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US news organizations dispense propaganda, not news

Forget ‘Fair and Balanced,’ US Corporate Media Give Only the Government’s Side

 

One searches almost in vain for honest reporting on the Ukraine conflict in the US corporate media, which is simply parroting the US government position, which is that the rebels in eastern Ukraine are simply tools of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Yet the murderous shelling of the people of the rebel regions of Lugansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine is almost certainly wholly the work of an aggressive Kiev-government led Ukraine military, which has been ramping up its forces in the east in preparation for a renewed assault on the two separatist states of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Each time there is a report of shelling of either city, Lugansk or Donetsk, the US media either completely fail to mention who might be responsible, or they report that “both sides” accuse each other of being responsible, though this is clearly absurd, since even those same media also refer to Donetsk and Lugansk as “rebel-held” or “separatist-held,” or as “rebel strongholds.” Why, one ought to ask, would the rebels shell their own territory, much less the capitals of their respective rebel regions?

The model for how such incidents are to be reported was set on Oct. 6 by America’s version of Pravda, Voice of America. In its article that day, headlined NATO Concerned about E. Ukraine Cease-Fire Violations, it states:
 

The new head of NATO said the Western military alliance is concerned about the large number of violations of the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, which he indirectly blamed on pro-Russian separatists.
 

Following in lockstep with that approach, here’s what the US media had to say about the conflict in recent weeks:
 

The New York Times (Nov. 9):

A shaky cease-fire in eastern Ukraine looked ever more tenuous on Sunday as European monitors confirmed reports of unmarked military vehicles driving through rebel-held territory while Donetsk, the region’s biggest city, endured a nightlong artillery battle.

The monitoring group, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that long columns of unmarked military vehicles, some towing howitzers, were spotted over the weekend. The monitors did not speculate as to the origins of the trucks or the people inside them, but Ukrainian officials said the statements bolstered their claims that Russia was again arming and training separatists.

...On Sunday, after what journalists in Donetsk described as the heaviest night of artillery shelling in and around the city in at least a month, the O.S.C.E. observers saw two more unmarked military columns. The observers noted 17 trucks in each column, some equipped with Grad ground-to-ground rocket launchers and others towing more howitzers.
 

Comment: Notice the focus here on the unidentified military vehicles, but not a word about who would have been firing that heavy artillery barrage into rebel-held Donetsk. A real news organization -- as opposed to a propaganda organ -- would have asked that question and would have sought answers. Clearly the rebels weren’t bombarding their own capital city, but the Times didn’t mention that absurdity.
 

Does this look like something rebel fighters in east Ukraine would have done to their own 'stronghold' and capital of Donetsk?Does this look like something rebel fighters in east Ukraine would have done to their own 'stronghold' and capital of Donetsk?
 

They’re everywhere!

NY Times Report Documents Metastasizing of the Police State of America

 

The latest news on the burgeoning police state in the US -- a page-one investigative report in the New York Times disclosing that at least 40 agencies of the US government from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Supreme Court (!) are using undercover agents to spy on and even to entrap law-abiding American citizens -- suggests that we have passed the tipping point.

One can no longer speak in terms of the US as a country that is moving towards becoming a police state. We are living in a police state.

The Times reports that IRS personnel have been going undercover posing as accountants and even as physicians to root out tax fraud, that the Supreme Court has been dispatching some of its guards (all of whom have been trained in undercover work) “dressed down” in civilian clothes to mingle with protesters (notably abortion-rights activists) to spy on people simply exercising their First Amendment rights outside the court building, that the USDA sends out agents posing as Food Stamp recipients to try and entrap shop-owners to commit Food Stamp fraud, and that even NASA and the Smithsonian Institution have undercover operatives. Undercover cops and agents are assuming the identities of teachers, doctors, journalists and even priests.

This information has to be put together with the rampant militarization of local police forces, who have become an occupying army, and with the proliferation of spying activities by state and local police agencies, encouraged by the establishment by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security of myriad “Joint Anti-Terrorism Strike Forces, and of 76 so-called Fusion Centers. These latter are totally unregulated operations that meld the spying activities of state and local cops and the myriad three-lettered intelligence units of the federal government, as well as private corporate security units, with no specific agency assuming oversight responsibility.

I used to scoff at the wild-eyed claims made by people on the right and left who said that we were living in a police state. Having lived for a year and a half in China, where a police state has been operating now for 65 years, and having visited police states in Eastern Europe during the days of the Soviet Union, I have seen and experienced what life is like when the police, secret and overt, run rampant, and I knew the US was not like those places.

I’ve changed my mind, though. The only difference I see now, knowing what we know about the breadth and depth of police activity in the US, between what’s happening here and what happens in places where police states have long existed, is that in long-standing police states, everyone knows they are being watched and are subject to arbitrary arrest. while here in the US, many Americans remain blissfully ignorant of what has happened to their vaunted freedoms.

