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The Reality Of Sanctions On Syria.

category international | anti-war / imperialism | other press author Friday February 17, 2012 18:18author by pat c Report this post to the editors

Sanctions: such a simple word, it sounds harmless. But sanctions are really War by other means. Here Michael Jansen writes about the reality of sanctionsc as ordinary Syrian people suffer. Full text at link.

SHOESHINE BOYS and girls line up with their simple kits along the pavement across from the luxury Cham Palace Hotel, which charges more than a poor man’s monthly wage for a single night’s stay.

Women holding bundles which may or may not be babies sit on the broad walkway in a colonnade. Grubby children peddling chewing gum and lottery tickets pursue pedestrians for blocks in the hope of receiving a coin or two. In all the years I have been visiting Syria, I have never seen such desperation.

Economic sanctions touted as targeting the regime actually affect the poor, punish the middle class, and destroy commerce.

In November, a dollar bought 54 Syrian pounds; today a dollar is worth 70 and more. Prices have risen by 35-50 per cent. Unemployment and underemployment are soaring. The Central Bureau of Statistics put the unemployment level for 2011 at 8.6 per cent for males, 22 per cent for females, and 20.4 per cent for youth. These figures do not reflect reality. Many men have never formally entered the workforce or have gone abroad for work while only 10 per cent of women are employed outside the home.

Before the troubles began 11 months ago, the economy was growing at a rate of 4-6 per cent. This surge came after the launch of a liberalisation programme which transformed the country’s command economy into a “social market” one, featuring a free market with guaranteed development for the poor.

Independent economic consultant Nabil Sukkar says oil exports have fallen but Damascus expects to make up some losses by increasing non-oil exports such as agricultural products (especially olive oil), pharmaceuticals and textiles.

Although Syria’s imports are falling, the country could end up with a larger budget deficit. Syria’s $17 billion in reserves, reduced to $14-15 billion, “are not being replenished as before by oil exports and tourism”.

He points out that “sanctions have created bottlenecks and black markets. Smugglers benefit.”

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author by pat cpublication date Sun Feb 19, 2012 19:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Imperialists are determined to use the UN general assembly resolution as a cover if they cannot use the UN Security Council. Full article at link.

UN vote seen as stepping stone toward military intervention in Syria

The support by the United Nations General Assembly for the Arab League call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down on “humanitarian” grounds brings military intervention one step closer. The 137-12 vote, with 17 abstentions, is non-binding, but it gives a UN imprimatur to the Arab League proposal for regime-change that was blocked on the Security Council by Russia and China.

In the face of opposition from Moscow and Beijing, and given Syria’s strategic position in the Middle East as Iran’s ally, Washington, Paris and London must tread carefully. However, intervention now has the “Arab face” so desired by the Obama administration, along with the fig leaf of legitimacy imparted by the UN and the implicit authority of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine under which war was waged against Libya.

Rather than direct involvement, numerous political figures, newspapers and policy bodies are advocating arming the opposition Free Syrian Army as a preparatory step towards declaring “buffer zones” and “humanitarian corridors.” This would necessitate NATO bombing, fronted by one or more local proxies led by Turkey and the Gulf states.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said Wednesday that France had already started negotiating a new UN Security Council resolution on Syria with Russia, with the aim of creating humanitarian corridors. “The idea of humanitarian corridors that I previously proposed to allow NGOs to reach the zones where there are scandalous massacres should be discussed at the Security Council,” he told France Info radio.

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author by pat cpublication date Fri Feb 24, 2012 17:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Full text at link.

On Monday the Republican US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham met for talks with generals of the US backed Egyptian military junta and leading members of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. Both Senators are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and call for arming the Syrian opposition and regime change in Damascus.

The counterrevolutionary Egyptian junta, which is drowning the Egyptian revolution in blood and remains the main ally of US imperialism in the Arab world, backs the US preparations for imperialist intervention in Syria. Last week high-ranking US officials declared that the $1.3 billion in yearly US military aid to Egypt would not be cut, despite a conflict over US-sponsored NGOs operating in Egypt.

