Category Archives: Media

Is the U.S. Becoming a Third World Nation? by Charles Hugh Smith

You don’t have to look too hard to uncover many similarities between the US and a typical banana republic. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

This is a chart of an informal kleptocracy which cloaks itself in the faux finery of democracy and a (rigged) “market” economy.

Back in the day, nations that didn’t qualify as either developed (First World) or developing (Second World) were by default Third World, impoverished, corrupt and what we now refer to as failed states–governments that were incapable of improving the lives of their people and the machinery of governance, generally as a result of corruption and self-serving elites, i.e. kleptocracies.

Is the U.S. slipping into Third World status? While many scoff at the very question, others citing the rise of homelessness, entrenched pockets of abject poverty and the decaying state of infrastructure might nod “yes.”

These are not uniquely Third World problems, they’re symptoms of a status quo that’s fast losing First World capabilities. What characterizes Third World/Failing States isn’t just poverty, crumbling infrastructure and endemic corruption; at a systems level these are the key dynamics in Third World/Failing States:

1. The status quo protects insiders at the expense of everyone else.

2. There is no real accountability; failure has no consequences, bureaucrats are never fired for incompetence, reforms are watered down or neutered by institutional sclerosis.

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The Missing Howls of Denunciation Over Major Sex Trafficking, by Michael Brenner

Where are the harpy feminists when you need them? From Michael Brenner at consortiumnews.com:

Michael Brenner considers the dearth of #MeToo outrage at the foul activities of the 25-year-long Epstein-Maxwell operation.

(Alec Perkins, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons)

Why have the howls of outrage not echoed through the media? Why has the trumpet’s call to action been silent?  Why haven’t the halls of Congress resounded with denunciation and the demands for justice.

Sexual trafficking of women and children is probably the century’s greatest assault on girls and young women outside of Boko Haram’s rampages and the crimes of the Islamic State against the Yazidis.  In terms of sheer numbers, it exceeds those atrocities. High among the malefactors is the Epstein-Maxwell operation. Its foul activities went on for 25 years. It was known to law enforcement authorities for most of that time. The sole legal action taken was the one count lodged against Jeffrey Epstein in 2006 for “soliciting a minor.” With the connivance of the highest authorities in Washington, it was a genteel house arrest that was a mockery of supposed punishment.

U.S. lawmakers speak in support of End Demand for Sex Trafficking Act, 2005. (Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most grotesque aspect of this sinister criminal ring was the knowing participation of dozens of members of the highest echelons of the American elite – possibly including two occupants of the White House. Rape – both statutory and violent – was the order of the day. So, too, involuntary confinement, extortion, blackmail, intimidation and god knows what other heinous crimes.

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American Gulag Death of Jeffrey Epstein: Will Julian Assange Be Next? by Mac Slavo

If Jeffrey Epstein can allegedly have died in prison while supposedly every effort was being to prevent that, so too can Julian Assange. From Mac Slavo at shtfplan.com:

he death of millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein behind bars should trigger “system-wide self-reflection” on how prisoners are treated. The Metropolitan Correctional Center “is sort of like an American gulag for people who have not been convicted of anything,” Epstein lawyer Marc Fernich said.

Epstein had at least some dirt on some high-powered people like Bill Clinton and he could very well be dead because he was going to talk.

And another person currently jailed for giving the American public information the United States government desperately wanted to keep secret, is Julian Assange.  His health is failing and the highly dubious death of Jeffrey Epstein in a U.S. maximum-security prison is another strong reason not to extradite Assange into one.

Epstein’s death has gotten his lawyer to speak out about the conditions in American prisons, likening them to the gulags of the Soviet Union. MCC is “institutionally ill-equipped” to deal with someone like Epstein who wouldn’t last long in general population but who isn’t a hardened criminal, Fernich explained to RT.  “This is one of the toughest pre-trial detention facilities in the country. And the conditions are inhumane.” Epstein, he insists, was “presumed innocent,” despite his 2008 conviction for soliciting underage prostitutes – part of a slap-on-the-wrist plea deal the fallout from which culminated in this year’s sex trafficking charges – and should not have been confined in suchbarbaric” conditions.

But there is every reason to fear Assange is already in danger, in Belmarsh maximum-security prison, where he is currently incarcerated. Assange did the unthinkable. He exposed the government for what it really is: a corrupt authoritarian entity that firmly believes it has the right to enslave everyone else.  Pressenza wrote: “The Establishment has conspired to reduce his ability to defend himself in court.  I am not convinced it is not conspiring to destroy him.”

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The Censorship of Alternative Media Is Virtual Book Burning, by Daisy Luther

Are ostensibly “private” companies with deep ties to the government, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google, capable in a legal sense of “censoring”? Given their importance to many alternative media outlets, when they kick outlets of their platforms, they are in practical fact censoring them. From Daisy Luther at theorganicprepper.com:

Recent discussions about an executive order that would “help protect” conservatives from bias on social media have brought a bone of contention to the forefront. Are alternative and conservative media actually being censored or are non-mainstream journalists and bloggers just whining?

