Билл Мойерс – ведущий еженедельной общественной телевизионной передачи Moyers & Company. Мойерс получил 35 премий Эмми, 9 премий Пибоди, премию за достижения в течение жизни Национальной академии телевидения. Он является почётным доктором изящных искусств Американского института кино за 40 лет журналистской работы на радио.
...Билл Мойерс – все эти лидеры CFR (Совет по Международным Отошениям) были связаны с «Фондом Рокфеллера».
It wasn't some radical left-wing pipedream. It was moderate; and it worked.
**Should-Read**: The point, though, of being a party of cultural grievance-mongers catering to symbolic and social recognition ethno-sectarian demands is that one can also, on the side as it were, enrich plutocrats. As Lyndon Johnson said in Bill Moyers's hearing: "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you..." This has been going on since the 1890s... hell, the 1870s... hell, the 1810s. It used to be the business model of the Royalist wing of the Southern Democratic Party. Now it is the business model of the Republican Party. The interesting thing is that they do not seem able to execute it very well: **Matthew Yglesias**: [Republicans should admit to themselves they mostly don’t want big change](https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/3/16596440/republicans-change): "It’s a cranky old person party, not a policy visionary party... >...Republicans are mostly a party of cultural grievance-mongers, not ambitious legislators. That’s why Donald Trump is their president. That’s why they don’t seem to notice or care that Paul Ryan is a total fraud. They’d be a lot happier if they just owned it....
Финансовые системы США и Европы, равно как и силы безопасности, более не служат полезным целям для общества. В США полиция уже давно зарекомендовала себя как большая угроза для общественной безопасности, чем обычные преступники. Но частная финансовая система обходится обществу еще дороже. В своей статье на «CounterPunch» Poб Ури пишет, что два года назад Эндрю Халдэйн […]
In the final weeks of the 1964 presidential campaign, Lyndon Johnson flew from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, where his wife, Lady Bird, was scheduled to cap off a grueling, four-day whistle-stop tour of the South. Months earlier, LBJ had signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was a crowning achievement, though as the president privately told his aide, Bill Moyers, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come.” Emotions were still raw, and LBJ’s advisers had warned Lady Bird against her southern swing. Indeed, the crowds upheld their judgment. Covering 1,628 miles and delivering 47 speeches, the First Lady was greeted by acid banners (black bird go home; johnson is a nigger-lover) and vicious jeers nearly everywhere she stopped.Ever the political realist, the president had scarcely bothered even to campaign in the South that year, but he was determined to honor his wife’s brave and lonely journey by appearing alongside her at its terminus. Taking the stage, he launched into his standard stump speech. Then, he veered off script. “Whatever your views are,” he said of the Civil Rights Act, “we have a Constitution and we have a Bill of Rights, and we have the law of the land, and two-thirds of the Democrats in the Senate voted for it and three-fourths of the Republicans. I signed it, and I am going to enforce it.” That was the shot. It was the chaser that left reporters slack-jawed. This “poor old State, they haven’t heard a Democratic speech in 30 years. All they ever hear at election time is ‘Nigger! Nigger! Nigger!’” Presidential assistant Jack Valenti would later describe the shock that followed as “a physical thing—surprise, awe—ears heard what they plainly could not hear, a cataclysmic wave hit everyone there with stunning irreversible force.” A Southern president had invoked the ugliest word in the American lexicon to convey the poisonous and self-defeating effect of racism.Lyndon Johnson was a bundle of jarring contradictions. But his commitment to racial equality was profound. He was willing to spend down enormous political capital in its pursuit. And, as he often reminded those closest to him, “I do understand power, whatever else may be said about me.”That Lyndon Johnson—crass and calculating, yet fundamentally principled; emotionally fragile, but fully in command when history called on him—is on bright display in Rob Reiner’s fine new biopic, LBJ. With its smart focus on Johnson’s unhappy tenure as vice president and the earliest days of his presidency, the film is at once a taut political drama and valuable history lesson.That lesson is all the more urgent today. With each ill-considered tweet and ham-fisted measure, Donald J. Trump has diminished the power and moral authority of the presidency. LBJ reminds us of what that office once was, and what it might be again, if occupied by a chief executive who combines principle, purpose and acumen. Living in the age of Trump, it’s nearly impossible to view this film through any other lens.***On a surface level, LBJ gets it right. It feels real. November 22, 1963, is the central moment in time from which the film winds backward and forward, and the details are precise. From the crack of the first gunshot, when Secret Service Agent Rufus Youngblood leapt over the front seat of the vice presidential limousine and pinned LBJ to the floor with his knee, to the woeful scene at Parkland Hospital, where Johnson huddled in waiting silence with Lady Bird behind a screen in a vacant patient room—Reiner and his team evoke the passage of power from JFK to LBJ in sharp definition. The film brims over with imagery of presidential majesty: the bright reflection of the sun off the polished metal exterior of Air Force One, the intimacy of the Oval Office (a room “with no corners,” as Woody Harrelson’s LBJ characterizes it), the heavily fortified motorcade that spirits the president—first JFK, and later LBJ—from destination to destination. This was the early 1960s, before Vietnam and Watergate shook the public’s faith in American institutions. The presidency was the most awe-inspiring institution. And one feels its import most profoundly when Johnson is trapped in the vice presidency. Harrelson’s character never looks or feels more diminished than when he gazes at the White House from the window of his office in the Old Executive Office Building.But the film’s success runs deeper than surface details. Perhaps taking a cue from Steven Spielberg, who wisely trained his eye on a defining career moment (passage of the Thirteenth Amendment) and personal struggle (the aftermath of his son’s death) in Abraham Lincoln’s life, Reiner also weaves together two plot lines—one personal, one political. We witness Lyndon Johnson, a man of seemingly unbounded ego, as he is humbled by the Kennedy brothers and subsequently thrust into a role that demands the very same public adulation he believes he will never achieve. Simultaneously, we follow the story of a Southern politician as he breaks with his past to become a champion of civil rights. Both plot lines get at the same fundamental question. How did a coarse and calculating temporizer emerge as one of the great liberal lions of the modern era? Reiner’s answer is both simple and fundamentally correct. Lyndon Johnson believed in the cause, and he knew how to get it done.***In later years, George Reedy, LBJ’s long-suffering Senate aide and White House press secretary, was unsparing in his criticism of his longtime boss. Yet he would go to the grave firm in the conviction that LBJ was “one of the least prejudiced or biased or intolerant or bigoted men I have ever met.”From his first days as a Texas congressman in 1937, Johnson had been a reliable member of the Southern bloc that persistently stymied the ambitions of civil rights advocates. But he was never a true believer in Jim Crow. On the contrary, his support of segregation was in some regard worse than that of the typical, unthinking racist: He knew it was wrong but, as a Southern politician, he understood its necessity. Many of the liberals in his caucus came to despise LBJ, especially so after he neutered their landmark civil rights bill in 1957. They correctly perceived that he wanted to pass a weak bill in order to make his prospective presidential candidacy in 1960 palatable to northern Democrats but unobjectionable to his fellow southerners. In short, on the eve of his ascension, LBJ was the most unlikely of civil rights icons.Reiner’s film portrays Vice President Lyndon Johnson as privately sympathetic toward civil rights but skeptical of its near-term likelihood to succeed. In one tense Oval Office scene, he argues passionately that it would constitute political malpractice to introduce a civil rights law that was destined to bottle up Kennedy’s entire legislative agenda. In another, he stares miserably at a television set as Kennedy delivers a powerful, now-famed address demanding congressional action. It was indeed a landmark occasion. Disgusted by the violence that unfolded daily on the streets of Birmingham, JFK quickly scribbled out his remarks just moments before he appeared on camera. The problem, he said, “is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution. The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?”JFK delivered that speech on June 11, 1963. The film would suggest that he was ahead of his vice president on the issue. On the contrary, several weeks earlier, Johnson had delivered a Memorial Day address at Gettysburg National Cemetery. The draft was written by his on-and-off again aide, Horace Busby—not by Kennedy’s White House staff.