‘The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), sometimes known as the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), is currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the European Union and the US. If it is successfully completed, it will be the biggest trade agreement in history. But TTIP is not just something of interest to export businesses: it will affect most areas of everyday life, including the online world.
Opponents fear it could undermine many of Europe’s hard-won laws protecting online privacy, health, safety and the environment, even democracy itself. For example, it could effectively place US investors in the EU above the law by allowing companies to claim compensation from an EU country when it brings in a regulation that allegedly harms their investments—and for EU companies to attack US laws in the same way.
Those far-reaching effects flow from the fact that TTIP is not a traditional trade agreement, which generally seeks to lower tariffs between nations so as to increase trade between them. The tariffs between the US and EU are already very low—under 3%—so there is little scope to boost transatlantic trade significantly by removing the remaining tariffs completely.
Instead, TTIP aims to go beyond tariffs, and to remove what it calls “non-tariff barriers.” These refer to the different ways of doing things which make it hard for a company to sell exactly the same product on both sides of the Atlantic. Typically, different national regulations require different kinds of tests and product information, which leads to a duplication of effort that adds costs and delays to making products available in the other market.
TTIP’s stated aim to smooth away those NTBs is good news for the companies, but not so much for pesky humans. What are classed as “barriers” include things like regulations that protect the environment or the online privacy of Europeans. The threat to diminish or remove them in the name of transatlantic “harmonisation” has turned the traditionally rather dull area of trade agreements into the most important focus for civil action in years, galvanising a broad spectrum of groups on both sides of the Atlantic that see TTIP not as a potential boon, but a bane.’
‘Cuba is a notoriously difficult place to get accreditation – let alone talk to journalists. Most of the media on the island are state run. It has been that way ever since the revolution in 1959, when Fidel Castro overthrew the US-backed Batista government with a socialist one that is still in place. Many dismiss the media in Cuba as mere relics of its Cold War past – Soviet-style propaganda machines designed to control the masses. But now there is a diplomatic transition underway – a rapprochement with the US aimed at ending decades of animosity between the two countries. As the relationship with Washington changes, Cuban media outlets like Granma, Huventud Rebelde, Radio Havana – will undoubtedly change too. There has already been some reform – an opening up – of Cuban media: accreditation and access are easier to get, officials are more open to talking, although there are still plenty of red lines journalists there know better than to cross. The Listening Post’s Marcela Pizarro reports from Havana on the media landscape, the changes taking place and what is all means for journalism in Cuba.’ (Al Jazeera)
- Tens of thousands march worldwide against Monsanto and GM crops
- Are GMOs Safe? Debate between Dr. Thierry Vrain and Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam
- GMO battle: March Against Myths protests March Against Monsanto
- Monsanto Is Funding a Free ‘Reporting Boot Camp’ for Food Writers
- Monsanto And Syngenta About To Receive Dozens Of Patents On Unpatentable Plants
- Monsanto’s move on Syngenta could mean move away from glyphosate
- Obsolete science behind ‘safe’ GMO claims? Interview with Jeffrey Smith
- March against Monsanto takes aim at global agri-giant: Interview with Adam Eidinger
- Monsanto Bets $45 Billion on a Pesticide-Soaked Future
- Does Science Belong On My Dinner Plate?
- Bee Die-Offs Are Worst Where Pesticide Use Is Heaviest
- What Could You Do To Prevent Pesticide Poisoning?
- Chipotle goes GMO-free in first for fast-food sector
- Glyphosate is a ‘probably carcinogenic’ pesticide. Why do cities still use it?
- Insecticide contamination of global surface waters substantially higher than expected
- Pesticide residues on some fruit and vegetables harming men’s fertility, study claims
- How Big Ag Buys Off Scientists: Interview with Patty Lovera
- New Research Links Neonicotinoid Pesticides to Monarch Butterfly Declines
- Unpatentable Vegetables Are Now Patentable In Europe
- Round-Up Ready GMO Crops Are Potentially Carcinogenic: Interview with Dr. David Schubert
- Monsanto Lobbyist Says “Pesticide Safe For Humans To Drink, But I’m Not An Idiot To Try It Myself”
- GMO Seed Theft Equals National Security Threat, Argues Government
- 10 studies proving GMOs are harmful? Not if science matters
- With 2000+ global studies affirming safety, GM foods among most analyzed subjects in science
‘At least one small slice of the American public looks forward to the non-stop, sleazy political advertisements set to inundate viewers during the 2016 elections: media executives and their investors.
