habit of engaging, of socialising, of staying in touch. At a distance, or even closer, no better advice than this classic bit. If as they say, ‘Vita brevis est’, then ‘amor aeternus est’?

El Salvador and its fight to life

2016-10-19

But for the grace of, what, luck? Place of birth and station in life. Just imagine being transplanted to El Salvador, and as a peasant or indigenous who depends on water, from streams and rivers, for drinking, cooking, washing and other basic needs of life. And El Salvador is a very poor country, of which the World Bank is aware, since it collects and disseminates data on the country, and provides loans and technical assistance. Read the rest of this entry »

Social media, and uniting indigenous nations

2016-10-12

The times, they do change. With the corporate media then in totally unchallenged dominance, the voiceless were just that, and an awkward irritant best left ignored. However, with the advent of social media, nations and their peoples that have long existed, but studiously ignored, now have their voices heard. With the corporate media, the plunder of resources – with assorted intimidating murders of community or tribal leaders – would be rationalised as deterring ‘terrorists’ (or evil Communists in another era) from depriving their disadvantaged people of the benefits of ‘civilisation’. The times have changed, as ‘legacy’ media are increasingly being treated with the opprobrium deserved, well-deserved. Read the rest of this entry »

Saint Domingue ou Haïti – L’enfer?

2016-10-10

Haiti, a cursed country? Une nation des damnés? Les damnés de la Terre? It surely seems so. But, its people, truly ‘resilient’?

As if liberating itself from France (to which it was compelled to pay ‘reparations’ until 1947 for its victory and freedom from slavery) were not costly enough, it would be victim to the forces of nature, hurricanes and earthquakes – and recently the United Nations (and its Nepalese soldiers), not to mention home-grown remarkably corrupt despots, courtesy its northern neighbour, who would do their ‘fair bit’ of pillaging, repression and murder. Haiti is a country with a poverty rate of some 60% and with its one percent as rich as the poorest 45% of the population. Read the rest of this entry »

09Oct67 – ‘Che’

2016-10-09

Today, 09Oct, marks 49 years that Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was murdered in Bolivia. As is known, the illustrious ‘Che’ had embarked on a mission to promote the liberation of the masses of people oppressed by corrupt, cupidinous governments imposed by oligarchs or outside powers.  With, The Legacy of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, TeleSUR pays homage to one of the giants of the 20th century, with his light still shining brightly into the 21st – significantly different from  those corporate media-created ‘leaders’,  ‘heroes’, college-degreed mediocrities of insignificant accomplishment and, most assuredly, destined to rather prompt despatch to historical oblivion. Read the rest of this entry »