Newsletter United To Save The Internet

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. The former Verizon lawyer, Ajit Pai, who now chairs the Federal Communications Commission has taken the first official steps to destroy the free and open Internet by proposing the end of Title II net neutrality rules on May 18. This would be a giveaway to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other large Internet Service Providers that would allow them to control access to content on the Internet and charge users more fees. Chairman Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, is an example of the revolving door between government and industry that serves big business interests, and not the people. Pai has demonstrated during his first few months as chairman that he will say anything, including obvious lies, to serve the telecom industry. We must act quickly to save the Internet from going the road of cable TV

President’s Comments Should Inspire Press, Not Intimidate It

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By Staff of RCFP – The New York Times has published a story with details of a memo written by former FBI Director James Comeydocumenting a conversation he had with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in February. The memo was shared with senior FBI officials and close associates of Comey, and read to Times reporters. According to the story, the president told Comey that he should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information. Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown made the following statement: “The comments attributed to President Trump cross a dangerous line. But no president gets to jail journalists. Reporters are protected by judges and juries, by a congress that relies on them to stay informed, and by a Justice Department that for decades has honored the role of a free press by spurning prosecutions of journalists for publishing leaks of classified information. “Comments such as these, emerging in the way they did, only remind us that every day public servants are reaching out to reporters to ensure the public is aware of the risks today to rule of law in this country. The president’s remarks should not intimidate the press but inspire it.”

Major Media Organize To Rig Web-Search Results

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By Eric Zuesse for Intrepid Report – The New York Times, as Robert Parry has pointed out, “Cheers the Rise of Censorship”, but only of censorship of any allegations that expose the fraudulence of the NYT’s allegations. The Washington Post, Google, the TV networks, and practically all of the famous providers of ‘news,’ have joined forces in order to block from the internet any statements that contradict, or especially any evidence that disproves, what they collectively define to be ’true’; and, while they do this, they add a lie, that their sole aim in doing this rigging of web-search results is to prevent ‘misinformation’ from polluting your mind. They use as an excuse the existence of some flagrantly fabricated reports on obscure websites, but if the mainstream press can ban reports such as those, then they can also ban real news reports, which expose the mainstream’s own lies. In other words: they are implementing their collective power to block you from being able to know that they’re systematically lying. Will the public trust them with this power?

How Media Consolidation Threatens Democracy: 857 Channels (And Nothing On)

Vice President Al Gore speaks as President Bill Clinton looks on during an informal discussion with parents and children in Alexandria, Virginia on Feb. 9, 1996. Clinton had signed the Telecommunications Act the previous day. (Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

By John Light for Moyers & Company – Earlier this week, we wrote about a pending deal between Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media. Sinclair hopes to buy Tribune, a move that will allow the company to broadcast news to 70 percent of Americans. But the deal has raised eyebrows. The company is notoriously close with Trump, and also favored George W. Bush when he was president. The company’s DC office produces conservative commentary and news segments that paint Republicans in a favorable light, and distributes them to local stations around the country. Some worry that Sinclair hopes to create a competitor to Fox News, operating out of local television stations across America. If the deal does go through — anti-trust regulators and the FCC will have to approve it — it will only have been possible because earlier this year, Trump’s FCC chair Ajit Pai relaxed rules preventing media consolidation. Like much the FCC deals with — net neutrality, internet privacy — media consolidation is a dull-sounding topic that is nonetheless very important. It has a direct hand in the quality of American journalism, and it dictates how accountable that journalism is to its audience.

5 Stories Everyone Is Ignoring While Media Implodes Over Trump Firing Comey

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By Carey Wedler for Anti-Media – (ANTIMEDIA) A power hungry president has kicked a power player out of office, and the mainstream media is having a field day. Headlines have obsessively focused on Trump’s termination of FBI Director James Comey and the implications that come with it, drawing comparisons to Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal and questioning Trump’s decision to fire the man who was leading an investigation into the president’s own alleged misconduct. While the drama currently unfolding will certainly have profound implications for the present and future, the theatrics playing out on telescreens around the country are hardly representative of the bigger picture in the United States. As millions of Americans fix their eyes and minds on the ongoing developments, other stories are lurking behind the curtain — and reveal far more about the struggles we face. Though they have received some coverage from corporate and establishment outlets, these stories are being forced out of the conversation by round-the-clock coverage of political figureheads warring in Washington.

Take Action To Protect Our Internet!

