Category Archives: Corporations

The Trews: Westminster Fear and Media Bias Shafted Scotland

How the media shafted the people of Scotland

George Monbiot writes for The Guardian:

‘Perhaps the most arresting fact about the Scottish referendum is this: that there is no newspaper – local, regional or national, English or Scottish – that supports independence except the Sunday Herald. The Scots who will vote yes have been almost without representation in the media.

There is nothing unusual about this. Change in any direction, except further over the brink of market fundamentalism and planetary destruction, requires the defiance of almost the entire battery of salaried opinion. What distinguishes the independence campaign is that it has continued to prosper despite this assault.

In the coverage of the referendum we see most of the pathologies of the corporate media. Here, for instance, you will find the unfounded generalisations with which less enlightened souls are characterised. In the Spectator, Simon Heffer maintains that: “addicted to welfare … Scots embraced the something for nothing society”, objecting to the poll tax “because many of them felt that paying taxes ought to be the responsibility of someone else”.’

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John Pilger: Breaking the last taboo – Gaza and the threat of world war

John Pilger recently delivered a speech at the Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Australia:

C2t.jpg‘”There is a taboo,” said the visionary Edward Said, “on telling the truth about Palestine and the great destructive force behind Israel. Only when this truth is out can any of us be free.”

For many people, the truth is out now. At last, they know. Those once intimidated into silence can’t look away now. Staring at them from their TV, laptop, phone, is proof of the barbarism of the Israeli state and the great destructive force of its mentor and provider, the United States, the cowardice of European governments, and the collusion of others, such as Canada and Australia, in this epic crime.

The attack on Gaza was an attack on all of us. The siege of Gaza is a siege of all of us. The denial of justice to Palestinians is a symptom of much of humanity under siege and a warning that the threat of a new world war is growing by the day.’

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Newsweek’s Monkey Meat Ebola Fearmongering

Peter Hart recently wrote for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:

newsweek-bushmeat‘It’s 2014, and a national magazine has a cover story about how African immigrants might spread a deadly virus in the United States, thanks to the peculiar and unsanitary food they eat. The cover image is a photo of a chimpanzee.

Yes, this really happened.

“A Back Door For Ebola: Smuggled Bushmeat Could Spark a US Epidemic” read the headline on the August 29 Newsweek, a profoundly shocking  image and message that immediately drew criticism.

But the problems of the piece were bigger than just the cover. The piece is built around the idea that illegally imported “bushmeat”–what we would call “wild game” if it were being eaten in the United States–could carry the deadly Ebola virus.’

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European court to investigate laws allowing GCHQ to snoop on journalists

Lisa O’Carroll reports for The Guardian:

GCHQ Cheltenham,‘The European court of human rights (ECHR) is to investigate British laws that allow GCHQ and police to secretly snoop on journalists.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has gone straight to Strasbourg in a bid to get a finding that domestic law is incompatible with provisions in European law which give journalists the right to keep sources confidential from police and others.

Its application was filed on Friday and has been accepted by the ECHR, which has indicated in the past it will expedite cases on surveillance through its legal system.’

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Senate Republicans gave a big fat “no” to taking money out of politics

America’s Billionaires Political Power Index

Darrell M. West has produced a list of  America’s top billionaires with the most political power  for a upcoming book called Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust. According to the author he “examines the political use of great wealth, including campaign expenditures, activism through nonprofit organizations and foundations, holding public office, media ownership, policy thought leadership, and behind the scenes influence.” You can learn more about it by clicking on the image below:

Illegal land clearing for commercial agriculture responsible for half of tropical deforestation

Science Daily reports:

‘A comprehensive new analysis released today says that nearly half (49%) of all recent tropical deforestation is the result of illegal clearing for commercial agriculture. The study also finds that the majority of this illegal destruction was driven by overseas demand for agricultural commodities including palm oil, beef, soy, and wood products. In addition to devastating impacts on forest-dependent people and biodiversity, the illegal conversion of tropical forests for commercial agriculture is estimated to produce 1.47 gigatonnes of carbon each year — equivalent to 25% of the EU’s annual fossil fuel-based emissions.’

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Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits?

Lee Fang writes for The Nation:

‘If you read enough news and watch enough cable television about the threat of the Islamic State, the radical Sunni Muslim militia group better known simply as ISIS, you will inevitably encounter a parade of retired generals demanding an increased US military presence in the region. They will say that our government should deploy, as retired General Anthony Zinni demanded, up to 10,000 American boots on the ground to battle ISIS. Or as in retired General Jack Keane’s case, they will make more vague demands, such as for “offensive” air strikes and the deployment of more military advisers to the region.

