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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 65,185

Journal Archives

Robert Parry: Can MSM Handle the Contra-Cocaine Truth?

from Consortium News:

Can MSM Handle the Contra-Cocaine Truth?
October 11, 2014

Exclusive: “Kill the Messenger” tells the tragic tale of journalist Gary Webb who revived the Contra-cocaine scandal in the 1990s and saw his life destroyed by the mainstream media. The question now is: Will the MSM continue its cover-up of this sordid part of Ronald Reagan’s legacy or finally accept the truth, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The mainstream news media’s reaction to the new movie, “Kill the Messenger,” has been tepid, perhaps not surprising given that the MSM comes across as the film’s most unsympathetic villain as it crushes journalist Gary Webb for digging up the Contra-cocaine scandal in the mid-1990s after the major newspapers thought they had buried it in the 1980s.

Not that the movie is without other villains, including drug traffickers and “men in black” government agents. But the drug lords show some humanity and even honesty as they describe how they smuggled drugs and shared the proceeds with the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, President Ronald Reagan’s beloved “freedom fighters.”

By contrast, the news executives for the big newspapers, such as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, come across as soulless careerists determined to maintain their cozy relations with the CIA’s press office and set on shielding their failure to take on this shocking scandal when it was playing out in the 1980s.

So, in the 1990s, they concentrated their fire on Webb for alleged imperfections in his investigative reporting rather than on U.S. government officials who condoned and protected the Contra drug trafficking as part of Reagan’s Cold War crusade. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/10/11/can-msm-handle-the-contra-cocaine-truth/

Why Are Teach for America and a California Billionaire Investing in a Minnesota School Board Race?

(In These Times) In the aftermath of a failed 2013 bid for mayor, former Minneapolis city council member Don Samuels is running for a spot on the school board. If he wins, he will undoubtedly be able to thank the extensive financing and canvassing support he’s received from several well-heeled national organizations, such as the Washington, D.C.-based 50CAN, an offshoot of Education Reform Now called Students for Education Reform (SFER), and various people associated with Teach for America, which has been called a “political powerhouse” for its growing influence in policy and politics beyond the classroom.

These groups often project an image of grassroots advocacy but are in fact very well-funded, often through the support of extremely wealthy hedge fund managers and large philanthropic foundations. Together, they and like-minded “education reform” proponents have dramatically, but not necessarily democratically, altered how public education works throughout the United States.

While August campaign finance reports show Samuels out-raising his main competitor, incumbent Rebecca Gagnon, by almost 4 to 1 through local donations, they also show that Samuels is getting tremendous support from outside of Minnesota. The D.C.-based 50CAN Action Fund filed a campaign finance report in Minnesota showing that it was devoting $14,350 in financial resources to the Minneapolis school board race, as well as in-kind donations valued in the thousands of dollars. Since 50CAN Action Fund is a 501(c)(4), its reports do not have to disclose which candidates it is supporting, but 50CAN Action Fund’s Minnesota chair Daniel Sellers told a reporter in July that the group had spent money on Samuels.

Outside forces, dark money

The outside money flowing to the Samuels campaign follows a relatively recent national pattern that’s played out in places such as Texas, Oregon, Colorado and New Jersey, where local school board races have been heavily influenced by the political and financial heft of outside groups. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17218/teach_for_america_and_silicon_valley_billionaire_minnesota_school_board

David Korten with Thom Hartmann: Agenda for a New Economy (video, pts I and II)

Published on Sep 15, 2014

Dr. David Korten, YES! Magazine/New Economy Working Group / Agenda for a New Economy joins Thom Hartmann. Our fossil-fuel driven economy is killing us and it's killing the one planet we call home. So how can we build an economy that protects the environment and grows the middle class - all at the same time?

Professor Richard Wolff: Global Capitalism: October 2014 Monthly Update

"Have F---ing Beliefs, Not Teams"

"Have F---ing Beliefs, Not Teams": Citizen Radio's Hosts Talk #NEWSFAIL, Advertising, Veganism and More

Thursday, 09 October 2014 10:33
By Joe Macaré, Truthout | Interview

When they started podcasting in 2008, Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein "were living out of our car," says Kilstein. "Allison hadn't been published yet as a writer, and I wasn't getting stand-up gigs because of my politics - and I probably wasn't funny as well, but the political thing makes me sound like Lenny Bruce."

