And thanks to the Supreme Court, President Obama's centerpiece legislation now amounts to the largest tax increase in history on the middle class.
While Republicans are right to bemoan this fact, the tragedy of Obamacare goes far beyond massive tax hikes. The real failure of this legislation is that it will do nothing to fix the ailing health care system it was designed to save.
The President promised Americans that his plan would decrease premiums by double digits. But his estimates have been proven to be exaggerated and incorrect.
Two years into Obamacare, premiums continue to rise and are likely to keep increasing thanks to the court's recent decision.
"Many of these regulations are going to increase the cost of premiums. Six in 10 Americans have already seen a hike in their premiums since the law was passed," stated Tevi Troy, former deputy secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. "I think this is bad news for consumers overall. They're going to be suffering the brunt of this."
The Congressional Budget office confirms Mr. Troy's sentiments. The nonpartisan agency has said that annual premiums for individual plans in 2016 would be $5,800 compared to the $5,500 an individual would pay without reform. And a 2011 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the average annual premium for family coverage increased 9 percent in the first year under Obamacare.
Many families and small businesses have already been warned higher health payments are on the way.
Small business woman Victoria Asness just received notice that her insurance company was seeking to increase premiums by 20 percent.
The popular Herbfarm Restaurant located north of Seattle, has also gotten notice from their insurer demanding a 30 percent increase on all of their employee health care plans. Even though the restaurant employs 25 people and technically qualifies for the small business tax credit under health reform, the IRS has required them to calculate their earnings in a way which disqualifies them from receiving the benefit.
In addition to increased premiums, Obamacare also adds 17 additional taxes to help finance expansion of the Medicaid program and subsidies to purchase health insurance. The total cost of Obamacare taxes reaches well over $500 billion dollars in the next decade. Add to this the court's decision to classify the individual mandate as a tax and the tab increases for the American taxpayer.
Despite all this added revenue, the Affordable Care Act does not make health care more affordable. In fact, costs appear to be rising at a faster pace under Obamacare. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said the law will add $478 billion to health care costs over the next decade, increasing average spending by one-10th of a percent faster than if the law had never existed.
Thursday's health care ruling was a major victory for President Obama, but it was a huge defeat for Americans. Consumers are now saddled with higher premiums and higher taxes to fund a dysfunctional government program that does nothing to make the health care system more effective and efficient.
Alexis Garcia is a political producer and correspondent for PJTV.com. She also worked as a communications aide for the Giuliani and McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaigns.
The Liar’s Tax
It is a liar’s tax. It is a liar’s penalty. It is a liar’s plan to further bankrupt the nation
The most singular aspect of Obamacare is the way Democrats, from the President on down, consistently lied about the fact that it was a tax. Interviewed by George Stephanopolos on ABC News, September 2009, Obama was asked if he rejected the criticism that it was a tax increase. “I absolutely reject that notion,” was his reply.
No need to quote the others. They all lied. It took the Supreme Court and, in particular, Chief Justice Roberts, to call Obamacare a tax in the process of eliminating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution as a justification for imposing this burden on Americans.
As CNBC’s Larry Kudlow was quick to note, “Twenty new or higher taxes across the board are bad for economic growth, bad for job hiring, bad for investors, and bad for families,” adding that when “you tax something more, you get less of it.”
Most Americans have been repeatedly told that Obamacare would ensure more care for more people, but the fact is, with or without health insurance, Americans receive health care, even if the hospital emergency room is their last resort, even if they are homeless, and even if they have no way to pay for it.
The multi-millionaire former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who told Americans that we would have to wait to know what was in Obamacare until after it was passed, reacted to the Supreme Court decision saying, “Call it what you will.” That is the equivalent of “Let them eat cake”, Marie Antoinette’s famed statement before the enraged citizens of France separated her head from her body.
Obamacare just became the single most important element of the November 6th national elections, followed by the economy. Both stink! Both are the direct result of Obama’s declared intention to “fundamentally transform America.” If he had even a schoolchild’s grasp of American history, he would know that Americans hate taxes. They declared their independence from England over the issue of taxation without representation.
What will emerge in the months between now and the elections is the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the implementation of Obamacare will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, an increase of $820 billion over the initial estimate when it was first signed into law. A nation already $17 trillion in debt can hardly welcome such news, nor absorb such costs.
For most Americans, though, the realization that Obamacare contains twenty-one new taxes will likely tip the scales in November to the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, who has promised to begin the repeal of the law the first day he takes office. Yes, it is an irony that he introduced Romneycare in Massachusetts when he was Governor there, but that is not going to affect the outcome of the election.
Among the many new taxes buried in the 2000-plus pages of Obamacare, there’s a 2.3% excise tax on U.S. sales of medical devices that observers believe would prove to be a $20 billion blow to an industry that employs an estimated 400,000.
There’s a 3.6% surtax on investment income from capital gains and dividends on those earning more than $250,000.
Obamacare imposes a $50,000 excise tax on charitable hospitals that fail to meet new “community health assessment needs”, whatever they are.
There’s a $2.6 billion-a-year tax on drug companies. A 10% excise tax on indoor tanning salons. An $87 billion hike in Medicare payroll taxes for employees, as well as the self-employed.
Between now and November voters are going to be reminded that Obama promised to fix the economy and then spent the first two years getting Obamacare through Congress. No Republican voted for it and, in 2010, voters replaced some sixty representatives and senators with Republicans.
Obama promised to create jobs. Instead he gave us a multi-billion “stimulus” that utterly failed. He promised to cut the deficit in half. And he promised that Americans could keep their current health insurance plans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as twenty million will lose theirs.
Lies! Lies! Lies!
In a thoughtful analysis of Obamacare, two senior fellows at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution were joined by the dean of the Columbia Business School who concluded that “In upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has allowed the President and Congress to put the country’s health policy on a path that will restrict individual choices, stifle innovation and sharply increase health-care costs.”
As that sinks in, the November elections will end the tyranny of Barack Obama and his minions in Congress. If you wonder what will replace it, just ask Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WIS) who has a plan in place to reform Medicare and Medicaid. If you haven’t heard much about it, you can thank the mainstream media and its slavish adoration of the President.
It is a liar’s tax. It is a liar’s penalty. It is a liar’s plan to further bankrupt the nation.
The Obama administration on Friday threatened to veto a defense appropriations bill in part because it does not include higher health care fees for members of the military.
“The Administration is disappointed that the Congress did not incorporate the requested TRICARE fee initiatives into either the appropriation or authorization legislation,” the White House wrote in an official policy statement expressing opposition to the bill, which the House approved in May.
President Obama’s most recent budget proposal includes billions of dollars in higher fees for members of TRICARE, the military health care system, and is part of the administration’s plan to cut nearly $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget.
Some fear the administration’s proposal is an effort to increase enrollment in the state-run insurance exchanges mandated under the president’s controversial health care law.
The administration urged the House to “reconsider” the fee increase, arguing they are “essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs.”
The House bill has significant bipartisan support, and easily passed by a margin of 299 to 120.
While the entire country was riveted to the news that Obamacare—the most expensive and freedom robbing tax bill in U.S. history—was upheld by the Supreme Court, the President was busy driving in the last nail in the coffin of liberty.
It is not the first time the media helped in the deception of Americans and in hiding the truth.
We were so preoccupied with the looming health care insurance premium that is really a tax for the privilege of living in the U.S., the upcoming health exchanges, Obama’s domestic of IRS health insurance enforcement agents, more growing on the horizon, and a dim economic future, that we overlooked the national emergency declared by President Obama.
President Obama sent a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President of the Senate on June 25, 2012, announcing his declaration of national emergency.
According to Kenneth Schortgren, “the United States is seizing assets and property owned or managed by the Russian Federation relating to nuclear items and tied to Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU).” (examiner.com, June 26, 2012)
“I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in view of the policies underlying Executive Order 12938 of November 14, 1994, and Executive Order 13085 of May 26, 1998, and the restrictions put in place pursuant to Executive Order 13159 of June 21, 2000, find that the risk of nuclear proliferation created by the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation continues to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”
The ramifications of this national emergency are quite complex, given the fragile state of the global economy, the unstable Middle East, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the weak dollar, our huge national debt as the one threat to national security, the 257 Foreign Trade Zones in the U.S., the insolvency of the euro crisis born by the socialist welfare states in the euro zone, huge unemployment across Europe, bailouts and insolvencies, military posturing by Iran, China, Russia, and Korea, the touted Arab Spring/Winter, and the subsequent takeover of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s recent election. We can speculate but we will certainly be accused of wearing a tinfoil hat since only progressives and Democrats are opinion makers and the arbiters of truth. Any advanced by other Americans would be met with incredulity and derision. At a minimum, it would be seen as hate speech or racism.
