Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

Tag Archives: democracy now!

Murdering Murdoch: Whistleblower Found Dead, American Public Shrugs

creepy Rupert Murdoch

We may now add murder to the deepening scandal surrounding the man who brought us, among much other tripe, Fox News:

Whistleblower in Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal Found Dead

On Monday, Sean Hoare, a former reporter who helped blow the whistle on the Murdoch-owned News of the World, was found dead in his home. Hoare had been the source for a New York Times story tying phone hacking to former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who would later become director of communications for British Prime Minister David Cameron. Coulson was arrested as the scandal broke open earlier this month. Police say Hoare appears to have died of natural causes, but the determination had not lessened suspicion of foul play. Hoare not only talked about phone hacking, but phone tracking as well, or as he said they called in the newsroom “pinging,” where he said News of the World would pay police, he believed, to track individuals’ locations.

It is becoming evident that Murdoch’s revolting media empire, a veritable propaganda factory, has extensive ties to the wealthy and powerful, including government officials and the police force that is entrusted with maintaining public order.  What is less apparent, however, is why exactly this has come to the fore now.  What has Murdoch done to fall out of grace with the ruling elite?

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Harbingers of Climate Change: Dust Bowl-Size Droughts Spread Through the United States

Texan farmer stands in drought-stricken land

As if things weren’t bad enough, we now have droughts on the scale of the Dust Bowl era to contend with:

Drought Spreading through the United States Rivals Dust Bowl Era

 In other climate news, Texas and 13 other states stretching from Arizona to Florida continue to face one of the worst U.S. droughts on record. Some say the drought c
ould rival the Dust Bowl Days. In Texas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently designated all 254 counties in the state natural disaster areas.
While impossible to assert with any degree of certainty, there is a strong likelihood that the current bout of severe drought is related to human-induced climate change.  All over the world, weather patterns have been shifting to such a large degree that even the most skeptical climate change deniers have noticed the difference.  Brutal winters, searing summers, massive storms, widespread flooding – all occurring with greater and greater frequency, in locales that historically have rarely or never experienced such events.

$6.6 Billion Missing in Iraq Simply Par for the Course in the American Corporatocracy

Iraq war profiteers

The profiteering frenzy incited by war knows no bounds:

Federal auditors now believe as much as $6.6 billion earmarked for Iraq might have been stolen in the early years of the Iraq war in what is now being described as possibly “the largest theft of funds in national history.” Between 2003 and 2004, the United States shipped $12 billion in cash to Iraq in what was the biggest international cash airlift of all time. For years, the Pentagon has been unable to account for where more than half the money went. The Los Angeles Times reports Iraqi officials are now threatening to go to court to reclaim the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the United Nations’ oil-for-food program.

The incident truly epitomizes the rationale behind most armed conflict, though the insatiable greed here  boggles the mind.  Just try to picture what exactly what transpired.  As the invasion went underway, warmongers everywhere smelled the impending cash influx and flocked to the source as $12 billion in cash was physically loaded into aircraft and delivered to Iraq.  Literally stacks of cash then went missing, as money-grubbing profiteers helped themselves to the bounties of the latest American war of aggression.  Such is the norm in war, and has been throughout all of human history.

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A Glimpse Behind the Curtain: The Truth Behind the Wikileaks Backlash

Noam Chomsky on the Tea Party:

“Well, the Tea Party movement itself is maybe 15, 20 percent of the electorate. It’s relatively affluent, white, nativist. You know, it has rather traditional nativist streaks to it. But what is much more important, I think, is the—is its outrage. I mean, over half the population says they more or less support it or support its message. And what people are thinking is extremely interesting. I mean, overwhelmingly, polls reveal that people are extremely bitter, angry, hostile, opposed to everything.

The primary cause undoubtedly is the economic disaster. It’s not just a financial catastrophe, it’s an economic disaster. I mean, in manufacturing industry, for example, unemployment levels are at the level of the Great Depression. And unlike the Great Depression, those jobs are not coming back. U.S. owners and managers have long ago made the decision that they can make more profit with complicated financial deals than by production. …

It destroys the society here, but that’s not the concern of the ownership class and the managerial class. Their concern is profit. That’s what drives the economy. And the rest of it is a fallout. People are extremely bitter about it but don’t seem to understand it. So, the same people who are a majority, who say that Wall Street is to blame for the current crisis, are voting Republican. Both parties are deep in the pockets of Wall Street, but the Republicans much more so than the Democrats. And the same is true on issue after issue. So the antagonism to everyone is extremely high. Actually, antagonism—they don’t like—population doesn’t like Democrats, but they hate Republicans even more. They’re against big business. They’re against government. They’re against Congress. They’re against science.

Chomsky’s analysis of the Tea Party is highly illuminating.  The hardcore Teabaggers represent perhaps a fifth of the population, but a solid half seems to at least approve of their message.  At its foundation, the Tea Party movement is nothing more than an abstract, objectless anger.  People are bitterly enraged over the state of our society, but they are unable to articulate precisely what – or who – infuriates them.

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Noam Chomsky: U.S. and Israel the Greatest Perceived Threats to the Middle East

Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now!:

“…the main significance of the cables that have been released so far is what they tell us about Western leadership. So, Hillary Clinton and Binyamin Netanyahu surely know of the careful polls of Arab public opinion. The Brookings Institute just a few months ago released extensive polls of what Arabs think about Iran. And the results are rather striking. They show that Arab opinion does—holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that’s 80 percent; the second major threat is the United States, that’s 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent. With regard to nuclear weapons, rather remarkably, a majority, in fact, 57 percent, say that the region will be—it would have a positive effect in the region if Iran had nuclear weapons. Now, these are not small numbers. Eighty percent, 77 percent say that the U.S. and Israel are the major threat. Ten percent say that Iran is the major threat.

Now, this may not be reported in the newspapers here—it is in England—but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and the U.S. governments and to the ambassadors. But there isn’t a word about it anywhere. What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership and, of course, the Israeli political leadership. These things aren’t even to be mentioned. And this seeps its way all through the diplomatic service. So the cables don’t have any indication of that…”

And the money quote, when asked about some particularly unscrupulous behavior by the U.S. with regards to Hamas:

“That should not come as much of a surprise. Contrary to the image that’s portrayed here, the United States is not an honest broker.”

Chomsky’s assertion here, although intended specifically for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, seems to apply more broadly to everything that Wikileaks has revealed thus far.  We now have documentary evidence to support what most knowledgeable people have long surmised – namely, that United States government and its representatives act according to their own interests and not those of the common citizen.  Chomsky’s citation of the poll which revealed the United States and as Israel as being the greatest perceived threat in the region, along with the failure of any of the diplomatic cables to acknowledge this reality, highlight that our government representatives are operating in a world completely detached from the concerns of ordinary plebes.

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