Friday, December 10, 2010

"Some News, It Seems, Is Just A Little Too Big To Cover"?

In light of President Obama's latest cavein to the monied interests who run the country in order to get a few (but not many really important) sops for the rest of US, we turn to Russ Baker's take on exactly what has been going on for a very long time. And how Obama has revealed himself to be the wrong guy to make any real changes. Obama's latest obligatory nod to power will have finally achieved what these folks have been looking forward to since the first efforts to defeat Roosevelt's New Deal programs: the destruction of Social Security. (Emphasis marks and some editing added - Ed.)

One President's Secrets — and the Media that Keeps Them

December 8, 2010 There’s still a striking double standard between the way the big American media treat American officials and foreigners. Let’s compare Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former President George H.W. Bush.

Have a look at a recent New York Times article [1] about Putin’s response to leaked diplomatic cables that cast him in a negative light.

Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin [2] responded Wednesday to criticism of Russia [3] revealed in United States diplomatic cables published by the Web site WikiLeaks [4], warning Washington not to interfere in Russian domestic affairs.

His comments, made in an interview broadcast Wednesday night on CNN’s “Larry King [5] Live,” referred to a cable that said “Russian democracy has disappeared” and that described the government as “an oligarchy run by the security services,” a statement attributed to the American defense secretary, Robert M. Gates [6].

Mr. Putin said in the interview that Mr. Gates had been “deeply misled.” Asked about a cable that described President Dmitri A. Medvedev [7] as “playing Robin to Putin’s Batman,” he said the author had “aimed to slander one of us.”

The next paragraph is of particular interest here:

Mr. King, whose program is carried on CNN’s channels around the world, has long had a reputation for softball questions. So Mr. Putin’s decision to appear on the program allowed his voice to be heard both in the United States and abroad while avoiding being challenged on contentious topics like his own grip on power and the limits on human rights and free speech in Russia.

How often does The Times go after King for “softball questions?” Well, let’s have a look. King recently interviewed former president George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara. How did the Times cover it? Just a short item in its blog, The Caucus, about a recent appearance by the elder Bushes with the suspender-clad host:

Barbara Bush, the former first lady, got in one of her ever-so-genteel digs at Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska. In a CNN interview [8]to be broadcast on Larry King tonight, Ms. Bush said of Ms. Palin, “I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she’s very happy in Alaska.” She then added the zinger: “And I hope she’ll stay there.”

This is basically gossip. But there are plenty of serious questions, also based on documents, that should be directed, if not at Barbara Bush, then at her husband. Why has neither Larry King, the New York Times or any other corporate-owned news source bothered to ask this former president the following questions?

- Why did you claim, years ago, not to remember where you were on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963? Have you since been able to recall?

- Can you tell us about your longstanding friendship with George de Mohrenschildt, the man who was in and out of Lee Harvey Oswald’s house on almost a daily basis in the year before the Kennedy assassination?

- Did you, as characterized in an FBI memo, work as a CIA officer in tandem with Cuban exiles at the time of the Kennedy assassination?

- Why have you never spoken publicly about the documented call you made to the FBI on Nov 22, 1963, in which you identified yourself fully and claimed to have information on a possible suspect in Kennedy’s death? What was the purpose of that call, in which you mentioned your whereabouts at the time of the call, 1:45pm, as Tyler, Texas, i.e. about 99 miles away but just a short flight on the private plane on which you were traveling? Why did you tell the FBI that you were en route next to Dallas and would stay at the Sheraton there when you had already been at the Sheraton the night before — and right after that call flew to Dallas but only to switch planes and fly back immediately to Houston? Why were you giving the FBI the impression you would be staying in Dallas the night after the assassination instead of letting them know you had stayed there the night before the assassination?

- Why was your own assistant at the home of the man you would finger as a suspect in the shooting, and why did he end up providing the man with an alibi? Was the ultimate purpose of that call not to cause the alleged suspect any permanent harm, but merely to use the “tip” as an excuse to state in government files that you were in a place other than Dallas?

- Since you claimed not to remember where you were when Kennedy was killed, how is it that after these FBI memos surfaced in the 1990s, your wife Barbara suddenly found and published what is purported to be an old contemporaneous letter written at the moment of the assassination, placing you and her in Tyler Texas shortly after the shooting?

- On the day of the assassination, were you in touch with your friend and Republican running mate Jack Crichton, a military intelligence figure who was connected to figures forcing their way into the pilot car of Kennedy’s motorcade? The same Crichton who controlled the man who served as the interpreter between Oswald’s wife and police and reframed her words so as to implicate Oswald in Kennedy’s shooting? The same Crichton who was working out of a secret underground communications bunker below the streets of Dallas? The same Crichton whose secret military intelligence unit counted dozens of men who simultaneously held jobs as Dallas police officers? The same Crichton who did secret oil industry intelligence work in the Middle East while you did intelligence related oil industry work via your company, Zapata Offshore?

