Today’s Daily Ghion Water is dedicated to independent journalist and reporters who insist on questioning mainstream media narratives and the challenging the talking points of authorities. We lost one such journalist who devoted his life to uncovering the malfeasance of governmental excesses and the corrosive practices of the military-financial complex. While mainstream media personalities were busy giving cover to the kleptocracy in DC and the thievery of Wall Street, Robert Parry took on the spirit of the muckrakers to speak truth to power. He passed away on Saturday, January 27th. He tenacity and dogged pursuit of truth will be sorely missed. You can read more about Parry below in the Profiled Today section. The following news and notes from independent journalists and non-corporate voices around the world is being dispensed in the memory of Robert Parry.
In Honor of Robert Parry
Bob was deeply impacted by the dirty wars of Central America in the 1980s and in many ways these conflicts – and the U.S. involvement in them – came to define the rest of his life and career. With grisly stories emerging from Nicaragua (thanks partly to journalists like him), Congress passed the Boland Amendments from 1982 to 1984, which placed limits on U.S. military assistance to the contras who were attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government through a variety of terrorist tactics.
The Reagan administration immediately began exploring ways to circumvent those legal restrictions, which led to a scheme to send secret arms shipments to the revolutionary and vehemently anti-American government of Iran and divert the profits to the contras. In 1985, Bob wrote the first stories describing this operation, which later became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. [from Nat Parry of Consortium News]
Lies Birth Fortunes; Truths Bear Costs
In his article, not knowing at the time that end-stage pancreatic cancer was in the process of killing his otherwise healthy body, Parry speculated that the stroke could have been caused by the stress of the toxic environment that truth-telling journalists necessarily find themselves in today. He told of how his refusal to accept establishment narratives as fact without having seen the proof required by journalistic standards caused friends to turn on him and many to reject him. Unlike the others, Parry was unable to compartmentalize away the fact that America is being paced into a world-threatening new Cold War without having seen a single shred of proof from the same establishment agencies which lied us all into the Iraq invasion. While establishment loyalists succeeded in dissociating from the glaring plot holes in order to advance their anti-Trump agendas, Robert Parry couldn’t pretend the manipulations and plot holes weren’t there. [from Caitlin Johnstone]
Lifting the Curtain of Trump
The elites’ moral and intellectual vacuum produced Trump. They too are con artists. They are slicker than he at selling the lies and more adept at disguising their greed through absurd ideologies such as neoliberalism and globalization, but they belong to the same criminal class and share many of the pathologies that characterize Trump. The grotesque visage of Trump is the true face of politicians such as George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The Clintons and Obama, unlike Bush and Trump, are self-aware and therefore cynical, but all lack a moral compass. As Michael Wolff writes in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” the president has “no scruples.” He lives “outside the rules” and is “contemptuous of them.” And this makes him identical to those he has replaced, not different. “A close Trump friend who was also a good Bill Clinton friend found them eerily similar—except that Clinton had a respectable front and Trump did not,” Wolff writes. [from Chris Hedges of Truthdig]
Hoodwinking and Fleecing
Republicans assured you that your annual wages would grow due to their tax plan’s trickle-down magic. A month removed from the GOP’s legislative success, and this unsurprising news surfaces:
Only 9 companies in the S&P 100 contacted by CNBC said they have specific plans to use some of the money saved from the corporate tax cuts to boost worker pay or invest in facilities or charitable causes.
Of the companies which do plan on relinquishing some of their wealth, like Comcast and Walmart, it seems that $1,000 is the number of choice. Even then, these are not pay raises but instead one-off bonuses and the conditions attached to them are hysterically limited.
