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Blair: Bombing Iraq Better. Again

Media Lens - Mán, 16/06/2014 - 06:28

By David Cromwell and David Edwards

Over the weekend, the British media was awash with the blood-splattered Tony Blair's self-serving attempts to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The coverage was sparked by a new essay in which Blair claimed that the chaos in Iraq was the 'predictable and malign effect' of the West having 'watched Syria descend into the abyss' without bombing Assad. Blair advocated yet more Western violence, more bombing:

'On the immediate challenge President Obama is right to put all options on the table in respect of Iraq, including military strikes on the extremists...'

Par for the course, the liberal wing of the corporate media, notably the Guardian and BBC News, led with Blair's sophistry. (See image, courtesy of News Unspun).

Blair told Andrew Marr on BBC1 that:

'washing our hands of the current problem would not make it go away'.

The choice of phrase is telling. The image of Blair attempting to wash away the blood of one million Iraqis is indelible.

The Guardian's editors performed painful contortions to present an illusion of reasoned analysis, declaring that Blair's essay was both 'thoughtful' and 'wrong-headed'. Robert Fisk's response to Blair was rather different:

'How do they get away with these lies?' 

In the Guardian editorial, titled 'a case of blame and shame', the key phrase was:

'If there has to be a hierarchy of blame for Iraq, however, it must surely begin with Saddam.'

Of course, 'surely'! But only if the Guardian's editors feel compelled to keep selling one core ideological message to its audience. Namely, that, although mistakes do happen, such as 'deficiencies' in the West's occupation of Iraq, US-UK foreign policy is basically well-intentioned. That, in a nutshell, is why the Guardian is part of the liberal establishment bedrock.

The Guardian forgot to mention that Saddam Hussein achieved power with the assistance of the CIA. They forgot to mention that the West supported him through his worst crimes, supplying the technology that allowed him to launch chemical weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq war, protecting him in the United Nations and the press, and so on.

Like an addict unable to let go of just one more fix, the paper said:

'The situation may not demand, but it certainly invites, intervention.'

The Independent, that other great white hope of British liberal journalism, was no better. An editorial asked: 'Would intervention now work?', adding that it 'may become inevitable because of the threat to Israel and Turkey, a Nato ally.' The paper bemoaned, outrageously, that it had come to this because 'some sort of decisive Western action in Syria, famously defeated in the House of Commons, might have prevented Isis from gaining the strength it has.' In fact, bombing Assad would have massively empowered Isis, one of his major enemies.

The editors complained that there was now:

'no appetite for intervention anywhere, no matter how compelling the arguments.'

The pathetic hand-wringing continued:

'Our failures in Iraq have inoculated Western electorates against any desire to repeat the experiment, no matter that an invasion of Iraq now could be more truthfully termed a "liberation" for the Iraqi people, and an act to save many more lives throughout the Middle East, than the one Mr Blair and Mr Bush presided over 11 years ago. Their failures do mean we cannot act now.'

Ah, this time it really will be a 'liberation', whereas last time, as even London mayor Boris Johnson notes:

'It looks to me as though the Americans were motivated by a general strategic desire to control one of the biggest oil exporters in the world...'

Johnson, who voted for the war and describes it as merely a 'tragic mistake', is concerned not with the criminality and bloodshed but the ability to sell wars in future:

'Blair is now undermining the very cause he advocates – the possibility of serious and effective intervention.'

Amol Rajan, the Independent's editor, boasted of 'our proud record on coverage of Iraq'.

We responded:

'Sorry, we have analysed the Independent's performance closely. Your record was and is shameful. Where to start?' 

We could do worse than by reminding him of his own paper's editorial at the war's launch (when Simon Kelner was the editor):

'The debate about...this war is over...the time has come "to support our troops".' ('When democracies do battle with a despot, they must hold on to their moral superiority', Independent, March 20, 2003)

Blair: Bombing Iraq Better. Again

Media Lens - Mán, 16/06/2014 - 06:28

By David Cromwell and David Edwards

Over the weekend, the British media was awash with the blood-splattered Tony Blair's self-serving attempts to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The coverage was sparked by a new essay in which Blair claimed that the chaos in Iraq was the 'predictable and malign effect' of the West having 'watched Syria descend into the abyss' without bombing Assad. Blair advocated yet more Western violence, more bombing:

'On the immediate challenge President Obama is right to put all options on the table in respect of Iraq, including military strikes on the extremists...'

Par for the course, the liberal wing of the corporate media, notably the Guardian and BBC News, led with Blair's sophistry. (See image, courtesy of News Unspun).

Blair told Andrew Marr on BBC1 that:

'washing our hands of the current problem would not make it go away'.

The choice of phrase is telling. The image of Blair attempting to wash away the blood of one million Iraqis is indelible.

The Guardian's editors performed painful contortions to present an illusion of reasoned analysis, declaring that Blair's essay was both 'thoughtful' and 'wrong-headed'. Robert Fisk's response to Blair was rather different:

'How do they get away with these lies?' 

