Posts tagged ‘democracy’

April 4, 2015

Who’s more dangerous, ISIL or Houthis?

by mkleit

 Telegraph

Iraqi soldier in the markets of Karbala https://www.flickr.com/photos/98070911@N05/16446372336/

Iraqi soldier in the markets of Karbala
https://www.flickr.com/photos/98070911@N05/16446372336/

“We neither need sympathy nor denunciations; we need better weapons and more ammunition!” – Haidar, an Iraqi soldier keeping an eagle’s eye on a busy market in Kadimiya, a district located northern Baghdad, while replying to the merchants’ salutations as he walks by their small colorful shops, which covered the atmosphere with the scent of spices and Arabian musk. “We are strong, but we’re exhausted as well (..) it takes one day to assemble forces and launch an attack on terrorism”, implying to the fact that none of the Arab nations have come to aid Iraqis against the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant “ISIL”, unlike what is happening nowadays in Yemen

A Saudi-led aerial assault hit Yemeni capital, Sanaa, alongside other Houthi-controlled areas, after Yemeni president Abed Rabbu Mansour’s request to “protect Yemen from Houthis”; but why haven’t the 10 participating Arab and Asian nations did the same thing when ISIL conquered much of Western Iraq and North-Eastern Syria?

Probably the answer lies in the Bab el Mandeb, the world’s most strategic and profitable strait, found in the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. Almost 3,300,000 oil barrels pass daily through that very strait, which is equivalent to 4% of global demand, as well as 21,000 trade vessels annually, which is 10% of global trade shipment movements. Once Houthis have reached the provinces surrounding Bab el Mandeb, Saudis have declared war against Houthis and stated that it is a case of “national security and interests”, without giving any sort of hard evidence proving so, probably because Saudis would not want another strait controlled by “the enemy”, such the Iranian-controlled Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf

Moreover, Houthis have sufficed for solely rejecting Saudi interference in Yemeni affairs; ISIL leaders have recently stated that Saudi Arabia is a target-country, urging its followers in the kingdom to target economical institutes and social gatherings. Even before that, assassinated al-Qaeda leader in Yemen Anwar al-Awlaki has repeatedly called for attacks against Saudi Arabia for the latter’s cooperation with “the imperialist powers against the Islamic Umma”

Another answer might be found in the oil wells of Iraq and Syria.  So far, ISIL has been indirectly serving the Saudi oil monopoly and trade – Saudi Arabia has 18% of petroleum reserves and prominent petroleum exporter worldwide – in face of other regional rivals, especially Iraq, which has the fifth largest oil reserves, yet the terrorist group controls a big portion of the oil wells

The third answer is in the ideological and religious closeness of ISIL and Saudi Arabia’s religious authority. Unlike Houthis, whom are Yazdi-Shiites of the Islamic religion, ISIL and Saudi Arabia’s religious authority share many methods of internal governance, such rule of Wahhabist law, forcing women to wear burqa’, imprisoning activists for charges of defamation of royalty or religious figures; though they slightly differ in political goals – each wants a pan-Islamic governance for itself.

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February 20, 2015

Has Democracy Gone Missing? Or was it ever here?

by mkleit

Lesley Docksey © 18/02/15

London Progressive Journal

With a general election looming in the United Kingdom and Spain, possibly following Greece’s revolt against austerity later this year, we need to think, not just who or what we are voting for, but why we should vote at all.

People are suffering from a deficiency which is as unbalancing as a hormone or vitamin deficiency. What we are severely lacking in is democracy. Many of those pondering on the state of politics feel unhappy and somehow depleted. They haven’t yet realised it is democracy that’s lacking because they have believed what so many politicians have told them, over and over again:

“We live in a democracy. Now exercise your democratic right and vote for us.”

But what is the point of voting if, no matter who you vote for, what you get is the same old, same old? Who do the British vote for in May, if none of the candidates can seriously offer what we want?

Members of Parliament – or some of them – are becoming worried about voter ‘apathy’. The implication is that it is our fault we are not interested in their politics. There was a debate in Westminster Hall on 5 February – on ‘voter engagement’.

These figures were quoted: 7.5 million people were not registered to vote last year. This year 8.5 million are not registered (with a projected 17 million by July, because of changes in registration rules), mostly not because they couldn’t care less but because, in the words of MP Graham Allen:

“They are not connected with our democracy at all… those people have turned away from politics not because of any recent issues, but because they do not feel that it can do anything for them or that it is relevant to them… If the current trend continues, I am afraid that our democracy itself could be threatened.”

But what is ‘our democracy’ that we have turned away from? 38 Degrees surveyed its members on what they thought was wrong with the UK political system. Over 80,000 responded and in March 2014 David Babbs presented the results to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee. Asked what would make them turn out and vote, the most popular response was having a “None of the above” box on the ballot paper. In other words they wanted to vote, they wanted their votes counted, but they also wanted to deliver a vote of no confidence in the current system.

