Archive | January 2017

Anatomy of a Piece of Domestic American Propaganda


On January 18, the New York Times published a piece by Scott Shane titled “From Headline to Photograph, a Fake News Masterpiece.”

The piece might have been given the title of this post or “Anatomy of a Piece of Complete Fiction”–with an ironic tip of the hat to the novelist Robert Traver (the pseudonym of Michigan Supreme Court Justice John Voelker) and film director Otto Preminger.

What is remarkable about the story that Shane reports is that it involves no one directly associated with the Trump campaign or administration, but it showcases the very troubling implications of the increasing promulgation of and acceptance of “alternative facts” and “fake news.”

Moreover, it demonstrates how the creation—literally–of such “facts” and “news” can be a way to establish political credentials—and that, at least in the current environment, not even the national exposure of this dubious sort of self-promotion may be professionally damaging in…

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Statistics of the Day: Politics-Related


What is being lost in the discussion of the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and our trade deficit with Mexico is that a very large portion of what we are importing from Mexico is made by American corporations:


A very large percentage of the first through third and the sixth categories of goods that we import from Mexico are being manufactured in Mexican plants owned by U.S. corporations.

This movement of U.S. corporations to Mexico is reflected in the investment imbalance between the two nations:


So, the 20% tariff on goods imported into the U.S. from Mexico, which is being floated as a way to force Mexico to pay for the proposed wall along the border, will largely be a tax on goods manufactured by U.S. corporations that will now cost U.S. consumers 20% more if they wish to purchase them.

So, to put this very clearly, the displaced…

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Being Wrong on Being Right


This short piece titled “Trump Is Right!” has been posted to the libertarian blog Notes on Liberty by Edwin van de Haar:

“It is easy to emphasize all that is bad about the new American President. For sure, I think he is a clown who will do a few bad things to the US and the world at large. His protectionist agenda is of course a libertarian nightmare, which will also make the people who elected him worse off. Still, the US President is not a dictator, so some trust in the institutions and the actors that fill them still seems appropriate.

“Trump is also plainly right on a number of issues. Foremost, his plea (also in yesterday’s inaugural address) for the partners of the USA, especially in NATO, to contribute in equal measure. . . .

“He is also right in pointing out that many US foreign interventions have been a disaster. …

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Journalists Arrested for Covering Inauguration Unrest


This is an “alert” issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Authorities in Washington D.C. should drop rioting charges against at least three journalists arrested while covering protests on the day of the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Police arrested Evan Engel, a senior producer at the news website Vocativ, and Alex Rubinstein, a reporter with the Russian state-funded broadcaster RT America, near 12th and L streets in downtown Washington the morning of January 20, according to London’s Guardian newspaper. Police also arrested Aaron Cantu, a freelance journalist who has written for The Bafflerthe website Truthout, and Al-Jazeera, according to police reports reviewed by CPJ.

The reporters were among more than 230 people arrested in Washington on Inauguration Day after individuals set fire to a car and broke windows of downtown businesses, according to reports

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Image of the Day: Let the Men Decide


President Trump has signed an executive order reinstating President Reagan’s so-called “Mexico City Policy.” Writing for Huffington Post, Amanda Terkel summarizes the order as follows: also known as the global gag rule, which was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It prohibits giving U.S. funding to international nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise on a wide range of family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortion―even if U.S. dollars are not specifically used for abortion-related services.”

The signing ceremony was so male-dominated that in itself it reinforced the charge that women’s interests and women’s rights were being casually dismissed as irrelevant. In fact, I have been able to find only one press photo that includes even a single woman, and she is so on the periphery of the shot that she has been cropped out of many of the published versions of the…

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Image of the Day: Media Coverage of the Women’s Marches



The CNN panel is even worse than the gender ratios industry-wide:

7 Divided media landscape fopr jpg2 PRINT

But perhaps things will eventually change—and sooner, rather than later:


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Well Beyond the Post-Factual


The following are excerpts from an item published by Politico and written by Shane Goldmacher and Matthew Nussbaum. The article describes Donald Trump’s first “official” speech as President, delivered at CIA headquarters. The tone of the piece is remarkably unsparing, especially for Politico:

“Standing on hallowed ground at the Langley headquarters, in front of the wall of stars carved into marble to represent each of the 117 CIA agents who have died in service to the country, Trump lashed out at his critics, boasted of his appearances on magazine covers and exaggerated about the size of the crowd at his inauguration.

“He also hinted at loosening rules on torture put in place under President Barack Obama, promised to wipe ‘radical Islamic terrorism . . . off the face of the earth’ and pledged his full backing to the CIA.

“’I am so behind you,’ Trump said, adding, ‘You’re gonna…

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Suppressing Freedom of the Press, Part 2


The Committee to Protect Journalists has released its list of journalists who were killed in 2016; clicking on the journalists’ names will link you to their stories:

48 Journalists Killed in 2016/Motive Confirmed

Terminology explained
Mohammad Nasir Mudasir , Melli Paigham Radio

December 15, 2016, in Mohammed Agha District, Logar Province, Afghanistan

Soe Moe Tun , Daily Eleven

December 13, 2016, in Monywa, Myanmar

Awab al-Zubiry

November 18, 2016, in Taiz, Yemen

Mohsen Khazaei, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

November 12, 2016, in Aleppo, Syria

Mahad Ali Mohamed , Codka Mudug Radio

November 6, 2016, in Galkayo, Somalia

Naimatullah Zaheer, Ariana News

November 4, 2016, in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Abdul Salam Kanaan, Al-Jisr TV

October 31, 2016, in Zafraneh, Syria

Ali Risan, Al-Sumaria TV

October 22, 2016, in Al-Shura, Nineveh Province, Iraq

Ahmet Haceroğlu, Türkmeneli TV

October 21, 2016, in Kirkuk, Iraq

Jeroen Oerlemans , Freelance

October 2…

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Suppressing Freedom of the Press, Part 1


In early December, the Committee to Protect Journalists released its annual listing of journalists jailed for political reasons over the past year.

Here are the totals by nation:

Azerbaijan: 5

Bahrain: 7

Bangladesh: 2

Cameroon: 1

China: 38

Cuba: 2

Egypt: 25

Eritrea: 17

Ethiopia: 16

Gambia: 3

India: 1

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: 7

Iran: 8

Kazakhstan: 3

Kyrgyzstan: 1

Mauritania: 1

Montenegro: 1

Myanmar: 2

Nigeria: 2

Panama: 1

Russia: 2

Saudi Arabia: 6

Singapore: 2

Syria: 7

Thailand: 1

Tunisia: 1

Turkey: 81

Turkmenistan: 1

Uzbekistan: 5

Venezuela: 1

Vietnam: 8

Zambia: 1

If you wish to read more about the individual journalists who have been jailed, reports on their cases are available at:

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25th Anniversary of the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”



Some 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued this appeal in 1992. The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity was written and spearheaded by the late Henry Kendall, former chair of Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS’s) board of directors.


Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.


The environment is suffering critical stress:

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