Peter Liguori, the chief executive of Tribune Company, said earlier this month that the next presidential campaign presents “enormous opportunity” for advertising sales. Speaking at a conference hosted by J.P. Morgan Chase, Liguori, whose company owns television stations and a number of newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, referenced Super PAC spending as a key factor for why he thinks Tribune Co. political advertising revenue will rocket from $115 million in 2012 to about $200 million for the 2016 campaign cycle.
Vince Sadusky, the chief executive of Media General, the parent company of 71 television stations across the country, told investors in February that his company is positioned to benefit from unlimited campaign spending, referencing decisions by the Supreme Court. “We are really looking forward to the 2016 elections with spending on the presidential race alone estimated to surpass $5 billion,” Sadusky said, according to a transcript of his remarks.’
- CBS Profit to Climb $180 Million on Political Ads, CEO Says
- Lin TV Wins Big as Swing-State Cash Spreads to Local Outlets
- $1 Billlion In Online Political Spending In 2016, Borrell Study Says
- Campaign Ad Cash Lures Buyers to Swing-State TV Stations
- Meet the Media Companies Lobbying Against Transparency
Editor’s Note: Matt Taibbi was recently interviewed about the role of the media in the lead up to the Iraq War on Democracy Now!
‘[…] The media quickly piled on. “Jeb Bush’s Iraq Stumble” was the title of the Wall Street Journal’s “Journal Editorial Report” on Fox. “On Iraq Question, Jeb Bush Stumbles and GOP Hopefuls Pounce,” countered the Washington Post.
“Jeb Bush’s Revisionist History of the Iraq War,” wrote New York Times Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal. “Yeah, Jeb Bush’s argument that the Iraq War was right even in retrospect is insane,” tweeted current New York and erstwhile New Republic writer Jonathan Chait early in the story cycle, when Jeb was still defending the war.
A few writers, like Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune, criticized Jeb for not disavowing the “reckless adventurism” of the Bush II era that led to the war in the first place. In other words, Chapman blasted Jeb for being wrong then and now.
But the substance of most of the media mockery in the last week was to whale on Jeb for not admitting quickly enough that the war, in hindsight, given “what we know now,” was a huge mistake.
We can call this the “None of us pundits would have been wrong about Iraq if it wasn’t for Judith Miller” line of questioning. This rhetoric goes something like this: since we invaded, the war has gone epically FUBAR, so it’s obvious now that it was a mistake, and so we can mock you for not admitting as much.’
‘An investigation led by research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and journalist Stéphane Horel exposes corporate lobby groups mobilising to stop the EU taking action on hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The report sheds light on how corporations and their lobby groups have used numerous tactics from the corporate lobbying playbook: scaremongering, evidence-discrediting, and delaying tactics, as well as using the ongoing TTIP negotiations as a leverage. But industry’s interests were also defended by actors within the Commission.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that are present in everyday products – from plastics and cosmetics to pesticides. Because of their ability to interact with the hormonal (endocrine) systems of living organisms, they are suspected of having severe health and environmental impacts.
EU law demands action be taken on endocrine disruptors, with clear deadlines set. According to these rules, if a chemical is identified as an endocrine disruptor, a ban follows. The current approach is that chemicals are assessed following risk assessment procedures and safe levels of exposure are set accordingly. However, for endocrine disruptors it might be impossible to set such ‘safe’ levels.
The Directorate-General (DG) for the Environment of the European Commission was put in charge of establishing a set of scientific criteria for ‘what is an endocrine disruptor’. The chemical industry lobby was up in arms at the potential banning of some EDCs. The main lobby groups involved were the chemical and pesticide lobbies (CEFIC – European Chemical Industry Council & ECPA – European Crop Protection Association), and the corporations at the forefront were BASF and Bayer. But they found allies in various member states, actors within the European Commission, and in the European Parliament.’