There is a murmur that this would be discussed in Parliament – but not until 2016. Of course Westminster will argue that we can’t have such a vote because it might produce a result that was in support of no party at all; and we must have a government, even if it is one we don’t want; and let’s forget that Belgium survived for some time without a government.

The concept of ‘democracy’ has been used to curtail both our freedom and our independence of thought.

But is that concept, so blithely used by our leaders, truly what is meant by democracy? Or is it just a word where many party-politicians are concerned, not a principle by which to live. The ‘democratic right to vote’ is worthless if it doesn’t produce democracy, nor does having a vote necessarily mean you live in a democratic society.

Where did this all start? The beginnings of democracy came out of Athens, an independent city-state. Athens – the home of Socrates, Plato and other philosophers. It is worth remembering that while some of the best philosophical advances came out of their discussions in the Agora, Athens was fighting a 20-year war with Sparta, something pretty well absent in Plato’s later Socratic writing. These days fighting wars is accompanied by discussions based on propaganda, and there is no love of wisdom in that.

The Athenians labelled the different types of government thus: there was monarchy, the rule by one person and/or royal family; tyranny, the illegal or usurped monarchy; oligarchy, rule by those few with power; and demagoguey, rule of the people, by the people, for the people – what we now think of as democracy.

Democracy comes from ‘demos’ or ‘deme’, the Greek word for ‘village’. The deme was the smallest administrative unit of the Athenian city-state. And there, essentially, is the key. Democracy belongs to the little people and their communities, not Washington or Westminster. And because there are now such large populations everywhere, the administrative area has become too large to be governed by anything other than draconian methods. The connection ‘of, by and for the people’ has been broken.

Athenians didn’t vote; they chose by lot. That did mean that sometimes they got a lousy lot of men governing, but that was balanced by occasionally getting a really good council – of men. Of course, of men. Only citizens’ names went into the pot; landless men, slaves and women didn’t come into it. Not that much of a democracy, but a beginning.

Should we chose by lot? Perhaps not. But on a purely local level there is an argument to be made for selecting our representatives rather than electing people who put themselves forward or are chosen by political parties. The Zapatistas, from the Chiapas area of Mexico, are known for reaching decisions by consensus, community by community, as well as selecting their representatives.

The benefit is that those selected are there to represent the majority view of their community, rather than a party’s agenda. For one of the things that British voters are saying is that MPs do not represent their views, and too often the party agenda has little to do with, or is even damaging to the area the MP represents.

Almost all governments counted as democracies are really oligarchies, government by the few; the few being a political class backed by money and corporate power. Real democracies aren’t rich in money; they are rich in people and values.

Many ‘democracies’ end up being dominated by two main parties, right and left, Tory and Labour, Republican and Democrat and so on. To an outsider, there is little difference to be seen between America’s Republicans and Democrats. In Britain, the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems (fast melting away into a miserable little puddle of their own making) are all claiming the centre ground. No one seems to have realised that the centre ground itself has moved to the right. Not for nothing has the Scottish Labour Party earned the name ‘Red Tories’. It is now hard to find a genuinely left mainstream party. The Scottish National Party, the Green Party and the Welsh Plaid Cymru are getting there but all are hampered by party-political thinking.

A party-political system can be very divisive. For a start, it demands that people take sides. It is an adversarial system that pits interests against each other instead of finding common ground. It becomes almost impossible for independent candidates, no matter how worthy, to be elected. Parties demand loyalty over and above an MP’s conscience. It is difficult to do anything but toe the party line, and that line can be very dogmatic and narrow in vision. Westminster’s party whips rule when instead they should be got rid of. The Parliamentary Select Committees have come out with some eye-popping reports since party whips were shown the door.

Parties also have ‘party values’ which are of course ‘better’ than those of other parties. Prime Minister David Cameron is strong on values. More than once he has claimed that “Britain is a Christian country” and that we should all follow Christian values. How can he urge that considering some of the cruel policies his government has put in place? And anyway, what specifically are the ‘Christian values’ he says we should live by? In bringing them into the conversation, isn’t there an assumption they are different, not to say superior, to those held by Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus or aboriginal peoples?

If it isn’t Christian values, it’s ‘British values’. Children should be taught them in school, though the textbook has still to be written. Politicians talk vaguely about ‘fairness’ and ‘justice’ yet can give no justification for these values being particularly British. I suspect that the ‘British’ values at the back of Cameron’s mind were born out of and promoted by the British Empire. One only has to read late Victorian and Edwardian boys’ fiction to see the process: never surrendering to the ‘enemy’, remaining at one’s post while facing screaming hordes of ‘natives’, the stiff upper lip and so on. British values were built out of remaining in control of oneself while controlling ‘the natives’ in the Empire and Colonies. It’s what being British was all about. Rule Britannia!

And what with English Votes for English Laws, another distracting result of the Scottish Referendum, how long will it be before Cameron and his cabinet ask us to uphold ‘English values’, happily ignoring the Welsh and the Northern Irish, let alone the independently-minded Scots? Values as promoted by political leaders are the values of the ruling class – because political leaders see themselves as the ruling class. And that is the problem that we voters have to solve.