“One hundred years ago, the slave was freed,” LBJ intoned at Gettysburg. “One hundred years later, the Negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin. The Negro today asks justice. We do not answer him—we do not answer those who lie beneath this soil—when we reply to the Negro by asking, ‘Patience.’” In a speech that excoriated the stall tactics that Johnson’s former Senate colleagues had long deployed to block civil rights legislation, LBJ insisted that “our nation found its soul in honor on these fields of Gettysburg one hundred years ago. We must not lose that soul in dishonor now on the fields of hate.” It was a transformational moment for LBJ, but also for the country; no president or vice president had spoken so forthrightly on the issue of civil rights, ever. In later scenes LBJ aptly portrays Johnson as sincere in his defense of civil rights, particularly those moments in which he stands eye to eye with his friend and mentor, the arch-segregationist Senator Richard Russell of Georgia (played by Richard Jenkins). But the film’s one fundamental shortcoming is its suggestion that Johnson wavered, or that he was a latecomer to the cause. In fact, he got there faster than most other members of the Kennedy administration.***The slight distortion of LBJ’s enthusiasm for civil rights in Joey Hartstone’s script helps advance another central plot line in LBJ: Lyndon Johnson’s intense blood feud with Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Michael Stahl-David does a masterful job at playing Bobby Kennedy as he truly was in those days—a rich, entitled bully lacking the president’s cool intelligence and steady demeanor. Those who still carry a torch for Bobby may take umbrage at the film’s unflattering portrayal, but in earlier years, even JFK had described his younger brother as “kind of a nasty, brutal, humorless little fellow,” “moody, taciturn, brusque, and combative.” Johnson and RFK shared a mutual loathing. That much is clear in the film. In the late 1950s, when Bobby had been a lowly Senate committee aide, LBJ enjoyed the upper hand. He dismissed him as a “snot nose” and greeted him in the hallways as “sonny boy.” In the early 1960s, when their fortunes were reversed, the attorney general and his in-crowd subjected LBJ to a steady multitude of indignities. In a telling scene, Harrelson corners Bobby in the Oval Office and pleads: “I don’t understand you, Bobby. Your father likes me. Your brother likes me. But you don’t like me. Now, why? Why don’t you like me?” The exchange really did occur, though in the White House residence, not in the West Wing. While he reveals RFK for the unpleasant and abrasive individual he often was, Hartstone also adheres closely to a standard pop history plotline that casts Bobby a deeply committed liberal. That’s unfortunate. While he later blossomed into a genuine progressive during his brief tenure in the Senate, from 1965 to 1968, as attorney general Bobby Kennedy derided liberals as too soft and, when push came to shove, proved a qualified failure on the issue of civil rights. Yes, his deputy stood down Alabama Governor George Wallace on the steps of the state’s flagship university. But Bobby also permitted J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Martin Luther King, Jr. After violence befell Freedom Riders in Alabama, RFK quietly arranged with state officials in Jackson to have the activists quietly and peacefully arrested upon crossing the Mississippi state line. The Freedom Riders were testing a 15-year-old Supreme Court ruling that barred segregation in interstate bus facilities. It was Bobby Kennedy’s job, as the nation’s top law enforcement official, to safeguard that ruling and protect the constitutional rights of American citizens. Instead, he arranged for their imprisonment. You won’t see that in the film.Reiner can be forgiven this over-simplification. It’s difficult to convey nuance in a 90-minute movie, and if time has proven anything, it’s that many people still prefer a mythical Bobby Kennedy to the more complicated and textured (and interesting) Bobby Kennedy of real life. ***The most telling moment in Reiner’s film is subtle and easy to miss. Just days after the assassination, Harrelson sits across from JFK’s longtime wordsmith, Ted Sorensen (played by Brent Bailey), and reviews a copy of the speech that he will soon deliver before a joint session of Congress. In an instant, he looks up and angrily locks eyes with Sorensen, who appears visibly unnerved. He then redlines something in the text and resumes his work.Sorensen’s original draft included the line: “I who cannot fill his shoes must occupy his desk.” It landed on the cutting room floor. Therein lies the importance, in this particular historical moment, of Reiner’s film. In fact, LBJ could fill John Kennedy’s shoes, and did. For three years, conservatives in Congress had ground JFK’s domestic agenda to a halt. Not only did the House and the Senate refuse to take up key New Frontier measures. They also refused to pass eight of 12 routine appropriations bills, thus leaving whole parts of the government unfunded and operating on a continuing resolution that set spending at the previous year’s levels. Not long before JFK’s assassination, the columnist James Reston admitted to “a vague feeling of doubt and disappointment about President Kennedy’s first term…[H]is problem is probably not how to get elected but how to govern.”LBJ ends just days after the passage of power. We get only a glimpse of the new president as he unceasingly works the phones and plies his former congressional colleagues with the “Johnson Treatment.” But it’s clear that something has changed. This was a man who knew how to get things done. It’s not just that Johnson knew how to work Congress. He proved an able chief executive, assembling a talented White House staff that, in the space of five years, built revolutionary government initiatives like Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, and federal aid to primary and secondary education, all while peacefully de-segregating hospitals, nursing homes, schools and places of public accommodation throughout a third of the country. He was a master legislator, but also a deft administrator. He and his aides worked hard at it. LBJ famously put in “two-day” days—beginning bedside meetings as early as 6 a.m., retiring for an afternoon nap around 3 p.m., and—after a shower and change of clothes—returning to the West Wing. When the president wrapped up in the Oval at about 8:00 p.m., he retired to the residence for dinner, and by 10:00 settled into bed for his “night reading”—stacks upon stacks of memos from his staff members, many of them requiring feedback (“OK/LBJ,” or “Have him see me,” or a simply check mark next to the words “Yes” and “No”). Jack Valenti, who curated the night reading, later estimated that LBJ pored over 200,000 words each week—which of course meant that Valenti read more than 200,000 words of policy and political memorandums weekly.Fifty years ago, the presidency meant something special to the American public, and the man who occupied the Oval Office—for all of his shortcomings and flaws—approached the job with moral purpose and commitment. In this regard, the man who now resides in the White House could not be more different. Johnson presided over a moment of national reckoning and reconciliation. Nearly every day, Trump drives a sharp wedge to divide Americans—white against black, native-born against immigrant, Christian against non-Christian. One president sought unity; the other prospers by discord.Johnson stepped up to his responsibility. He committed himself 18 hours each day to absorb the contours and details of public policy—from poverty and agriculture to transportation and urban renewal. Trump abides no such tolerance for hard work, choosing instead to dither away his days live-tweeting Fox and Friends or playing golf at his many eponymous resorts.Johnson assembled a top-flight White House staff that knew how to make government function like a fine-tuned machine. Trump’s staff is the gang that can’t shoot straight, and unsurprisingly, they have little to show after nearly a year in office.LBJ is a stark reminder of the American presidency’s commanding potential, made all the more evident by the political climate in which we live today.
**Must-Reads**: * [What Is a "Static" Revenue Analysis?](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/10/what-is-a-static-revenue-analysis.html) * [Basic Econ 1-Level Tax Incidence Primer: Owen Zidar Requests MOAR Tax Incidence Model Blogging](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/10/basic-econ-1-level-tax-incidence-primer-owen-zidar-requests-moar-tax-incidence-model-blogging.html) * [A Question I Did Have Time to Ask Alice Rivlin](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/10/another-question-i-do-not-have-time-to-ask-alice-rivlin.html) * [Another Question I Didn't Have Time to Ask Ask Alice Rivlin: Possibilities for Technocracy](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/10/another-question-i-didnt-have-time-to-ask-ask-alice-rivlin-possibilities-for-technocracy.html) * [A Question I Will Not Have Time to Ask Alice Rivlin This Afternoon...](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/10/a-question-i-will-not-have-time-to-ask-alice-rivlin-this-afternoon.html) * [Q & A: Should We Focus Our Attention on a Revitalized Public Sector and Social Insurance System?: INET Edinburgh](http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/10/q-a-should-we-focus-our-attention-on-a-revitalized-public-sector-and-social-insurance-system-inet-edinburgh.html) * **Alan Auerbach**: [Five Questions for Congress on Tax Reform](https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-10-27/five-questions-for-congress-on-tax-reform): "Congressional leaders say they’re working on a corporate tax reform... * **Will Wilkinson**: [Public Policy after Utopia](https://niskanencenter.org/blog/public-policy-utopia/): "That all our evidence about how social systems actually work comes from formerly or presently existing systems is a huge problem for anyone committed to a radically revisionary ideal of the morally best society... * **Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan**: [The DeLong-Shiller Redux](https://medium.com/@cramakrishnan/the-delong-shiller-redux-dc9dd21eefd1): "2014, Robert Shiller and Brad DeLong.... [Shiller] claims if the value of this [CAPE] ratio is above 25, a major market drop is probably brewing... **Should-Reads**: * **Kim Clausing**: [Would Cutting [U.S.] Corporate Taxes Raise Workers' Incomes?](http://econofact.org/would-cutting-corporate-taxes-raise-workers-incomes): "Overall, it is difficult to document a relationship between lower corporate taxes and...