- What about the fact trail suggesting that, just like Vladimir Putin, you spent a lifetime in covert operations  —  but unlike Putin, you have not admitted that? That as far back as the early 1950s, your small but hyperactive company, Zapata Offshore, appears to have been commercial cover for super-secret ops?

These matters are extensively documented, and source materials footnoted, in the pages of my book Family of Secrets - a book provided to The Times and to shows like King’s. Yet while the allegations about Putin in the Wikileaks documents can be raised (and King criticized for not taking them on), these outfits seem unwilling to apply the same scrutiny to a living former US president who is treated with nothing but deference.

How ironic that the Times piece, and the Wikileaks document, cite Robert Gates calling Russia “an oligarchy run by the security services.”

Who is Robert Gates? A security service lifer, protégé of long standing of George H.W. Bush, himself, scion of the American oligarchy. Gates, CIA director for HW Bush, and defense secretary for another scion of the American oligarchy, George W. Bush, and — for some reason never properly articulated, retained in that position by the Democratic “reformer” Barack Obama.

Step back for a moment and consider how hard it is for President Obama to institute changes in taxation that benefit struggling ordinary Americans while asking a bit more of the wealthiest and most privileged people in this country.

Some news, it seems, is just a little too big to cover.

P.S. If you thought we might ever regain an international reputation for a free, unbought Judiciary . . . . Tom Harper at Who Hijacked Our Country? disabuses us of that notion with the facts (emphasis marks added - Ed.).
Our “Independent” Judiciary

First it was Dick Cheney and Justice Scalia going on a duck hunting trip, which led to a Supreme Court ruling that was very favorable to Dick Cheney. Well, before that, of course, the Supreme Court had SELECTED George W. Bush over Al Gore; and this had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that George W. Bush’s father had appointed two of those Supreme Court justices.

And now, a corporate foundation called FREE (Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment) has been wining and dining federal judges. During a luxury vacation of horseback riding and God knows what else, these federal judges are “educated” and “advised” on how to make environmental rulings that are beneficial to the VIPs who have just wined and dined them.

FREE is funded by — among others — Exxon, Texaco, the Koch Brothers, General Electric, Monsanto and Shell. And FREE’s board of directors includes three U.S. Court of Appeals judges: Edith Clement of the Fifth Circuit, and Alice Batchelder and Danny Boggs of the Sixth Circuit. (Disgraced former Attorney General Ed Meese is also on the board of directors, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.)

After a fun-filled weekend, courtesy of Monsanto and Big Oil, these judges will return to the bench and make objective rulings. “That vacation cabin had the best view of the Rockies I’ve ever seen. Lobster, smoked venison, 18-year-old single malt Scotch — those oil execs sure know how to party. OK, what’s next on the docket — Exxon versus some treehugger…”Didn’t this used to be called bribery? Jury tampering?

Go read more of Tom's reporting here. Courtesy of Watergate Summer we have an opportunity to listen to Bernie Sanders speaking on the Floor of the Senate about the war being waged by the wealthy on the middle class, and how this latest from Obama plays into the hands of those waging that war on the side of the top 2% of the population. You are cheating yourself if you don't listen to his fine speech. He rings the fire bell loudly. Who will heed? ". . . 1980 to 2005, 80% of all new income created in this country went to the top 1%." "give over a ten-year period $700 Billion dollars in tax breaks to the top 2%." "people who earn more than 1 million dollars a year or more get $100,000 in tax breaks." "If we eliminate completely the estate tax, every nickel of benefits go to the top three-tenths of one percent and would cost us a Trillion dollars over the next ten years." " . . . my wife and I went shopping the other day and virtually every product we looked at to buy was made in China - where people are paid fifty cents an hour . . . and people here want to expand our disastrous trade policies, which have resulted in the loss of millions of good-paying jobs . . . with these countries." " and how can we fight the deficit and give tax breaks to billionaires? We can rescind or slow down the provisions of the financial reform bill and . . . cut back on health care, education, child care, food stamps, unemployment compensation . . . they fund the campaigns, they get back what's due them." I love Bernie Sanders. He's a real American hero. Want to hear what Bernie Sanders thinks of Ben Bernanke? You'll love this! It's a doozie. Let's end with one of my favorites as our guy, outgoing and just defeated by Rethugs, Congressman Alan Grayson puts the facts to Bernanke and draws out some surprising information about the half of a Trillion dollars lent abroad by the Fed, which Bernanke says received its approval for this loan back in 1913 when it was first implemented. Yes, there was laughter in the room at this facile (and quick!) explanation of exactly where the money went (er, but he refused to say - yes, he did!). Happy Holidays! Suzan ______________

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