Tuesday, November 3, 2015

FYI POTPOURRI




It was Will Rogers who said “all I know is what I read in the newspapers “and he also added " and that's an alibi for my ignorance."

If Rogers had today's TV media news in addition to depend upon he probably would say “I am not sure that what I hear, see, and read is true.”

The TV media news broadcasts today are 80% show and perhaps 20% important news. The majority of regional and local newspapers devote themselves to crime and shilling some pet cause at the expense of any in depth news. What is published is mostly off the wire from AP or other newspaper sources in a condense version.

That leaves in our area only NY Times and the WSJ as a resource for national and international news, as well as objective investigative reporting.

For the past few days the Times has been publishing an expose about how businesses, banks and credit card issuers are now legally shielding themselves from suits by wronged individuals.

The small print in an inside page of many agreements includes the cause that the consumer agrees to waive his/hers right for legal action and that any dispute would be subject to arbitration with their selecting the “impartial arbitrator”. There can be no longer class action suits against them for monetary losses. There are still exceptions such as recent ones against automobile companies.

In a back page of Monday’s Times there is an article about Secretary of State Kerry in discussion with “President” of Uzbekistan Karimov whose government has been internally described by the State Department as “a “nightmarish world of rampant corruption, organized crime, forced labor in the cotton fields and torture” According to the times “Mr. Karimov has been in power for a quarter of a century, and is in his fourth term, brushing off reminders that Uzbekistan constitution limits him to two.

The Times calls this one of the harshest authoritarian governments in the world” comparing it with North Korea.

Kerry was there supposedly to discuss human rights but there was no words publicly and when a Washington Post reporter asked President Karimov about his human rights record she was promptly removed from the room by a combination of Uzbekistan and US security personnel.

We have a needed presence in Uzbekistan for airfields needed for access to Afghanistan. Its government has been tolerated by not only the Obama administration including Hillary Clinton’s Secretarial ship, but also by the Bush Administration

In the world of geopolitics human rights can become secondary to political necessities. Mr. Kerry will also visit such strongholds as Tajikistan a Central Asian country bordering Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as well as Turkmenistan which is bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north and east, Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west. (wikipedia, I too had to look it up)

All these "istan" countries were formerly part of the Soviet Union and have repressive governments which we tolerate out of need.

We can talk of the sanctity of basic human rights but when we need them or have a lack of interest as in the African nations our principles are forgotten. At least we are wise enough to know that we cannot force “Democracy” upon them.

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