**Should-Read: Bill Moyers**: LBJ: 'Convince the Lowest White Man He's Better Than the Best Colored Man': "We were in Tennessee. During the motorcade, he spotted some ugly racial epithets scrawled on signs... >...Late that night in the hotel, when the local dignitaries had finished the last bottles of bourbon and branch water and departed, he started talking about those signs. “I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you”...
In just a few short months, the Trump wrecking ball has pounded away at rules and regulations in virtually every government agency. The men and women the president has appointed to the Cabinet and to head those agencies are so far in sycophantic lockstep, engaged in dismantling years of protections in order to make real what White House strategist Steve Bannon infamously described as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.” The Federal Communications Commission is not immune. Its new chair, Republican Ajit Pai, embraces the Trump doctrine of regulatory devastation. “It’s basic economics,” he declared in an April 26 speech at Washington’s Newseum. “The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you’re likely to get.” His goal is to stem the tide of media reform that in recent years has made significant progress for American citizens. Even as we rely more than ever on digital media for information, education and entertainment, Pai and his GOP colleagues at the FCC seek to turn back the clock and increase even more the corporate control of cyberspace. Net neutrality, the guarantee of an internet open to all, rich or poor, without preferential treatment, was codified by the FCC in 2015. Pai — a former lawyer for Verizon — wants net neutrality reversed and has taken the first steps toward its elimination. He has abandoned media ownership rules and attacked such FCC innovations as the Lifeline program that subsidizes broadband access for low income Americans. Among other rollbacks, he also has opposed rules capping the exorbitant cost of prison phone calls (that cap was overturned on June 13 by the US Court of Appeals). A veteran of the FCC, Michael Copps vehemently opposes Pai’s master plan to strengthen the grip of big business on our media. Copps served two terms as a commissioner, including a brief period as interim chair. He also has taught history, worked as chief of staff to former South Carolina Sen. Fritz Hollings and was an assistant secretary of commerce. Today, Copps is special adviser for the Media and Democracy Reform Initiative at the nonpartisan grassroots organization Common Cause. He “just may be,” Bill Moyers once said, “the most knowledgeable fellow in Washington on how communications policy affects you and me.” Recently, I spoke with Copps to get his assessment of how the election of Donald Trump and Ajit Pai’s FCC chairmanship are affecting Americans and the media landscape. “I remain convinced that the last presidential election we had was of, by, and for, big media,” he said. “It made billions of dollars for these big media companies. We’re entering into a period where there likely will be more mergers than we’ve ever had before. The political and marketplace atmosphere that we have in this country right now favors them.” The transcript that follows has been edited for length and clarity. Michael Copps: [CBS CEO Les] Moonves said it best: “I don’t know if Donald Trump is good for the country. but he’s damn good for CBS.” The election was just a glorified reality show and I do not think it was an aberration. Until we get that big picture straightened out and we get a civic dialogue that’s worthy of the American people and that actually advances citizens’ ability to practice the art of self-government — that informs citizens so they can cast intelligent votes and we stop making such damn-fool decisions — we’re in serious trouble. To me, that remains the problem of problems, it remains at the top of the list. Journalism continues to go south, thanks to big media and its strangulation of news, and there’s not much left in the way of community or local media. Add to that an internet that has not even started thinking seriously about how it supports journalism. You have these big companies like Google and Facebook who run the news and sell all the ads next to it, but what do they put back into journalism? It isn’t much. I don’t think right now that commercial media is going to fix itself or even that we can save it with any policy that’s likely in the near-term, so we have to start looking at other alternatives. We have to talk about public media — public media probably has to get its act together somewhat, too. It’s not everything that Lyndon Johnson had in mind back in 1967 [when the Public Broadcasting Act was signed], but it’s still the jewel of our media ecosystem. So I’m more worried than ever about the state of our media — not just fake news but the lack of real news. That’s priority No. 1; I don’t think you solve anything until you find some ways to repair our commercial media. That’s not coming from inside the fabled Beltway anytime soon. It’ll require major input from the grass roots. Big media won’t cover its own shortcomings, so we have to have a national conversation and make some democracy-encouraging decisions. We just have to find a way. Michael Winship: What about “fake news?” MC: The fake news thing is a challenging phenomenon. No one has a viable solution yet that I know of. Again, don’t look to Washington for much input under the present management. Maybe reinvigorating real news, the fact-based investigative journalism that big media has done so much to eliminate, would be the best solution. True journalism can do more than anything else to push aside fake news. MW: So how do you characterize the Trump administration’s attitude toward communications issues? MC: This is not populism; this is a plutocracy. Trump has surrounded himself with millionaires and billionaires, plus some ideologues who believe in, basically, no government. And the Trump FCC already has been very successful in dismantling lots of things — not just the net neutrality that they’re after now, but privacy, and Lifeline, which is subsidized broadband for those who can’t afford it. And just all sorts of things up and down the line. The whole panoply of regulation and public interest oversight — if they could get rid of it all, they would; if they can, they will. I think the April 26 speech that Ajit Pai gave at the Newseum, which was partially funded, I think, by conservative activist causes, was probably the worst speech I’ve ever heard a commissioner or a chairman of the FCC give. It was replete with distorted history and a twisted interpretation of judicial decisions. And then, about two-thirds of the way through, it became intensely political and ideological, and he was spouting all this Ronald Reagan nonsense — if the government is big enough to do what you want, it’s big enough to take away everything you have, and all that garbage. It was awful. It’s maybe the worst FCC I’ve ever seen or read about. MW: How much of all this do you think is just simply the idea of destroying anything supported by the Obama White House? Is it that simple? MC: Well, I think that some of it is the ego problem, but I think it goes beyond that. I think there is that right wing, pro-business, invisible hand ideology, and then there’s just the unabashed and unprecedented and disgusting level of money in politics. I don’t blame just the Republicans; the Democrats are just about as beholden to it, too. MW: You mentioned Pai’s speech at the Newseum; does he have any real philosophy? MC: Yes, I think he believes this stuff, I think he’s a true believer. He was in the Office of General Counsel when I was in there — very articulate, very bright, very pleasant. He is an attractive personality, but he has this Weltanschauung or whatever you want to call it that is so out of step with modern politics and where we should be in the history of this country that it’s potentially extremely destructive. And Michael O’Rielly, the other Republican commissioner, is about the same. He’s an ideologue, too. It’s all about the ideology, the world of big money, the access that the big guys have and continue to have. It’s not that the FCC outright refuses to let public interest groups through the door or anything like that; it’s just the lack of resources citizens and public interest groups have compared to what the big guys have. The public interest groups don’t have much of a chance, but I think they’ve done a pretty good job given the lack of resources. MW: Did you expect Pai to move so fast against net neutrality? MC: It doesn’t surprise me, but it’s so dangerous. Net neutrality is the sine qua non of an open internet — “You can’t have one without the other,” as the old song goes. We’ll need to hope for a good court outcome if the FCC succeeds in eliminating the rules. But I really don’t see how big telecom or the commission can make a credible case to overturn what the court approved just two years ago, and then go back to what the court overturned before that. It’s downright surreal. But citizens should not limit their pro-net neutrality messages to just the FCC; Congress needs to understand how popular these rules are, so they keep their hands off it, which they may be more inclined to do as the 2018 elections come closer. MW: There’s so much of an X factor to everything. MC: There really is. I just hope we can get the media covering it better. I think if we get a couple of really big mergers, and of course we have AT&T and Time Warner out there now, which Trump said he was going to oppose. I don’t think he really will, but that itself should be an issue. And then, if we can join that to the net neutrality issue, then I think we can get some media attention. If we can do that with Time Warner and AT&T or whatever other mergers come along, certainly including Sinclair-Tribune, then we can actually make some progress. I sure hope so. MW: There still seems to be a lot public support for net neutrality. MC: No question about it, but there would be an avalanche if more people were informed about the issue by the media. Many Trump voters, I am convinced, are not consumers who support $232 a year for a set-top box or who like constantly rising bills for