Puppet MastersS


Gear

No Joke: UK Anti-Satire Law Means Daily Show's Parliament Coverage Is Banned In England

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One of the nice things about having a Bill of Rights is that it specifically lays out freedoms given to the people and the press. The U.S. Constitution declares that freedom of speech and freedom of the press can never be infringed upon. Unfortunately, if you live in a nation where this is not clearly stated, you can legally censor media outlets without fear or repercussion.

Like all good stories about political satire, this one involves none other than "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. In England, if you want to watch the program, you can either catch it online or watch the televised "international edition." This edition of "The Daily Show" airs once a week, and is comprised of the best segments of the previous week's shows. So naturally, when segments were being chosen for this week's installment, one of the highlights was the show's coverage of Rupert Murdoch's testimony before Parliament last week on allegations of phone hacking taking place at News Corp. tabloids.

Whistle

US: Obama's Whistleblower War Suffers Two Defeats

The Obama administration's unprecedented war on whistleblowers suffered two serious and well-deserved defeats. The first occurred in the prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was accused of multiple acts of espionage, only for the DOJ to drop virtually all of the charges right before the trial was to begin and enter into a plea agreement for one minor misdemeanor. Today, The Washington Post -- under the headline "Judge blasts prosecution of alleged NSA leaker" -- reports that the federal judge presiding over the case "harshly criticized U.S. prosecutors' treatment of a former spy agency official accused of leaking classified material."

As the transcript of Drake's sentencing hearing published by Secrecy News reflects, Judge Richard Bennett of the U.S. District Court for Maryland was infuriated by two aspects of the DOJ's conduct: (1) after the Bush DOJ executed a search warrant of Drake's home in 2007, the Obama DOJ -- 2 1/2 years later -- finally indicted him, meaning he had to live with that cloud of criminal uncertainty over his head for that outrageously lengthy period of time; and (2) despite dropping all of the serious charges right before the trial was about to begin, the DOJ demanded that Drake be forced to pay a $50,000 fine as "a deterrent" (on top of the tens of thousands of dollars he spent in legal fees until he had no money left and had to use public defenders, as well as the fact that he was five years away from earning a federal pension when he was fired and ended up working at an Apple Computer store to support his family); to justify the requested fine, the prosecutor cited a $10,000 whistleblowing prize Drake was awarded earlier this year.

Star of David

Israeli settlers torch Palestinian trees

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Israeli settlers set olive trees on fire in the village of Burin in West Bank, 29 July, 2011.
Israeli settlers have set olive trees in the West Bank village of Burin on fire, in another attempt to target a key product of the Palestinian economy.

On Friday, settlers torched the trees and later Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at the fire trucks attempting to reach the scene, witnesses said.

The Palestinian Authority affairs official Ghassan Doughlas explained that the fire raged throughout the day as firefighters were unable to arrive at the scene, Ma'an News Agency reported.

Witnesses further said that the clashes between Israelis and the villagers erupted as the Israeli soldiers began firing rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said the soldiers had only used "regular riot dispersal means" to put an end to the clashes, stressing that they had not used live ammunition.

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: The Essential Rules Of Tyranny

Rules of Tyranny
© Alt-Market.com

As we look back on the horrors of the dictatorships and autocracies of the past, one particular question consistently arises; how was it possible for the common men of these eras to NOT notice what was happening around them? How could they have stood as statues unaware or uncaring as their cultures were overrun by fascism, communism, collectivism, and elitism? Of course, we have the advantage of hindsight, and are able to research and examine the misdeeds of the past at our leisure. Unfortunately, such hindsight does not necessarily shield us from the long cast shadow of tyranny in our own day. For that, the increasingly uncommon gift of foresight is required...