We were also oblivious to today’s strike down of the Stolen Valor Act. Using indefensible judgment, the Supremes said that it is now acceptable to lie about military service. Apparently, the First Amendment protects the Americans’ right to lie, even if that lie involves a person’s military service, and awards received. (Lee Ferran, abcNews, June 28, 2012)
The decision vindicated Xavier Alvarez who was convicted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2006. The bill made it illegal to claim ownership of or to wear and ribbons, which were not earned. Alvarez never received the medals claimed nor served in the military. He was sentenced to three years probation, a $5,000 fine, and community service. His convinced the Supreme Court that the Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional and it violated his right to lie.
SCOTUS, through Justice Kennedy, defended its 6-3 decision in Alvarez’s favor that the Stolen Valor Act is “too broad and ignores whether the liar is trying to gain anything through his or her false statement.” A lie by any other name is still a lie. People lie to gain influence, access, and positions of power.
While cowardly Americans exercise their SCOTUS-decreed right to lie about military accomplishments, the true heroes who receive medals and ribbons do so by sacrificing their lives, limbs, blood, treasure, and precious time with their families.
Driven into oblivion, the state of Realityville is becoming stranger by the day – the loons and the corrupt are running the asylum.
Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, (Romanian Conservative) is a freelance writer (Canada Free Press, Romanian Conservative, usactionnews.com), author, radio commentator (Silvio Canto Jr. Blogtalk Radio, Butler on Business WAFS 1190, and Republic Broadcasting Network), and speaker. Her book, “Echoes of Communism, is available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Short essays describe health care, education, poverty, religion, social engineering, and confiscation of property. A second book, “Liberty on Life Support,” is also available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education.Visit her website, ileanajohnson.com. Dr. Johnson can be reached at: email@example.com
Supreme Court's Obamacare decision hands federal government unlimited power to force you to spend 100% of your paycheck on things you don't even want
by Mike Adams
Thursday, June 28, 2012 http://www.naturalnews.com/036329_Obamacare_Supreme_Court_economic_freedom.html (NaturalNews) Regardless of whether you agree with the fundamentals of Obamacare, the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has now ruled the federal government has the power to tax Americans into mandatory purchases of private industry products means an end to economic freedom in America. Why? Because it hands the federal government the power to force the American people to buy anything the government wants or face tax penalties for refusing to do so. It is the equivalent of announcing a federal monopoly over all private purchasing decisions.
"The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax," wrote Chief Justice John Roberts, in his majority opinion. "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."
Thus, the government can force Americans to buy anything it wants by simply characterizing the forced payment as a "tax." Economic freedom crushed by Supreme Court
This article is not an argument so much about Obamacare itself, by the way; it's a red alert about a fundamental loss of economic freedom -- a shifting of private purchasing decisions to Washington D.C. Now, buoyed by the passage of Obamacare, the U.S. government can (and will) create new mandates that, for example, would force Americans to buy all the following:
• A new car each year from Detroit, in order to "boost the U.S. auto industry."
• War bonds to "support the war effort."
• A year's supply of vaccines.
• Life insurance from the government's "approved" sources.
• Lawn fertilizer (the "lawn health care mandate").
• Intellectual property such as patented human genes already in your body.
There is no limit to the reach of the Supreme Court's wild misinterpretation of the Commerce Clause, it seems. So now, all Americans can expect to get ready for the federal government to start laying out a long list of products and services we will all be taxed into buying from the crony capitalist buddies of those in power. Government hands economic monopoly to Big Pharma and the vaccine industry
Perhaps the worst side effect is that Obamacare isn't really about health care at all. It's about protecting a Big Pharma monopoly over medicine; forcing consumers to buy into a system that offers zero coverage for alternative medicine, nutritional therapies, natural remedies or the healing arts.
If Obamacare actually offered consumers a free market choice of where to get services, it would be a lot more balanced and effective. Instead, it forces consumers to buy into a system of monopoly medicine of drugs and surgery that would flat-out collapse if not for the monopolistic protections granted to the industry by the government itself.
If given a free choice, most consumers prefer complementary medicine than straight-up "drugs and surgery" medicine, but complementary medicine isn't covered under Obamacare. The law is really just another corrupt, criminal-minded handout to the drug industry. And now, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, you can't even opt out! Abuse of power by the federal government knows no bounds That's the real kicker in all this: No more opting out of the private purchasing demands of the federal government! Americans are being pick-pocketed at an alarming rate, and it's only going to get worse now that this power has been unwisely handed to the federal government by a short-sighted Supreme Court.
Because long after Obama is gone, other Presidents -- from any political party -- will abuse this precedent to force Americans into buying any number of products, services, or even intellectual property that we don't want. There is now no limit to what the federal government can force you to buy by calling it a "tax."
Note, carefully, there is NO LIMIT to this "taxing" power. If you bring home a monthly paycheck of, for example, $3,000, the U.S. government can now mandate that you spend $2,999 of that on various products and services that it deems you must have "for your own protection." You no longer control your own take-home pay! The government can force you to spend it on things you don't want or even need!
America, it seems, is starting to sound a whole lot like England under King George. Soon, we'll be living under our own modern Stamp Act from 1765, which eventually led to the American Revolution. Learn your history! As Wikipedia explains: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamp_Act_1765) The Stamp Act 1765 (short title Duties in American Colonies Act 1765; 5 George III, c. 12) was a direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp. These printed materials were legal documents, magazines, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies. Like previous taxes, the stamp tax had to be paid in valid British currency, not in colonial paper money. The purpose of the tax was to help pay for troops stationed in North America after the British victory in the Seven Years' War. The British government felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of this military presence, and should pay at least a portion of the expense. The Stamp Act met great resistance in the colonies. The colonies sent no representatives to Parliament, and therefore had no influence over what taxes were raised, how they were levied, or how they would be spent. Many colonists considered it a violation of their rights as Englishmen to be taxed without their consent -- consent that only the colonial legislatures could grant. Colonial assemblies sent petitions and protests. The Stamp Act Congress held in New York City, reflecting the first significant joint colonial response to any British measure, also petitioned Parliament and the King. Local protest groups, led by colonial merchants and landowners, established connections through correspondence that created a loose coalition that extended from New England to Georgia. Protests and demonstrations initiated by the Sons of Liberty often turned violent and destructive as the masses became involved. Very soon all stamp tax distributors were intimidated into resigning their commissions, and the tax was never effectively collected. Opposition to the Stamp Act was not limited to the colonies. British merchants and manufacturers, whose exports to the colonies were threatened by colonial economic problems exacerbated by the tax, also pressured Parliament. The Act was repealed on March 18, 1766 as a matter of expedience, but Parliament affirmed its power to legislate for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever" by also passing the Declaratory Act. There followed a series of new taxes and regulations, likewise opposed by the colonists. The episode played a major role in defining the grievances and enabling the organized colonial resistance that led to the American Revolution in 1775.
Why the Supreme Court will Uphold the Constitutionality of Obamacare
Predictions are always hazardous when it comes to the economy, the weather, and the Supreme Court. I won’t get near the first two right now, but I’ll hazard a guess on what the Court is likely to decide tomorrow: It will uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) by a vote of 6 to 3.
Three reasons for my confidence:
First, Chief Justice John Roberts is — or should be — concerned about the steadily-declining standing of the Court in the public’s mind, along with the growing perception that the justices decide according to partisan politics rather than according to legal principle. The 5-4 decision in Citizen’s United, for example, looked to all the world like a political rather than a legal outcome, with all five Republican appointees finding that restrictions on independent corporate expenditures violate the First Amendment, and all four Democratic appointees finding that such restrictions are reasonably necessary to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption. Or consider the Court’s notorious decision in Bush v. Gore.
The Supreme Court can’t afford to lose public trust. It has no ability to impose its will on the other two branches of government: As Alexander Hamilton once noted, the Court has neither the purse (it can’t threaten to withhold funding from the other branches) or the sword (it can’t threaten police or military action). It has only the public’s trust in the Court’s own integrity and the logic of its decisions — both of which the public is now doubting, according to polls. As Chief Justice, Roberts has a particular responsibility to regain the public’s trust. Another 5-4 decision overturning a piece of legislation as important as Obamacare would further erode that trust.
It doesn’t matter that a significant portion of the public may not like Obamacare. The issue here is the role and institutional integrity of the Supreme Court, not the popularity of a particular piece of legislation. Indeed, what better way to show the Court’s impartiality than to affirm the constitutionality of legislation that may be unpopular but is within the authority of the other two branches to enact?
Second, Roberts can draw on a decision by a Republican-appointed and highly-respected conservative jurist, Judge Laurence Silberman, who found Obamacare to be constitutional when the issue came to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The judge’s logic was lucid and impeccable — so much so that Roberts will try to lure Justice Anthony Kennedy with it, to join Roberts and the four liberal justices, so that rather than another 5-4 split (this time on the side of the Democrats), the vote will be 6 to 3.
Third and finally, Roberts (and Kennedy) can find adequate Supreme Court precedent for the view that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives Congress and the President the power to regulate health care — given that heath-care coverage (or lack of coverage) in one state so obviously affects other states; that the market for health insurance is already national in many respects; and that other national laws governing insurance (Social Security and Medicare, for example) require virtually everyone to pay (in these cases, through mandatory contributions to the Social Security and Medicare trust funds).