 Inside the Houston Fusion Center (l), and militarized cops confronting First Amendment protestersImages of Police State USA: Inside the Houston Fusion Center (l), and militarized cops confronting First Amendment protesters
 

When expediency calls for principles

Obama on Net Neutrality: Principle or Politics?

 

The week before last, our President made a pronouncement on Net Neutrality that pleasantly surprised activists and won him favorable coverage in the newspapers: both rare outcomes these days.

In both timing and content, the short speech (aptly broadcast over the Internet) was stunning. The President hit all the major points of contention and controversy in what has become a searing debate over the Internet's future and his talking points mirrored all the arguments progressive Internet activists have been making. It was among Obama's most forward-looking speeches.

Obama Speaks on the Internet over the InternetObama Speaks on the Internet over the Internet
 

Not only did he land on the right side of issues like assuring full and equal access and speed for all users and content providers but he came out in favor of the demand that has now emerged as the focal point for the Net Neutrality campaign: applying Title II to all Internet providers. In layperson's language, that means treating all Internet companies like FCC-governed utilities. That's what they did with phone companies and that's why phone service is, today, "service neutral" and the change would lay the groundwork for Net Neutrality's protection.

While calling it a victory for the Net Neutrality movement, however, activists salted their celebrations with a bit of skepticism. This is the man, after all, who has turned the Internet into the largest surveillance network in history while forging one of the most aggressive interventionist and homicidal foreign policies in the country's history. The speech was great but will it make a difference? And does the President really care? The President is, above all, a master politician and so the question arises: was this speech less policy than politics?

The Last Two Rounds

Is Lame Duck Obama Ready to Fight?

 
 
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
          -President Theodore Roosevelt, speech, Paris, France, 1910, a year after leaving the White House
 
 
Many on the left gave up on Barack Obama years ago; or else they were convinced from the beginning he was just another stooge for the nation’s corporate and military elite. His blackness was just an electoral novelty, not unlike the novelty of a Bush father and two-son dynasty or a Clinton marriage dynasty. The right, of course, has been effectively disabling Obama since the beginning, an effort that has now achieved some level of gloating satisfaction with the mid-term rout of Democrats.

Fox News and the leaders of the Republican Party assumed the rout was a silver stake through the president’s heart, leaving him no choice but to kowtow to their triumphant leadership.

 Is he finally ready to fight for the left?President Barack Obama: Is he finally ready to fight for the left?

But not so fast. Is it possible Barack Obama is so pissed off by this smug notion of having been driven to the mat that he’s now ready in the last two rounds to get up and fight?

There are indications: Immediately after the midterm election, he announced a secret deal with the powerful President Xi of China on carbon emissions. It relies on the good faith of both nations to adhere to the promises agreed to, but it establishes a cooperative process between two potentially hostile powers instead of letting the matter fester while rattling sabers. It’s long view thinking reliant on science instead of the usual quarterly-focused crisis-managing. It’s a crack of light suggesting there might be a future without doom and gloom and war without end. The deal seems to recognize US decline as a reality to be adjusted to. Obama followed it up with an announcement of a $3 billion injection of funds to the developing world to encourage them to join the US/China effort.

Next, President Obama made it clear he’s going to use his power of prosecutorial discretion to extend a friendly hand to some five million illegal immigrants mostly from Latin America. Times center-right columnist Ross Douthat suggests this is “creeping caudillismo” on a scale unprecedented in American political history.

Special Armistice Day Edition:

Interview of IVAW Veteran and Singer/Songwriter Emily Yates About Her Independence Park Assault Conviction

 

Emily Yates, a US Army veteran of two tours in Iraq and an activist with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), was at a demonstration last year on Philadelphia's Independence Mall protesting against a looming US plan to begin a massive bombing assault on Syria. While standing in the shade of a couple of trees (it was a sweltering summer day), she was confronted by some burly National Park Police officers, who told her to leave.

She wanted to know why, since she was standing in a public park, directly across the street from Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and Bill of Rights were all composed and signed. But instead of informing her of a reason why she couldn't be there at one of the nation's top tourist venues, four of them attacked her from behind, pressed her down painfully over the back of a park bench, cuffed her and hauled her off to a federal lock-up, where she was held for 72 hours in solitary and then charged, rather ludicrously, with assault of the four officers.

Yates, a resident of Oakland, CA who makes her living as a folksinger, was recently tried before a federal magistrate in Philadelphia (she was charged with misdemeanor assault, not felony assault, which meant she was not allowed to demand a jury trial). This federal judge, a former federal drug prosecutor, did not not allow her to bring in the shrink from a VA hospital in California who had diagnosed her with PTSD, in part the result of an attempted rape by two fellow US servicemen in Iraq -- testimony which would have explained her panicked reaction to being grabbed by the National Park cops.

In the end, Yates was sentenced to three years -- sentence suspended -- for her "crime."

