Tuesday, August 21, 2012

AJE Fails Re: Assange Speech

What a terrible episode of Inside Story. From the outset, the reporting is fairly shallow (ok as a newsbrief, not ok for a feature introduction). Douglas Murry was full of childish polemics and no real information or insight. Timmons was not the sharpest advocate for Assange's side, nor did he possess appropriate credentials or character to consider him a serious voice here. Khawar Qureshi was the only valuable guest, though his bias showed through in his focus and interpretation of events very sharply.

AJE: What next for Julian Assange?

Jane Dutton did nothing to balance this obviously slanted guestlist. Worse than that, she actively added to the obfuscation and the distance this program had from the real world - nothing is acknowledged about the Ecuadorean media "under attack" actively calling for the overthrow of the government - something intolerable in Trilateral (Western-oriented) nations as "incitement to violence." Nothing is acknowledged about the grasping character of the rendition request, wherein Sweden had to transfer the case from prosecutor to prosecutor until they could find one which would abuse their legal system. Nothing is acknowledged about the accountability of government and how much information that has come out from these documents that helpfully inform our democratic process. That Daniel Ellsberg, the person who released the Pentagon Papers, has sided with Assange is not acknowledged, though it changes the narrative immensely. Bradley Manning (the real victim here, who has been subject to torture) is facing far stiffer penalties than Ellsberg ever did.

This episode played into all the worse processes that organizations like Wikileaks are against. I don't know to what extent Dutton controlled this program besides her language on this segment, but just about everyone involved in this episode needs to really reconsider what on earth they were trying to accomplish.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NYT Blames Petty Theft and Old Workers for Prolonging the Recession

Yes, they really believe that the answer to the recession is, at least in Italy, liberalization of the labor market. In an article previously titled "Italian Business Potential Thwarted as Crisis Persists," Liz Alderman describes a microcosm to justify new labor laws that make firing employees easier in Italy:

"In Ms. Pallini’s own factory, an employee suspected of stealing had to be watched for two years before being caught in the act. Videotape that had captured his thefts was not admissible in court, so her father and two employees had to spend countless hours gathering watertight evidence to ensure that judges would not eventually reinstate the man. By contrast, a private sector employer in the United States could have terminated the worker as soon as a theft was detected, unless a union contract was involved or antidiscrimination laws were violated." Source
Dean at the Center for Economic and Policy Research missed the point by focusing on a polemic about how accurate it was to say that US businesses can fire workers after theft is "detected":
"Actually, a private sector employer can terminate a worker who it thinks is stealing, even if they never caught the worker. In fact, they can fire the worker just because they think they are the type of person who might steal or just because they don't like him or her. Workers who are not protected by union contracts or civil service guidelines can be fired any time for any reason that does not violate anti-discrimination laws." Source
Of course, he is right about that point, but its a rather narrow argument to make and it doesn't even start to address the real problems that created and are perpetuating the crisis.