- Industry delayed EU regulation of toxic chemicals
- Health costs of hormone disrupting chemicals over €150bn a year in Europe, says study
- Not so pretty: women apply an average of 168 chemicals every day
- How Many Chemicals Do You Put on Your Body Every Day?
- ‘Suppressed’ EU report could have banned pesticides worth billions
- Endocrine disruptors linked to early menopause
- Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors During Pregnancy Affects Brain Two Generations Later
- High cost of endocrine disrupting chemicals on male reproductive health
- Toiletry chemicals linked to testicular cancer and male infertility cost EU millions, report says
‘Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.
The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.’
‘Public health experts involved in the response to the Ebola crisis have condemned what they described as a ludicrous, insulting and opportunistic attempt to exploit the disease for corporate gain by the world’s largest privately-held coal company.
As part of a PR offensive to rebrand coal as a “21st-century fuel” that can help solve global poverty, it has emerged that at the height of Ebola’s impact in Africa, Peabody Energy promoted its product as an answer to Africa’s devastating public health crisis.
Greg Boyce, the chief executive of Peabody, a US-based multinational with mining interests around the world, included a slide on Ebola and energy in a presentation to a coal industry conference in September last year. The slide suggested that more energy would have spurred the distribution of a hypothetical Ebola vaccine – citing as supporting evidence a University of Pennsylvania infectious disease expert.
The World Health Organisation believes nearly 27,000 people contracted Ebola in an outbreak of the virus in West Africa last year, and more than 11,000 died – although the international agency believes that is probably an underestimate.’
‘In his opening statement last month before a US Congressional Committee hearing titled “Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information,” the Russian-born British author Peter Pomerantsev served his Republican-led audience a piping hot serving of neocon alarmism. Quoting “the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Philip M. Breedlove,” Pomerantsev described Russia’s 2014 takeover of Crimea as “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare.” To which Pomernatsev added his own chilling warning:
“To put it differently, Russia has launched an information war against the West – and we are losing.”
The hearing was put on by Orange County neoconservative Republican Ed Royce; the purpose of the hearings was to drum up fear about Russia’s “unprecedented” information war on the West — a propaganda battle which obviously exists, but whose dimensions and dangers are being cynically exaggerated — and then convert that fear into budget money for US propaganda and NGOs to subvert Kremlin power.
What made Pomerantsev’s lobbying appearance with the neocons so disturbing to me is that he’s not the sort of crude, arrogant meat-head I normally identify with homo neoconius. Pomerantsev’s book, “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible”, is the most talked-about Russia book in recent memory. His many articles on the Kremlin’s “avant-garde” “information war” and its “political technologists” have been hits in the thinking-man’s press: Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books... His insights into the strategic thinking behind the Kremlin’s “information wars” are often sharp and illuminating; and yet there’s always been something glaringly absent in Pomerantsev’s writings. Not so much what he puts in, but all that he leaves out. Glaring omissions of context, that had me start to question if Pomernatsev wasn’t manipulating the reader by poaching the rhetoric of leftist critical analysis, and putting it to use for very different, neocon purposes . . . as if Pomerantsev has been aping the very sort of “avant-garde” Kremlin political technologies he’s been scaring the Ed Royces of the world with.
And then of course there’s the larger nagging question—what the Hell is a presumed journalist/writer like Pomerantsev, who claims to have been most influenced by literary figures like Christopher Isherwood, doing lobbying the US and UK governments to pass bills upping psychological warfare budgets and imposing sanctions on foreign countries? Where does the independent critical analysis stop, and the manipulative lobbying begin?’
- Adversarial Journalism in Russia and Dissecting the Propaganda Wars: Interview with Mark Ames
- ‘Bloggers’ Compared to ISIS During Congressional Hearing on ‘Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information’
- The Years of Stagnation and the Poodles of Power
- Nothing is True and Everything is Possible (Book)
- Russia: A Postmodern Dictatorship?
