Archive for August, 2015

El Salvador does need a saviour


Though hardly alone in its utter desperation and daily diet of violent death in Central America, El Salvador is proof of the tragedy inflicted upon it, and without mercy.

One consequence is the heart-wrenching decisions parents are forced to make. To save the lives of their children they sacrifice life savings and borrowed money to aid their children’s flight from violence and death in their own country. And that flight can also prove to be perilous or deadly. (more…)

A Long Read – Progress of one ally in US ‘Alliance for Prosperity’


That word, context.

Countries of Central America have long been known, disparagingly, as ‘banana republics’. Of late there has been a deluge of immigrants, especially the young, from Central America that is seeking to enter the US to escape the violence and mayhem of their respective country. For its part, the US, in a bid to stem this tide and to stifle the increasingly overt racism and hostility directed at these refugees, sort of developed an ambitious plan. That plan, yet to be approved, comprised a heavy component of ‘security’ with some ‘economic‘ projects. (more…)

War, what is it good for?


John Quiggin continues to iterate his draft, ‘Economics in Two Lessons’, intended for the general reader. And he invites and engages comments at Crooked Timber.

Here he examines war and its opportunity cost. There is notion that the US has a near reflex predilection for war – in other countries. Of course, an instinctive observation would be the wealth generated by the merchants of death for a select group. And the fait accompli follows the fact that such a group is sufficiently persuasive over critical decision makers.

The opportunity cost of war (slightly updated) An excerpt,

What is true of natural disasters is even more true of the disasters we inflict on ourselves and others. Of these human-made calamities, the greatest is war. The wars engaged in by the US, Australian and other governments come at the opportunity cost of domestic programs that could save thousands of lives every year. The cost of war, in terms of American (and Australian) lives, is many times greater than battlefield casualty counts would suggest.

As many an example from history shows, the power of reason and facts is seldom victorious over the unbridled power of manipulated emotions and the resulting hysterical jingoism unleashed.

An economics for the general reader, iteration continues


Prof John Quiggin posts at Crooked Timber another draft piece of his ‘Economics in Two Lessons’, Are natural disasters economic disasters ? What is impressive is the quality of most comments as contributors demonstrate their grasp of economics and economic history.

This excerpt is especially timely as the US nears the 10th anniversary of the Katrina hurricane.

A US policy publication recognises Venezuela’s real threats?


TeleSUR as one of the new media continues to show its worth. Here its Joe Emersberger has scanned the ‘conventional’ news media and has found a report that conforms to truth, reality. Here he examines an article from Foreign Affairs, where one of its writers, Robert Lovato, hews to the facts, facts long known to very many sceptical of US media, The Unmaking of Leopoldo Lopez. One observation from Emersberger,

That is why I was shocked that Foreign Policy published Roberto Lovato’s lengthy and devastating exposé of Leopoldo Lopez. When Desmond Tutu, a decent person who is not on the far right, compares Leopoldo Lopez to Martin Luther King, that tells you how comically one-sided and dishonest the international media’s portrayal of Lopez has been. A recent, and vastly more typical Foreign Policy piece about Lopez ran with the title “Venezuela’s Last Hope”. The title summarizes that piece perfectly but it also shows how the international press has depicted the Venezuelan opposition since at least 2001.

As has been long recognised, the ruse, amateurish or barely disguised, has been to lionise the culprits in the attempts to destabilise (and ‘change’) the Venezuelan government, and thereby distract from the facts of US complicity in the process. Clearly, increasing trust in alternative media and increasing distrust of conventional media may have sparked some concern here for a return, even if fleeting, to serious journalism.

Of course, where Lovato falls short, Emersberger fills in the facts. Yes, media as RT, CCTV, TeleSUR complement well US blogs such as Common Dreams, Counter Punch, and the few somewhat reliable online newspapers such as The Guardian – adding to the self-inflicted irrelevance of the MSM.