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23 ár, hræ tímans

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir bloggar - Lau, 22/11/2014 - 22:54

Ég hefi tvisvar verið mögulega kannski næstum því dauð. Í fyrra skiptið var ég unglingur sem fór að detta í sundur. Saumarnir sem héldu mér saman fóru að rakna upp, ég losnaði öll í sundur. Þessu fylgdu agalegir verkir í heilanum, ég eyddi miklum tíma í að ímynda hversu frábært það væri ef ég gæti bara nuddað heilann í mér, að ég gæti stungið puttunum inní hausinn á mér og nuddað rækilega, þá myndi mér sennilega fara að líða betur. Því eins og allir vita er mjög notalegt að láta nudda sig, hefur eitthvað að gera með endorfín og svoleiðis. En því miður tókst mér ekki að finna út úr því hvernig ég gæti nuddað heilann og eitt kvöldið höfðu saumarnir sem héldu hausnum föstum við hálsinn raknað alveg upp og hausinn rúllaði af. Þá var farið með mig uppá spítala og ég geymd fyrst á gjörgæslu í tvo daga og svo í mánuð á betrunarhæli, svokölluðu, á meðan hausinn var saumaður aftur á. Á betrunarhælinu upplifði ég ýmislegt; þar voru td. góðar sturtur, maður gat setið á bekk í sturtuklefanum, sem var mjög gott fyrir mig, því ég var afskaplega þreytt á því að þurfa að standa upprétt. Svo fékk ég að sauma sjálf, ekki hausinn samt, heldur fallegt gyllt pils og silkipúða og sitthvað fleira. Áður hafði ég ekki verið mikið gefin fyrir saumaskap. Svo fékk ég að sitja í hring með öðru fólki og segja frá upplifunum. Eða réttara sagt, í hringnum lærði ég að segja ekki frá upplifunum, afþví mínar voru svo afskaplega ómerkilegar á meðan annarra voru það ekki; kynferðislegt ofbeldi, geðrof, fíkn og svo mætti lengi telja. Ég lærði að mannleg tilvera er þjáning og sorg, það að hausinn skyldi detta af var alls ekkert merkilegt, hvað þá óvenjulegt og ekki í frásögur færandi.

Að mánuði liðnum var talið að hausinn væri nokkuð vel festur á og ég var útskrifuð með gyllt pils og púða. Sem var bara mjög fínt, ég gekk frekar í pilsi en buxum og hafði alltaf verið hrifin af púðum.

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Árið umþb. eitthvað í kringum 2006 fór ég að fylgjast með íslensku internetunum, mig vantaði satt best að segja eitthvað að  hugsa um. Ég hafði tekið dvöl mína í Bandaríkjunum alvarlega; hlustað alvarlega á fréttir um innrásir, fréttir um pyntingar, fréttir um pólitískt ofstæki, fréttir um allskyns efnahagslega glæpi, fréttir um New Orleans og svarta fólkið þar sem mátti drukkna í friði sökum hins mikla frelsis sem það naut í svo ríkum mæli, og svo mætti lengi lengi telja. Tilveran var mjög alvarleg og ég tók hana alvarlega, enda ekkert grín að vera hvítingi í rasísku heimsveldi, ekkert grín að skilja loksins hvað forréttindi þýða.

En semsagt, 2006 var ég aðeins farin að slaka á kröfunum til sjálfrar mín um að vera alltaf með návæmar tölur látinna á hreinu  og tilbúin til að fylgjast með fréttum um annað en risasögulega atburði. Og þá beið mín Ísland á veraldarvefnum. Og þar hitti ég Gísla Frey. Hann var Frelsisvörnin. Hann var Doer, eins og fleiri um þær mundir. Hann var ýmislegt. Hann var harður ídeólóg. Sá harðasti, fyrir utan kannski Jón Val. Og hann var alltaf að tala um að Ernesto Che Guevara, minn góði vinur, væri fjöldamorðingi. Hann var ekki beint fyndinn, en maður flissaði samt, já maður flissaði, ekki í forundran, maður var lífsreyndur eftir að hafa hlustað á GWB, einnig þekktan sem frelsisvörnina, flytja ótal ræður og ekki mikil forundran eftir, eða jú samt, flissið var mjög blandað forundran. Furðublandin forundran.

Þegar ég sá svo Gísla í anddyri ráðuneytisins fyrir ári síðan, þar sem ég var ásamt nokkrum svokölluðum hræðum, þrátt fyrir forsíðufrétt hins svokallaða Fréttablaðs um að Tony Omos væri melludólgur, fylltist ég engri forundran. Ég ætlaði að kalla á hann: Jæja, ertu þá komin, sjálf Frelsisvörnin. En aðrar hræður þarna staddar höfðu merkilegri hluti að segja við Gísla, alvöru merkilega hluti um framkomu íslenskra stjórnvalda við öreiga á faraldsfæti, á örvæntingar flótta fæti, það var ekki við hæfi að vera með frammíköll og rifja upp brandara frá 2006 og 7. Og svo langaði mig allt í einu ekkert að kalla neitt á hann af því að hann tifaði einhvernveginn, hann lyfti sér stöðugt upp á tærnar, ekki faraldsfótinn heldur frelsistærnar og það var skrítið og ég hálf vorkenndi honum afþví að empatían er furðulegt fyrirbæri. Það alfurðulegasta. Að vera allt í einu farin að vorkenna sjálfri Frelsisvörninni, sem aldrei vorkenndi neinum; nema eina prósentinu, hinu frjálsa prósenti, glóbal prósentinu sem þarf aldrei nein vegabréf eða uppáskriftir um gott innræti og þátttökuleysi í glæpastarfsemi, þarf ekkert nema peningana sína og Frelsisvarnir allra landa, sem standa sameinaðar í að gefa þeim öll lönd.

Stundum vorkenni ég líka nazistum, ef þeir létu ungir glepjast af hugmyndafræðinni. Heilaþvottur er mega powerful, þessvegna er hann kallaður heilaþvottur. Stundum get ég vorkennt næstum öllu. Þessvegna kallaði ég ekkert á Gísla, ekkert diss, engan derring, vildi ekki grípa fram í fyrir þeim sem sögðu hluti af viti og afþví að ég á bágt með að vera með skæting við fólk sem tifar af stressi. Seinna er svo hægt að spyrja sig sjálft: Afhverju sagðirðu ekki eitthvað ljótt og afhverju ætli hann hafði tifað svona af stressi?

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Fyrir viku síðan sá ég ský á hvolfi. Himininn logaði og eitt stórt ský var á hvolfi. Það er auðvitað erfitt að átta sig á því hvort ský eru á hvolfi en ég vissi strax að svo var vegna þess að mér varð hræðilega óglatt við að horfa á það.

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Ekkert getur komið á óvart, árið er 2014 og allt sem getur gerst gerist.

Barnamorðingjar fá sérstök barnaverðlaun, kannski fyrir að hafa ekki drepið fleiri börn. En auðvitað er sannarlega hægt að vera þakklát fyrir það.

Kona sem ætla að taka að sér að hjálpa sérstaklega konum sem verða fyrir heimilsofbeldi klæðir sig í búning og ákveður að trúa ekki konu sem varð fyrir heimilsofbeldi og konur sem fyrst og fremst ætla að hugsa um konur í öllum samhengjunum, hinum stóru og smáu, ákveða að styðja konuna sem trúði ekki konunni sem varð fyrir ofbeldi. En það kemur ekkert á óvart.

Ekkert kemur á óvart, heimilið í landinu eru heimili þeirra sem alltaf mæta á fundi hjá Sjálfstæðisflokknum, alveg sama hvað á hefur dunið á heimilinu, mæta alltaf á jólahlaðborðið, villibráðarhlaðborðið þar sem boðið er uppá eitthvað kjöt sem enginn getur eða vill nefna, medium rare, þeirra sem gubba í lófann við veisluborðið, standa ekki upp til að fara á klósettið og fá sér smá kalt vatn, heldur kyngja og brosa svo til sessunautanna og segja: Ég var ekkert að gubba útaf kjötinu. Og fá sér svo meira rauðvín og reyna, þegar líða tekur á kvöldið, að ná augnsambandi við Gauleiter Þór, nei afsakið, ég meina auðvitað Guðlaug Þór.

Ekkert kemur á óvart, það að tugþúsundir dukkna í hafinu, á leiðinni til Evrópu, kemur ekkert á óvart, þeirra bíður engin Frelsisstytta, engin eyja, hvorki Ellis né Ísland. Þau drukkna bara. Svart og brúnt fólk hefur verið að drukkna öldum saman á leið til vesturheims, því ætti það að koma á óvart?

Ekkert kemur á óvart og er það ekki bara ok? Vissulega saknar maður örlítið æsingsins sem fylgdi því að verða hissa á eina prósentinu og útsendurum þess, en æsingur er ekki góður þegar til langs tíma er litið. Og við erum svo sannarlega að líta til langs tíma, eða allavega svo langs tíma sem þóknast okkar merkilegu overlords sem nú stýra gangi himintunglanna og ráða því hvort skýin snúa upp eða niður, allavega eins langs tíma og þau vilja úthluta okkur svokölluðum hræðum.

Hausinn dettur af, það er ekkert mekilegt við það, alltaf að gerast. Nú eigum við Gísli það sameiginlegt að hafa séð hausinn rúlla út á gólf. Minn var festur á og það verður hans líka.

Ekkert kemur á óvart.

