First Eagle Global A (SGENX) a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) seeks long-term growth of capital through investments in a range of asset classes from markets in the United States and around the world.
America's East Coast Is Telecom Toast in 2017. Lowell McAdam, Verizon's CEO, spoke at a UBS investor conference, December 6th, 2016; (Transcript from Seeking Alpha). He claims that the city of Boston, Massachusetts is a model of the networks to come. "So, if you look at Boston, and I think Boston is going to be the prototype of the architect for the networks to come... So, we'll be able to go in and offer an IPTV-based services, the streaming service, the broadband service either be a 4G advanced, or be a 5G, and I think we'll get to 5G." Summary If Boston is the model, then anyone who wants or expects Verizon to deploy fiber optic services to their home or office or city--in any state--should stop hoping or expecting. Worse, here's what you should expect in 2017. Verizon told Boston that 100% would be 'upgraded' to FiOS, a fiber to the home (FTTH) service within 6 years. Now, it seems, Verizon was just kidding; it will upgrade a small part of Boston, but at the same time lay the fiber to the cell sites for wireless because it makes the company more profits. So what if wireless '5G' doesn't work yet or that this holds up most of the East Coast of America's fiber next steps for a bait-n-switch? (Verizon controls from Massachusetts through Virginia, (with a part of Connecticut).) But, wait a second -- Who's actually paying for the wires to the cell sites used by Verizon Wireless in this bait-n-switch? I'll get back to this issue. (Add the fact that the FCC is in transition and the transition team leader is a consultant to Verizon, there is little expectation of a federal investigation of this matter in 2017.) The Bait I've written a series of articles about Verizon's fiber optic commitments to the citizens of Beantown, but the buzz has been everywhere. Example: The Boston Globe wrote in April, 2016 that FiOS would be deployed to 100% of the City within six years. "FiOS rollout in Boston could take up to 6 years "Verizon is finally ready to offer its high-speed fiber optic service to Boston -- a victory for city officials who have long sought meaningful competition for high-speed Internet and TV service in a city dominated by Comcast Corp... Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the Verizon move Tuesday, a $300 million investment that will roll out in select neighborhoods beginning this summer but will take six years to cover the whole city." The Switch These are two maps which include Greater Boston and the surrounding areas as well as Verizon's Boston fiber optic plans. On the right, The entire city of Boston, with the six year FiOS roll out depicted, as told by Verizon, April 2016. There are four major areas in different colors. The areas of blue are the 'starting point'. Based on the recently signed cable franchise agreement, December, 5th, 2016 The blue parts are the only group mentioned in the cable franchise agreement. The other colors: orange, green and pink, are other areas that Verizon claims will be done--but are not mentioned in the cable franchise. On the left, The Greater Boston area, which includes the four zones but in context to the surrounding cities and towns. All of the areas of grey have not been upgraded to fiber as of 2015; this includes Watertown, Revere and Salem, among others. Simply put: There are no written guarantees Verizon will do any other fiber to the home deployments in Boston past the starting point. This is not what the public was told or understands. However, based on Verizon's various statements to investors, the plan was always to do a part of Verizon Boston with actual fiber to the home, and, as predicted, start tests with wireless--because it makes the company more profits. Francis Shammo, EVP, Verizon, stated at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, September 22, 2016: "But it's going to be a fixed broadband wireless solution. "And if you think about the cost benefit of that, today, if you think about FiOS and what it costs me to connect a prem to FiOS. I have to lay the fiber down the street, but then I also have to then connect the home, go into the home, make sure the wiring is right, put in install the boxes, install the routers. "If you think about 5G, you put the fiber down the road, which is what we're doing in Boston. Then all of the labor and the expense of drilling up your driveway connecting the OT to your house and all the labor involved with that, all that goes away, because now I can deliver a beam into your - into a window with a credit card size receptor on it that delivers it to a wireless router, and there's really no labor involved and there's no real hardware other than the router in the credit card. So the cost benefit of this is pretty substantial, at least, we believe it is." Those Lucky Few: 28% of Boston Shall be Offered Service. Just so we're clear, here's the actual language. Verizon is only doing 28% of Boston to start. "Section 13.14 Adjustments to Reflect Expanded Service Areas Several provisions in this License have included values reflecting the Licensee's initial Service Area represents only a portion of the City, approximately twenty-eight (28%) of the City's geography. As new Service Areas are added, a new portion representing the increased Service Area of Licensee in relation to the City's geography shall be calculated by agreement between the parties prior to the Effective Date for