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Sometimes, we are so caught up with battles over survival issues - such as jobs, Medicare, Social Security and health insurance - that we forget that the larger frame of political conversation is being shaped elsewhere.

Rupert Murdoch's Fox "News" in America not only serves as the farm team for GOP presidential and other Republican contenders, but it is also the most powerful news force in shaping the terms of our national political debate. Through a combination of "catapulting the propaganda" (thank George W. Bush for that phrase), contributions to US politicians, and targeted media attacks on "opposition" political figures - among other nefarious strategies - Murdoch has done more to bolster the current climate of plutocracy in the US than any other individual.

Murdoch specializes in using the media to deceive a primarily white, middle and working class into hot button, emotional perceptions of reality, based on false information and disciplined message points.

In the UK, the current prime minister is calling for all sorts of investigations into Murdoch's media behemoth. But it seems a little disingenuous given that the former editor of Murdoch's now shuttered tabloid, News of the World, served as the prime minister's press secretary until recently. The former press secretary, Andy Coulson - the link between Murdoch and Prime Minister Cameron - was just arrested based on his alleged illegal conduct while editor of News of the World.

Yesterday, BuzzFlash posted a quotation from FDR that "government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob."

Murdoch is the Orwellian 1984 vision of our time, who makes a mockery of democracy by controlling the political process and conversation through the power of his discredited and dishonest media empire.

He is a direct threat to the great experiment of self-governance by a majority of the population. He has already proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The hacking of phones and invasion of privacy by the Rupert Murdoch tabloid press has been the subject of articles for years, but it took the unconscionable and illegal extracting and deleting of messages from the mobile phone of a dead British girl to bring the Murdoch empire to its knees.

Murdoch, it appears now, had bought off police, politicians, and who knows who else, as he swaggered across the Western world, creating a false, angry, populist worldview through a vast media empire. The sole purpose of this emotional, incendiary and deceptive narrative was to create governments that supported the plutocracy, not the "rabble" of democracy. The tool to accomplish this was the manipulation of the mass media to ignore facts and create a fictional "frame" that pushed populations toward acceptance of an authoritarian state, one that existed for the benefit of the wealthy.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew the danger of a Murdoch controlling, in an Orwellian fashion, the media, and the danger of the likes of the Koch Brothers financing propaganda - through lavish support of think tanks and front "activist" organizations - as well as a government run by corporate lobbyists. Whether it is ownership of the media, concentrated control of the assets of a nation by a few, or de facto corporate governance through campaign contribution leverage on Congress and the White House, Roosevelt warned:

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group.

In his second inaugural speech FDR declared:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace - business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred.

How little has changed since those remarks were made in 1936, except there is no FDR in the White House to champion the cause of democracy for those 99 percent of Americans who are not part of "organized money."

Published in EditorBlog

One American's tax subsidy (or loophole) is another American's tax burden.

Take the money out of the middle-class taxpayers' pockets and put it into the super wealthy hands of the oil companies or hedge fund managers, for example.

In essence, people of limited means who work by the hour are paying higher taxes in order to make wealthy people wealthier. Why? Because someone has to pay taxes for the services provided by the government.

ThinkProgress noted this in terms of the tax subsidy we all pay to hedge fund managers:

The top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively earned $22 billion last year, and yet they have their own cushy set of tax rules. If they operated under the same rules that apply to other people - police officers, for example, or teachers - the country could cut its national deficit by as much as $44 billion in the next ten years.

So, you and I are taxed at a higher rate than hedge fund managers for their personal gain on behalf of customers. Middle-income earners are subsidizing billionaires.

Of course, taxpayers also subsidize oil companies that have been making record profits, including ExxonMobil, which recorded the highest corporate quarterly profit in history awhile back. As the Center for American Progress reports, the middle class is paying indirect taxes to the oil companies: "In effect, U.S. taxpayers wrote a collective $7 billion bonus check to the oil industry when they filed their taxes last month [for 2010]."

Mainstream media euphemistically calls these taxpayer-subsidized profits by hedge fund managers and oil companies "loopholes."

That's like a pickpocket saying that he didn't steal a wallet, it just jumped into his hand.

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Truthout carries a report today that as a result of Scott Walker's assault on public employees, prisoners are now replacing union workers in Racine, Wisconsin.

It might have been perceived as an hysterical exaggeration to predict that the GOP attack on the value of labor would lead to not just low-wage jobs, but to no-wage jobs. One commentator calls this the "new slavery."

This is not the first use of what is, in essence, modern slave labor in the US. Some of the Pentagon's military contractors allegedly use prisoners to assemble military equipment at slave wages (e.g., 23 cents an hour).

With the loss of illegal immigrants as farm workers, prison labor is soon to follow in the agricultural fields of the South.

It was one of the great advances of modern civilization that workers were granted livable wages and that their labor was recognized as having inherent dignity.

Now, we are moving backward to an antebellum society that believes the lowest cost labor is no-cost labor.

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On July 4, BuzzFlash wrote a commentary on how US corporations stifle innovation and help reduce our competitiveness with fossilized thinking and deregulation. "Grist" - an environmental and sustainable living web site - recently offered an article that dramatically proves this point.