- The Menace of Unreality (NED Talk)
- Peter Pomerantsev’s LRB Blog
- Peter Pomerantsev at The Atlantic
- Anne Applebaum – RightWeb
- Anne Applebaum Is A Dingbat
- Freedom House – RightWeb
- Freedom’s Just Another Word For Fascism
- Ben Judah’s “big scoop” on Putin and Ukraine
- Radek Sikorski Throws Eggs At Ben Judah And Blake Hounshell – Hits Faces
‘In the Ugandan slum of Wakaliga, a thriving action film industry called Wakaliwood has emerged. Mixing elements of Western action films and Chinese Kung Fu movies with Ugandan culture, Wakaliwood’s films have garnered a cult following not just in in Uganda, but all over the world. We spend a day on the set of the next Wakaliwood hit.’ (VICE)
Editor’s Note: I would highly recommend reading ‘A Century of Spin: How Public Relations Became the Cutting Edge of Corporate Power’ by David Miller and William Dinan.
‘Wendy Brown a Professor of Political Science at the University of California Berkeley and author of Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution explains the idea of Demos and how it drives our Democracy. How Neoliberalism shrinks our capacity to be human and undermines democracy. Are human beings only economic? The debate inside extreme Neoliberalism. The effort to engineer the Neoliberal human. Why Neoliberal state is not small. How Neoliberalism organically moves into every sphere of life. How value works in modern Capitalism. How Facebook became what it is. How to read Citizens United through the Neoliberal lens. Also the lost loss of Liberal Arts education…’ (Majority Report)
‘The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.
The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online, and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest. Such conflicts have become particularly important, and worth pointing out, now that the debate about NSA surveillance has shifted from simple outrage to politically prominent legislative debates.’
- Revolving Door: Lobbyists for Spies Appointed To Oversee Spying
- How the CIA made Google
- Why Google made the NSA
- The Triumph of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex
- Glenn Greenwald Talking to James Risen About Pay Any Price, the War on Terror and Press Freedoms
- Chief Keith and the Revolving Door
- The NSA Nearly Turned the Revolving Door Into a Sliding Door
- The NSA’s Keith Alexander Goes Through Washington’s Revolving Door
- The True Extent of Silicon Valley Cooperation With the NSA Goes Further Than You Know
- The National Security Industrial Complex and NSA Spying
‘Barack Obama’s ambitions to pass sweeping new free trade agreements with Asia and Europe fell at the first hurdle on Tuesday as Senate Democrats put concerns about US manufacturing jobs ahead of arguments that the deals would boost global economic growth.
A vote to push through the bill failed as 45 senators voted against it, to 52 in favor. Obama needed 60 out of the 100 votes for it to pass.
Failure to secure so-called “fast track” negotiating authority from Congress leaves the president’s top legislative priority in tatters.
It may also prove the high-water mark in decades of steady trade liberalisation that has fuelled globalisation but is blamed for exacerbating economic inequality within many developed economies.’
- US Senate votes against fast-tracking TPP
- You Can’t Read the TPP, But These Huge Corporations Can
- Senate Democrats ready to revolt over TPP ‘fast track’ authority
- The 10 biggest lies you’ve been told about the Trans-Pacific Partnership
- EU’s New ‘Scrutiny Board’ To Implement Key US Demands For TTIP Even Before It’s Completed
- Why Warren Is Right and Obama Is Wrong on Fast Track’s Threat to Wall Street Reform
- Major AIDS research group says the TPP will make it harder to fight AIDS
- Why Doctors Without Borders Is Lobbying Against Obama’s Trade Deal
- The arguments for the TPP are transparently weak
- No TTIP deal with ISDS, warns Eu Parliament
- UN calls for suspension of TTIP talks over fears of human rights abuses
- What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you
‘On Monday former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was sentenced to 42 months in prison for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen about a failed U.S. effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Risen later exposed how the risky operation could have actually aided the Iranian nuclear program. In January Sterling was convicted of nine felony counts, including espionage. He becomes the latest government employee jailed by the Obama administration for leaking information. Since he was indicted four years ago, Jeffrey Sterling’s voice has never been heard by the public. But that changes today. We air an exclusive report that tells his story, “The Invisible Man.” We are also joined by Norman Solomon, who interviewed Sterling for the piece and attended both his trial and sentencing. Solomon is a longtime activist, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, co-founder of RootsAction.org, and coordinator of ExposeFacts.org.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Punishing Another Whistleblower
- CIA Whistleblower Gets 42 Months In Prison For Talking to Press: Interview with Marcy Wheeler
- CIA’s Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to 42 Months for Leaking to New York Times Journalist
- ‘Guilty of Embarrassing Government': CIA Whistleblower Gets 42-Month Sentence
- Leaking CIA secrets leads to severe punishment, unless you are the boss
- Petraeus Plea Deal Reveals Two-Tier Justice System for Leaks
- This is how a police state protects “secrets”
- Jury Convicts Former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling of Leaking to Journalist & Violating Espionage Act
‘Everybody is always remarking about how stuck our society feels these days. The music doesn’t change, the political parties are all exactly the same, and films and TV dramas are almost always set in the past.