But what you won’t learn from media coverage of ISIS is that many of these former Pentagon officials have skin in the game as paid directors and advisers to some of the largest military contractors in the world. Ramping up America’s military presence in Iraq and directly entering the war in Syria, along with greater military spending more broadly, is a debatable solution to a complex political and sectarian conflict. But those goals do unquestionably benefit one player in this saga: America’s defense industry.’

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Global Warming President Presides Over Drill-Baby-Drill America

Michael Klare writes for TomDispatch:

‘Considering all the talk about global warming, peak oil, carbon divestment, and renewable energy, you’d think oil consumption in the United States would be on a downward path. By now, we should certainly be witnessing real progress toward a post-petroleum economy. As it happens, the opposite is occurring. U.S. oil consumption is on an upward trajectory,  climbing by 400,000 barrels per day in 2013 alone, and if current trends persist, it should  rise again both this year and next.

In other words, oil is back. Big time.’

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South Downs and New Forest national parks under threat from electricity pipeline plan

Tom Bawden reports for The Independent:

The South Downs and New Forest national parks are potentially under threat from plans drawn up by a major Conservative donor to build a giant electricity pipeline from France to southern England.

Alexander Temerko, a former boss of the Russian oil giant Yukos, is developing an interconnector from the Flamenville nuclear power station in north-west France to the village of Lovedean, near Portsmouth. It would bring enough electricity to power 1.4 million households.

But the electricity grid in the South of England is already operating so close to capacity that Mr Temerko claims he has been told by the National Grid that he cannot plug in his pipeline at Lovedean substation.’

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British oil giant accused of bribery in tussle over Africa’s oldest national park

Jim Armitage reports for The Independent:

‘Contractors and agents working on behalf of a major London-based oil company paid bribes to officials and rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo in their bid to explore for oil in Africa’s oldest national park, according to anti-corruption activists.

Soco International has been conducting studies on whether it is feasible to drill for oil in Lake Edward in Virunga, the Unesco world heritage site made famous by Dian Fossey and the movie Gorillas in the Mist. In April, the park’s head, Emmanuel de Merode was shot and seriously injured by unknown assailants.’

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What?! Another Massive BP Oil Spill Cover-Up? Interview with Greg Palast

Abby Martin speaks with investigative journalist, Greg Palast discussing the most recent penalties against BP, and aspects of the company’s criminality that have been largely overlooked by the rest of the media including a massive oil spill cover-up in the Caspian Sea.’ (Breaking the Set)

The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis

Robert Parry writes for Consortium News:

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, speaking to Ukrainian and other business leaders at the National Press Club in Washington on Dec. 13, 2013, at a meeting sponsored by Chevron.‘A senior U.S. diplomat told me recently that if Russia were to occupy all of Ukraine and even neighboring Belarus that there would be zero impact on U.S. national interests. The diplomat wasn’t advocating that, of course, but was noting the curious reality that Official Washington’s current war hysteria over Ukraine doesn’t connect to genuine security concerns.

So why has so much of the Washington Establishment – from prominent government officials to all the major media pundits – devoted so much time this past year to pounding their chests over the need to confront Russia regarding Ukraine? Who is benefiting from this eminently avoidable – yet extremely dangerous – crisis? What’s driving the madness?’

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Russian FM: US wants to cut economic ties between EU and Russia to aid TTIP negotiations

Editor’s Note: For more on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as well as its counterpart the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), there are plenty of links here. But if you only read one article on these trade deals and what they mean geopolitically, I would highly recommend this one.

The Peninsula reports:

‘”The US is trying to use the crisis in Ukraine to break economic ties between the EU and Russia and force Europe to buy US gas at much higher prices,” Lavrov said in a ministry statement of his interview with Russia’s Centre TV.

Washington wanted to use the five-month conflict in Ukraine “to economically tear Europe from Russia and bargain for itself the most favourable conditions in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the creation of a transatlantic trade and investment partnership”.

Lavrov accused Washington of trying to “impose on Europe deliveries of US liquefied natural gas at prices that can not be competitive compared with Russian gas prices”. Russia supplies about a third of the EU’s gas.’