We could all hold and live by good and moral values. But those values are universal. They do not belong to this religion or that, this nationality or that. They do not even belong exclusively to the human race. A lifetime dealing with animals has shown me how generous, caring, altruistic and ethical animals can be. There are times when I think that we humans are only superior in one way – our ability to delude ourselves.

So how is this for delusion?

The Minister for the Constitution Sam Gyimah wrapped up the Westminster Hall debate. (Did you know we had a Minister for the Constitution? He is responsible for constitutional reform. As the UK doesn’t have a written constitution, one wonders quite what he does, and what bits of paper he shuffles.) He came out with this:

“Scotland had a huge turnout in the referendum… The reason was that people were motivated, excited and engaged with the issues. Introducing more electoral innovation might make voters’ lives easier, but it is not a substitute for us politicians doing our work to connect properly with people, to engage with them and, after all, to get them to turn out to vote for us.”

And the Electoral Commission told the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee:

“As we have seen in Scotland with the historic turnout at the referendum on independence, individuals will register and turn out to vote when they are inspired by the debate and are convinced of the importance of the issues at stake. Politicians and political parties must be at the forefront of this engagement.”

Isn’t it time that we the people were at the forefront? If we really want democracy, surely that is where we must stand.

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April 10, 2013

“The Great Dictator 1940” – Until Now

by mkleit

 

In 1940, Charlie Chaplin’s controversial speech in the famous movie “The Great Dictator” was marked as one of the best that were ever done.

Whether it was by context or content, the speech showed Adolf Hitler, the leader mimicked by Chaplin, in a very “big brotherly” mood and seemed more gentle than aggressive as is shown by media.

From this, the first remark that would catch a viewer’s attention in Chaplin’s speech is the first phrase said: I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. A phrase which contradicts with Hitler’s aim in authority and he was considered the most famous dictators ever.

Another aspect would drive the viewer’s attention would be emotional baggage placed in the words such as brutes, greed, humanity, freedom, democracy, and slavery etc… He used reasonable arguments to support his speech such as referring to the Saint Luke’s Bible while appealing to values of brotherhood, the people, and liberty.

Moreover, this would probably be the most concrete factor of performing a great speech: timeliness. If a person would hear Chaplin’s speech in 1940 or nowadays, the same aspects mentioned in the speech would be applied to any dictator and would still have the same effect at any time.

In the field of imagery, Chaplin succeed in reflecting the “big brother” image by wearing a normal soldier’s uniform and not one of a general filled with stars and medals. But he kept the look of the leader by standing firm and still until the end of the speech, where he finished it by raising his arm when screaming the phrase: “let us all unite!” to send the crowd into raptures, while relying the whole time frame of the speech on facial expressions and head movement, which actually gave each loaded word its right and power.

The power of several words was key features of the dynamism of Chaplin’s speech. In general, it was very systematic. In that sense, the speech was organized in a way that it went from broad to specific.

At first, Chaplin talked about humanity and the power of goodness and unity, to then point, with his face, towards the soldiers and talk about liberty and fighting against slavery; the speech was finished with a return to the first point mentioned: freedom and liberty.

From that explanation, the speech would mark repetition of words such as machines, brutes, dictator, progress… and a perfect ascendance in pitch, tonality, and pace, at some parts of the speech, but mostly during the break of dynamism at the middle.

Yet the speech also marked a sudden cut, where Chaplin returned to the original tone and re-mentioned the supreme values which he was using at the beginning.

Probably the speech would not be perfect, but the level of emotions embarked in Chaplin’s is outstanding as well as phenomenal. The speech that was given in 1940 mimicking Hitler would still be applied now and referring to nowadays leaders.

The usage of the fear factor, emotions, values, logic, and supremacy are perfect examples of this. Nevertheless, Chaplin was perfectly able to embody the dictator of all time.

 

Charlie Chaplin from the film The Great Dictator

 

Speech text:

“I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor — that’s not my business — I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.

We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls — has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”.

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish…

Soldiers — don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you — who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate — only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers — don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written ” the kingdom of God is within man ” — not one man, nor a group of men — but in all men — in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power — let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers — in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”

March 23, 2013

Salbuchi: israel and USA’s Nightmare

by mkleit

Adrian Salbuchi for RT

 

Adrian Salbuchi Source: soberaniaargentina.com

 

When Israel invaded Southern Lebanon in 2006 they were ignominiously expelled by Iran-backed Hezbollah. Since then, the Jewish State has gone into ‘we-have-to-take-out-Iran’ mode, doing everything it can to drag America to war against Iran.

Almost seven years later, Israel’s window of opportunity is closing fast.