Nema það að sólin kemur upp og sest svo. Og að almættið skapaði himinn og jörð á eins löngum tíma og því þótti sjálfu þurfa. Og að öll vötn renna til sjávar. Og að fuglarnir í stóru trjánum í garðinum heima hjá mér syngja. Og að kettirnir eru mjúkir. Og að Ameríka er þarna ennþá, án mín. Og að ég elska hana og sakna hennar á næstum hverjum degi.

Og að eftir 23 ár mun eitt prósentið eiga allan auð veraldar. Allan auð veraldar. Það kemur satt best að segja örlítið á óvart. Hversu stutt við eigum eftir. Hversu rifan á glugganum er örlítil. Brátt mun hún lokast alveg. Ég hélt að við hefðum aðeins lengri tíma.

En við höfum engan tíma. Það kemur á endanum ekkert á óvart.

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Ég sá fyrir mér að ég myndi dansa við lítinn bálköst þegar hér væri komið sögu. Að Gísli sæti inní sumarbústaðnum sem hann dreymdi um, að hlusta á U2, sem var uppáhaldshljómsveit Frelsisvarnarinnar og að ég dansaði fyrir utan, heit af litla bálinu mínu. En ég er ekkert að dansa. Ég er gömul. Ekkert kemur mér lengur á óvart, ég dansa sjaldan.

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Þetta er tileinkað Che Guevara, sem Frelsisvörnin, í sínu mikla húbris, var alltaf að kalla fjöldamorðingja. Og ef ég þyrði, almættisins vegna, siðprýðinnar vegna, væri þetta kannski líka tileinkað þeim sem reyna að komast yfir hafið en mæta Frelsisvörnum allrar landa, sameinuðum og komast ekkert, nema í mannkynssöguna sem sönnun á einhverju sem aldrei átti að sanna.

I don’t know why we had to lose
The ones who took so little space
They’re still waiting for the east
To cover what we can’t erase

Og þetta; þetta hefði ég kannski hlustað á fyrir utan sumarbústaðinn, heit af bálinu. Þetta er tileinkað rúllandi unglingshausnum mínum. Honum hefði þótt þetta mjög smart. En það er auðvitað frekar augljóst og kemur ekki á óvart.

 


Afrakstur auðlinda og skattaskjól

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Fös, 14/11/2014 - 22:22

Starfsemi skattaskjóla hefur aukist mikið liðna áratugi. Skattaskjól hafa dreift úr sér um allan heim eins og hvert annað krabbamein. Þar fela einstaklingar og fyrirtæki ríkidæmi sitt og komast hjá því að greiða skatta. Þess vegna eykst skattbyrði þeirra sem eftir sitja og standa straum að rekstri samfélagsins. Að skjóta undan er glæpur gagnvart þeim sem borga.

Því hefur verið haldið fram að stórfyrirtæki sem starfa í Afríku sendi mest allan afraksturinn til skattaskjóla. Ef ríkisstjórnir í Afríku myndu eingöngu skattleggja þetta fjármagn með 30% skatti yrði heimsálfan Afríka skuldlaus og gæti seinna meir farið að senda peninga til að hjálpa fátækum Evrópubúum. Afríka er svo auðug af auðlindum að það hlýtur að vera heimsmet í heilaþvotti að allir trúa því að hún sé fátæk án þess að arðrán komi þar við sögu.

Er hugsanlegt að Ísland sé á pari við Afríku, erum við arðrænd? Eru íslenskir aðilar, fyrirtæki að senda skattskyldan pening til skattaskjóla? Þessu er hugsanlega hægt að fá svar við ef skattrannsóknarstjóri á Íslandi gæti keypt slíkar upplýsingar. Þessar upplýsingar eru til sölu hjá erlendum rannsóknarblaðamönnum. Þjóðverjar hafa keypt þessar upplýsingar og hagnast vel á því. Fjármálaráðherra okkar Bjarni Ben hefur ekki ennþá gefið grænt ljós á slíkt. Þess vegna vill Dögun leggja sitt af mörkum og nota hluta af því fjármagni sem það fær frá hinu opinbera til að styrkja hið opinbera, þ.e. skattrannsónarstjóra til að kaupa þessar upplýsingar.

 

Áramótaheit Dögunar

Áramótaheit Dögunar – Samþykkt landsfundar 8. nóvember 2014.

 

Skorað er á Alþingi að tryggja að fyrningarfrestir í málum sem snúa að skattaundanskotum til aflandsfélaga og skattaskjóla verði lengdir eins og þörf er, hluti mögulegra brota fyrnist um áramót 2014-2015 að óbreyttu.

 

Dögun – stjórnmálasamtök um réttlæti, sanngirni og lýðræði, gefa hér með íslensku þjóðinni eftirfarandi áramótaheit:

 

Íslenska ríkinu/Alþingi er heimilt að veita  allt að 1/10 af framlagi ríkisins árið 2015, sem ætlað er að renni til starfsemi stjórnmálasamtakanna Dögunar, til embættis Skattrannsóknarstjóra, til kaupa á gögnum um fjármuni í erlendum skattaskjólum.

 

Dögun – stjórnmálasamtök um réttlæti, sanngirni og lýðræði, skorar hér með á önnur stjórnmálasamtök eða flokka að taka þátt í þessu átaki og bjóða slíkt hið sama.

 

Formenn allra stjórnmálasamtaka og flokka sem fá framlag frá íslenska ríkinu fá senda þessa áskorun í ábyrgðarpósti. Dögun mun birta svörin jafnóðum og þau berast.

 

Dögun – stjórnmálasamtök um réttlæti, sanngirni og lýðræði, býðst einnig til að halda utan um sjóð frjálsra fjárframlaga einstaklinga, lögaðila og fyrirtækja til að kaupa gögn um fjármuni í erlendum skattaskjólum. Þau framlög verða endurgreidd ef ekki reynist þörf fyrir þau eða gefin áfram samkvæmt beiðni gefanda.

 

Reikningurinn er hjá Sparisjóði strandamanna og er númer 1161-05-250244 á kennitölu Dögunar, 670209-1050.

 

Dögun – stjórnmálasamtök um réttlæti, sanngirni og lýðræði.

 

Að skapa mótmæli

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Fim, 13/11/2014 - 18:39

Nú hafa  tvenn mótmæli verið á Austurvelli tvo síðustu mánudaga. Fyrst var mikið fjölmenni en seinni mánudaginn 1500-2500 manns. Sjálfsagt einhverjum vonbrigði og öðrum gleðigjafi. Gagnrýnisraddir hafa bent á að málflutningurinn sé of mjúkur og ekki nægjanlega afdráttalaus. Sjálfsagt eitthvað til í því en ég er þó ekki viss. Núna á mánudaginn var niðurskurði í heilbrigðiskerfinu mótmælt og er það því bein gagnrýni á núverandi stefnu stjórnvalda. Þess vegna finnst mér erfitt að kvarta yfir þokukenndum málflutningi. Að fá 2000 manns á Austurvöll er að sjálfsögðu afrek.

Það sem ég tel meginhvata allra mótmæla er hvort almenningur telji þau borga sig eða ekki. Það er, munu mótmælin breyta einhverju, munu þau leiða til einhvers. Ef almenningur finnur þefinn af því að getað áorkað einhverju, beitt sínu lýðræðislega valdi og komið á stefnubreytingu hjá valdhöfum er hann til í tuskið, annars ekki. Almenningur er ekki vitlaus, hvers vegna að frjósa og fá blöðubólgu ef það breytir ekki neinu, þá er jafngott að fara bara í Kringluna.

Kúnstin er að skapa mótmæli um eitthvað sem mögulegt er að breyta með mótmælum og þá verður fjandinn laus.

Russell Brand's 'Revolution' - Part 2, The Backlash

Media Lens - Mið, 12/11/2014 - 09:49
  From Messiah To Monty Python

If Julian Assange was initially perceived by many as a controversial but respected, even heroic, figure challenging power, the corporate media worked hard to change that perception in the summer of 2012. After Assange requested political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the faux-feminists and corporate leftists of the 'quality' liberal press waged war on his reputation.

This comment from the Guardian's Deborah Orr summed up the press zeitgeist:

'It's hard to believe that, until fairly recently, Julian Assange was hailed not just as a radical thinker, but as a radical achiever, too.'

A sentiment echoed by Christina Patterson of the Independent:

'Quite a feat to move from Messiah to Monty Python, but good old Julian Assange seems to have managed it.'

The Guardian's Suzanne Moore expressed what many implied:

'He really is the most massive turd.'

The attacks did more than just criticise Assange; they presented him as a ridiculous, shameful figure. Readers were to understand that he was now completely and permanently discredited.

We are all, to some extent, herd animals. When we witness an individual being subjected to relentless mockery of this kind from just about everyone across the media 'spectrum', it becomes a real challenge to continue taking that person seriously, let alone to continue supporting them. We know that doing so risks attracting the same abuse.

Below, we will see how many of the same corporate journalists are now directing a comparable campaign of abuse at Russell Brand in response to the publication of his book, 'Revolution'. The impact is perhaps indicated by the mild trepidation one of us experienced in tweeting this very reasonable comment from the book:

'Today humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet.' (p.345)

Sure enough, we immediately received this tweet in response:

'As a big supporter of your newsletters and books, I'm embarrassed by your promotion of Brand as some sort of visionary.'

In a rare defence of Brand, Mark Steel explained in the Independent:

'This week, by law, I have to deride Russell Brand as a self-obsessed, annoying idiot. No article or comment on Twitter can legally be written now unless it does this...'

Or as Boris Johnson noted, gleefully, in the Telegraph:

'Oh dear, what a fusillade of hatred against poor old Brandy Wandy. I have before me a slew of Sunday papers and in almost all there is a broadside against Russell Brand...'