While in Kabul, shortly before visiting Cairo, McCain argued for arming the Syrian rebels via “Third World Countries” and Graham said that the Cairo-based Arab League could be a “conduit” for US influence in Syria. They insisted that it was “the duty and not the privilege of free nations to come to the rescue of the Syrian people who are being massacred by the Assad regime.”

In Cairo McCain gave an interview to CBS News, stressing the need to arm and give technical assistance to the Syrian rebels. McCain compared the situation to last year’s NATO war in Libya, stating: “For example, in Libya, without our direct involvement, there was arms that were obtained by the Libyan rebels. One of the ideas that’s been floated is a kind of sanctuary that would allow people to train and equip. We don’t need to do that directly. But I think that there are ways to get arms to the resistance and the Turks and the Arab League can play a great, a very significant role.”

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author by leftypublication date Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good post relating to the geopolitics of syria/israel/us/egypt on counterpunch:

apparently it was all a dirty scam cooked up between sadat / meir / kissinger

very interesting!!

author by Abdul Al-Hogwash - The Arab League, Division 2publication date Sun Feb 26, 2012 20:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We would like to report that we have almost assured that the glorious Assad can remain in office for another 16 years and we expect the draft constitution to be passed by a smallish 99.99% thanks to voters being afraid to vote.

With over 7,300 sub-humans executed (the west call these the opposition) we have nearly wiped out these evil people. Indeed we managed to get 14 children (for sure they would have grown up and might have voted against us) amongst the 89 we sent packing today!

Without the help and support of the glorious western lefterners we could not succeed.

Don't forget to picket the Israeli Embassy for anything this week to distract those stupid ordinary people in your country.

Many thanks again to all our friends at

author by leftypublication date Mon Feb 27, 2012 07:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

compare mr "hogwash's" figures to the (current) death toll from the UN "oil intervention" in libya

Its at least 10,000. Plus, the country is full of guns, much of the infrastructure has been bombed to shit. Lots and lots f kiddies were killed. Lets not ignore the racial "cleansing" that took place. Of course, sharia law is on the cards so no more secular democracy. And then there is the huge bill to be paid for all the weaponry used by the UN in bombing their country to shit. They'll be paying that off for a while. Then there's corruption among NTC factions over who gets to cream off the oil money. And it seems gadaffi loyalists still haven't stopped fighting either. deaths will mount further there for sure.

very nice picture in total. Would syria be better off if they took the "libya option"?? d'ya think?

Furthermore, a lot of this fighting which is going on in Syria (hence dead children) might not have taken place without being egged on, financed and supplied by western powers with vested interests in making life harder for Iran.

Of course assad is a dick. so was saddam hussein. But it would have taken saddam hussein 250 years or more to kill as many iraqis as the americans did at the best annual rate he achieved. Yet he might have lived only for 30 years. And iraq used to be a secular democracy with wealth, history and proper infrastructure. now it's a basket case.

Furthermore sanctions imposed by UN etc there prior to invasion resulted in hundreds of thousands of child deaths while not impacting saddams regime at all. Sanctions just hit the poor. But then again thats the real plan isn't it. get the citizens pissed off when a bunch of their children starve to death and hopefully they'll eventually go on to the streets and a few will be gunned down and we can show the footage at news at ten to galvanize sheeple support and use as an excuse to invade and control their oil etc. We've seen it all before havent we?

Western nations should just stay out of other people's countries. And stop manufacturing and selling everyone weapons. You can't kill your citizens as efficiently if you aren't well armed. That includes the UK selling stuff to Bahrain/saudi arabia. I know the media likes to ignore that particular oppressive regime, while it's going on endlessly about syria and iran.

And perhaps its time that CIA dickhead and rabid anti communist gene sharp stuck his books up his ass. His ideas and their CIA backers have just gotten poor people killed and sewed chaos and fundamentalism across western africa and the middle east.

author by Contrarianpublication date Mon Feb 27, 2012 09:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tell me you're joking, lefty! Secular democracy in Saddam's Iraq or Gaddafi's Libya - I've heard it all now :-)

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..they were 'secular democracies' like Ireland was under ayatollah McQuaid when I was a lad?