In the Guardian editorial, titled 'a case of blame and shame', the key phrase was:

'If there has to be a hierarchy of blame for Iraq, however, it must surely begin with Saddam.'

Of course, 'surely'! But only if the Guardian's editors feel compelled to keep selling one core ideological message to its audience. Namely, that, although mistakes do happen, such as 'deficiencies' in the West's occupation of Iraq, US-UK foreign policy is basically well-intentioned. That, in a nutshell, is why the Guardian is part of the liberal establishment bedrock.

The Guardian forgot to mention that Saddam Hussein achieved power with the assistance of the CIA. They forgot to mention that the West supported him through his worst crimes, supplying the technology that allowed him to launch chemical weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq war, protecting him in the United Nations and the press, and so on.

Like an addict unable to let go of just one more fix, the paper said:

'The situation may not demand, but it certainly invites, intervention.'

The Independent, that other great white hope of British liberal journalism, was no better. An editorial asked: 'Would intervention now work?', adding that it 'may become inevitable because of the threat to Israel and Turkey, a Nato ally.' The paper bemoaned, outrageously, that it had come to this because 'some sort of decisive Western action in Syria, famously defeated in the House of Commons, might have prevented Isis from gaining the strength it has.' In fact, bombing Assad would have massively empowered Isis, one of his major enemies.

The editors complained that there was now:

'no appetite for intervention anywhere, no matter how compelling the arguments.'

The pathetic hand-wringing continued:

'Our failures in Iraq have inoculated Western electorates against any desire to repeat the experiment, no matter that an invasion of Iraq now could be more truthfully termed a "liberation" for the Iraqi people, and an act to save many more lives throughout the Middle East, than the one Mr Blair and Mr Bush presided over 11 years ago. Their failures do mean we cannot act now.'

Ah, this time it really will be a 'liberation', whereas last time, as even London mayor Boris Johnson notes:

'It looks to me as though the Americans were motivated by a general strategic desire to control one of the biggest oil exporters in the world...'

Johnson, who voted for the war and describes it as merely a 'tragic mistake', is concerned not with the criminality and bloodshed but the ability to sell wars in future:

'Blair is now undermining the very cause he advocates – the possibility of serious and effective intervention.'

Amol Rajan, the Independent's editor, boasted of 'our proud record on coverage of Iraq'.

We responded:

'Sorry, we have analysed the Independent's performance closely. Your record was and is shameful. Where to start?' 

We could do worse than by reminding him of his own paper's editorial at the war's launch (when Simon Kelner was the editor):

'The debate about...this war is over...the time has come "to support our troops".' ('When democracies do battle with a despot, they must hold on to their moral superiority', Independent, March 20, 2003)

The Great White 'Nope' - Genevieve Jacobs, Paul Mason and Alain De Botton

Media Lens - Mið, 11/06/2014 - 07:11

By David Edwards

 

When corporations own the news and advertisers 'sponsor' the shows, journalists know they are above all answerable to the company managers and allied interests who pay their salaries. The mere public, especially voices of dissent, can be treated with indifference, even contempt. Journalists have power without responsibility, and they know it.

On March 6, the fast-talking presenter of ABC Radio Triple 6's Mornings with Genevieve Jacobs in Canberra described the shameful suffering of indigenous Australians exposed by John Pilger's important film, Utopia.

'What veteran filmmaker John Pilger had to present for his film was in many ways a Third World country, a place where there is despair and dispossession, desperate injustice.'

Jacobs quoted football legend and 'Australian of the year', Adam Goodes, on 'mainstream' Australia's response to Pilger's film:

'Our response, our muted response, is a disgrace. It is disturbing and hurtful that we just don't evidently care all that much.'

Jacobs then interviewed Pilger, asking him:

'So what does that say about the state of the national debate?'

It was a good question, one that would soon return to haunt the questioner.

Like so many journalists responding to so much serious criticism, Jacobs breezily insisted that her organisation was different, it had embraced all points of view: 'John, that's a debate we're very aware of here in Canberra... I think we're well aware of that, John!' she told Pilger repeatedly, who exposed the usual, key flaw in the argument:

'Intensely discussed, yes, you're absolutely right. But discussed in the narrowest terms.'

This recalled the sublime moment when Noam Chomsky rendered a brash young Andrew Marr temporarily speechless, after the BBC interviewer had commented of the Gulf War:

'There was a great debate about whether there should have been a negotiated settlement.'

Chomsky interrupted: 'No, sorry, no, that's not [the] debate...'

Jacobs, though, was insistent:

'Certainly here in Canberra we do have that discussion vigorously and often... I have spoken to people in the studio... I think that has been widely discussed.'

Given that the issues had in fact been endlessly discussed, what on earth was the point of Pilger's film? Jacobs asked again:

'That's my question though – what do you bring that is new to this?'

Pilger replied: 'Well, have you seen the film?'