The earliest episodes of their podcast "Citizen Radio" were recorded via cell phones and a dial-in online soundboard, without anything resembling studio equipment. Fast-forward to the present day, and in addition to having acquired just a smidgen of professionalism, the show has won the admiration of everyone from Janeane Garofalo to Noam Chomsky, from Talib Kweli to the late Robin Williams, as well as an army of dedicated listeners - known as Maniacs - many of whom are responsible for keeping the show afloat financially. (Like Truthout, but unlike the majority of even progressive media outlets, "Citizen Radio" doesn't take any advertising.)

The show's independence is matched by its hosts' tendency to be round pegs in square holes. Kilkenny has walked away from stints at In These Times and The Nation. "I'm so good at quitting places," she deadpans. Meanwhile, Kilstein's tendency to talk frankly about topics ranging from drone strikes to sexism within the subcultures of which he is part has earned him "not to be invited back" status everywhere from Conan O'Brien's show to comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan's podcast.

Now they're published authors, with a book from an actual publisher, subtitled Climate Change, Feminism, Gun Control, and Other Fun Stuff We Talk About Because Nobody Else Will. It's almost like being respectable. Almost.


Kilstein: It was doing more investigative work than "Meet The Press"! I think the larger critique is the fact that the news had lied and pandered so much, that people legitimately had to turn to a satirical comedy news show in order to find out what the fuck was happening. So really, we should be the most mad at mainstream media.

But when you hear "The Daily Show" talked about, it's like "This is as far left as you can go." When right-wingers talk about young kids, it's like "The Daily Show" is our Noam Chomsky, right? The problem is when a lot of kids watch "The Daily Show" thinking that's as left as they can go, what happens when Jon Stewart compares Occupy Wall Street with the Tea Party, who are walking around with racist signs and guns? What happens when The Rally to Restore Sanity literally makes fun of people who are protesting, while bringing fucking Kid Rock to sing an anthem about apathy? ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/26725-have-f-ing-beliefs-not-teams-citizen-radio-s-hosts-talk-newsfail-veganism-and-what-s-wrong-with-the-daily-show

Mainstream News Coverage of Ukraine, Malaysia Flight 17 Shows Western Propaganda Machine at Work

(Truthout) Media analyst and professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, Edward S. Herman, co-author with Noam Chomsky of Manufacturing Consent, discusses the propaganda embedded in US mainstream media coverage of the Ukraine crisis.

Dan Falcone: What is missing in the US mainstream news coverage of Ukraine? What major elements are being suppressed?

Edward Herman: What is missing, first of all, is a minimum of objectivity. The media are functioning more than ever as a propaganda machine for the State Department. One thing missing - and being suppressed - is the important role of neo-Nazi elements both in the Kiev government and in the forces they have fielded in their war against East Ukraine. The media are eager to find Russians in Ukraine, but will not even recognize neo-fascists staring them in the face, but working on our side. They had earlier virtually suppressed the very important role of these right-wing elements in the Maidan protests and the accompanying violence and overthrow of the elected government in Kiev. The media regularly called those forces "protesters," whereas they called the East Ukraine rebels "pro-Russian militants" and "separatists" rather than "protesters" and "federalists." The double standards here are dramatic and the sign of a propaganda system at work.

So also is the different treatment of casualties. In the Maidan street protests and fighting before the coup, the media were very sensitive to violence against the protesters, although less attentive to violence by the protesters; whereas the thousands of civilian casualties in the Kiev war against the East have been of little interest to the media, again following the party line and paralleling the attention of Kerry and Power. They buried the story of the Odessa massacre, which was surely of greater scope than the Racak massacre in Kosovo, which so aroused US officials and the ever-so-amenable media.

While continually stressing Russian alleged interventions, the media essentially suppress the US role in the "coup" of February 2014 and its aid to the coup government (advice, trainers, military supplies, diplomatic backing and encouragement of the IMF to aid the government). They failed to give any deeper context to Russian behavior, most notably the NATO advance toward the Russian borders and virtual encirclement of Russia and the threat this embodies to Russian national security. These suppressions are the work of a very efficient and aggressive propaganda system.