For instance, if you worked at Walmart for nineteen years you would not receive the aforementioned $1,000. But if you spent twenty years toiling for the corporate giant? You’re in luck! Hard work does pay off. [from Nick Cassella of Civic Skunk Works]
Because Wars are Always a Racket
In 1986, future general, Iraq-Afghan War commander, and CIA director David Petraeus penned an article for the military journal Parameters that summarized his Princeton doctoral dissertation on the Vietnam War. It was a piece commensurate with then-Major Petraeus’s impressive intellect, except for its disastrous conclusions on the lessons of that war. Though he did observe that Vietnam had “cost the military dearly” and that “the frustrations of Vietnam are deeply etched in the minds of those who lead the services,” his real fear was that the war had left the military unprepared to wage what were then called “low-intensity conflicts” and are now known as counterinsurgencies. His takeaway: what the country needed wasn’t less Vietnams but better-fought ones. The next time, he concluded fatefully, the military should do a far better job of implementing counterinsurgency forces, equipment, tactics, and doctrine to win such wars. [from Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism]
When Humanity Become Statistical Abstractions
In the field of economics, we like to celebrate markets for their efficiency. I have fifty bananas and want fifty dollars, you have fifty dollars and want fifty bananas, a voluntary market exchange makes everyone better off. But the sloppy side effects of commerce, the butterfly effects, cut into the level of efficiency a system can claim, because it’s no longer so clear-cut that “everyone” is benefiting from a transaction. Thus, in economics, there is a tendency to minimize the importance of externalities, to suggest they’re rare or insignificant.
This is why there are several widely-used synonyms for externalities in economics, and they share a tendency toward the cutesy and diminutive. One popular term is “neighborhood effects,” e.g. the car alarm example, where we admit there are external effects of commerce but they’re limited to your immediate vicinity and often have an “aw, nuts” character to them. Another euphemism is “spillovers,” since the ripple effects of economic activity “spill over” onto other parties. (Aw, we made a widdle spill!) [from Rob Larson of Current Affairs]
The Legacy Robert Parry Left Behind
This Day in History
1918 – The Supreme Allied Council meets at Versailles. The terms they set for Germany’s restitution were so onerous and the debts they imposed on Germany so severe that the Versailles Treaty ensured another world war would engulf the world. The greed of bankers eventual birthed the evils of Hitler. The Versailles Treaty is a cautionary tale; be humble in victory and leave people their pride in defeat—humiliation is a fertile soil for irrational vindictiveness and blood vengeance.
Quote of the Day
“The United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the other of ends-justify-the-means brutality sponsored by counterinsurgency specialists. Normally the specialists carry out their actions in remote locations with little notice in the national press. That allows the public to sustain its faith in a just America, while hard-nosed security and economic interests are still protected in secret.” ~ Robert Parry
We seem to be living in the age of anti-heroes where those who pretend to speak truth do so through the prism of ideology and people who are pushed as courageous journalists are most often partisan hacks. Robert Parry stood astride this paradigm of duplicity and boldly sought truth irrespective of where the chips happened to lay. He did so at great personal cost.People who speak against conventional wisdom and accepted media narratives are castigated and ostracized by the very media professionals who are supposed to be speaking truth to power too. Click To Tweet
Parry dedicated his life to seeking out corruption in government and shedding light on the hidden bureaucracies in DC that use the guise of Democracy to spread bloodshed and injustice throughout the world. He rose to fame during the era of Reagan as he helped to expose the mendacity of the Iran-Contra Affair and the way the CIA was financing these destabilization campaigns by inundating American cities and towns with crack-cocaine.
Parry noted that there is a cost to virtue. He recounted how his colleague George Webb, whom he worked with to bring light to the collusion between the Reagan administration, the CIA and the blind eye they were turning as drug cartels flooded America with crack, was driven to his death because he had the temerity to question authority. Parry said of Webb:
There’s a special pain when your colleagues in your profession turn on you, especially when you’ve done something that they should admire and should understand,” he said. “To do all that work and then have the New York Times and the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times attack you and try to destroy your life, there’s a special pain in that.”
Though the field of independent journalism took a great hit with the loss of Parry two days ago, his legacy inspires a new generation of muckrakers who refuse to parrot the talking points of people in power. Where mainstream media passes along the propaganda of the corporate state, independent journalists in the mold of Parry insist on seeking truth and speaking truth. We are all indebted to Parry and muckrakers before him who insisted on telling people that the emperor had no clothes. #BobParryEndures
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.