Okay, so I’ve stuck my neck out. We’ll find out tomorrow how far.
This article was originally posted on Robert Reich's blog.
ROBERT B. REICH, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org.
What Just Happened to the Rule of Law?
Obamacare has now transformed the United States into a police state
Following the Obamacare decision, The Heartland Institute’s Maureen Martin, a Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs, said, “Today’s decision will go down in infamy. It marks the moment when we all lost our freedom because the Supreme Court drew a road map to guide those dedicated to imposing a totalitarian, statist government on the American people.”
A Heartland colleague, Peter Ferrara, a member of the bar of the Supreme Court and a Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy, said “The Supreme Court of the United States just endorsed the most fundamental dishonesty of our politics today. The President intimidated Chief Justice John Roberts like Hugo Chavez intimidates the Venezuelan Supreme Court. The rule of law is now dead. The American people have only one more chance now to save their country.” Heartland is a non-profit, free market think tank.
A lot of Americans may begin to feel like the Jews who lived in Nazi Germany. On September 15, 1935, the Nazi government passed the Nuremberg laws. They were intended to make life in Germany so unpleasant that it would force them to emigrate. Those who could escaped what would later materialize as the Holocaust, the deliberate extermination of all the Jews of Europe. One of them was Albert Einstein who found sanctuary in the United States.
To give you a taste of what it was like, the Reichstag’s Nuremburg laws prohibited marriage between Jews and Aryan Germans. Intercourse between Jews and “subjects of German or kindred blood” was forbidden. Jews were forbidden to fly the Reich and national flag. It did not take long for Jewish teachers, lawyers, and physicians to be stripped of their right to work.
What does that have to do with Obamacare? Americans who could rely on the political system to moderate and even reduce taxation now know that the December 28, 2012 Supreme Court has ruled that Congress may tax anything, including behavior. Americans no longer are free to determine what they wish to purchase or not. Either they follow the dictate of the federal government or they will be fined.
Obamacare has now transformed the United States into a police state.
Twenty-seven U.S. States joined together to oppose Obamacare and they and the other twenty-three now know that they are no longer separate and sovereign republics, but must yield to the federal government’s demand that they create “exchanges” where health insurance must be purchased.
Arizona has already discovered that the federal government will not permit its law enforcement authorities to participate in protecting its border with Mexico despite the havoc illegal immigration has wreaked on that State. Other States have encountered the same response.
America’s older generation, covered by Medicare, will discover that panels of bureaucrats will determine the extent of the health care they can receive. They will discover as those in England’s health system that the wait to be admitted to a hospital can result in death.
The younger generation will suffer as well. As Paul T. Conway, the president of Generation Opportunity, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to mobilize young adults who are dissatisfied with the status quo to create a better future for themselves, has said:
“President Obama’s health care law stands as one of the largest tax increases in American history. It will be paid by young Americans whose dreams and plans for the future have already been derailed by failed policies that have denied their access to full-time, meaningful jobs in their chosen career paths.”
“Young Americans,” said Conway, “know they will pay the true costs of President Obama’s legislation—over a trillion dollars more in federal spending, more waste and fraud, increased American debt, and the inability to keep or choose healthcare plans that best suit their needs as individuals.”
Young, old, and all other Americans will wake now to an America that they have not known, nor ever conceived could exist; a nation in which the rule of law no longer is a guarantee of the Constitution’s limits and separation of powers.
Hugo Price and Max Keiser can save Greece
15th June, 2012
The Greece crisis continues as the debate over whether or not the country should leave the Eurozone will be at the forefront of the election Sunday. Hugo Price and Max Keiser offer solutions to the debt problems faced by the country, and some of their recommendations include getting out of the EU and focusing on a currency with real value: silver. They’re advice should also be heeded here in the US, as large banks like JP Morgan continue to make shady deals that are negatively impacting consumer confidence in these huge financial institutions. Less reliance on central banks is a must for financial freedom, and will help redirect funds back to the savers instead of the spenders.
Greece's new three-party coalition government said on Thursday it would renegotiate the terms of the 130-billion-euro bailout deal that is helping the country avoid bankruptcy.
Greece's new government should stop asking for more help and instead move quickly to enact reform measures agreed to in return for previous bailouts from its European partners, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday.
Schaeuble told Bild am Sonntag in unusually blunt language that Greece has forfeited much of Europe's trust during the sovereign debt crisis, as reflected in an opinion poll covering the euro zone's four biggest nations and published in the paper.
"The most important task facing new prime minister (Antonis) Samaras is to enact the programme agreed upon quickly and without further delay instead of asking how much more others can do for Greece," said Schaeuble, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Europe's most powerful finance minister.
Greece's new three-party coalition government said on Thursday it would renegotiate the terms of the 130-billion-euro bailout deal that is helping the country avoid bankruptcy.
The coalition's platform particularly challenges euro zone paymaster Germany, which has offered to adjust the lifeline's terms to make up for time lost as a result of two Greek elections since May, but refuses to revise it radically.
Greece wants a two-year extension to the 2014 deadline for it to cut its budget deficit to 2.1 percent of national economic output, from 9.3 percent in 2011. The extension would require an extra 16 to 20 billion euros in foreign funding.
"The ball is now in Greece's court," said Schaeuble. "It's in their hands to win back the confidence of the people of Europe. They're only going to accomplish that with concrete actions and deeds."
The poll of 4,000 people in Germany, France, Spain and Italy showed 78 percent of Germans and 65 percent of French people wanted Greece to leave the euro zone, with 51 percent in Spain and 49 percent in Italy also backing a Greek exit.
Big majorities in all four countries, which have a combined population of 254 million, did not expect that Greece would ever repay its bailout loans.
The poll, conducted by the Ifop Institute for Bild am Sonntag and leading newspapers in France, Spain and Italy, showed only small minorities in the four states want to scrap the euro and return to their respective national currencies.
"The poll shows two things," Schaeuble said. "An overwhelming majority want the euro ...and secondly it shows how much trust Greece has forfeited among Europeans."
The new government must now work to fix its public finances while negotiating with euro zone leaders who are losing patience with Athens after two multi-billion-euro bailouts since 2010 that have failed to stem the crisis.
'Spending Other People's Money'
Samaras, 61, was sworn in on Wednesday after elections last Sunday ended weeks of uncertainty that rattled financial markets and threatened to push Greece out of the euro zone.
New Democracy narrowly defeated the radical leftist SYRIZA bloc, which wants to tear up the latest bailout deal and austerity programme, which it blames for driving the economy ever deeper into recession.
The government will also seek to extend the payment of unemployment benefits to two years from one, to offer benefits to the self-employed without work, and to limit public sector lay-offs. Lenders want the public sector payroll cut by 150,000.
In a separate interview on Sunday published in Der Spiegel news magazine, Schaeuble again ruled out any form of collectivised debt such as euro bonds and defended the German government's hard line on that.
"It's because you cannot separate the responsibility for decision-making from the liability," he said when asked why Germany was so adamantly opposed. "That's true for almost everything but especially when it comes to money.
"Anyone who has the chance to spend someone else's money will do that," he added, before telling the reporter: "You'd do that and so would I. The markets know that. And so from that point of view they wouldn't be convinced by euro bonds."
Greece Seen Blocked From Debt Markets Until 2017: Euro Credit
Greece may have to wait at least another five years before it can sell bonds to investors, according to financial institutions that trade debt with European governments.
A new administration in Athens and signs that European Union leaders are willing to loosen Greek austerity measures failed to convince primary dealers that the country will be able to return to the market before its second bailout ends in the next three years.
Three of 20 companies surveyed by Bloomberg News that deal directly with sovereign bond issuers expect it to take at least a decade before Greece issues debt again. Ten say investors would lend money to the country no sooner than 2017, while five predict 2015 at the earliest. The median forecast was a minimum of five years.
“The challenges facing Greece remain extremely large,” said Jamie Searle, a fixed-income strategist at Citigroup Inc. in London. “It will be a long while before they can get back to the market.”
Greece last sold bonds in March 2010 before the extra yield that investors demand for holding its 10-year securities instead of German bunds ballooned the next month to 443 basis points, then a euro-era record. That forced the country, facing 8.5 billion euros ($10.7 billion) of bond repayments, to start bailout talks with the EU, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Ten-year Greek debt yielded 25.72 percentage points more than German bunds as of 12:25 p.m. London time today.
Analysts at New York-based Citigroup said there’s a 50 percent to 75 percent chance that the nation will exit the euro region in the next 12 to 18 months. Their view hasn’t changed since before the June 17 election.
Antonis Samaras was sworn in last week as prime minister, Greece’s fourth since November, after his New Democracy party won the vote. He is under pressure to tackle the nation’s debt crisis with the economy in a fifth year of recession and unemployment at 21 percent.
Greece won a second bailout this year from the EU and the IMF, taking the total rescue package to 240 billion euros. Under the country’s bailout program, Greece has to reduce its budget deficit to 7.3 percent of gross domestic product this year from 9.3 percent in 2011, and cut its primary deficit, which excludes interest payments, to 1 percent from 2.4 percent.