‘My big brother America is gonna beat you up…!’
That’s been Israel’s implicit message to Iran ever since. When George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and the NeoCons ran America, bringing the US on board this war-mongering effort against Iran did not seem a daunting task. Especially considering that inside the US, Israel can rely on a little help from its ‘friends’: the powerful pro-Israel lobby led by AIPAC – American Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

But in 2008 Bush was replaced by Barack Obama whose brand of Democrats are not all knee-jerking ‘Israel First’ fanatics. Add to that the US Military’s growing resistance to a foreign policy that has been led astray by the Israeli lobby, particularly after successive fiascos in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the growing “Arab Spring” mess.

Even more, large sectors of US and global public opinion are becoming aware of the dangers of America’s Israel addiction; of Israel’s use and abuse of the US as a proxy power fighting its wars, something clearly not in America’s national interest.

In his message to the UN General Assembly last September, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu produced a cute bomb-shaped graph to show the world just how close ‘big bad Iran’ is to having a nuclear bomb which he says they will use to obliterate ‘good little Israel’.

Netanyahu would have certainly loved to see staunch Zionist Mitt Romney make it to the White House in November’s elections but – Alas! – he didn’t, and Obama’s still living there, and even had the nerve of naming non-Zionist moderate Chuck Hagel as head the Pentagon.

It seems the US is taking an increasingly arm’s length approach to the ‘Iran Problem’ given the very serious geopolitical perils and overtones that any unilateral US/Israeli/NATO military attack on Iran would spell, which might even lead to direct confrontation with Russia.

Meanwhile Iran will not back down on its nuclear program, an issue the Obama Administration is taking an oddly calm view on. Significantly, the US even gave Argentina a subtle nod to negotiate with Iran over the 1994 AMIA terror bombing in Buenos Aires.

Since, theories have arisen that Bush, the US president at the time, coaxed Argentina’s President Kirchner into falsely accusing Iran, solely based on CIA/Mossad “evidence” delivered in October 2006, right after Israel’s fiasco in Lebanon.

So in light of all this what, exactly, is going on here? Why are the US and Israel at loggerheads over Iran?

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, uses a diagram of a bomb to describe Iran’s nuclear program while delivering his address to the 67th United Nations General Assembly meeting September 27, 2012 at the United Nations in New York. (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)

America’s Worst Nightmare
Today the US and Israel have increasingly divergent interests and objectives regarding Iran. Israel’s are easy to grasp: Iran is Israel’s geopolitical arch-enemy, and one of the few countries that is up to the task of becoming a strong and credible leader in the Muslim World, especially since one of Iran’s key objectives is to do away with Israel’s hardline rule in Palestine.

Mainstream Western media have continually and falsely noted that “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map”, rather than Iran merely wanting an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. America, however, has a different cause for concern.

 

Mainstream Media Control Source: http://www.heydumbasses.com

 

Nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program but rather with the US Dollar. For many decades the US, through its Federal Reserve Bank, has abusively printed huge quantities of unbacked ‘Fiat money’ to finance its huge deficit, which today has ballooned to over 15 trillion. All’s well as long as that money circulates and ends up somewhere far away, such as the vaults of the central banks of friendly countries like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and even of some not so friendly countries like China.

Even if it is kept going around and around in the global financial merry-go-rounds of the bonds markets or… the huge global oil market.

“Just keep it flowing and busy in all those markets”, Washington seems to be saying, “…so that we can continue printing more and more of it!” Of course, none dare call it inflation, technocrats have nice buzz-words for things like, “Quantitative Easing I, II and III”, “TARP Funding” and “too-big-to-fail-megabank bailouts…” But call it what you may, inflation by any other name smells just as rotten…

Public Enemies
The US knows only too well that, to a great extent, it is a superpower without much power, because if China decided to sell their almost 2 trillion in US-Dollar treasury bills, bonds and other financial instruments, quickly changing them into Euros, it would spell inflationary disaster for America.

Such eventualities however, are unlikely to occur given the complexities of global financial markets; thus, neither China nor any other major US-dollar-holder appears ready to do that – not just now, anyway.

However, there is another much more physical, concrete and strategically complex threat that keeps US leaders awake at night- the oil market. To better understand why America’s joy-ride is fast coming to an end as people’s political awareness grows, let me give you a simple example:

Every time Argentina, South Africa or Japan need to buy a barrel of crude oil, its people must work to earn those 100 dollars oil costs in international markets.

The US, however, only needs to print US$100. The same goes if they need money to overrun Iraq, Libya or drone-bomb Afghanistan to smithereens: just print the money and keep the oil flowing and the bombs falling.

Get the picture? It’s easy to be a “superpower” that way!

But the picture becomes clearer when you join the dots. Imagine what would happen if those trillions upon trillions of Petro-Dollars spinning and gurgling globally were to suddenly slip from the control of the three – and only three – New York, London and Dubai-based global oil markets solely trading in Dollars?

For instance, if a major oil-producing country or group of countries were to create a fourth global oil market trading not in Dollars but in Euros, say Yens, Rubles, Yuans…?

Given the volumes of oil that countries like China, India and Japan gobble up, if successful, such a market would displace very sizeable shares of Petro-Dollar volumes, which would mean fast declining mega-sums of Petro-dollars spinning away from global markets and flowing back towards US-centered financial circuits.

