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Syria: Give War Another Chance?

4:54 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Kinda sad when the U.S., the West and their corporate media lead the fight for war and against reconciliation in Syria. (More Nobel Peace Prizes likely in the mix!) Once again all the pro-civil-war, pro-terrorism statements are being voiced by U.S. and Western officials, and their media are as biased as ever against peace and for more death and destruction. Not to mention Ban Ki-Moon … and the rebels themselves: “To date, opposition leaders have refused to consider any form of negotiations or compromise with the regime.”

Despite the predictable response, once again Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has presented a national reconciliation process leading to democratic elections, and the proposal is instantly rejected by the rebels, the U.S. and the West (and this is presented as ‘normal’ and ‘honorable’ in the corporate media). On Sunday Assad described his three-part plan:

Phase I would … entail making contact with the full spectrum of Syrian society, political parties and administrative bodies. These would include “all forces inside and outside the country who are interested in a solution,” he said.

In Phase II, the current government would chair a “comprehensive national dialogue conference” with these groups with the goal of drafting a national charter.

This document would uphold Syria’s sovereignty and unity, reject terrorism and “pave the way for the political future of Syria,” said Assad.

The charter would be put to a national referendum for approval.

Parliamentary elections would then be held within the framework of the constitution to form a new government that would represent all segments of Syrian society. …

In Phase III, a new government would be formed in accordance with constitutional law.

Now, what exactly is wrong with the preceding? Well, that’s pretty clear: it’s not a proposal for immediate regime change, which is the first and only demand of the rebels and their sponsors. Those sponsors unfortunately include the UN’s Ban Ki-Moon, who said he rejected Assad’s plan because it did not include “a political transition and the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers that would include representatives of all Syrians.”

But Assad’s plan allows for transition, if that’s what Syrians vote for in elections. In contrast, Ban’s suggested path is anti-democratic, not allowing Syrians to choose “representatives of all Syrians” in any sort of election.

Me, uh, I’m for democracy … guess that ain’t cool anymore.

A final note on one of the imperial media lies about Assad’s Sunday speech, that he had “dismissed any chance of dialogue with the opposition.” In fact Assad asked for dialogue with the opposition, but lamented “that his government had not yet found any partners willing to back a solution to Syria’s ongoing crisis.” And who can deny his description of the violent opposition as largely Western puppets or terrorists? Or deny the good sense of his desire to dialogue with “the master not the servants”? And, finally, isn’t the opposition at the moment, as it has always been, badly fractured and riddled with sleaze?

Finally, a bit of optimism. In part because regime change in Syria by and for the West was never a very coherent plan, there are hints of peace despite its latest knee-jerk rejections. And after all, if the choice is really between “‘Somalia-ization’ of Syria Or a Political Settlement,” then whispers that the U.S. is secretly negotiating with Russia on a quiet, peaceful, end to the civil war might be true. Certainly almost all Syrians prefer peace to their present hell. Instituting a democratic transition that would lead to democratic governance and, if the Syrian people will it, Assad stepping down would also be real nice.

It’s just particularly cruel to fight against peace now, when both sides seem exhausted, and the winter is cold and food scarce in both government and rebel-held areas.

AP disinfo hypes as fiscal slope yawns

4:55 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

AP: Voter disdain spreads as ‘fiscal cliff’ looms

No, voter disdain is not spreading. What we have here is a baldfaced lie to promote a sense of impending crisis and doom, and all for that grand goal, so the rich and the President get their cuts to Medicare.

The AP propagandist, Steve Peoples, echoes the headline with this:

Evidence of Congress’ plummeting popularity is everywhere.

Well, no, that sure ain’t apparent in the opinion polls. In fact Peoples is forced to contradict himself, when he finally feels obliged to give us the actual numbers:

A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job; just 23 percent approve. The figures are virtually unchanged from June and slightly above Congress’ recent low point of 12 percent approval during the debt ceiling debate in August 2011.

How does “The figures are virtually unchanged from June …” equal “Evidence of Congress’ plummeting popularity is everywhere.”?? What the hey? And in fact the figures are virtually unchanged since August, 2011.