Jacobs: 'I haven't seen the film, but...'

Like her audience, Jacobs knew exactly what was coming next:

'Well then, how can we...? This is the problem, you see. And forgive me for raising it. How can you have a discussion with me about a film you haven't seen?... You say you're having a lot of debate there, but you apparently haven't watched the film that we're supposed to be talking about!'

Pilger's voice dropped and slowed as he circled the flailing interviewer like a 'Saltie' croc:

'I'm giving you the opportunity to explain to me and your listeners why you haven't, why you haven't watched the film before you discuss with the filmmaker the film?'

Jacobs explained that she hadn't seen the film 'because my producer suggested to me this morning that it would be a really good idea to discuss this'. But there was no place to hide:

'You run a programme, and with all respect to you, that's what Adam Goodes is talking about - that people like you cannot be bothered! And that's what he's writing about. Don't you find this so exquisitely ironic?'

Jacobs instantly shut down the debate and turned to emailed comments sent in by listeners. Would these be favourable to the guest who had just sunk the host? Jacobs blurted:

'Gus says to me, "Doesn't 'Triple 6' ever get tired of having people on the radio to lecture us about how racist we are? Didn't we say sorry? Are we going to move on?"'

And by way of balance:

'Rob says, "While I don't disagree with Pilger on many issues he's tackled over the years, his holier than thou, patronising tone alienates those who support his efforts and hardens the attitudes of those who don't."'

The Great White 'Nope' - Genevieve Jacobs, Paul Mason and Alain De Botton

Media Lens - Mið, 11/06/2014 - 07:11

By David Edwards

 

When corporations own the news and advertisers 'sponsor' the shows, journalists know they are above all answerable to the company managers and allied interests who pay their salaries. The mere public, especially voices of dissent, can be treated with indifference, even contempt. Journalists have power without responsibility, and they know it.

On March 6, the fast-talking presenter of ABC Radio Triple 6's Mornings with Genevieve Jacobs in Canberra described the shameful suffering of indigenous Australians exposed by John Pilger's important film, Utopia.

'What veteran filmmaker John Pilger had to present for his film was in many ways a Third World country, a place where there is despair and dispossession, desperate injustice.'

Jacobs quoted football legend and 'Australian of the year', Adam Goodes, on 'mainstream' Australia's response to Pilger's film:

'Our response, our muted response, is a disgrace. It is disturbing and hurtful that we just don't evidently care all that much.'

Jacobs then interviewed Pilger, asking him:

'So what does that say about the state of the national debate?'

It was a good question, one that would soon return to haunt the questioner.

Like so many journalists responding to so much serious criticism, Jacobs breezily insisted that her organisation was different, it had embraced all points of view: 'John, that's a debate we're very aware of here in Canberra... I think we're well aware of that, John!' she told Pilger repeatedly, who exposed the usual, key flaw in the argument:

'Intensely discussed, yes, you're absolutely right. But discussed in the narrowest terms.'

This recalled the sublime moment when Noam Chomsky rendered a brash young Andrew Marr temporarily speechless, after the BBC interviewer had commented of the Gulf War:

'There was a great debate about whether there should have been a negotiated settlement.'

Chomsky interrupted: 'No, sorry, no, that's not [the] debate...'

Jacobs, though, was insistent:

'Certainly here in Canberra we do have that discussion vigorously and often... I have spoken to people in the studio... I think that has been widely discussed.'

Given that the issues had in fact been endlessly discussed, what on earth was the point of Pilger's film? Jacobs asked again:

'That's my question though – what do you bring that is new to this?'

Pilger replied: 'Well, have you seen the film?'

Jacobs: 'I haven't seen the film, but...'

Like her audience, Jacobs knew exactly what was coming next:

'Well then, how can we...? This is the problem, you see. And forgive me for raising it. How can you have a discussion with me about a film you haven't seen?... You say you're having a lot of debate there, but you apparently haven't watched the film that we're supposed to be talking about!'

Pilger's voice dropped and slowed as he circled the flailing interviewer like a 'Saltie' croc:

'I'm giving you the opportunity to explain to me and your listeners why you haven't, why you haven't watched the film before you discuss with the filmmaker the film?'

Jacobs explained that she hadn't seen the film 'because my producer suggested to me this morning that it would be a really good idea to discuss this'. But there was no place to hide:

'You run a programme, and with all respect to you, that's what Adam Goodes is talking about - that people like you cannot be bothered! And that's what he's writing about. Don't you find this so exquisitely ironic?'

Jacobs instantly shut down the debate and turned to emailed comments sent in by listeners. Would these be favourable to the guest who had just sunk the host? Jacobs blurted:

'Gus says to me, "Doesn't 'Triple 6' ever get tired of having people on the radio to lecture us about how racist we are? Didn't we say sorry? Are we going to move on?"'

And by way of balance:

'Rob says, "While I don't disagree with Pilger on many issues he's tackled over the years, his holier than thou, patronising tone alienates those who support his efforts and hardens the attitudes of those who don't."'

