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Outstanding read on the State of Art

From the OP:

In the past the art critic was the one to confer legitimacy. Greenberg/Pollock, Fried/Stella, Zola/Manet, Baudelaire/Delacroix. But most art critics now, simply do not judge. Then too, the art world has morphed into the art market, which has become the play thing of the super rich. David Zwirner, also in Business Week said, “The art market is not just the trade of goods, it’s a lifestyle.”

Like capitalism: most fine art ends in the pockets of the few. Like America's culture: without vision, the people perish.

JFK had no part of limiting press freedom. Himself a journalist, he respected the press.

Here's what he said on the subject of freedom of the press, addressing the newspaper publishers and owners:


I have selected as the title of my remarks tonight "The President and the Press." Some may suggest that this would be more naturally worded "The President Versus the Press." But those are not my sentiments tonight.


The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.


It was early in the Seventeenth Century that Francis Bacon remarked on three recent inventions already transforming the world: the compass, gunpowder and the printing press. Now the links between the nations first forged by the compass have made us all citizens of the world, the hopes and threats of one becoming the hopes and threats of us all. In that one world's efforts to live together, the evolution of gunpowder to its ultimate limit has warned mankind of the terrible consequences of failure.

And so it is to the printing press--to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news--that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.

SOURCE: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/American-Newspaper-Publishers-Association_19610427.aspx

A former journalist himself, President Kennedy understood the importance of the First Amendment and freedom of speech and the Press. It is a must-read for all who care about democracy and the republic.

PS: I bet JFK would have loved the World Wide Web.

The Media are Corrupt by Design - The Powell Manifesto

Ignoring what really happened is SOP for our Presstitutes. Remember Florida?

Here's how much of the nation's press were magically transformed from watchdogs into lapdogs:

The Powell Memo (also known as the Powell Manifesto)

The Powell Memo was first published August 23, 1971


In 1971, Lewis Powell, then a corporate lawyer and member of the boards of 11 corporations, wrote a memo to his friend Eugene Sydnor, Jr., the Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The memorandum was dated August 23, 1971, two months prior to Powell’s nomination by President Nixon to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Powell Memo did not become available to the public until long after his confirmation to the Court. It was leaked to Jack Anderson, a liberal syndicated columnist, who stirred interest in the document when he cited it as reason to doubt Powell’s legal objectivity. Anderson cautioned that Powell “might use his position on the Supreme Court to put his ideas into practice…in behalf of business interests.”

Though Powell’s memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration’s “hands-off business” philosophy.

Most notable about these institutions was their focus on education, shifting values, and movement-building — a focus we share, though often with sharply contrasting goals.* (See our endnote for more on this.)

So did Powell’s political views influence his judicial decisions? The evidence is mixed. Powell did embrace expansion of corporate privilege and wrote the majority opinion in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, a 1978 decision that effectively invented a First Amendment “right” for corporations to influence ballot questions. On social issues, he was a moderate, whose votes often surprised his backers.



This story continues through today, where we have Chief Justice John Roberts shepherding corporate friendly law through the court, let alone appointing nothing but BFEE-friendly pukes to the FISA Court, and the press working mightily to move on to the next shiny object. Of course, Congress and the Administration do their bit to advance the interests of Corporate America, Wall Street, and War Inc, unchecked by public awareness.

The important question: What will they say at the country club?

Media Millionaires

Journalism by and for the 0.01 Percent

By Peter Hart
FAIR, July 1, 2013


The media business outstrips other industries in generously compensating its top executives (New York Times, 5/5/13), and those resources could of course be put to better use by hiring reporters. But that’s not the way the system works. And it’s not just the bosses getting rich. Indeed, many high-profile members of the media elite live a rather charmed life. The journalism business looks to be in a disastrous state—but the view from the top is just fine.


David Gregory

As host of NBC’s Meet the Press, David Gregory is paid to quiz politicians on the tough issues of the day. But he offers his own opinions on the show, too; he’s encouraged the Obama White House to propose “big spending cuts” in order to confuse Republicans (1/27/13; FAIR Blog, 1/29/13). He thinks the White House should have done more to have a “moment in the Rose Garden” with a few corporate CEOs (11/11/12; FAIR Blog, 11/13/12), and demanded to hear more from the White House about the “hard choices” Americans must make to get by with less (1/29/12). He worried about the problem of Occupy activists “demonizing Wall Street” (10/10/11). He expressed concern that the more people criticize big banks, “the closer you get to wiping out the shareholder completely”—a person “who is not just a fat cat” (2/22/09).