Can you imagine what hundreds of billions of freed up Petro-Dollars flowing back to the US in a short period of time would mean?

Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

Weapons of mass destruction
Well, like the proverbial cat playing with a mouse under its paws, since at least 2005 Iran has been openly toying with the idea of opening up a such fourth non-US$ global oil market. China would probably support them as they get a sizeable share of their oil from Iran, so perhaps would India.

If the followers of Hugo Chavez hold on to power, Venezuela too might tag along (now do we understand why the US needs to get a strong grip on Venezuela?).

Even Russia, which does not really need Iranian oil, might support Iran for its own geopolitical reasons, considering its growing conflicts with the West. Last year, we even heard strong rumors about Iran selling oil to India payable in gold…

Iran fully understands this issue so they are cautiously biding their time. Remember, their Persian forefathers invented chess… So, wouldn’t the US just love to take out Iran to thwart such a threat? I mean, it already happened twice in the last decade:

IRAQ: As part of UN sanctions after the first Gulf War, every year Saddam Hussein was allowed to trade one billion dollars of Iraqi oil for medicines and food. But then, starting in 2000 Saddam started to switch over to the Euro.

Suddenly, the world learned from Bush’s NeoCons that Iraq had arsenals of nasty “weapons of mass destruction”; that Saddam had to be “taken out” otherwise mushroom clouds would explode over London, Washington and New York! And so, a decade ago in March 2003, the US, UK and NATO promptly ransacked Iraq and had Saddam Hussein murdered. WMD’s? Ooopss, sorry… didn’t find any!…but: Iraq continues selling its oil in dollars.

LIBYA: In 2010 Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was planning to introduce a new currency to trade North African oil: the “Gold Dinar” in lieu of the dollar. Suddenly, the world learned from the US, France and Britain that Gaddafi was a formidable monster so…in October 2011 he too was taken out and murdered on live TV to the laughter of Hillary “We-came-we-saw-he-died” Clinton. Now Libya lies in shambles but its new pro-Exxon/BP “authorities” trade their oil solely in dollars…

Turning points
The key question now is which shall prevail in the US in the weeks and months to come: American national interest or Israeli national interest?

This is really top level Machtpolitik so, just to be sure everything’s in order, the most obedient Western mainstream media are keeping “all options on the table” running all sorts of headlines to remind us how nasty Iran is, its nuke ambitions, poor Little Israel and its security issues (which is why they’re allowed to keep the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, right?), the delicate state of the global financial system and why no one should be allowed to rock the boat and, of course, the never-ending “War on Terror…”, But now we know.

It is all about oil; it is all about the US-Dollar; it is all about a global financial system being kept artificially alive for mega-banker profit; it is about Israel… The flip-side of that coin gets even worse: It’s not about the interest of the working masses in the US, Europe and worldwide; and it definitely is not about Democracy or Human Rights.

 

You won’t hear, see, nor speak! This is corporate media Source: http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com

December 21, 2012

Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark

by mkleit

In the heart of the Arab Spring, certain Arab states became a symbol of regime change. But rarely is Bahrain mentioned as country with a revolution inside.
The Bahraini scream for change is continuously silenced by acts of politics and media.
Al Jazeera English’s documentary exposes the Bahraini regime’s treatment of peaceful protesters.

In hopes of the Bahraini would be able to break the darkness by the light of hope… One day they will.
Godspeed…

October 4, 2012

Defend Our Freedom to Share by Clay Shirky (TedTalk)

by mkleit

What does a bill like PIPA/SOPA mean to our shareable world? At the TED offices, Clay Shirky delivers a proper manifesto — a call to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume.

January 30, 2012

Occupy Movement Insights from Jeanine Mollof and Patrizia Bertini (via Media Diplomat)

by mkleit

Jeanine Mollof:  The ‘Occupy’ movement does have multiple goals which can be confusing. Among those varied goals–one clear message does come through–they want the public to realize that our political system has been hijacked and is fraudulent. Furthermore, they want that same public to enter not only the discussion but the ‘fray’ itself. Bluntly put, the ‘Occupy’ movement is attempting to push discussion, planning and eventual action into the streets where anyone can join and fight for democracy. Because our political system has been so compromised, democracy no longer exists in any meaningful way in the US. I suspect that the ultimate goal of ‘Occupy’ is to build up to a massive GENERAL STRIKE of most workers in the US until we have our rights restored, (that includes political, economic and healthcare). It may be clumsy, but no one was listening to progressives until these kids began ‘Occupy.’ Now, the Occupy movement consists of people from diverse ages and backgrounds. If you want to know more, then ‘google,’ the Occupy Wall Street group or google some alternative groups such as the ANSWER Coalition with David Swanson.
Just some casual thoughts.

PS: These kids realized that if they had clearly enunciated goals and leaders the corporatists would have an easier time destroying this movement in its infancy. Anyway, why should they have to explain every goal like a formal position paper when the puppet leaders of our fraudulent duopoly (Dems and GOP) are never pressed to do the same beyond the intellectual pablum of slogans like …”Yes We Can” or “No More Taxes.” When will any of us demand more from stenographers like Wolf Blitzer?