It may need a third bailout or another round of bond writedowns, or both, to get debt to a manageable level, said officials from the primary dealers, who asked that they not be identified. Some said policy makers must signal their willingness to share the burden by issuing common bonds before investors are confident enough to buy Greek securities.
“The only thing that will get investors’ trust back is to get something that looks like a fiscal union because Greece isn’t going to grow out of the problem,” said John Wraith, a fixed-income strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London. “Investors have given up on the concept of a union that doesn’t have a fiscal transfer, but does have the interest rate and currency locked together.”
The country sparked Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis in 2009 after saying its deficit was bigger than previously thought, reaching a euro-region record of 15.8 percent of GDP that year.
European leaders will hold a two-day summit on June 28 to seek a way out of the debt turmoil. Billionaire investor George Soros warned that failure by leaders meeting this week to produce drastic measures could spell the demise of the currency.
Yields on Greek 10-year bonds dropped to 27.21 percent today from a record high of 44 percent in March. The rate is at least 20 percentage points above the level at which Greece could fund itself, as the country along with Ireland and Portugal all sought aid when 10-year yields surpassed 7 percent.
The nation’s ratio of debt to GDP is projected to rise to 168 percent next year from 161 percent, according to the European Commission’s report of May 11. The economy will contract 4.7 percent this year and show zero growth in 2013, the commission said.
“The country is still insolvent and there is little progress in the way of fiscal adjustment and growth,” said Piero Ghezzi, the head of global economics at Barclays Capital in London. “Investors will need to see what the end game for Greece is before they buy its bonds again. A country can borrow in the market only if there is demand for its debt. For Greece, that can be easily five years away.”
Companies participating in the Bloomberg survey were Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bayerische Landesbank, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup, Commerzbank AG, Credit Agricole SA, Danske Bank SA, Deutsche Bank AG, DZ Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, ING Bank NV, Jefferies International, Landesbank Baden-Wuerttermberg, Lloyds TSB Bank Plc, Nomura International, Rabobank International, Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Barclays Plc and UniCredit SpA. They provided their forecasts on June 21 and June 22 on a non-attributable basis.
Petros Christodoulou, former head of the Greek debt office, said June 19 that his nation isn’t close to selling bonds and there may be common euro debt issuance by the time it returns to the markets. He also said Greece will remain a member of the 17- nation euro area.
The IMF recommended issuing common debt on June 21 after warning that the euro-area crisis has reached a “critical” stage.
“Greece could return to the market quickly if leaders take the right policy decisions,” said Padhraic Garvey, head of developed market debt at ING in Amsterdam. “But the risk that things could go in a very wrong direction, taking Greece much longer to return to the market, is greater than the other way around.”
(Reuters) - Greece wants tax cuts, extra help for the poor and unemployed, a freeze on public sector lay-offs and more time to cut its deficit under a plan likely to run into strong opposition at a European Union summit next week.
The new coalition government's program, seen by Reuters on Saturday, reflected public pressure to ease the terms of a 130 billion euro ($163 billion) bailout saving Greece from bankruptcy but only at the cost of harsh economic suffering.
If implemented in full, the new program would undo many austerity measures the country agreed in February to clinch the bailout package, its second since 2010.
Euro zone partners have offered adjustments but no radical rewrite of the bailout conditions, with paymaster Germany particularly resistant to Greek calls for leniency.
Greece's program includes a call for the recapitalization of the country's fifth-largest lender, ATEbank - a state-owned agricultural bank that EU sources said this month was among several lenders the European Commission wanted to be wound down. The finance ministry has denied that report.
The program, agreed by leaders of the three-party coalition after a June 17 election, faces its first test at a two-day EU summit starting next Thursday and sure to be dominated by the debt crisis that started in Greece and is now threatening to engulf Italy and Spain, the euro zone's third and fourth-largest economies, respectively.
Inspectors from Greece's "troika" of lenders - the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - were due in Athens on Monday to review the country's progress.
Euro zone officials have said the bailout package should be revised only to reflect time lost on two elections since early May and a deeper than expected recession.
"The general target is for there to be no further reductions in wages or pensions and no more taxes," the Greek government program said.
It called for a cut in the 23-percent value-added tax (sales tax) rate for restaurants and farmers, a freeze on lay-offs in the bloated public sector and for unemployment benefit to be paid for two years rather than one.
The government will also ask for two more years, until 2016, to cut its budget deficit to 2.1 percent of national economic output from 9.3 percent in 2011, an extension that would require extra foreign funding.
The lowest income tax threshold should be raised, the document said, and the minimum wage - cut by 22 percent in February - revised in line with agreements between employers and workers.
The program also calls for the accelerated payment of 6 billion euros of government debt to suppliers.
The coalition brings together the conservative New Democracy, Socialist PASOK and Democratic Left in an alliance that will face constant pressure from an opposition led by the radical leftist Syriza bloc.
Led by charismatic ex-communist Alexis Tsipras, Syriza surged into second place in the election on a vow to tear up the terms of the bailout.
Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, a Harvard-educated economist who switched from opposing the first bailout to reluctantly supporting the second, has promised to soften the terms without jeopardizing Greece's place in the euro zone.
"Though the troika will be in Athens on Monday, the crunch test will be Thursday's EU summit," the centre-left Ethnos daily wrote in an editorial on Saturday.
($1 = 0.7977 euro)
(Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Barry Moody and Dan Lalor)
Greek healthcare system collapses, hospital workers now working without pay
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Friday, June 22, 2012 http://www.naturalnews.com/036257_Greece_economic_collapse_hospitals.html
(NaturalNews) The economic situation in Greece is only continuing to worsen, as reports indicate that hospitals and care centers throughout the nation are running completely out of medicines, and many healthcare workers are now voluntarily providing care services without pay.
Strapped with spiraling debt, the Greek healthcare, which is government-run, has had to receive gobs of international financial aid just to keep operating with some semblance of normalcy. There has also been plenty of IOUs issued, and desperate patients quietly forking over cash "gifts" to doctors to receive treatments. All in all, the healthcare situation is in utter chaos, save for those that have sacrificed their own time, often free of charge, just to help those in need.
As we reported here at NaturalNews back in 2010, Big Pharma had already been withholding drugs from Greece because of the country's inability to pay for them. Greek authorities had tried to negotiate with drug companies to lower the exorbitant costs associated with drugs, and some complied. But many others simply stopped shipping in medicines, leaving thousands of ill patients without any options. (http://www.naturalnews.com/028922_Greece_Big_Pharma.html)
Today, the situation has gotten even worse, particularly because the Greek healthcare system heavily relies on brand-name drugs rather than far-less-expensive alternatives. Since the entire system is clogged because of unpaid bills, many pharmacies, for instance, have had to simply close their doors. Those that still remain and continue to supply drugs on credit -- these are few and far between -- are being overwhelmed by long lines of desperate patients seeking life-saving medications.
"We're not talking about painkillers here," said one Greek woman, a cancer survivor, to Reuters. "We've learned to live with physical pain. We need drugs to keep us alive."
MSNBC reports that many hospital workers have been working for a many as five months without pay, including at the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens, which is owned by the Hellenic Red Cross Foundation. These workers hope to one day receive the backlog of pay they are owed, but because the crisis only appears to be worsening rather than improving, this may not ever happen.
As of this past weekend, the New Democracy Party's Antonis Samaras claimed victory as Greece's new prime minister, ending a seven-week period in which the nation was essentially being ruled by nobody. Much to the chagrin of many Greeks, this new regime plans to stick with the eurozone and pursue more financial bailouts (http://www.nytimes.com).
Back to the 1930s: the hammer, sickle and swastika
Ten days before Greece’s elections, a member of the neo-nazi party, Golden Dawn, repeatedly hit a female candidate of the communist party while appearing live on a television talk show and threw water over a female candidate of the radical left Syriza. The communist had just called him a “bloody fascist” and he addressed her as a “commie”. Greek elites (journalists, intellectuals, politicians) condemned his violence almost unequivocally. Yet the ugliest part of this incident was the readiness of many lay people to defend him, even cheer him, while the neo-nazis rose in the polls.
Unfortunately this episode was not isolated. Despite the narrow victory of a centrist party in Sunday’s vote, almost every day extremist violence breaks out in Athens and beyond. Neo-nazis against immigrants, anarchists and leftists. Anarchists, ultra-leftists and other fringe groups of the nationalist-populist camp against riot police, mainstream politicians, journalists, liberal intellectuals, even artists. Add to this a surge in crime and rising tolerance of violence and you have a clearer picture of today’s Athens. Does it remind you of anything?
That’s right. Greece’s situation recalls the Weimar Republic. Violence (and its banalisation), hate, rage, polarisation, fear, despair and resignation. As for the police, it has already taken sides: neo-nazis won by a landslide in polling stations where officers were assigned to vote.