such expansion. Thereafter, certain values in this License, originally calculated to be approximately 28% of a City-wide value, shall be increased proportionately based upon the new revised proportion, effective as of the Effective Date for the increased Service Area." And that's it. There is no plan for 100% of Boston; no schedule, no agreement to continue to other areas to offer the fiber to the home, nothing but language that essentially says what is in this document is the full scope of the franchise area. "(d) Service Area Additions: Following the Effective Date, Licensee may propose to add one or more geographic areas within the City to the Service Area pursuant to the provisions of 207 CMR 3.07. Unless mutually agreed upon by written instrument executed by the Parties, any amendment made pursuant to this section shall be limited exclusively to the identification of the additional geographic area or areas to be added to the Service Area and shall not materially amend any other substantive provisions of the License. Neither party may condition its consent to a Service Area addition on the amendment of any other substantive provision of the License or any other consideration. Any geographic area of the City not expressly designated as being within the Service Area shall not be subject to the License unless and until the License has been formally amended to incorporate the area into the Service Area. Exhibit 1 of this License shall be amended as necessary to include the addition of geographic areas to the Service Area and all areas identified as being within the Service Area shall be subject to the terms of this License." The Future of Verizon's Entire East Coast for 2017? Wait... Until Verizon does the tests of wireless in Boston and some other locations, there are no expected new deployments of fiber to the home. More importantly, we've heard such exciting things about 5G being deployed in 2017. To recap: Fierce Wireless Headline: December 8th, 2015 "Verizon's McAdam: 5G speeds will be up to 1 Gbps and will be live at Verizon HQ in January (2016) DSL Reports: July 27th, 2016 "Verizon Eyes 'Wireless Fiber' 5G Broadband Launch in 2017" Lowell McAdam, December 2016: "So, we'll be able to go in and offer an IPTV-based services, the streaming service, the broadband service either be a 4G advanced, or be a 5G, and I think we'll get to 5G." 37 or More Problems with Verizon-Boston's Bait N-Switch, Impacting America. There are so many things wrong with this picture that it requires some more reflection. To be continued... -- 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.
President-elect Donald Trump is staying on as an executive producer of NBC’s “The New Celebrity Apprentice” despite his impending responsibilities as leader of the free world, according to reports Thursday in The New York Times and Variety. The popular program, which propelled the businessman to national prominence and paved the way for his eventual presidential win, is set to begin airing again in January with its new host, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The show went off the air during Trump’s presidential bid. MGM, which produces the show for NBC, confirmed to Variety that Trump will still be one of the program’s executive producers, and that MGM, not NBC, will pay the president-elect’s fees. (MGM did not return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.) Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed the news, noting that the president-elect has a “big stake” in the program, which has licensed several international editions. “Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett. Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th,” Hicks said in a statement. Trump’s role is rife with potential entanglements. While his paycheck will come from MGM, the program airs on NBC, a major broadcast network with an influential news division (which employs reporters Trump has personally attacked). It’s also the same network that airs “Saturday Night Live,” a show Trump has criticized on numerous occasions for its unflattering depiction of him. And NBC is owned by Comcast, a corporation that was recently slapped with a hefty fine by the Federal Communications Commission ― an entity that will soon be under Trump’s control. Many of Trump’s ventures, including his new Washington D.C. hotel and his many international investments, have come under scrutiny for massive conflicts of interest as his inauguration approaches. He’s claimed he will leave his company, but has provided no details on what that will look like. Trump’s involvement with the “Apprentice” franchise became a source of controversy near the end of the presidential race. After The Washington Post published Trump’s 2005 boasts about sexual assault, HuffPost uncovered several offensive remarks the president-elect made during his time on the show. In October, a former “Apprentice” contestant accused Trump of assaulting her in a Beverly Hills hotel room. And several former crew members told The Associated Press that Trump frequently used sexist, lewd language while on set. Meanwhile, producer Mark Burnett ― who repeatedly claimed he was not a Trump supporter ― fought to keep the show’s unaired archives under wraps and reportedly cracked down on staff leaks of such material. According to The New York Times, Burnett recently met with the president-elect at Trump Tower to discuss potential inauguration celebrations, including a parade up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. -- 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.