Sorry for the inconvenience, we're trying to change the world - http://theblogofprogress.com

Patrizia Bertini:  I have been around the OccupyLSX in London before it has taken the streets and observed and supported [the never born] ‘Occupy Italy’ . Let me add few more inputs.
The whole movement is seen much more as a western take on the Arab Spring – it’s the recognition that the capitalistic system as transformed from the ’70s with all the deregulations, has created a sick social and economic system.

It’s a global movement, the first ever global protest in history – it has started with the very first revolt in Western Sahara (few month before the Tunisian guy set himself on fire) as a struggle for freedom and independence and it moved to Western societies, where the social systems were failing one after the other.
Western society also needed freedom and independence, though the ‘enemy’ were well different – it was not a tyranny as in the case of the Arab Spring, but a whole global economical system.

People are very diverse – each of them brings their own bits to the protest, but the whole movement, globally, has few very common points:
1. elaborate on the current global economical and social system – if the capitalism as meant and conducted until the 70s proved to reduce social gaps, after the deregulations and the globalization in name of profit and the exploitation of developing countries, the system increased the gap up to what we have today [and this justifies the 99% slogan];

1. Since the financial and social system failed, protesters try to put more attention on social needs and on sustainable progress. And by sustainable they mean that progress and society should not exploit and take advantage of developing countries or weak social classes. And sustainability also involves the environment and in fact the whole movement has a strong attention on global warming, recycling and green politics (they often do guerilla gardening action in cities).

1. Hence all the number of activities which are meant to promote the social debate, change the agenda, ask for more equality, for a system which is not the communist-style system, rather than an ‘evolved capitalistic system’.

It’s a much more complex reality than the ‘no tax’ slogans. It’s not about taxes, it’s about seeing how society has failed in its social aims, admitting that globalisation, as used just to increase the profits, it’s only damaging the planet, the economies and the society.
It’s a fascinating movement, because it’s global.

I stop it here – but I did 2 interviews with the guys in London using a rather peculiar investigative technique if you are curious – Ollie and Helen will surprise you – http://legoviews.com/2011/12/10/the-occupy-movement-the-light-and-fluid-warrior/ and http://legoviews.com/2011/11/30/helen-goodbye-yellow-brick-road/

Insights taken from Media Diplomat Group (LinkedIn)

MediaDiplomat  

October 15, 2011

«يا شعوب العالم انتفضي»

by mkleit

يوم دوليّ لاستعادة الديموقراطية الحقيقية
قبل أيام من دخول تظاهرات «احتلوا وول ستريت» الأميركية شهرها الثاني، ستشهد اليوم أكثر من 700 مدينة حول العالم تظاهرات شبابية تريد استعادة الديموقراطية الحقيقية من يد النخبة المالية التي سبّبت الأزمة الاقتصادية ونالت أموال دافعي الضرائب. تظاهرات يدفعها النجاح الذي تشهده التحركات الأميركية والصحوة العربية التي بدأت في كانون الأول الماضي، ولا تزال مستمرة، وحركة «الغاضبون» الإسبانية التي لا تزال في الشارع. هل سيتمكن الناشطون الذين يقفون وراء المشروع من حشد أعداد في تظاهرات اليوم؟ وهل ستشهد المدن الأوروبية عدوى الانتشار السريع للاعتصامات الأميركية؟ وهل ستتحد الشعوب في وجه الطغمة المالية؟

ديما شريف

«يا سكان العالم انتفضوا في 15 تشرين الأول». إذا سمع الناس النداء فسينتفضون اليوم في 719 مدينة، في 71 دولة، مشاركة في حملة «متحدون للتغيير العالمي» التي أطلقها ناشطون على الإنترنت. حملة استلهمت نجاح حركة «احتلوا وول ستريت» التي بدأت منذ أسابيع في مدينة نيويورك في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وامتدت إلى مدن أخرى، إذ أصبح مثلاً موقع «www.occupytogether.org»، غير الرسمي، الذي يعنى بتنظيم مواعيد التظاهرات الأميركية، يهتم بجداول التحركات في أكثر من 1300 مدينة أميركية، فيما يتابع موقع «http://takethesquare.net/17s/» الساحات التي يجب على المتظاهرين احتلالها حول العالم. ويتابع موقع «http://15october.net» تفاصيل حراك اليوم العالمي (إلى جانب صفحة على فايسبوك وحساب على تويتر ويوتيوب) مع خرائط توضح الأماكن التي ستنطلق منها التظاهرات، وملصقات للطبع في لغات عدّة للاستخدام أثناء التظاهر والاعتصام. وبعد الولايات المتحدة، تبدو إسبانيا أكثر دولة سيتظاهر فيها الناس، وفق خرائط الموقع، بسبب الأزمة المالية التي تعيشها.