cable and internet service, or who want a closed internet. That’s not why they voted for him. MW: Have the net neutrality rules passed in 2015 had a chance to work? Have they had a chance to be effective? MC: Yes, I think so. Some say they are a solution in search of a problem, but that’s not true. I think the companies have been on their good behavior over the last few years, by and large — but there have been numerous abuses, too. But once you throw out the rules we have now, it’ll be "Katy bar the door," and by the time we get another administration in, either the FCC or the Congress, it’ll probably be too late to reverse the tide. MW: What are the implications for free speech? MC: They are huge. If you have an internet service provider [ISP] that’s capable of slowing down other sites, or putting other sites out of business, or favoring their own friends and affiliates and customers who can pay for fast lanes, that’s a horrible infringement on free speech. It’s censorship by media monopolies. It’s tragic: here we have a technology, the internet, that’s capable really of being the town square of democracy, paved with broadband bricks, and we are letting it be taken over by a few gatekeepers. This is a first amendment issue; it’s free speech versus corporate censorship. MW: I want to talk to you about privacy, about protecting consumer information that’s on the net. MC: If the huge internet service providers are going to glean all manner of personal information about us and share it with others or sell it to others, we ought to have a right to say, “Yes, count me in, I don’t mind that,” or “No, I don’t want any part of that.” And I think the vast majority would say, “No, thank you, I don’t want any part of that.” So privacy is a huge issue. We’ve talked about it some in national security terms, but it’s a much bigger issue in citizen terms and what it does to the average person. MW: You mentioned Lifeline; I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about that… MC: Lifeline is directed toward those who cannot afford to be connected to broadband. How do they find a job when most corporations don’t accept paper resumes or don’t want to interview you in person? Nowadays you have to email something to potential employers. How do you and your kids educate yourselves? How do kids do their homework when they don’t have broadband, and the kid in the next town or even in the next block has high-speed broadband? How do you care for your health — especially that now we’re getting seriously into tele-health and tele-medicine? You cannot be a fully functioning 21st-century citizen in this country unless you have access to high-speed broadband. It’s as simple as that. We shouldn’t settle for less. I don’t know that the FCC can do this by itself, and we need a national mission to do this. And we need everybody pushing for it. I hope it’s going to be included in Trump’s infrastructure plan, but I’ll be surprised if it’s in such a meaningful way that it’s going to get coverage for all the people in the inner cities and rural America. And, you know, we’re way, way down in the rankings in broadband penetration, adoption and affordability. And without competition, even when you have broadband, without competition people are paying through the ceiling for inferior service. They’ve got to feed families and find shelter, but broadband is also essential to them. MW: I think another issue that a lot of people aren’t aware of is the whole prison telephone problem. MC: Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has done a fantastic job on that. We have such a high percentage of our population in the United States incarcerated and for their families to communicate with them or vice versa has become just very, very expensive. It’s an industry that has made a lot of money off of other people’s distress, and if you have a son in prison, and you can’t afford to communicate with them, that doesn’t help anybody, including the person who’s in prison. Commissioner Clyburn made some good progress on interstate calling in this regard, but then you’ve got to go state by state, and now the court has just thrown some obstacles in the way of the intrastate calls. So, there’s work to be done, and we’ll see how far it goes. But we were on the track of making good progress under the previous commission. MW: Do you think there’s any interest in consumer service remaining among the Republicans on the FCC or in Congress? MC: It’s mighty hard to find if you look at all the party-line votes and partisanship at work. I think there will be some cooperation for infrastructure if broadband is included. It depends on how much. Some Republicans will vote for that, but you can’t find a Republican for net neutrality, and you can’t find a Republican for doing anything to counteract the outrageous influence of money in the political bloodstreams. MW: With so many of these American Enterprise Institute types and various other conservative groups and people wielding influence, would they lobby to eliminate the FCC completely? MC: Oh, yes indeed. There were reports during the transition that some of those people were actually saying, “Do we even need an FCC? Why don’t we just get rid of it?” MW: So what can we all do at this point? MC: Figure out how you really make this a grass-roots effort — and not just people writing, in but people doing more than that. In July, we will have a day devoted to internet action, so stay tuned on that. In addition, as Bill Moyers says, “If you can sing, sing. If you can write a poem, write a poem.” Different initiatives attract different audiences, so whatever you can do, do. John Oliver made a huge difference in getting us to net neutrality and now he’s helping again. If you went up to the Hill right after that first John Oliver show on net neutrality [in 2014], you saw immediately that it made a difference with the members and the staff. There’s no one silver bullet, no “do this” and it suddenly happens. You just have to do whatever you can do to get people excited and organized. It’s as simple as that. MW: So that’s where the hope is? MC: Well, that’s where my hope is. I don’t see anything else unless we get a change in power in Washington, and not just the name of the party in control but candidates who really are ready for a change and ready to do something to make it more reflective of what, I think, is the popular will. MW: Which of the Democrats are good on these issues? MC: There are a lot of them. I hesitate to get into names for fear of missing some. The problem is that Republicans inside the Beltway are joined in lockstep opposition on almost all these issues, and the level of partisanship, lobbying, big money, and ideology have thus far been insurmountable obstacles. But I believe if members of Congress spent more time at home, holding more town hall meetings, they would quickly learn that many, many of their constituents are on the pro-consumer, pro-citizen side of these issues. It’s just such a formative time, and in many respects the future is now. I don’t know how long you can let this go on. How long can you open the bazaar to all this consolidation, how much can you encourage all this commercialization, how much can you ignore public media until you get to the point of no return where you can’t really fix it anymore? And I also think that the national discourse on the future of the internet has really suffered while we play ping pong with net neutrality; one group comes in, does this, the other group, comes in and reverses it, boom, boom, boom. And net neutrality is not the salvation or the solution to all of the problems of the internet. As you know, it’s kind of the opening thing you have to have, it lays a foundation where we can build a truly open internet. But net neutrality alone doesn’t solve consolidation, it doesn’t solve commercialization, it doesn’t solve, really, the big questions of the future of the internet. Add to the list issues of artificial intelligence and is AI going to put us out of work? These aren’t strictly communication issues, but they are internet issues. What does AI mean for the future of work in our society? Are we even going to be working? Or, can we say the internet is throwing people out of work without sounding Luddite, because that’s been said throughout history and it’s been proven wrong, but I think now it looks like a lot of people already have been thrown out of work by it. If Hillary Clinton had been elected, I would have gone down and talked with her and suggested a White House conference on the future of the internet. You can’t answer all these questions that I just posed but you can ask the questions and you can get the best minds in the country talking about them. Give the conference a mandate and get them to come back with a report and some recommendations and at least put people on it with enough visibility that the media has to cover it. If we could win net neutrality, which is a stretch, there will be a lot of people who say, “Well, that takes care of the internet, everything’s fine and dandy right now.” But that’s not true at all. It’s just not true. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Heather Booth doesn’t look like a revolutionary. She sits demurely on a sofa, dressed simply in black, fingering a silver necklace. She speaks softly, selecting her words with care and enunciating cleanly. Dignity. Respect. Community. But something comes over her when she begins to talk about helping people organize to make their world better. The sweet smile fades. She sits up straighter. Her voice tightens, the words come faster. Power. Together. Act. She strikes a gently curled fist into an open palm. IM-pact. Booth, 71, is one of the nation’s most influential organizers for progressive causes. Inside almost every liberal drive over the past five decades ― for fair pay, equal justice, abortion rights, workers’ rights, voter rights, civil rights, immigration rights, child care ― you will find Booth. But you may have to look hard. Because she’s not always at the head of the protest march. More often, she’s at a let’s-get-organized meeting in a suburban church basement or a late-night strategy session in a crumbling neighborhood’s community center. She’s helping people already roused to action figure out practical ways to move their cause forward. And always she’s advancing the credo she learned as a child: that you must not only treat people with dignity and respect, but you must shoulder your own responsibility to help build a society that reflects those values. Heather is one of the people who makes this all work. Sen. Elizabeth Warren Booth is the founder and president of the Midwest Academy, which for over four decades has trained grassroots activists to advance progressive causes across the country. The academy’s goal, according to its website, is both aspirational ― to “give people a sense of their own power to improve society” ― and enormously practical ― to teach a “strategic, rigorous, results-oriented approach to social action.” To that end, Booth has worked with a range of liberal groups, from USAction, MoveOn, People’s Action, NAACP National Voter Fund, Alliance for Citizenship and the Voter Participation Center, to the National Organization for Women, the National Council of La Raza, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the Center for Community Change. (She’s also blogged for HuffPost.) “Heather is one of the people who makes this all work,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), indicating a sweep of progressive issues ― including the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren, then a Harvard law professor, had a vision of that federal consumer agency in 2007. But she confessed to a colleague that she had no idea how to make it happen, how to harness the political energy needed to push it past the opposition of powerful corporate financial interests. Her colleague said simply, “Call Heather.” So it was that, deep in the financial crisis of 2008, with Wall Street giants collapsing, mortgaged homes going under water and banks facing insolvency, throngs of activists appeared to demand real financial reform. They were drawn from labor unions, civil rights organizations, consumer and citizen action groups, and unaffiliated individuals who had never before been politically active but who were furious at the abuse of ordinary Americans. Booth’s work wasn’t simply a matter of gathering people for protest marches, although those were important. She helped activists devise the tactics to pressure specific legislators. Together they faced off against the monied interests of big business and the political bosses. And they succeeded. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into law. Politicians and other notable figures gathered on stage for a gala signing ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building. Booth was in the back of the auditorium. But she felt vindicated. In the fight against Goliath, Booth later told Bill Moyers with a disarming smile, “Sometimes David wins.” Warren said, “I’m in awe.’’ Today, opposition to the actions and conduct of President Donald Trump keeps rolling out in the street and on social media. The ugly firing of FBI Director James Comey has ignited new outrage. But the question is whether all that energy can be harnessed for action beyond protest marches ― or if it will dissipate like the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement. That’s where Booth comes in. The Trump era “is a perilous and inspiring time ― both are true,” she told HuffPost. “The peril can’t be overstated. I do think families will be ripped apart, people will unjustly be imprisoned, jobs will be destroyed. I think lives may be destroyed,” she said. “I fear for unjustified wars. I think the structure of democracy itself will be threatened, from simple protections of people’s health and safety to the ability to live a decent life. So ... a time of great peril.” “But ...” She allowed herself a broad smile, offering a glimpse of the spirit that has powered uphill battles all these years. “I am incredibly heartened by the outpouring of people standing up to say, ‘You’re not going to do this. We are going to defend our lives, our families. Our democracy! And we are going to defend each other.’” “If you stand together and organize,” Booth said, “you can change the world.” This conviction goes way back. In the early 1950s, the sole African-American child in her first-grade class in Brooklyn, New York ― a boy named Benjamin ― was accused by a white student of having stolen her lunch money. The accuser and her friends crowded around Benjamin, pointing and taunting. Booth pushed her way into the circle, put her arm around Benjamin and just stood with him. (And, of course, the accuser then found her lunch money in her shoe.) As an adolescent, Booth felt she didn’t fit in. She tried out for the cheerleading squad, but quit when she found out that more talented black girls had been turned away. She volunteered for the school chorus, but apparently had no aptitude for singing. At the Christmas pageant, she was asked to just silently mouth the words. “I was insecure most of my life,” she said, “and in almost all situations felt I was not good enough, didn’t know enough.” Even so, one day in her early teens, the would-be activist stood by herself in New York City’s Times Square handing out leaflets urging an end to the death penalty. It wasn’t pleasant. In the late 1950s, Times Square was a vile pit of hucksters, porn shops and addicts. One guy spit on her. Flustered, she kept dropping her leaflets. “I was really frightened,” she said. The lesson she took from that experience, however, wasn’t that you had to stop protesting, but that you had to stop doing it alone. You had to draw others into the action. Get organized. Together you could achieve results even if you were scared and insecure. Booth felt that power a few years later in Mississippi, where as a University of Chicago student, she spent the Freedom Summer of 1964 organizing for voter rights. That, too, was frightening and inspiring. “We were standing for something that mattered, that was bigger than ourselves, and if as an individual I didn’t know what I was doing, as a group we did know what we were doing,” she said. “And over time I could see that because of this, we were ending segregation.” Some years later, as a young mother of toddlers on Chicago’s South Side, Booth gathered a group of working moms to form a neighborhood day care cooperative ― and found the idea blocked by the city’s byzantine licensing codes. So they began organizing other parents across the city, at church and synagogue meetings and other community forums. “People flocked to us,” Booth recalled in a recent TEDx talk. “People gained confidence, found their voice, spoke about their love for their kids, the child care they needed, their vision for the future.” They framed the conflict as loving mothers versus uncaring bureaucrats. The press noticed. Then Chicago’s politicians noticed. Within six months, she said the city had agreed to one-stop licensing, a licensing review board of parents and child care providers, and $1 million for new child care centers. It starts where there is an injustice in the world. ... And people say, ‘We need to do something about that. Let’s take some action.’ Heather Booth The potency of targeted, strategic organizing is a key idea taught at the Midwest Academy, which Booth started in 1973. She chose the name not for the academy’s location, Chicago, but because it sounded wholesome, a clean break from the strident rhetoric of the student left. “We didn’t want to be mean,” she explained. Three core ideas guide the 25,000 activists who have trained at the academy: The goal of organizing must be concrete improvement in people’s lives. The organizing must help ordinary people develop their own sense of power. And activists should seek change that is systemic ― not just fixing the water supply in Flint, but giving people in Flint some oversight of the water system. Among the academy’s teaching materials is a strategic planning chart to help organizers link a specific and achievable goal with available resources (money, allies, media contacts), the names of decision-makers whose support or acquiescence is needed, the tactics required to win over opponents, and the messaging to mobilize others to join in. “Rather than saying, ‘Oh, this is awful, they’re giving money to the wealthiest and taking away our fundamental services, so let’s do a hands-around-the-Capitol’ ― well, that may be a good thing to do,” Booth said. “But can we do it in a way that builds our organization’s resources, brings in more people, maybe raises funds? And afterwards, let’s look at what worked and what didn’t work. What do we do next?” As valuable as organizing is, Booth understands that it’s a tool for social progress, not the driving force behind it. “It doesn’t start with training, although the training helps people be more effective,” she said. “It starts where there is an injustice in the world ― people living in fear that some family member will be deported who’s been here 20 years. And people say, ‘We need to do something about that. Let’s take some action.’” After a police officer killed black teen Michael Brown, for instance, “there was an outpouring across the country. No one had to be told, ‘I can’t take it anymore.’ Not just ‘I can’t,’ but ‘we can’t.’ So it starts with people’s anger, love, fear, hate, concern and standing up to say, ‘It can’t continue like this.’” Today, at a time when many feel powerless and despairing, Booth draws inspiration and energy from the protests that have been erupting since Trump’s inauguration. “We are gaining strength,” she observed. “The size, the numbers, the beauty of the effort, how representative it is of America ― all of America ― the number of places it’s happening. And how beautifully nonviolent, peaceful and intense they are simultaneously.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Ezra Klein**:_[Does Donald Trump Know What the GOP Health Bill Does?]_: "With the help of Vox’s Jacob Gardenswartz, I collected and read absolutely everything Donald Trump has said publicly about the AHCA... * **David Dayen:** "Brad DeLong is wondering what happened to...
**Weekend Reading: Bill Moyers**: _[What a Real President Is Like]_: "WHILE Lyndon Baines Johnson was a man of time and place, he felt the bitter paradox of both... >...I was a young man on his staff in 1960 when he gave me a vivid account of that southern schizophrenia he...