Verizon (VZ) recently received the final nod from the City of Boston for the Final Cable Television (CATV) License, which allows Verizon to operate in Boston.
The telecom industry experienced a good run on the bourse last week as most of the key stocks traded in the green. Although the space lacked excitement, a few events were worth noting.
The ongoing 600 MHz low-band wireless spectrum auction, popularly known as -- Incentive Auction -- conducted by the FCC, has so far seen lukewarm response from bidders.
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, Dangerous consolidation of the media is a trend that has been discussed by many people on many occasions, and many of us by now have heard the stat that in the U.S. just six media giants control 90% of all TV, news, radio and film. Now that Comcast is set to buy Time Warner, the situation is about to get that much worse. Many people write about the struggle between “liberty” and “tyranny,” including myself, but these may not be the most effective terms to use in order to explain the troubling situation we face to a wider audience. Unfortunately, when people hear the words “liberty” the knee-jerk reaction for many is to associate it with right-wing “conspiracy theorists.” Of course, it is “conspiracy fact” that a small handful of corporations and the executives that run them control more and more of our daily lives. In other words, the forces of “tyranny” use “centralization” as their primary weapon of choice in order to control us. Those of us who long for “freedom” and “liberty” must use “decentralization” as our primary tool to fight back and win. – From the 2014 post: The Comcast/Time Warner Merger and the War Between Centralization and Decentralization Forget the Carrier deal, and forget the infamous tweet recently directed at Boeing. If Trump is serious about protecting the American public and being the populist leader he claimed he would be, he will aggressively push back against the proposed AT&T-Time Warner mega merger. On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump appeared to take a strong stance against a deal that would further consolidate an already grotesquely consolidated media and telecom environment, but concerns have arisen as of late that point to a contradictory position. As Fortune recently reported: During his campaign for President, Donald Trump declared that he would not approve a proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner on the grounds the deal represented “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” But as with so much else when it comes to Trump, it appears that vow is negotiable. On Thursday, the Financial Times reported that Trump’s transition team assured AT&T they would review the deal with an open mind, and that company executives came away confident that the deal would pass regulatory scrutiny. If this is indeed the case, Trump supporters should see it as a massive betrayal, as well as a sign that Trump, like his predecessors, will rule on behalf of the status quo elites when it comes to the truly big policy decisions. For a little background of why this particular merger is so detrimental to American consumers, let’s take a look at the statement prepared by Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office ahead of today’s hearing on “Examining the Competitive Impact of the AT&T-Time Warner Transaction.” Today, the Judiciary Committee examines the competitive impact of AT&T Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Inc. The proposed $85.4 billion merger could dramatically transform our nation’s telecommunications and media landscape, combining two titans of industry. AT&T is the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, largest pay-television provider, and third-largest broadband provider, while Time Warner is a massive media conglomerate that owns CNN, HBO, and the Warner Bros. Studio. This proposed massive consolidation of distribution and content raises serious questions. The impact of this transaction on competition, consumer choice, and privacy across the media, pay TV, wireless and broadband industries must be carefully analyzed. Today’s hearing is a crucial conversation about looming concentration in industries that create and distribute the media that millions of Americans consume every day. Americans are consuming media content in increasingly fragmented ways – on their smart phones and ipads, not just on their televisions. At the same time, the distributors and producers of this content are rapidly consolidating. Given that Americans depend upon these companies to learn about and stay connected to the world around them, it is critically important to preserve affordable access to a diversity of views and ideas. This proposed merger raises serious questions about this prospect and we must carefully consider whether it will benefit consumers in Vermont and across America. More than 130 million Americans depend upon AT&T for their wireless internet access. Last year, AT&T acquired DirecTV’s satellite television service. AT&T is now trying to acquire Time Warner’s content. These acquisitions raise serious concerns about whether AT&T could begin to act as a biased gatekeeper for its own affiliated content and services. Questions are already being raised about AT&T’s decision to not charge its wireless customers for data used to view DirecTV on their phones. Anti-competitive and anti-consumer actions by Internet gatekeepers can be prevented under the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet rules. Those rules establish clear and enforceable bright-line prohibitions on blocking, throttling and discriminating against lawful content on the Internet. Meaningful net neutrality protections ensure that the Internet remains an