Fordómar og hótanir

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Mán, 02/06/2014 - 23:35

Við í Dögun upplifðum mikinn mun á framkomu fólks eftir að Framsóknarflokkurinn lýsti yfir andstöðu sinni við að múslimar fengju ákveðna lóð undir mosku í Reykjavík. Eftir þá yfirlýsingu fengu sumir frambjóðendur á ferðum sínum ókvæðisorð og öskur um að við værum múslimaflokkur og jafnvel hnefa eða fingri veifað framan í viðkomandi. Fólki var greinilega heitt í hamsi.
Framsóknarflokkurinn gaf þessum einstaklingum löggildingu á hegðun sinni sem undir venjulegum aðstæðum telst ekki sæmandi.
Þráður við frétt Vísis er mjög alvarleg áminning um að við erum á rangri leið. Þar er Salman Tamini meðal annars hótað lífláti. Það er að sjálfsögðu lögreglumál en leysir ekki vandamálið.
Núna verða allir að standa saman og ná þessari umræðu á eitthvert vitsmunalegt plan áður en við missum stjórn á þessu. Allir þeir sem hafa einhverja þyngd í umræðu dagsins verða að leggjast á eitt og hjálpast að. Sagan kennir okkur að sitja heima og ekki skipta sér af dugar ekki. Eiríkur Örn rithöfundur ritar góðan pistil um þessi mál sem vert er að lesa.
Sínum skilning, samstöðu, hugrekki og tölum saman af skynsemi.

something went wrong

Áhugaverðar greinar - Fim, 29/05/2014 - 12:17

Pyttur Framsóknarflokksins

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Mið, 28/05/2014 - 23:34

Þegar Framsóknarflokkurinn ákvað að nota moskumálið til að afla sér atkvæða þá opnaðist forarpyttur í íslensku samfélagi. Fram hafa stigið menn og konur sem fullyrða að trúin á Kóraninn valdi hörmungum og dauða saklausra einstaklinga. Þess vegna verði að hefta framrás Islam með öllum tiltækum ráðum og þar með að hindra byggingu mosku í Reykjavík. Guðrún Bryndís fyrrverandi innanbúðarmanneskja í Framsókn lýsir því vel hvernig Framsóknarflokkurinn er í heilögu stríði gegn þeim sem trúa á Kóraninn á Íslandi.
Hinir kristnu Vesturlandabúar eru svo penir að þeir nota ómönnuð flugför-dróna-til að drepa andstæðinga sína um víða veröld. Aðallega er um að ræða Araba í Pakistan, Afganistan og Jemen. Einhverjir tugir eru myrtir daglega og er það allt saklaust fólk. Ef það er eitthvað sem býr til hryðjuverkamenn þá eru það þessi morð. Eru þessi morð vegna kristinnar trúar? Innrásin á Líbýu með NATO í broddi fylkingar myrti þúsundir saklausra borgara og lagði landið nánast í rúst. Er það vegna kristinnar trúar?
Eigum við þá ekki að bannfæra allar kirkjur á Íslandi og jafna þær við jörðu?
Bændaflokkurinn Framsókn virðist njóta þess að velta sér upp úr þessum forarpytti rasískra skoðana eins og ónefnd dýrategund. Það er mál að linni og að fjölgun þeirra verði hamin. Það geta bara kjósendur á kjördag gert, ódeyft.

Lýðræðið okkar

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Þri, 27/05/2014 - 23:24

Í kosningabaráttunni heyrir maður í mörgum kjósendum. Það er hópur einstaklinga sem ætlar ekki að kjósa á laugardaginn. Þessir kjósendur hafa gefist upp á fulltrúalýðræðinu. Þeim finnst ekki skipta máli hvern þeir kjósa því allir svíkja kosningaloforðin. Oft vitnað í landsmálin og að núverandi ríkisstjórn hafi þegar svikið ýmis loforð. Ekki hefur útspil Framsóknar aukið virðingu þessara einstaklinga fyrir lýðræðiskerfinu okkar.

Vandamálið er í raun að það er ekki hægt að hafa stjórn á kjörnum fulltrúm á milli kosninga. Korter fyrir kosningar kemur loforðaflaumurinn og þessir kjósendur fá velgjuna upp í kok og sitja frekar heima en að kjósa. Hvað er til ráða? Ekki dugar sama uppskrift að minnsta kosti.

Það sem við í Dögun viljum gera er að 10% kjósenda geti skrifað á undirskriftalista og þar með fengið kosningu meðal íbúanna um hvaða mál sem er. Þar með hafa kjósendur fengið ákveðið vald milli kosninga. Þeir geta á þennan hátt vakið athygli á málum sem þeir brenna fyrir og skapað umræðu sem getur verið mjög mikilvæg. Ekki síst mál sem kjörnir fulltrúar vilja ekki að komist í hámæli. Auk þess getur kosningin valdið því að kjörnir fulltrúar standi við kosningaloforðin sín. Ekki slæmt eða hvað?