As the owner of a website that is demonstrably facing censorship, I can tell you that from my point of view, we Americans are currently in the midst of a virtual “book burning” akin to the ones we look back on in shame.

The history of book burning

As early as 221 BC in China, the burning of books has always foreshadowed a crackdown on dissent and information. It’s probably no surprise that Adolph Hitler ordered the burning of “subversive” books in Nazi Germany, and the McCarthy era brought public burnings of any book that could be – if one’s imagination was stretched to the absolute limit – related to communism.  There are many cases of modern-day book-burning, and it generally links to opposing views, either religious, social, or political.

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Assange, Attack, Guardian, Journalism, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

An attack on a reporter is being construed as an attack on journalism, but the reporter in question works for a media organ that used then betrayed Julian Assange, and now won’t life a finger to help him. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Guardian columnist Owen Jones, a self-described left activist and socialist, was attacked in the streets of London at 2 am Saturday morning in what he himself describes as “a blatant premeditated assault” by a bunch of guys. He says he was kicked, punched, but then saved by the friends he was with, and nothing really happened to him. Or he would have taken photos and published them. Owen was fine, before and after. But his pride was not.

No pictures of black eyes or anything, but a brick load of indignation. No matter that in Britain, people are attacked all the time, certainly at that hour, in bar fights, in knife fights, people die every weekend. But for some reason Owen Jones thinks his role in this is special. That the incident happened because of his political views, and because the far right is getting more aggressive.

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Mass Media’s Phony Freakout Over Bernie’s WaPo Criticism Is Backfiring, by Caitlin Johnstone

The media is getting pushback against its contrived outrage against Bernie Sanders for suggesting the Washington Post is biased. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

After days of ridiculous, hysterical garment rending by mass media talking heads in response to Senator Bernie Sanders’ utterly undeniable assertion that The Washington Post has displayed unfair bias against his campaign, people with extensive experience in the mainstream press who are fed up with the lies are beginning to push back. Hard.

Former MSNBC producer Jeff Cohen has published an article in Salon titled “Memo to mainstream journalists: Can the phony outrage; Bernie is right about bias”. Cohen details his experience with the way corporate media outlets keep a uniform pro-establishment narrative running throughout all their coverage without their staff having to be directly told to to do this by their supervisors (though sometimes that happens, too). He writes as follows:

“It happens because of groupthink. It happens because top editors and producers know — without being told — which issues and sources are off limits. No orders need be given, for example, for rank-and-file journalists to understand that the business of the corporate boss or top advertisers is off-limits, short of criminal indictments.

“No memo is needed to achieve the narrowness of perspective — selecting all the usual experts from all the usual think tanks to say all the usual things. Think Tom Friedman. Or Barry McCaffrey. Or Neera Tanden. Or any of the elite club members who’ve been proven to be absurdly wrong time and again about national or global affairs.”

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The Campaign Press: Members of the 10 Percent, Reporting for the One Percent, by Matt Taibbi

Journalists will usually report what those who sign their paychecks want them to report. From Matt Taibbi at rollingstone.com:

Media companies run by the country’s richest people can’t help but project the mindset of their owners.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talks to journalists as he walks along Grand Avenue at the Iowa State Fair.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talks to journalists as he walks along Grand Avenue at the Iowa State Fair.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders Monday gave a speech in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He took shots at the press, mentioning coverage of his campaign against Amazon:

I talk about (Amazon’s taxes) all of the time… And then I wonder why The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why.

Employees of the Post were put out by Sanders’s comments. They insisted they hold no ill will against him for regularly bashing the man who writes their checks as one of earth’s most obnoxious plutocrats, and moreover that Sanders is wrong to make the media a “boogeyman” the way he’s turned “billionaires and corporations” into boogeymen. This “doesn’t add up,” noted the Post, going so far as to put the term “corporate media” in quotation marks, as if it were a mythical creature.

Perhaps the negativity toward Sanders isn’t over Amazon. After all, Sanders gets similar treatment from the New York Times, CNN, the Atlantic and other outlets. Still, the Post’s Bernie fixation stands out. The paper humorously once wrote 16 negative pieces about Sanders in the space of 16 hours (e.g. “Clinton Is Running for President. Sanders Is Doing Something Else,” “Bernie Sanders Pledges the US Won’t Be No. 1 in Incarceration. He’ll Need to Release Lots of Criminals,”etc).

The Post in 2017 asked readers how Democrats would “cope” with the Kremlin backing Bernie Sanders with “dirty tricks” in 2020. In April of this year it described the Sanders campaign as a Russian plot to help elect Donald Trump. They’ve run multiple stories about his “$575,000 lake house,” ripping his “socialist hankering” for real estate. “From each according to his ability,” the paper quipped, “to each according to his need for lakefront property…

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