open platform that fosters innovation and free speech. Strong net neutrality rules help mitigate concerns about a post-merger AT&T’s ability to harm competitors and consumers. Yet these very net neutrality rules that currently protect consumers appear to be under serious threat by the incoming administration. President-elect Donald Trump has been openly opposed to net neutrality. He has formally named three staunch net neutrality opponents to oversee his FCC transition. Any weakening of these rules will cause serious harm to consumers – harm that could be exacerbated by further mergers in this industry. That harm is not limited to this transaction, but would impact all Americans who rely on the free exchange of ideas and information on the Internet. Over the past few years, at every hearing held by the Judiciary Committee to discuss a proposed transaction we have heard the same buzzwords used to justify further consolidation. These buzzwords are used in industries as different as beer, health insurance, agricultural seeds, or pay- television. We have heard about the vertical integration of complementary portfolios. We have heard about how there will be no further reduction in competition. We have heard that further consolidation is needed to compete with some other entity not involved in the transaction. We have heard about increased innovation achieved through cost savings. We have heard that the merged companies will retain every incentive to serve consumers well. I have no doubt we will hear many of those same arguments today. While massive corporations continue to forcefully defend these claims in service of their bottom line, the American people are facing an economy that is increasingly defined by a small number of dominant corporations and a shrinking number of small, independent competitors. I am deeply skeptical that this highly-consolidated economy is leading to better results for consumers in Vermont and across the country. Even President-elect Trump has noted the downsides of this major movement towards consolidation when he shared his opinion on the campaign trail that this transaction is “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” Mr. Trump even went so far as to say his administration would not approve the transaction. Now, in a sudden shift of tone, press reports suggest that the merging parties are being told by members of Mr. Trump’s transition team that the transaction has a good chance of being approved. Whether or not this transaction and others in the future are ultimately approved will rest with the antitrust authorities, including the people Mr. Trump nominates to positions at the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. As he makes those selections, as the Senate considers the nominees he selects, and as those people go about their jobs if they are confirmed, we must all recommit ourselves to protecting the hallmark principle of the American economy – competition. I thank Senator Klobuchar and Senator Lee for holding this hearing today and looking forward to the testimony of the witnesses. With all that in mind, I want to turn your attention to a few excerpts from an excellent post published late last month titled, Net Neutrality Shouldn’t be a Debate – It’s a Symptom of Something Worse: Gatekeepers: Net neutrality should not even be a debate. Any market actor who abuses their customers and trust to the level of not respecting net neutrality, on a functioning market, will be dropped like a bad habit. Therefore, the mere existence of a net neutrality debate is a symptom of something much worse: the existence of gatekeepers. That’s the underlying problem that needs to be solved. A politician who trusts the telco industry or the cable industry to roll out the Internet needs to have their brain examined. These two industries will be obliterated when every household has good fiber, and they’re trying to delay that point in time for as long as they can possibly get away with: it’s in the strategic interest of both telco and cable industries to obstruct Internet rollout for as long as is possible. Ponder this: the telco industry wants to charge me by the minute, plus a fixed monthly fee, for usage of a 9.6-kilobit connection to my home that can only be used for their voice application. How does this compare to having a monthly fee in the same ballpark for an unmetered, fixed fee, general purpose, 100-megabit connection to my home, that I can use for anything I want as much as I want? Why would I ever look toward the old telcos again? The telcos are just dead in the water, and they know it. (By the way, sending a text message next door is literally more expensive than sending the same data from Mars, because the telcos are charging a fifteen billion per cent markup.) This doesn’t even begin to describe how utterly destroyed the cable industry is. On YouTube alone, people upload 300 hours of video per minute – put differently, YouTube alone serves the equivalent of 18,000 (eighteen thousand!) 24-by-7 TV channels. Granted, most of these are utter crap, so it’s exactly like the cable networks. The Internet has practically already obliterated the cable TV industry, and their only hope is to destroy, delay, and/or obstruct the Internet to milk the last drops of money from an old world that no longer exists. Indeed, it seems this is the actual intent of AT&T and Time Warner executives with the proposed merger. They want to “milk the last drops of money from an old world that no longer exists.” As is typically the case, the people who will be harmed most by this will be average American citizens. As such, if Trump is truly a populist, he will stand strongly against the deal. If he doesn’t, it will only raise further concerns about where his real loyalties lie.