Once again, the Guardian gatekeepers have poured scorn. Suzanne Moore lampooned 'the winklepickered Jesus Clown who preaches revolution', repeating 'Jesus Clown' four times. Moore mocked:

'To see him being brought to heel by an ancient Sex Pistol definitely adds to the gaiety of the nation.'

After all: 'A lot of what he says is sub-Chomskyian [sic] woo.'

An earlier version of Moore's article was even more damning: 'A lot of what he says is ghostwritten sub-Chomskyian woo.'

This was corrected by the Guardian after Moore received a letter from Brand's lawyers.

The Guardian's Hadley Freeman imperiously dismissed Brand's highly rational analysis of corporate psychopathology:

'I'm not entirely sure where he thinks he's going to go with this revolution idea because [SPOILER!] revolution is not going to happen. But all credit to the man for making politics seem sexy to teenagers. What he lacks, though - aside from specifics and an ability to listen to people other than himself - is judgment.'

Tanya Gold commented in the Guardian:

'His narcissism is not strange: he is a comic by trade, and is used to drooling rooms of strangers.'

In the Independent, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's patronising judgement was clear from the title:

'Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans - Politics needs to be cleaned up, not thrown into disarray by irresponsible populists'

Alibhai-Brown commented:

'It is heartening to see him mobbed by teenagers and young people... Brand, I fear, will only fail them.'

Grace Dent of the Independent perceived little point in throwing yet more mud:

'with the lack of a political colossus on the horizon like Tony Benn, we can make do with that guy from Get Him To The Greek who was once wed to Katy Perry. I shall resist pillorying Brand any further. He looks exhausted. I'm not entirely evil'.

Sarah Ditum sneered from the New Statesman:

'Russell Brand, clown that he is, is taken seriously by an awful lot of young men who see any criticism of the cartoon messiah's misogyny as a derail from "the real issues" (whatever they are).'

Brand fared little better among the male commentators of the liberal press. The title of David Runciman's Guardian review read:

'His manifesto is heavy going, light on politics and, in places, beyond parody. Has the leader of the rebellion missed his moment?'

Runciman wrote:

'This book is an uncomfortable mashup of the cosmic and the prosaic. Brand seems to believe they bolster each other. But really they just get in each other's way. He borrows ideas from various radical or progressive thinkers like David Graeber and Thomas Piketty but undercuts them with talk about yogic meditation.'

As we saw in the first part of this alert, there is a strong case for arguing that mindfulness – awareness of how we actually feel, as opposed to how corporate advertising tells us we should feel – can help deliver us from the shiny cage of passive consumerism to progressive activism.

Alas, 'too often he sounds like Gwyneth Paltrow without, er, the humour or the self-awareness. The worst of it is beyond parody... his revolution reads like soft-soap therapy where what's needed is something with a harder edge'.

Also in the Guardian, Martin Kettle dismissed 'the juvenile culture of Russell Brand's narcissistic anti-politics'.

Hard-right 'leftist' warmonger Nick Cohen of the 'left-of-centre' hard-right Observer was appalled. Having accumulated 28,000 followers on Twitter (we have 18,000) after decades in the national press spotlight, Cohen mocked the communication skills of a writer with 8 million followers:

'His writing is atrocious: long-winded, confused and smug; filled with references to books Brand has half read and thinkers he has half understood.'

This is completely false, as we saw; Brand has an extremely astute grasp of many of the key issues of our time.

As ever – think Assange, Greenwald, Snowden – dissidents are exposed as egoists by corporate media altruists:

'Brand is a religious narcissist, and if the British left falls for him, it will show itself to be beyond saving.'

Cohen strained so hard to cover Brand in ordure he splashed some on himself, commenting:

'Brand says that he is qualified to lead a global transformation...'

Not quite. Brand writes in his book:

'We don't want to replace Cameron with another leader: the position of leader elevates a particular set of behaviours.' (p.216)

And:

'There is no heroic revolutionary figure in whom we can invest hope, except for ourselves as individuals together.' (p.515)

Similarly, Cohen took the cheap shot of casually lampooning Brand's 'cranky' focus on meditation:

'Comrades, I am sure I do not need to tell you that no figure in the history of the left has seen Buddhism as a force for human emancipation.'

We tweeted in reply:

'@NickCohen4 "no figure in the history of the left has seen Buddhism as a force for human emancipation". Erich Fromm, for one.'

Cohen was so unimpressed by this response that he immediately blocked us on Twitter.

Writing from that other powerhouse of corporate dissent, the oligarch-owned Independent, Steve Richards praised Brand's style and decried the right-wing conformity of journalism, before providing an example of his own. He lamented Brand's 'vague banalities' and 'witty banalities':

'He is part of a disturbing phenomenon - the worship of unaccountable comedians who are not especially funny and who are limited in their perceptions... We await a revolutionary who plots what should happen as well as what is wrong.'

In the same newspaper, Howard Jacobson effortlessly won the prize for intellectual snobbery:

'When Russell Brand uses the word "hegemony" something dies in my soul.'

Oh dear, does he drop the 'haitch'? For Jacobson, who studied English at Cambridge under the renowned literary critic F.R. Leavis, it was 'a matter of regret' that Brand didn't 'stick to clowning'. Why? Because it detracts from the enjoyment of a comedian's efforts 'to discover they are fools in earnest'. Brand, alas, has not 'the first idea what serious thought is'. To read the book is to know just how utterly self-damning that last comment is.

James Bloodworth of the hard-right Left Foot Forward blog, commented in the Independent:

'Russell Brand is one of those people who talks a lot without ever really saying much.'

Bloodworth clumsily sought to mock Brand's clumsiness:

'Well-intentioned, he can often come across like the precocious student we all know who talks in the way they think an educated person ought to talk - all clever-sounding adjectives and look-at-me vocabulary.'

Words like 'hegemony', perhaps. Or as Nick Cohen wrote in 2013: 'He writes as if he is a precocious prepubescent rather than an adolescent...'

Bloodworth's damning conclusion:

'Millions of people may be fed up of the racket that is free market capitalism, but this really is Revolution as play, and in indulging it the left risks becoming a parody of itself.'

Russell Brand's 'Revolution' - Part 2, The Backlash

Media Lens - Mið, 12/11/2014 - 09:49
  From Messiah To Monty Python

If Julian Assange was initially perceived by many as a controversial but respected, even heroic, figure challenging power, the corporate media worked hard to change that perception in the summer of 2012. After Assange requested political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the faux-feminists and corporate leftists of the 'quality' liberal press waged war on his reputation.

This comment from the Guardian's Deborah Orr summed up the press zeitgeist:

'It's hard to believe that, until fairly recently, Julian Assange was hailed not just as a radical thinker, but as a radical achiever, too.'

A sentiment echoed by Christina Patterson of the Independent:

'Quite a feat to move from Messiah to Monty Python, but good old Julian Assange seems to have managed it.'

The Guardian's Suzanne Moore expressed what many implied:

'He really is the most massive turd.'

The attacks did more than just criticise Assange; they presented him as a ridiculous, shameful figure. Readers were to understand that he was now completely and permanently discredited.

We are all, to some extent, herd animals. When we witness an individual being subjected to relentless mockery of this kind from just about everyone across the media 'spectrum', it becomes a real challenge to continue taking that person seriously, let alone to continue supporting them. We know that doing so risks attracting the same abuse.

Below, we will see how many of the same corporate journalists are now directing a comparable campaign of abuse at Russell Brand in response to the publication of his book, 'Revolution'. The impact is perhaps indicated by the mild trepidation one of us experienced in tweeting this very reasonable comment from the book:

'Today humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet.' (p.345)

Sure enough, we immediately received this tweet in response:

'As a big supporter of your newsletters and books, I'm embarrassed by your promotion of Brand as some sort of visionary.'

In a rare defence of Brand, Mark Steel explained in the Independent:

'This week, by law, I have to deride Russell Brand as a self-obsessed, annoying idiot. No article or comment on Twitter can legally be written now unless it does this...'

Or as Boris Johnson noted, gleefully, in the Telegraph:

'Oh dear, what a fusillade of hatred against poor old Brandy Wandy. I have before me a slew of Sunday papers and in almost all there is a broadside against Russell Brand...'

Once again, the Guardian gatekeepers have poured scorn. Suzanne Moore lampooned 'the winklepickered Jesus Clown who preaches revolution', repeating 'Jesus Clown' four times. Moore mocked:

'To see him being brought to heel by an ancient Sex Pistol definitely adds to the gaiety of the nation.'

After all: 'A lot of what he says is sub-Chomskyian [sic] woo.'

An earlier version of Moore's article was even more damning: 'A lot of what he says is ghostwritten sub-Chomskyian woo.'

This was corrected by the Guardian after Moore received a letter from Brand's lawyers.

The Guardian's Hadley Freeman imperiously dismissed Brand's highly rational analysis of corporate psychopathology:

'I'm not entirely sure where he thinks he's going to go with this revolution idea because [SPOILER!] revolution is not going to happen. But all credit to the man for making politics seem sexy to teenagers. What he lacks, though - aside from specifics and an ability to listen to people other than himself - is judgment.'

Tanya Gold commented in the Guardian:

'His narcissism is not strange: he is a comic by trade, and is used to drooling rooms of strangers.'

In the Independent, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's patronising judgement was clear from the title:

'Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans - Politics needs to be cleaned up, not thrown into disarray by irresponsible populists'

Alibhai-Brown commented:

'It is heartening to see him mobbed by teenagers and young people... Brand, I fear, will only fail them.'