Or like America under its bible-belt born again 'muscular'(i.e. nuclear corporate expansionary hegemonic and subversive)Christianity leading its crusade against the heathen Muslim?But then its race-war origins were founded on the pilgrim fathers presumptions.
Or Calvinist puritan north-European extractive economic moneterist neo-nazi(read up the on the Reichsbank's scams for financial strangling of its conquered territories to finance ITS war economics)supression of the periphery to fuel its imperial ambitions.

Or more like sectarian covert-royalist Firm/City of London/Rotschild WASP cetripetal corporate mercenary manipulating stage-democratic axis of virtue coalition-of-the-will elites in collusion when no common enemy threatens flexi-trillionair NATO political wingers?

Or maybe 'democratic' little Israel(Belgium of the modern Great Warriors) founded on the democratic secular claims of the bible folk-tales of racist/sectarian rights to ethnic cleanse the region for its deistically 'chosen people'?Granted by Balfour in return for the one true god of acetate to facilitate the making of cordite for the original Great War.

Yeah, lotsa secular democracies sloping round the house.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Feb 27, 2012 13:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..that the mass media have already told us the killing was initiated by NATO regional cop Turkey by cross-border arming of many of the same squads that ethnically cleansed Libya(dropped in from Afghan units by NATO again)...??That was before they were embedded back on message. It happened with Libya early on too, but the smoke machines have overdrive functions when necessary.

Did you forget they also informed us early on of the defections from the Syrian army and the fact they took their weapons along, and were using them indiscriminately to spread terror and disaffection from the regime?Again, its a well tried formula...MI5/6 practised it here, and will again if necessary; false flags were not first flown yesterday.

Where did I say they were any worse?Oh and you missed the ayatollah McQuaid. You just dont get the point. But then I doubt you want to see points got.

The point is the selective demonisation of Islam by the neo-con crusaders that has been escalating exponentially since the Bush/Cheyney coup solidified the military/industrial/Wall St imperial Project for a New American Century, which is basically a reflagged reich on the usual anti-semitic WASP foundation, but this time incorporating the despensible Fort Zion in the wild east new frontier.

Its not exactly classified what has been happening. Just obfuscated and clouded by minnions like yourself who hold the same racist/sectrian prejudices that always fuel fascistic ideologies. In the thirties Goebbels would have found you a niche as a jew-baiter, rather than your current role as muslim-baiter.

Did you also forget who set up al CIAda in the first place, and for what reasons?

No doubt you will dismiss this, but others will recognise its reminders

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Feb 27, 2012 13:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..Syria is multi-ethnic, and polytheistic, not mono fidelist muslim.

Get a fact right, once in awhile.

author by Readerpublication date Mon Feb 27, 2012 16:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Syria is over 90% muslim!
Curiously enough 90% also "voted" for President Assads power grab, sorry, make that "new constitution".

author by Contrarianpublication date Mon Feb 27, 2012 18:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My point, opus, was that Libya/Iraq under the dictators Gaddafi/Hussein could not be described as secular democracies. If pushed, you could just about argue the "secular" label but neither were remotely close to being democracies. Do you disagree?

Whatever Archbishop McQuaid/Israel/US Religious Right/Nazi Germany/European colonisers did or didn't do has little relevance to the factual matter of whether the above two states were or were not democratic. Makes for an entertaining if irrelevant rant, though :-)

PS My moniker is "Contrarian" not "contra." Not that I'm fussy (sticks and stones etc.) but I did notice you took fierce objection to your own handle being given a diminutive form on another thread. Still, consistency is not your strong suit.

author by leftypublication date Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I meant secular "country". Democracy was a silly typo sorry. Of course Iraq was not a democracy. However ordinary people did have a lot more personal freedoms than under sharia or the current basket case. that was the point I was making.

Then again, as opus has pointed out, nobody really has a democracy. its mostly illusory. At best it's a tyranny of the stupid swayed by television and other media.

All we can hope for is to obtain as many rights and as much personal freedom to live our lives as possible from power structures that seek to enslave us and control us for their own enrichment and that of their corporate and financial terrorist friends.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and no offence intended, but you do tend towards knee-jerk defense of all things anglo-american...but then thats, as albert might say consistency for ya. It misses a lot of nuance. And I have yet to hear you say you resent association with the Contra death squads I intentionally associated your previous comments with representing. They are the consequence of your blinkered adherence to all things western, not a simple diminution for its own sake. The cousins of these Contra death squads are still NATO's delivery boys in the new frontier of the wild east.

