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The Independent just announced that British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) would be running an apology worldwide for airing documentaries produced by a public relations firm. The anticipated apology resulted from last year's reporting in The Independent on this pecuiar BBC practice. A special committee investigated and confirmed the news fixing process.
"The BBC will today apologise to an estimated 74 million people around the world for a news fixing scandal, exposed by The Independent, in which it broadcast documentaries made by a London TV company that was earning millions of pounds from PR clients which it featured in its programming." The Independent, Feb 11
Sweet! The PR firm got a big payday from its clients, the nation of Malaysia for example, to produce the client-friendly documentaries. Then, the firm sold the documentaries to BBC for a nominal fee. The client state gets the publicity it wants, packaged for maximum effect, and BBC gets low cost content.
By Michael Collins
Bionic candidate Mitt Romney went from inevitable to simply evitable thanks to South Carolina Republican primary voters. With 600,000 voting, turnout was up 34% over 2008. Ninety eight percent of voters were white. This is even less representative of the nation than Iowa and New Hampshire. But that's how things work in this democracy
The South Carolina exit poll (sponsored by the mainstream media) had a new question for voters as they left their polling places. They were asked if they had a positive or negative opinion of Mitt Romney's background as an investor. Investor refers to Romney's time as an investment banker with Bain Capital and can be taken as a proxy for a pro or anti-Wall Street/financial elite stance.
The results indicate what may turn into a fatal flaw in the Romney campaign. Sixty four percent of voters had a positive view of Romney as an investor with 28% negative. However, Gingrich won 50% of those who had a negative view of Romney's wheeler-dealer days as an investor. Romney took only 3% of voters who had a negative view of his role as an investor. Mitt can't buy an anti-wall Street vote.
By Michael Collins
It's official. The crazies have arrived for the 2012 presidential race, florid in their deviant and repulsive rhetoric. Andrew B. Adler, editor of The Atlanta Jewish Times, called on Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu to "Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence." This reference to President Barack Obama appeared in the print edition of the paper on January 13 and was first published online by Gawker on the 20th (alternate links here and here).
Right wing Republican Mike O'Neal, speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, forwarded an email referring to the president that quoted (approximately) Psalm 109.8: “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him." The Lawrence Journal World noted that the very next verse, 109.9, indicates how the president should be replaced: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." (Image SND)
The First Amendment is ignored when reactionary mayors want to stop the free speech and assemblies of Occupy Wall Street. However, free speech is expanded beyond the limits of the law when religious extremists in Atlanta and Kansas step well outside of the boundaries of U.S. Code.
By Michael Collins
"After issuing just eight pardons in his first seven years, Barbour pardoned 208 convicts, 41 of them murderers, sex offenders or child molesters, during his last 48 hours in office." Time Jan 13
It's a big day for murderers in Mississippi, sex offenders and child molesters too! Just before leaving office, Republican Governor Haley Barbour pardoned 208 convicts in a stunning act of candor and honesty in behalf of the party and system he has served so well. (Image)
Tired of the same old script featuring religious values and law and order year in and year out by politicians you just know are lying? Your search for honesty is over. Haley Barbour is the poster boy for the culture of death that pervades the political leadership.
Why would Barbour do such a thing? In his own words, he told us: "I have no question in my mind that these men have repented, have been redeemed, have come back hard working to prepare themselves to go out into the world…" CNN Jan 13
Go out in the world and do what? Murder, maim, commit sexual assaults against children and adults?
By Michael Collins
We don’t have a substantial cushion between today's climate and dangerous warming. James E. Hanson
The head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, James E. Hansen, announced the results of break through global warming research last week. The earth's temperature is rising at a much quicker pace than previously anticipated according to research by the nation's preeminent climate scientist. We have little time to reverse the trend. (Image)
An example of the dangerous pace of change is emerging on Russia's Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf. Long-frozen permafrost is beginning to melt due to global warming. This threat was identified years ago due to the potential for highly toxic releases of heat-trapping methane gas. Recent changes are both a surprise and a cause for alarm. There is more methane gas released from the Russian cauldron "than the CH4 emissions estimate for the entire world ocean." Methane is a "far more potent GHG [greenhouse gas] than CO2" with a greater potential to cause "abrupt climate change."