At bottom, the success of despotic governments and Big Brother societies hinges upon a certain number of political, financial, and cultural developments. The first of which is an unwillingness in the general populace to secure and defend their own freedoms, making them completely reliant on corrupt establishment leadership. For totalitarianism to take hold, the masses must not only neglect the plight of their country, and the plight of others, but also be completely uninformed of the inherent indirect threats to their personal safety. They must abandon all responsibility for their destinies, and lose all respect for their own humanity. They must, indeed, become domesticated and mindless herd animals without regard for anything except their fleeting momentary desires for entertainment and short term survival. For a lumbering bloodthirsty behemoth to actually sneak up on you, you have to be pretty damnably oblivious.

The prevalence of apathy and ignorance sets the stage for the slow and highly deliberate process of centralization. Once dishonest governments accomplish an atmosphere of inaction and condition a sense of frailty within the citizenry, the sky is truly the limit. However, a murderous power-monger's day is never quite done. In my recent article 'The Essential Rules of Liberty' we explored the fundamentally unassailable actions and mental preparations required to ensure the continuance of a free society. In this article, let's examine the frequently wielded tools of tyrants in their invariably insane quests for total control...

Bad Guys

US: Who Are The Extremists?

"Deficits mean future tax increases, pure and simple. Deficit spending should be viewed as a tax on future generations, and politicians who create deficits should be exposed as tax hikers." - Ron Paul
The Extremists?
© The Burning Platform
The Debt Ceiling Reality Show approaches its grand finale in the next week. The world breathlessly awaits the shocking conclusion. The debt ceiling will be raised. The world will be saved. Wall Street will rejoice. Americans can focus on the important stuff again, like Casey Anthony's upcoming book, who will win this week's Toddlers and Tiaras pageant, and the latest app created for their iPads. Based on my observations over the last few weeks, I'm absolutely sure that 90% of the politicians in Washington DC would lose on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

Still, the mainstream media and the performing puppet politicians need to create a fearful frenzy among the masses to insure maximum public relations exposure for their lies, misinformation, and mistruths. Wall Street will exert their control over the debate by threatening to crash the market if they don't get what they want (aka TARP). I generally ignore the talking heads on Fox, MSNBC, CNN, and CNBC, as I could learn more from watching Cash Cab than listening to ideologues spouting their talking points. But, last night I happened to see an hour or so of Fox, CNN and MSNBC. I saw the full spectrum of right wing and left wing rhetoric and fear mongering. These stations should be ashamed to call themselves news organizations. They do not even purport to report the news. They spew talking points generated by the left and right, depending on the station's bias. Truth is unavailable on the mainstream media.

What the public doesn't see is the rooms filled with PR maggots in the bowels of Congress generating talking points and testing them in over night polls of the public. Their sole purpose is to generate a message that will convince the public the fiscal debacle is the fault of the other party. The goal is to gain an advantage in the next elections. The long term future of our country is unimportant to the soulless autobots that get paid to misinform and mislead the masses. Leaving unborn generations with an un-payable debt so we can selfishly cling to benefits promised to us by corrupt politicians who only made the promises so they could be elected, is the ultimate in egocentric myopia.

Bad Guys

'Land Grabs Threaten Africa Food Security'

Land Grab
© Seed Daily
Large land grabs by foreign countries and corporate entities are endangering food security in sub-Saharan Africa, an area already under pressure from famine, drought and endemic conflict, the State of the World 2011 report said.

The report didn't outright oppose large land transactions, reported both in Africa and Latin America but called for "fairer deals" to ensure better opportunities for African farming communities marginalized by the transactions.

Hundreds of millions of dollars of international investor funds, including hedge and pension funds, are known to have gone into the massive land deals on the two continents.

Unless properly managed, large-scale land acquisitions by foreign governments and firms could trigger "xenophobia, riots, coups and more hunger," the report warned.

