Friday, December 02, 2016
Guardian | Through the US Export-Import Bank, Barack Obama’s administration has spent nearly $34bn supporting 70 fossil fuel projects around the world, work by Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project and the Guardian has revealed.
This unprecedented backing of oil, coal and gas projects is an unexpected footnote to Obama’s own climate change legacy. The president has called global warming “terrifying” and helped broker the world’s first proper agreement to tackle it, yet his administration has poured money into developments that will push the planet even closer to climate disaster.
For people living next to US-funded mines and power stations the impacts are even more starkly immediate.
Guardian and Columbia reporters have spent time at American-backed projects in India, South Africa and Australia to document the sickness, upheavals and environmental harm that come with huge dirty fuel developments.
In India, we heard complaints about coal ash blowing into villages, contaminated water and respiratory and stomach problems, all linked to a project that has had more than $650m in backing from the Obama administration.
In South Africa, another huge project is set to exacerbate existing air pollution problems, deforestation and water shortages. And in Australia, an enormous US-backed gas development is linked to a glut of fracking activity that has divided communities and brought a new wave of industrialization next to the cherished Great Barrier Reef.
While Obama can claim the US is the world’s leader on climate change – at least until Donald Trump enters the White House – it is also clear that it has become a major funder of fossil fuels that are having a serious impact upon people’s lives. This is the unexpected story of how Obama’s legacy is playing out overseas.
phys.org | In the UK, the poverty premium—the idea that poorer people pay more for essential goods and services—is an important and relevant social policy concern for low-income families.
A timely new study from the Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) at the University of Bristol revisits and advances earlier research conducted in 2010 by Save the Children.
The 2016 study reflects markets and household behaviour as it exists today, and, for the first time, explores how manylow-income households are actually affected by the poverty premium, and by how much.
The new research reveals:
- The average cost of the poverty premium is £490 per household each year. This is lower than the previous estimate of around £1,300 per year and this difference largely derives from the way that the average premium for each of the eight poverty premium components takes into account the proportion of households incurring it.
- Not all low-income households experience all components of the premium. The research identifies seven distinct groups (or clusters) representing the most dominant combinations of poverty premiums experienced by low-income households. This exposure ranges from experiencing an average of only three types of premiums, to an average of eight. Based on these combinations of exposure, the cost incurred ranged from an average of £350 among the 'premium minimisers' to £750 among the more 'highly exposed'.
- The largest share of the average premium incurred by low-income households related directly to low-income households that had not switched household fuel tariff. This was compounded by other smaller premiums associated with households' fuel payment methods. And even a household that had switched to the best prepayment meter tariff could still expect to incur an estimated premium of £227 compared to the best deals available to those who pay by monthly direct debit.
- The new research suggests that there is still scope for the poverty premium to be reduced, and there is clearly role for providers, government and regulators to help address it. Central to the solution may be striking a better balance between cost-reflective pricing and cross-subsidy (where cross-subsidy is possible) and roles for greater partnerships and involvement of trusted intermediaries. The clearest priorities for action relate to insurance, higher-cost credit, and fuel.
Sara Davies, Research Fellow at PFRC, said: "This study provides an important and timely update to previous research.
"While the average poverty premium we have calculated is lower than the previous estimate, it is important to bear in mind that averages mask significant variation in the lived experience of the poverty premium. For example, one highly exposed family is estimated to incur a premium of over £1,600 each year, considerably more than the average premium of £750 for their cluster."
Yvette Hartfree, Research Fellow at PFRC, added: "It is also important to remember that the poverty premium only reflects the additional costs low-income households pay compared to higher-income households. It doesn't take into account the extent to which low-income households avoid paying poverty premiums simply because they can't afford to and instead go without."
WaPo | The raw, lingering emotion of the 2016 presidential campaign erupted into a shouting match here Thursday as top strategists of Hillary Clinton’s campaign accused their Republican counterparts of fueling and legitimizing racism to elect Donald Trump.
The extraordinary exchange came at a postmortem session sponsored by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where top operatives from both campaigns sat across a conference table from each other.
As Trump’s team basked in the glow of its victory and singled out for praise its campaign’s chief executive, Stephen K. Bannon, who was absent, the row of grim-faced Clinton aides who sat opposite them bristled.
Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri condemned Bannon, who previously ran Breitbart, a news site popular with the alt-right, a small movement known for espousing racist views.