On Dec 6, 2016, we issued an updated research report on cable multi-service operator (MSO) Charter Communications (CHTR).
After failing miserably in their effort to elect Hillary on November 8th, Google has decided it's time to hire a "Conservative Outreach Manager." You know your bias is deeply ingrained when you have to create a brand new "outreach" position just to figure out how to speak to people on the other side of the aisle. Per the job listing posted to the Google Careers website, the new "Conservative Outreach Manager" would act as a "liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups." As a member of Google's Public Policy team, you help shape various product and issue agendas with policy makers inside and outside government. In addition, you will help advise our internal teams on the public policy implications of their products, working with a closely coordinated and cross-functional global team. The role requires significant experience either working with or in government, politics or a regulatory agency as well as an ability to grasp complex technical and policy issues. As a member of Google's Public Policy outreach team, you will act as Google’s liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups. You are part organizer, part advocate and part policy wonk as you understand the world of third-party non-governmental advocacy organizations. You are eager to represent Google among those organizations. You can work a room, tell Google’s story in an elevator or from a podium and work with partner organizations on shared projects to advance Google’s public policy goals. Of course, it's not terribly surprising that Google was ill-prepared to work with a Trump administration since WikiLeaks revealed the company was all-in with the Hillary campaign...a revelation which was subsequently confirmed when Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, was spotted at Hillary's Election Night "party" wearing a staff badge. Somehow we suspect the "Conservative Outreach Manager" won't be as effective at pushing Google's policies with the Trump administration as Schmidt would have been with Hillary...Oh well, time to start building a relationship with Joe Biden. * * * For those who missed it, here is what we previously wrote about Schmidt's "secret strategic plan" to get Hillary elected. Among the latest set of Podesta releases, was the following email sent on April 15, 2014 by Google's Eric Schmidt titled "Notes for a 2016 Democratic Campaign" in which the Google/Alphabet Chairman tells Cheryl Mills that "I have put together my thoughts on the campaign ideas and I have scheduled some meetings in the next few weeks for veterans of the campaign to tell me how to make these ideas better. This is simply a draft but do let me know if this is a helpful process for you all." Google head Eric Schmidt's secret strategic plan for the US election #PodestaEmails https://t.co/LskJODXyXn More: https://t.co/ZUfh7WDAT5 pic.twitter.com/llq5G9kp5V — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 31, 2016 While there are numerous curious nuances in the plan, presented below in its entirety, the one section that caught our - and Wikileaks' attention - is the following which implicitly suggests Google planned the creation of a voter tracking database, using smart phones: Key is the development of a single record for a voter that aggregates all that is known about them. In 2016 smart phones will be used to identify, meet, and update profiles on the voter. A dynamic volunteer can easily speak with a voter and, with their email or other digital handle, get the voter videos and other answers to areas they care about (“the benefits of ACA to you” etc.) As a reminder, two days ago it was revealed that just days prior to the April 15, 2014 email, Schmidt had sent another email in which he expressed his eagerness to "fund" the campaign efforts and wants to be a "head outside advisor." In the email from John Podesta to Robby Mook we learned that: I met with Eric Schmidt tonight. As David reported, he's ready to fund, advise recruit talent, etc. He was more deferential on structure than I expected. Wasn't pushing to run through one of his existing firms. Clearly wants to be head outside advisor, but didn't seem like he wanted to push others out. Clearly wants to get going. He's still in DC tomorrow and would like to meet with you if you are in DC in the afternoon. I think it's worth doing. You around? If you are, and want to meet with him, maybe the four of us can get on t Another email from February 2015 suggested that the Google Chairman remained active in its collaboration with the Clinton campaign: John Podesta wrote that Eric Schmidt met with HR "about the business he proposes to do with the campaign. He says he's met with HRC" and adds that "FYI. They are donating the Google plane for the Africa trip" The remainder of Schmidt's proposed plan, presented in its entirety below, is just as troubling. Notes for a 2016 Democratic CampaignEric SchmidtApril 2014 DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT Here are some comments and observations based on what we saw in the 2012 campaign. If we get started soon, we will be in a very strong position to execute well for 2016. 