Wall Street Revolution - Photo from al Akhbar Nespaper

لكن رغم أنّ الحراك الأميركي هو الأشهر اليوم، فقد سبقت الحملة التي أدت إلى يوم «السلطة للشعوب» في 15 تشرين الأول ذلك الحراك بشهور، حيث بدأ الأمر منذ كانون الثاني 2011 مع انطلاق الربيع العربي. فقد اجتمعت مجموعة من الناشطين الذين تأثروا بالصحوة العربية وإجراءات التقشف التي تفرضها الدول الأوروبية، وما عرف العام الماضي بـ«الثورة الإيسلندية الصامتة»، إذ استطاعت تلك الدولة الشمالية أن تتغلب على الأزمة المالية التي عصفت بها منذ 2008، عبر محاكمة المسؤولين عنها داخل البلد وصياغة دستور جديد ورفض رئيس البلاد التوقيع على قانون زيادة الضرائب على المواطنين، كما كانت تطلب المؤسسات المالية الدولية. أدت تلك الأحداث إلى إنشاء ما يعرف باسم تجمع DRY، من عبارة «¡Democracia Real YA!» الإسبانية، وتعني «الديموقراطية الحقيقية الآن». نظم التجمع في 15 أيار الماضي أول نشاط حقيقي له في ساحة «بويرتا ديل سول» في مدريد، فيما عرف لاحقاً بتظاهرات «الغاضبين» (los indignados) من إجراءات التقشف الحكومية (أكثر من 40 في المئة من الشباب الإسباني عاطل من العمل، وهو الرقم الأكثر ارتفاعاً في أوروبا).
منذ شهر عاد الزخم إلى المجموعة، إذ اجتمعت في مدينة برشلونة الإسبانية، بين 15 و18 أيلول، مجموعات ومنظمات مجتمع مدني وناشطون، وأصدروا بياناً يمكن اعتباره تأسيسياً لتعبئة الناس للتظاهر اليوم لأسباب عدّة، أهمها رفض سياسات التقشف التي تفرض في بلد تلو الآخر، بحجة الأزمة المالية التي لم يكن للشعب يد فيها. ويضيف البيان أنّه خلال الخريف الحالي ستكون هناك محاولة لإيقاف الحركات الراديكالية والديموقراطية في العالم العربي. ولذلك، يضيف البيان، يجب التحرك في 15 تشرين الأول لتعميم الممارسات الديموقراطية من الأسفل إلى الأعلى، ومن أجل بناء بدائل للأزمة الحالية. وبالفعل، إثر انتهاء اجتماع برشلونة، جرى تأسيس الموقع «http://15october.net» الذي يتابع الإعداد للتظاهرات حول العالم، تحت الشعار العريض «متحدون من أجل التغيير العالمي»، و«حان الوقت لنتحد، وحان الوقت كي يستمعوا إلينا، يا شعوب العالم انتفضي!».
ويقول البيان التأسيسي لحركة 15 تشرين الثاني المعنون بـ«لا شيء لنخسره، نستطيع ربح كل شيء»، إنّ المنظمات المشاركة ترفض التقشف كحل للأزمة الحالية، لأنّه يؤدي إلى إدارة استبدادية وغير ديموقراطية للثروات العامة. كذلك فإنّ رفض التقشف نابع من كونه يزيد عدم المساواة بين الناس، ويستهدف مباشرة نظام دولة الرعاية الأوروبي والحقوق الاجتماعية. ويرى المنظمون للحملة أنّ سياسات التقشف تكون مرجّحة للمصالح الاقتصادية والمالية الخاصة المسؤولة عن المسار الاقتصادي الذي أدى إلى الأزمة الحالية. أزمة ليست اقتصادية فقط بل سياسية، مع انفراط العقد الاجتماعي الأوروبي، وفضح الأحزاب السياسية التي لم تستطع أن تكون فعالة في إدارة الثروات العامة.
ويطلب البيان دمقرطة النظام الاقتصادي وبناء شكل جديد منه يسمح للجميع بالوصول إلى الدخل المناسب والحقوق الاجتماعية الأساسية. كذلك يطلب مساعدة الناس لا المصارف والمؤسسات المالية، كما حصل مع بداية الأزمة، ويستمر حتى اليوم.
ويطالب منظّمو التظاهرات بحرية الوصول إلى المعلومات والتعليم مقابل رفض الخصخصة والتسليع. ويرفضون كذلك الطريقة التي يعامل بها العمال المهاجرون بحجة ارتفاع نسبة البطالة، مع حرمانهم من حقوقهم وخفض رواتبهم، ويطالبون بمنحهم حقوقهم كاملة. ولا ينسى المنظمون التذكير بأهمية الديموقراطية المباشرة، واعتبار النموذج الحالي منها قد انتهى، فلا «أحد يمثلنا اليوم». ولذلك يعتبر يوم 15 تشرين الأول يوم المطالبة بالديموقراطية الحقيقية.
ولذلك أيضاً ستنطلق التظاهرات من الأماكن التي تمثل القوى التي «تقرر بالنيابة عنّا». ولن يكون اليوم يوم تظاهر فقط، بل سيكون يوماً تنطلق فيه الاستعدادات ليعرف الناس كيف سيقررون مستقبلهم.
وعلى الأرض، لن تكون التظاهرات أمراً مستجداً على ساحة بعض الدول، إذ إنّ الاعتصامات والاحتجاجات لم تهدأ في إسبانيا منذ أيار الماضي، وتواجه الشباب المعتصمون أول من أمس مع قوات الشرطة في برشلونة، التي لم تتورع عن ضربهم لإخلاء ساحة كانوا يعتصمون فيها. كذلك فإنّ الطلاب في تشيلي مستمرون في التظاهر منذ أيار أيضاً، احتجاجاً على نظام التعليم في البلاد الذي يسمح للمؤسسات الخاصة بالاستفادة في التعليم الثانوي، كما أنّ قسماً كبيراً من الجامعات يتبع للقطاع الخاص. كذلك، تدور معركة في كولومبيا بين الطلاب والحكومة بشأن إصلاح النظام الجامعي، وتوفي أحد المتظاهرين في مدينة كالي يوم الأربعاء، بعد مواجهات مع الشرطة.