The electoral results demonstrate the dangers to the Greek democracy. The centre-right New Democracy party may have edged ahead, but the parliament, for the first time in Greek history, will be full of extremists. Besides the neo-nazis and a Stalinist communist party there is Syriza, whose leader is a fan of Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez. It is difficult to find a notable dictator, even among the great butchers of the 20th century, without a steady following in the Greek parliament. The three protagonists of the dreadful TV incident were also elected. Imagine them together in routine parliamentary proceedings. Golden Dawn members have already made it clear they would come down hard on any member of parliament saying something they strongly disapprove of.
How did Greece, the birthplace of democracy, come to have a parliament full of hammers, sickles and swastikas? This is not how it was ever meant to be. After winning independence in the late 1820s, Greece was attached to the west and particularly to the UK, which protected and patronised Greece until it was replaced by the US in the late 1940s. This patronage had some beneficial side effects. Greece was always on the winning side: in the first world war, the second world war, the cold war. From 1929 to 1980 Greece had an average growth rate of 5.2 per cent and was admitted to the European Community as early as 1981 partly as a reward.
The rest is history: welfare populism, cronyism, statism and corruption can describe the Greek political system for most of the period from 1981. This is why Greek people have finally punished the two former main parties (New Democracy and the social-democratic Pasok party) for leading Greece into a horrible economic crisis with huge debts and deficits and a corrupt, inefficient state, unfit for reform and captured by special interests.
This failure of the mainstream political system and of the short-sighted, growth-stifling austerity policies enforced by the European leadership led Greece to the precipice. Greek people are disillusioned, miserable, exasperated and very frightened. They seem to be falling into the same trap again, by rewarding demagoguery, political opportunism and arrogant ignorance. Their knee-jerk reaction was to vote for parties such as Syriza, the rightwing nationalist and populist Independent Greeks and the Golden Dawn. These parties became vehicles for a popular backlash, gathering more than 41 per cent of the vote.
However, more than 50 per cent of Greeks voted for parties strongly committed to European unification. These parties will probably form a government that must achieve the impossible: renegotiate better bailout terms and enforce reforms in the face of fierce opposition from Syriza.
Mario Vargas Llosa wrote recently in El Pais that “Greece is the symbol of Europe and symbols cannot be abolished without that which they embody collapsing and degenerating into the barbaric confusion of irrationality and violence that Greek civilization liberated us from”.
Yet Greece is only a small step away from civil unrest and total collapse. It does not deserve this. Europe has the power to push us off the cliff but also the ability to hold us back and save us. This is not just an economic decision; it is largely a political decision. A fatal mistake will haunt Europe for ever.
The writer is an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens and runs the blog GreekCrisis.net
A hungry bear won’t dance, says the Greek proverb. Twenty-four hours after national elections that revealed a deeply fractured political landscape and a society close to psychological exhaustion, it is an image Greece’s foreign creditors will need to keep in mind.
Temporarily, the victory of the centre-right New Democracy party will keep at bay the forces of Syriza, the radical leftist party determined to break the stranglehold that it accuses the creditors of imposing on Greece as their price for emergency financial help. In this narrow sense, the eurozone lives to breathe another day.
But the sickness of the Greek economy is so far advanced that it is inconceivable the next government will meet the economic and fiscal targets set by other European countries and the International Monetary Fund. The Greek state is within weeks of running out of cash to meet its wages and pensions bills, tax collection has slumped and private sector economic activity is grinding to a halt.
The once well-fed Greek bear cannot dance to the eurozone-IMF tune because it is lying on a stretcher in the intensive care ward. It is hungrier than ever for jobs, living wages, business credit, medical supplies and plain hope. Turnout in Greek elections is usually high by European standards, but on Sunday, despite being warned that the nation’s destiny hung in the balance, barely 60 per cent of registered voters cast ballots.
In order to satisfy its creditors, Greece is required in coming weeks to make public spending cuts of up to €11.5bn and implement the bulk of them by the end of 2013. But the desperate condition of Greece’s economy and the post-election alignment of political forces in parliament make it an open question whether the next government will be able or willing to honour this commitment.
Like a previous, inconclusive election on May 6, Sunday’s vote did nothing to resolve the paradox at the heart of Greece’s plight: the nation wants to stay in the eurozone, but bursts with despair and resentment at the terms demanded of it to do so.
The two elections have accelerated the disintegration of the political order established in Greece after the fall of the 1967-74 military junta. But Sunday’s result left little option but to reinstall in power the two parties – New Democracy and the socialist Pasok party – most closely identified with that discredited order. It is not a recipe either for resolute government or for the general public’s readiness to accept more economic ordeals.
Greece is not the only eurozone country whose political structures are buckling under the pressure of economic recession, rising unemployment and welfare state cutbacks. Ireland’s leftwing nationalist Sinn Féin party exploited a referendum on a European fiscal treaty last month to strengthen its position as the main anti-government voice at the expense of the once hegemonic Fianna Fáil party.
Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party and Umberto Bossi’s Northern League are losing their grip on conservative voters in Italy, and Beppe Grillo’s idiosyncratic Five Star movement is climbing in the polls. For seven months Italy has been under the rule of non-party technocrats.
Elsewhere in Europe, with the notable exception of Germany, populist and xenophobic parties flourish. Apart from Syriza and the hardline Communist party on the far left, Greece’s two elections catapulted the neo-fascist Golden Dawn into parliament.
If there is a crumb of comfort for the starved Greek bear, it lies in the erosion of the corrupt clientelism that was the hallmark of politics and state administration under Pasok and New Democracy. Economic collapse dictates that there are fewer jobs and favours for politicians to distribute in exchange for votes.
So far, however, Syriza – the bête noire of European governments – is the only political movement to have truly capitalised on the implosion of the old order. Syriza now waits restlessly in the wings for its chance. Without a revision of Greece’s financial rescue terms, and a spell of competent government in Athens, it may only be a matter of time before Syriza moves to centre stage.
Paid Lying: What Passes for Major Media Journalism - by Stephen Lendman
Today's major media journalism is biased, irresponsible, sensationalist reporting that distorts, exaggerates or misstates the truth. It's misinformation or agitprop disinformation masquerading as fact to boost circulation, readership, viewers, or listeners, and on vital issues lie about or suppress uncomfortable truths to provide unqualified support for state and/or corporate interests - to the detriment of the greater good that's always sacrificed for profits and imperial aims.
As a result, major media sources produce a daily propaganda diet and what Project Censored calls "junk food news," and get most people to believe it. In their landmark book, Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explained the "propaganda model" that controls the public message by "filter(ing)" disturbing truths, "leaving (behind) only the cleansed residue fit to print" or air.
Today the media is in crisis and a free and open society at risk at a time fiction substitutes for fact, news is carefully controlled, dissent marginalized, and on-air and print journalists support powerful interests as paid liars, or what famed journalist George Seldes (1890 - 1995) called "prostitutes of the press."
As a result, imperial wars are called liberating ones. Civil liberties are suppressed for our own good. Major topics go unaddressed or are misrepresented. Government and business interests are endorsed wholeheartedly. America is always called "beautiful." Beneficial social change is considered heresy. The market works best, we're told, so let it, and patriotism means supporting lawlessness and corporate outlaws by shopping till we drop.
The New York Times - Its Lead Role in Distorting and Suppressing Truth
For many decades, The Times has been the closest thing in America to an official ministry of information and propaganda masquerading as real news, commentary and analysis.
Its unmatched clout once got media critic Norman Solomon to call its front page "the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA;" most everywhere, in fact, because its reports are widely circulated and followed globally.
The Paper of Record has a long history of:
-- supporting the powerful;
-- backing corporate interests;
-- endorsing imperial wars;
-- supporting CIA efforts to topple elected governments, assassinate independent leaders, prop up friendly dictators, secretly fund and train paramilitary death squads, practice sophisticated forms of torture, and menace democratic freedoms at home and abroad. For decades, in fact, some Times' foreign correspondents were covert Agency assets. Others today likely are as well as other prominent fourth estate members.
The Times management is also comfortable with:
-- Washington and corporate lawlessness;
-- an unprecedented and growing wealth gap;
-- Wall Street banksters looting the federal treasury;
-- a private banking cartel controlling the nation's money;
-- unmet human needs and increasing poverty, hunger, homelessness, and despair for growing millions in a nation run by rogue politicians who don't give a damn as long as they're re-elected;
-- a de facto one-party state;
-- deep corruption at the highest government and corporate levels;
-- democracy for the select few alone;
-- sham elections; and
-- a deepening social decay symptomatic of a declining state, yet The Times management won't use its clout to expose and help reverse it.
Of course, the same applies throughout the corporate media, the only variance being audience size, the ability to influence it, and the special impact of TV news and talk radio to arouse their faithful. Plus their power of round-the-clock persuasive repetition.
Examples of Journalism, New York Times Style
After a Washington staged February 29, 2004 middle-of-the-night coup ousted democratically elected Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, The Times March 1 editorial lied by:
-- stating he resigned;
-- saying sending in Marines to abduct him "was the right thing to do;"
-- claiming they only came after "Mr. Aristide yielded power;"
-- blaming him for "contribut(ing) significantly to his own downfall (because of his) increasingly autocratic and lawless rule....;" and
-- accusing him of manipulating the 2000 legislative elections and not "deliver(ing) the democracy he promised."