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By Popular Resistance. Tell Ajit Pai to protect net neutrality. In 2014 the people fought the Giant Telecoms to win reclassification of the Internet as a common carrier under the Obama administration. This success gave us Net Neutrality – everyone can go wherever they want on the Internet. Now, under the Trump administration, the new chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, is moving quickly to take net neutrality away! He plans to start that process on May 18 unless we stop him. Send him an email now!

The Day Of The Censors

People marching in Austin, Texas on Saturday were among the millions nationwide who mobilized to express their dismay at the reality of President Donald Trump. "There are millions of people in this country who currently feel lost and alone and would like to contribute to movements that envision a more just society," writes Lobel. But in addition to organizing this new wave of energy, he adds, there must also be "a coherent strategy and vision" if transformative change is to be achieved. (Photo: Steve Rainwater/flickr/cc)

By Justin Raimondo for Anti-War – It’s “sensitive” to tell the truth these days. It can get you in trouble. It can get you censored. And that’s exactly what the Establishment is aiming for: total and complete censorship of the Internet, whether done by corporate titans or by governments. And who are the biggest, most vocal advocates of censorship today? It’s the “liberals.” After all, corporate Twitter is hardly a bastion of reactionary thought. Backed up by a phalanx of liberal academics, who have been turning out reams of “research” designed to show that right-wing “extremists” are spreading “hate” and ‘misinformation” over the Internet, the paladins of American liberalism have now become the Mrs. Grundys of the cybernetic age. This illiberal liberalism has been trending for a while, but it spiked with the 2016 presidential election, when the anti-“fake news” campaign hit the media. Supposedly broadcast by Russian “bots” – automated social media accounts – information deemed damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and labeled “misinformation,” was held responsible for the Democratic nominee’s surprising defeat.

The FCC & Trump Escalate Media Mergers

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By Michael Corcoran for FAIR – This morning Sinclair Broadcast Group, the conservative media behemoth that owns more local news stations than any other company in the country, just got even bigger. It announced it was buying Tribune Mediafor $3.9 billion, creating what Bloomberg (5/8/17) calls a “TV goliath.” The purchase, which gives Sinclair a staggering reach of nearly 69 percent of the US population (Free Press, 5/8/17), would’ve been in violation of ownership restrictions just weeks ago. But last month, the Trump-appointed FCC chair, Ajit Pai, reinstated the “UHF discount,” an outdated loophole that allowed media conglomerates to exceed the nation’s 39 percent cap on ownership (New York Post, 4/20/17). Sinclair made a $420 million deal to buy Bonten Media Group(Baltimore Sun, 4/21/17) the very next day. This sequence of events “sure looks like a quid pro quo,” as Craig Aaron of the media advocacy group Free Press has noted (5/8/17). Months ago, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner told business executives, according to Politico (12/16/16), that “Trump’s campaign struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better coverage.”

Let’s Call Western Media Coverage Of Syria By Its Real Name: Propaganda

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By Michael Howard for Paste Magazine – In his essential study of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, University of Kent Professor Richard Sakwa writes that, somewhere down the road, Western media’s reductive, ideological coverage of the conflict “will undoubtedly become the subject of many an intriguing academic study.” That’s if the human race isn’t wiped out by environmental catastrophe or nuclear holocaust first—far from a sure thing, especially with the Trump regime running amok, lobbing cruise missiles and sending armadas (or not) and dropping MOABs, and all of it to quell suspicions that the president’s undersized hands might reflect a certain priapic compactness. But while, as Sakwa says, the reportage of Ukraine’s civil war by our renowned newspapers has been abysmal and embarrassing, it doesn’t hold a candle to that of Syria, where any pretense of real journalism was done away with long ago. Syria is proof of how low mainstream Western media are prepared to sink in the service of state power; it’s where journalistic standards, like global jihadists, go to die. Rank propaganda is the order of the day. Honest observers are appalled.

Media For Justice And Peace

A new report indicates the passage of the USA Freedom Act did not prevent the U.S. National Security Agency from collecting 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls in 2016.

By Sue Ann Martinson for Rise Up Times – Lately the term the “elite” is being used by many media commentators and in numerous articles that appear online and in print. Who are the “elite”? What are their roles in American culture and government? And why should we care? Perhaps the term should be ruling elite, that is, the current ruling elite. Amy Goodman got it right when she subtitled Democracy Now! The Exception to the Rulers. A ruling elite is a direct contradiction to democracy and could be any group that is in a ruling position who feel superior to the hoi polloi they think are not capable of ruling themselves and who use the position of power for their own gain. Today references to the “elite” generally target a specific group, the financial elite. This group crosses traditional party lines, with Democrats and Republicans equally implicated, and includes a large majority of members of Congress in both dominant political parties. As Henry Giroux observed before the 2016 presidential election, “One consequence [of the election] will be that millions one way or another will once again bear the burden of a society that hates democracy and punishes all but the financial elite.”