Gear

And No One Finds It Interesting and Highly Suspicious? Mystery Surrounds Loss of Records, Art on 9/11

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© AP Photo/National September 11 Memorial & MuseumIn this undated photo provided by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, a damaged photographer's proof sheet, with photos of William DeCosta, the aviation Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is shown. The document was found by a recovery worker a few blocks away from ground zero and he eventually traced it to DeCosta, who continued to work for the Port Authority until his death about 2 years ago. Besides ending nearly 3,000 lives, destroying planes and reducing buildings to tons of rubble and ash, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks destroyed tens of thousands of records, irreplaceable historical documents and art.
Letters written by Helen Keller. Forty-thousand photographic negatives of John F. Kennedy taken by the president's personal cameraman. Sculptures by Alexander Calder and Auguste Rodin. The 1921 agreement that created the agency that built the World Trade Center.

Besides ending nearly 3,000 lives, destroying planes and reducing buildings to tons of rubble and ash, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks destroyed tens of thousands of records, irreplaceable historical documents and art.

In some cases, the inventories were destroyed along with the records. And the loss of human life at the time overshadowed the search for lost paper. A decade later, dozens of agencies and archivists say they're still not completely sure what they lost or found, leaving them without much of a guide to piece together missing history.

Eye 2

Norway Attacks Expose U.S. Media's Double Standard on "Terrorism"

Numerous news outlets and commentators initially blamed the attacks in Norway on Islamic militants. Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper, The Sun, ran a front-page headline that read, "'Al-Qaeda' Massacre: Norway's 9/11." In the United States, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal also initially blamed "jihadists," reporting that "Norway is targeted for being true to Western norms." Meanwhile, on the Washington Post's website, Jennifer Rubin wrote, "This is a sobering reminder for those who think it's too expensive to wage a war against jihadists." To discuss the media coverage of the attacks, we're joined by Glenn Greenwald, constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger who has written about the media coverage of the attacks in Norway for Salon.com. "When it became apparent that Muslims were not involved and that, in reality, it was a right-wing nationalist with extremely anti-Muslim, strident anti-Muslim bigotry as part of his worldview, the word 'terrorism' almost completely disappeared from establishment media discourse. Instead, he began to be referred to as a 'madman' or an 'extremist,'" says Greenwald. "It really underscores, for me, the fact that this word 'terrorism,' that plays such a central role in our political discourse and our law, really has no objective meaning. It's come to mean nothing more than Muslims who engage in violence."


Dollar

Max Keiser: 'America will lose its sovereignty'

us debt
© opposingviews.com
The countdown to armadebtdon carries on and we are just 3 days away from the debt ceiling deadline. If a discussion is not reached will the US lose its AAA rating? The problem is we are not taking in enough revenue to continue spending like we are. Max Keiser of Keiser Report gives us his insight on what that means to the US.

Bad Guys

US debt crisis: Wall Street warns feuding politicians

NYSE
© Lucas Jackson/REUTERSDifficult days: a flag flies outside the New York Stock Exchange building in New York.
Chief executives of major banks write to the White House warning that failure to break deadlock would be 'very grave'

Wall Street's stark message to President Barack Obama on Thursday was that failure to end the war between Democrats and Republicans over US debt would smash business confidence, cripple the economy and send financial markets plunging.

Chief executives of all the major banks wrote to the White House warning that a continued deadlock over raising the debt ceiling "would be very grave".

With the 2 August deadline rapidly approaching and a vote in the House of Representatives scheduled on Thursday night, the bankers said they wanted to see "meaningful and concrete steps to put our nation on a sound fiscal footing".

The warning from Wall Street came amid renewed concerns over the fate of the eurozone, with bond yields in Italy and Spain back to the levels seen before the debt package for struggling members of the single currency was agreed a week ago and Cyprus starting to look like the next country in need of a bailout.

Signed by Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, the letter said: "Our economic recovery remains very fragile. A default on our obligations, or a downgrade on America's credit rating, would be a tremendous blow to investor confidence - raising interest rates for everyone who borrows, undermining the value of the dollar and roiling stock and bond markets - and, therefore, dramatically worsening our nation's already difficult economic circumstances."