“If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost,” she said. “I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, fumed: “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?”
“You did, Kellyanne. You did,” interjected Palmieri, who choked up at various points of the session.
“Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white, working-class voters?” Conway asked. “How about, it’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people? How about, they have nothing in common with her? How about, she doesn’t have an economic message?”
Thursday, December 01, 2016
theatlantic | What’s going on here?
It is perhaps easiest to quote the hive-mind at Wikipedia to clear things up. Here’s how it defines white supremacy:
White supremacy or white supremacism is a racist ideologycentered upon the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial backgrounds and that therefore white peopleshould politically, economically and socially rule non-white people. The term is also typically used to describe a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial domination by white people (as evidenced by historical and contemporary sociopolitical structures such as the Atlantic slave trade, Jim Crow laws in the United States, and apartheid in South Africa). Different forms of white supremacism put forth different conceptions of who is considered white...
Next is this crucial-for-our-purposes addition:
The subsection on the academic usage adds:
Readers will be unsurprised that a term has a common meaning and many diverging academic meanings as members of the academy contest it across fields of scholarship. Adjudicating the best definition within an academic field is not our concern.The term white supremacy is used in academic studies of racial power to denote a system of structural or societal racism which privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred. White racial advantages occur both at a collective and an individual level. Legal scholar Frances Lee Ansley explains this definition as follows: “By ‘white supremacy’ I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.”This and similar definitions are adopted or proposed by Charles Mills, bell hooks, David Gillborn, Jessie Daniels and Neely Fuller Jr, and are widely used in critical race theory and intersectional feminism. ...Academic users of the term sometimes prefer it to racism because it allows for a disconnection between racist feelings and white racial advantage or privilege.
Rather, this small, obscure exchange illustrates a larger point: It is awful to stigmatize people as cringeworthy for failing to speak in the vernacular of a tiny, insular subculture. Neither journalists nor academics speaking to a general audience can insist a term’s only meaning is a contested usage so little known that it confounds a longtime employee of Mother Jones and many residents of the Upper West Side. And it is deeply counterproductive to stigmatize those who use the common meaning of a well-known term with words like “embarrassing,” and “mortifying.”
The insularity and biases at work here are a significant reason that the academy, and growing parts of the press who mistake its subculture for conventional wisdom, are increasingly unable to reach anyone that doesn’t share an educational background many intellectuals now think of as normal but that is, in fact, unusual even among college students in the U.S., never mind the rest of the world. Why does this insular subculture think stigmatization of this sort will succeed beyond it?
In the weeks since Donald Trump’s election, many journalists and close observers of mainstream journalism have been grappling with how best to cover the president-elect, and furiously critiquing headlines in the New York Times and Washington Post that allegedly engage in “false equivalence,” or fail to adequately call out misinformation that is verifiably false. I have no objection to that sort of media criticism. Hashing these matters out in open debate is a strength, not a weakness.
unz | The US Government of the people, for the people no longer exists. With the help of the 7 “blind” men however the shadow government can now be illuminated; the invisible government can now be discerned and the double government can now be identified.
The totality of truths is that the US “elephant” consists of a power elite hierarchy overseeing a corporatocracy, directing a deep state that has gradually subverted the visible government and taken over the “levers of power.” Henceforth in stark contrast to Scott and Lofgren it shall not be known as the disparate deep-state, nor as Sach’s corporatocracy, but more aptly as the amalgamated corporate-deep-state.
The Holy Grail of the science branch of physics is to find what Einstein called a Unified Field Theory, also known as “a theory of everything.” This is quite simply one idea, one set of equations that could explain the entire physical universe.
Similarly the corporate-deep-state theory is the Holy Grail of political science and builds on the work of the giants, called “blind” men in this paper, diving deeper into what Lofgren calls the red thread that runs throughout the past 40 years of US government and politics.
The US’s founding fathers went to great lengths in their Constitution to separate the powers between the three visible branches of the US federal government, ensuring that no single branch could dominate.
What they failed to plan for was the separation of corporation and state. A failure highlighted by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913, under whose leadership the corporate Pandora’s box was first opened with the establishment of the Federal Reserve: “We are at the parting of the ways. We have, not one or two or three, but many, established and formidable monopolies in the United States. We have, not one or two, but many, fields of endeavor into which it is difficult, if not impossible, for the independent man to enter. We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.”
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
archive | The history of libraries is one of loss. The Library of Alexandria is best known for its disappearance.