Grace Dent of the Independent perceived little point in throwing yet more mud:

'with the lack of a political colossus on the horizon like Tony Benn, we can make do with that guy from Get Him To The Greek who was once wed to Katy Perry. I shall resist pillorying Brand any further. He looks exhausted. I'm not entirely evil'.

Sarah Ditum sneered from the New Statesman:

'Russell Brand, clown that he is, is taken seriously by an awful lot of young men who see any criticism of the cartoon messiah's misogyny as a derail from "the real issues" (whatever they are).'

Brand fared little better among the male commentators of the liberal press. The title of David Runciman's Guardian review read:

'His manifesto is heavy going, light on politics and, in places, beyond parody. Has the leader of the rebellion missed his moment?'

Runciman wrote:

'This book is an uncomfortable mashup of the cosmic and the prosaic. Brand seems to believe they bolster each other. But really they just get in each other's way. He borrows ideas from various radical or progressive thinkers like David Graeber and Thomas Piketty but undercuts them with talk about yogic meditation.'

As we saw in the first part of this alert, there is a strong case for arguing that mindfulness – awareness of how we actually feel, as opposed to how corporate advertising tells us we should feel – can help deliver us from the shiny cage of passive consumerism to progressive activism.

Alas, 'too often he sounds like Gwyneth Paltrow without, er, the humour or the self-awareness. The worst of it is beyond parody... his revolution reads like soft-soap therapy where what's needed is something with a harder edge'.

Also in the Guardian, Martin Kettle dismissed 'the juvenile culture of Russell Brand's narcissistic anti-politics'.

Hard-right 'leftist' warmonger Nick Cohen of the 'left-of-centre' hard-right Observer was appalled. Having accumulated 28,000 followers on Twitter (we have 18,000) after decades in the national press spotlight, Cohen mocked the communication skills of a writer with 8 million followers:

'His writing is atrocious: long-winded, confused and smug; filled with references to books Brand has half read and thinkers he has half understood.'

This is completely false, as we saw; Brand has an extremely astute grasp of many of the key issues of our time.

As ever – think Assange, Greenwald, Snowden – dissidents are exposed as egoists by corporate media altruists:

'Brand is a religious narcissist, and if the British left falls for him, it will show itself to be beyond saving.'

Cohen strained so hard to cover Brand in ordure he splashed some on himself, commenting:

'Brand says that he is qualified to lead a global transformation...'

Not quite. Brand writes in his book:

'We don't want to replace Cameron with another leader: the position of leader elevates a particular set of behaviours.' (p.216)

And:

'There is no heroic revolutionary figure in whom we can invest hope, except for ourselves as individuals together.' (p.515)

Similarly, Cohen took the cheap shot of casually lampooning Brand's 'cranky' focus on meditation:

'Comrades, I am sure I do not need to tell you that no figure in the history of the left has seen Buddhism as a force for human emancipation.'

We tweeted in reply:

'@NickCohen4 "no figure in the history of the left has seen Buddhism as a force for human emancipation". Erich Fromm, for one.'

Cohen was so unimpressed by this response that he immediately blocked us on Twitter.

Writing from that other powerhouse of corporate dissent, the oligarch-owned Independent, Steve Richards praised Brand's style and decried the right-wing conformity of journalism, before providing an example of his own. He lamented Brand's 'vague banalities' and 'witty banalities':

'He is part of a disturbing phenomenon - the worship of unaccountable comedians who are not especially funny and who are limited in their perceptions... We await a revolutionary who plots what should happen as well as what is wrong.'

In the same newspaper, Howard Jacobson effortlessly won the prize for intellectual snobbery:

'When Russell Brand uses the word "hegemony" something dies in my soul.'

Oh dear, does he drop the 'haitch'? For Jacobson, who studied English at Cambridge under the renowned literary critic F.R. Leavis, it was 'a matter of regret' that Brand didn't 'stick to clowning'. Why? Because it detracts from the enjoyment of a comedian's efforts 'to discover they are fools in earnest'. Brand, alas, has not 'the first idea what serious thought is'. To read the book is to know just how utterly self-damning that last comment is.

James Bloodworth of the hard-right Left Foot Forward blog, commented in the Independent:

'Russell Brand is one of those people who talks a lot without ever really saying much.'

Bloodworth clumsily sought to mock Brand's clumsiness:

'Well-intentioned, he can often come across like the precocious student we all know who talks in the way they think an educated person ought to talk - all clever-sounding adjectives and look-at-me vocabulary.'

Words like 'hegemony', perhaps. Or as Nick Cohen wrote in 2013: 'He writes as if he is a precocious prepubescent rather than an adolescent...'

Bloodworth's damning conclusion:

'Millions of people may be fed up of the racket that is free market capitalism, but this really is Revolution as play, and in indulging it the left risks becoming a parody of itself.'

Russell Brand's 'Revolution' - Part 1, 'The Fun Bus'

Media Lens - Þri, 11/11/2014 - 14:27

On October 23, 2013, Russell Brand appeared to crash through the filter system protecting the public from dissident opinion.

His 10-minute interview with Jeremy Paxman on the BBC's Newsnight programme not only attracted millions of viewers - the YouTube hit-counter stands at 10.6 million - it won considerable praise and support from corporate journalists on Twitter. Brand was arguing for 'revolution' and yet was flavour of the month, cool to like. Something didn't add up.

The hook for the interview was Brand's guest-editing of New Statesman magazine, promoted by him in a video that featured editor Jason Cowley giggling excitedly in the background among besuited corporate journalists. Again, this seemed curious: why would a drab, 'left of centre' (i.e., corporate party political) magazine support someone calling for a 'Revolution of consciousness'?

The answer is perhaps easier to fathom now than it was then, for time has not been kind either to the Newsnight interview or the New Statesman guest issue.

It is clear that an unprepared Brand was largely winging it with Paxman. In response to the predictable question of what political alternative he was proposing, Brand replied:

'Well, I've not invented it yet, Jeremy. I had to do a magazine last week. I had a lot on my plate. But here's the thing it shouldn't do. Shouldn't destroy the planet. Shouldn't create massive economic disparity. Shouldn't ignore the needs of the people. The burden of proof is on the people with the power, not people doing a magazine.'

In his new book, 'Revolution,' Brand recognises that the first part of this response 'ain't gonna butter no spuds on Newsnight or Fox News' (Brand, 'Revolution', Century, 2014, ebook, p.415) and he is clearly keen to move on from 'the policy-bare days of the Paxman interview' (p.417). On the other hand, the second part of Brand's answer helps explain the huge impact of the interview – he was speaking out with a level of passionate sincerity and conviction that are just not seen in today's manufactured, conformist, marketing-led media. Brand looked real, human. He was telling the truth!

Similarly, the New Statesman guest edition was a curious hodgepodge, with good articles by Brand, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky alongside offerings from BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker, rock squib Noel Gallagher, actors Alec Baldwin and Rupert Everett, multi-millionaire entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox, and even Russian media oligarch, Evgeny Lebedev. This was revolution as some kind of unscripted celebrity pantomime.

Brand's Newsnight performance, then, was an inspiring cri de coeur. But a 10-minute, impassioned, ill-formed demand for 'Change!' from a lone comedian is not a problem for the media's gatekeepers. It makes for great television, enhances the illusion that the media is open and inclusive, and can be quickly forgotten – no harm done.

 

Killing Corporate Power – Humanity's Stark Choice

Brand's new book, 'Revolution,' is different – the focus is clear, specific and fiercely anti-corporate. As we will see in Part 2 of this alert, the media reaction is also different.

Brand begins by describing the grotesque levels of modern inequality:

'Oxfam say a bus with the eighty-five richest people in the world on it would contain more wealth than the collective assets of half the earth's population – that's three-and-a-half billion people.' (p.34)

And:

'The richest 1 per cent of British people have as much as the poorest 55 per cent.' (p.34)

But even these facts do not begin to describe the full scale of the current crisis:

'The same interests that benefit from this... need, in order to maintain it, to deplete the earth's resources so rapidly, violently and irresponsibly that our planet's ability to support human life is being threatened.' (p.36)

For example:

'Global warming is totally real, it has been empirically proven, and the only people who tell you it's not real are, yes, people who make money from creating the conditions that cause it. (pp.539-540)

We are therefore at a crossroads:

'"Today humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet."

'The reason the occupants of the [elite] fun bus are so draconian in their defence of the economy is that they have decided to ditch the planet.' (p.345)

And so 'we require radical action fast, and that radical action will not come from the very interests that created and benefit from things being the way they are. The one place we cannot look for change is to the occupants of the bejewelled bus.' (p.42)

The problem, then, is that 'we live under a tyranny'. (p.550) The US, in particular, 'acts like an army that enforces the business interests of the corporations it is allied to'. (p.493)

But this is more than just a crude, Big Brother totalitarian state:

'A small minority cannot control an uncooperative majority, so they must be distracted, divided, tyrannised or anaesthetised into compliance...' which means 'the colonisation of consciousness by corporations'. (p.165)

Brand notes that 70 per cent of the UK press is controlled by three companies, 90 per cent of the US press by six:

'The people that own the means for conveying information, who decide what knowledge enters our minds, are on the fun bus.' (p.592)

He even manages a swipe at the 'quality' liberal press:

'Remember, the people who tell you this can't work, in government, on Fox News or MSNBC, or in op-eds in the Guardian or the Spectator, or wherever, are people with a vested interest in things staying the same.' (p.514)

Thus, the 'political process' is a nonsense: 'voting is pointless, democracy a façade' (p.45): 'a bloke with a nice smile and an angle is swept into power after a more obviously despicable regime and then behaves more or less exactly like his predecessors'. (p.431)

The highly debatable merit of voting aside, anyone with an ounce of awareness will accept pretty much everything Brand has to say above. Put simply, he's right – this is the current state of people, planet and politics. A catastrophic environmental collapse is very rapidly approaching with nothing substantive being done to make it better and everything being done to make it worse.

