A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19–4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti–regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position. Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talkshows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.
Of the 76 total articles, opinion videos or TV commentator segments that centered on or gave more than passing attention to Venezuela, 54 (72 percent) expressed explicit support for the Maduro administration’s ouster. Eleven (14 percent) were ambiguous, but were only classified as such for lack of explicit language. Reading between the lines, most of these were clearly also pro–regime change. Another 11 (14 percent) took no position, but many similarly offered ideological ammo for those in support.
The Times published 22 pro–regime change commentaries, three ambiguous and five without a position. The Post also spared no space for the pro-Chavista camp: 22 of its articles expressed support for the end to Maduro’s administration, eight were ambiguous and four took no position. Of the 12 TV opinions surveyed, 10 were pro-regime change and two took no position.
(The Times and Post pieces were found through a Nexis search for “Venezuela” between 1/15/19–4/15/19 using each paper as a source, narrowed to opinion articles and editorials. The search was supplemented with an examination of each outlet’s opinion/blog pages. The TV commentary segments were found through Nexis searches for “Venezuela” and the name of the talkshow during the same time period, in the folders of the corresponding television network: NBC News/CBS Newstranscripts, ABC News transcripts, and PBS NewsHour. Non-opinion TV news segments were omitted. The full list of items included can be found here.)
Corporate news coverage of Venezuela can only be described as a full-scale marketing campaign for regime change. If you’ve been reading FAIR recently (1/25/19, 2/9/19, 3/16/19)—or, indeed, since the early 2000s (4/18/02; Extra!, 11–12/05)—the anti-Maduro unanimity espoused in the most influential US media should come as no surprise.
This comes despite the existence of millions of Venezuelans who support Maduro—who was democratically elected twice by the same electoral system that won Juan Guaidó his seat in the National Assembly—and oppose US/foreign intervention.
Smart cities/dumb people?
November 5, 2018
Photo by Alan Levine CC, cropped from original
There’s a lot of hype about 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology that is being rolled out in various “5G test beds” in major cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, and Los Angeles. But it’s hard to see why we should be excited. Proponents talk about the facilitation of driverless vehicles and car-to-car “talk,” better Virtual Reality equipment, and, of course, “The Internet of Things” (IoT) – the holy grail of Big Tech that is just vague enough to sound sort of promising.
But when it comes to specifics, there seems to be a lot of hot air in the IoT bag.
For example, in March 2018, Canada’s Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, while pumping $400 million into 5G test beds, reportedly “gushed” about IoT applications, including “refrigerators that monitor food levels and automatically order fresh groceries.”
Then there is the 5G proponent who enthused to CBC News (March 19, 2018) about “augmented reality headsets” being replaced by “a pair of normal looking glasses,” which everyone would be wearing in 10 years. Those glasses would “automatically recognize everyone you meet, and possibly be able to overlay their name in your field of vision, along with a link to their online profile.”
Apparently, the future human will be too brain-addled to make a grocery list or remember the names of acquaintances… which may not be the image that 5G proponents are hoping for.
“There are thousands of published studies that show that even low levels of microwave radiation do cause a biological effect.”
Amidst all the 5G hype, it’s rare to find a blunt statement like this one from Eluxe Magazine’s Jody McCutcheon: “Until now mobile broadband networks have been designed to meet the needs of people. But 5G has been created with machines’ needs in mind, offering low-latency, high-efficiency data transfer…. We humans won’t notice the difference [in data transfer speeds], but it will permit machines to achieve near-seamless communication. Which in itself may open a whole Pandora’s box of trouble for us – and our planet.”
Box of trouble
Many scientists would say that box of trouble has already been opened by earlier wireless technologies,
As Israeli soldiers gun down unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the Great March of Return, their lethal operations depend on an array of contractors and suppliers, many of them companies based outside Israel.
“The Israeli military relies on a network of international companies, supplying everything from sniper rifles to tear gas, to carry out its massacres of protesters in Gaza,” Tom Anderson, a researcher for Corporate Occupation, told MintPress News. “These companies are knowingly supporting war crimes, and are complicit in state-orchestrated murder.”
Since the mobilization began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 205 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory reported on October 4.
There have been 21,288 injured, including 5,345 from live ammunition, resulting in 11,180 hospitalizations. Thirty-eight of the dead and 4,250 of the wounded were children.
