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news archives — politics 2

New translation, the Magna Carta

article archives at abelard's news and comment zonepolitics archive: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


politics 2

welcome to the transparent society:
the forlorn struggles of the ‘music’ industry

“Everything on your computer is public property”?
“We only want to look—in case ... ”

Or, the politics of big business.

The web address for this article is



is the south america giant awakening?

Brazil has one of the worst inequality situations in South America. It is also by far the largest actor on the continent.

Brazil has now voted in an apparent reformer, who is fast attempting to build a reputation for even-handed responsibility. Lula da Silva is starting to make waves in the high offices.

Mugabe has presided over a disastrous attempt at redistribution, undermining the ability of the country to feed itself. Control of land and land redistribution are not some magical nostrum. Removing resources from the hands of the productive, and putting them into the grasp of government or untutored peasants will not solve problems of poverty.

  • Only putting purchasing power into the hands of the poor will achieve that.
  • Without output, purchasing power is useless.
  • Output is dependent upon energy and technology.

  • Filthy polluting power and destruction of the commons, or of the Amazon forests, is as likely to spread poverty and unsustainability as to improve the lot of teeming millions.
  • Renewable clean power and is essential if the roots of tension are to be undermined.

In my view, that means expansion of nuclear power and other clean power, and that process cannot be expedited and organised without Western assistance. We have no place or time for messing around with medieval dictators. They are getting in the way of cleaning up the human act.

It is time that the United States showed full and true leadership. That means time to undermine the cult of truck-based SUVs. It means an end to American isolationism.

The United States has done the world favours that can never be fully and adequately repaid. Churlish and ignorant sniping is next door to disgusting.

But the USA must work to gain the full trust of all liberal democracies, by showing that the necessities of cold-war politics are now past history. Also, China must come out from behind its often scowling wall.

The West must also do its part, and acknowledge and welcome the great American contributions to leadership and to world prosperity, not posture like a bunch of competing, jealous, envious siblings.

Workers and producers must unite in their interests and efforts, if our problems are to be resolved. Marxism is dead and should be duly buried.

“Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of Opinion - how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history.”
John Maynard Keynes, The End of Laissez-faire 1926

a very interesting comment on the situation in venezuela

“Ayn Rand's novel was not just a warning against dictatorship. It was a warning against the moral code that regards business, self-interest and the profit motive as evil. It was her warning against the moral philosophy that preaches the sacrifice of the individual to the envious masses -- and thus unleashes any demagogue who promises to loot the producers for the sake of the "little guy."

“That lesson, presented in fictional form, is also the lesson to be drawn from the drama now being acted out in real life.”

(lead from Darren Rhodes)

related material
what’s going on in venezuela? media starts to take notice
poverty and distribution of wealth

The web address for this article is


related material

what’s going on in venezuela? media starts to take notice

poverty and distribution of wealth

captain scapegoat remains in jail – while the spanish government still walks free

“Opposition parties walked out of proceedings after Spain's Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, refused to allow national authorities and officials to appear before [the special committee set up by the Galician regional parliament to investigate the sinking of the Prestige].”

“The government has announced, instead, that it will leaflet households to tell Spaniards what it is doing about the Prestige.” [ Guardian Unlimited]

Aznar’s government is frantic to cover up their mess.

Their mess has its origins decades before the current disaster of the Prestige. The Galician coast, on the Western tip of Europe, has suffered four major spills (including that of the Prestige) since 1976.

Twenty-six years later, the Spanish government has no plans, no appropriately equipped clean-up ships, no other equipment, no trained personnel, no infrastructure, nothing to cope with such situations.

And now, instead of facing their responsibilities, the Spanish government, aided by European Commissioner for Transport—a Spanish government minister, is attempting to inveigle as much as one billion dollars/euro (£650 million) from the EU.

“The EU's transport commissioner, Loyola de Palacio, said Madrid had persuaded the EU to pay out 110m euros, against the 10m euros obtained by France for the Erika.”

Meanwhile, the French government has made available €50m (£32m) for cleanup operations connected with the Prestige. Previously, CEDRE, the Centre for documenting research and experiments on accidental water pollution, was founded by the French government as part of the measures the French took after the wreck of the Amoco Cadiz, off Brittany, in 1978.

