Saturday, March 12, 2011


Saturday 18 December 2010
Senate Repeals "Don't Ask Don't Tell"
Faiz Shakir, ThinkProgress: "Moments ago, by a 65-31 vote, the Senate acted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, the policy banning gays from openly serving in the military. The same six GOP senators who broke with their party during the cloture vote earlier today also voted for repeal: Sens. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, Lisa Murkowski, George Voinovich, and Mark Kirk. Two more Republicans - John Ensign and Richard Burr - joined with Democrats in final passage."
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As DREAM Act Fails, Graham Tells Undocumented Youth They Wasted Their Time
Andrea Nill, ThinkProgress: "Today, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Fourty-one mostly Republican senators voted against a bill which would have provided young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents a path to legalization by pursuing a college education or serving in the military. 55 voted in the affirmative."
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Always Someone's Mother or Father, Always Someone's Child: The Missing Persons of Iraq
Dirk Adriaensens, Truthout: "Whatever definition may be given to 'missing persons' or 'enforced disappearances,' the problem in Iraq can be considered dramatic, even apocalyptic, by any standards. And since the US stated in 2007 that they were still involved in an 'internationally armed conflict,' Iraq's missing persons and forced disappeared after the 2003 invasion are definitely the responsibility of those who started this war and are still de facto occupying the country: the USA, the UK, and, by extension, their installed Iraqi puppet government."
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Rebuilding the Labor Movement
Dick Meister, Truthout: "Unions are fighting hard to reverse the downward trend, and although many outside the labor movement openly doubt - or at least wishfully think - that it can't be done, I think they're wrong. The doubters are forgetting that it's been done before - and it's been done in the face of obstacles that were at least as great as those confronted by union adherents today."
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Fannie and Freddie's Regulator Opposes Reducing Mortgages for Struggling Homeowners
Karen Weise, ProPublica: "The Obama administration has been pushing for banks and investors to cut mortgage balances for homeowners who owe more than their home is worth. But the regulator for the biggest investors of them all -- the government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- won't let the two do it."
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In "Shameful Act," Republicans Kill Bill to Prevent Child Marriage
Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check: "In an act that Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said 'brought shame to Capitol Hill' last night, the House Republican leadership banded together at the last minute, and on purely specious grounds, to defeat a piece of legislation six years in the making aimed at preventing child marriage worldwide. The bill was supported by a wide-ranging coalition of groups including the International Women's Health Coalition and CARE-USA."
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David Sirota | Why the "Lazy Jobless" Myth Persists
David Sirota, Truthout: "During the recent fight over extending unemployment benefits, conservatives trotted out the shibboleth that says the program fosters sloth.... Of course, this storyline makes no sense. From liberal Paul Krugman to archconservative Alan Greenspan, economists agree that joblessness is not caused by unemployment benefits. With five applicants for every one job opening, the overarching problem is a lack of available positions -- not a dearth of personal initiative."
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Central Banking 101: What the Fed Can Do as "Lender of Last Resort"
Ellen Brown, "We've seen behind the curtain, as the Fed waved its magic liquidity wand over Wall Street. Now it's time to enlist this tool in the service of the people."
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So You Thought Health Care Was Fixed ...
Froma Harrop, Truthout: "So you thought health care was fixed. Well, maybe not 'fixed,' but you assumed that the new law had put us on the path to solving one of America's most pressing problems -- spiraling health care costs amid surging numbers of uninsured citizens. No, no, no, no. The recent decision by Judge Henry E. Hudson, of a U.S. district court in Virginia, pumps new life into Republican efforts to kill health care reform by draining the program of a means to pay for it."
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Did you hear the joke about CNN sponsoring a Republican presidential candidate debate with the Tea Party as a partner?
Well, it's not a joke.
According to Mother Jones, "Sam Feist, CNN's political director, says the arrangement was designed to give undecided voters a way to educate themselves about 'diverse perspectives within the Republican Party, including those of the Tea Party.' It's not the first time CNN has partnered with the group. Earlier this year, CNN embedded with Tea Party Express on one of its bus tours, giving the group extensive coverage."
Hold that outraged laughter for a moment. Each year, the corporate media gets more and more skewed toward titillation and craven appeals to "targeted news marketing." And that is dangerous to a democracy.
Television news, in particular, has long since become an entertainment product, something that is sandwiched between commercials. To get higher fees for ads, the media conglomerates need to attract more viewers. And to attract more viewers, they need to sensationalize and reinforce a viewer's worldview, not objectively report the news.
In essence, "the news" has become another branded consumer product. It's not about a balanced perspective on what is happening in the world or the key policy issues facing the nation; it's about what will attract more viewership.
Yes, CNN appears to be making a concession to the populist right wing, which is perceived as being in political ascendancy in Congress, but it is also trying to attract a niche market share normally "owned" by FOX. Accurate news hasn't been seen as profitable since the days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, but selling an "attitude" about the "news" is - or in the case of FOX, making the news up to fit a political prism.
Many progressives, including BuzzFlash, may feel vindicated that a recent study indicated that FOX viewers are the most misinformed about the news. Indeed, according to TPM, "as exposure to Fox News increased, so did the misinformation."
But the study also showed that consumers of broadcast news outlets, in general, had many facts distorted, just to a much lesser degree than FOX viewers.
It's a perilous time for lucid decision making when "the news" is adapted to preconceived ideas and prejudices that can increase big media profits, rather than exposing us to the truth. A perilous time indeed.
Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout
Fox News VP Attacks Maryland Study Finding the Network's Viewers Are the Most Misinformed
Read the Article at ThinkProgress

White House Financial Advisers Get Rich Moving From Pennsylvania Avenue to Wall Street: It's Incestuous Greed
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Bank of America Stops Handling WikiLeaks Payments
Read the Article at AP

Republican Obstructionism a Risk for National Security
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Pakistani Spy Agency Denies It Unmasked CIA Chief
Read the Article at AP

Venezuela Grants Chavez Power to Rule by Decree
Read the Article at AFP

How iPhone Apps Track Us
Read the Article at The Wall Street Journal

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