In fact, he's a beloved democrat first elected in 1990 with 67% of the vote, ousted by a US-supported coup months later, returned to Haiti in 1994, then, because he couldn't succeed himself in 1996, ran in 2000 and was overwhelmingly re-elected with 92% of the vote. Today in exile, the great majority of Haitians want him back but paramilitary occupiers, under orders from Washington, won't let him.
Following Hugo Chavez's December 1998 election, The Times Latin American reporter, Larry Roher, wrote:
Regional "presidents and party leaders are looking over their shoulders (concerned about the) specter (they) thought they had safely interred: that of the populist demagogue, the authoritarian man on horseback known as the caudillo (strongman)" taking power.
Ever since, Times writers consistently:
-- turned a blind eye to Venezuelan democracy;
-- bashed Chavez as "divisive, a ruinous demagogue, provocative (and) the next Fidel Castro;"
-- said he "militarized the government, emasculated the country's courts, intimidated the media, eroded confidence in the economy, and hollowed out Venezuela's once-democratic institutions:" common conditions during decades of pre-Chavez rule that columnist Roger Lowenstein falsely said exist now in:
-- calling him anti-capitalist for sharing his nation's oil wealth with the people by providing essential social services, and for lifting the most needy out of poverty; and
-- denouncing his making foreign investors pay their fair share.
Lowenstein backed the aborted April 2002 coup by calling Chavez's ouster a "resignation," then saying Venezuela "no longer (would be) threatened by a would-be dictator."
Post-/911, the Times played the lead role in taking the nation to war by highlighting the "day of terror" and saying the "President Vows to Exact Punishment for 'Evil.' "
In the run-up to the Iraq war, Judith Miller was a weapon of mass deception with her daily front page Pentagon press release columns masquerading as real news, later exposed as manipulative lies, but they worked.
Following the September 15, 2009 Goldstone Commission report, a same day Neil MacFarquhar column suggested that Israel's "disproportionate attack" followed Hamas provocations, so perhaps it was justified. While The Times gave Judge Goldstone op-ed space, it:
-- published scathing letters denouncing his "one-sidedness" and a September 18 piece saying "the Obama administration said (today) that a United Nations report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza was unfair to Israel and did not take adequate account of 'deplorable' actions by the militant group Hamas in the conflict last winter."
The paper then imposed a near-blackout on its news and editorial pages to bury the story and kill it through silence - never mind its importance in documenting clear evidence of Israeli war crimes against a civilian population.
National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting (PBS)
Founded in 1970 as an independent, private, non-profit member organization of US public radio stations, NPR promised to be an alternative to commercial broadcasters by "promot(ing) personal growth rather than corporate gain (and) speak with many voices, many dialects."
Having long ago abandoned its promise, and given its substantial corporate and government funding, NPR is indistinguishable from the rest of the corporate media, just as corrupted, and consider its former head, Kevin Klose.
He was president from December 1998 - September 2008 and CEO from 1998 - January 2009. Earlier he was US propaganda director as head of the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Worldnet Television, and the anti-Castro Radio/TV Marti, so he fit easily into his new role.
On January 5, 2009, Vivian Schiller succeeded him as president and CEO. Her official bio says she was previously with "The New York Times Company where she served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of NYTimes.com."
She'll oversea "all NPR operations and initiatives, including the organization's critical partnerships with our 800+ member stations, and their service to the more than 26 million people who listen to NPR programming every week." Most don't know they're getting the same corporate propaganda and "junk food news" or that
NPR calls itself "public" to conceal its real agenda, and why critics call it "National Pentagon or Petroleum Radio" with good reason.
Created by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) calls itself "a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress...and is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,100 locally-owned and-operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services."
Like NPR, it's heavily corporate and government funded and provides similar services for them. Under George Bush, former Voice of America director Kenneth Tomlinson was chairman of CPB's Board of Governors until an internal 2005 investigation forced him out for repeatedly braking the law.
On September 16, 2009, a CPB press release announced that "The board of directors (of the CPB) today elected Dr. Ernest Wilson III (as) chairman and re-elected....CEO Beth Courtney (as) vice-chair."
Wilson previously held senior policy positions as Director of International Programs and Resources on the National Security Council. He was also Policy and Planning Unit Director for the US Information Agency and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Beth Courtney is a George Bush appointee, a past chairman of the board of America's Public Television Stations and present CPB vice chairman. Currently she also serves on the boards of Satellite Educational Resources Consortium, the Organization of State Broadcasting Executives, the National Forum for Public Television Executives, and the National Educational Telecommunications Association along with other appropriate credentials for her re-appointment.
In its May/June 2004 "Extra" report, FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) asked "How Public Is Public Radio? Writers Steve Rendall and Daniel Butterworth quoted past head Kevin Klose saying:
"All of us believe our goal is to serve the entire democracy, the entire country."
Not according to FAIR on "every on-air source quoted in June 2003 on four of (NPR's) news shows: All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday." Each guest was classified "by occupation, gender, nationality, and partisan affiliation." Combined, 2,334 sources from 804 stories were quoted.
FAIR found that NPR relies on the same dominant sources as the major media that include government officials, professional experts, and corporate representatives nearly two-thirds of the time.
Spokespeople for public interest groups accounted for 7% of total sources, and ordinary people appeared mostly in "one-sentence soundbites."
Male guests outnumbered women about 4 - 1, and those quoted most often came from the same elite categories as men.
Overall, NPR represents the same dominant interests as the major commercial media - conservative, pro-business, pro-war, pro-Israel, and very much against the public interest while pretending to support it.
FAIR analyzed PBS's flagship NewsHour guest list and drew similar conclusions. Like NPR, it's ideologically right and usually censors progressive content and public interest programming. In a 1990 NewsHour evaluation, FAIR compared its content to ABC's Nightline and found that it presented "an even narrower segment of the political spectrum." It then conducted an October 2005 - March 2006 analysis of all of its programs, got similar results, and determined that NewHour is even more ideologically right than NPR that tilts far in that direction itself.
FAIR concluded that NPR and NewsHour content "overwhelmingly represent those in power rather than the public" they're obliged to serve. While masquerading as public programming, they betray their listeners and viewers by offering the same propaganda and "junk food news" as the dominant corporate media. Considering their funding sources, what else would they do.
An October 6 NPR story is typical of most others. It charged Hugo Chavez with "Targeting Opponents For Arrest." Reporter Juan Forero claimed "dozens of university students" went on hunger strike outside OAS headquarters in Caracas on September 28 along with others "across the country....in support of Julio Cesar Rivas, a student who was arrested during an anti-government demonstration in August...."
Rivas is the coordinator and founder of Juventud Activa de Venezuela Unida (United Active Youth of Venezuela - JAVU). Earlier, he was part of a staged, violent street protest against Venezuela's new Education Law. The government says JAVU acts as "shock troops" in opposition protests and is liberally funded by the National Endowment of Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), and US Agency or International Development (USAID) to disrupt internal Venezuelan affairs. It's a familiar scheme, repeated numerous times in the past, to discredit and disrupt the Chavez government in hopes of eventually ousting it.
JAVU has about 80,000 members in most Venezuelan states, and its blog site calls for bringing down the government and supporting the Honduran military coup.
Rivas was released on September 29, but must appear for trial. He's a Washington-funded provocateur, charged with resisting arrest, instigating crime, conspiracy, inciting rebellion, damaging public property, and using "generic" weapons.
While in custody, Venezuela Public Defender Gabriela Ramirez assured him in person that his full constitutional rights will be protected. Street protests still continue and have been countered by pro-Chavez ones calling for "peace and tolerance." According to the Federation of Bolivarian students' Carlos Sierra:
Opposition "students are being used and manipulated by the top leadership of the irrational opposition, which, via the (dominant) media, send them to generate violence and terrorism in the country" much like on previous occasions.
But according to NPR's Forero, Rivas was "sent to one of Venezuela's most infamous prisons" where other government opponents are held as political prisoners. Chavez "has been jailing dozens of key opponents - some of them students, some of them veteran politicians" in citing unnamed "human rights groups and constitutional experts (claiming) Venezuela is increasingly singling out and imprisoning its foes in politically motivated witch hunts."
Forero didn't mention that Rivas fomented violence. Others arrested also broke the law. No one is a political prisoner, and all Venezuelans get fair and equitable trials, unlike in America where real political arrests, prosecutions and convictions happen regularly against innocent targeted victims - a topic NPR and PBS won't touch except to vilify them publicly on-air.
Nor do they report truthfully on Occupied Palestine. On October 12, 2009, on NPR's Morning Edition, reporter Renee Montagne practically extolled Israeli racism in stating:
"There is a new enemy for some Israelis: romance between Jewish women and Arab men, (so) vigilantes have banded together to fight it." She means from "Jewish settlements" that "have sprung up (in) traditionally Arab" East Jerusalem, but won't admit they're on stolen Palestinian land.
