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Lies, Damn Lies, and Major Media Scoundrel Journalism
by Stephen Lendman
Merriam-Webster's defines journalism as involving "writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation."
In other words, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing else.
By John Grant
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) is having its three-day annual meeting in Washington DC beginning Sunday March 4th. AIPAC is arriving in an atmosphere of beating war drums and rattling sabers against Iran.
Israel preemptively starting a war with Iran would be bad enough, but the assumption that the United States will be part of that war should be very disturbing to Americans -- who are just getting over one misguided, costly war in Iraq and are still involved in another in Afghanistan.
By Dave Lindorff
The US stock market jumped up today on word that the number of new unemployment applications fell to the lowest level in four years.
Sounds good, right? It's meant to sound good, but if you look at the number, and if you think about what it really means, it's not good news at all.
What the US Labor Department reported was that new unemployment claims filed for the week ended Feb. 24 totaled 351,000, which was slightly lower than the 353,000 new claims filed the prior week. "Slightly indeed! a better term for this 0.57% decline is "statistically insignificant!
The idea that such a "drop" in new claims would spark a jump in the Dow or the S&P shows how completely divorced from reality investors really are.
By Dave Lindorff
If a bunch of street toughs decided to gang up and beat the crap out of some guy in the neighborhood because they feared he might be planning to buy a gun to protect his family, I think we’d all agree that the police would be right to bust that crew and charge them with conspiracy to commit the crime of assault and battery. If they went forward with their plan and actually did attack the guy, injuring or killing him in the process, we’d also all agree they should all be charged with assault and battery, attempted murder, or even first-degree murder if he died.
Article VI of the US Constitution makes treaties the United States signs and ratifies the supreme law of the land. The United States has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 20 of which reads:
1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.
But the United States has ratified that with this reservation:
"(1) That article 20 does not authorize or require legislation or other action by the United States that would restrict the right of free speech and association protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States."
So, in a sane world in which freedom of speech had not already been stretched to include the bribery of elected officials, there would be a serious question to place before our courts, or our legislature, or -- better -- our people: Does the First Amendment protect this?
CNN Silences War-Skeptical Soldier
Consortiumnews.com Editor's Note: By obsessing over Iran gaining a nuclear weapon “capability” – even with no actual bomb – while ignoring Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal, the U.S. news media proves the point of its own bias. There’s also the usual hostility toward dissenting voices, as Ray McGovern notes.
By Ray McGovern
When CNN interviews a U.S. Army corporal preparing for his third deployment to Afghanistan, should TV viewers be permitted to hear him out on a front-burner issue like Iran’s alleged threat to Israel? For those who might think so, watch what happens when 28-year-old Cpl. Jesse Thorsen touches a neuralgic nerve by suggesting that Israel can take care of itself.
by Stephen Lendman
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) "a secretive, multi-nation agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe."
By John Grant
The United States is finding the occupation of other nations more and more challenging. Consider the burning of Korans in Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, the bombing deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers and a host of other recent disasters. Economic challenges at home only add to the difficulty.
In such a frustrating quandary, Washington and Pentagon leaders are falling back on what they feel the US does best: Secret killing.
The New York Times: America's Unofficial Propaganda Ministry
by Stephen Lendman
For over a century, The Times played America's lead role disseminating state/corporate propaganda duplicitously.
Its daily diet features managed, not real, news, information and analysis. Readers don't get what they pay for. They're cheated on what matters most.
By John Grant
I could have been a vicious raving monster who killed and killed and left towers of rotting flesh in my wake. Instead, here I was on the side of truth, justice and the American way. Still a monster, of course, but I cleaned up nicely afterward, and I was OUR monster, dressed in red, white and blue 100 percent synthetic virtue.
Dearly Devoted Dexter
I teach creative writing in a maximum security prison in Philadelphia. During the week I scour two thrift shops for 35-cent paperbacks that I haul in to stock a small lending library I created for inmates. Amazingly, the prison had no library.
By Dave Lindorff
The attacks and attempted attacks this week on Israeli embassy personnel in Georgia, India and Thailand should serve as a serious warning to the people of both Israel and the US that there will be an increasingly heavy price to pay for the kind of government-sponsored terror that both countries have long practiced, and that too many Americans and Israelis have mindlessly cheered on.
The technology of terror has become so wide-spread, and the materials needed to construct magnetically-attached car bombs, cell-phone detonators, armor-piercing IEDs, diesel/fertilizer bombs and the like, so accessable at consumer shops, hardware stores and local junkyards, that any government, and even any relatively savvy non-government group, can assemble and employ them.