Wall Street Revolution - Photo from Al Akhbar Newspaper


خريطة التظاهرات

في لندن يخطّط المتظاهرون لاحتلال مركز البورصة، وسيتجمعون بداية في ساحة باترنوستر قرب فرع لمصرفي «بانك أوف أميركا» و«غولدمان ساكس». أما في باريس، فيقول بيان المنظمين إنّ المتظاهرين لن يستخدموا العنف، لكنهم لن يتورعوا عن إغضاب الواحد في المئة الباقين (الطبقة المالية، على اعتبار أنّ الحركة تمثّل 99 في المئة من الشعب) بكل الوسائل. وهناك دعوة على موقع التظاهرات الفرنسية «www.occupyfrance.org» لاحتلال منطقة «لا ديفانس» التي يوجد فيها أهم الشركات في باريس، ابتداءً من الخامس من تشرين الثاني المقبل.
في برلين يخطط المتظاهرون للاعتصام أمام السفارة الأميركية، وهم تظاهروا أول مرة في 21 أيار الماضي، ثم نصبوا الخيم في ساحة ألكسندر في المدينة في 20 آب الماضي، حيث أزالتها الشرطة. وسيكون النهار البرليني حافلاً بالموسيقى والنقاشات في أماكن عدّة من المدينة (http://democraciarealyaberlin.com). في العالم العربي، من المفترض انطلاق تظاهرات في دول عدّة، منها مصر والسعودية (وفق موقع الحملة)، والمغرب، وتونس، والأردن (للقطع مع النيوليبرالية). وفي لبنان، كان النقاش دائراً حتى يوم أمس بشأن التحرك في وسط العاصمة، وأنشأ بعض الناشطين صفحة على موقع فايسبوك بعنوان «احتلوا سوليدير».

 

http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/23743

 

 

July 23, 2011

The “Same” Change

by mkleit

Basis of the Code of Ethics


“Arab media coverage is like a person on a plane looking down.” One Sudanese Member of Parliament and political activist Salih Mahmoud Osman said when criticizing the Darfur coverage. Media is a tool to sustain, as well as it is an instrument of change, and a catalyst to flourish freedom and uphold it. But the way that informative media is used decided nation courses, dictatorship or egalitarianism to be more specific, giving both sides the same time to express, articulate, and thus unify. Apparently, the action justifies the intention, in times of turmoil, journalists, whether they like it or not, are the followers of their leaders. By will or not, they are bounded by certain parameters given from higher authority, as Edward Herman and Naom Chomsky declared in Manufacturing Consent:”The media serve, propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them.”

Domestic coverage requires the pursuance of instructions, as mentioned before, when Jordanian journalist Sameh al Mahariq said:” As long as you don’t write about the king, the military, religion or sex you can cover anything you want.” A small amount of news is to be given, senseless and mindless, just to keep hands off certain issues and distract the audience of true happenings.

Nevertheless, some progress in Arab media coverage is viewed, though the ratings are low. For one issue, you have 22 Arab states covering, thus 22 different agendas, but the type of reporting mainly, if not always, stays one. Hide the truth to avoid problems. Amani Tawil of the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies explained the previous circumstance:”Selective information. Television reflects the special agenda of each government in the Arab region, while newspapers have a tendency to marginalize stories about other Arab governments.” It’s a non-democratic system they are in, so the expectations of journalistic freedom are too close to bite the dust. Even though in certain cases journalism is done properly, but it depends on the predicament. When Arabs are being shot and killed, no journalist can be objective, for a reason that it’s a humane sentiment to protect the helpless. But if a phone call from some politician, ally to the owners of the broadcasting channel, the sense of humanity is left behind the rocking doors of the news desk office, alongside the pens of truth and blank papers that are supposed to filled with reality coverage and honest reporting.

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