Libraries like ours are susceptible to different fault lines:
So this year, we have set a new goal: to create a copy of Internet Archive’s digital collections in another country. We are building the Internet Archive of Canada because, to quote our friends at LOCKSS, “lots of copies keep stuff safe.” This project will cost millions. So this is the one time of the year I will ask you: please make a tax-deductible donation to help make sure the Internet Archive lasts forever.
On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change.
For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions.
wikipedia | The Five Eyes, often abbreviated as FVEY, is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. These countries are bound by the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.
reddit | Now, the transition is getting an assist from Heritage Foundation officials including Becky Norton Dunlop, a distinguished fellow at the foundation; former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, a distinguished fellow emeritus at Heritage; Heritage national security expert James Carafano; and Ed Feulner, who helped found Heritage. Rebekah Mercer, a Heritage board member and major pro-Trump donor, is on the transition team’s 16-member executive committee, and a transition team source said she is working with Heritage to recruit appointees for positions at the undersecretary level and below (though she has struggled to find people interested in taking lower-level jobs, according to a New York Times report).
The transition team also includes other prominent activists and thinkers with close ties to Heritage, such as former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, the activist involved with several conservative groups who is running Trump’s domestic transition team. He has written for Heritage and has personal relationships with many at the organization. Fist tap Dale.
Mike Pence, self-described "evangelical Catholic"
Chris Christie, Roman Catholic
Newt Gingrich, Roman Catholic, Council on Foreign Relations
Michael T. Flynn, Roman Catholic
Rudy Giuliani, Roman Catholic, 9/11 coadjutor, alleged Knight of Malta
Jared Kushner, fan of the Count of Monte Cristo ("Count of the Mount of Christ;" story about the Jesuit General getting revenge on all of the Order's enemies during its suppression)
Steve Bannon, chief strategist and Senior Counselor for the Presidency of Donald Trump, former executive chair of Breitbart News, Jesuit-trained from Georgetown
Lou Barletta, Roman Catholic
Chris Collins, Roman Catholic
Tom Marino, Roman Catholic
Devin Nunes, Roman Catholic
Anthony Scaramucci, Roman Catholic, Council on Foreign Relations
Eric Trump, Jesuit-trained from Georgetown and serves as board member of Georgetown's Business, Society, and Public Policy Initiative
Ivanka Trump, attended Jesuit Georgetown for two years
David Malpass, Jesuit-trained from Georgetown, Vice President of the Council for National Policy, leading appointment selections for positions involving economic issues
Keith Kellogg, trained by Jesuit at Santa Clara University, leading appointment selections for positions involving national defense issues
Michael Catanzaro, trained by Jesuits at Fordham University and St. Ignatius High School, leading the policy implementation team for energy independence
Andrew Bremberg, graduate of Catholic University of America Executive Legal Action Lead
James Carafano, Jesuit-trained from Georgetown University , reported to be the primary aide to the State Department of Trump administration transition team
Ed Feulner, Roman Catholic former President and founder of Heritage Foundation; Jesuit-trained from Regis and Georgetown Universities
Ken Blackwell, Jesuit-trained from Xavier University, leading appointment selections for positions involving domestic issues.
Boris Epshteyn, Trump's foremost spokesman; Jesuit-trained from Georgetown.
nationofchange | The Washington Post article in question, written by Craig Timberg — surely either one of the most credulous and lazy journalists working in a major US news organization (and that’s really an accomplishment!), or a rank propagandist for the US government posing as a journalist at the Post — relied upon only two sources for his dramatic “exposé” purporting to prove that a massive Russian propaganda campaign had surreptitiously attempted to undermine (perhaps successfully!) the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and to throw the race to Donald Trump, at the same time undermining US foreign policy and faith in the US government while elevating the reputation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both sources are falsely described by Timberg as being “two teams of independent researchers.” The assumption we clearly are meant to have is that these organizations have no institutional bias.
In fact, the first of these sources, the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), turns out to be a hoary relic of the Cold War founded in 1955 by Robert Strausz-Hupé, an Austrian emigré and passionate anti-Communist. It has continued its anti-Russian propaganda stance since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the 2002 death of its founder and now boasts on its board of trustees jailbait like former Reagan National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, a key player in the Reagan-era Iran Contra scandal who pleaded guilty to four counts of lying to Congress but was pardoned by President Reagan, arch-neocon and Russia-phobe Robert Kagan, a key promoter of the the US invasion or Iraq in 2003, and a whole host of other right-wing anti-Russian fanatics.