BBC: Caught in the Act
by Stephen Lendman
On February 11, the London Independent headlined, "BBC to issue global apology for documentaries that broke rules," saying:
A poll published on Wednesday at the Washington Post finds that a majority of even "liberal Democrats" approves of Obama killing US citizens. Of course, this would almost certainly be different if Obama were a Republican.
What if an organization with money but no partisanship (are there some?) were to commission a poll from a pollster willing to face a firestorm of attacks from the political parties (are there any such pollsters?), a poll that would ask people all their demographic info, including politics and party identification if any, and ask some of them:
If President Obama had to kill a US citizen to protect the nation, based purely on the word of the President, would you approve?
If President Obama had to imprison a US citizen with no trial to protect the nation, based purely on the word of the President, would you approve?
If President Obama had to launch a war without congressional authorization in order to protect the nation, based purely on the word of the President, would you approve?
If President Obama determined it to be necessary to deploy a nuclear bomb and did so, would you approve?
The poll would ask those questions of a large enough sample to be well represented in each demographic category. Then a similar sample would be asked the same questions with Romney substituted for Obama. Then others would be asked the questions about a President Santorum, and others with Gingrich.
The results would almost certainly show that many in the United States do indeed place loyalty to political parties or elected officials above matters of life and death -- at least the lives and deaths of others.
This would, of course, be shameful, and if it made it into the corporate news it would make all types of partisanship look bad. It might, very likely, however, make one brand of partisanship look worst. I would predict that Republicans would each be highly approving of these abuses by at least one Republican candidate, and that their approval would diminish for the others, and especially for Obama. Democrats, I expect, would be less approving, but still strongly approving in the case of Obama, but that there would be a particularly significant drop off in approval by Democrats of such crimes if committed by any of the Republicans.
What pollster would be willing to test these assumptions?
Of course, in reality there is such a thing as being too late. Opposing abuses when Bush is president, but limiting the opposition at the behest of the Democratic Party, was followed by support for Obama's protection of and continuation and expansion of the crimes. Now shady Bush policies have become open "legal" practice. It is too late to take them back from the next Republican president, or any president, without fundamental change to our government. If we continue down the current path, eventually the partisanship will retreat on this issue and supporters of presidential murder will tend to support it by any president and to imagine that no alternative to that exists.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Ask journalists across America what is the seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the First Amendment’s press freedom right and most with even a minimal knowledge of First Amendment history will quickly answer New York Times vs. Sullivan.
However, few journalists are aware that the Supreme Court decision significantly reinforcing their press freedom protections arose from the Civil Rights Movement, and in an action involving iconic activist Dr. Martin Luther King.
The 1964 New York Times vs. Sullivan decision is one of a number of U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the Twentieth Century where struggles by African-Americans to obtain long-denied constitutional rights succeeded in expanding constitutional protections for all Americans.
Nerve Gas To Be Used for Crowd Control in the UK?
Royal Society scientists tell of 'incapacitating chemical agents' investigation
A neuroscience research team has announced that the UK may be planning on implementing nerve gas and other chemical agents for domestic law enforcement. Scientists commissioned through Royal Society, the UK's national academy of sciences, says that the government commissioned them to research new developments in neuroscience that would 'be of use to the military'. The group of scientists has become aware that the government may be preparing to use incapacitating chemical agents for crowd control.
US Iran Policy in 'Lockstep' with Israel?: President Obama Risks Becoming a Major-League War Criminal
By Dave Lindorff
It’s a relief to know that President Obama’s “preferred” solution to dealing with disagreements with Iran is diplomacy, as he said yesterday in an interview on NBC TV, but at the same time, it’s profoundly disturbing that he is simultaneously saying that, as an AP report on the interview put it: he would “not take options off the table to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”
By Michael Hayne, Addicting Info
So you remember how Dick Cheney and company did everything in their diabolical power to hoodwink America into going to war with Iraq and
liberating the Iraqi people from the brutal fist of Saddam Hussein pursuing a petty vendetta and building a permanent American imperialistic free-market paradise? Although a significant portion of the American electorate is still in therapy to suppress the dark Bush/Cheney years and the Statue of Liberty still suffers from acute nausea, perhaps you recall the John Yoo Torture Memo, the infamous memo that the Bush Administration relied on in justifying its harsh interrogation “techniques” on prisoners overseas. This was the memo that was in force when the Abu Ghraib detainees were subjected to cruel treatment and torture, including “Waterboarding“, Dick Cheney’s favorite water sport that was used on a variety of essential and non-essential prisoners to extract information (and to make Cheney smile).