The column detailed "How America Just Lost [Perhaps as Many as] One Million Green(ish) Jobs to Europe" because the European consortium, Airbus, is manufacturing more fuel-efficient airplanes than Boeing, with fewer emissions and other forward-looking innovations. The Grist article drew attention to the "Most underplayed economic story of the week: European aircraft manufacturer Airbus 'trounced' the traditional U.S. behemoth Boeing at the Paris Air Show, booking a record $50 billion more in orders for new planes."

And why? Because many global American corporations are living in a nostalgic dream world that denies reality and stifles change that looks to the future.

Europe is proceeding with the kind of blinder-free research and development, not blaming workers for corporate failures, according to Grist: "This is Europe's green dividend: the cash and jobs the continent is reaping from its strong climate law and a culture that's committed to planet-friendly innovation."

Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost to the US as they move to Airbus plants in Europe.

This is not American corporate innovation; this is American corporate negligence.

As the Grist article concludes:

The bottom line is this: America will lose more and more jobs as long as American government responds to urgent economic and environmental wake-up calls as further excuses to coddle and comfort polluting industries as they fall further behind their global competitors. Unless we get government and business move quickly to green innovation, that sucking sound is just going to get louder.

We've deified corporate stupidity, greed and incompetence in America - as BuzzFlash noted on July 5. For that, our able workforce is paying a steep personal economic price.

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How did corporations ever come to be deified in America?

Because the Republican Party, the White House (to a great degree) and the corporate mass media hold out global businesses to be the "savior" of the US.

Forget that Michele Bachmann is claiming that she is running for president because God encouraged her to do so, BuzzFlash wants to know what Wal-Mart and GE told her.

Ironically, the corporations that span the planet are like the golden calf that Moses found his people worshipping when he came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. It was a false, physical manifestation of God, according to the Old Testament.

Corporations today are akin to the golden calf, in that "conventional wisdom" ascribes God-like powers to them to revitalize the American economy, when an increasing percentage of America's financial assets has tipped into the hands of relatively few global businesses and financiers. The goal of this "1 percent" is not prosperity for Americans; it is to increase corporate profits and personal gain on a global level and, right now, the American worker has become an increasingly small component of that objective.

Despite "prosperity theology," the stock market and financial masters of the universe are without any religious context. It's quite simple, shareholders and investors expect corporations and banks "too big to fail" to pursue one simple goal: to maximize profits. If you have read of any wealthy person investing money to increase jobs in America, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Rich Americans don't invest in US employment; they invest in increasing their assets.

Corporations, not actually being Gods to the citizens of the United States, could not care less about the well-being of their "flock" in the 50 states. When Moses, after his descent from Mount Sinai, saw that the people were worshipping the golden calf, he threw down the Ten Commandments in outrage and disgust.

How ironic for those running for office who believe that corporations are part of the divine order - and that if one just has faith in them, this nation will again burst forth with jobs.

They are bowing before a pagan image.

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH FOR TRUTHOUT

Innovation used to be a hallmark of America, and so I read with interest about a July 4th Declaration of Innovation that declares,

We, the people of the United States of America, hold these truths to be self-evident - that great innovators drive America's unsurpassed economic success; that innovation creates jobs, markets and industries where none existed before; and that innovation moves us forward as a nation, pushing us to succeed and strive for a better tomorrow.

Unfortunately, for far too many Americans, the Fourth of July is a nostalgic celebration of past "glories" rather than future opportunities.

The American spirit of innovation was fueled by several factors, but key among them were our strong higher educational system that was open to people of all economic and social backgrounds (even if at the community college level.) The universities and colleges were backed by state and federal funding. Across the United States now, most recently in New Jersey this past week, higher educational funding is being dramatically cut, amputating our ability to prepare innovators for the future.

Much of the for-profit corporate innovation in America has come as a result of federal government investment in research and programs that are then applied in the for-profit sector, but really paid for by the taxpayer.

What is stifling innovation on this July 4th is not government, which exerts rather limited influence over our daily lives (and that is the freedom we celebrate), but global corporations who seek to eliminate competing innovation from the marketplace. Furthermore, when corporations and banks are too big to fail, it means large for-profit institutional survival supersedes the innovative abilities and needs of a democratic populace. Right now, the mass corporate media and the Washington elite perpetuate the concept that it is government - when it is the corporations and Wall Street - that are creating the economic conditions that restrain individual economic opportunity and the freedom of opportunity that results in innovation bubbling up.

Nothing is a greater example of this than the successful decades long effort of oil companies and the Detroit car industry to maintain our dependence on fossil fuels - and the oil industry pressure (while being subsidized by taxpayers) to limit government investment in alternative energy, which would create perhaps millions of new jobs, lower the national debt, lower our trade imbalance, and lead to the exporting of new energy technology products abroad. Even more importantly, it would allow us a more independent foreign and military policy that doesn't cost hundreds of billions of dollars to "control" oil producing nations in the Middle East.

Finally, even when corporations do use the profits that they are sitting on to do research and create new products, they are now generally manufactured overseas (are any of your computers, mobile or smart phones made in the US? Uh, no.), resulting in little more than administrative and warehouse jobs in the US -- along with the research staffs. Moreover, even information technology design positions and research are being increasingly outsourced to other nations.