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Jimmy Kimmel’s Lie Witness News: New York Fashion Week 2014

Perpetual War Is Fine With the New York Times After All

Normon Solomon writes for The Huffington Post:

‘The editorial board of the New York Times has an Orwellian knack for war. Sixteen months ago, when President Obama gave oratorical lip service to ending “perpetual war,” the newspaper quickly touted that end as a democratic necessity. But now — in response to Obama’s speech Wednesday night announcing escalation of war without plausible end — the Times editorial voice is with the endless war program.’

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Half of Europeans want to tackle international issues without US meddling

Sara Miller Llana reports for The Christian Science Monitor:

‘A survey released today shows that Europeans approve of Obama’s international policies more than his own public: 64 percent compared to 43 percent.

But even in Europe, support is waning. And at the same time, Europeans are seeking a more independent path for themselves, which could have implications for US-European cooperation on everything from IS to Russian assertiveness to China’s rise.’

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MasterCard-backed biometric ID system launched in Nigeria

Megan Geuss reports for Arstechnica:

‘Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was one of the first citizens to receive a National eID card, a biometric identification card that will be rolled out to 13 million Nigerians in the near future. Although a handful of countries already use biometric identification systems, Nigeria’s will be unique as its pilot program will be branded with MasterCard logos. The program will eventually be expanded to encompass the rest of the country’s adult population, and the BBC says that all Nigerians will be required to have such a card by 2019 if they wish to vote in the country’s upcoming elections.’

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‘Marlboro Boys’: Indonesia’s child smokers

From Dangerous Minds:

‘Canadian documentary photographer Michelle Siu records “vulnerable people and disenfranchised cultures.” In the past that has meant the First Nations people of Lake St. Martin in Manitoba, who have been displaced from their land by flooding, or the destruction wrought upon the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan. In her series, “Marlboro Boys,” the disaster is man-made.’

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Chemical Industry using TTIP ‘to attack the precautionary principle’

Axel Singhofen reports for Chemical Watch:

‘The last 12 months have seen a surge of attacks against the EU’s precautionary principle. Some law firms consider it as a potential obstacle to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and UK Conservative MEP Julie Girling considers that “the EU’s expanding embrace of `precautionary’ regulation… may well be the biggest threat” to an agreement being signed off.

Last October, 12 CEOs of mainly chemical companies wrote to the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament, calling for the formal adoption of an “innovation principle” as a counterbalance to “precautionary legislation”, because they were concerned that “the necessary balance of precaution and proportion is increasingly being replaced by a simple reliance on the precautionary principle and the avoidance of technological risk.’

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Market Farces: Horrifying Images of the “Free” Market at Work

akadjian writes for Daily Kos:

 photo child-labor-sm_zpse67cfcab.jpg‘When economists talk about how a market “regulates itself,” what they mean is that markets reach an equilibrium between supply and demand.

This says nothing about whether or not this equilibrium will be a good thing for society. It simply states that if consumers choose what to buy and producers choose what to sell and how to produce it, the market settles on a product distribution and prices.

Lately, many people I know have argued that “free markets” mean something more. They see markets as ethically right or ethically moral, meaning pursuit of profit always somehow leads to a greater good.

Unfortunately, morality isn’t built into markets.’

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New BBC chief sued over claims HSBC laundered terrorists and drug cartels’ money

Alasdair Glennie reports for The Daily Mail:

‘The BBC’s chairman-elect is being sued over her involvement in the HSBC money-laundering scandal, it was revealed yesterday. Rona Fairhead, who is set to become the first woman to lead the corporation, had her appointment approved by MPs yesterday.

But hours after the Commons hearing it emerged the 53-year-old is facing a class action lawsuit by HSBC shareholders over allegations the bank allowed terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to launder money.

Mrs Fairhead chaired the bank’s ‘risk committee’ in 2012, when it was fined £1.2billion by US authorities to settle allegations that it allowed drug traffickers to launder millions of pounds. The bank was also accused of breaching sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Libya, Burma and Zimbabwe.’

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Americans Now Fear ISIS Sleeper Cells Are Living in the U.S., Overwhelmingly Support Military Action

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

‘[...] If the goal of terrorist groups is to sow irrational terror, has anything since the 9/11 attack been more successful than those two journalist beheading videos? It’s almost certainly the case that as recently as six months ago, only a minute percentage of the American public (and probably the U.S. media) had even heard of ISIS. Now, two brutal beheadings later, they are convinced that they are lurking in their neighborhoods, that they are a Grave and Unprecedented Threat (worse than al Qaeda!), and that military action against them is needed.