Interviewed by Dave Lindorff and John Grant on the Progressive Radio Network program "This Can't Be Happening!" this past Wednesday, Yates makes the point that her arrest, her abuse at the hands of National Park Police, and her outrageous sentence, are all evidence of how the US has become a police state -- a particular irony to her since she and other veterans are always being saluted for having gone abroad to "defend our freedoms."

To hear her whole story, and some of her songs, including "Talking National Park Service (Beat My Ass Black & Blues)," just click on the image below.

Screen grab of Emily 'assaulting' several National Park Police (click on the image to view the whole incident)Screen grab of Emily 'assaulting' several National Park Police (click on the image to view the whole incident)

Pot Pretenses

Nixon's Lies Require Ending His War on Weed

 

Repeated lies and law-breaking forced the 1974 resignation of then U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, leading to Nixon’s subsequent, and continued inclusion on the list of the "Worst Presidents" in American history.

Despite Richard Nixon, a Republican, being widely denounced, legions of legislators nation-wide still maintain lockstep support for the debacle he unleashed in June 1971 known as the "War on Drugs," a war that since 9-11 has increasingly come to resemble a real war, with military-clad SWAT teams raiding homes with assault rifles and grenades, arriving in military surplus armored vehicles, and ignoring such niceties as serving of warrants or reading of Miranda rights.

Legislators – Republican and Democrat – continue backing Nixon’s anti-drug onslaught, and especially its attacks against cannabis users, despite Nixon’s own lies and criminal behavior.

Nixon’s ‘War on Weed’ is a case study of malicious subversion of the democratic process, and comprises a compendium of legal and ethical violations that should spark outrage among even the most ardent Drug Warriors on Capitol Hill and beyond who persistently posture themselves as forceful proponents of the rule-of-law., and often of libertarian concern for personal freedom and privacy.

The recent overwhelming voter approval of a referendum in Washington, DC legalizing marijuana for adult use presents a critical test for the now Republican-controlled Congress.

Will Congress continue to support the flawed ‘War on Weed’ initiated by the reviled Nixon or will it support the majority of DC residents who approved the legalization measure?

Nixon and the cynical and wrong-headed Drug War he launchedNixon and the cynical and wrong-headed Drug War he launched
 

Thank you for your service or your business?

Veterans Day at a Funeral Home in Ambler, Pennsylvania

The irony of all these flags and a banner saying "Thank you for your service" has apparently been buried (photo by DavThe irony of all these flags and a banner saying 'Thank you for your service' has apparently been buried (photo by Dave Lindorff)

New poem:

Black River


 
 

Ebola, “Black River”,
Thank-you for giving your name
To a killer virus.
Those scientists, those doctors,
The ones who discovered the germ,
They looked at a map
And they saw the river Ebola.
That’s a good name!
They almost named it Yambuku
After the town
Where the virus was actually discovered.
It was three o’clock in the morning.
That’s how these things go.
Now in the midst of all the fear,
The suffering,
Paranoia and heroism,
And the usual belated scrambling
To do the right thing,
I am thinking,
What a beautiful name
For that little river in the Congo:
Ebola, Black River.
 

--Gary Lindorff

The ThisCantBeHappening! news collective loses a founding member

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young (1951-2014)

 

The ThisCantBeHappening! collective has lost a friend and a perceptive and peerlessly witty analyst of the American political and cultural scene, while Rock& Roll has lost its leading critic. Charles M. Young (Chuck to his friends), has died, following a year and a half of battling an aggressive brain tumor.

When Dave Lindorff decided back in the Spring of 2010, to convert his thiscantbehappening.net blog into a collectively-owned and collectively-run news site, he immediately contacted three friends and journalistic colleagues--John Grant, Linn Washington, Jr. and Chuck Young. All three immediately jumped for the idea. But Chuck's response was classic Young. His lip curling up in a sign that cued a listener that he was about to crack a joke, he said, "Wait, let me get this straight: a newspaper that has no editor? It sounds like a dream come true! Sign me up!"

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!

 

The latest 'ThisCantBeHappening!' Show on PRN.fm

An Interview with Charles M. Young

 

Journalist Charles M. Young talks with Dave Lindorff, host of PRN.fm's new program 'This Can't Be Happening!" about the Occupy Wall Street Movement, New York's last mayor, Michael Bloomberg, the NYPD vs. the LAPD, music & politics, getting groined by Hunter Thompson and interviewing Noam Chomsky.

You can hear the podcast of Wednesday evening's show by clicking on the image below:

Hear Dave Lindorff on 'This Can't Be Happening!' every Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on PRN.fm or on the web at www.PRN.fmHear Dave Lindorff on 'This Can't Be Happening!' every Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on PRN.fm or on the web at www.PRN.fm

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This is the video tape of Davis in Lahore police custody


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Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

Live Stream of the Occupation of Wall Street! The Revolution will be filmed after all! (Courtesy of Globalrevolution)
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Fightin' Cock FlyerFightin' Cock Flyer

Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

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by Dr. Radut