Posts Tagged ‘Common Dreams’

The US MSM, that inexorable march to irrelevance

2017-12-10

Prof Edward S Herman passed away in early November. Among his memorable achievements was his joint authorship with Noam Chomsky of that unsparing work of 2005, Manufacturing Consent. In it we would learn the extent to which the corporate media have been in active collusion with state power to sell a reality, no matter how preposterous, concocted to promote its agenda, an agenda inimical to the interests of the general populace, and not just domestic. (more…)

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Honduras, model of export-led growth?

2016-04-13

Just a heavy dollop of irony.

The news is pleasant enough. In some local paper appears a photo or two of visiting corporate executives chatting with local officials. There is the confident good news: well-paying jobs and an improved standard of living for some community poor but rich in newly discovered natural resources, rapid economic development is around the corner. But in many cases bitter reality strikes, and hard.

Among the countries where such reality is very stark is Honduras, the most unequal country in Latin America and with a poverty rate of some 64%. A journalistic journey helps reinforce the saying, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed – coming to a community near you.” One lesson of caution to be heeded: they come to extract wealth, and the community pays the cost – as the community of Lago Agrio, Ecuador, has long learned as it still awaits resolution to a more than a decade old suit against Chevron.. (more…)

Laurels for an Argentina Laureate

2016-03-06

An egregious example of either incorrigible obtuseness or imperious contempt?

In what has to be one of the most offensives decisions to visit a country by another leader, and a world leader to boot: the scheduling of the visit of the US President to Argentina, and between 22-24 March, of all dates. Any good high school student studying Latin American history would have been appalled at the decision. Worse yet, is that the US President was recipient in 2009 of the Nobel Prize for, yes, Peace, the justification for which still continues to mystify.

That the main player in those dark days of 1976 in Argentina should be unaware beggars belief. It would take a storm of criticism from human rights groups and governments , especially those similarly abused, to protest that disrespect to the people of the country, in particular the victims and next of kin. As a result, the US has deigned to change the President’s visit to Buenos Aires from the originally scheduled 24 March.

Noteworthy in all this is the post at the common dreams blog, Letter from Pérez Esquivel to Barack Obama in Ocassion [sic] of His Travel to Argentina on March 24. From a human rights activist and  victim of that era, a powerful letter that highlights the US role in the region, something any mediocre Presidential adviser should have known. A telling paragraph,

If your intention is to come here to acknowledge on behalf of the United States of America that your country was an accomplice of coups d’état in this region, in the past and currently; to announce that your country will sign and ratify the Statute of Rome and be subject to the International Criminal Court; and to stop being the only American country which does not ratify the American Convention on Human Rights; if you shall please us with news that the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation” (WHINSEC) and the“International Law Enforcement Academy” (ILEA) shall be terminated in their capacity as heirs of the School of the Americas, and with news that the military bases of the United States in Latin America shall be closed, then you shall indeed be welcomed to Argentina on any day.

In this letter, we have a lesson on communication, language couched in quiet disappointment, yet a searing indictment of gratuitous state criminality. Still, the message will most certainly be lost on its intended recipient, the counterpart Nobel awardee – the prerogative of exceptionalism.

Continuous growth – otherwise declining capitalism?

2015-06-01

Dean Baker of the US CEPR has been diligent in monitoring the process (theatre and theatrics) related to the US proposed ‘free trade’ deals, and unsparing in exposing and dissecting them. In a post at AlJazeera he summarises and dissects the contradictory arguments made by the proponents and the loyal, supporting corporate media, Pro-TPP arguments show desperation.

In the last few weeks, TPP advocates have repeatedly tripped up, getting their facts wrong and their logic twisted. This hit parade of failed arguments should be sufficient to convince any fence sitters that this deal is not worth doing. After all, if you have a good product, you don’t have to make up nonsense to sell it.

No prolonged reflection is necessary to discern ulterior, possibly nefarious, motives in these deals. And the scale of the human tragedies to serve what such deals seek to formalise has become too large even for the corporate media to ignore – one country in particular appears involved in slave labour, and is among the ‘partners’ in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) charade.

If needed, we have a quick expedition into those Asian countries suspected of slave labour, yet still find favour as trading ‘partners’. In Peru, we have just one of some examples; Mexico,well, any day, any reputable newspaper. And the assertive proponent? (more…)

The caged bird, truth and freedom of the press in the US

2015-04-30

No, not only discriminating birds. All surveys have reached the same conclusion. But before we get to that conclusion, a slight but necessary detour.

One thing for certain, if he does not earn the Nobel Prize in Economics for illustrating to readers the questionable or misleading analysis of the likes of WaPo and NYT, he does indeed deserve it for sparing his readers the anguish of having to read such; allowing them to avoid the unbearable torture – a word both have studiously avoided where the US is involved.

And, to continue with Dean Baker, co-director of the US CEPR, we find he had to suffer through its news and crime reporting, in this case, on the demonstrations and unrest in Baltimore. Baker demonstrates remarkable self-restraint in avoiding the use of the sometimes necessary, strong language, in his post. Washington Post’s Front Page Nonsense on Freddie Gray.

I usually confine my comments to economic reporting, but I can’t let my blog sit idle when the Washington Post commits major journalistic malpractice on a story of national importance. The Post ran a major front page story with the headline, “Prisoner in van said Freddie Gray was ‘trying to injure himself’ document says.” As the article indicates, the basis for the story is a document which includes the statement by another prisoner, presumably someone still in police custody.

His rebuke,

Making this statement the basis of a front page story and not indicating to readers the need for skepticism, given the source, is incredibly irresponsible.

(more…)