Alarmist reporting on 'terrorist' threat -- From FAIR
The January 31 ABC World News broadcast featured a blatantly propagandistic report on the supposed threat from Iran.
The newscast focused on that day's Senate testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who told lawmakers that the U.S. intelligence community believes that Iran may be "now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime."
"America's top spy warns that Iran is willing to launch a terrorist strike inside the U.S.," announced anchor Diane Sawyer at the top of the program. "We'll tell you his evidence." The ABC report was actually very light on evidence. It did, however, pass along numerous incendiary allegations from government officials--without the skeptical scrutiny that is real journalism's primary function.
Echoing the government, Sawyer set up the report with an assertion that Iran is "more determined than ever to launch an attack on U.S. soil." Correspondent Martha Raddatz, claiming that the "the saber-rattling coming from Iran has been constant," told viewers that Clapper delivered "a new bracing warning.... Iran may be more ready than ever to launch terror attacks inside the United States."
In its effort to substantiate Clapper's strong claim, ABC could only provide the most dubious evidence. As Raddatz announced:
New York Times-Style Journalism
by Stephen Lendman
Like other major media scoundrels, New York Times writers, op-ed commentators and editorials fail the test. They're biased, shameless and irresponsible, especially on issues of war and peace.
Imagine if a bunch of the craziest war-hungry Republicans in the House filmed themselves in a nutty bat-guano video packed with lies addressed to the President of the United States. And then imagine President Barack Obama almost immediately agreeing with them. I can think of two ways in which such a series of events could go unnoticed, as it just has.
First, it could be about something insignificant. But this was about undoing the automatic cuts to the military mandated by the failure of the Supercommittee (remember, the top news story of a few months back?). The military, across various departments, swallows over half of federal discretionary spending, and there's no greater obsession in the corporate media than the great Spending vs. Cuts issue. This is NOT insignificant.
Second, it could be about something that the elites of both major parties agree on, the media therefore ignores, most Republican voters love, and Democratic voters pretend not to notice because the President is a Democrat and an election is less than a year away.
If you're guessing the second option, you are right. (Tell them what they've won, Leon!) You are now the proud owners of the most expensive military ever seen, plus coming increases that will be presented as "cuts."
When the Supercommittee failed, automatic federal budget cuts were to kick in -- half to things we need and half to the bloated military. The military cuts would take us back to 2004 spending. We seem to have survived 2004 and the years preceding it OK.
The Pentagon claims to be making other cuts already, but they are "cuts" to dream budgets resulting in actual budget increases -- and that's not even counting increased war spending through other departments.
House Republicans have sent President Obama this crazy video opposing military cuts and introduced legislation to slash 10% of non-military government jobs instead. In the Senate, John McCain is said to be working on a similar bill.
Meanwhile "Defense" Secretary Leon Panetta has just announced the Obama Administration's position: They will oppose the automatic cuts, or any other actual cuts, to the military. This will mean severe cuts to education, transportation, and -- as President Obama indicated in his State of the Union speech -- to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
At last Thursday's press conference the first question following Panetta's remarks was:
"Mr. Secretary, you talked a little bit on this, but over the next 10 years, do you see any other year than this year where the actual spending will go down from year to year? And just to the American public more broadly, how do you sort of explain what appears to be contradictory, as you talk about, repeatedly, this $500 billion in cuts in a Defense Department budget that is actually going to be increasing over time?"
Panetta had no substantive answer. And he didn't need one. The media almost unanimously put out the false story that the military was undergoing serious cuts. That first year's cut, by the way, is 1%, to be followed by nine years of larger increases.
You might have forgotten that in 2008, three times in three presidential debates, Senator John McCain proposed cutting the military, while Senator Obama campaigned on increasing it -- one promise he has actually kept.
Lately supporters have been saying that the President will become the Obama of our Dreams once he's a lame duck. But the history and the logic of lame duck officials is that they become less, not more, representative of the public will. And the public will is strongly in favor of major cuts to the military.
Others may be inclined to suggest that while Obama and Panetta are increasing the military and calling it "cuts," they are actually cutting the budget for wars. Some may have been misled by this line in the State of the Union: "Take the money we're no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home."
But in reality, Obama and Panetta are proposing to cut the war budget by only $27 billion. Meanwhile, the $27 billion has already been spent elsewhere in the Pentagon budget. Plus military spending is on the rise in other departments. Plus any new wars and confrontations -- like in Iran or Syria -- will offer the opportunity for supplemental bills. And less expensive but more secretive and equally deadly wars are underway, investment will increase in drones and special forces, and I have doubts we could rebuild our nation here at home for $13.5 billion even if we had it, while continuing to dump over $1 trillion into preparations for the crime of war year after year.