1. Size, Structure and Timing Lets assume a total budget of about $1.5Billion, with more than 5000 paid employees and million(s) of volunteers. The entire startup ceases operation four days after November 8, 2016. The structure includes a Chairman or Chairwoman who is the external face of the campaign and a President who is the executive in charge of objectives, measurements, systems and building and managing the organization. Every day matters as our end date does not change. An official campaign right after midterm elections and a preparatory team assembled now is best. 2. Location The campaign headquarters will have about a thousand people, mostly young and hardworking and enthusiastic. Its important to have a very large hiring pool (such as Chicago or NYC) from which to choose enthusiastic, smart and low paid permanent employees. DC is a poor choice as its full of distractions and interruptions. Moving the location from DC elsewhere guarantees visitors have taken the time to travel and to help. The key is a large population of talented people who are dying to work for you. Any outer borough of NYC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston are all good examples of a large, blue state city to base in. Employees will relocate to participate in the campaign, and will find low cost temporary housing or live with campaign supporters on a donated basis. This worked well in Chicago and can work elsewhere. The computers will be in the cloud and most likely on Amazon Web services (AWS). All the campaign needs are portable computers, tablets and smart phones along with credit card readers. 3. The pieces of a Campaign a) The Field Its important to have strong field leadership, with autonomy and empowerment. Operations talent needs to build the offices, set up the systems, hire the people, and administer what is about 5000 people. Initial modeling will show heavy hiring in the key battleground states. There is plenty of time to set these functions up and build the human systems. The field is about organizing people, voter contact, and get out the vote programs. For organizing tools, build a simple way to link people and activities as a workflow and let the field manage the system, all cloud based. Build a simple organizing tool with a functioning back-end. Avoid deep integration as the benefits are not worth it. Build on the cloud. Organizing is really about sharing and linking people, and this tool would measure and track all of it. There are many other crucial early investments needed in the field: determining the precise list of battleground states, doing early polling to confirm initial biases, and maintaining and extending voter protection programs at the state level. b) The Voter Key is the development of a single record for a voter that aggregates all that is known about them. In 2016 smart phones will be used to identify, meet, and update profiles on the voter. A dynamic volunteer can easily speak with a voter and, with their email or other digital handle, get the voter videos and other answers to areas they care about (“the benefits of ACA to you” etc.) The scenario includes a volunteer on a walk list, encountering a potential voter, updating the records real time and deepening contact with the voter and the information we have to offer. c) Digital A large group of campaign employees will use digital marketing methods to connect to voters, to offer information, to use social networks to spread good news, and to raise money. Partners like Blue State Digital will do much of the fund raising. A key point is to convert BSD and other partners to pure cloud service offerings to handle the expected crush and load. d) Media (paid), (earned) and (social), and polling New tools should be developed to measure reach and impact of paid, earned and social media. The impact of press coverage should be measurable in reach and impact, and TV effectiveness measured by attention and other surveys. Build tools that measure the rate and spread of stories and rumors, and model how it works and who has the biggest impact. Tools can tell us about the origin of stories and the impact of any venue, person or theme. Connect polling into this in some way. Find a way to do polling online and not on phones. e) Analytics and data science and modeling, polling and resource optimization tools For each voter, a score is computed ranking probability of the right vote. Analytics can model demographics, social factors and many other attributes of the needed voters. Modeling will tell us what who we need to turn out and why, and studies of effectiveness will let us know what approaches work well. Machine intelligence across the data should identify the most important factors for turnout, and preference. It should be possible to link the voter records in Van with upcoming databases from companies like Comcast and others for media measurement purposes. The analytics tools can be built in house or partnered with a set of vendors. f) Core engineering, voter database and contact with voters online The database of voters (NGP Van) is a fine starting point for voter