Even if we disagree with everything else he has to say, every sane person has an interest in supporting Brand's call to action to stop this corporate genocide and biocide. A thought we might bear in mind when we subsequently turn to the corporate media reaction.

Russell Brand's 'Revolution' - Part 1, 'The Fun Bus'

Media Lens - Þri, 11/11/2014 - 14:27

On October 23, 2013, Russell Brand appeared to crash through the filter system protecting the public from dissident opinion.

His 10-minute interview with Jeremy Paxman on the BBC's Newsnight programme not only attracted millions of viewers - the YouTube hit-counter stands at 10.6 million - it won considerable praise and support from corporate journalists on Twitter. Brand was arguing for 'revolution' and yet was flavour of the month, cool to like. Something didn't add up.

The hook for the interview was Brand's guest-editing of New Statesman magazine, promoted by him in a video that featured editor Jason Cowley giggling excitedly in the background among besuited corporate journalists. Again, this seemed curious: why would a drab, 'left of centre' (i.e., corporate party political) magazine support someone calling for a 'Revolution of consciousness'?

The answer is perhaps easier to fathom now than it was then, for time has not been kind either to the Newsnight interview or the New Statesman guest issue.

It is clear that an unprepared Brand was largely winging it with Paxman. In response to the predictable question of what political alternative he was proposing, Brand replied:

'Well, I've not invented it yet, Jeremy. I had to do a magazine last week. I had a lot on my plate. But here's the thing it shouldn't do. Shouldn't destroy the planet. Shouldn't create massive economic disparity. Shouldn't ignore the needs of the people. The burden of proof is on the people with the power, not people doing a magazine.'

In his new book, 'Revolution,' Brand recognises that the first part of this response 'ain't gonna butter no spuds on Newsnight or Fox News' (Brand, 'Revolution', Century, 2014, ebook, p.415) and he is clearly keen to move on from 'the policy-bare days of the Paxman interview' (p.417). On the other hand, the second part of Brand's answer helps explain the huge impact of the interview – he was speaking out with a level of passionate sincerity and conviction that are just not seen in today's manufactured, conformist, marketing-led media. Brand looked real, human. He was telling the truth!

Similarly, the New Statesman guest edition was a curious hodgepodge, with good articles by Brand, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky alongside offerings from BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker, rock squib Noel Gallagher, actors Alec Baldwin and Rupert Everett, multi-millionaire entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox, and even Russian media oligarch, Evgeny Lebedev. This was revolution as some kind of unscripted celebrity pantomime.

Brand's Newsnight performance, then, was an inspiring cri de coeur. But a 10-minute, impassioned, ill-formed demand for 'Change!' from a lone comedian is not a problem for the media's gatekeepers. It makes for great television, enhances the illusion that the media is open and inclusive, and can be quickly forgotten – no harm done.

 

Killing Corporate Power – Humanity's Stark Choice

Brand's new book, 'Revolution,' is different – the focus is clear, specific and fiercely anti-corporate. As we will see in Part 2 of this alert, the media reaction is also different.

Brand begins by describing the grotesque levels of modern inequality:

'Oxfam say a bus with the eighty-five richest people in the world on it would contain more wealth than the collective assets of half the earth's population – that's three-and-a-half billion people.' (p.34)

And:

'The richest 1 per cent of British people have as much as the poorest 55 per cent.' (p.34)

But even these facts do not begin to describe the full scale of the current crisis:

'The same interests that benefit from this... need, in order to maintain it, to deplete the earth's resources so rapidly, violently and irresponsibly that our planet's ability to support human life is being threatened.' (p.36)

For example:

'Global warming is totally real, it has been empirically proven, and the only people who tell you it's not real are, yes, people who make money from creating the conditions that cause it. (pp.539-540)

We are therefore at a crossroads:

'"Today humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet."

'The reason the occupants of the [elite] fun bus are so draconian in their defence of the economy is that they have decided to ditch the planet.' (p.345)

And so 'we require radical action fast, and that radical action will not come from the very interests that created and benefit from things being the way they are. The one place we cannot look for change is to the occupants of the bejewelled bus.' (p.42)

The problem, then, is that 'we live under a tyranny'. (p.550) The US, in particular, 'acts like an army that enforces the business interests of the corporations it is allied to'. (p.493)

But this is more than just a crude, Big Brother totalitarian state:

'A small minority cannot control an uncooperative majority, so they must be distracted, divided, tyrannised or anaesthetised into compliance...' which means 'the colonisation of consciousness by corporations'. (p.165)

Brand notes that 70 per cent of the UK press is controlled by three companies, 90 per cent of the US press by six:

'The people that own the means for conveying information, who decide what knowledge enters our minds, are on the fun bus.' (p.592)

He even manages a swipe at the 'quality' liberal press:

'Remember, the people who tell you this can't work, in government, on Fox News or MSNBC, or in op-eds in the Guardian or the Spectator, or wherever, are people with a vested interest in things staying the same.' (p.514)

Thus, the 'political process' is a nonsense: 'voting is pointless, democracy a façade' (p.45): 'a bloke with a nice smile and an angle is swept into power after a more obviously despicable regime and then behaves more or less exactly like his predecessors'. (p.431)

The highly debatable merit of voting aside, anyone with an ounce of awareness will accept pretty much everything Brand has to say above. Put simply, he's right – this is the current state of people, planet and politics. A catastrophic environmental collapse is very rapidly approaching with nothing substantive being done to make it better and everything being done to make it worse.

Even if we disagree with everything else he has to say, every sane person has an interest in supporting Brand's call to action to stop this corporate genocide and biocide. A thought we might bear in mind when we subsequently turn to the corporate media reaction.

”one way tickets”

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Fim, 06/11/2014 - 21:01

Agnes Bragadóttir blaðamaður Morgunblaðsins gerir okkur það gustukaverk að koma kjarabaráttu lækna inná rétt spor stéttarbaráttu. Það rifjar upp að þegar við unglæknar fórum í eins dag verkfall um árið en þá sagði besti vinur Davíðs, þáverandi Fjármálaráðherra, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson að við hefðum allir 800 þús á mánuði þegar enginn hafði meira en 500 þús. Elítan sér um sína hvort sem þeir kalla sig vinstir eða hægri. Skítlegt eðli er nothæft þegar hætta er á því að læknar brjóti múrinn og skapi fordæmi sem aðrir gætu nýtt sér.

Hið opinbera mun reyna að hækka laun lækna eins lítið og mögulegt er og þess vegna er PR starfið komið í gang. Allt of mikið er í húfi segir Seðlabankastjóri, sjálfur efnahagsstöðugleiki Íslands, segir gamli vinstri maðurinn Már sem sennilega var endurræstur í Basel. Nei verkamaðurinn skal ekki fá sinn hlut af framleiðslunni, enda hvað framleiða nú læknar hvort sem er?

Eftir Gúttóslaginn voru margir sárir og enginn lögreglumaður í Reykjavík ósár. Verkamenn hefðu þá nótt getað tekið völdin á Íslandi. Læknar hafa engan áhuga á slíku. Þeir vilja bara mannsæmandi laun, að sérfræðingar flytji ekki utan aftur, að ungir sérfræðingar komi heim og fylli í skörðin og geri það mögulegt að reka hér mjög góða heilbrigðisþjónustu.

Ef Agnes Braga vill endilega endurtaka Gúttóslaginn í þágu sinna umbjóðenda munu þau engöngu uppskera aukna sölu á ”one way  tickets” hjá Icelandair..frá Íslandi.

A Match Made In Heaven - President Obama And The BBC’s John Simpson

Media Lens - Mán, 03/11/2014 - 01:27

Sometimes a piece of propaganda is so glaring you almost have to splash cold water on your face to make sure your eyes are not deceiving you. Take a bow John Simpson, the grandly titled 'World Affairs Editor' of BBC News. You don't earn a moniker like that by offending the global power elite. But is it really necessary to genuflect before US President Barack Obama as Simpson did in a recent article masquerading as informed commentary?

Simpson began poetically:

'On a chilly November night in 2008 I stood with my camera crew in Grant Park, in Chicago, and watched the new 44th president of the United States being greeted by his ecstatic supporters.

'It was a magnificent, unforgettable moment.'

He added:

'I had heard several of his speeches and knew what a moving and thoughtful orator he could be.'

Simpson, in other words, like so many corporate journalists, gets that lovely warm feeling in his tummy in the presence of Great Power devoted to the cause of doing Great Good. As a Guardian leader simpered in 2008:

'Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America's hope and, in no small way, ours too.'

Simpson, though, had 'a nagging question' in his mind about Barack Obama. What could this be? That Obama was a fabricated PR puppet? That he would turn out to be like all modern American presidents - a heavily-marketed figurehead for elite US corporate, financial and military interests? That he would maintain, perhaps even intensify, the grip of US imperial power around the globe? Not exactly. Rather, it was that Simpson:

'had a nasty feeling that he wanted me and everyone else he met to like him.'