And I did consistently criticise Saddam way back when Pharma Don Rummy&Co were providing the precursor chemicals for therir proxy war against the Iranian nationalisation of the Shah's oil compliance. Not many were in that choir; so dont please lecture on consistency when you defend such plasticity, consistently.

Gadaffi never claimed or aspired(to the best of my info) to be a western style democracy....but then I'm less enamoured of what passes for democracy than many are. Representative machinery has resulted in the sort of farce we have in Ireland, where you vote for a set of policies to reverse the clientelist bend-over of neo-con financial syphons, and get a change of shirt running the same policies. Without democratising ownership away from corporate dinosaurs we have oligarchic wolves in democratic fleece(and fleece can be applied as a verb once thats locked in).

Now, ceist leat(my turn to question). Do you believe Iraq and Libya are better off for NATO destruction of their societies and infrastructure and the privatisation of their resources into external hands where their incomes will no longer be used to provide public services to their populations, but be used instead as chips in the stock casinos which have just cascaded another re-run of the '29 collapse that led to WW II?You are aware of whats happening in Iraq and Libya daily?

In fact, while we are on consistency and you find the consistent alliance between Saudi royal Sunni findamentalism and 'secular western democracy' 100% consistent?

And just to get to topic Syria('scuse my unprecedented consistency), do you honestly think the destruction of a multi-ethnic and multi-sectarian balance by the Sunni sectarian Saudi royals(source of several centuries of entrenching Wahabbi fundamentalism) will herald democratic benefits for their populations, rather than the mafia elites who will serve the mega-bankers and their balkanisation divide and rule hegemony?

al CIAda does NOT = democracy. Well not in my inconsistent book.


author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Feb 28, 2012 13:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

but certainly more credible than the monoclone newsfeeds driving WMD Mk II

author by Contrarianpublication date Tue Feb 28, 2012 15:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seeing as you ask quite politely, opus, it seems only reasonable to R to your SVP in that spirit. My basic staring point is a belief that democracy, with all its flaws, is the best system of government devised so far by mankind. Or, as someone far wittier than I put it, democracy is the worst system ever devised, apart from all the others.

Specifically, I would be a believer in parliamentary democracy with strong legislative/executive/judicial separation of powers, liberalism on personal freedoms, and the greatest possible liberalism on economic issues consistent with provision of necessary social protections and safety nets. This requires robust constitutional checks and balances to ensure that government powers are not abused and to prevent concentration of economic power in individuals and corporations. In practice it also requires a strong ombudsman function and pretty much absolute guarantees on freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religious and/or political belief (or lack thereof) coupled with a basic separation of churches and state, and tolerance of peaceful, lawful dissent. Another requirement is measures to prevent monopolistic control of media outlets and, perhaps, public subsidisation of media access, together with well funded free education and governmental encouragement of civic responsibility (noticeably lacking in Ireland, sadly.)

To various extents, the US, Canada and the Scandinavian nations best exemplify various aspects of the above formula. No country gets it completely right but the western democracies in general get it more right than anybody else does. And certainly get it a lot more right than any dictatorship of any hue you care to name from Castro to the Atatollahs to China and points between. Sure, the US is light on social protections for instance, Scandinavia is light on economic liberalism but, hey, nobody’s perfect. Recent improvements in some countries include legislation on freedom of information, data protection, rights to privacy, consumer protection, gay rights, anti-discrimination and so on. Most importantly, democracy gives you a route to tweak and improve the model. And when someone comes up with a demonstrably better working model I will support that. Pie in the sky about how anarchism or socialism might work don’t really cut the mustard without a working model. (The oft-quoted and somewhat desperately resorted to example of Revolutionary Spain is hardly a good demonstration of anarchism. And the less said about the enthusiasm of the Western left for Soviet communism, the better. Pity the internet wasn’t around then – there would have been plenty apologists for the workers paradise of USSR on a 1970’s I reckon! Bit like Cuba today, but I diversify…)