It’s as though ISIS and the U.S. media and political class worked in perfect unison to achieve the same goal here when it comes to American public opinion: fully terrorize them.

Although Americans favor military action against ISIS, today’s… CNN poll finds that – at least of now – most do not want ground troops in Iraq or Syria (“61%-38%, oppose placing U.S. soldiers on the ground in Iraq and Syria to combat the terrorist group”). But almost every credible expert has said that airstrikes, without troops, is woefully inadequate to achieve any of the stated goals. Other than further inflaming anti-American sentiment in the region and strengthening ISIS, what possible purpose can such airstrikes have? The answer given by much of the U.S. media, as FAIR documented, seems clear: to “flex muscles” and show “toughness”.

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Map: The Largest Trading Partner of Each Country

McDonald’s Sees Biggest Sales Drop in a Decade

Editor’s Note: Long may the slump continue. Why so many people are obsessed with the shite that McDonald’s serves has always been baffling. I hear people say “it’s great hangover food” but the last time I had some of their “food” it gave me a bloody hangover! And it’s not just the food that leaves you feeling sick, it’s the company as a whole and the way it has operated over the years. 

Dan Kedmey reports for Time:

‘McDonald’s posted its worst monthly sales decline in more than a decade in August, according to new figures the company released Tuesday, as same-store sales dropped precipitously in Asia and ebbed across the rest of the world.

Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa led the downturn, with a 14.5% drop in sales in August. The overall sales drop of 3.7% was the worst since February of 2003, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sales fell fastest in China and Japan, after news broke of a supplier in Shanghai attempting to pass off expired meat to its customers, most prominently, McDonald’s.’

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Who Pays for Think Tanks? Corporate and foundation money often comes with an agenda

Rick Carp wrote for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting in July last year:

‘Think tanks are important institutions that provide information and analysis to both policy-makers and the public. But when they court donations, it can become unclear whether that analysis is tainted by donor agendas.

Ken Silverstein in the Nation (5/21/13) recently exposed the extent to which positions at the center-left Center for American Progress (CAP) and other think tanks were shaped by the interests of donors. “Staffers were very clearly instructed to check with the think tank’s development team before writing anything that might upset contributors,” Silverstein reported.

The 25 institutions in FAIR’s study of think tank citations have gotten money from corporations, foundations, governments and individual donors. The law does not require public disclosure of who the donors are, though donations above $5,000 are reported to the IRS. Many think tanks thank their donors in their annual reports, while others list donors on their websites. Sometimes the trawling of tax documents is required to figure out who is giving—and what they’re getting in return.’

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The Economist alleges slavery wasn’t all bad

Ben Lawson writes for the Atlantic Journal Constitution:

The Economist has been getting an earful after it published a book review claiming a book unfairly portrayed slave owners. Yeah, you heard me right.

The article published Thursday is a review on Edward Baptist’s book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.”

This is the line that has people particularly fired up: “Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.”‘

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Hungary’s Crackdown on the Press

Philip N. Howard writes for The New York Times:

‘The European Union faces a challenging conundrum. While Hungary has embarked on building Europe’s most controlled media system, the European Commission just agreed in August to provide the country with nearly 22 billion euros of economic assistance.

Hungary has become a disturbing example of how a political elite can roll back democracy, even in the heart of Europe. Leveraging an electorally successful right-wing populism, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has staged an autocratic crackdown on the nation’s press, which the independent watchdog Freedom House now ranks as only “partly free.”’

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TUC leader speech on class system cut off by royal baby newsflash

Editor’s Note: This story reminded me of when an MSNBC host cut off a U.S. Congresswoman who was talking about the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data, just so that she could bring us “breaking news” about Justin Bieber appearing in court. Hilarious yet absolutely shocking at the same time but is it really any surprise? Bieber and the Royal baby are just another example of what a joke the media is on both sides of the Atlantic. A media which is largely there to keep us misinformed and distracted for the benefit of those own the system. So strap yourself in for another long, drawn-out, gooey eyed ride with Britain’s favourite celebrities. Puke!

Andy McSmith reports for The Independent:

‘Live television coverage of a speech by Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, was cut off this morning minutes after she had warned of a return to a “Downton Abbey” society –  for a newsflash announcing that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her second child.

The second royal pregnancy was deemed to be so important that nothing more was heard of Ms O’Grady’s speech, in which she expanded on her theme that the British class system is being reinvented, as the gap between rich and poor widens.’

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