The veteran BBC journalist 'found that worrying.' After all, Simpson had 'spent much of my career reporting on strong political leaders who didn't care whether you liked them or not.' His finely-attuned journalistic antennae were twitching that Obama might not be up to the job. Indeed now, six years later, 'it's hard to imagine that Barack Obama can possibly be judged a success when he leaves office.' You could almost hear Simpson sigh:

'In a way, it's deeply unfair.'

After all, claimed the BBC man, the 'economic judgement' of Obama is 'clearly positive'. Informed commentators may well beg to differ. Noam Chomsky, for example:

'If you take a look at the [US] economy that is being created, it's one in which real wages for male workers are back to the level of 1968. Over the last decade, about 95% of the growth has gone to 1% of the population. This is not a functioning economy. Just take a look around the country. The infrastructure's collapsing. There's a huge amount of work that has to be done. There are eager hands, tens of millions of people trying to get work, there are plenty of resources, corporate profits are going through the roof, the banks and financial institutions are rich. They don't invest it, but they've got it. [...] If you look at the unpeople (the majority of the population), their economic positions, wages and income have pretty much stagnated or else declined for a generation. Is that an economy that's working?'

A Match Made In Heaven - President Obama And The BBC’s John Simpson

Media Lens - Mán, 03/11/2014 - 01:27

Sometimes a piece of propaganda is so glaring you almost have to splash cold water on your face to make sure your eyes are not deceiving you. Take a bow John Simpson, the grandly titled 'World Affairs Editor' of BBC News. You don't earn a moniker like that by offending the global power elite. But is it really necessary to genuflect before US President Barack Obama as Simpson did in a recent article masquerading as informed commentary?

Simpson began poetically:

'On a chilly November night in 2008 I stood with my camera crew in Grant Park, in Chicago, and watched the new 44th president of the United States being greeted by his ecstatic supporters.

'It was a magnificent, unforgettable moment.'

He added:

'I had heard several of his speeches and knew what a moving and thoughtful orator he could be.'

Simpson, in other words, like so many corporate journalists, gets that lovely warm feeling in his tummy in the presence of Great Power devoted to the cause of doing Great Good. As a Guardian leader simpered in 2008:

'Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America's hope and, in no small way, ours too.'

Simpson, though, had 'a nagging question' in his mind about Barack Obama. What could this be? That Obama was a fabricated PR puppet? That he would turn out to be like all modern American presidents - a heavily-marketed figurehead for elite US corporate, financial and military interests? That he would maintain, perhaps even intensify, the grip of US imperial power around the globe? Not exactly. Rather, it was that Simpson:

'had a nasty feeling that he wanted me and everyone else he met to like him.'

The veteran BBC journalist 'found that worrying.' After all, Simpson had 'spent much of my career reporting on strong political leaders who didn't care whether you liked them or not.' His finely-attuned journalistic antennae were twitching that Obama might not be up to the job. Indeed now, six years later, 'it's hard to imagine that Barack Obama can possibly be judged a success when he leaves office.' You could almost hear Simpson sigh:

'In a way, it's deeply unfair.'

After all, claimed the BBC man, the 'economic judgement' of Obama is 'clearly positive'. Informed commentators may well beg to differ. Noam Chomsky, for example:

'If you take a look at the [US] economy that is being created, it's one in which real wages for male workers are back to the level of 1968. Over the last decade, about 95% of the growth has gone to 1% of the population. This is not a functioning economy. Just take a look around the country. The infrastructure's collapsing. There's a huge amount of work that has to be done. There are eager hands, tens of millions of people trying to get work, there are plenty of resources, corporate profits are going through the roof, the banks and financial institutions are rich. They don't invest it, but they've got it. [...] If you look at the unpeople (the majority of the population), their economic positions, wages and income have pretty much stagnated or else declined for a generation. Is that an economy that's working?'

Bók Margrétar-Útistöður

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Fim, 30/10/2014 - 19:53

Ég er búinn að lesa bókina og finnst hún góð, meira að segja mjög góð. Frásögnin spannar mjög athyglisvert tímabil í sögu Íslands. Þjóðlífið var opið í báða enda og allt gat gerst. Sjaldan hefur verið jafn víðtæk gerjun í þjóðfélaginu. Margrét segir okkur listilega frá þætti sínum á löggjafarsamkundu okkar og pólitísku starfi sínu.
Það sem mér þótti athyglisverðast var frásögnin af stjórnarskrármálinu. Það var mikið rætt um nýja stjórnarskrá strax eftir hrunið. Hugmyndin var að auka vald almennings á kostnað kjörinna fulltrúa með nýrri stjórnarskrá. Með sameiginlegu átaki þeirra sem óttast aukin völd til almennings tókst að stöðva þessa tilraun. Þau öfl sem halda þjóðarauðnum í heljargreipum hefur því tekist að virkja hégómagirnd þingmanna fjórflokksins sem hafa ekki getað séð af völdum ”sínum”.
Almenningi hefði verið í lófa lagið að krefjast þess með mótmælum að nýja stjórnarskráin héldi lífi en gerði það ekki. Sjálfsagt margar ástæður fyrir því en aðallega að almeningur skynjaði ekki vitjunartíma sinn né vald sitt. Ef almenningur vill sinn réttláta skerf af þjóðarauðnum til að reka hér gott þjóðfélag fyrir alla verður hann að taka sig taki og hætta að gagnrýnislaust treysta fjórflokknum eins og Guði almáttugum.
Hvað um það ég get virkilega mælt með bók Margrétar og tel hana góða heimild um tímabilið sem um er fjallað.

Réttlæti

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Þri, 14/10/2014 - 23:18

100 manns eru á eyðieyju en bara 10 manns borða allan matinn.
Þegar horft er yfir sviðið hér á landi þá er erfitt að fyllast einhverri bjartsýni. Sífellt háværari kór kveður sér hljóðs og mælist til þess að gjaldeyrishöftunum verði lyft. Mestar líkur eru þá á öðru hruni ef mið er tekið af reynslu annarra þjóða. Skiptigengisleiðin er fær og minnkar skaða almennings en umboðsmenn almennings hafa ekki ljáð máls á henni ennþá. Því er líklegast að auðmenn muni græða mest á afléttingu gjaldeyrishaftanna og mætti halda að framkvæmdavaldið væri á prósentum hjá auðmönnum. Því miður eru flestir Alþingismenn strengjabrúður.
Annað stórt vandamál er að við höfum ekki efni á að reka velferðakerfið okkar og hvað þá að reisa nýjan spítala fyrir þjóðina. Á sama tíma er skattheimta á þá ríkustu minnkuð og jafnvel aukin á hina. Gróði bankanna og sjávarútvegsins er mikill. Hann dugar vel í gatið hjá ríkinu. Það er því réttlætismál að þjóðnýta þennan gróða. Hvernig getur maður annars réttlætt hann meðan fólk á ekki fyrir mat eða lyfjum og meðal Jóninn nær ekki endum saman í einu ríkasta landi heims.
Vigdís Hauks ætlar að skera niður hjá ríkinu til að auðmenn geti setið á friðarstóli með sinn gróða.
Það sem er þó sorglegast er að allt þetta óréttlæti er í boði íslensku þjóðarinnar sem kaus viðkomandi sjónarmið til valda.
Þegar þessi 90 sem fá ekkert að borða munu skilja samhengi hlutanna og upplifa vald sitt mun allt breytast á Íslandi. Á meðan það gerist ekki erum við ekki nægjanlega hungruð í réttlæti til að standa saman sem einn maður.

The Establishment - Andrew Marr And Owen Jones

Media Lens - Þri, 14/10/2014 - 12:29

Picture the scene: No.10 Downing Street, September 16: 'a gentlemen's-club-style reception room, given factitious poshness by two marble pillars'. The event: a book launch party hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron himself to 'mark the publication' of a political novel, 'Head of State', by the BBC's senior interviewer and former political editor, Andrew Marr.

Reporting for the Independent, eyewitness John Walsh saw the significance:

'To see how the establishment operates, you really needed to be at this week's launch party for Andrew Marr's new book.'

Walsh noted that the room was packed with political and media bigwigs:

'Jeremy Hunt, George Osborne, Yvette Cooper. Journalists talked to each other, eyes busily flickering, desperate not to miss anything. Beside the bar stood Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman.'

The BBC's creative director, Alan Yentob, was there. So, too, was Lord Chadlington, or Peter Gummer - brother of John Selwyn Gummer, or Lord Deben, former chairman of the Conservative Party - who 'has long-standing links' to David Cameron, is President of the Prime Minister's Witney Conservative constituency association and 'lives in a manor house that neighbours Mr Cameron's Oxfordshire home'. Chadlington is also chief executive of Huntsworth, a major public relations firm. In 2011, Cameron bought a plot of land from Chadlington for £140,000, the latter having donated £10,000 to Cameron personally to fund his 2005 run for the Conservative leadership.

John Walsh describes Lord Chadlington 'as the link between Marr and David Cameron', adding of Marr's fictional debut:

'It was [Chadlington] who gave Marr the central idea for the plot; his name is on the book's copyright page; there's an introductory note about him by Marr, and another one by himself, delivering his imprimatur.'

If that sounds chummy, so, too, did Cameron, commenting in his speech at the book launch:

'I haven't read Andy's book yet, but I gather it's about political assassination. After the week I've had, that sounds like a very welcome idea...'

One wonders just how favoured Marr must be to receive such gracious treatment from the unlovely Tory grandees he is supposed to be holding to account.