The European Union, who after the Erika spill off Brittany in 1999 decided to ban single-hulled tankers from European waters in 2015, have recently advanced this date to ... 2010. That should still allow time for more spills then! I wonder what is wrong with stopping single-hulled tankers now, or years ago as the Americans did after the Exxon Valdez spill? I’ll let you do the guessing.

Referred to by Limbic as Europe’s Chernobyl, this is one of the worst peace-time ecological disasters of recent times. It could easily turn out to be worse than Chernobyl.

For considerable background see the oil pages in this news service.

The web address for this article is


the politics of nuclear missiles (article recommended)

I have come to the conclusion that nuclear power is going to be increasingly important as oil supplies diminish.

Any educated society can move from nuclear power generation to nuclear missiles, given the will and the wealth; and any educated society, with the will and the wealth, is likely to come to similar conclusions to those expressed in the linked article. These growing realisations in India and Pakistan are rapidly following the previously explored paths of advanced societies, that have already developed nuclear missile capability.

The accunulated, centralised power of dictators has the potential to block moves to more free societies in countries like China and Pakistan. It is important to encourage freedom and broad education in such societies.

The model Russia attempted to follow was allowing education aimed at technological advance, while blocking freedom of thought and action outside expertise in physics and engineering. Now China is attempting to allow a free economy, while blocking freedom of social and political thought.

Clearly there are problems with regions of fundamentalism, whether of a socialist or of an institutional ‘religious’ nature, where dogmatisms and widespread ignorance are exploited in pursuit of unaccountable power. Naturally, such efforts must eventually fall apart by their internal inconsistencies. Any society that attempts to limit knowledge and, thereby, to undermine the creativity of its people, will fall behind as surely as happened in inquisitional Spain.

The largest problems come when such societies attempt to spread their various idiocies, often as a distraction from internal degeneracy. In a world of nuclear spears, such enclaves inevitably represent a threat to the civilised and advancing world. It is no longer responsibly possible to take a neutral or isolationist approach to backward societies and unaccountable dictatorships.

In a world of increasing inter-activity, backward societies not only sspread personal misery, they are also inclined to despoil and desecrate large areas of the planet. Here is an item of inheritance from among many left to us, and to the future, by Soviet socialism.

“The plant is part of the Mayak facility in the formerly closed Urals city of Ozyorsk, the site of the worst nuclear disaster on Russian territory five decades ago, when hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to radiation.”

[The comments concerning Ozyorsk (former sloppily run site for weapons fabrication) appear to have the same flavour of border-line hysteria that I have already found in references to Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. I have done insufficient checking yet to fully confirm this. ab]

We are all in this boat together now, whether we like it or not.

It is increasingly necessary that we behave accordingly.

related material
is nuclear power really really dangerous?

The web address for this article is


related material
is nuclear power really really dangerous?

an interesting and thoughful article on ronald reagan

“This hasn't stopped recent contemporary conservative biographers from claiming otherwise. "He said he would cut the budget, and he did," declares Peggy Noonan in When Character Was King. In fact, the budget grew significantly under Reagan. All he managed to do was moderately slow its rate of growth. What's more, the number of workers on the federal payroll rose by 61,000 under Reagan. (By comparison, under Clinton, the number fell by 373,000.)”

The web address for this article is


what’s going on in venezuela? media starts to take notice
A useful report as the media struggles to keep up.

For a useful Venezuelan source, in stumbling English, see

an interesting situation developing in venezuela
where, mainly middle-class, people are attempting to oust the democratically elected head of government because he is seeking to redistribute wealth.

We have seen several dictatorships go down under such pressure in recent years. It is interesting to see some governments, on being elected, then immediately and unceremoniously ditch their pre-election ‘promises’. This appears to be undermining the perceived legitimacy of some administrations.

In Europe, we have seen such behaviour in Britain and Germany recently, accompanied by low level, but increasing, rumblings. Is the Venezuelan trend going to spread?

In answer to statements that the Venezuelan press is biased and controlled by corporate interests:
a quote from Venezuela,

“When we want to know what is going on....all we have to do is go out on the street and talk to people.”