Отмена законов Джима Кроу в 1965 году должна была означать окончание правительственного преследования афро-американцев, однако, новый суровый доклад и данные многочисленных экспертов говорят об обратном. Международный терроризм всегда занимает первые полосы. А продолжающийся, санкционированный правительством, террор против негров в Америке получает намного меньше внимание. Это не преувеличение. Проблема реальна, она имеет системную природу, и новый […]
In “Hamlet,” Shakespeare wrote, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” What fun Shakespeare would have with Donald Trump! Imagine a play where Trump, the character, tries to dismiss his ties with Russia, and Shakespeare responds, “The scoundrel protests too much.” Although Trump and his lackeys keep trying to discredit the various rumors about his dealings with Russia, the press and the U.S. national security bureaucracy won’t let them go. There are at least four threads that connect Trump to the Kremlin. 1.Trump’s business dealings with Russia. We do not fully understand Trump’s Russian business connections because Trump has never released his tax returns. On February 28, 2016, Senator Ted Cruz said, “There have been multiple media reports about Donald’s business dealings with the mob, with the mafia. Maybe his [tax returns] show those business dealings are a lot more extensive than has been reported.” At the time, Politifact noted, “Cruz’s statement is accurate. Media reports have linked Trump to mafia bosses and mob-connected business associates for decades.” Time magazine, and other sources, have tied Trump to Russian oligarchs. Writing in the March 17 New Yorker magazine, Evan Osnos, David Remnick and Joshua Yaffa observed: “Two weeks before the Inauguration, intelligence officers briefed both Obama and Trump about a dossier of unverified allegations compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer. The thirty-five-page dossier, which included claims about Trump’s behavior during a 2013 trip to Moscow, ... concluded that Russia had personal and financial material on Trump that could be used as blackmail.” Of course, the dossier and the other rumors may be false. Nonetheless, Trump has an obligation to the American people to have his tax returns examined by a bipartisan set of experts so that rumors about his financial affairs can be dealt with responsibly. (After all, it is a national security issue.) 2. Russia’s Interference in the 2016 Election. A separate thread has to do with nefarious deeds committed by (supposed) Russian hackers during the election. 17 U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russian hackers helped the Trump campaign by hacking DNC emails, as well as those of Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta, and giving them to WikiLeaks. Recently, NBC News reported the CIA believes Russian operators wanted Trump to win. Writing for PBS, David Bush reported that on January 6th, “The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified version of its report to Obama on Russia’s role in the election. The report concluded with ‘high confidence’ — intelligence community speak for virtual certainty — that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking operation in an effort to hurt Clinton’s campaign and help elect Trump. The report also found that the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, gave the information it obtained from the DNC and Clinton campaign’s emails to WikiLeaks.” Of course, in the past, the Director of National intelligence has been wrong ― for example, about Saddam Hussein possessing “weapons of mass destruction.” Nonetheless, Congress has an obligation to the American people to evaluate reports that Russia interfered in the election. 3. Team Trump contacts with Russia. A separate thread has to do with a variety of contacts between Trump associates and Russian authorities. On February 15th the New York Times revealed that the FBI is investigating links between Russian intelligence and four members of the Trump team: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone. (And, more recently, Jeff Sessions and Jared Kushner.) On February 25th, the Guardian reported that the White House has tried to interfere with the FBI investigation. (Writing for Bill Moyers, Michael Winship reported on the Russian response: “Since the US election, there has been an unprecedented, and perhaps still continuing shakeup of top officials in Putin’s main security agency, the FSB, and a top former intelligence official in Putin’s entourage died recently in suspicious circumstances.”) Connected with this is the conduct of General Michael Flynn, who up until February 13th was Trump’s National Security Adviser. Apparently, after then President Obama leveled sanctions against Russia, Flynn called Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the US, and said words to the effect that Russia shouldn’t worry the sanctions as Trump would reverse them. What’s extraordinary is that these conversations were wiretapped; and Flynn, given his extensive intelligence background should have been aware of this. Once again, Congress has an obligation to investigate the Trump team connections to Russia. 4. Putin’s intentions. Finally, there’s the thorny question of what Vladimir Putin wants. There’s been a rush to say that he desires a close relationship with Trump. There are similarities. Both are thugs. Both have little regard for democracy and prefer the company of oligarchs. Both used the same tactics to gain power: disinformation, nationalism, xenophobia, racism... Nonetheless, there are significant differences between the two men. Their relationship is asymmetric: Putin is a strong leader of a weak state; Trump is a weak leader of a strong state. Putin is a former KGB agent; Trump a former reality TV star. Putin knows when to keep his mouth shut... What’s most likely is that when Trump showed up, Putin saw an opportunity to strengthen his hand by derailing the Clinton campaign. The authors of the excellent New Yorker article, Osnos, Remnick and Yaffa, conclude that Putin regarded Trump’s election as a way to weaken America’s standing in the world and Putin believed this would elevate Russia’s power: “Putin’s Russia has to come up with ways to make up for its economic and geopolitical weakness.” So far, Putin’s strategy has worked: Trump’s election has weakened America’s standing in the world (and jeopardized our alliances, such as NATO). What remains to be seen is whether our loss is Russia’s gain. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Наши главные фундаментальные права на жизнь, свободу и стремление к счастью подвергаются атаке. И враг наш – «Большое богатство», а не «Большое правительство», как уверяют нас консерваторы. Судите сами. Жизнь. Разрыв в продолжительности жизни между богатыми и американцами со средним уровнем доходов растет. Свобода. Корпорации, работающие в сфере информационных технологий, штурмуют нашу частную жизнь. В […]
EIGHT YEARS AGO ON INSTAPUNDIT: WALL STREET JOURNAL: J. Edgar Moyers. “Memories are short in Washington, and Mr. Moyers has gone on to promote himself as a political moralist, routinely sermonizing about what he claims are abuses of power by his ideological enemies.” There are so many stories like this — hatchetmen rewarded for their […]
Well, I certainly got that one wrong. Based on news reports, and after two phone calls to check them out, on Tuesday I wrote a column saluting Jake Tapper and CNN for saying, "No!" to Kellyanne Conway when the White House offered her up as a guest for Tapper's Sunday program. Except for Fox and Breitbart, I said, no news organization had been more useful to Donald Trump's presidential candidacy than CNN, but now it appeared they were fed up with serving as a springboard for the lies tossed around like grenades by Trump's propaganda minions -- most notably Ms. Conway, the president's senior adviser who doubles, I pointed out (with apologies to my late Baptist deacon father for the language) as the administration's official Queen of Bullshit. Standing up to her took some guts from Tapper and his network, given the fear and loathing Trump directs at journalists who dare exert some First Amendment independence, and I said so in the column: "So yes -- let's salute CNN for this one small step of resistance -- for refusing to give Kellyanne Conway a forum to push the lie a little further. Perhaps I am making too much of one incident, but cheers nonetheless to Jake Tapper... Maybe, now, someone else will follow, another domino will fall, and another and another -- until we in the press have collectively reclaimed our courage and independence from complicity with the state." I finished the column, hit "Send" (you can read it in its entirety here) and went to do some chores, feeling a tiny bit more hopeful about my craft. On my rounds, I even fancied that in protest against the vilification constantly aimed at them by Trump and his thuggish enforcers, perhaps CNN and the other big guys on the block would pull out of the annual White House Correspondents Dinner this spring, that godawful spectacle where journalists and their corporate masters -- those with much business pending before the government -- preen and prance with the privileged and powerful. All are one, on a night of reveling reminiscent of the court at Versailles when it was the seat of power in the kingdom of France. And then I was rudely awakened. Word came that CNN had reversed itself. The ban had been lifted. Conway was back -- and being interviewed at that very moment by none other than Jake Tapper, whom I had only hours earlier hoisted on a pedestal. What had happened? We may never know. Obviously, someone high up at CNN had ordered the turnaround. My sources there said they simply didn't know who it was. To be fair, in the rematch, Tapper was in fighting form. He questioned Conway relentlessly and pressed when she evaded, dodged or dissembled, as she did throughout their exchange, even asserting that the administration has "a high regard for the facts." In all this, he held his own. Nonetheless, the very premise of these broadcasts always enables Conway to declare "Mission Accomplished" when she returns to the White House. No matter how aggressive the questioners (and most are not, except in a rigged sort of way), she manages to drop more lies into the public discourse, reinforce Trump's base with the "alternative facts" they prefer to reality, and come across as Joan of Arc breaking the siege of Orleans. Like her boss, she often turns a question into a chance to make herself the victim: "I know firsthand what it's like to have all the haters descend upon you," she told Tapper. She is masterful at avoiding a question by changing the subject. When he tried to engage her on Trump saying things that are "demonstrably not true," she responded, "Are they more important than the many things that he says that are true that are making a difference in people's lives?" Well, yes; it's the lies that kill democracy. If the doctor tells you the MRI shows cancer in the liver, you don't reply, "That's okay. My lungs are clear." With network talk shows, the format favors the fabricator. Conway's the one determining the course of the interview. CNN, expressing "serious questions about her credibility," was right on Sunday to refuse her a forum -- something press critic Jay Rosen has been urging for some time, arguing that the networks must stop booking someone who so obviously refuses to deal honestly with viewers. There were even hints the network was considering a permanent ban, the surest way to prevent a professional con artist from using you to pollute the airwaves with one flagrant lie after another. CNN's change of heart Tuesday was a blow to its own credibility, and a disappointment to many hoping for greater courage among the media. My own cheering was premature; I have to take it back. Hereafter, I will keep in mind Charles Dickens' counsel not to trust flat things coming round. This post originally appeared at BillMoyers.com -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