NPR's Sheera Frankel joined a patrol, implied Arabs are inferior to Jews, and suggested they pose a danger to Jewish women and girls. She described vigilantes on the lookout for "Arab-Jewish couples (to) break up their dates," suggesting it's the right thing to do, but never questioning the legitimacy of settlements, vigilante violence in East Jerusalem, its lawless disregard for the law, or great harm to innocent people. Instead she called "mixed couples a growing epidemic" of miscegenation - typical of NPR's racism and one-sided support for Israel.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
The WSJ is Dow Jones & Company's flagship publication, now a News Corp. one since Rupert Murdoch bought it in August 2007. Stating its ideology up front, it says it supports "free markets and free people" as well as "free trade and sound money; against confiscatory taxation and the ukases (edicts) of kings and other collectivists; and for individual autonomy against dictators, bullies and even the tempers of momentary majorities."
In October 2007, FAIR bemoaned the Murdock takeover because of his "penchant for using his holdings as vehicles for his personal (views) and business interests." Earlier FAIR and the Columbia Journalism Review criticized its editorial page for inaccuracy, extreme bias, and dishonesty.
The Journal is unapologetic in saying its philosophy "make(s) no pretense of walking down the middle of the road. Our comments and interpretations are made from a definite point of view....We oppose all infringements on individual rights, whether (from) private monopoly, labor union monopoly or from an overgrowing government.(We're) not much interested in labels but if we were to choose one, we would say we are radical."
Radical can be revolutionary and beneficial when it backs fundamental progressive change and reform. Webster defines it as:
"marked by a considerable departure from the usual and traditional: extreme; tending or disposed to make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions; of, relating to, or constituting a political (or perhaps business) group associated with views, practices, and policies of extreme change; (or) advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs" such the radical right represented by the WSJ's management and editorial writers.
Critics agree that they're on the far right extremist fringe, a supporter of voodoo economics, tax cuts for the rich, a staunch defender of executive privilege, and disdainful of anything to the left of their views as witnessed daily by some of the most outlandish, one-sided, pro-business commentaries countenancing no alternatives, with the rarest of rare exceptions showing up to make the paper look fair, which it's not.
Consider editorial board member Mary O'Grady in her weekly Americas column on "politics, economics and business in Latin America and Canada." Her extremism is unmatched. Her style is agitprop; her space a truth-free zone; her language hateful and vindictive; her tone malicious and slanderous; her style bare-knuckled thuggishness; and her material calculating, mendacious, and shameless. Yet she's a WSJ regular and an award-winning op-ed writer, but surely no journalist according to Webster's definition:
"writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation."
O'Grady fails on both counts. She's a kind of print version of Fox News' Glenn Beck, who promotes himself on glennbeck.com looking arrogant in a uniform reminiscent of the Nazi SS.
Consider O'Grady's support for the Washington-backed June 28 Honduran coup ousting a democratically elected president. It was followed by months of mass arrests, disappearances, killings, targeting the independent media, suspending the Constitution, declaring martial law, and threatening the Brazilian embassy's sovereignty where President Manuel Zelaya took refuge after returning.
In one of her many pro-coup articles, O'Grady (on July 13) headlined "Why Honduras Sent Zelaya Away." In a "perfect world," according to her, he "would be in jail in his own country right now, awaiting trial. The Honduran attorney general (part of the coup regime) has charged him with deliberately violating Honduran law and the Supreme Court (stacked with pro-coup justices) ordered his arrest in Tegucigalpa on June 28," the day of the coup.
"But the Honduran military whisked him out of the country, to Costa Rica," to save itself the embarrassment of jailing a democratically elected leader whose lawful actions were endorsed by the majority of Hondurans wanting progressive constitutional change and a president willing to give it to them.
Yet according to O'Grady, "Mr. Zelaya's detention was legal, as was his official removal from office by Congress....Besides eagerly trampling the constitution, Mr. Zelaya had demonstrated that he was ready to employ the violent tactics of 'chavismo' to hang onto power. The decision to pack him off immediately was taken in the interest of protecting both constitutional order and human life."
In fact, Zelaya neither espoused or practiced violence, and his call for a public June 28 vote on whether to hold a referendum for a new Constitutional Convention at the same time as the November elections lawfully asked for a "yes" or "no" on one question:
"Do you think that the November 2009 general elections should include a fourth ballot box (the other three were for candidates) in order to make a decision about the creation of a National Constitutional Assembly that would approve a new Constitution?"
According to Article 5 of the 2006 Honduran "Civil Participation Act," government officials may hold non-binding inquiries (referenda) to determine popular support for proposed measures. Gauging sentiment for a National Constituent Assembly for a new Constitution is legal.
Yet in her June 28 article titled, "Honduras Defends Its Democracy," O'Grady falsely claimed Zelaya planned "a constitutional rewrite (following) a national referendum" only the Congress can approve. In fact, Zelaya called for a vote to assess public sentiment, pro or con, on whether Hondurans want a Constitutional Convention, an act no different from a public opinion poll that's perfectly legal or should be anywhere. But according to O'Grady, Zelaya "decided he would run the referendum himself." It's typical O'Grady truth reversal that earns her weekly space on the WSJ's op-ed page.
The BBC's Long Tradition As An Imperial Tool
State-owned and funded, it's tradition is long, unbroken, and disturbing as the world's largest and most influential broadcaster reaching global audiences in 32 languages. From inception in 1925, it's been reliably pro-government and pro-business, or as its founder Lord Reith wrote the establishment: "They know they can trust us not to be really impartial." Neither he or his successors disappointed on topics mattering most, including war and peace, corporate crimes, US-UK duplicity, labor rights, democratic freedoms, human and civil rights, social justice, and Western imperialism.
They're consistently distorted, suppressed, marginalized or ignored throughout decades of misreporting despite claiming "honesty (and) integrity (is) what the BBC stands for (because it's) free from political influence and commercial pressure."
As a propaganda service, its record is uncompromisingly anti-union, pro-business, and dependably safe for Whitehall and its allies. It moralizes Western aggression, bashes independent democratic leaders, and cheerleads for the powerful at the expense of providing real news and information for millions believing BBC is credible. For over eight decades, it's record is solid and predictable - betraying the public trust to reliably serve the powerful. The tradition continues.
Prominent TV Demagogues
Among the many, consider a select few. For example, CNN's Lou Dobbs, "Mr. Independent" he calls himself. Critics use more descriptive terms, yet according to his loudobbs.tv.cnn.com bio:
He's "anchor and managing editor of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight (and also anchor of) a nationally syndicated financial news radio report, The Lou Dobbs Financial Report...." In addition, he writes a weekly CNN.com commentary, is an author and award-winning "journalist," most recently in 2005 when "the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded (him) the Emmy for Lifetime Achievement" for serving the usual special interests nightly on prime time TV.
In June 2004, he also won "the Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration from the Center for Immigration Studies for his ongoing series 'Broken Borders,' which examines US policy towards illegal immigration." Little wonder in an August 2006 article, this writer called him CNN's Vice President of Racism. He's also a paid liar and in America wins awards.
In May 2008, a Media Matters Action Network report titled, "Fear & Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News" highlighted undocumented Latino hatemongering by Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck, each claiming:
-- an alleged connection between undocumented Latinos and crime; in fact, clear evidence shows they're no more likely to break laws than American citizens;
-- how they exploit social services and don't pay taxes; in fact, undocumented immigrants are ineligible, without proof of legal status, for Medicaid, food stamps, State Children's Health Insurance (SCHIP) and welfare; they do pay income, payroll, property, sales and other taxes and are entitled to public education; according to the National Academy of Sciences, immigrants provide a net annual gain of up to $10 billion to US GDP; according to Rand Corp. economist James P. Smith, the "net present value of the gains from those immigrants who arrived since 1980 would be $333 billion."
-- the "reconquista" myth about a supposed Mexican plot to take over the US Southwest; and
-- an epidemic of Latino voter fraud that, according to Dobbs' incessant drumbeat, puts America's "democracy absolutely in jeopardy."
He also propagates the myth that undocumented Latinos caused an increase in US leprosy (or Hansen's disease). In an on-air April 2005 report (among others), correspondent Christine Romans quoted "medical lawyer" Dr. Madeleine Cosman saying:
"We have some enormous problems with horrendous diseases that are being brought into America by illegal aliens (including) leprosy...." Romans added that, according to Cosman, "there were about 900 (US) cases of leprosy for 40 years. There have been 7,000 in the past three years."
According to a May 2007 "60 Minutes" report, the National Hansen's Disease Program (NHDP) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that "7,000 is the number of leprosy cases over the last 30 years, not the past three, and nobody knows how many of those cases involve illegal immigrants." NHDP added that from 2002 - 2005 (the timeline of Cosman's claim), only 398 cases occurred. To that, Dobbs responded: "If we reported it, it's a fact."