Með því að leggja meira vald í hendur kjósenda eykst pólitískur áhugi þeirra og virkni. Kjósendur eru ekki heimskir því þegar þeir finna sig áhrifalausa þá nenna þeir þessu ekki. Við í Dögun viljum snúa þessari þróun við og vonandi munu aðrir flokkar sjá að sér og útdeila raunverulegu valdi til kjósenda.

Að bera harm sinn í hljóði…

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Sun, 25/05/2014 - 22:06

Sem sannur karlmaður og víkingur á maður að bera harm sinn í hljóði en núna get ég ekki orða bundist. Við búum í samfélagi sem á að stjórnast af lýðræðislegum og jafnréttis gildum en því fer fjarri. Hér ræður hnefarétturinn.
Það eru all nokkrar líkur á því að þú hafir ekki heyrt um okkur í Dögun vegna þöggunar í samfélaginu. Við erum stjórnmálaflokkur sem er að bjóða sig fram í sveitastjórnarkosningunum í Reykjavík ,Akureyri og Kópavogi. Endurtekið hefir verið gengið fram hjá okkur þannig að þú hefur sjálfsagt ekkert frétt af okkur.
Fréttablaðið hefur haft heilsíðu umfjöllun um mismunandi málaflokka í borgarmálum. Aldrei er minnst á Dögun en hinir flokkarnir komast að með mynd og merki. Lesendur Fréttablaðsins vita ekki einu sinni að við erum til. Smartland Mörtu á Morgunblaðinu bauð oddvitunum í Reykjavík í róðrakeppni á líkamsræktunarstöð en ekki oddvita Dögunar. Nokkra fundi og pallborð hefur okkur ekki verið boðið á.
Sjálfsagt þúsund afsakanir hjá viðkomandi aðilum en hvar er lýðræðisástin í miðri lýðræðisveislunni. Hvar eru öll stóru orðin hjá hinum oddvitunum um lýðræðisást sína þegar þeir uppgötva að Dögun hefur ekki verið boðið. Er þeim sama, er okkur öllum sama eða er það bara svo næs að fylgja” FREKA KALLINUM” hugsunarlaust. Hvernig á maður að stunda pólitík á Íslandi ef fjölmiðlaveldin dissa mann?
Er ekki kominn tími á lagasetningu sem skyldar alla til fulls jafnréttis gagnvart öllum framboðum og að banna skoðanakannanir nokkrum vikum fyrir kosningar.

Borgarbankinn

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Þri, 20/05/2014 - 23:03

Þegar frambjóðendur okkar í Dögun hafa verið á ferðinni og rætt við fólk hefur það komið í ljós að fólki finnst hugmynd okkar um Borgarbanka mjög góð. Það er mikill samhljómur meðal þeirra sem rætt hefur verið við að hagnaðurinn eigi frekar að fara til almennings en fárra útvaldra.
Hugmyndin er ekki flókin en hún gengur út á það að Reykjavíkurborg stofni sinn eigin banka. Hagnaður bankans gangi síðan til eigenda sinna, þ.e. borgarbúa. Þannig eykst geta borgarinnar til að sinna borgarbúum. Þar setjum við í Dögun megin áhersluna á að hjálpa þeim sem minnst hafa.
Það sem gerir þennan banka sérstakan er að hann yrði mun gagnsærri og borgarbúar gætu haft mun meira um starfshætti hans að segja en aðra banka. Eins og við vitum eru venjulegir bankar ósnertanlegir fílabeinsturnar. Auk þess væri lánastefna borgarbankans þröng, þ.e. hún væri mjög samfélagsmiðuð og ekki væri leyfilegt að taka þátt í því sem stundum er kallað ”spilavítishegðun”. Bankinn mætti lána til verkefna sem búa til raunveruleg verðmæti og ekki fjárfesta í froðuhagnaði.
Það má leiða sterkar líkur að því að ef allir bankar á Íslandi hefðu verið reknir eftir þessari hugmyndafræði þá hefðum við sloppið við bankakreppuna 2008. Samfélagslega rekinn banki hefði ekki mátt taka veð í óveiddum fiski. Auk þess er það dæmi um spilavítishegðun að þiggja óveiddan fisk sem veð sem er eign þjóðarinnar en ekki lántakandans.
Dögun vill að Borgarbankinn styrki borgarsjóð og gefi gott fordæmi um hvernig góð bankastarfsemi geti verið. Mjög mikilvægt er að umræðan um Borgarbanka komist á dagskrá því það er augljóst að við erum enn að kljást við afleiðingar af fjárfestingastefnu einkabankanna.