At least FRPI is willing to let people know who it is and who is running the joint. In contrast, the other of Timberg’s sources, PropOrNot, an organization with a website, PropOrNot.com, founded only several months ago, remains totally secret, providing no information on its site about its origins, its funding, its leadership or its staff. And yet Timberg confidently claims its information about Russia’s alleged epic propaganda effort was the result of the painstaking analytical work of these “experts.” In fact Timberg says the organization’s executive director, whom he quotes, asked for and received anonymity along with all his staff because they wanted to “avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.”
And the Post’s editors allow him to get away with this gutlessness and lack of transparency. To get the full picture of how credulous and unprofessional — or willfully biased — Timberg’s editors at the Washington Post (often still considered one of the nation’s top “newspapers of record”), were in not vetting his article, read the Intercept’s article Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist from a New, Hidden and Very Shady Group, which devastatingly eviscerates both PropOrNot and the Post.
Suffice to say that besides allowing Timberg to use as the key source of his article and dramatic media blacklist an anonymous and clearly partisan group, PropOrNot, the Post’s editors also never required their supposedly crack “technology reporter” to even attempt to contact a single editor or journalist at any of the named alleged purveyors or “useful idiots” he was accusing of secretly spreading Russian-sourced “false news.” There’s not even a perfunctory: “Efforts to contact the editors at Counterpunch were unsuccessful” in the entire piece. Timberg and the editors of a paper that once gave us the Watergate story that brought down President Richard Nixon clearly didn’t even consider such basics of journalism important!
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
slashdot | After a little over a month of learning more languages to translate beyond Spanish, Google's recently announced Neural Machine Translation system has used deep learning to develop its own internal language. TechCrunch reports:GNMT's creators were curious about something. If you teach the translation system to translate English to Korean and vice versa, and also English to Japanese and vice versa... could it translate Korean to Japanese, without resorting to English as a bridge between them? They made this helpful gif to illustrate the idea of what they call "zero-shot translation" (it's the orange one). As it turns out -- yes! It produces "reasonable" translations between two languages that it has not explicitly linked in any way. Remember, no English allowed. But this raised a second question. If the computer is able to make connections between concepts and words that have not been formally linked... does that mean that the computer has formed a concept of shared meaning for those words, meaning at a deeper level than simply that one word or phrase is the equivalent of another? In other words, has the computer developed its own internal language to represent the concepts it uses to translate between other languages? Based on how various sentences are related to one another in the memory space of the neural network, Google's language and AI boffins think that it has. The paper describing the researchers' work (primarily on efficient multi-language translation but touching on the mysterious interlingua) can be read at Arxiv.
scientificamerican | Howard J. Wilk is a long-term unemployed synthetic organic chemist living in Philadelphia. Like many pharmaceutical researchers, he has suffered through the drug industry’s R&D downsizing in recent years and now is underemployed in a nonscience job. With extra time on his hands, Wilk has been tracking the progress of a New Jersey-based company called Brilliant Light Power (BLP).
The company is one of several that are developing processes that collectively fall into the category of new energy technologies. This movement is largely a reincarnation of cold fusion, the short-lived, quickly dismissed phenomenon from the late 1980s of achieving nuclear fusion in a simple benchtop electrolysis device.
In 1991, BLP’s founder, Randell L. Mills, announced at a press conference in Lancaster, Pa., that he had devised a theory in which the electron in hydrogen could transition from its normal ground energy state to previously unknown lower and more stable states, liberating copious amount of energy in the process. Mills named this curious new type of shrunken hydrogen the hydrino, and he has been at work ever since to develop a commercial device to harness its power and make it available to the world.
Wilk has studied Mills’s theory, read Mills’s papers and patents, and carried out his own calculations on the hydrino. Wilk has gone so far as to attend a demonstration at BLP’s facility in Cranbury, N.J., where he discussed the hydrino with Mills. After all that, Wilk says he still can’t tell if Mills is a titanic genius, is self-delusional, or is something in between.
futurism | Researchers from the U.S. DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University may have solved the mystery surrounding magnetic reconnection, bringing us one step closer to better solar flare prediction and (pmost notably) problems surrounding nuclear fusion containment. Ultimately, this means that nuclear fusion, and the limitless energy it could provide, may be one step closer to reality.