Three Major Famines On Earth. Where Are They?

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By Jack Healey for Huffington Post – To be an American in the world today is to be a citizen of a country rapidly losing its place as a global leader in foreign aid, foreign assistance and even what we once might have considered the moral high ground. There are crises, it seems, in every corner of the globe, including refugee camps in the center of Paris and immigrant detention centers on our own borders. Our leaders are telling us these crises are impossible to solve diplomatically, complex in nature and beyond the scope of what we can or should handle. And yet on April 6, Representative Barbara Lee along with ten other representatives, sent a letter to the Committee on Appropriations with a simple request—money for famine relief. Money for food, for people who had none. Specifically, a billion dollars. The countries they were hoping to assist were places that are geopolitically complex—namely, Yemen, along with South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. Famine in these places has its roots in everything from colonialism to climate change to U.S. foreign policy in the region. Specifically in Yemen, the U.S. has supported Saudi Arabia in its brutal campaign to stop ISIS as well as the Houthis, a Shi’ite minority fighting the Saudi-backed Sunni government.

First Hundred Days Of Human Rights Violations

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By Amie Stepanovich for Access Now. In the final years of the Obama Administration, we frequently took issue with the negative impact the administration’s actions were having on our human rights, tackling issues from surveillance to encryption and beyond. However, nothing we saw then could have prepared us for what we have witnessed in the first few months of 2017. Simply put, when President Trump hits the 100th day benchmark on Saturday, April 29, he and his administration will have taken — or prepared to take — a series of actions with massive negative consequences for human rights all around the globe, some of which will darken the U.S. human rights record for generations to come. Below we detail five that are related to our mission of defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk, and describe what we’re doing to fight back.

Barrett Brown Taken Back Into Custody Before PBS Interview

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By Alex Emmons for The Intercept. Texas – Award-winning journalist Barrett Brown was re-arrested and taken into custody Thursday, the day before he was scheduled to be interviewed for a PBS documentary. Brown quickly became a symbol of the attack on press freedom after he was arrested in 2012 for reporting he did on the hacked emails of intelligence-contracting firms. Brown wrote about hacked emails that showed the firm Stratfor spying on activists on behalf of corporations. Brown also helped uncover a proposal by intelligence contractors to hack and smear WikiLeaks defenders and progressive activists. Faced with the possibility of 100 years in prison, Brown pleaded guilty in 2014 to two charges related to obstruction of justice and threatening an FBI agent, and was sentenced to five years and 3 months.

Now Age Minute: Mean Mr. Mustard

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By Staff of The Now Age Press – The corrupt cock of capitalism erected itself in the hands of Senator Chuck Schumer with his recent announcement of new jobs in upstate New York, via a private debt-collection firm handling delinquent accounts for the I.R.S., a move pushed by the senator. According to Wyoming County Free Press, Sen. Chuck Schumer rallied with employees and company executives of Pioneer Credit and local officials Thursday to officially celebrate the company’s win of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) contract. The winners of the contract were initially announced in September. “The good news is, because of this contract and the health of this company, not only are your jobs secure, but I think we can announce today that there will be 100 new jobs in Wyoming County,” Schumer said. Pioneer Credit Recovery Inc., a subsidiary of Navient Corporation, provides collection services on defaulted debt. Headquartered in New York, the company employs more than 1,000 people and boasts it is the “largest private sector employer in Wyoming County,” according to its website. The company has locations in Arcade and Perry, and in Monroe and Chemung counties.

Media's Language Is Meant To Deceive Us Into War

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By Lee Camp for Redacted Tonight. Following bombings in Afghanistan and Syria, the media has become rather fluent in the “language of war.” Turn on your TV and you’ll be witness to government and mainstream media outlets trying to soften and normalize barbaric bombing by using manipulative words to describe it all. The mainstream media’s use of words like “cruising” and “loitering” to describe weapons that maim and destroy innocent people only diminishes the gravity of warfare. And at its core, the media’s propping up the technology of weapons, such as the Tomahawk missile, are essentially a massive, glorified advertisement for waging more war. What’s more, networks like MSNBC and Fox News both gush over the missile strikes and even suggest that these actions make Trump look more presidential. Redacted Tonight host Lee Camp shows how it should be hardly a surprise that in a time of war, corporate-funded media outlets are lacking in the humanity department.