A press release accompanying a September 25 report by the World Bank warned, “The economy in Gaza is collapsing,” adding that “the decade-long blockade is the core issue.”
Corporate Occupation and the American Friends Service Committee, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, and Who Profitsmaintain comprehensive lists of corporations enabling Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
Here are a few of them:
Caterpillar is known internationally for Israel’s use of its bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel itself, as well as for its role in the killing of Rachel Corrie, an International Solidarity Movement activist from the United States, who was crushed to death by one of the company’s Israel-operated machines in the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003. In Gaza, Caterpillar is notorious for Israel’s deployment of its equipment to reinforce a military barrier around the Strip, as well as to level Palestinian farmland inside it. These levelingoperations both destroy Palestinian agriculture, keeping Gaza a captive market for Israeli producers, and maintain a clear line of fire for Israeli soldiers to shoot Palestinians.
Combined Systems, Inc.
Combined Systems — a Jamestown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer owned by Point Lookout Capital and the Carlyle Group — supplies light weaponry and security equipment,
Three years ago, as Americans debated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran—popularly known as “the Iran deal”—I highlighted a troubling media trend on FAIR.org (8/20/15): “For nearly all commentators, regardless of their position, war is the only alternative to that position.”
In the months since US President Donald Trump tore up the JCPOA agreement, his administration has been trying to make good on corporate media’s collective prediction. Last week, John Bolton (BBC,9/26/18), Trump’s national security advisor and chief warmonger, told Iran’s leaders and the world that there would be “hell to pay” if they dare to “cross us.”
That Bolton’s bellicose statements do not send shockwaves of pure horror across a debt-strapped and war-weary United States is thanks in large part to incessant priming for war, facilitated by corporate media across the entire political spectrum, with a particular focus on Iran.
Back in 2015, while current “resistance” stalwarts like the Washington Post (4/2/15) and Politico (8/11/15) warned us that war with Iran was the most likely alternative to the JCPOA, conservative standard-bearers such as Fox News (7/14/15) and the Washington Times (8/10/15) foretold that war with Iran was the agreement’s most likely outcome. Three years hence, this dynamic has not changed.
To experience the full menu of US media’s single-mindedness about Iran, one need only buy a subscription to the New York Times. After Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, the Times’ editorial board (5/8/18) wrote that his move would “lay conditions for a possible wider war in the Middle East.” Susan Rice (New York Times, 5/8/18), President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, agreed: “We could face the choice of going to war or acquiescing to a nuclear-armed Iran,” she warned. Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte (New York Times, 5/10/18) was characteristically more direct, penning an image of Trump alongside Bolton, holding a fictitious new agreement featuring the singular, ultimate word: “WAR.”
On the other hand, calling Trump’s turn against JCPOA a “courageous decision,” Times columnist Bret Stephens (5/8/18) explained that the move was meant to force the Iranian government to make a choice: Either accede to US demands or “pursue their nuclear ambitions at the cost of economic ruin and possible war.” (Hardly courageous,
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Whole Foods bills itself as “America’s healthiest grocery store,” but what it’s doing to the environment is anything but healthy. According to a new report, the chain is helping to drive one of the nation’s worst human-made environmental disasters: the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
By not requiring environmental safeguards from its meat suppliers, the world’s largest natural and organic foods supermarket — and most of its big-brand counterparts in the retail food industry, like McDonald’s, Subway and Target — are sourcing and selling meat from some of the worst polluters in agribusiness, including Tyson Foods and Cargill. The animal waste and fertilizer runoff from their industrial farms end up in the Gulf of Mexico, where each summer, a growing marine wasteland spreads for thousands of miles, leaving countless dead wildlife in its oxygen-depleted wake.
“The major meat producers like Tyson and Cargill that have consolidated control over the market have the leverage to dramatically improve the supply chain,” according to the report, which was released by Mighty Earth, an environmental action group based in Washington, DC. “Yet to date they have done little,” the report’s authors note, “ignoring public concerns and allowing the environmentally damaging practices for feeding and raising meat to expand largely unchecked.”
How animal feed moves through the meat supply chain.Mighty Earth
On August 2, the day the report was released, those public concerns found a voice as citizens, environmentalists and sustainability advocates gathered outside Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, Texas, to deliver 95,000 petition signatures demanding that the company hold its meat suppliers accountable for their role in destroying the environment.
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Read Part I here.