Monday, November 28, 2016
stateofthenation | If Stein was truly so concerned about getting to an accurate vote count of legal and legitimate voters, wouldn’t she also look at the other 47 states where voting irregularities were rife.
Wouldn’t she want to eliminate:
all the dead voters,
all the illegal alien voters,
all the unregistered voters,
all the double, triple and quadruple voters,
all the stuffed ballot boxes with nonexistent voters.
Then there are the many instances where a vote for Trump was flipped to a vote for Clinton.
This incomplete list of actual examples of vote fraud and election theft was always working to the advantage of Candidate Clinton on November 8th. Why isn’t Stein concerned about these myriad cases of vote fraud?
The financial angle with Stein is quite HUGE!
There is perhaps no better advice for a super sleuth trying to figure out Stein’s game that to “Follow the money!”
Here’s a presidential candidate who only raised $3,509,477 in campaign contributions during the entire 2016 election cycle. Then, she goes out and raises well over $5,400,000 in but a few days and won’t even guarantee that the donations will fund the recount.
PCR | The “war on terror” has simultaneously been a war on truth. For fifteen years—from 9/11 to Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” and “al Qaeda connections,” “Iranian nukes,” “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” endless lies about Gadaffi, “Russian invasion of Ukraine”—the governments of the so-called Western democracies have found it essential to align themselves firmly with lies in order to pursue their agendas. Now these Western governments are attempting to discredit the truthtellers who challenge their lies.
Russian news services are under attack from the EU and Western presstitutes as purveyors of “fake news.” http://www.globalresearch.ca/moscow-accused-of-propagating-fake-news-eu-resolution-on-russian-propaganda/5558835 Abiding by its Washington master’s orders, the EU actually passed a resolution against Russian media for not following Washington’s line. Russian President Putin said that the resolution is a “visible sign of degradation of Western society’s idea of democracy.”
As George Orwell predicted, telling the truth is now regarded by Western “democratic” governments as a hostile act. A brand new website, propornot.com, has just made its appearance condemning a list of 200 Internet websites that provide news and views at variance with the presstitute media that serves the governments’ agendas. http://www.propornot.com/p/the-list.html Does propornot.com’s funding come from the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros?
I am proud to say that paulcraigroberts.org is on the list.
What we see here is the West adopting Zionist Israel’s way of dealing with critics. Anyone who objects to Israel’s cruel and inhuman treatment of Palestinians is demonized as “anti-semitic.” In the West those who disagree with the murderous and reckless policies of public officials are demonized as “Russian agents.” The president-elect of the United States himself has been designated a “Russian agent.”
Sunday, November 27, 2016
ineteconomics | Grappling with the shock of Donald Trump’s election victory, most analysts focus on his appeal to those in the United States who feel left behind, wish to retrieve a lost social order, and sought to rebuke establishment politicians who do not serve their interests. In this respect, the recent American revolt echoes the shock of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but it is of far greater significance because it promises to reshape the entire global order, and the complaisant forms of thought that accompanied it.
Ideas played an important role in creating the conditions that produced Brexit and Trump. The ‘social sciences’ — especially economics — legitimated a set of ideas about the economy that were aggressively peddled and became the conventional wisdom in the policies of mainstream political parties, to the extent that the central theme of the age came to be that there was no alternative. The victory of these ideas in politics in turn strengthened the iron-handed enforcers of the same ideas in academic orthodoxy.
It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.
Tennessean | In a nutshell, Trump’s Access Hollywood tape was obscene, but almost as obscene to me was the WikiLeaks revelation that Clinton Foundation money had helped pay for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding and living expenses for a decade.
More broadly, the Democratic Party has become, like Bill Maher says, a “boutique” party, a party of flashiness and glitz with its Lady Gagas and Katy Perrys and Beyonces, and with its non-stop debates on race, gender and sexuality. These issues are important, but they came at the expense of talking about bread-and-butter issues, which is why the Rust Belt voters bolted.
Liberals and the Democratic Party have some serious work to do. Among them: Don’t condescend to rural voters, the non-college-educated, and conservative Christians, and don’t paint them in a single dimension. At the very least, extend them the same courtesy you do to immigrants, Muslims, gay people. And don’t judge their groups by their worst members, the thing you – we – say about Muslims.
Further,the Democratic Party’s identity politics makes it hard for Americans to talk honestly about Islamic extremism, undocumented immigration, and many other issues.
