Puppet MastersS


Bad Guys

Buying the Presidency: The Right-Wing Billionaires Behind Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney
© Mario Tama/Getty Images Mitt Romney addresses members of the press on his campaign's private plane enroute to Washington, DC.
They're trying to buy a presidency - and they expect a big payoff on their investment

Presidential politics has always been a rich man's game. But now, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United that upended decades of limits on campaign donations, financing a presidential race is the exclusive domain of the kind of megadonor whose portfolios make Mitt Romney look middle-class. "I have lots of money, and can give it legally now," Texas billionaire and top GOP moneyman Harold Simmons recently bragged to The Wall Street Journal. "Just never to Democrats."

In past elections, big donors like Simmons gave millions for advocacy groups like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. By law, such groups were only allowed to run issue ads - but instead they directly targeted John Kerry, drawing big fines from the Federal Elections Commission. Now, with the blessing of the Supreme Court, the wealthy can legally hand out unlimited sums to groups that openly campaign for a candidate, knowing that their "dark money" donations will be kept entirely secret. The billionaire Koch brothers, for instance, have reportedly pledged $60 million to defeat President Obama this year - but their off-the-book contributions don't appear in any FEC filings.

Newspaper

Best of the Web: Correspondence and collusion between the New York Times and the CIA

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© @marieharf, via TwitterCIA spokeswoman Marie Harf told New York Times national security reporter Mark Mazzetti to 'keep me posted' about a forthcoming Maureen Dowd column; he obliged.
Mark Mazzetti's emails with the CIA expose the degradation of journalism that has lost the imperative to be a check to power

The rightwing transparency group, Judicial Watch, released Tuesday a new batch of documents showing how eagerly the Obama administration shoveled information to Hollywood film-makers about the Bin Laden raid. Obama officials did so to enable the production of a politically beneficial pre-election film about that "heroic" killing, even as administration lawyers insisted to federal courts and media outlets that no disclosure was permissible because the raid was classified.

Thanks to prior disclosures from Judicial Watch of documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, this is old news. That's what the Obama administration chronically does: it manipulates secrecy powers to prevent accountability in a court of law, while leaking at will about the same programs in order to glorify the president.

But what is news in this disclosure are the newly released emails between Mark Mazzetti, the New York Times's national security and intelligence reporter, and CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf. The CIA had evidently heard that Maureen Dowd was planning to write a column on the CIA's role in pumping the film-makers with information about the Bin Laden raid in order to boost Obama's re-election chances, and was apparently worried about how Dowd's column would reflect on them. On 5 August 2011 (a Friday night), Harf wrote an email to Mazzetti with the subject line: "Any word??", suggesting, obviously, that she and Mazzetti had already discussed Dowd's impending column and she was expecting an update from the NYT reporter.

Eye 1

US is the Worst Police State in the World - By the Numbers

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'Super Max Prison' in florence Colorado
There's no getting around the fact that the United States is the Mother of All Police States. China can't compete in the incarceration business. With four times the U.S. population, it imprisons only 70 percent as many people - about the same number as the non-white prison population of the U.S. Even worse, 80,000 U.S. inmates undergo the torture of solitary confinement on any given day.

When U.S. corporate media operatives use the term "police state," they invariably mean some other country. Even the so-called "liberal" media, from Democracy Now to the MSNBC menagerie, cannot bring themselves to say "police state" and the "United States" without putting the qualifying words "like" or "becoming" in the middle. The U.S. is behaving "like" a police state, they say, or the U.S. is in danger of "becoming" a police state. But it is never a police state. Since these privileged speakers and writers are not themselves in prison - because what they write and say represents no actual danger to the state - they conclude that a U.S. police state does not, at this time, exist.

Considering the sheer size and social penetration of its police and imprisonment apparatus, the United States is not only a police state, but the biggest police state in the world, by far: the police state against whose dimensions all other police systems on Earth must be measured.

Bad Guys

Exposing the Lies: The Federal Bailout That Saved Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney
© Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images
Government documents prove the candidate's mythology is just that

Mitt Romney likes to say he won't "apologize" for his success in business. But what he never says is "thank you" - to the American people - for the federal bailout of Bain & Company that made so much of his outsize wealth possible.

According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."

In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster - leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC - the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers - out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds.