A little context is mandatory to perfectly define the message that Rudolf was carrying. The outstanding works of researchers such as Anthony Sutton and Charles Higham are critical in our understanding of the real historical context surrounding the creation of the Nazi war machine. When in 1933 Hitler accessed to the Chancellery in the Reichstag, Germany was in financial limbo. Worst, the nation was in the gutters of limbs. It owed tens of billions in reparations for WW1, and its inability to comply had provoked a gargantuan-scale inflation crisis on the mark in 1923 that cut the currency to 1/500 billionth of its original value. To make matters worse, the country suffered along everyone the world Crash of 1929. So how in the world was Germany able to eradicate unemployment and create the most formidable military machine the world had ever seen in just 6 years? Over achievement is under rated when it comes to explain the German Miracle of the ’30s.
The first tool that is required in our investigator’s toolbox is to admit the very documented fact that the Bank of England, controlled by the Rothschild family, had been involved in the financing of the Nazis. It had become a common procedure for the rich European banking family to fund enemies as well as allies, in order to make profits from both sides of wars since Napoleon. The self-proclaimed French Emperor of the early 19th century had been hired as a proxy by Rothschild who wanted to impose his private central banks in the conquered countries. So, the heirs of the Rothschild family saw in Hitler their next Napoleon, who would submit rival colonial empires like Belgium, the Netherlands and France, as well as destroying the mighty USSR, in order to singlehandedly take the reins of the New World Order, which is simply the economical and political ruling of the whole planet by a handful of bankers. Even though the New World Order sounds like a supercharged conspiracy theory, it’s an indisputable and quite simple concept.
Even if the infamous banking family helped the Führer,
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The great 2017 GOP tax cut swindle reduced the nominal corporate rate from 35 – 21% – the lowest US percentage since 1940 at the onset of WW II.
Corporations in America don’t pay the nominal rate. Most pay little more than one-third that amount or less. Some corporate giants pay little or get rebates despite earning profits.
The corporate share of federal taxes has been falling for decades. They’ve paid no taxes on trillions of dollars stashed in offshore subsidiaries and tax havens, the precise number unknown because it’s not reported.
Wealthy individuals do the same thing to avoid taxes. Various other schemes are used by corporate predators and high-net worth individuals to pay minimum or no taxes.
The great GOP tax cut swindle made it easier for them to shift much of the tax burden from them to ordinary Americans struggling to get by.
Corporate tax cuts don’t create jobs or stimulate economic growth, as falsely touted. Corporate predators largely use their windfall for greater executive pay and bonuses, increased stock buybacks, along with extra funds for mergers and acquisitions, not pay raises or increased benefits for workers.
Tax cuts putting more money in the pockets of ordinary people are stimulative. When they have more money they spend it. Super-rich ones use tax windfalls for investments to gain greater wealth.
The Trump regime and GOP-controlled Congress took a giant step last year toward more greatly shifting the nation’s tax burden to ordinary Americans – accelerating the unprecedented transfer of wealth from them to corporate predators and high-net worth individuals.
Americans for Tax Fairness explained the following:
- Corporate tax revenues plummeted to the lowest amount in modern times.
- GDP growth since last year’s GOP tax cut heist “has been unremarkable…as measured by real GDP,” not inflated or manipulated numbers.
- Inflation-adjusted wage growth “stagnated” post-cuts.
- Low unemployment is pure fantasy, underemployment affecting most US workers unreported officially and by media – my comments, not ATF’s.
- “No evidence of an investment boom since the tax cuts” exists.
- “Few employers have announced raises or one-time bonuses or new investments.”
- “Corporate tax cuts are going mostly to wealthy shareholders and CEOs through stock buybacks.”
The drive to censor the Internet took another step this week with a public statement by Keith Weed, the chief marketing officer for the London-based multinational Unilever, threatening to withdraw advertising from social media platforms if they fail to suppress “toxic content.”
Weed reportedly told an annual leadership meeting of the Interactive Advertising Bureau in Palm Desert, California that the company “will not invest in platforms or environments” that “create divisions in society, and promote anger or hate.” He added,
“We will prioritize investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society.”
Excerpts of Weed’s remarks—the most explicit of their kind from a major corporate executive—were leaked to several media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian. They were immediately featured on NBC News and other major American news outlets on Sunday. The Journal’s report was accompanied by an interview with Weed.