What can you tell me about the US media treatment of the destruction of the civilian airliner Malaysia Airlines Flight 17? What were the specific distortions of the matter and the purpose of the distortions? How did the shooting down of Flight 17 succeed as a case in Western propaganda? What was the immediate payoff for the United States?

This is an amazing story, with Obama, Kerry, Power and The New York Times and company, immediately and indignantly accusing the rebels and Russia of responsibility for downing the plane before any investigation had been carried out. And this was accompanied with furious accusations and with a quick retreat to silence without the presentation of any evidence supporting the US-Kiev-NATO party line by either Kiev or the United States. The Russians did quickly provide radar evidence that a Ukraine fighter plane had been in the vicinity of MH17, and that the plane had moved course into the fighting zone, but the United States gave no public evidence of satellite sightings of the target environment and apparently none to the Dutch.

Their Preliminary Report on "Crash Involving Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 flight MH17," published on September 9, 2014, almost two months after the crash, mentions no specific US input. Putin and the Russians from the beginning called for a full international investigation of the episode, but this is not going to happen: The Dutch are members of NATO, and they entered into an agreement with Kiev and several other countries to allow any of the signatories to veto any report on the subject; thus if Kiev was involved in the destruction of the plane, whether deliberately or by mishap, this will never show up in an international inquiry. The media have of course ignored this agreement and Samantha Power was indignant that the Russians did not find the ongoing investigative process all that could be desired. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26711-mainstream-news-coverage-of-ukraine-malaysia-airlines-flight-17-shows-western-propaganda-machine-at-work-edward-s-herman

Chris Hedges Describes The Global Corporate Coup D'Etat - Sept 23, 2014

A Tar Heel Rebellion Against Conservatism

from truthdig:

A Tar Heel Rebellion Against Conservatism

Posted on Oct 9, 2014
By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

BURLINGTON, N.C.—The clergy gathered in the second-floor conference room at the First Baptist Church here were pondering whether this midterm election might be different from other midterm elections.

The five African-American pastors and bishops represented diverse theological traditions, but all were profoundly unhappy over what North Carolina’s ultra-conservative state government in Raleigh had done to reduce access to the ballot box, cut education spending, and turn back money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The irony, said the Rev. Dray Bland, pastor of First Baptist on Apple—the street location distinguishes it from the predominantly white First Baptist Church downtown—is that measures designed to make it harder for voters to cast ballots may actually inspire a larger number to do so.

“While many in Raleigh thought they could suppress the vote through these new voter laws, they may increase turnout by rallying the vote,” Bland said. “The apathy we might have had has turned into action.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_tar_heel_rebellion_against_conservatism_20141009

The Rise of the New, Liberal Islamophobia

from truthdig:

The Rise of the New, Liberal Islamophobia

Posted on Oct 9, 2014
By Sonali Kolhatkar

The recent television kerfuffle involving “Real Time” host Bill Maher and guest Sam Harris over whether Muslims are bad people because their religion is, in the words of Harris, “the mother lode of bad ideas,” is symbolic of the new American Islamophobia.

Muslim-bashing has become a popular sport several times over the last decade and a half, most notably in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; after the election of Barack Obama; over the proposal for the so-called Ground Zero mosque; and now with the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But this time, it’s not just members of the extreme right, such as Rep. Michele Bachmann and presidential wannabe Herman Cain, equating Islam with terrorism.

Maher, one of the bastions of liberal ideology, is the source of the latest strain of anti-Muslim racism, along with his cohort Harris, a neuroscientist and author whose bigotry was superbly exposed by Chris Hedges in his 2008 book, “I Don’t Believe in Atheists.”

Historian and academic Reza Aslan’s brilliant response to Maher on CNN laid bare Maher’s poor logic in equating the actions of extremists with nearly a quarter of the world’s population who identify as Muslim. But Maher’s sentiments aren’t just dissonant with reality; they lend a liberal veneer to Islamophobia, which in turn casts as increasingly legitimate the ongoing government targeting and public venom aimed at American Muslims. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_rise_of_the_new_liberal_islamophobia_20141009

Chris Hedges Describes The Global Corporate Coup D'Etat - Sept 23, 2014

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