So when it comes to a row between a democracy and a dictatorship, I will tend to back the democracy every time. The question of whether democracies should intervene in dictatorships or in wars between dictatorships is difficult, not least because of the conflicting motivations arising. Sometimes this leads to unpalatable choices where the only thing that can be done is the “least worst” option. For instance, when Hitler’s divisions controlled most of Europe, it was morally right to ally with Stalin, even though he was a murderous, genocidal tyrant. He was the lesser of two evils. Time moved on, the Nazi threat was dealt with and the Soviet army controlled Eastern and Central Europe with SS-20 missiles pointing at Western Europe. It was then undoubtedly right to oppose and undermine that regime even if it meant (among other things) arming fundamentalists in Afghanistan. They were now the lesser of two evils. In turn, the Soviet threat was overcome, but the once-CIA backed fundamentalists then presented a real danger to democracy. So it goes. A somewhat similar logic can apply to the PLO and the creation of Hamas.

The democracies don’t always get the detail right. They did in post war Japan and liberated Western Europe. They did in post Cold War Central and Eastern Europe. They largely did (eventually) in Bosnia/Serbia/Kosovo. Arguably, Western policy is (slowly) encouraging China onto a more democratic path. Gulf War 1 was a necessary measure to counter the menace of Saddam to his neighbours. But the aftermath was badly handled because of an unwillingness to commit resources on the ground. And the Western powers got it wrong on Gulf War 2 and Afghanistan. Not that it was wrong to try (on grounds other than the WMD threat BTW) but again the aftermath was completely messed up. Probably because of too little intervention rather than too much. Things undone rather than things done. Shortcuts taken, corners cut, standards of decency not applied. Vested interests played a role too it must be admitted. Central and South America represent probably the worst aspect of US foreign policy and its backing of so many dictatorships is an embarrassment and a stain on that nation’s record. It could and should have been done better.

I share your discomfort with the alliance between Western democracies and the Saudi royal ultra-fundamentalist regime. I don’t go for monarchy or religious fundamentalism anyway, but as monarchies go, Saudi is a most unpleasant regime, completely lacking in democracy, with inbuilt discrimination against women, gays and non-muslims. However, it does not generally menace its neighbours and, on that basis alone, is preferable to Iran with whom it has been traditionally and historically a regional foe. Lesser of two evils again. (with Bahrain possibly playing the role of the small Eastern European republics in the Soviet Empire - allies of the Greater Evil, oppressed by the lesser evil - that realpotitik for you I reluctantly suppose, no more instinctively appealing now than in its Soviet heyday.)

Libya is a difficult case. Gaddafi was a kleptocrat and a dictator who looted the country for his family and tribal benefit, and to indulge his political fantasies, while using some of his vast oil revenues to keep the population at large in only reasonable material comfort. Not difficult to pull off with lots of oil and a small population and little credit to him for doing so. Where is any evidence of productive industry and commerce built with the enormous resources he had available to him if used wisely? If democracy takes root, the country will be vastly better off in the long run. It is difficult to build democracy where none existed without a vast commitment to an interim peacekeeping force. And that raises its own problems. But even in terms of future exemplary value and dissuasion of dictatorships alone, the overthrow and subsequent fate of Milosevic, Saddam and Gaddafy can only be a good thing.

Likewise, I would like to see Assad ousted in Syria. The modalities are difficult but as a general principle, it should be done on a multilateral international basis. But then you got China’s interest in oil from Assad’s buddies in Tehran and of course Russia with its strategic interest in Syria’s Mediterranean port access for its Navy. So the UN Security Council is hamstrung. So must it be a coalition of the willing or nothing? Which is best? How can we replicate the examples of Germany, Japan, Eastern Europe and the Balkans rather than the botch jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan? I don’t have all the answers but nation-building is more likely to have a positive outcome when done by democracies than dictatorships. I am less than enamoured with the concept of multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian societies held together by strong dictatorships than you seem to be. The Soviet Union and FRY were such societies and they were hardly exemplary models and have been replaced by better alternatives. Perhaps that’s genuinely the way to go. Worked for Czechoslovakia too. Give people a choice and let democracy take its course. Like I said, it’s not perfect but it's better than all the other alternatives that have been tried. And failed.

author by realistpublication date Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How do you feel about heavy handed policing in the US. Its a stealth police state now.
The worlds largest per capita prison population?
systematic government snooping on people's internet?
systematic attempts to control the internet?
use of nuclear weapons on japan?
the farming out of all dirty industry to third world countries to avoid pollution legislation?
huge part of US economy geared towards the military industrial complex?
US financial destruction of most of the world's economies through derivatives and money printing?
the huge disparity of wealth between the 1% and the rest of US society?