We do have the option to resist.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Credit ‘people power’ for getting internationally known inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal sprung from his apparently punitive, seven-week placement in ‘The Hole.’
For the first time since receiving a controversial death sentence in 1982 for killing a Philadelphia policeman, the widely acclaimed author-activist finds himself in general population, a prison housing status far less restrictive than the solitary confinement of death row.
Inmates in general population have full privileges to visitation, telephone and commissary, along with access to all prison programs and services, all things denied or severely limited to convicts on death row waiting to be killed by the state.
By Dave Lindorff
Say it loud and say it proud: We’re Number 47! We’re Number 47! Boo-yah!
If you want to know why the US -- beacon of freedom, land of the First Amendment -- is now ranked number 47th (out of 179) in terms of freedom of the press in the annual ranking put out by Reporters Without Borders, below South Africa, Botswana, South Korea and Comoros, and just above Argentina, Romania and Latvia, you could ask Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York and himself owner of a huge news organization, or his Chief of Police Raymond Kelly.
RT will launch an exclusive interview series by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange called "The World Tomorrow" in March 2012. Host and show author, Julian Assange, will engage with ten key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries – figures who in the author’s opinion will be shaping the political agenda of tomorrow. Julian Assange is filming the series from the location of his house arrest where he has been confined, with no charge, for 413 days. Filming commences a week before his Supreme Court hearing. "Upheavals and revolutions in the Middle East have commenced an era of real political change that is still unfolding. Wikileaks, as the world's boldest publisher, has been at the frontline of this global movement for change, and our project is designed to catalyze the global discussion about the world of tomorrow, - said Assange. - Are we heading towards utopia, or dystopia and how we can set our paths? Through this series I will explore the possibilities for our future in conversations with those who are shaping it”. RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said "We're proud to host Julian Assange's new project. RT has rallied a global audience of open-minded people who don't take things around them for granted. Our viewers are open to the discussions that will be presented at Julians' show on our channel”.
It’s three years since President Obama promised to close Guantánamo.
Remind President Obama of his promise. Sign the petition on the White House’s “We the People” website urging him to honor his promise. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 6 to secure a response, so please sign up, and please spread the word.
What happened to President Obama’s bold promise?
Three years ago, on January 22, 2009, President Obama issued an executive order promising to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay within a year, but he did not move swiftly to implement his promise, and Congress then stepped in with onerous restrictions on the release of prisoners or their transfer to the US mainland for any reason, even to be tried or imprisoned.
Instead of being closed, Guantánamo still holds 171 men, even though 89 of these men were cleared for release more than two years ago by the interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force (PDF), which was established by the President after taking office.
By Dave Lindorff
The Iraq war may be over, at least for US troops, but the cover-up of the atrocities committed there by American forces goes on, even in retrospectives about the war. A prime example is reporting on the destroyed city of Fallujah, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place.
On March 31, 2004, four armed mercenaries working for the firm then known as Blackwater (now Xe), were captured in Fallujah, Iraq’s third largest city and a hotbed of insurgent strength located in Anbar Province about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Reportedly killed in their vehicle, which was then torched, their charred bodies were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River.
The air was filled with dust and the building footprints were still smoking hot. The scene was framed by twisted beams and burnt and beaten buildings. Scattered atop the hills of metal and debris, rescue workers worked diligently to find survivors. Below us lay the ruined bodies of thousands of lost innocent victims, and we were helpless to do anything for them at that point….
NPR and PBS Anti-Iranian Propaganda
by Stephen Lendman
Both National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting serve corporate and imperial interests. They're called public to conceal their agenda.
Anti-Syrian Pack Journalism - by Stephen Lendman
When America wages war or plans it, major media scoundrels cheerlead in lockstep. Incendiary managed news follows. Truth and full disclosure lose out.
As a result, readers and viewers are uninformed. Imperial Washington gets free reign to keep ravaging the world one country at a time, threatening humanity in the process.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. An important rule to live by. So is this corollary: Friends don't let friends watch presidential primary debates.
I think the clip at this link is a safe dose bit.ly/xVAIF6 and I have survived it myself or I would not urge it on others.
I recommend it to you only because I believe it is important for us to stop and ask what it means for a group of people who tend to promote both Christianity and the combination of Christianity with politics to have just booed the golden rule.