Well, at least he allows these reassuring words from the real world: “… most people say they’re not following the daily developments that consume Washington.”

And this was nice too (!):

John Baker, 65, a Denver psychologist, said … “It’s a typical Washington, ‘Let’s hit the panic button and keep people scared so they will let us do what we want to do,’” Baker said in a downtown Denver Starbucks. “Ultimately, it will be fixed but not until a lot of pockets are lined.”

Peoples somehow interprets the preceding as support for “let’s make a deal before the ‘deadline’.” Sounds more like cynicism about the real intentions of Congress, the President, and the fingers-all-over-the-panic-button corporate media. And anyone’s who’s been following this knows he’s exactly right:

If history is any guide, the ever-accommodating Obama could still portray an increase in the Medicare eligibility age as a quid pro quo–the unavoidable tradeoff–for the Republicans allowing taxes on the rich to increase…even though the Republicans can’t prevent increases in taxes on the rich if the Democrats don’t make a deal!

China’s New Generic Drugs Law: News You Ain’t Supposed to Know

1:24 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

No mainstream U.S. ‘news’ site has published the news below (as far as I can tell from Google News searching ‘china’ ‘generic’ and ‘drugs’), but good for the Chinese! How can its government pass this law, one our corporate masters are so afraid of they don’t want us to know about it? China has a responsive and populist government on health care, the opposite of what we get with our elections here in the U.S. So, if we adopted China’s dictatorship form of government would our health care be run in the public interest? ;->

China changes patent law in fight for cheaper drugs

Tan Ee Lyn, Reuters, June 9, 2012, 12:59 am

China’s drug-law revamp rattles Big Pharma

By Tan Ee Lyn, Reuters, June 9, 2012

China to license copies of patented medicines

New law allows companies to produce generic versions during emergencies, unusual circumstances, or in public interest.

Last Modified: 09 Jun 2012 05:22

UPDATE: I did an expanded re-run of that Google news search and found CNBC and MSN Money reprints of Tan Ee Lyn’s Reuters piece. As ThingsComeUndone notes below, this news should have a major impact on Big Pharma stock prices, and it’s the main duty of the financial press to keep its investor readers informed on such things.

‘Freedom of the Press’ Is Why Smiley/West Poverty Tour Failed

11:30 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West attempted something very honorable this month, to take a big bus tour of the U.S. and try to put poverty and the poor into a national spotlight. It was an interesting and media-genic (if that’s a word) tour:

Having travelled to nine states and eighteen cities in just under two weeks, the Poverty Tour, like a communal “Love Train” (to quote the O’Jays), left its church-packed participants with the stories of families and young people struggling to find jobs. While facing homelessness, cuts (or coming cuts) in federal assistance, and a new social status (from middle-class to poor), these people shared a common story in the tearful frustration that their education and job experience had not saved them from social disaster.

They slept among the homeless, visited with white, black and native American families in provocative settings, but, hey, their tour was mostly ignored by the big, mainstream media. It failed.

The mainstream media is the corporate media, and their big corporate owners wanted August to be deficit hysteria month. And it was deficit hysteria month. They succeeded.

This is our media reality, and IT IS KILLING THIS COUNTRY. But something that never gets much discussion or play is a solution to the everlasting nightmare:

We need to free the mass media from capitalist control and disperse it among different democratically elected factions of popular opinion.

As I added in that comment, of course the solution is impossible. But it’s impossible in part because no one ever talks about it. To hell with TINA on this corporate-owned mass media.

Not that the corporate-owned politicians and electoral system isn’t an equal or even greater problem, but even with publicly financed elections the popular will would still contend with massive resistance by the corporate-controlled mainstream media. It would still ignore issues that matter to the great mass of us (i.e., poverty), and blast away at us with their huge megaphones, promoting the handing over of more of our wealth to the rich (i.e., deficit hysteria). 

Okay, technically, yeah, my solution violates our Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution’s First Amendment. But so does public financing of elections or any sort of control over campaign finances. What does that tell you about our established way of interpreting the Constitution?