We are also stuck with an economic system that is not delivering the paradise that it once promised – but is instead creating chaos and hardship. Yet no-one can imagine a better alternative, so we remain static – paralysed by a terrible political and cultural claustrophobia.
I want to tell the story of another time and another place not so long ago that was also stifled by the absence of novelty and lacking a convincing vision of the future. It was in the Soviet Union in the late 1970s and 1980s. At the time they called it “the years of stagnation”.
There are of course vast differences between our present society and the Soviet Union of thirty years ago – for one thing they had practically no consumer goods whereas we are surrounded by them, and for another western capitalism was waiting in the wings to fill the vacuum. But there are also echoes of our present mood – a grand economic system that had once promised heaven on earth had become absurd and corrupted.
Everyone in Russia in the early 1980s knew that the managers and technocrats in charge of the economy were using that absurdity to loot the system and enrich themselves. The politicians were unable to do anything because they were in the thrall of the economic theory, and thus of the corrupt technocrats. And above all no-one in the political class could imagine any alternative future.
In the face of this most Soviet people turned away from politics and any form of engagement with society and lived day by day in a world that they knew was absurd, trapped by the lack of a vision of any other way.
But in the late 1970s a post-political generation rose up in Russia who retreated from all conventional political ideologies, both communist and western capitalist, and instead turned to radical avant-garde culture – in music and in literature – to try and protest against the absurdity of the system. I want to focus on their story – because it is fascinating and forgotten (and they produced some great music) – but also because of what happened to them when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Despite the differences between east and west, I think that the fate of that post-political generation does offer a glimpse of what happens in a stagnant political culture when a door finally opens on a different kind of future. Especially as some of the choices they made were very unexpected – and the outcomes sometimes very sad.’
‘Despite sanctions, a plummeting economy, and isolation from the world as a result of its actions in Ukraine, a wave of patriotic fervor is spreading across Russia. Thousands of Russians have attended rallies in support of President Vladimir Putin, whose popularity ratings remain sky-high, while voices of the opposition are increasingly stifled. On the streets and in the media, the Kremlin has tightened its grip on power. State-controlled television channels spin facts to bolster the government line, whipping up anti-Western sentiment and paranoia about internal enemies. Independent broadcasters are struggling to make themselves heard as the country grows more dangerous for journalists and popular figures who are critical of the authorities.’ (VICE News)
‘Journalist Mark Ames is the founder of The Exile, Exiled Online, senior editor for Not Safe for Work and regular contributor to Pando Daily
Mark lived in Russia and eventually started working on the satirical and hard hitting paper The Exile from the late 90s until it was effectively shut down by Moscow’s media censorship arm in 2008
Robbie Martin of Media Roots has a discussion with Mark about his experience in Russia, the completely ignored corrupt Boris Yeltsin years after the fall of the USSR and the complexities of the current information war.’
- The unlikely life and sudden death of The Exile, Russia’s angriest newspaper
- The Life And Death Of Matt Taibbi and Mark Ames’ The Exile
- Raucous Russian Paper Closes Amid Kremlin Scrutiny
- From Russia With Lust
- The Gonzo Classic That Wasn’t ?