Remarkably, an awkward question managed to breach the bonhomie. Liz Thomson, co-editor of the website 'Book-Brunch', asked Marr if having Cameron host the book launch 'mightn't compromise his position as impartial political interviewer for the BBC'. (Private Eye, Books & Bookmen column, Issue 1376, 19 September - 2 October, 2014)

According to Private Eye magazine, Marr became 'very defensive indeed'. Marr's wife, Jackie Ashley – Guardian columnist and daughter of Lord Ashley of Stoke – buttonholed Thomson, declaring, 'you've ruined my evening'. Ashley subsequently 'resumed the harangue, calling [Thomson] 'despicable' and 'a B-I-T-C-H'.

It says plenty about the state of modern journalism that Ashley was appalled that one of the BBC's most senior political journalists should be asked the one question that cried out to be raised. Or perhaps she would think nothing of her husband having his book launch party hosted by Putin, or Assad, or Maduro. Or, more to the point, of a leading Russian journalist teaming up with Putin in the same way.

Ironically, in his book, 'My Trade', Marr was happy to discuss the issue:

'If you really talk with a politician about their in tray, and the problems of rival departments, or of dodgy past initiatives, it is hard to avoid seeing things their way. The same perspective that gives you insight, also blunts your hostility... then you drift closer to them emotionally and may very well flinch from putting the boot in when they have failed in some way.' (Andrew Marr, 'My Trade - A Short History of British Journalism,' Macmillan, London, 2004, p.184)

Also ironically, the problem was explored in a WikiLeaks cable from the US Embassy in London to Hilary Clinton:

'On the public diplomacy side, I hope you can take some time out to tape an interview with leading British journalist Andrew Marr, to be broadcast on his Sunday morning BBC TV talk show... It would be a powerful way for you to set out our priorities for Afghanistan/Pakistan, and underline our premier partnership with the United Kingdom. Marr is a congenial and knowledgeable interviewer who will offer maximum impact for your investment of time.'

It is not, then, that Marr is biased towards the Conservatives. Indeed, in 2005, the former BBC reporter and producer, Tim Luckhurst, wrote in the Daily Mail:

'Andrew Marr has dismayed licence-payers with apologias for New Labour in general and Tony Blair in particular... Such conscientious rewriting of history deserves a place in George Orwell's 1984, not on a national television station funded by the taxpayer.' (Luckhurst, 'As John Humphrys announces his retirement. The giant the BBC hasn't got the guts to replace,' Daily Mail, May 3, 2005)

A wry comment piece in the Evening Standard was 'amazed' by the launch party: 'we simply had no idea that Marr and Cameron were such close chums'. After all:

'it just doesn't seem that long ago that Marr and his wife... were staunch allies of Cameron's rivals, hosting intimate dinner parties for Labourites Tony Blair, David Miliband and Tessa Jowell. Blair even returned the favour by having the pair over at Chequers, back when he had the keys'.

Historian Walter Karp observed:

'It is a bitter irony of source journalism that the most esteemed journalists are precisely the most servile. For it is by making themselves useful to the powerful that they gain access to the "best" sources.' (Quoted Sharon Beder, Global Spin, Green Books, 1997, p.199)

True. And notice that the BBC is not owned - no gimlet-eyed media mogul is either available, or required, to pressure Marr to obey rules that are perfectly understood for all that they are unwritten.

The Establishment - Andrew Marr And Owen Jones

Media Lens - Þri, 14/10/2014 - 12:29

Picture the scene: No.10 Downing Street, September 16: 'a gentlemen's-club-style reception room, given factitious poshness by two marble pillars'. The event: a book launch party hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron himself to 'mark the publication' of a political novel, 'Head of State', by the BBC's senior interviewer and former political editor, Andrew Marr.

Reporting for the Independent, eyewitness John Walsh saw the significance:

'To see how the establishment operates, you really needed to be at this week's launch party for Andrew Marr's new book.'

Walsh noted that the room was packed with political and media bigwigs:

'Jeremy Hunt, George Osborne, Yvette Cooper. Journalists talked to each other, eyes busily flickering, desperate not to miss anything. Beside the bar stood Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman.'

The BBC's creative director, Alan Yentob, was there. So, too, was Lord Chadlington, or Peter Gummer - brother of John Selwyn Gummer, or Lord Deben, former chairman of the Conservative Party - who 'has long-standing links' to David Cameron, is President of the Prime Minister's Witney Conservative constituency association and 'lives in a manor house that neighbours Mr Cameron's Oxfordshire home'. Chadlington is also chief executive of Huntsworth, a major public relations firm. In 2011, Cameron bought a plot of land from Chadlington for £140,000, the latter having donated £10,000 to Cameron personally to fund his 2005 run for the Conservative leadership.

John Walsh describes Lord Chadlington 'as the link between Marr and David Cameron', adding of Marr's fictional debut:

'It was [Chadlington] who gave Marr the central idea for the plot; his name is on the book's copyright page; there's an introductory note about him by Marr, and another one by himself, delivering his imprimatur.'

If that sounds chummy, so, too, did Cameron, commenting in his speech at the book launch:

'I haven't read Andy's book yet, but I gather it's about political assassination. After the week I've had, that sounds like a very welcome idea...'

One wonders just how favoured Marr must be to receive such gracious treatment from the unlovely Tory grandees he is supposed to be holding to account.

Remarkably, an awkward question managed to breach the bonhomie. Liz Thomson, co-editor of the website 'Book-Brunch', asked Marr if having Cameron host the book launch 'mightn't compromise his position as impartial political interviewer for the BBC'. (Private Eye, Books & Bookmen column, Issue 1376, 19 September - 2 October, 2014)

According to Private Eye magazine, Marr became 'very defensive indeed'. Marr's wife, Jackie Ashley – Guardian columnist and daughter of Lord Ashley of Stoke – buttonholed Thomson, declaring, 'you've ruined my evening'. Ashley subsequently 'resumed the harangue, calling [Thomson] 'despicable' and 'a B-I-T-C-H'.

It says plenty about the state of modern journalism that Ashley was appalled that one of the BBC's most senior political journalists should be asked the one question that cried out to be raised. Or perhaps she would think nothing of her husband having his book launch party hosted by Putin, or Assad, or Maduro. Or, more to the point, of a leading Russian journalist teaming up with Putin in the same way.

Ironically, in his book, 'My Trade', Marr was happy to discuss the issue:

'If you really talk with a politician about their in tray, and the problems of rival departments, or of dodgy past initiatives, it is hard to avoid seeing things their way. The same perspective that gives you insight, also blunts your hostility... then you drift closer to them emotionally and may very well flinch from putting the boot in when they have failed in some way.' (Andrew Marr, 'My Trade - A Short History of British Journalism,' Macmillan, London, 2004, p.184)

Also ironically, the problem was explored in a WikiLeaks cable from the US Embassy in London to Hilary Clinton:

'On the public diplomacy side, I hope you can take some time out to tape an interview with leading British journalist Andrew Marr, to be broadcast on his Sunday morning BBC TV talk show... It would be a powerful way for you to set out our priorities for Afghanistan/Pakistan, and underline our premier partnership with the United Kingdom. Marr is a congenial and knowledgeable interviewer who will offer maximum impact for your investment of time.'

It is not, then, that Marr is biased towards the Conservatives. Indeed, in 2005, the former BBC reporter and producer, Tim Luckhurst, wrote in the Daily Mail:

'Andrew Marr has dismayed licence-payers with apologias for New Labour in general and Tony Blair in particular... Such conscientious rewriting of history deserves a place in George Orwell's 1984, not on a national television station funded by the taxpayer.' (Luckhurst, 'As John Humphrys announces his retirement. The giant the BBC hasn't got the guts to replace,' Daily Mail, May 3, 2005)

A wry comment piece in the Evening Standard was 'amazed' by the launch party: 'we simply had no idea that Marr and Cameron were such close chums'. After all:

'it just doesn't seem that long ago that Marr and his wife... were staunch allies of Cameron's rivals, hosting intimate dinner parties for Labourites Tony Blair, David Miliband and Tessa Jowell. Blair even returned the favour by having the pair over at Chequers, back when he had the keys'.

Historian Walter Karp observed:

'It is a bitter irony of source journalism that the most esteemed journalists are precisely the most servile. For it is by making themselves useful to the powerful that they gain access to the "best" sources.' (Quoted Sharon Beder, Global Spin, Green Books, 1997, p.199)

True. And notice that the BBC is not owned - no gimlet-eyed media mogul is either available, or required, to pressure Marr to obey rules that are perfectly understood for all that they are unwritten.

and we stood at god’s feet, equal, as we are*

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir bloggar - Mán, 13/10/2014 - 22:35

Félagar; ég hef komist að því að best er að hafa bloggfærslur í númeruðum liðum. Þá getur maður verið bæði latur og heimskur og blandað öllu saman, sagt bara oggulítið um hvert atriði, sloppið auðveldlega eins og einhver djöfuls skattaskjólskapítalisti, eins og aumingi.

- – – – -

Í fyrsta lagi:
Sökum þess að ég er kjélling er ég á túr. Í dag er fyrsti í túr. Helgin fór í það sem stundum er kallað PMS af feðraveldinu en ég vil frekar kalla Via Dolorosa. Á Via Dolorosa gerist margt, eins og forðum daga. Td. er hægt að horfa tvisvar í röð á Jane Eyre, Fassbender útgáfuna. En ekki útaf honum, ekki pláss fyrir neitt svoleiðis á Via Dolorosa, heldur vegna Jane og tilveru hennar, þjáningarinnar, sorgarinnar, einstæðingsskapar hennar. Þjáningin, sjáiði til, hana eigum við konurnar allavega sameiginlega með Jesú. Að vera kona er að þjást; Jesú þjáist að eilífu í mannkynssögunni, píndur og kraminn, með blóð lekandi útúr mörgum götum og líka við, konurnar, píndar og lekandi. Það má nú aldeilis fella nokkur yfir því, ekki satt?