The 25/8 News Cycle Is Already Rolling, But the Looting of America Hasn’t Really Begun Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com It started in June 2015 with that Trump Tower escalator ride into the presidential race to the tune of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” (“But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead, there's a lot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead, don't feel like Satan, but I am to them...") In a sense the rockin’ has never stopped and by now the world, free or not, has been rocked indeed. No one, from Beijing to Mexico City, Baghdad to Berlin, London to Washington could question that. Who today remembers that, in those initial moments of his campaign, Donald Trump was already focused on the size of his first (partially hired) crowd? (“This is beyond anybody’s expectations. There’s been no crowd like this...”) And he’s been consistently himself ever since -- less a strong man than a bizarrely high-strung one. In the process, while becoming president, he emerged as a media phenomenon of a sort we’ve never seen before. First, it was those billions of dollars in advertising the media forked over gratis during the race for the Republican nomination by focusing on whatever he did, said, or tweeted, day after day, in a way that was new in our world. By the time he hit the campaign trail against Hillary Clinton, he was the ultimate audience magnet and the cameras and reporters were fused to him, so coverage only ballooned, as it did again during the transition months. Now, of course, his presidency is the story of the second -- each second of every day -- giving us two-plus weeks of coverage the likes of which are historically unique. Think of it as the 25/8 news cycle. From that distant June to now, though it’s never stopped, somehow we have yet to truly come to grips with it. Never in the history of the media has a single figure -- one human being -- been able to focus the “news” in this way, making himself the essence of all reporting. He’s only been banished from the headlines and the screen for relatively brief periods, usually when Islamic terrorist groups or domestic “lone wolves” struck, as in San Bernardino, Paris, or Orlando, and, given his campaign, that worked no less well for his purposes than being the center of attention, as it will for his presidency. The Never-Ending Presidency of Donald Trump (Has Barely Begun) Nineteen months later, Trump's personality, statements, tweets, speeches, random thoughts, passing comments, complaints, gripes, and of course, actions are the center of everything. One man’s narcissism gains new meaning when inflated to a societal level. Yes, at certain moments -- the assassination of John F. Kennedy, O.J. Simpson’s white Bronco chase, the 9/11 attacks -- a single event or personality has overwhelmed everything else and taken the news by storm. But never has one person been able to do this through thick and thicker, through moments of actual news and moments when nothing whatsoever is happening to him. As an example, consider the New York Times, the newspaper that both Donald Trump’s ascendant adviser Steve Bannon and I have been reading faithfully all these years. At the moment, Trump or people and events related to him monopolize its front page in a way that's beyond rare. He now regularly sweeps up four or five of its six or so top headlines daily, and a staggering six to ten full, often six-column pages of news coverage inside -- and that’s not even counting the editorial and op-ed pages, which these days are a riot of Trumpery. From early morning till late at night, wherever you look in the American media and undoubtedly globally, the last couple of weeks have been nothing but an avalanche of Trumpified news and features, whether focused on arguments, disputes, and protests over the Muslim ban that the new president and his people insist is not a Muslim ban; or the size of his inaugural crowds; or Sean Spicer’s ill-fitting suit jacket; or the signing of an executive order to begin the process of building that “big, fat, beautiful wall” on our southern border; or the cancelled Mexican presidential visit, and the angry or conciliatory tweets, phone calls, and boycotts that followed, not to speak of the 20% tax on imports proposed by the Trump administration (then half-withdrawn) to get the Mexican president to pay for the wall, which would actually force American consumers to cough up most of the money (making us all Mexicans, it seems); or the unprecedented seating of white nationalist Steve Bannon on the National Security Council (and the unseating of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff); or the firing of the acting director of the Justice Department after she ordered its lawyers not to defend the president’s travel ban; or the brouhaha over the new Supreme Court pick, introduced in an Apprentice-like primetime presidential special; or those confirmation hearing boycotts by Democratic senators; or the threats against Iran or the threat to send U.S. troops into Mexico to take out the “bad hombres down there"... but why go on? You saw it all. (You couldn’t help yourself, could you?) And tell me it hasn’t seemed like at least two months, if not two years worth of spiraling events (and nonevents). In those never-ending month-like weeks, Donald Trump did the seemingly impossible: he stirred protest on a global scale; sparked animosity, if not enmity, and nationalism from Mexico to Iraq, England to China; briefly united Mexico behind one of the least popular presidents in its history; sparked a spontaneous domestic protest movement of a sort unseen since the Vietnam War half a century ago that shows every sign of growing; insulted the Australian prime minister, alienating America's closest ally in Asia; and that’s just to begin a list of the new president’s “accomplishments” in essentially no time at all. So here’s the question of the day: How can we put any of this in context while drowning in the moment? Perhaps one way to start would be by trying to look past the all-enveloping “news” of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Were you to do that, you might, I think, conclude that, despite the sound and the fury of the last two weeks, almost nothing has yet actually happened. I know that’s hard to believe under the circumstances, but the age of Trump -- or if you prefer, the damage of Trump -- has essentially yet to begin (though tell that to the Iraqis, Iranians, and others caught in mid-air, cuffed on mid-ground, and in some cases sent back into a hell on Earth). Still, crises? The media is already talking about constitutional ones, but believe me, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Conflicts of interest? So far, grim as the news may look, there’s hardly been a hint of what’s sure to come. And crimes against the country? They’ve hardly begun. It’s true that Trump’s national-security appointments, from the Pentagon and the CIA to the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Council, are largely in place, even if reportedly already in a state of flux as National Security Adviser Michael Flynn seems to be losing his grip on the new president and Steve Bannon, not previously thought about in national security terms, is riding high. Otherwise, few of his cabinet appointments are truly functional yet. That set of billionaires and multimillionaires are either barely confirmed or not yet so. They haven’t even begun to preside over departments filled with staffs that instantly seem to be in chaos, living in fear, or moving into a mood of resistance. This means that what Bill Moyers has already termed the “demolition derby” of the Trump era hasn’t yet really begun, despite a hiring freeze on the non-national-security-state part of the government. Or put another way, if you think the last two weeks were news, just wait for the wealthiest cabinet in our history to settle in, a true crew of predatory capitalists, including a commerce secretary nicknamed “the king of bankruptcy” for his skills in buying up wrecked companies at staggering profits; a Treasury secretary dubbed the “foreclosure king” of California for evicting thousands of homeowners (including active-duty military families) from distressed properties he and his partners picked up in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown; and the head of the State Department who only recently led ExxonMobil in its global depredations. As a crew, they and their compatriots are primed to either dismantle the agencies they'll run or shred their missions. That includes likely head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, a man long in the pay of big energy, who seems determined to reduce the EPA to a place that protects us from nothing; and a fast-food king who, as the new labor secretary, is against the minimum wage and would love to replace workers with machines. News? You think you know what it is two weeks into this administration? Not a chance. And don’t forget the White House, now that it’s a family operation -- a combination of a real-estate-based global branding outfit (the Trumps) and a real estate empire (son-in-law Jared Kushner). It’s obvious that decisions made in the White House, but also in government offices in foreign capitals, on the streets of foreign cities, and even among jihadists will affect the fortunes of those two families. I’m not exactly the first person to point out that the seven Muslim lands included in Trump’s immigration ban included not one in which he has business dealings. As patriarch, Donald J. will, of course, rule the Oval Office; his son-in-law will be down the hall somewhere, with constant access to him; and his daughter Ivanka is to have an as-yet-unannounced (possibly still undecided) role in her father’s administration. If we lived in the Arab world right now, this would all seem as familiar as apple pie, or perhaps I mean hummus: a family-oriented government ruled by a man with an authoritarian turn of mind around whom are gathered the crème de la crème of the country’s predatory capitalists, many of them with their own severe conflicts of interest. Thought about a certain way, you could say welcome to Saudi Arabia or Bashar al-Assad’s Syria before the catastrophe, or... well, so many other countries of the less developed and increasingly chaotic world. A Government of Looters From health care and tax policy to environmental protections, this will undoubtedly be a government of the looters, by the looters, and for the looters, and a Congress of the same. As of yet, however, we’ve seen only the smallest hints of what is to come. In such a leave-no-billionaires-behind era, forget the past swamps of Washington (which wasn’t really built on swampland). The government of Donald J. Trump seems slated to produce an American swamp of swamps and, somewhere down