Basically US is not a democracy but a corporate financial and militarist kleptocracy which is out of control and will destroy the planet

In cuba you get free education and health care
you would get more if not for the 40+ year embargo economically destroying their economy

The government of venezuela has approval ratings that US presidents could only dream of.
Their electoral system allowed monitors in and was deemed fair.
can you say the same about the shennigans in florida state?
People have education and a higher literacy rate than the US yet the US systematically tries to undermine and even assassinate hugo chavez not from any egalitarian principles but because they want his oil.

Same principle applies to Iraq and libya and syria and Iran.

I could go on and on pointing out the blatant hypocrisy and lies of this so called "democracy" but I won't.

I think your thinking is up your ass and your vision is completely blinkered and biased. You seem to think that the US et al do what they do out of some high moral principle. No. any one with half a brain can see that that is just the PR guff. The real motives are completely self serving.In reality the US does not give a toss about democracy and is happy to deal with fundamentalist nutjob regimes if they get what they want.

Either you are a sneaky PR vehicle for the imperial agenda or you are a fool who has swallowed the PR guff. I think you are more likely the former than the latter.

well some of us haven't drank your kool aid contrarian and are not fooled by the pr guff.

author by Contrarianpublication date Wed Feb 29, 2012 15:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Realist,

That's a long list of things you don't like about the US. Fair enough. I'm not dealing with all of them cos I don't really sense you're up for a fair debate rather than simplictic US bashing. I never said the US was a perfect society, simply that in common with other democracies, it is better than any dictatorship. Can it be improved? Sure, and the democratic system provides the template. Small example: Obama's health care reforms. OK, its not cradle to grave NHS stuff, but its an improvement on where the US was pust-Bush, right?

And I think you will find many dictators whose wealth disparity relative to their populations vastly exceeds anything in the US!

You posit Florida, 2000 as a demonstration of lack of democracy in the US. While forgetting that 90 miles south of Florida, in the workers paradise of Cuba, you've got a one-party state, which also runs the only media outlets, the only ISP. Is that a better type of "democracy?" But Cuba's failings are conveniently dumped at the US's door anyway because of the embargo. I mean Castro takes power, executes thousands of opponents, then invites in the USSR, America's sworn enemy to point its missiles at the US. Then he acts all surprised when the US says we won't trade with you. Boo, hoo.

But if Cuban is so brilliant a place to live (all that health care!) how come the Cuba-US immigration traffic goes north rather than south. And if its inhabitants are so fond of the Bros Castro, how about giving its citizens a free vote in an open election with freedom of speech, open access to media and the right to form opposition political parties? What a wonderful triumph for the Communist Party to win such a fair and open and honest election. That would be one in the eye for the Yankee imperialists for sure. Won't happen though, will it? We both know why.

author by realistpublication date Wed Feb 29, 2012 15:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"But if Cuban is so brilliant a place to live (all that health care!) how come the Cuba-US immigration traffic goes north rather than south. And if its inhabitants are so fond of the Bros Castro, how about giving its citizens a free vote in an open election with freedom of speech, open access to media and the right to form opposition political parties"

firstly, obama's healthcare was a scam to make even more money on healthcare for private health insurance companies. Sure it meant a few more people got cover but it also meant a lot more money was transferred from the public purse to private companies. Bad example. Obama campaign is sponsored by the same people as sponsor the republican candidate.

do you want the corporate puppet on the left or the corporate puppet on the right. oh,wait, the same corporate/financial creeps are working both puppets. Thats democracy in the US. Its a sham.

The majority of citizens are dumbed down and ill informed and easily persuaded by a captive media. It demands a huge investment to try to change the inevitable outcome of this system.