 

 

Réttlæti

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Sun, 18/05/2014 - 00:07

Rauði kross Íslands kynnti núna rannsókn á þeim í samfélagi okkar sem eru félagslega berskjaldaðir eða það sem oft er kallað fátækt. Fátækt hefur aldrei verið vinsælt umræðuefni á Íslandi en hefur þó komist meira í umræðuna í seinni tíð, aðalega vegna aukinna rannsókna. Menn geta ekki neitað tilvist fátæktar í dag.
Að fátækt sé fylgifiskur samfélags okkar er merki þess að við erum ekki að gera hlutina rétt. Það vill örugglega enginn verða fátækur og þess vegna getur það ekki verið rétt að við sættum okkur við það að aðrir séu það. Framkoma okkar gagnvart fátækum í samfélagi okkar er ekki merki um réttlæti. Við erum því að breyta rangt og fremja óréttlæti.
Við verðum því öll að taka okkur á og ekki að linna látum fyrr en við höfum útrýmt fátækt því erfitt er að afsaka aðgerðaleysi í landi þar sem margir eru þó enn aflögufærir. Bankar og útgerðafyrirtæki græða vel að minnsta kosti. Fyrst og fremst þurfum við að viðurkenna fyrir okkur að þennan vanda verði að leysa strax og forgangsraða í þágu þeirra sem búa við fátækt.
Dögun í Reykjavík viðurkennir vandann og krefst þess að Reykjavíkurborg standi við lagalegar skyldur sínar við að framfleyta þeim sem geta ekki gert það sjálfir. Okkur finnst þetta vera mannréttindarmál og Ísland hefur ritað undir Barnasáttmála SÞ. Við teljum okkur ekki stætt á því að veita afslátt á mannréttindum.

Thinking The Right Thoughts

Media Lens - Fim, 15/05/2014 - 07:25

By David Cromwell & David Edwards

There are always convenient news-hooks on which corporate journalists can hang their power-friendly prejudices about the West being 'the good guys' in world affairs. Channel 4 News is not immune from this chauvinism. For example, Matt Frei introduced a report about last month's elections in Iraq with this propaganda bullet:

'Now, America once invaded Iraq so that, in large part, Iraqis could do what they did today – go to the polls.' (Channel 4 News, April 30, 2014)

Frei was, in fact, diligently reading out the first line of a blog piece by his colleague Jonathan Rugman, C4 News foreign affairs correspondent. The actual overriding reason for the West's war of aggression – strategic geopolitical dominance, including control of valuable hydrocarbon resources in the Middle East – was simply brushed aside. As ever, 'we' must be seen to be acting out of benign intent and pure desire to bring democracy to people around the globe. The reality is that 'we' must stifle other countries' independent development and, if required, bomb them into submission to Western state-corporate hegemony.

Frei acting as a mouthpiece to Rugman's bizarrely skewed perspective on the Iraq War was yet another case of sticking to the editorial line from the C4 News 'team you know and trust'. When we asked C4 News correspondent Alex Thomson whether he agreed with this particular editorial monstrosity from his team he ducked out:

'whoah - I'm surfing right now and staying well out of this one!'

To be fair to Thomson, that was his jovial way of not defending his colleagues. He knows we know, and we know he knows we know, where his sympathies lie on that one.

Whereas Thomson has enough savvy to see behind much US-UK government rhetoric, he is aware that he must rein in any expressed scepticism to hang on to his job. As a general rule, journalists in the public eye are constrained to direct scepticism in one direction only: towards the propaganda output of officially declared enemies.

Thus, BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg was free to make this observation via Twitter:

'Dominating the Russian airwaves, Moscow's lexicon for the Ukraine conflict: "junta", "fascists", "Banderovtsy", "genocide", "extremists"'

That's fine. But when has Rosenberg, or any of his colleagues, ever highlighted how 'our' airwaves are dominated by 'London's lexicon' and 'Washington's lexicon'? Why is it the job of a supposedly impartial BBC journalist to expose 'Moscow's lexicon', but not that emanating from London or Washington? Rosenberg ignored us when we asked him those questions on Twitter.

Thinking The Right Thoughts

Media Lens - Fim, 15/05/2014 - 07:25

By David Cromwell & David Edwards

There are always convenient news-hooks on which corporate journalists can hang their power-friendly prejudices about the West being 'the good guys' in world affairs. Channel 4 News is not immune from this chauvinism. For example, Matt Frei introduced a report about last month's elections in Iraq with this propaganda bullet:

'Now, America once invaded Iraq so that, in large part, Iraqis could do what they did today – go to the polls.' (Channel 4 News, April 30, 2014)

Frei was, in fact, diligently reading out the first line of a blog piece by his colleague Jonathan Rugman, C4 News foreign affairs correspondent. The actual overriding reason for the West's war of aggression – strategic geopolitical dominance, including control of valuable hydrocarbon resources in the Middle East – was simply brushed aside. As ever, 'we' must be seen to be acting out of benign intent and pure desire to bring democracy to people around the globe. The reality is that 'we' must stifle other countries' independent development and, if required, bomb them into submission to Western state-corporate hegemony.