An attitude that could well spread in the new age of the net.

related material
poverty and distribution of wealth
World oil resources

The web address for this article is


related material

poverty and distribution of wealth

World oil resources

just how powerful is the new empire?

What use is the largest standing army in the world and then attempting to get into a pissing contest with an elephant?

P.S. the analogy in the article is poor: poker is mostly a game of bluff, chess is not.

And meanwhile from another deluded mass murderer....
(article not worth time)

“Saddam accused weapons inspectors of being spies and said Iraq is "fully prepared" to do battle. He also called the U.S. "a small midget" and said U.S. officials were "wicked assistants of Satan." The Post suggests the roaring rhetoric means Saddam has concluded that war is inevitable.”

The web address for this article is


nike claim the right to lie!
(lead from Limbic)

“....And lawyers for Nike are preparing to claim before the Supreme Court that, as a "person," this multinational corporation has a constitutional free-speech right to deceive.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Exxon/Mobil, Monsanto, Microsoft, Pfizer, and Bank of America have already filed amicus briefs supporting Nike. Additionally, virtually all of the nation's largest corporate-owned newspapers have recently editorialized in favor of Nike and given virtually no coverage or even printed letters to the editor asserting the humans' side of the case.

“On the side of "only humans have human rights" is the lone human activist in California - Marc Kasky - who brought the original complaint against Nike.”

More can be found on the progress of this interesting and important case here.

The web address for this article is


vatican inconvenience

Under the hopeful heading, Vatican set to release Nazi archive collection, sadly we find:

“But yesterday, the Vatican stated a chunk of the archive dating from 1931 to 1934 was ‘nearly completely destroyed or dispersed’ during the bombing of Berlin in 1945 and a fire at the apostolic nuncio’s palace.”

‘Nearly’ ‘dispersed’ ‘destroyed’—oh, pish!!

The web address for this article is


‘science’ in the service of the state and fundamentalism –
the UK government reject scientific evidence in favour of greed

“The scientists giving the advice are [...] from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), a respected body of 1,600 marine experts who have analysed in great detail the data supplied to them by the Scottish Executive’s Fisheries Research Service.”

“The ICES says that there are now between 30,000 and 40,000 tonnes of spawning cod in the North Sea. The absolute minimum number required to secure long-term survival of the species at the current level of fishing is 70,000 tonnes.”

The UK Prime Mininister Bliar’s stated that scientific research into fish stocks was “unacceptable”, as he fought to continue the devastation of fishing grounds.

[ Times, 23.12.02]

And across the pond, the US government rejects scientific evidence in favour of the great anti-sex god in the sky

[lead from the auroran sunset]

“The National Cancer Institute Web site that until recently stated that the best studies showed “no association between abortion and breast cancer,” has been altered to say that the evidence is inconclusive.”

What is the National Cancer Institute? It is a part of the US government.

“The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of eight agencies that compose the Public Health Service (PHS) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The NCI, established under the National Cancer Act of 1937, is the Federal Government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. ”


“A web page of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used to say that studies showed that education about condom use did not lead to earlier or increased sexual activity has been removed from a revised version of the page.”

And what is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? It is another part of the US government.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recognized as the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people - at home and abroad, providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships.”

It is sad that such behaviour must further undermine any public trust in governments to act impartially in the public interest.

The web address for this article is


‘WMD’ and ‘Inspection’

“Responsibility for this pretense is shared by those who trust the idea of ‘inspection’ and those who take the word at its face value. There’s a potentially nice coincidence between the notion of ‘inspection’ and the work of epidemiology: Good hygiene counters the epidemic. But these things require reciprocity. Who on earth goes to the doctor and, in response to his questions, tries to make him guess where the pain is? (“You didn’t ask the right question!”) The correct treatment for a regime of sadism and megalomania like Saddam’s is more akin to the ‘committal’ procedure adopted for those whose mental disturbance is a menace to themselves and others. (“Take your meds and then we’ll have a long, long talk.”) That’s why inspection has had to be enforced upon him in the first place. The existence of weapons of indiscriminate destruction, or weapons of mass terror, might be inferred from the profile of any modern government. The threat they might constitute could only be inferred by a close study of that government itself. ....”

Article recommended: two GoldenYak (tm) award
(author: C. Hitchens)

The web address for this article is


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