Thursday, December 5, 2013

Good News and Bad News

1.  After three years in prison and being beaten, tortured & initially held incommunicado for a month, earlier this year a Yemeni journalist by the name of Shaye finally was released.  It wouldn't surprise me if you've never heard of him; the Corporate Media here pretty much ignored the story.  Jeremy Scahill, a journalist for The Nation, covered the story in depth.  Shaye is the journalist who broke the story of the U.S. cruise missile attack in Yemen (a few years ago) that killed a couple dozen civilians.  Whether or not any of them were members of Al Qaeda is hotly contested.  Shaye was set to be pardoned in 2011, but Obama's intervention apparently put a stop to that.  The dictator of Yemen (one of our several Death-Squad-type allies), ever mindful of how to get more U.S. aid, caved in to Obama's "concern".  The journalist, Shaye, had been convicted of abetting terrorism, or some such similar fantasy...according to a number of non-corporate media.

2.  Jeremy Scahill's movie, Dirty Wars, has been short-listed for a possible Oscar nomination in the documentary film category.  [Scahill is the guy who, awhile back, exposed the gross misdeeds of the private security company Blackwater in Iraq.  The company has since changed their name.]  The film, which is superb, details the largely unknown operations of JSOC, the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command--- assassinations of SUSPECTS, unreported attacks on various groups, etc.  Whistle blowers are key to the content of the movie.  The piece is on Netflix, and probably can be found elsewhere online.

3.  The Corporate Media mostly missed or ignored this story yesterday.  In about 100 cities here in the USA, fast-food workers protested wages less than $8/hour by walking out and marching.  About half of all such workers also are on public assistance because of their low wages. This while the executives of such companies are subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer---companies get to deduct (on their taxes) "performance-based" bonuses paid to executives.  My guess: some lobbyist wrote that amendment to a legislative bill. Then it was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.  Both FDR and Mussolini would have called that Fascism---the power of the State married to the power of BIG Business.

4.  In his second term as President, Obama continues his Justice Department's apparent policy of "too big to jail" relative to speculative banking fraud.  J.P. Morgan Chase recently was fined $13 BILLION dollars for NYSE violations, that is, misleading investors...purposely.  [With a fine that large, it makes one wonder what their annual net profit amounts to, given that they're still in business.]  Criminal investigations are "ongoing", but my best guess, don't hold your breath.  Not a single high-level mega bank executive has been criminally charged yet.

5.  Also in his second term as President, Obama continues his completely unconstitutional program of assassination of terrorist SUSPECTS.  Legally, only Congress can issue "Letters of Marque and Reprisal".  It's called Checks & Balances in our system of government.  Even as Commander-in-Chief, any President is limited by the Constitution...and again, no law supercedes the U.S. Constitution, not even the War Powers Act.  He's not a King, and never should be treated as one.

6.  In what seems to be an attempt to mollify the restless masses, just recently President Obama publicly expressed concern over "income inequality" in our land.  It sounds good, but I agree with John Pilger who said this, "Brand Obama...and it's all fake."... and this, "Don't listen to what he says.  Watch what he does.".

7.  As expressed by Jeremy Scahill, there is an ongoing, escalating war on journalism worldwide, that is, on non-corporate journalism.  [ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and even The News Hour on PBS mostly are safe from attack.]  Number 1. above is but one example.  In this country, the attacks usually are manifested as accusations of compromising "national security".  The National Security State appears to trump the First Amendment.  Even without that, the news is managed almost completely by the Corporate Media.  Whistle blowers usually are portrayed as somehow violating the "American Way", or worse, "National Security"...never mind that in most of those instances the Gov't is violating the U.S. Constitution, or mega companies are violating not only U.S. Law, but common decency as well.

For the best possible newscast in the USA, I heartily recommend Democracy Now, the War and Peace Report, with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales.  They do not shrink from covering controversial subjects, and they do so in a manner not influenced by mega corporations.

Just my opinion.