So when we declare our independence on July 4th, it should be from corporations and financial institutions that stifle innovation and job growth right here in the US.

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Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Did you know that some of America's infrastructure is being repaired after all?

The only catch is that major parts of the work are being done in China, meaning that many US construction workers stay unemployed.

Take for instance the massive $7.2 billion project to rebuild the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which was compromised by earthquake damage.

The New York Times reports about a surge of construction employment on American projects such as the bridge, in China:

At a sprawling manufacturing complex here, hundreds of Chinese laborers are now completing work on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Next month, the last four of more than two dozen giant steel modules - each with a roadbed segment about half the size of a football field - will be loaded onto a huge ship and transported 6,500 miles to Oakland. There, they will be assembled to fit into the eastern span of the new Bay Bridge.

The project is part of China's continual move up the global economic value chain - from cheap toys to Apple iPads to commercial jetliners - as it aims to become the world's civil engineer.

Across the United States, Chinese workers are rebuilding America, according to the Times, "In New York City alone, Chinese companies have won contracts to help renovate the subway system, refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River and build a new Metro-North train platform near Yankee Stadium."

While Congress dithers over a rebuild America program to employ US workers, the Chinese are getting the jobs.

Can you imagine the Brooklyn Bridge having been made in China?

It might very well have been were it constructed in 2011.

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Headlines about global corporations based in America wanting to bring home tax-free the profits they off-shored - thus evading their fair share payment for what the US has given them - made me think about the Emma Lazarus poem that greets visitors to the Statue of Liberty, "The New Colossus."

It struck me that the global corporations that basically have superseded the role of governments in many nations - including our own -would probably like to install an updated version of the Lazarus poem on Liberty Island.

Here's how it might read:

"The 1 Percent Colossus"

Like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, gilded gates shall stand
A mighty banker with a blow torch, whose flame
Shall imprison millions in debt, and his name is
Father of Wall Street greed. From his clutching hand
Grows worldwide corporations and hedge funds; whose rabid eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that the masters of the universe frame.
"Damn the groveling unemployed, your poverty is distasteful!" cries he
With bilious lips. "Cast away your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses who are suckers and leeches,
Deport the teeming hordes from our privileged shores of gluttony.
Send these, the homeless, the jobless, the tempest-tost to an early grave,
I lift my Cayman Islands bank account beside my door of gold!
We are the 1 Percent: the chosen ones.
Be gone the rest of you. We won; you lost"

Of course, current reality no longer validates the original poem that welcomed poor immigrants to partake of the American dream. You can find that archaic Lazarus poem, the original, by clicking here.

Published in EditorBlog

Stereotyping groups and thus disregarding the opinions and characteristics of individuals within that group is what leads to wars and genocide. This is what happened in World War II and the Holocaust, what happened in Cambodia and what happened in Rwanda, to name but a few of the horrifying examples of unfathomable human nightmares.

Therefore, it is wrong of those Arabs who stereotype Israeli Jews (there are also Israeli Arabs) as evil - and it is equally detestable that some Israeli and American Jews view all Arabs and Palestinians as killers and murderers who want to destroy the Jewish State.

There certainly are groups of Muslims who are committed to eliminating Israel, but most Muslims go about their daily business - and Israel now has official diplomatic relationships with a number of Muslim and Arab nations, and back channel relationships to many more. In fact, Israel is tacitly seen as a stabilizing influence against Iran by many Arab nations that the US supports.

That is why it is a bit horrifying to see the State Department issue an "alert" to Americans who are now in Greece hoping to ride on a boat - named "The Audacity of Hope" - stocked with nonmilitary humanitarian aid to the civilians of Gaza. The US State Department warned these American citizens, some of them proudly Jews, that they possibly faced death by trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza:

The U.S. State Department earlier this week issued a travel warning advising U.S. citizens "against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea."

"Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens," the State Department statement said. "U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the government of Israel."

The role of the US State Department should be to prevent other governments from killing, arresting and prosecuting US citizens for humane acts, not sanctioning their possible deaths.

Furthermore, as noted by three of the ship's passengers from Illinois, their senator, Republican Mark Kirk, is actually encouraging the US to militarily assist Israel in attacks on boats such as The Audacity of Hope, which is sailing under the American flag.

This is a shocking US green light to have another sovereign state attack an American ship, with many Americans aboard (including US military veterans). It is, on a rational level, incomprehensible, like potentially committing an act of terrorism against US citizens by claiming to be preventing terrorism.

And Mark Kirk would have the US Navy participate in a military operation against his own constituents.

The Likud government in Israel could no doubt easily reach an agreement to peacefully board and search ships for arms and then let them be on their way, but that would be too reasonable. The Likud policy is to provide collective punishment to all the citizens of Gaza because of the relatively small minority who are actively fighting Israel.

But for the American State Department, and thus the White House, to be - in essence - condoning a Netanyahu government military attack on The Audacity of Hope and the Americans on board is a lethal precedent and threat to US citizens performing acts of humanity.

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