(Washington, DC) Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich just got 14 years in prison. He wheeled and dealed to leverage contributions and other favors based on his position as governor. He was indicted by former special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald (who tanked the Valerie Plame case).
Maybe it was the former governor's colorful (and to some vulgar) language captured on audio tapes or his brash style. Regardless of the motives, the time, money and attention wasted on his indictment and trial stands in stark contrast to the crimes never prosecuted, crimes that resulted in death, unnecessary illness and suffering, and the loss of trillions of dollars caused by the perpetrators of the current economic crisis. (Image: michaelpickard)
While prosecutors pick easy targets like Blagojevich, serious crimes go unprosecuted.
President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney lied about the basis for invading Iraq. As a result, they are responsible for the deaths of soldiers resulting from that invasion and occupation.
By Brian M. Downing
These attacks are almost certainly directed by Israeli, Saudi, and US intelligence services. They may also be acts of war.
"This business will get out of control."
– The Hunt for Red October
In the last few years diplomatic pressures and economic sanctions have been imposed to convince Iran to allow international inspection of its nuclear research facilities. A number of states have also pursued a violent clandestine campaign of bombings and assassinations that have killed scores of Iranians, including nuclear scientists. These attacks are almost certainly directed by Israeli, Saudi, and US intelligence services. They may also be acts of war.
In recent weeks Iran has decried terrorism around the world (somewhat paradoxically, to be sure), put up a clumsy plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador, boasted of its missile strength, and briefly seized the British embassy in Tehran – an act done not by students as with the US embassy in 1979, but by toughs of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Most recently, the IRGC went on alert, ostensibly to brace for more attacks inside the country.
By Michael Collins
"The problems we are facing were not created by us, but we deign to shed light on them and so we are blamed for them. The truth is, every person at our protest is there because the system is broken." Samuel Rutledge, Open Newswire, Portland Indymedia
The fascist financiers of the Money Party are growing restless. Occupy Wall Street began with a call to action from the activist online group Anonymous in August. It was barely featured in the mainstream or alternate media. Instead of a small crowd that could easily be ignored then disbursed, fifty thousand citizens showed up at the headquarters for the world financial system, Wall Street. Despite the best efforts of Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD, the Occupy Wall Street continues. The message went out to the country and the world. Now, there are over 100 occupy events in Oakland, Kansas City, Washington, DC, and elsewhere. (Image: K. Kendall)
Occupy Portland began on October 6, 2011. It has maintained a steady presence in downtown Portland, a major West Coast center of commerce. The participants refuse to leave until the government addresses their grievances. Police scare tactics, planted provocateurs, and the elements are no barrier.
By Michael Collins
The current focus on Pennsylvania State University, its football program, and former coach Joe Paterno will be replaced by a more pervasive sexual assault scandal in the coming days and weeks. At-risk children and their often disadvantaged single parents were delivered up to a relentless sexual predator with exhibitionist tendencies as described in the findings of a special Commonwealth of Pennsylvania grand jury. (Image: from video)
The relentless deviate, former PSU defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, is accused of sexually assaulting children for years. According to the grand jury, he gained easy access to children and early adolescents through a foundation he founded in 1977, the Second Mile Foundation. He continued the assaults at his home and in the PSU showers on at least one occasion. The foundation serves over 100,000 at-risk youth. Sandusky started the foundation as a group home for "troubled boys" in 1977. Since hiring Jack Raykovitz, PhD, a licensed psychologist, as president, the foundation has grown into a multimillion enterprise serving over 100,000 children throughout the state.
A picture of alleged serial abuser Sandusky came into clear focus in the Pennsylvania Statewide Investigating Grand Jury release of findings about victims 1 through 8. Sandusky selected the eight boys from the population of those served by the Second Mile Foundation, it is alleged. He would start with mentoring, move onto hosting the boys for overnights in a bedroom at his home, and initiate oral copulation and anal sex, according to the grand jury report.