In that sense, Gregory is reflecting what passes for conventional wisdom in corporate media—but also among people in Gregory’s economic class. His salary is not disclosed, but his predecessor, Tim Russert, reportedly made more than $5 million a year (Washington Post, 5/23/04). As Politico reported (3/15/12), Gregory was seeking membership in the exclusive Chevy Chase Club, which requires an $80,000 “initiation fee.” Gregory was sponsored by a couple of Washington-area real estate moguls.

Like other members of the media elite, Gregory does speaking gigs on the side—sometimes causing controversy. In 2012 he was a keynote speaker for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a Republican-allied lobbying group (Think Progress, 5/12/12). NBC defended the appearance on the grounds that Gregory was not being paid. Not all of his appearances are free; Gregory can command about $40,000 per appearance (Think Progress, 5/12/12). One topic offered by his speakers’ bureau: “The Mainstream Media Under Siege.”

Gregory gave a 2010 keynote address at a conference held by the National Association of Broadcasters, the powerful lobbying arm of the media industry—an event that, according to organizers, would “bring hundreds of radio and television broadcasters to Washington to meet with lawmakers and federal officials on legislative and regulatory issues impacting broadcasters.” Gregory also delivered the keynote at a 2006 awards dinner for something called the Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, which is set up to “promote the geospatial intelligence tradecraft” and use “geospatial intelligence to address national security objectives.”

Gregory is married to Beth Wilkinson, a well-known Washington attorney who works primarily as a defense attorney for corporate clients; she represented mortgage giant Fannie Mae from 2006–08. “She knows everyone in government, and she tells me nothing,” Gregory remarked to the Washington Post (3/14/06), which went on to note that “in his personal life, Gregory also rubs shoulders with newsmakers”; a guest at the couple’s baby shower was then– Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff.

In 2013, Gregory made gossipy news in Washington after apparently becoming incensed about a parking situation near his home (Washington Post, 4/10/13). Visitors to the D.C. Design House, an architectural showcase to benefit the Children’s National Medical Center, were evidently clogging up the streets near Gregory’s home. According to one of the designers, Gregory came to the house to very loudly complain on the front lawn. Witnesses claimed that Gregory yelled something about knowing “all the politicians in town,” which the anchor denied.



FBI contracted with private snipers during Occupy

FBI, Snipers & Occupy

By Dave Lindorff
WhoWhatWhy.com on Jun 27, 2013

Would you be shocked to learn that the FBI apparently knew that some organization, perhaps even a law enforcement agency or private security outfit, had contingency plans to assassinate peaceful protestors in a major American city — and did nothing to intervene?

Would you be surprised to learn that this intelligence comes not from a shadowy whistle-blower but from the FBI itself – specifically, from a document obtained from Houston FBI office last December, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Washington, DC-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund?

To repeat: this comes from the FBI itself. The question, then, is: What did the FBI do about it?

The Plot

Remember the Occupy Movement? The peaceful crowds that camped out in the center of a number of cities in the fall of 2011, calling for some recognition by local, state and federal authorities that our democratic system was out of whack, controlled by corporate interests, and in need of immediate repair?

That movement swept the US beginning in mid-September 2011. When, in early October, the movement came to Houston, Texas, law enforcement officials and the city’s banking and oil industry executives freaked out perhaps even more so than they did in some other cities. The push-back took the form of violent assaults by police on Occupy activists, federal and local surveillance of people seen as organizers, infiltration by police provocateurs—and, as crazy as it sounds, some kind of plot to assassinate the “leaders” of this non-violent and leaderless movement.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what the document obtained from the Houston FBI, said:

An identified (DELETED) as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified (DELETED) had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. (DELETED) planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles. (Note: protests continued throughout the weekend with approximately 6000 persons in NYC. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests have spread to about half of all states in the US, over a dozen European and Asian cities, including protests in Cleveland (10/6-8/11) at Willard Park which was initially attended by hundreds of protesters.)



What country is this again?

You are so right and the way you latch on to things, stevenleser, it's scary.

You have an amazing focus and are so correct, Nixon was not in office in 1968.

Of course, many of his old cronies were in government. As evidenced in the tape recordings both LBJ and Nixon made, Nixon engaged in treason before he was in office and after he got back in office. As LBJ "let it go," there was no accountability then and Nixon and his descendants have run roughshod over the Constitution and Bill of Rights ever since.

My main point in using the term "Secret Government" is that it is most undemocratic. For Democracy to work, for our Constitution to be enforced and our Republic to function, We the People need to know what the government is doing in our name. Secret Government -- the military, spying, and police agencies -- now work so far above the law as to consider themselves immune to prosecution. And "We the People" are their main enemies.

An important example of why I don't trust secret government: Nixon appointed a corrupt Secret Service agent to lead Sen. Ted Kennedy's Secret Service protective detail, when EMK considered a run for the White House in 1972. Haldeman told Nixon the man had volunteered to demonstrate his loyalty by murder, he'd "kill on command," if only Haldeman or Tricky Dick were to ask. I never would have known about this, were it not for Watergate, the little secret government conspiracy Nixon and most of the press at first said was nothing to worry our little heads over.

