Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


"The FCC gave the coup de grace to the fairness doctrine Monday as the commission axed more than 80 media industry rules.

Earlier this summer FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski agreed to erase the post WWII-era rule, but the action Monday puts the last nail into the coffin for the regulation that sought to ensure discussion over the airwaves of controversial issues did not exclude any particular point of view. A broadcaster that violated the rule risked losing its license...

Monday’s move is part of the commission’s response to a White House executive order directing a 'government-wide review of regulations already on the books' designed to eliminate unnecessary regulations.

...Genachowski said in a statement that the move was aimed at promoting 'a healthy climate for private investment and job creation.' "

-->The FCC and Obama killing off the Fairness Doctrine wasn't newsworthy enough to make it into The NY Times, despite the fact that our newspaper of record describes every betrayal of working people as necessary for investment and job creation.


"Ok, those Germans are just showing off now. Not only has the nation announced plans to shut down all of its nuclear power plants and started the construction of 2,800 miles of transmission lines for its new renewable energy initiative, but now the village of Wildpoldsried is producing 321% more energy than it needs! The small agricultural village in the state of Bavaria is generating an impressive $5.7 million in annual revenue from renewable energy...

The village’s green initiative first started in 1997 when the village council decided that it should build new industries, keep initiatives local, bring in new revenue, and create no debt. Over the past 14 years, the community has equipped nine new community buildings with solar panels, built four biogas digesters and installed seven windmills with two more on the way. In the village itself, 190 private households have solar panels while the district also benefits from three small hydro power plants, ecological flood control, and a natural waste water system.

All of these green systems means that despite only having a population of 2,600, Wildpoldsried produces 321 percent more energy than it needs – and it’s generating 4.0 million Euro (US $5.7 million) in annual revenue by selling it back to the national grid. It is no surprise to learn that small businesses have developed in the village specifically to provide services to the renewable energy installations."

-->The NY Times is not interested in such ecological scenarios for the future of America. There are few stories printed about alternatives to big oil.


Ralph Nader for Common Dreams:
"It was only a matter of time before the 'pull down' NAFTA and WTO trade agreements on U.S. wages and jobs would be followed by 'pull down' contract demands by U.S. corporations on their unionized workers toward levels of non-unionized laborers...

Mr. Lowell McAdam (Verizon's CEO) would surely have trouble feeling the pain of his workers who brave the elements storm or shine to afford him a salary of over 1.5 million dollars PER MONTH plus perks and benefits.

Watching Verizon profits soar year after year, noticing Verizon stock rise faster than its competitors, knowing that the company's top five executives took in over $250 million between them in the last four years, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) took their members on strike on August 7, 2011...

These workers pay their taxes. While the tax lawyers for their bosses have figured out how to turn Verizon into a vast tax escapee. According to the super-accurate Citizens for Tax Justice, Verizon Communications made a total of $32.5 billion dollars in pretax U.S. profits during 2008, 2009, 2010. Far from paying the maximum federal corporate income tax rate of 35 percent on these ample profits, Verizon's federal income tax was negative $951 million or negative 2.9 percent!"

-->The NY Times contribution to this ripoff of Verizon's workforce? Full page ads, paid for by Verizon, that claim worker contracts should "reflect the changing times." Like US corporations making billions while workers get nothing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


McClatchy Newspapers:
"WASHINGTON — When congressional cost-cutters meet later this year to decide on trimming the federal budget, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could represent juicy targets. But how much do the wars actually cost the U.S. taxpayer?

Nobody really knows. The National Priorities Project estimates the total financial cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars at over $1.23 trillion ( Nobody really knows.

Yes, Congress has allotted $1.3 trillion for war spending through fiscal year 2011 just to the Defense Department. There are long Pentagon spreadsheets that outline how much of that was spent on personnel, transportation, fuel and other costs. In a recent speech, President Barack Obama assigned the wars a $1 trillion price tag.

But all those numbers are incomplete. Besides what Congress appropriated, the Pentagon spent an additional unknown amount from its $5.2 trillion base budget over that same period. According to a recent Brown University study, the wars and their ripple effects have cost the United States $3.7 trillion, or more than $12,000 per American."

-->Most American's know that our federal and state budgets are terribly out of balance. This Brown University study explains why our government is broke, and it's the war, stupid. The NY Times did not cover this story.


National Security Archive:
"TOP SECRET CIA 'OFFICIAL HISTORY' OF THE BAY OF PIGS: REVELATIONS...In perhaps the most important revelation of the entire official history, the CIA task force in charge of the paramilitary assault did not believe it could succeed without becoming an open invasion supported by the U.S. military. On page 149 of Volume III, Pfeiffer quotes still-secret minutes of the Task Force meeting held on November 15, 1960, to prepare a briefing for the new President-elect, John F. Kennedy: 'Our original concept is now seen to be unachievable in the face of the controls Castro has instituted,' the document states. 'Our second concept (1,500-3000 man force to secure a beach with airstrip) is also now seen to be unachievable, except as a joint Agency/DOD action.'