By Michael Collins
If you are twenty four or younger, you are likely either under or unemployed. Only about 60% of those 16 to 24 years old are in the labor force (those employed or seeking jobs). Their unemployment rate is 18%.
For years, Money Party lackeys, our (s)elected officials, put out a propaganda line that said, Get an education or there's no future for you. Well, lots of people got a college or trade school education or on the job training and there are no jobs for them.
There has been no increase in jobs in the United States since 2000. In fact, the number of jobs relative to the total workforce has actually declined. Negative job growth for eleven years shows that the current economic system has failed miserably. Here's the ugly picture the rulers won't talk about.
The UN said in its resolution said that they wanted to protect civilians. I am a civilian. I'm asking the United Nations and the National Transition Council for help for the citizens of Sirte. Ali Salah Arzaga, Sirte, Libya. (His home and business were destroyed in the final assault on his city.)
There are very public smoking guns that inculpate the rulers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and others in war crimes in Libya.
The rationale for NATO's entry into the Libyan conflict was based on humanitarian principles, correctly noted by Mr. Arzaga. (left, text and image: VOA video). The United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1973 on March 17 and NATO followed up with actions that the alliance and its partner Qatar claimed conformed to the resolution. The sole purpose of NATO’s involvement was to "protect the Libyan population," we were told.
The outcome has been anything but humanitarian. Tens of thousands of Libyans are injured or dead. The nation's infrastructure is in tatters. One city, Sirte, was destroyed during the final push while another city, the non-Arab Black Libyan town of Tawergha, is absent its entire population, 25,000 residents. They were there just a few weeks ago.
"It’s not acceptable to kill a person without trying him," said Louay Hussein, a Syrian opposition figure in Damascus. "I prefer to see the tyrant behind bars." New York Times, October 20
The New York Times reported that a NATO jet and drones disabled vehicles in a convoy carrying Muammar Gaddafi near the besieged town of Sirte on October 20. Loyalists in the remaining vehicles scattered becoming easy prey for the emboldened fighters of the new Libyan state.
Reuters expanded the narrative on the 21st by reporting that Gaddafi fled from his jeep, hid in a drainage pipe, and emerged with an automatic weapon and side arm. He was manhandled and slapped by the soldiers of the new Libya. He allegedly asked the crowd, "Don't you know right from wrong?" They took exception to the question and shot him twice in the head. He was transported to Misurata, scene of one of the few decisive victories by the former rebels. Gaddafi's corpse was placed on a bare mattress and put on display for the public on the 22nd. It remains there today, although it is now reportedly covered by a blanket (Reuters, October 23).
There's a new sheriff in town, NATO.
By Michael Collins
(Washington, DC) A faction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard called the Quds Force (QF) is center stage in the War on Terror for the second time in five years. In 2007, President George W. Bush hauled out the group of middle and upper level Iranian government officials as a rationale for military action against Iran. The decisive shutdown of the Bush effort marks a critical turning point in recent history and will be discussed later in the article.
QF II began last Tuesday when FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder unified the terror storyline between the rabid neoconservatives of the Bush era and the low key loyalists to the national security state in the Obama administration.
Holder and Mueller accused, "elements of the Iranian government of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington," the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. In essence, this military faction allegedly hired an outsider to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States. With the full knowledge of the Iranian government, the outsider tried to hire a Mexican drug lord for the high level hit. Attorney General Holder announced that the United States is "holding the Iranian government accountable." Holder went on to state the official position of the government, namely that the Iranian government entity behind the plot was the Quds Force.