The Neo-Nazi Question in Ukraine

Michael Hughes
Foreign Policy Analyst, Huffington Post, 5/11/2014

The Obama administration has vehemently denied charges that Ukraine's nascent regime is stock full of neo-fascists despite clear evidence suggesting otherwise. Such categorical repudiations lend credence to the notion the U.S. facilitated the anti-Russian cabal's rise to power as part of a broader strategy to draw Ukraine into the West's sphere of influence. Even more disturbing are apologists, from the American left and right, who seem willing accomplices in this obfuscation of reality, when just a cursory glance at the profiles of Ukraine's new leaders should give pause to the most zealous of Russophobes.

In a State Department "fact sheet" released last week the U.S. accused Putin of lying about the Ukrainian government being under the sway of extremist elements. The report stated that right wing ultranationalist groups "are not represented in the Rada (Ukraine's parliament)," and that "there is no indication the government would pursue discriminatory policies."


The highest-ranking right-wing extremist is Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych, also a member of Svoboda, who believes that women should "lead the kind of lifestyle to avoid the risk of rape, including refraining from drinking alcohol and being in controversial company." This is the philosophy underlying one of his "legal initiatives," according to the Kyiv Post, "to ban all abortions, even for pregnancies that occurred during rape."

The Svoboda party has tapped into Nazi symbolism including the "wolf's angel" rune, which resembles a swastika and was worn by members of the Waffen-SS, a panzer division that was declared a criminal organization at Nuremberg. A report from Tel-Aviv University describes the Svoboda party as "an extremist, right-wing, nationalist organization which emphasizes its identification with the ideology of German National Socialism."

According to this BBC news clip two Svoboda parliamentarians in recent weeks posed for photos while "brandishing well-known far right numerology," including the numbers 88 -- the eighth letter of the alphabet -- signifying "HH," as in "Heil Hitler." This all makes Hillary Clinton's recent comments comparing Putin to Hitler appear patently absurd, as Stanley adeptly points out: "After all, in the eyes of many ethnic Russians, it is the Ukrainian nationalists -- not Putin -- who are the Nazis."



If you're tired of "Money Trumps Peace," this is most important information to know. Thank you, malaise!

The things I've learned from reading snooper2...

Richard Nixon’s long shadow

Richard Nixon’s long shadow

By George F. Will
Washington Post, Opinion writer August 6 

At about 5:15 p.m. on June 17, 1971, in the Oval Office, the president ordered a crime: “I want it implemented on a thievery basis G------ it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.”

The burglary he demanded was not the one that would occur exactly one year later at the Democratic National Committee’s office in the Watergate complex. Richard Nixon was ordering a break-in at the Brookings Institution, a think tank, to seize material concerning U.S. diplomacy regarding North Vietnam during the closing weeks of the 1968 presidential campaign.

As they sometimes did regarding his intemperate commands, Nixon’s aides disregarded the one concerning Brookings. But from a White House atmosphere that licensed illegality came enough of it to destroy him.


In October 1968, Nixon’s lead over his Democratic opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was dwindling, partly because Humphrey had proposed a halt to U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. Five days before the election, President Lyndon Johnson announced the halt, hoping to convene peace talks. One impediment, however, was South Vietnam’s reluctance to participate. Its recalcitrance reflected its hope that it would be better supported by a Nixon administration.

On July 3, 1968, a Nixon campaign aide, Dick Allen, sent a memo proposing a meeting with Nixon and Anna Chennault, a Chinese American active in Republican politics. She would bring to the meeting South Vietnam’s ambassador to Washington. The memo said the meeting must be “top secret.” Nixon wrote on the memo: “Should be but I don’t see how — with the S.S. .” On July 12, however, she and the ambassador did meet secretly in New York with Nixon who, she later said, designated her his “sole representative” to the Saigon government.



Nixon's Shadow covers America to the present day.

Nixon's Vietnam Treason (George Will Confirms)

George Will Confirms

Nixon’s Vietnam Treason

CounterPunch, Aug. 13, 2014

Richard Nixon was a traitor.

The new release of extended versions of Nixon’s papers now confirms this long-standing belief, usually dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by Republican conservatives. Now it has been substantiated by none other than right-wing columnist George Will.

Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.

Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

Published as the 40th Anniversary of Nixon’s resignation approaches, Will’s column confirms that Nixon feared public disclosure of his role in sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks. Will says Nixon established a “plumbers unit” to stop potential leaks of information that might damage him, including documentation he believed was held by the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank. The Plumbers’ later break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down.



THIS is why Secret Government is undemocratic and evil.

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