Frei acting as a mouthpiece to Rugman's bizarrely skewed perspective on the Iraq War was yet another case of sticking to the editorial line from the C4 News 'team you know and trust'. When we asked C4 News correspondent Alex Thomson whether he agreed with this particular editorial monstrosity from his team he ducked out:

'whoah - I'm surfing right now and staying well out of this one!'

To be fair to Thomson, that was his jovial way of not defending his colleagues. He knows we know, and we know he knows we know, where his sympathies lie on that one.

Whereas Thomson has enough savvy to see behind much US-UK government rhetoric, he is aware that he must rein in any expressed scepticism to hang on to his job. As a general rule, journalists in the public eye are constrained to direct scepticism in one direction only: towards the propaganda output of officially declared enemies.

Thus, BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg was free to make this observation via Twitter:

'Dominating the Russian airwaves, Moscow's lexicon for the Ukraine conflict: "junta", "fascists", "Banderovtsy", "genocide", "extremists"'

That's fine. But when has Rosenberg, or any of his colleagues, ever highlighted how 'our' airwaves are dominated by 'London's lexicon' and 'Washington's lexicon'? Why is it the job of a supposedly impartial BBC journalist to expose 'Moscow's lexicon', but not that emanating from London or Washington? Rosenberg ignored us when we asked him those questions on Twitter.

Eeny, Meeny Madness - Beyond Racism

Media Lens - Mán, 12/05/2014 - 13:11

By David Edwards

Jeremy Clarkson is star presenter of the BBC's Top Gear show which, tragically for anyone who cares about the climate, holds a 2013 Guinness world record for most widely watched factual programme in the world.

Clarkson asked for his viewers' forgiveness following the publication of a clip that showed him reciting the nursery rhyme, 'Eeny, meeny, miny, moe; catch a nigger by the toe', in unaired footage obtained by the Daily Mirror. Clarkson can clearly be seen mumbling a portion of the N-word.

The Blairite Deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman, who voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was part of the government that waged the war, said:

'Anybody who uses the N-word in public or private in whatever context has no place in the British Broadcasting Corporation.'

In the Guardian, senior columnist Suzanne Moore commented:

'Clarkson is not stupid. Nor is he a maverick or outlier. He is a central part of the establishment. He parties with Cameron. Just as Ukip is not a maverick party, but made up of disgruntled Tories; just as Boris Johnson is not a maverick but a born-to-rule chancer... this section of the right deludes itself that it is somehow "outside" the establishment rather than its pumping heart.'

We wrote to Moore on Twitter:

'You say the right "deludes itself" it is "somehow 'outside' the establishment rather than its pumping heart". But which paper sold us Blair, the man who destroyed resistance to the establishment? Which paper told us to vote Blair in 2005, after Iraq? And which paper sold us "R2P" ["Responsibility to protect"] in Libya and Syria, which has clearly involved "the rich and powerful deriding the powerless"?'

Moore ignored us but noted on her Twitter feed:

'Media Lens have roused themselves to tell me off? Why this week? Why not every week?'

But the point we were making to Moore was a serious one. As John Pilger commented to us in 2008:

'Since Blair and Brown closed down the last vestiges of Labour as a social democratic party, the task of the media has been to deny the great political happening of the post-war years: the convergence of Labour and the Conservatives as one political entity with two factions serving a single ideology state.' (Email to Media Lens, November 24, 2008)

Pilger has also described how, for many years, the Guardian 'swooned over Blair as a mystic of the "Third Way".' 

On May 3, 2005 - two days before the UK general election and two years after the criminal invasion of Iraq - a leading article in the Guardian opined:

'While 2005 will be remembered as Tony Blair's Iraq election, May 5 is not a referendum on that one decision, however fateful, or on the person who led it, however controversial...'

The editors concluded:

'We believe that Mr Blair should be re-elected to lead Labour into a third term this week.'

The leader was titled: 'Once more with feeling.'

The Guardian has continued to boost Blair on numerous occasions since then.

Eeny, Meeny Madness - Beyond Racism

Media Lens - Mán, 12/05/2014 - 13:11

By David Edwards

Jeremy Clarkson is star presenter of the BBC's Top Gear show which, tragically for anyone who cares about the climate, holds a 2013 Guinness world record for most widely watched factual programme in the world.

Clarkson asked for his viewers' forgiveness following the publication of a clip that showed him reciting the nursery rhyme, 'Eeny, meeny, miny, moe; catch a nigger by the toe', in unaired footage obtained by the Daily Mirror. Clarkson can clearly be seen mumbling a portion of the N-word.

The Blairite Deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman, who voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was part of the government that waged the war, said:

'Anybody who uses the N-word in public or private in whatever context has no place in the British Broadcasting Corporation.'

In the Guardian, senior columnist Suzanne Moore commented:

'Clarkson is not stupid. Nor is he a maverick or outlier. He is a central part of the establishment. He parties with Cameron. Just as Ukip is not a maverick party, but made up of disgruntled Tories; just as Boris Johnson is not a maverick but a born-to-rule chancer... this section of the right deludes itself that it is somehow "outside" the establishment rather than its pumping heart.'