- The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia (Book)
- The eXile – Wikipedia
‘Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation and getting friendly candidates into office: Big Oil, Big Pharma and the gun lobby among them. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. Private companies house nearly half of the nation’s immigrant detainees, compared to about 25 percent a decade ago, a Huffington Post report found. In total, there are now about 130 private prisons in the country with about 157,000 beds.
Marco Rubio is one of the best examples of the private prison industry’s growing political influence, a connection that deserves far more attention now that he’s officially launched a presidential bid. The U.S. senator has a history of close ties to the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison company, GEO Group, stretching back to his days as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. While Rubio was leading the House, GEO was awarded a state government contract for a $110 million prison soon after Rubio hired an economic consultant who had been a trustee for a GEO real estate trust. Over his career, Rubio has received nearly $40,000 in campaign donations from GEO, making him the Senate’s top career recipient of contributions from the company. (Rubio’s office did not respond to requests for comment.)’
- How Prisons Have Become a Cash Cow For the Rich
- Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota
- The ‘cannibalizing’ of Florida’s prison system
- Modern Day Slave Auction: Prison Auctioneers Sell People Like Products
- 6 Shocking Revelations About How Private Prisons Make Their Money
- This Is How Private Prison Companies Make Millions Even When Crime Rates Fall
- Disclosure Shows Private Prison Company Misled on Immigration Lobbying
- Violence, Abuse, and Death at For-Profit Prisons: A GEO Group Rap Sheet
- Private Prisons Profit From Immigration Crackdown, Federal And Local Law Enforcement Partnerships
- Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies
- Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and “Low-Crime Taxes” Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations
- By the Numbers: The U.S.’s Growing For-Profit Detention Industry
- Marco Rubio, Geo Group, and a Legacy of Corruption
- Marco Rubio’s Prison Problem
- Florida judge rules prison privatization procedure unconstitutional
- Grand jury investigates private Panhandle prison deal
- Florida prison privatization proposals open door for politically connected GEO Group
- As Private Jails Reopen, Critics See Long Arm of the Lobbyists
- Corrections Corporation of America – SourceWatch
- GEO Group – SourceWatch
‘The Conservatives have won the 2015 elections with a slim majority. Labour and the Liberal Democrats suffered unexpected crushing defeats, prompting their leaders, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, to resign. And despite winning a significant percentage of votes, UKIP only managed to win one seat, with its leader Nigel Farage also resigning after losing to a Tory MP.
But the Tory victory reveals precisely why British democracy is broken.
The ultimate determinant of which party won the elections was the money behind their political campaigns — the winning and losing parties correlate directly with the quantity of funding received. Yet there is also compelling evidence of another factor — interference from Britain’s security services.’
- A Century of Spin (2007 Book)
- Just 76 individuals account for 41% of all political related donations in the past five years
- Conservatives raise 10 times more than Labour in late donations
- Political donations: Conservatives received most in final quarter of 2014
- Meet UKIP’s 5 biggest donors
- Vote Ukip where Tories can’t win, oldest Conservative think tank says
- Major Ukip donor urges party’s supporters to vote Conservative in unwinnable seats
- Major UKIP Donor Is Also Bankrolling Michael Gove’s Re-Election Campaign
- Ukip enjoys donation surge after Tory donors defect
- Did MI6 plot against UKIP?
- Tebbit’s MI5/UKIP ‘Infiltration’ Claims
- Allegations MI6 Infiltrated UKIP Analysed
- Foreign Office Insists It Is “Not Aware” Of Any Nicola Sturgeon Memo
- Inquiry announced into memo alleging Sturgeon wants Tory election victory
- UK Intelligence Services Attack SNP
- White supremacists at the heart of Whitehall
- The Pinochet affair: Blackwashing Allende
‘I never thought I’d say a Tory victory feels like Christmas, but it really does. It’s just that we, the electorate, are the turkeys.
No doubt we’ll get what we voted for – five more years of the same, with a little bit more thrown on top. So let’s just remind ourselves what that’s going to look like.