And sure you can form opposition parties. But you need a huge amount of money and if your agenda is not in keeping with that of corporate/financial america then the media will bury you. Look at the ron paul experience. The people funded him as well as they could from grassroots, he talked a lot more sense than any of the other nutjob candidates but they still buried him in the media.Because he would limit the profits of the military industrial complex and the financial instutions that govern america if elected. In fact they'd probably assassinate him in the first month if he DID get elected so it's just as well from ron's point of view.

How is this sham better than a single party system which gives free education and healthcare to all its citizens in the face of grave economically crippling embargo over a prolonged period

regarding justice, I reiterate the prison statistics of the US. Largest on the planet per capita. And its usuallly poor black people that get stuffed into them. You see prison is all about corporate profits in the US. lovely.

The fact is, the actions of wall street have destroyed our own economy indirectly. Its war by other means. The IMF and world bank are tools of imperialism that wage financial war to benefit the US.

To sum up, if this is a good democracy then give me a benign dictatorship any day.

( as an aside, I'll also point out that cuba is the only country meeting it's obligations under kyoto in case the long term viability of much of the planet is of any importance to you! )

author by Contrarianpublication date Wed Feb 29, 2012 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The old "benign dictatorship" canard! If it tolerates dissent, it's not a dictatorship. If it doesn't tolerate dissent, it's not benign. Can't be both.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Mar 06, 2012 13:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You mean like the democracy being delivered by NATO to an expanding swathe of Arab dictatorships, which your idealised democracy finds useful for outsourcing its democratic torture.

No doubt you would prefer to be poor and black in democratic Haiti, rather than the dictatorial hell of Cuba. Or the new Libya, rather than the pre-pogromic dictatorship of racial mix and the highest standards of living in Africa.

As for the lobbyocracy of billion $ campaign Pentagonia/ the juice for bruce.

Dissent?The Colbert Report vs the Blizzards of corporate PR-op-agendas. I think I'll stick to my belief that democracy has something to do with government by, for and of the demos..rather than a strait-jacketed velvet-gloved fascism of god-heads. Oh, and a little more Equality and aspiration towards collective Fraternity(as against dog-eat-dog competition)might help dilute the licence that Liberty-flagged EU/US democracy has degenerated into in its return to 19th century Great Game imperial carve-up of the globe.

Cosmetics dont seduce us all. Ireland is another example of your Orwellian democratic practise, where you vote for a change of policy, and get a change of fucking shirt. I suggest you read up on the Nazi banking system for extracting the costs of colonising eastern Europe from its victims. The victors took over more than the technologies, science and intelligence networks of the Reich. But then Britannia was the model Adolf idealised, while Benito just looked back to imperial Rome. No wonder Italy was less racist or antisemitic than the WASP precursor/model of exterminations her britannic majesty exemplified under her democratic butcher's apron. Rome did have a more genuinely cosmopolitan culture, possibly as a result of geography and proximity to Africa and Asia. That teutonic white skin seems to have self-blinding dazzle.

author by leftypublication date Wed Mar 07, 2012 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here is what Irish people are getting about Syria:!v=1139246

(you will just have to paste this into your browser as the exclamation mark was screwing up the direct link)

author by Readerpublication date Wed Mar 07, 2012 22:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Interviewer is Irish, the person being interviewed is an English Oxford Professor.

Good to see that you are showing clips of the damage Assad is dishing out to litle kids, The US needs to kick his sorry ass out of there ASAP, never mind the Russian or Chinese fools.

author by leftypublication date Wed Mar 07, 2012 22:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I meant the Irish people that are watching this crap on TV you psychotic idiot!

I'm glad you think fomenting civil war and arming various groups which promptly cause the deaths of civilians is a good thing.
However I'm pretty certain the parents of the dead children and most of the innocent citizens trying to live their lives in syria might not agree with you.

Armchair killing is fun for sociopaths. Just like another video game. Perhaps if you are so keen on this then you should enlist with the "noble" syrian rebels yourself instead of spouting your right wing hawkish evil crap here. Maybe see up close what these wars your kind are always cheerleading really mean for the people involved.

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