Á Via Dolorosa er líka hægt að liggja uppí rúmi og horfa útum gluggann á bláan himinn og skæla örlítið yfir því að maður sé inni en ætti að vera úti. Ó grimmi blái himinn, afhverju þarftu að vera svona vondur við mig? Það er líka hægt að hugsa um nammi og afhverju maður eigi ekki neitt, að í mesta lagi eigi maður suðusúkkulaði sem dugar ekki til neins á þessari leið. Gerir ekkert nema minna á að hægt væri að baka smákökur ef maður ætti ekki svona bágt. Það hefur verið grátið af minni ástæðum, það er engin skömm að segja frá því.

Svo er hægt að lesa. En Via Dolorosa er engin eyðieyja þar sem hægt er að vera þakklát fyrir að hafa í það minnsta bók með sér í litla bakpokanum svo maður geti látið hugann reika. Í fyrsta lagi er maður ekki með bakpoka með sér, heldur heila bölvun heils helmings mannkyns. Í öðru lagi velur almættið fyrir mann hvað maður á að lesa á Via Dolorosa. Þannig hefur það alltaf verið.

Nú var það engin smáræðis bók, The half has never been told: Slavery and the making of American capitalism. Hún er monumental og það eru engar ýkjur, um þrælahaldið í Bandaríkjunum, um fólkið sem stolið til að vinna og um fólkið sem græddi og græddi, um landið sem græddi og græddi á því að stela fólki, alvöru lifandi fólki til að láta það vinna frá því að það fæddist og þangað til það dó. Þvílíkt og annað eins, skal ég segja ykkur, en ég get varla sagt neitt meira afþví orðin mín festast í hálsinum á mér eða skríða uppí nefið á mér og reyna að potast útum augum á mér, í fljótandi formi, ég verð öll götótt og fer að leka. Og skammast mín fyrir að vera eitthvað að bulla um Via Dolorosa. Og get svo bara blótað, eins og þegar ég fæddi börnin, að fæða er að þjást, að fæðast kona er að þjást, að lesa þessa bók er að þjást, eins og þegar við vorum lítil og sáum í fyrsta skipti myndir úr útrýmingarbúðum, sáum fyrst myndirnar af augunum þeirra, þau störðu á okkur með þessum risastóru augum og við gleymdum að anda, það brotnaði eitthvað inní heilanum á okkur og við gátum ekki hætt að horfa í augun á þeim. Svoleiðis er þessi bók, þú gleymir að anda. Og allt sem þú veist um þrælahald er allt í einu ekki neitt, þú veist ekkert. Þessi bók segir við þig, eins og augun í fólkinu þegar þú varst lítil; haltu áfram, ekki hætta að horfa á okkur, þú veist ekkert, væna mín, ekki neitt, svo endilega farðu að grenja, væluskjóða, en það er kannski rétt að láta þig vita að þú ert ekki að fara að hætta því neitt strax aftur.

Svoleiðis er bókin, hún lætur mann fatta, það er eitt að vita og annað að fatta, eitt að vita af þrælahaldinu og annað að fatta maskínuna, risastóru pyntinga vélina sem gerði hvítt fólk ríkt og kramdi svart fólk. Maður fattar alveg, once and for all, maskínuna, og einhver rödd segir við mann: Mannstu, var ekki öllum kennt að ástæðan fyrir því að Þriðja ríkið var svona -Verra en allt annað- var sú að það var maskína og í því er óhugnaðurinn fólginn? Sjáðu þá þessa maskínu, sérðu hvað hún er stór? Hvað ætlarðu að segja um hana? Það þýðir ekkert að væla bara.

Ef þið viljið fá bókina sendið mér þá tölvupóst.

Hér ljóð eftir Charlotte Delbo, hún var ein af þeim sem störðu á okkur með risastóru augunum þegar við vorum lítil, ég tileinka bókinni ljóðið:

O you who know
did you know that hunger makes the eyes sparkle that thirst dims
them
O you who know
did you know that you can see your mother dead
and not shed a tear
O you who know
did you know that in the morning you wish for death
and in the evening you fear it
O you who know
did you know that a day is longer than a year
a minute longer than a lifetime
O you who know
did you know that legs are more vulnerable than eyes
nerves harder than bones
the heart firmer than steel
Did you know that the stones of the road do not weep
that there is one word only for dread
one for anguish
Did you know that suffering is limitless
that horror cannot be circumscribed
Did you know this
You who know.

Í annan stað:
Þetta las ég líka um helgina:

Hvers vegna gera samfélög mannréttinda og mannúðar loftárásir?

Gunnar Hersveinn rithöfundur ræðir um styrkleika mjúklyndis og veikleika harðlyndis á heimspekikaffi í Gerðubergi miðvikudaginn 15. október og Inga Dóra Pétursdóttir framkvæmdastýra UN Women á Íslandi, talar um birtingarmyndir ófriðar fyrir konur og börn í Afganistan en hún er nýkomin heim eftir hálfs árs vinnu í Afganistan á vegum friðargæslunnar sem kynjasérfræðingur hjá NATO.

Ég veit að ég er alltaf að segja Mind Boggled en Mind Boggled! Inga Dóra sem er framkvæmdarstýra kvennastarfs Sameinuðu þjóðanna á Íslandi vinnur líka fyrir Nató, sem kynjasérfræðingur. Kannski ræður ykkar heili alveg við þetta en minn gerir það alls ekki. Ég ætla ekkert að vera að þreyta ykkur með upptalningum á tölum um konur sem Nató hefur drepið, td. í Afganistan þegar þær hafa verið að þvælast að sækja eldivið, læt duga að segja Slatti, slatti hefur verið drepinn fyrir að vera kellingar sem eru svo vitlausar að vera afganskar kellingar. (Það er kannski dauðasök, enda frámunalega heimskulegt).

Er þetta í lagi? Um helgina þegar ég las þetta í blaðinu varð ég gasalega æst og fannst þetta alls ekki í lagi. En þá var ég við upphaf Via Dolorosa og kannski full agíteruð. Svo skil ég ekki frama og framalíf. Það er eitt af því sem ég skil verst af öllu. En það sem ég skil alveg verst af öllu er þetta: Hvernig er hægt að vera að vinna fyrir samtök sem segjast ma. ætla að -að uppræta ofbeldi gegn konum og stúlkum- og líka fyrir Nató? Má það? Er ekki eitthvað svona -code of honour- sem Sameinuðu þjóðakonu konur þurfa að starfa eftir? Ef ekki, er þá ekki bráðnauðsynlegt að slíku verði komið á? Ég gef Unicef á Íslandi pening í hverjum mánuði, reyndar alveg oggupoggu af því Reykjavíkurborg tímir ekki að borga mér nema minnstu oggupoggu laun í heimi, og mér finnst voðalega óþægilegt að hugsa til þess að einhver yfirmenneskja þar geti farið til að vinna hjá einhverjum glæpasamtökum og komið svo aftur til baka í vinnuna hjá Unicef, við að plana hvernig best er að hjálpa börnum.

Þannig að ég spyr: er -code of honour- fyrir starfsfólk hjá Sameinuðu Þjóðunum á Íslandi, sem bannar að starfsmenn samtakanna vinni einnig fyrir glæpasamtök? Eða er svo mikilvægt að næra svokallaða ævintýragirni starfsfólksins að allt annað lendir í öðru sæti?

Hér er stórgóð grein eftir mannfræðingsprófessorskall í Kanda, í henni spyr hann nokkurra spurninga, sem mér finnst að margir ættu að spyrja sjálfa sig:

The real challenge now is to question our assumptions and envision or acknowledge existing alternatives that further solidarity, collaboration, and reciprocity without the paternalism and Eurocentrism of the “white man’s burden”.

One way to proceed is by questioning why helping others should lead to work abroad. Do you really have any special skills to offer other than the ability to articulate good intentions? Has your assistance been requested by those who would presumably benefit from it? How well do you understand a different society that you can permit yourself to undertake potentially transformative action? What are your motives, and do you think the organization(s) you support, or for which you work, share the same motives? If it is a question of solidarity, is the solidarity spontaneous and one-sided, or the product of actual dialogue and mutual understanding? Why would you not choose to work at home, where presumably you are not a stranger, nor an intruder?

iii:
Félagar, þegar þið eruð spurð hvað ykkur hafi fundist um einhvern leik eða hvort þið eigið ykkur uppáhaldslið er ávallt best að svara með þessu: Hvaða leik? og Nei og ég vona að þau tapi öll.

*-Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!-

Jane Eyre í Jane Eyre eftir Charlotte Brönte.


Læknar í verkfall

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Mán, 06/10/2014 - 22:03

Læknar ætla í verkfall því þeir vilja meiri laun. Hið opinbera mun sennilega reyna að hækka laun lækna eins lítið og hægt er. Þó þannig að flestir verði nægjanlega ánægðir og segi ekki upp. Þannig er það í kjarabaráttu. Vonandi munu samningar ganga vel fyrir sig með jákvæðri niðurstöðu.
Menn spá langri baráttu hjá læknum. Samninganefndir hins opinbera eru þrautþjálfaðar í því að flækja og þreyta andstæðinginn. Þeir kunna leikinn.
Vonandi verða einhverjir eftir til að skrifa undir kjarasamninginn í fyllingu tímans.
Fjármálaráðherra virðist sjá leikinn en ekki áhættuna.

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