This candid assessment was not shared with the President-elect then, nor later after the inauguration..."

-->Interesting to learn that the CIA lied to President Kennedy about the Bay of Pigs invasion. Just how many of our foreign policy decisions are made by the CIA rather than by our elected officials? The question will never occur to readers of the NY Times; our newspaper of record didn't print this story.


Free Press:
"AT&T's plan to take over T-Mobile is about gouging consumers, destroying a competitor and firing an estimated 20,000 American workers.

We at Free Press have warned about this from day one. Now, one of AT&T's own lawyers has confirmed it. He inadvertently leaked a letter that reveals the merger has nothing to do with expanding AT&T's coverage to 97 percent of the country – the main argument the company has made to gain Washington’s support – and everything to do with eliminating the cheaper T-Mobile option from the marketplace (and laying off half of its workforce) to pad company profits.

The truth is out. Every AT&T argument about the supposed benefits of this merger has now been proven wrong. As AT&T's case unravels, we must keep up the pressure and urge Washington to stop supporting a deal that is so harmful to workers, consumers and our economy."

-->The NY Times is not interested in narratives that are critical of giant corporations. Nor is NPR. The coverage by both "liberal" news sources is heavily weighted by AT&T's official statements on the merger.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


There is no more dishonest reporting in the US media than what we have witnessed in the past month regarding the budget crisis. News about the nation's deficit is written by the Wall Street propagandists and passed off as reasonable analysis. Progressive voices are marginalized, so that working people are never reminded of the real reasons behind our nation's financial troubles.

Reason one: in the 1950's and 1960's, for every tax dollar collected from individuals, $1.50 was collected from corporations. At the present, for every dollar collected from individuals, $.25 is collected from corporations. Many of our largest, most profitable corporations pay nothing at all.

Reason two: in the 1950's and 1960's, the top tax rate paid by wealthy Americans was 91%. At the present, the very rich pay a top rate of 35%. Dividends and capital gains, the source of income for most multimillionaires, is pegged at 15%.

Reason three: the bailout of Wall Street speculators and the banks was closer to three trillion than the 750 billion reported in our media. Some has been repaid, but the worldwide give-away to the world's financial institutions is only now coming to light.

Reason four: the continuing wars in the Middle East and our nation's empire will cost three trillion in the decade, far more than is reported in the Pentagon budget.

None of this has anything to do with Social Security, Medicare, Pell Grants, teacher salaries, or the costs of environmental protections. In fact, all four reasons represent a type of criminal capitalism that will only get worse.

The very rich control Obama, the Congress, and almost all the media. There is no reason to think that corporations or the very wealthy will have to pay their fair share of taxes. In fact, the Estate Tax, is under continued assault by our nation's lawmakers. Billionaires want to leave all their obscene wealth to their children, while most of the nation's children face minimum wage or unemployment.

Since the very rich control US decision making, there is little chance that future Wall Street speculation will be regulated. In fact, the US is 96th out of 135 countries of the world in terms of income distribution, closest to Mexico and Iran. Unlike more progressive industrialized countries, the richest Americans have billions to speculate with, and virtually no incentive to restrain themselves. All will be bailed out by the US Treasury, so why worry?

Finally, endless wars mean endless profits to those in the criminal capitalist system. Haliburton is an example of a company that makes obscene profits from the wars the company creates and perpetuates. From Lyndon Johnson to Dick Cheney, Halliburton has had a hand in shaping foreign policy. The same is true of other corporations, like big oil, that profit from occupying foreign countries and exploiting their natural resources.

What will change any of this short of national rebellion?


The NY Times:
"Now, coming off one of his worst weeks since taking office, Mr. Obama is nearing a decision on whether he really meant that. Is he willing to try to administer the disagreeable medicine that could help the economy mend over the long term, even if that means damaging his chances for re-election?

The Federal Reserve’s finding on Tuesday that there is little prospect for rapid economic growth over the next two years was the latest in a summer of bad economic news. One administration official called the atmosphere around the president’s economic team 'angry and morose.'

'The problem for Obama is that right now, the United States is either at a precipice or has fallen off it,' said David Rothkopf, a Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration. 'If he is true to his commitment to rather be a good one-term president, then this is the character test. In some respects, this is the 3 a.m. phone call.' "

-->Leave it to the NY Times to frame Obama's sellout of working people as a noble attempt to administer "disagreeable medicine" for the common good.


Daily Mail:
"Tony Blair is to face scathing criticism from the official inquiry into the Iraq War for the role he played in leading Britain into one of its biggest foreign policy fiascos in modern history. The Mail on Sunday has been told that the former Prime Minister will be held to account on four main failings:

Bogus claims that were made about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Not telling the British public about his secret pledge with George Bush to go to war. Keeping the Cabinet in the dark by his ‘sofa government’ style. Failing to plan to avoid the post-war chaos in Iraq."

-->Not only did the NY Times omit this story in its print edition, but our newspaper of record has never brought up the failure of our current administration in investigating Bush era lies and war crimes. In the "land of the free," the media, the Pentagon, and both parties conspire to protect the empire from bad publicity.