Eye 1

Best of the Web: Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

mitt romney
© Rolling Stone / Robert Grossman
How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs - and stuck others with the bill

The great criticism of Mitt Romney, from both sides of the aisle, has always been that he doesn't stand for anything. He's a flip-flopper, they say, a lightweight, a cardboard opportunist who'll say anything to get elected.

The critics couldn't be more wrong. Mitt Romney is no tissue-paper man. He's closer to being a revolutionary, a backward-world version of Che or Trotsky, with tweezed nostrils instead of a beard, a half-Windsor instead of a leather jerkin. His legendary flip-flops aren't the lies of a bumbling opportunist - they're the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he's trying for something big: We've just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we've been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

Evil Rays

Public Schools Use RFID Chips to Track and Punish Students For Pre-Crime

fun barcode

In the San Antonio school district, the Student Locator Project (SLP) is being beta-tested at Jay High School and Jones Middle School - two schools in the Northside district. The SLP includes the use of radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to "make schools safer, know where our students are while at school, increase revenues, and provide a general purpose 'smart' ID card."

In order to check out school library books, register for classes, pay for school lunches, the "smart" ID card is being employed to trace and track students and their movements on campuses all across America. By using leverage of educators to coerce school districts to adopt this method of tracking students, the argument for the use of the RFID technology is campus safety, efficient registration, and food and library programs.

In Austin, Texas, collaboration with the Global Positioning System (GPS) and RFID technology is being used to deter students from skipping classes. In fact, those students having a negative record with the school they attend are being targeted to be under surveillance.

An estimated 1,700 students have already been pledged to the program with parental permission. These students are assigned a "mentor" who oversees the actions of the students and to whom the students must contact on a weekly basis to report to. This is reminiscent of having a parole officer for student who have not committed a crime, yet are being touted as pre-criminals.

USA

Suppressing Freedom and Democracy: US arms sales triple in one year


According to recent reports, the US leads the globe in weapons sales. In 2011, arms deals tripled to a record high resulting in over $66 billion in revenue. In the global market, the US accounts for 79 percent of weapons sales with most of the clientele being in the Persian Gulf. So how did America become the number one sales dealer worldwide? Anthony Shaffer, with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, joins us with his take on the sales of arms.

War Whore

US-led airstrike kills 12 Afghan villagers

breaking news
At least 12 civilians have been killed in an airstrike carried out by the US-led forces in a village in Afghanistan's Ghor province,Press TV reports.

Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in the US-led operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming increasingly outraged at the seemingly endless number of the deadly assaults.

The issue of civilian casualties in Afghanistan is highly sensitive and has been a major source of friction between President Hamid Karzai and the United States.

Bad Guys

Ayatollah Khamenei Denounces UN Security Council's 'Flagrant Dictatorship' During NAM Summit

Khamenei
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei at the opening ceremony of the 16th summit of the No-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the Iranian capital, Tehran, August 30, 2012
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the US and its allies abuse the "illogical, unjust and completely undemocratic" structure of the UN Security Council to impose their bullying on the world.

"This is a flagrant form of dictatorship, which is antiquated and obsolete and whose expiry date has passed," Ayatollah Khamenei said during an inaugural speech to the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran on Thursday.

The Leader added that the US and its accomplices protect the interests of the West in the name of "human rights", interfere militarily in other countries in the name of "democracy" and target defenseless people in villages and cities with their bombs and weapons in the name of "combating terrorism".

Ayatollah Khamenei said torture and assassination are condoned if they are carried out by the US, the Israeli regime and their puppets.

Vader

World in Transition to New International Order: Ayatollah Khamenei

Khamenei
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the policies of the Cold War era and the subsequent unilateralism have failed, stressing that a new order is taking shape throughout the world.

"In the recent past, we have been witness to the failure of the policies of the Cold War era and the unilateralism that followed it. Having learnt lessons from this historical experience, the world is in transition towards a new international order and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) can and should play a new role," the Leader said in an inaugural speech to the 16th NAM summit in Tehran on Thursday.

The Leader added that the new world order should be based on the "participation of all nations and equal rights for all of them."

Ayatollah Khamenei underlined solidarity among all NAM member states as an "obvious necessity" in the current era for establishing this new order.