By Michael Collins
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just issued an environmental report on its enhanced security plan to cover an area extending from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the northern border of the United States to 100 miles south of the border. While there are few specifics on the new security measures, the environmental report offers enough to see how we will be protected against threats to national security coming from Canada. The Department of Homeland security will enhance efforts and technologies to reduce the danger from "known terrorist affiliates and extremist groups [that] have an undisputed presence along the Northern Border in both the United States and Canada." Northern Border Security Programs, p. 1-3, September 2011 (Northern Border) (Image: thelastminute)
Wall Street and the big banks owe $1.5 trillion for the bailout (at least). The Super Congress needs to cut $1.5 trillion over ten years. Get the money from Wall Street and cancel the Super Congress. Problem solved.
Last month’s debt ceiling crisis was resolved when Congress and the Obama administration made a deal to cut trillions in federal spending over the next ten years. Congress identified the easy cuts, the low hanging fruit so to speak, for a total of nearly $1.0 trillion. At the same time, Congress and the White House created the “Super Congress” committee of six senators and six representatives charged with cutting another $1.5 trillion. (Image: Lucy White with permission)
The committee has unparalleled power to draft legislation, without the normal legislative processes of debate, deliberation, modification, and amendments. If seven of the twelve committee members vote in favor of the budget cutting legislation by the November 23 deadline (see chart in appendix III), the bill will be submitted to the entire Congress for an up or down vote. The bill will not be subject to any modification or change. Debate will be very limited. (Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction Text-pdf)
(Washington, DC) Stratfor Global Intelligence just published an essay announcing that the nation's rulers have conducted a "successful war" on terror following the events of 9/11. The author, CEO and Stratfor founder, George Friedman, dressed up the standard Bush - Cheney justification for the past ten years of foreign misadventures and domestic decline:
"…one of the most extraordinary facts of the war that begin on 9/11 was that there have been no more successful major attacks on the United States." George Friedman, September 6
That's the argument pure and simple.
How do you counter that?
By Michael Collins
Monday was the day we heard that the "US believes al-Qa'ida is on the verge of defeat after deputy leader's death" as The Independent headlined the story. It stood out as a sequel to the recent United States action in Pakistan, which brought us the news (but not the body) of a dead Osama bin Laden. It appears that a US operated drone killed Al Qaeda's top deputy, one Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan citizen. After decades as a jihadist, Rahman is no more. But is that the end of al Qaeda?
On Tuesday, foreign affairs columnist for the Asia Times, Pepe Escobar, published a remarkable column outlining the command structure of the victorious NATO backed military leaders. Abdelhakim Belhaj, the lead commander of the rebels, and the two top regional commanders were once affiliated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LGIF). In fact, commander Belhaj was once the subject of a US led extraordinary rendition (aka torture) in Thailand. About the time the US planned to send Belhaj to Guantanamo Bay, the Gaddafi's government requested his return to Libya.
Rupert and James Murdoch conjured up a fictional report that serves as the fig leaf used to cover the naughty secret of News Corporation –- they never investigated phone hacking in general and they never tried to clean house.
The House of Commons committee investigating Rupert Murdoch’s United Kingdom media properties released new evidence this week. The evidence elaborates on themes generated at the committee hearing of July 19 and adds new information to the toxic brew that threatens to drown the largest media company in the world. (Images: Hubert Burda Media, L, World Economic Forum)
Let the word go forth from Washington! The corporate rulers occupying our nation's capital have declared war on just about every citizen.
Have no doubt: those in the upper ranges of the top 1% of wealth in this country (aka The Money Party) want to kick you to the curb.
They want to lower your wages and trash your retirement.
This president will never do a single thing to oppose the the agenda of the ruling financial elite unless, of course, members of the ruling elite tell him to oppose something meaningless just for the sake of appearances.
The Murdoch's and their former chief executive of News International testified before a House of Commons committee yesterday. Their hours of explanations can be summarized in a phrase: we knew nothing. (Image)
Rupert Murdoch was too busy flying around the world milking his cash cow media properties to be at all involved.
Number two son James was the executive in direct command and he heard nothing.
Rebekah Brooks, editor of the News of the World at the time of the Milly Dowler hacking, completed the trifecta of ignorance. Since she knew nothing, her very frequent contact with the Murdoch father-son team had to be, as the Fugs said, "a whole lot of nothing."
