25 Jan

Truth Out – Daily Brief

Tuesday 25 January 2011

William Rivers Pitt | The Olbermann Era
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: “When ‘Countdown’ first began in 2003, I watched it almost every night – the only cable ‘news’ show I consistently tuned in to – but quickly soured on the whole experience. I just can’t stand it, any of it. I can’t stand the emotional manipulation that comes with all forms of televised ‘news,’ and have for many times many a day now refused to let them in my head. I also never saw the point in getting all riled up at eight o’clock at night. What was I supposed to do with all that rage after nine? Punch the walls and kick the cat, maybe indulge in a little firebombing? Didn’t seem prudent.”
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Max Ajl | Return to Gaza
Max Ajl, Truthout: “In Gaza, Palestinians chafe under the Israeli-imposed siege. In spite of the much-touted easing, economist Omar Shaban of Pal-Think tells me, ‘The siege is still there, and anger is growing.’ In the fertile soil of justified anger, resistance germinates – some of it inevitably violent. Resistance fighters recently tested a Kornet anti-tank missile against a Merkava tank patrolling the perimeter of Gaza, piercing its outer hull.”
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Bush White House Broke Elections Law, Report Says
Eric Lipton, The New York Times News Service: “The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a ‘political boiler room’ that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide, a report issued Monday by an independent federal agency concludes.”
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News in Brief: Illinois Supreme Court Issues Stay in Emanuel Case, and More
Illinois Supreme Court issues stay in Emanuel case; military investigators have failed to find any connection between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and jailed Army Pvt. Bradley Manning; suspected Tucson shooter Jared Loughner pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday; Najib Mikati appointed Lebanese prime minister; Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lectured the House’s Tea Party Caucus about the Constitution on Monday.
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Government Economic Intervention: For Whom?
Richard D. Wolff: “No one in the US government campaigns these days for the direct government hiring of our many millions of unemployed and underemployed people. That is despite the fact that those millions suffer the resulting losses of income and self-esteem, despite the fact that they become burdens on their families, friends, and neighbors, and despite the fact that their reduced purchasing hurts countless others who work to produce what the unemployed and underemployed can no longer afford. Even though the last President faced with huge unemployment created 11 million federal jobs between 1934 and 1941, any comparable government step is off the agenda of Democrats and Republicans now.”
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Thousands of Egyptian Protesters Clash With Police
Jeffrey Fleishman, The Los Angeles Times: “Thousands of Egyptian protesters inspired by the revolt in Tunisia rushed police and battled tear gas Tuesday in demonstrations against the political repression and unemployment that have defined three decades of rule by President Hosni Mubarak. Groups of protesters marched through downtown Cairo, crossing bridges and outflanking riot police as the crowds headed for a square a few blocks from the parliament building. Security forces, which had shown unusual restraint early in the day, swung batons and clashed with demonstrators amid chants of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Down with Mubarak.'”
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George Lakoff | The “New Centrism” and Its Discontents
George Lakoff, Truthout: “There is no ideology of the ‘center.’ What is called a ‘centrist’ or a ‘moderate’ is actually very different – a biconceptual, someone who is conservative on some issues and progressive on others, in many, many possible combinations. Why does this matter? From the perspective of how the brain works, the distinction is crucial.”
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Juan Cole | The Corruption Game: What the Tunisian Revolution and WikiLeaks Reveal
Juan Cole, “Here’s one obvious lesson of the Tunisian Revolution of 2011: paranoia about Muslim fundamentalist movements and terrorism is causing Washington to make bad choices that will ultimately harm American interests and standing abroad. State Department cable traffic from capitals throughout the Greater Middle East, made public thanks to WikiLeaks, shows that U.S. policy-makers have a detailed and profound picture of the depths of corruption and nepotism that prevail among some ‘allies’ in the region.”
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Can the US Support UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements? Yes We Can!
Robert Naiman, Truthout: “A key resolution on the Israel-Palestine conflict is now before the UN Security Council. Largely echoing stated US policy, the resolution embraces negotiations, endorses the creation of a Palestinian state and demands an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But even though the resolution echoes US policy, President Obama is under pressure to veto the UN resolution from forces in Washington who want to protect the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.”
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Paul Krugman | Rich, but Poorer Than the Richest
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: “It seems that objectively rich people in the United States are feeling poor these days. In an article published online on Jan. 11, Catherine Rampell, an economics editor at The New York Times, analyzed why Americans at or above the 90th percentile of income distribution do not feel particularly rich; many people in this group consider themselves to be, in fact, middle class. Ms. Rampell looked at data from the Tax Policy Center and found that for 95 percent of Americans, income distribution was relatively flat throughout 2010. At the top of the income scale, however, the inequality was much steeper.”
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Television is the opiate of the masses; and the prism through which the so-called “news” is presented by the corporate, big media is the lens through which many Americans see the world.

That is why BuzzFlash has focused for two days on the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal. A mega-giant, cross-platform communications company is only going to allow “news coverage” that doesn’t threaten its profits.

In order to accomplish the goals of multibillion-dollar, investor-owned corporations, news isn’t really reported objectively; it is manufactured. That is what Noam Chomsky refers to as “manufacturing consent.”

On their January 24 program, Jon Stewart and his “Daily Show” crew tore to shreds the pretense of “fair and balanced news,” once again focusing on Fox (although Fox is hardly the only offender).

On air, Megyn Kelly indignantly denied that Fox News ever accuses Democrats and liberals of behaving like Nazis. So, Stewart showed a decimating series of excerpts of clips in which Fox anchors, reporters and hosts did precisely that, even making such accusations of Third Reich behavior within 24 hours of Kelly’s dismissal of such Nazi analogies by Fox broadcast staff.

It was another “Daily Show” tour de force, exposing Fox News staff as knee-jerk liars. But the harsh reality is that so many Americans believe the lies of Fox and other corporate news outlets. That is the perniciously powerful impact of television.

Fox is an extreme example of “news” corporations creating an alternative reality, but almost all big media companies reveal the world in a way that protects the status quo.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

Financial Crime Nowhere to Be Found on Obama’s SOTU Agenda
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

US Home Prices Slump Again, Hitting New Lows
Read the Article at The New York Times

Obama to Call for Five-Year Spending Freeze
Read the Article at MSNBC

Ann Davidow: Are Tea Party Values What Conservatives Mean by American Exceptionalism?
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Broad Protests Across Egypt Focus Fury on Mubarak
Read the Article at The New York Times

Honor Keith Olbermann While Supporting Truthout and BuzzFlash
Read About the Book at Truthout

Scalia Speaks at “Tea Party” House Meeting, Closed to the Media
Read the Article at The Los Angeles Times

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