Sunday, February 28, 2010


Since 2007, at least 75 registered lobbyists, public relations
representatives and corporate officials have appeared on cable news
broadcasts "with no disclosure of the corporate interests that paid them,"
reports the Nation magazine.

Many of these people are "paid by companies and trade groups to manage
their public image and promote their financial and political interests,"
writes Sebastian Jones.

For example, Tom Ridge, identified as the former governor of Pennsylvania,
appeared on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews urging the White House to
"create nuclear power plants." What viewers were not told, though, is that
Ridge since 2005 has pocketed $530,659 in executive compensation for
serving on the board of Exelon, the nation's biggest nuclear power company.

On the same day, last Dec. 4th, retired general Barry McCaffrey, told
MSNBC viewers the war in Afghanistan would require a three-to-ten-year
effort and "a lot of money." Unmentioned, Jones says, was the fact DynCorp
paid McCaffrey $182,309 in 2009 alone and that DynCorp has a five-year,
$5.9 billion deal to aid U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Jones describes MSNBC as "the cable network with the most egregious
instances of airing guests with conflicts of interest." He notes, "Only on
MSNBC was a prime-time program, Countdown, hosted by public relations
operative Richard Wolffe and later by a pharmaceutical company consultant,
former Governor Howard Dean, with no mention of the outside work either
man was engaged in. And MSNBC has yet to introduce DynCorp's Barry
McCaffrey as anything but a 'military analyst.'"

Moreover, last January 22nd, MSNBC's Morning Joe audience saw Mark Penn,
identified only as a Clinton administration pollster, suggest the Obama
administration put healthcare reform on ice. Unmentioned, says Jones, was
"Penn's role as worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller, which has an entire
healthcare division devoted to helping clients like Eli Lilly and Pfizer
'create and manage perceptions that deliver positive business results.'"

Jones reports that what transpires on MSNBC also occurs on Fox News, Fox
Business Network, CNN and CNBC. During a Sept. 18 Fox News appearance to
discuss Sarah Palin, Bernard Whitman, president of Whitman Insight
Strategies---whose clients include marketing/PR firms like Ogilvy &
Mather---lambasted Sen. John McCain for proposing to "Let AIG fail,"
saying his position demonstrated "just how little he understands the
global economy today." Whitman's work for AIG was not mentioned.



Demonstrating his high skill at rotating three and a half times on key
issues, Barack Obama has signed an extension on the Patriot Act. Here, in his own words, is where he was on the issue in 2005:

"This is legislation that puts our own Justice Department above the law...When National Security Letters are issued, they allow federal agents to conduct any search on any American, no matter how extensive or wide-ranging, without ever going before a judge to prove that the search is necessary. They simply need sign-off from a local FBI official. That's all."

"And if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document - through library books they've read and phone calls they've made, this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law."

"No judge will hear their plea, no jury will hear their case. This is just plain wrong."

Apparently this wasn't the guy for the job, folks. Starting to look a little clearer, isn't it?


Sam Smith

One of the scariest things about living in America these days is how few -
especially in government and the media - seem to care about the things
that used to define the place.

Thus there is hardly a murmur as the Senate approves by a voice vote the
extension of the despicable Patriot Act or when Bush and Obama wreck the
Fourth Amendment or as the latter increasingly treats the U.S. like a
corporation he has taken over in a merger deal - with those who used to be
considered citizens now just employees wondering how much longer they'll
have a job.

What we have now is a silent surrender. No terrorists, no war, no
revolution, just incremental capitulation led by those supposed to guard
our rights and our freedoms.

A case in point is the mandatory mandate in the Democrat's health plan.
The idea that the government can order how you spend your money in the
private sector is unprecedented. No, auto insurance is not a parallel,
since you don't have to drive a car on a public road. You do, - if you
want to be human, that is - have to live.

There is one reason for this extraordinary plan: to avoid having to admit
that the government would be raising taxes. In fact, the mandate is a tax
on some of those least able to pay it and it would be one of the great tax
increases in American history.

To understand the madness, consider that if the government can order you
to pay a badly administered, fiscally irresponsible, avaricious
corporation for some health insurance, that same government could order
you to buy a computer for each of your children so they will be properly
educated or purchase a condo for your aged parents. It could even close
all public schools and fire stations and require you to pay tuition to
corporate beneficiaries of its plan.

But the greatest madness is that no one is talking about this. Once again,
as we have done so often in recent years, we are simply giving up our
rights because there is no one in power to tell us what is really going on.