First of all there’s that little matter of £12bn worth of cuts to the welfare system which the Conservatives have kept, wisely, under their hats. This will hit hardest the people who can least afford it – the poor, the disabled, the disadvantaged. The death toll due to welfare cuts will continue to mount. But never mind, hey? At least unemployment will continue to fall as more poor people are forced into unfair and inadequate contracts. In turn the number of food banks will continue to rise – already up from 56 to 445 under the Tories – as they desperately try to keep up with spiralling poverty.’
- Austerity is a con
- The Tory ideological mission
- Thatcher is dead, but her toxic legacies live on
- Why Bank Investors Like This U.K. Election Outcome
- Conservative ‘secret plan’ for £12bn welfare cuts
- Living standards have fallen for all but the wealthiest Britons
- Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history!
- Meet the invisibles – the wealthy and powerful at the heart of the Tory party
- Snoopers’ charter set to return to law, Tory majority could lead to huge increase in surveillance powers
- David Cameron and the European Commission: Doing the business of business
- What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you
- The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don’t want you to know
- Benefit cuts are already being blamed for the deaths of many vulnerable people
‘David Axelrod, the top aide to Barack Obama who travelled across the pond to advise Ed Miliband in the British election, has said he has never seen a media environment as partisan as the one in the UK.
Asked in an interview with Politico Europe whether he knew what he was getting into when he signed up to advise the British Labour leader, Axelrod replied: “We discussed this when I signed on … I’ve worked in aggressive media environments before but not this partisan.”
Axelrod, who shepherded Obama through two presidential campaigns and the constant media churn of cable news and talk radio, said he thought American media were far less driven by party politics than its British equivalent.
British conservative print media was not only more powerful than Fox News is in the US but was also far more partisan than the cable news network, Axelrod said.’
- The Axelrod exit interview
- The British press has lost it
- General election: ‘The British press at its partisan worst’
- The Sun has torn into Ed Miliband even more viciously than it hit Neil Kinnock
- Daily Telegraph backs Tories with email to marketing database
- There are issues that really matter at this election. But Britain’s media are ignoring them
‘[…] While there is no suggestion that UKIP has itself accepted donations from the Heritage Foundation (that would be illegal under UK party funding rules), the implication of this article is that UKIP has brokered a relationship to try to help another extreme far-right political group in the EU. The Heritage Foundation is a well-known right-wing think-tank espousing “free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense”. It has a record of funding European climate-sceptical thinktanks.
Meanwhile the Front National has admitted accepting (link is external)a €9 million loan from the First Czech Russian Bank, which is based in Moscow and is owned by Kremlin ally oligarch Roman Popov. The loan was apparently brokered by Front National MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhauser. Denying any impropriety, Marine Le Pen has said: “What is scandalous is that French banks aren’t lending”.
On this occasion at least, the European banks who refused to lend to the Front National have got it right. For extreme, far-right groups it seems easy to spout the rhetoric of independence and patriotism, and rather less easy to follow it when it comes to accepting funding.’
- Janice Atkinson expelled from Ukip over false expenses claims
- Nigel Farage: UKIP Janice Atkinson allegations ‘couldn’t look worse’
- Ukip leader Nigel Farage boasts of his £2m in expenses
- EP refers alleged French National Front financial irregularities to OLAF
- France’s Front National referred to EU anti-fraud body over staff wages
- Joram van Klaveren: “The PVV is much left ‘
- Concealing their sources – who funds Europe’s climate change deniers?
- We should beware Russia’s links with Europe’s right
- The bogus think tank behind Russia’s ‘infiltration’ of Europe myth
- After election success, far right parties line up for EU money in Parliament
- The Googlization of the Far Right: Why is Google Funding Grover Norquist, Heritage Action and ALEC?
- Heritage Foundation – SourceWatch
‘Nobody likes the thought of ‘red tape’, over-regulation, and excessive ‘administrative burdens’. But what about rules to protect workers, the environment, and food safety? Actually, these are two sides of the same coin and right now a war is being fought in London and Brussels ostensibly against the former but actually against the latter.
Despite the self-promoted image of David Cameron standing up for Britain against the EU’s so-called bloated bureaucracy, there are some remarkable synergies between his record and that of the European Commission, especially in the area of deregulation and cutting ‘red tape’.