Most of all, I mourn that the Democratic Party (and millions of Democratic voters) that prides itself on being an evidence-based party has lost its way and ignored the evidence that their candidate was deeply flawed.
In the Electoral-College-versus-popular-vote, my take is that Trump’s Electoral College victory is a more representative victory nationwide than Clinton’s popular vote victory. If we went by only popular vote tallies, in the future, populous states like California, New York and Texas may decide elections. I know this isn’t a perfect argument, though.
I’m not happy Trump won, but I’m glad Clintonism lost. The Democratic Party deserved to lose for many reasons, but especially because it had gotten annoyingly complacent about its demographic “coalition,” and smug in its convictions of its moral superiority.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
unz | As a Swedish journalist, educated in large part on Anglo-Saxon literature, I had together with many of my peers seen The New York Times as a guiding star in standards of journalism. Its feat in publishing the Pentagon Papers- the proof that the United States had fabricated the reasons for going to war with Vietnam- was something that we read about in school, and it inspired me to want to work in the profession and uncover the dirty deals of my own government. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the very same paper had these special floors, off-limits to journalists, where the dodgiest deals with the dodgiest figures were being brokered, and that the heads of this newspaper were not even embarrassed about it. Rather, quite the contrary, they seemed to gloat.
After meeting with Keller and Sulzberger at The New York Times, I felt a heavy sense of sadness about what I had witnessed. I felt sad for the staff of the newspaper, many of whom had gone through great risks for their profession and their audience. I felt sad for my generation of journalists who had been robbed of a role-model in journalism. And I felt sad for the American readers, many of whom still had no idea of what was happening on the top floors of The New York Times Building on 8th Avenue.
Since the last few months I am however no longer sad about any of this, for during the current election cycle in the United States, The New York Times has so clearly abandoned all rudimentary standards of journalism and alienated its readership so badly, that it has sentenced itself to wither away into irrelevance. Remembered only in history books as a relic of the Cold War, much like its sister newspaper Pravda of the Soviet Union.
As a Swedish reader of The New York Times, I may be surprised that the paper has ignored election rigging in the governing party of the United States serious enough to cause its top five officials to resign. But it doesn’t really matter, since I can read the source material on it via WikiLeaks. As a foreign journalist I may be surprised that the paper has chosen to downplay the political bribes of the Clinton Foundation, but it makes little difference because the Associated Press has made the investigation available for me to report on. As a citizen of a western democracy I may be surprised that The New York Times so clearly campaigns against Trump and for Clinton, rather than reports on the policy issues of the candidates, but I can ignore this since I can read and listen to what they say themselves, while I can get a variety of more enlightened and entertaining campaigns all over the blogosphere. If I were a US citizen however, I would be more than just surprised.
And this is where The New York Times has lost it. By dropping its veneer and abandoning its self acclaimed standards of journalism, it has sentenced itself into irrelevance. Because even if the newspaper has steadily been outflanked by many blogs when it comes to audience size, it was until recently considered to be an important platform from which the US elites formed their world-view. But a newspaper with such a small reach, that is no longer taken seriously even by the main presidential candidates of its own country, a newspaper that doesn’t abide by the most fundamental journalistic standards, namely publishing rather than hiding newsworthy, correct information, has very little to offer either any powerful people or its own readers. Because even propaganda has to be good, for it to have any value.
libertyblitzkrieg | What’s particularly interesting about this list, isn’t the fact that a bunch of anonymous whiners decided to demonize successful critics of insane, inhumane and ethically indefensible U.S. government policy, but rather the fact that the Washington Post decided to craft an entire article around such a laughably ridiculous list. This just further proves a point that is rapidly becoming common knowledge amongst U.S. citizens with more than a couple of brain cells to rub together.
The fake mainstream news media is completely failing. It is failing because rather than informing the public and criticizing the powerful, it has become merely a giant public relations organ for the U.S. government. The American public clearly sees through the bullshit, in large part due to the efforts of alternative news media. Think about it. Liberty Blitzkrieg doesn’t have a single outside employee. Other than the heroic efforts of my tech person (who spends very little of his time on this site), there’s really no one else contributing in any material way to the operation of this blog. So for a website run by a relatively unknown person to have made it onto this slanderous list (subsequently highlighted by the Washington Post), is not only a great honor, but a testament to the impact one person can have in an environment dominated by a transparently fake and desperate mainstream media.