Founded in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is internationally known for its activism against hate groups and scoring legal victories against white supremacists. It says Dobbs regularly features inaccurate racist reports and features anti-immigrant hatemongers like:
-- Glenn Spencer, head of the anti-immigration American Patrol, whose web site highlights anti-Mexican vitriol and the idea that Mexico plans a secret takeover of the Southwest;
-- Joe McCutchen, head of the anti-immigration Protect Arkansas Now group, that Dobbs calls "a terrific group of concerned, caring Americans;"
-- Paul Streitz, co-founder of Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control, who once denounced Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. for "turning New Haven into a banana republic;"
-- Barbara Coe, leader of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform who routinely calls Mexicans "savages;" and
-- Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project and a leading anti-immigration figure.
SPLC explains that Dobbs "doggedly explores and supports the anti-immigration movement (and) won't report salient negative facts about anti-immigration leaders he approves of...."
Instead, he falsely claims that:
-- "just about a third of the prison population in this country is estimated to be illegal aliens;"
-- states have been "overwhelmed by criminal illegal aliens;" and
-- US borders are "unprotected" allowing "criminal illegal aliens (to) murder police officers."
In 2007 alone, the connection between illegal immigration and crime was discussed on 94 episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight, and dozens more focused on an "army of invaders," immigrants not paying taxes, draining social services, and threatening our white Anglo-Saxon culture.
CNN reporters Casey Wian, Bill Tucker, Kitty Pilgrim and others present a steady diet of subtle and overt racism to incite viewers to believe it. Through constant repetition, it propagates the myth, and according to the Media Matters Action Network report:
Dobbs "is hailed by the entire spectrum of immigration opponents, from the reasonable to the unreasonable. And the degree to which extremist elements see (him) as an ally indicates at the very least that they believe he is helping their cause" because they feel he's a populist crusader.
Yet according to a July 30 New York Observer report, recent Nielsen data showed that after Dobbs began reporting (on July 15) that Barack Obama's birth certificate was fraudulent (an apparent stunt to increase ratings), his viewership dropped significantly - 15% overall and 27% in the valued 25 - 54 age category.
Fox News Channel (FNC)
When it debuted in 1996, one of its on-air hosts said:
The "Channel was launched (because) something was wrong with news media....somewhere bias found its way into reporting....Fox....is committed to being fair and balanced (covering) stories everybody is reporting - and....stories....you will see only on Fox."
Later the Columbia Journalism Review said several former Fox employees "complained of 'management sticking their fingers' in the writing and editing stories to cook the facts to make a story more palatable to right-of-center tastes." But it hasn't hurt ratings.
As of Q 1 2009, FNC was the second highest rated cable channel in prime time total viewers. CNN ranked 17th and MSNBC 24th. The O'Reilly Factor has been #1 rated on cable news for 100 consecutive months and gained 27% more viewers year-over-year. Glenn Beck increased 90% over the previous year. Overall, FNC topped CNN and MSNBC combined in prime time total audience.
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) said "Fox's signature political news show, Special Report with Brit Hume (now with Bret Baier) was originally created as a daily one-hour update devoted to the 1998 Clinton sex scandal." In the past year, it gained 39% more viewers.
As for accuracy and being "fair and balanced," FAIR (in summer 2001) called FNC "The Most Biased Name in News," yet according to Murdoch in March 2001:
"I challenge anybody to show me an example of bias in Fox News Channel."
In FAIR's Seth Ackerman article and later ones, FNC's blatant manipulation of the news is exposed. For example, Bret Baier's "Political Grapevine" is a right-wing "hot sheet" featuring a "series of gossipy items culled from other right-wing" sources. It and other reports are blatantly partisan propaganda against "liberal media bias," progressives, environmentalists, anti-war activists, civil rights groups, and others to the left of their views.
According to FAIR, the commentary on political punditry programs like The O'Reilly Factor, the Sean Hannity Show, and The Beltway Boys is so slanted that it's like watching "a Harlem Globetrotters game (knowing) which side is supposed to win."
FNC's Bill O'Reilly
His official bio calls The O'Reilly Factor "a unique blend of news analysis and hard hitting investigative reporting dropped each weeknight into 'The No Spin Zone." He also hosts a syndicated radio show, writes a weekly column carried in over 300 newspapers, and authored several books that according to New York Times writer Janet Maslin were "either (done) with a collaborator or (O'Reilly) was born with a ghostwriter's gift for filling space with platitudes...." With good reason, Maslin called him "one of the most controversial human beings in the world...."
In an October 2008 report titled "Smearcasting," FAIR called him an "Islamophobe" for spreading "fear, bigotry and misinformation" along with 11 other popular figures, including Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin (another FNC regular), David Horowitz, and Pat Robertson.
After 9/11, FAIR said O'Reilly proposed attacking a list of Muslim countries "if they did not submit to the US - starting with Afghanistan."
On air he said:
"The US should bomb the Afghan infrastructure to rubble - the airport, the power plants, their water facilities and the roads....If they don't rise up against this primitive country, they starve, period."
Iraq must also be destroyed he said, and "the population made to endure yet another round of intense pain." As for Libya, "Nothing goes in, nothing goes out....Let them eat sand."
FAIR called his penchant for attacking Muslim countries "an O'Reilly trademark", and "his disregard for Muslim civilians is matched by the anti-Muslim sentiments he frequently expresses on both his nationally syndicated radio show, the Radio Factor," reaching 3.5 million listeners, and his top-rated FNC show.
Some of his hateful comments include saying:
-- areas of London are "just packed with just dense Muslim neighborhoods, which breed this kind of contempt for Western society. Why do they let them in;"
-- "We're at war with Muslim fanatics. So all young Muslims should be subject to (special) scrutiny, (saying it's not racial, just) "criminal profiling;"
-- "the most unattractive women in the world are probably in Muslim countries;" and
-- in Iraq, he blamed killing on Islam: "They're all Muslims, and they're doing what they do. They're killing each other. And they're killing Americans."
O'Reilly is equally racist about Latino immigrants with frequent comments like:
"The extreme elements in this country want open borders, blanket amnesty, and entitlement for foreign nationals who have come here illegally, and generally want to change the demographics in the USA so political power can be assumed by the left. That is the end game." He also argues that "Low-skilled immigrant labor costs the taxpayers today $19,000 to (subsidize) people who are using the hospitals (and) the education system....These are rock-solid stats," but O'Reilly won't say from where.
They're blatantly false and may be from a May 2007 Robert Rector/Christine Kim (right-wing think tank) Heritage Foundation paper titled, "The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to State and Local Taxpayers."
O'Reilly spreads daily misinformation, innuendo, and hateful demagoguery to millions of his daily faithful. Like the others above, they're paid liars delivering what passes for today's major media journalism. It's why so much of the public is misinformed and the reason more hate groups than ever proliferate.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), they numbered 926 in 2008, up from 602 in 2000 and are "animated by the national immigration debate." Since Obama took office, they're also driven by their hatred of a black president, exacerbated by a growing economic crisis that's easy to blame on the undocumented and a non-white head of state.
These groups are ideologically vicious and extremely dangerous when motivated by racist right-wing media commentators reaching far larger audiences than more saner voices drowned out. It's more evidence of social decay and the urgent need for change.
The Right-Wing Media Attack ACORN
Founded in 1970, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) "is the nation's largest grassroots community organization of low and moderate income people with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in about 75 cities across the country."
As the nation's preeminent community organizing group, it backs a living wage, opposes predatory lending and foreclosures, supports affordable housing, better public schools, welfare reform, voting rights, rebuilding New Orleans, and other social and economic justice issues.
For many months as a result, right-wing extremists have tried to discredit its successes online and through the media. Led by Fox News, Lou Dobbs, and others, it's accused of financial corruption, massive voter fraud, and other indiscretions, mostly fabricated to destroy the group's credibility, cut off its funding, and harm other community organizing efforts. However, compared to corporate fraud and abuse scandals, ACORN's occasional missteps are minor, insignificant, and undeserving of inflammatory media headlines.
Nonetheless recent news stories featured false accusations that ACORN engages in prostitution nationwide. The supposed evidence came from two right-wing filmmakers (Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe) posing as prostitute and pimp, conveniently videotaped for airing. In prime time especially, Fox News, Lou Dobbs and others featured it nightly.
On September 14, Dobbs reported "another pimp and prostitute scandal at the left-wing activist organization ACORN. For the third time, ACORN workers for the left-wing advocacy group (got) caught on hidden camera breaking the law. Now calls from Congress to investigate and cut off public funding are growing."
According to Fox News Bill O'Reilly, "With more than 30 criminal 'convictions' on its resume, the organization cannot be trusted." Based on no credible evidence, other FNC reports accuse ACORN of "operat(ing) as a criminal enterprise," including prostitution, running a prostitution ring, filing false documents with taxing and other government authorities, bank fraud, violating immigration laws, transporting women and children to America for immoral purposes, and impairing the welfare of minors.
More evidence of reprehensible innuendo, distortion, deceit, and misinformation from major media paid liars. It's why web sites like this one gain followers.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen.blogspot.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.