If you’re searching for a suitable adjective, Mr Rasmussen, how about “illegal”? Thanks to the Israelis and the Americans, we are now so inured to murder and assassination that the issue of the legality of summarily executing someone hardly arises. It’s as though an extra-judicial killing is now to be judged on a scale of unpleasantness, and described, euphemistically, as a “death” — like a death in a traffic accident, which simply occurs. Presumably, if Gaddafi had been cleanly dispatched, without all that blood (and without a knife up his rear end), his killing would have been more acceptable.
The legacy of Reaganism — predatory lending and financial fraud — have taken the world to the brink of the abyss, yet somehow we are all better off — with the possible exception of the “squeezed” middle class, the writer below argues. She hails the “unprecedented global economic boom” that resulted from Reagan’s policies of tax cuts (largely for the rich), financial deregulation and privatization of state assets, and says that this has been most beneficial to “some of the world’s poorest people”. In my comment to the editor of the Manawatu Standard, where the article appeared on October 15, I point out that the World Bank statistics, on which this assertion is based, are highly suspect. (See letter to the editor below.) And incidentally, shouldn’t the word “boom” be replaced by “bubble”?
Letter to the editor:
I write in response to the article headlined “Left struggles for sound bite for US’s angst” (Manawatu Standard, October 15).
The World Bank’s statistics, which show that “between 1981 and 2005 the number of people living in poverty in the developing world fell by 500 million”, have been challenged by several academics.
In How Not to Count the Poor, Sanjay G Reddy and Thomas W Pogge, of Columbia University, say “the bank uses an arbitrary international poverty line that is not adequately anchored in any specification of the real requirements of human beings”, and that its approach is therefore “neither meaningful nor reliable”.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs says global poverty levels “have changed very little over the past two decades” and that “the situation today may be even more deplorable than a money income poverty line would suggest”.
As Adam W Parsons notes in his article “World Bank Poverty Figures: What Do They Mean?”: The World Bank uses statistics “to support its policies of deregulation, privatisation [and] market liberalisation…” In other words, the bank is a biased researcher whose “findings” are to be regarded with scepticism.
To read the above article, click on it.
To read the above article, click to enlarge it.
The article is from the Manawatu Standard of October 12, 2011, and my comment on it is from the Manawatu Standard of October 19, 2011. The reader should immediately note that the article first appeared in The Times — a Murdoch newspaper. It thus comes from a publication that is, in itself, a target of popular protests against corporate greed and the manipulation of public opinion. One should not be surprised, therefore, to find the paper resurrecting an archetype of the anti-war/anti-apartheid demonstrations of past eras — the “skinny, bearded man” — and insinuating that such a character is in some way intrinsically disreputable. But just in case you don’t get the insinuation, the paper goes on to tell us that the Occupy protesters “know how to have fun” and — horror of horrors! — are handing out free condoms. Are we living in 2011, or in 1916 — when Margaret Sanger opened America’s first birth control clinic, in the malevolent shadow of the Comstock Act? Surely, in this day and age, anyone making condoms freely available should be praised for their sense of responsibility.
My letter to the Manawatu Standard, published on October 6, 2011. Of course, the United States Administration resorts to all sorts of devices and dodges to put a “legal” stamp on its blatantly illegal act (see New York Times article ). Even in this deeply cynical age, it’s shocking to see Obama violate the Constitution he has sworn to uphold.