By Michael Collins
How will they get rid of Rupert Murdoch and his toxic enterprises?
July 4, 2011 may turn into the people's Independence Day. On that day, stellar journalist Nick Davies of the Guardian released his story; Missing Milly Dowler's voicemail was hacked by News of the World. Twelve year old Milly Dowler had been kidnapped with foul play feared. The Murdoch tabloid couldn't resist. News of the World (the News) hired a private detective to hack Milly's voicemail. Finding the mail box full, the News or its hired dick deleted existing messages to make room for new ones, all to fuel their ongoing coverage. The deleted messages raised hopes by Milly's parents that she was still alive and using her voicemail. (Image)
The Davies story elicited a reaction of near universal shock, outrage, and revulsion. Milly had already been murdered by the time the Murdoch paper began its illegal tapping.
The public revulsion resulted in immediate and fervent popular demands for justice. Those demands were compounded by follow-up stories on other Murdoch media hacking. As it turned out, the News also broke into the voicemails of war widows to capture their most intimate exchanges on the loss of fallen soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. All in all, at least 4,000 citizens had their voicemails hacked to boost the Murdoch publication's circulation and profits.
Driven by broad public ire, Murdoch's empire began unraveling immediately. He became a target for those he'd tormented, particularly in politics. In just a few days, he became anathema for those he'd placed in power, indicating the focused intensity and force of public outrage. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron fell in line with Labour Party Leader Ed Milliband's call to stop Murdoch's critical acquisition of pay TV network BSkyB. The Independent spoke of Murdoch having to abandon his United Kingdom media properties.
By Michael Collins
Who knows if Casey Anthony is guilty or innocent? Even Casey might not know at this point. We do know one thing, without any doubt. As our economy and nation crumble around us, we're being amused to death by the corporate media. They've got good reason to keep the headlines on Casey. Absent a major distraction, there might be a focused look at the misrule and looting of this country for the past decades that has created the real threats to the health of children.
By Michael Collins
The citizens of the United States have excellent judgment. They have shown it consistently over time. When that judgment shifts briefly allowing a failed policy, it is a result of the vilest forms of propaganda by a small clique of liars. (Image: PS-OV-ART)
The people were right about the invasion of Iraq
The Money Party is a very small group of enterprises and individuals who control almost all of the money and power in the United States. They use their money and power to make more money and gain more power. It's not about Republicans versus Democrats. The Money Party is an equal opportunity employer. It has no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. Democrats are as welcome as Republicans to this party. It’s all good when you’re on the take and the take is legal. Economic Populist
The nation formerly known as the Ottoman Empire is building a strong foundation for a bright future. The nation is also addressing its scandalous recent past as it reaches out to old enemies. The dynamics producing real change in Turkey are well worth understanding. Turkey is on a path to rapid economic growth, cultural liberalization, and will emerge as a key player in world affairs.
Turkey elected a new government in 2002. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became Prime Minister after his AK Party gained an absolute majority in the nation's unicameral legislature. The AK party was tagged as a threat to Turkey's secular democracy by corporate media. This is, as usual, a perversion of the political and social realities.
Man wouldn't pay you unless he had to. Chris Rock
The antiunion movement in the United States keeps us underpaid and represents a serious impediment to economic growth. Despite that, the antiunion sentiment remains strong among the political establishment and their patrons. Why?
Speculation reigns supreme in your nation’s capital. Who is next in line after the bin Laden operation? The bipartisan coalition directing the war on terror forgot one important fact about the security of the United States of America. It doesn’t matter who they kill overseas, the assault on almost all citizens continues unabated at home. No one is doing anything to stop it. Only the financial and political elite remain immune. (Image-WikiCommons)
You're headed for bankruptcy court tomorrow. It's been a long and difficult road. You and your husband both worked. You made decent money. Then your husband became ill. There was no sick leave because he worked for himself. His disability insurance had a six-month delay and only covered half of the lost income. That was all you could afford. (Image Wikimedia Commons)