Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Niki Ashton Displays Wisdom on Venezuela Crisis: Media Shits Itself

[If only I'd worked harder and gotten this out sooner! The whole Venezuelan Regime-Change farce would have collapsed! Unable to convince myself that blogging isn't a waste of time, I hemmed and hawed and procrastinated for so long that the original shitty article went behind a paywall and what I had was an overly long introduction. But since I don't want the time that I did waste on this to have been a COMPLETE waste, I publish it AZIZ.]

I'm happy that I can't inhabit the head-space of the ignoramuses, dullards and deluded who parrot the mainstream corporate media's insanity. But, the drawback is that such people become a riddle for me. I don't know WHY they think the way that they do and, so, I'm unable to know just HOW to rearrange their confused thinking so that they start to have some temporary contact with reality.

With regards to the corporate media itself, I am unsure as to how much they believe their own garbage and how much they know that they're peddling propaganda. I lean towards thinking that the majority of them actually believe the vast majority of what they produce. The ideological "filters" described by Chomsky & Herman in Manufacturing Consent means that anyone who deviates from the propaganda line too much, gets fired or quits. Chris Hedges quit working at the New York Times and he has written and spoken a great deal about the intellectual climate there. Phil Donohue was fired by MSNBC for being vocally against the Iraq War and his corporate masters did this even though his show was leading in the ratings. MSNBC also fired Ed Schultz for covering the campaign of Bernie Sanders, whose wish to restore the social-economic conditions that prevailed under Eisenhower are anathema to them. And Canadian radio-host Peter Gzowski infamously went off on a rant when Noam Chomsky deviated from his expected criticisms of US policy in Vietnam to condemnation of Canada's role aiding and abetting it:
Chomsky describes a similar experience with former CBC radio host Peter Gzowski. Happy to have him criticize US foreign policy, the long-time Morningside host became furious when Chomsky said, “I landed at war criminal airport”. Gzowski questioned: “What do you mean?” to which Chomsky responded, “the Lester B. Pearson Airport”, detailing Pearson’s contribution to the US war in Vietnam. In response, writes Chomsky, Gzowski “went into a tantrum, haranguing me for a number of minutes”, which prompted an outpouring of listener complaints.
Did the editorial writers of The Globe & Mail know that endorsing stephen harper and his Conservatives was a blatant betrayal of the entirety of their professed political principles? I believe they were dimly aware of it. (Either that or they just understood that harper himself was very unpopular.) That's why they tried to pretend that you could vote "Conservative" without that being an endorsement of harper himself. As if his whole party wasn't guilty of supporting his sodomizing Parliament with a splintery broomstick. I know that, as human beings, we are all quite capable of deluding ourselves with incoherent rationalizations for our hypocrisies and selfishness. As long as we've invented these absurd justifications AND NEVER THINK OF THEM AGAIN we can pretend we're much better people than we are.

In a society based on capitalism, it is generally the case that amoral psychopaths rise to the top. Because capitalism is based on profit maximization being the highest human value. Which is inhuman, and amoral. The people who best internalize this sick value system are amoral psychopaths. A cultural product that celebrates this anti-human system will be supported by these psychopaths. Such cultural products will tend to dominate the society in general. People who want to work in the cultural sector had best internalize this anti-human, amoral pathology if they want to succeed.

Which brings me to this sleazy and stupid article about Niki Ashton's opposition to Canada's participation of regime-change in Venezuela by one Dylan Robertson.

Beginning with the title, the piece is an unsubtle attempt to depict Ashton's principled and sensible position as something deserving of contempt and condemnation. "Ashton defends her criticism of Canada's support for Venezuela's congressional leader." I mean, really! What the fuck is that? Why not: "Ashton defends her stance against regime-change in Venezuela"? What is Dylan Robertson hoping to achieve with the weasel-words "Canada's support for Venezuela's congressional leader"? Well, imagine an ignorant dullard reading that headline:

"Duh, what's so bad with supporting someone somewhere?"


Except we're supporting a figure-head leader of a violent, anti-democratic, US-backed oligarchic rebel movement. And we're saying that this puppet is Venezuela's new leader and to hell with the guy who was actually elected. We are meddling in the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation, and for no good reason. But Dylan Robertson can't portray it that way. He's a shameless propagandist and so he obfuscates what's going on from the very start.
OTTAWA — Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton is dismissing criticism after she denounced Canada’s response to Venezuela’s authoritarian President Nicol├ís Maduro.
Hmm! Ashton is being criticized! This is negative framing. Immediately, she's under attack and on the defensive. (Obviously the people who are criticizing her are stupid fucks, but this is only recognized by people who aren't fooled by heavy-handed garbage such as is produced by Dylan Robertson.) So she has "denounced Canada's response to ... authoritarian President." First of all, it's the Trudeau government's response. Don't speak for me Dylan Robertson. You have neither the right, nor the brains, nor the integrity to speak for me. So Trudeau's government is "responding" to something that Venezuela's "authoritarian" President did? What did he do to us? And, is he an authoritarian?

Let's review some basic facts, shall we? Since you will not see ANY of this in the "reporting" of useless hacks like Dylan Robertson or practically anyone else in the corporate news media. Venezuela is a South American country with a population of roughly 33 million people. It has the largest supply of proven oil reserves on the planet. Up until 1998 it was ruled by politicians representing economic elites who were mainly white skinned of European ancestry. The breakdown of Venezuela's demographics can be found here and it states:
The ethnicity in Venezuela is split among Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, and indigenous people. The World Factbook has no available statistical percentages on this area of demographics for this country. However, the World Atlas has found some relevant material, giving estimates of 50% Mestizo, 42.5% European descent, 3.5% African descent, 2.5% indigenous, and 1.2% other groups.
So, how good a job did this traditional ruling class do with Venezuela's economy and living standards? About the usual dismal record for kleptocratic, US-puppets in the region:
It is one of the few Latin American countries to have had, not one, but two "lost decades:" the 1980s and the 1990s. Never really able to recover from currency and debt crises in the 1980s, Venezuela plunged further into economic chaos in the 1990s (see table). Inflation remained indomitable and among the highest in the region, economic growth continued to be volatile and oil-dependent, growth per capita stagnated, unemployment rates surged, and public sector deficits endured despite continuous spending cutbacks. Real wages today are almost 70 percent below what they were 20 years ago. In eight of the last 12 years, Venezuela suffered some sort of economic emergency-a critical fiscal deficit, a banking crisis, a currency crisis, an economic recession or a combination of these. More than two-thirds of the population now live below poverty levels. A recent report estimates that, for an average Venezuelan with 12 years of schooling, the probability of ending up poor is 18.5 percent, up from 2.4 percent only a decade ago. Education-a common antidote against poverty-has simply ceased to work.
Notice that when traditional rulers bring their nations to penury and the IMF mandates that basic essentials be denied to the people to bail-out foreign lenders, that there is no outcry from imbeciles such as the loathsome Chrystia Freeland. No. It's just "business-as-usual" and unworthy of comment. (After all, Freeland is quite happy to serve in a government that presides over First Nations communities condemned to squalid housing, malnutrition, dirty water and suicide epidemics.) And so even when a traditional ruling class is forced to massacre thousands of its own citizens to enforce IMF Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPS) this is no cause for concern.

But this traditional state of affairs came to an end with the electoral victory of Hugo Chavez and his "Bolivarian Revolution."

Here's a link to some of the very real social achievements of the Chavez government.


Unknown said...

Excellent article. Thanks for posting it "AZIZ". Your time has not been wasted.

thwap said...

Thanks Unknown. Not totally wasted anyhow.