From the Left

While media talks missing plane, other events unfold abroad

By Dan Fournier
On March 28, 2014

Let's take a moment to pull back the veils of sensationalism and monotony that the corporate media have laid before our eyes and discuss some of the real issues plaguing our planet.
Recently, legislation was introduced by Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to impose crippling economic sanctions against President Nicolás Maduro's government in Venezuela. This is because Maduro (like his predecessor Hugo Chávez) decided to nationalize the country's vast natural resources rather than leave them in the hands of U.S.-based energy corporations, thus providing oil at the cost of production to Venezuelan citizens and raising billions of dollars by selling it internationally. He re-invested the funds in sweeping anti-poverty programs, including highway expansion and re-paving, universal primary education and reducing child mortality via massive public healthcare investments and equitable access to contraception.
Despite the fact that the CIA has continued to fund the reactionary protests lead by neoliberal aristocrat Leopoldo López, Maduro's government has made incredible improvements in the living standards of the Venezuelan working class. He enjoys such wild support across all of South America that other countries (especially Ecuador, Brazil, and Nicaragua) have elected politicians promising to mimic his policies, even though the U.S. is committed to undermining their citizens' financial security via both direct economic warfare and subtle international isolation.
The U.S. is on the verge of imposing further sanctions on Cuba in the hopes that preventing it from accessing cheap Venezuelan oil and the Internet via South American computer networks will cause the country's "socialist" regime to collapse. The country's strong community ethic and national solidarity is a challenge to the top-town hierarchical sociology of industrial capitalism, and its economy continues to grow steadily despite being isolated from most North American markets via a politically-motivated embargo.
In China, the ruling Communist Party has been holding its National People's Congress at Beijing's Great Hall of the People. Nearly 3,000 regional delegates were sent from across the country to meet and elect, from within their own ranks, a central committee of about 200 individuals to act in the name of the whole Congress when it cannot, thus acting as the de facto Chinese legislature. The committee is currently debating a wide range of reforms.
Some of these include encouraging economic growth to a rate of "about 7.5 percent," up from the recent rates of 3 to 5 percent by tweaking the national tax code, making strategic infrastructure investments and loosening the strict one-child policy for certain families. It also includes massive environmental reform to reduce the country's smothering pollution levels, which He Dongxian, a professor at the China Agricultural University's College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, says is so intensive that it is "similar to a nuclear winter." Citizens regularly wear surgical paper masks on the streets and "up to 500,000 die each year" from lethal air toxins, according to molecular biologist and former Health Minister Chen Zhu. The party is also combating internal corruption by purging members who abuse political privileges.
Major international powers have also capitulated to Obama's harsh stance against Vladimir Putin's democratic annexation of Crimea, moving the international G-8 meeting out of Russia and into the Netherlands. The G-8's constituent countries - France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. - have started meeting to discuss major political, economic, and environmental policies without Russia being present. There is talk of Putin facing "coordinated" and "damaging" sanctions that would cripple Russia's access to financial assets in the EU and U.S., while the G-8 syncs energy development policies to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas.
The EU is also negotiating bailouts for its constituent nations, including $2.6 billion for Ireland over 10 years and $1.8 billion for Portugal, contingent with comprehensive financial reform. After six months of negotiations, the coalition government in Greece (composed of the centre-right New Democracy and centre-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement parties) has come to a deal with the "troika" (the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission) for the next installment of its multi-billion-dollar bailout. Because the stipulations for the Greek bailout involve truly radical budget cuts that eviscerate public pensions, anti-austerity political parties like SYRIZA (the Greek "Coalition of the Radical Left") are poised to make historic gains and potentially win the next national election. The same goes for France, where the ruling Socialist Party has decided to turn to the Greens and Communists for electoral help in order to stave off the rapidly growing popularity of the neo-fascist National Front, which recently won local elections by a landslide.
The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is also reporting that aggregate global temperatures have shifted enough (1.7-1.8 degrees) that they will soon hit an irreversible point (about 2 degrees) wherein profound ripple effects and feedback loops will destroy delicate ecosystems around the world.
Perhaps most interestingly, a dramatic feud has broken out between our nation's own CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee that regulates it. Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-C.A.) has accused the CIA of unconstitutionally spying on the Senate and hacking into the Committee's computer systems in order to find out how it obtained the so-called "Panetta Review" papers that detail secret overseas prisons used for torturing "terrorists" (that is, anti-imperialist freedom fighters) from 2002 until 2009. CIA Director John Brennan has denounced the accusations, stating that his agency has acted in a lawful manner that respects both human rights and federal laws, and the two are on a collision course for a long and bloody legal battle over the constitutionality of the agency's classified programs.
There are many things that the corporate-dominated media are not discussing, and I encourage each and every one of you to seek out alternative and international news sources to hear other viewpoints. Do not let your worldview be constructed and controlled by the ruling class: educate yourselves, question everything, challenge systems of power, and fight for the liberation of the working class, regardless of nationality.

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