The coordinated release was designed to escalate the propaganda offensive by the Democratic Party and US intelligence agencies, together with the corporate media, for Internet censorship. The fraudulent premise for this assault on freedom of speech, both in the US and across Europe, is the claim that political opposition and social tensions are the product not of poverty, inequality and policies of austerity and militarism, but of “fake news” spread by Russia through social media.
Weed’s statements preceded yesterday’s US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, which witnessed a series of hysterical denunciations of Russia by politicians and intelligence agents. The Democratic vice-chairman of the committee, Mark Warner of Virginia, declared that Russia “utilized our social media platforms to push and spread misinformation at an unprecedented scale.”
Facebook responded to Weed’s threats by declaring,
“[W]e fully support Unilever’s commitments and are working closely with them.”
The Journal stated that Unilever “has already held discussions” with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snap and Amazon “to share ideas about what each can do to improve.”
Weed absurdly framed his demand for censorship, made on behalf of a multibillion-dollar global corporation, as the expression of popular anger over the supposed spread of “fake news.” He referred to research showing a decline in trust in social media and a “perceived lack of focus” in the form of “illegal,
A comprehensive guide to corporate online surveillance in everyday life
Cracked Labs’ massive report on online surveillance by corporations dissects all the different ways in which our digital lives are tracked, from the ad-beacons that follow us around the web to the apps that track our physical locations as we move around the world.
Importantly, the report shows how tracking companies join up the dots we leave behind, creating stable identifiers that can connect the data-trails from purchases, apps, devices, and clicks, creating a fantastically detailed picture of our lives built up our of these fragmentary details.
This is important because each little fragmentary disclosure can feel harmless at the time, but once they’re merged into a unitary whole, the picture they from is disturbingly detailed.
I think that these disclosures are a bit like puffs on a cigarette. Any one puff on a smoke is probably not going to harm you, but statistically, if you take enough puffs, one of them will lead to a tumor, but it will be years down the road. You have to quit smoking before it manifests its worst harms to avoid those harms.
Likewise, any one tracked click, invasive app or loyalty card will not harm you, but leak enough personal info and eventually it will end up in a silo that gets spilled all over the web, or used by a merchant to profile you and gouge you, or by a political spin-doctor to try to manipulate your votes. These harms will only rise to the level of noticeability once it’s too late for you.
Smokers often quit when people who’ve been at it longer than them — their parents, say — contract horrible, smoking-related illnesses. By highlighting the plights of people caught in today’s breaches, we may be able to get people to take action on their own behalf before it’s too late.
In the meantime, there’s only four months before the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect, which will make almost all the practices described in this report illegal, on penalty of hundreds of millions in fines. No one has really done anything to prepare for this imminent day — they seem to be playing chicken with the EU,
Featured image: Las Bambas is potentially the second largest mine in the world in terms of copper production. Despite the opposition of communities, the project continues under construction by the MMG company supported by the Peruvian state. (Source: Environmental Justice Atlas)
Mining conflicts are not uncommon in Latin America, but the Andes now resembles a war zone. In Peru – the world’s number-two producer of copper, zinc and silver – many peasant groups are revolting. Mining accounts for 12 percent of Peru’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 57 percent of its exports. As it’s mining export grows, so does it’s number of mining conflicts.
Clashes between demonstrators and the authorities between 2015 and 2016 left four dead following the opening of the Las Bambas mine – owned by Chinese companies – displaced thousands of people.
But Peru is just one hotspot. A recent study ‘did the math’ on the link between growth in mining exports and growth in environmental conflicts across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
The correlation is almost perfect, thereby debunking the carefully crafted myths around new and better corporate social responsibility and sustainable mining. The study was based on Environmental Justice Atlas data from 244 environmental conflicts.
The El Cerrejon mine in Colombia is also one of them. The Colombian Government left the structure completely in the hands of foreign capital – not only with regards to its administrative, structural and financial aspects, but also including rights on all the territory that such exploitation embraced.
Entire populations of indigenous peoples and farmers were forcibly displaced. Polluting the only available water sources was just part of a strategy to make the remaining communities move away when investors wanted to expand the mine. With billions of dollars at stake, anything goes.
What happens in the Andes is related to what happens elsewhere. The last half century has been marked strongly by what economists call ‘the theory of comparative advantage’. This proposes that local communities specialise is a limited number of commodities which they can then trade globally.
But when this model is taken to extremes, the so-called externalities – costs to society not recorded on the company balance sheet – bite back.