We wrote to Moore on Twitter:

'You say the right "deludes itself" it is "somehow 'outside' the establishment rather than its pumping heart". But which paper sold us Blair, the man who destroyed resistance to the establishment? Which paper told us to vote Blair in 2005, after Iraq? And which paper sold us "R2P" ["Responsibility to protect"] in Libya and Syria, which has clearly involved "the rich and powerful deriding the powerless"?'

Moore ignored us but noted on her Twitter feed:

'Media Lens have roused themselves to tell me off? Why this week? Why not every week?'

But the point we were making to Moore was a serious one. As John Pilger commented to us in 2008:

'Since Blair and Brown closed down the last vestiges of Labour as a social democratic party, the task of the media has been to deny the great political happening of the post-war years: the convergence of Labour and the Conservatives as one political entity with two factions serving a single ideology state.' (Email to Media Lens, November 24, 2008)

Pilger has also described how, for many years, the Guardian 'swooned over Blair as a mystic of the "Third Way".' 

On May 3, 2005 - two days before the UK general election and two years after the criminal invasion of Iraq - a leading article in the Guardian opined:

'While 2005 will be remembered as Tony Blair's Iraq election, May 5 is not a referendum on that one decision, however fateful, or on the person who led it, however controversial...'

The editors concluded:

'We believe that Mr Blair should be re-elected to lead Labour into a third term this week.'

The leader was titled: 'Once more with feeling.'

The Guardian has continued to boost Blair on numerous occasions since then.

Valdið til fólksins

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Lau, 10/05/2014 - 18:30

Baráttan um brauðið hefur lítið breyst í áranna rás. Atvinnulausir verkamenn reyndu að framfleyta sér með stopulli hafnarvinnu í kreppunni miklu. Litlar sem engar bætur fyrir atvinnumissi, sjúkdóma eða slys. Fátækir og heimilislausir í Reykjavík voru til staðar í den. Þá var horft framhjá þeim og skýringin var að um sjálfskaparvíti væri ræða. Þessi hópur hafði litla sem enga möguleika til að hafa áhrif á ríkjandi valdhafa, lýðræðislegur máttur þeirra var nánast enginn. Kjör þeirra bötnuðu vegna verkalýðsbaráttu áratuganna á eftir og stríðsgróða.
Í dag eru vandamálin svipuð en betur falin. ASÍ hefur hægt um sig og því er ábyrgð sveitafélaga meiri, þau þurfa því að berjast fyrir réttindum þeirra sem minna mega sín. Enn í dag er tekist á um það hvort um sé að ræða sjálfskaparvíti eða hvort það sé samfélagslegur gróði að leysa vandamálin með sameiginlegu átaki.
Dögun er nýtt stjórnmálaafl sem býður núna fram í borgarstjórnarkosningunum. Dögun hefur skýr markmið og drjúgur hluti stefnuskrár Dögunar í Reykjavík snýst um að lyfta fram og gera þá sem minna mega sín sýnilega. Við teljum að þeir eigi að njóta forgangs fram yfir þá sem geta bjargað sér. Auk þess viljum við nota hugsanleg völd okkar til að færa valdið til borgarbúa þannig að þeir stjórni meira beint í sínu nærumhverfi.
Bankar eru einráðir um magn peninga í umferð og skammta þannig pólitíkinni fjármagni til að láta drauma sína rætast. Þess vegna viljum við í Dögun í Reykjavík stofna Borgarbanka. Þannig munum við flytja peningavaldið undir lýðræðislega stjórn þar sem það á heima. Afrekaskrá einkaaðila af stjórn banka er svo hörmuleg að ekki er hægt að toppa það. Gróði Borgarbankans mun styrkja fjárhag borgarinnar og veita auk þess aukna möguleika á lánum með lágum vöxtum til arðbærra framkvæmda.
Kjósum framboð sem vill völdin til almennings og frá fjármálavaldinu.

 

The world has nothing to fear from the US losing power | Mark Weisbrot

Mark Weisbrot - nýjar greinar - Lau, 03/05/2014 - 12:00
As China looks set to overtake the US as the world's largest economy, a multipolar world can only be good for democracy

The news that China will displace the US as the world's largest economy this year is big news. For economists who follow these measurements, the tectonic shift likely occurred a few years ago. But now the World Bank is making it official, so journalists and others who opine on world affairs will have to take this into account. And if they do so, they will find that this is a very big deal indeed.

What does it mean? First, the technicalities: the comparison is made on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, which means that it takes into account the differing prices in the two countries. So, if a dollar is worth 6.3 renminbi today on the foreign exchange market, it may be that 6.3 renminbi can buy a lot more in China than one dollar can buy in the US. The PPP comparison adjusts for that; that is why China's economy is much bigger than the measure that you have most commonly seen in the media, which simply converts China's GDP to dollars at the official exchange rate.

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