the line, will surely give new meaning to the phrase conflict of interest. Yet these processes, too, are barely underway. From a government of 1% looters, what can you expect but to be looted and to experience crimes of every sort? (Ask the citizens of most Arab lands.) Still, whatever those may turn out to be, in the end they will just be the usual crimes of human history. In them, there will be little new, except perhaps in their extremity in the United States. They will cause pain, of course -- as well as gain for the few -- but sooner or later such crimes and those who commit them will pass from the scene and in the course of history be largely forgotten. Of only one future crime will that not be true. As a result, it’s likely to prove the most unforgiveable of them all and those who help in its commission will, without a doubt, be the greatest criminals of all time. Think of them as “terrarists” and their set of acts as, in sum, terracide. If there’s a single figure in the Trump administration who catches the essence of this, it is, of course, former ExxonMobil CEO and present Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. His former company has a grim history not just of exploiting fossil fuels come (literally) hell or high water, but of suppressing information about the harm they’ve done, via greenhouse gas emissions that heat the atmosphere and the Earth’s waters, while funding climate denialism; of, in short, destroying the planet in an eternal search for record profits. Now, he joins an administration whose president once termed climate change a “Chinese hoax,” and who has, with a striking determination, appointed first to his transition team and then to his government an unparallelled crew of climate change deniers and so-called climate skeptics. They, and largely only they, are taking crucial positions in every department or agency of government in any way connected with fossil fuels or the environment. Among his first acts was to green-light two much-disputed pipelines, one slated to bring the carbon-dirtiest of oil products, Canadian tar sands, from Alberta to the Gulf Coast; the other to encourage the frackers of the Bakken shale oil fields of North Dakota to keep up the good work. In his yearning to return to a 1950s America, President Trump has promised a new age of fossil-fuel exploitation. He’s evidently ready to leave the Paris climate agreement in the trash heap of history and toss aside support for the development of alternative energy systems as well. (In the process -- and irony is too weak a word for this -- he will potentially cede a monster job-creation machine to the Chinese, the Germans, and others.) Call it perfect scheduling, but just two days before his inauguration -- two days, that is, before the White House website would be scrubbed of all reference to climate change -- both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) -- each undoubtedly soon to be scrubbed clean by Trump’s climate deniers -- announced that, in 2016, the planet's temperature had broken all heat records for an unprecedented third year in a row. (This means that 16 out of the top 17 hottest years occurred in the twenty-first century.) From 2013 to 2016, according to NASA, the planet warmed by well over a half-degree Fahrenheit, “the largest temperature increase over a three-year period in the NASA record.” Last year, as the Guardian reported, “North America saw its highest number of storms and floods in over four decades. Globally, we saw over 1.5 times more extreme weather catastrophes in 2016 than the average over the past 30 years. Global sea ice cover plunged to a record low as well.” And that’s just to start a list. This is no longer terribly complicated. It’s not debatable science. It’s our reality and there can be no question that a world of ever more extreme weather events, rising sea levels, lengthening mega-droughts (as well as massive rainfalls), along with heat and more heat, is what the future holds for our children and grandchildren. Barring stunning advances in alternative energy technologies or other surprises, this again is too obvious to doubt. So those, including our new president and his administration who are focused on suppressing both scientific knowledge about climate change and any attempt to mitigate the phenomenon, and who, like Rex Tillerson’s former colleagues at the big energy companies, prefer to suppress basic information about all of this in the name of fossil fuels and personal enrichment, will be committing the most basic of crimes against humanity. As a group, they will be taking the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter out of the climate change sweepstakes for years to come and helping ensure that the welcoming planet on which humanity has so long existed will be something so much grimmer in the future. In this moment’s endless flurries of “news” about Donald Trump, this -- the most basic news of all -- has, of course, been lost in the hubbub. And yet, unlike any other set of actions they could engage in (except perhaps nuclear war), this is truly the definition of forever news. Climate change, after all, operates on a different time scale than we do, being part of planetary history, and so may prove human history’s deal-breaker. Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, as well as Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Шелдон Адельсон (Sheldon Adelson) – богатый спонсор Израиля и Биньямина Нетаньяху.О последнем выступлении израильского премьер-министра Биньямина Нетаньяху в Конгрессе США мы должны знать только одно – присутствие на галерее посетителей одного мужчины - Шелдона Адельсона.Он - магнат азартных игр и крёстный отец правых республиканцев. Кандидаты в президенты от обеих партий выстраиваются в очередь, чтобы поцеловать его руку. Кланяясь и расшаркиваясь, они вымаливают его благословение в виде подписанных им чеков. Беспартийный Центр за ответственную политику (Center for Responsive Politics) и Центр за общественную интеграцию (Center for Public Integrity) утверждают, что во время выборов 2012 года Адельсон и его жена Мириам (чей кошелёк прославился недавно, свалившись с галереи на голову демократического конгрессмена) заплатили 150 млн. долларов республиканцам и их сторонникам, в том числе 93 млн. долларов лояльному к плутократам super PAC Карла Роува (Karl Rove) American Crossroads, Congressional Leadership Fund, Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund, Winning Our Future (super PAC поддержки Ньюта Гингрича (Newt Gingrich)) и Restore Our Future (super PAC поддержки Митта Ромни (Mitt Romney)).И всё же, мы не знаем обо всех «тёмных деньгах», вложенных Адельсонами в политику, так как мы не имеем на это права. Как и дорогие квартиры в Нью-Йорке, купленные олигархами, которые прячутся за ширмами легальных организаций, тёмные деньги позволяют нашим политикам смыть отпечатки пальцев с подписанных чеков спонсоров-миллиардеров.Но Шелдон Адельсон не просто так сидел в галерее Палаты Представителей – он дёргал за ниточки, которыми управляет Соединёнными штатами. Шелдон Адельсон – богатый спонсор Израиля и своего идеологического партнёра Биньямина Нетаньяху. Хотя законы о финансовом реформировании предвыборных кампаний в Израиле строже, чем в США, Адельсон смог и их купить, что историк и журналист Гершом Горенберг (Gershom Gorenberg) назвал «однозначно пагубным» влиянием.Адельсон владеет ежедневными газетами Israel Hayom и Makor Roshon (религиозной право-сионистской направленности), а также новостным веб-сайтом NRG. Газета Israel Hayom раздаётся бесплатно для распространения его жёсткой точки зрения. На следующий день после переизбрания Обамы, на первой полосе этой газеты появился заголовок: «США проголосовали за социализм».Ещё важнее то, что он использует свои газеты для постоянной пропаганды Нетаньяху и его ультраправой Likud Party, под властью которой Израиль всё ближе и ближе приближается к теократии. Как считает экономист Моми Дахан (Momi Dahan) из Еврейского университета, «де-факто, само существование таких газет как Israel Hayom – однозначное нарушение закона, так как Адельсон предоставляет своему кандидату практически неограниченные информационные ресурсы».Шелдон поддерживает тесные отношения с Рупертом.На самом деле, приближаясь к израильским выборам 17 марта, Адельсон увеличил тираж Israel Hayom на 70%. Администрация газеты пишет, что увеличение коснулось, в основном, рекламы, но газета Ha’aretz считает по-другому: «Некоторые политики убеждены, что дополнительный тираж – один из пунктов бизнес плана, направленного на переизбрание Нетаньяху». И выступление Нетаньяху перед Конгрессом США накануне выборов – просто совпадение, не так ли? «Я искренне сожалею, что некоторые чувствуют, что моё присутствие здесь носит политической характер», - сказал Нетаньяху конгрессменам. – «Этого никогда не было в моих планах». Ну конечно.Гершом Горенберг считает, что премьер-министр «наслаждается выгодой наличия в его лагере ведущей газеты, которая изображает мир с точки зрения его правительства – мир, в котором Израиль окружён врагами (включая президента США); мир, в котором цель мирных переговоров – разрушение Израиля; мир, в котором левые израильтяне действуют в сотрудничестве с врагами, и даже те правые, которые выступают против Нетаньяху, готовят переворот, используя выборы».Таким образом, Нетаньяху пользуется плодами деятельности Адельсона - его мощной пропагандистской машиной в Израиле и его кампанией по сбору денег в США. В совокупности, эти машины позволяют Нетаньяху узурпировать американскую внешнюю политику, так как он управляет Конгрессом США, который сделали услужливым миллионы долларов Адельсона, придерживающегося правой точки зрения по Израилю и Ближнему Востоку.Итак, вот что мы имеем. Этот казиношный магнат – не только неофициальный вождь республиканской партии США («он и его золотые правила»), но и некоронованный король Израиля – Давид с печатным станком и чековой книжкой, вместо рогатки и камня. Всё это всплыло во время выступления Нетаньяху. США не могут определять своё будущее, так как американская политика на Ближнем Востоке и большинство в Конгрессе находятся под каблуком у другой страны.Подобно королю Мидасу, Шелдон Адельсон определяет вопросы войны и мира в самом нестабильном регионе мира. Именно этот человек, выступая в 2013 году в еврейском университете Иешуа в Нью-Йорке, осудил президента Обаму за дипломатические переговоры с Ираном, и предложил сбросить на иранцев атомную бомбу, превратив их землю в пустыню. «Поймите! Следующим должен быть Тегеран. То есть, мы говорим о бизнесе. Вы хотите быть уничтоженными? Идите вперёд, займите жёсткую позицию и продолжайте использовать своё ядерное оружие».О последнем выступлении израильского премьер-министра Биньямина Нетаньяху в Конгрессе США мы должны знать только одно – присутствие на галерее посетителей одного мужчины. Мы все – его заложники.Авторы - Билл Мойерс (Bill Moyers) и Майкл Уиншип (Michael Winship).Билл Мойерс – ведущий еженедельной общественной телевизионной передачи Moyers & Company. Мойерс получил 35 премий Эмми, 9 премий Пибоди, премию за достижения в течение жизни Национальной академии телевидения. Он является почётным доктором изящных искусств Американского института кино за 40 лет журналистской работы на радио.Майкл Уиншип – ведущий автор Moyers & Company и президент Гильдии сценаристов восточной Америки.Источник: How an American Billionaire Stands in the Way of Mideast Peace, Bill Moyers, Michael Winship, AlterNet, March 6, 2015.____________ ____________