In the UK, the deregulation agenda embarked upon by the coalition hasn’t received the attention it deserves. What is often branded “better regulation” has been a remarkable ideological project driven by the belief that very little should stand in the way of business doing business.’
- European Commission wants to vet changes to draft EU law
- Juncker Commission has a plan to streamline the EU regulatory process, but critics say it’s a power grab
- Regulatory cooperation in TTIP: united in deregulation
- TTIP: EU citizens speak out, but will their voices be heard?
- The crusade against ‘red tape': How the European Commission and big business push for deregulation
- UK Government Report: Cut the EU red tape
- Why big time tax dodgers love Jean-Claude Juncker
- The farming lobby has wrecked efforts to defend our soil
- New Economics Foundation response to the Regulatory Reform Committee Inquiry
- Regulation – none of our business?
- The Brussels Business (Documentary)
- Disinfo Wars: Alex Jones’ War on Your Mind
- Alex Jones: Conspiracy Inc.
- Rapper Sole on why the Alex Jones industrial complex must be dismantled
- Films For Action Statement On Why They Don’t Include Alex Jones’ Material On Their Site
- Alex Jones Is Actually Dangerous: Why We Have to Start Taking his Paranoid Worldview Seriously
- The Conspiracy Theory That Alex Jones Is Actually Legendary, Long-Dead Texas Comedian Bill Hicks
- InfoWars Listener Calls In to Majority Report to Defend Alex Jones
- Rolling Stone Meets Alex Jones
- 42 Failed Alex Jones Predictions
- Alex Jones Goes Full Scam Artist
- Alex Jones Y2K Fear Mongering
‘This election is the closest in decades, so winning over an increasingly disillusioned electorate matters. But instead of actually facing the public, the risk-averse party leaders are stuck on a grim carousel of predictable press conferences and stage-managed photocalls.
Politicians are aided in their cause by an army of spin-doctors that minimize unscripted interactions with journalists and the public alike. These media buffers, crowd fluffers, and party cheerleaders help the campaign stay on message, but in doing so they keep politicians evasive, and the public at arm’s length.
VICE News joined the campaign trail to confront the journalists, spin-doctors, and leaders who all have a part to play in the evolution of this Pyongyang press junket that serves to lock out the great, unvetted public.’ (VICE NEWS)
- British national press journalists said to be frozen out of stage-managed general election campaign
- General Election 2015 is the phoney election: ALL parties try to dupe voters
- General Election 2015: This is the most stage-managed campaign I have covered in 30 years
- What’s wrong with our politics? The Westminster lobby…
- A Century of Spin : How Public Relations Became the Cutting Edge of Corporate Power (Book)
‘Judith Miller’s publicity campaign for her new book (The Story: A Reporter’s Journey) which has taken her from the Wall Street Journal to numerous television interviews, has been an instructive and engaging media spectacle.
She has shown characteristic passion and energy in attempting to defend her journalistic reputation after being pummeled during her final years at The New York Times for, among other things, writing persuasively that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
But it is discouraging that the truth can be challenged by a determined and wily opponent with a platform to propound discredited ideas. And Miller has long been given such a platform, first by The Times and now by a prominent book publisher.
In my 24 years at The Times I frequently worked with Miller, often unhappily, as I will explain. Her efforts at recasting events have thus not been a surprise to me.’
- Jon Stewart tears into Judith Miller over Iraq reporting
- The Real Problem with Judith Miller
- Maher Confronts Judith Miller: Why Weren’t You More Skeptical About Iraq?
- Judith Miller tries, and ultimately fails, to defend her flawed Iraq reporting
- Judith Miller: ‘No senior official spoon-fed me a line about WMD’
- Now They Tell Us (2004)
- The Times scoop that melted (2003)
‘A Colombian former intelligence chief was jailed for 14 years on Thursday for spying on judges, journalists and opposition figures in a high-profile case that stained the legacy of popular ex-president Alvaro Uribe.
The Supreme Court convicted Maria del Pilar Hurtado in February of ordering illegal wiretaps on a former senator, two opposition politicians, the mayor of Bogota and its own judges during Uribe’s presidency from 2002 to 2010.
The sentence was less than the 20 years requested by prosecutors.’