records and is maintained by the vendor (and needs to be converted to the cloud). The code developed for 2012 (Narwahl etc.) is unlikely to be used, and replaced by a model where the vendor data is kept in the Van database and intermediate databases are arranged with additional information for a voter. Quite a bit of software is to be developed to match digital identities with the actual voter file with high confidence. The key unit of the campaign is a “voter”, and each and every record is viewable and updatable by volunteers in search of more accurate information. In the case where we can’t identify the specific human, we can still have a partial digital voter id, for a person or “probable-person” with attributes that we can identify and use to target. As they respond we can eventually match to a registered voter in the main file. This digital key is eventually matched to a real person. The Rules Its important that all the player in the campaign work at cost and there be no special interests in the financing structure. This means that all vendors work at cost and there is a separate auditing function to ensure no one is profiting unfairly from the campaign. All investments and conflicts of interest would have to be publicly disclosed. The rules of the audit should include caps on individual salaries and no investor profits from the campaign function. (For example, this rule would apply to me.) The KEY things a) early build of an integrated development team and recognition that this is an entire system that has to be managed as suchb) decisions to exclusively use cloud solutions for scalability, and choice of vendors and any software from 2012 that will be reused.c) the role of the smart phone in the hands of a volunteer. The smart phone manages the process, updates the database, informs the citizen, and allows fundraising and recruitment of volunteers (on android and iphone).d) early and continued focus of qualifying fundraising dollars to build the field, and build all the tools. Outside money will be plentiful and perfect for TV use. A smart media mix tool tells all we need to know about media placement, TV versus other media and digital media.
U.S. telecom regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is likely to commence the stage 3 of the second part (forward auction) of the ongoing Incentive Auction.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nintendo Co, Activision Blizzard, Comcast and Electronic Arts
The FCC recently issued letters to two major telecom providers in the U.S. -- Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T).
Andrew Ferguson, Weekly StandardAmong the many offenses that modern architecture has committed against Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown WashingtonÃ¢??America's main street, we like to call itÃ¢??is a glass 'n' stone 'n' steel box that houses a museum about news gathering called, unfortunately, the Newseum. Funded by the New York Times, Hearst, ABC News, Comcast, CBS News, Time Warner, and every worthy journalism nonprofit in the land, the Newseum is the establishment press's monument to itselfÃ¢??a mirror into which every mainstream reporter and editor can peer with an admiring gaze.From the front of the building hangs a...
Videogame Stock Roundup: Nintendo's Pokemon Sun & Moon Shatter Records, ATVI CEO Gets New Compensation Deal
Nintendo Co Ltd (NTDOY) Pokemon Sun and Moon have become the "fastest selling games" ever in the Americas. Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard (ATVI) chalked out an impressive package for CEO Bobby Kotick.
Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) has decided to rebrand its Enterprise Business Service division within the next three weeks.
CenturyLink plans to delievr fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) 1 Gbps services in three states -- Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota -- in the Midwestern region of the U.S.
Why There Is So Much Pro-War Reporting? There are seven reasons that the mainstream media and many of the largest "alternative" media websites are all pro-war. 1. Self-Censorship by Journalists There is tremendous self-censorship by journalists. A survey by the Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review in 2000 found: Self-censorship is commonplace in the news media today …. About one-quarter of the local and national journalists say they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four-in-ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices. Similarly, a 2003 survey reveals that 35% of reporters and news executives themselves admitted that journalists avoid newsworthy stories if “the story would be embarrassing or damaging to the financial interests of a news organization’s owners or parent company.” Several months after 9/11, Dan Rather told the BBC that American reporters were practicing “a form of self-censorship”: There was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions…. And again, I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism. What we are talking about here – whether one wants to recognise it or not, or call it by its proper name or not – is a form of self-censorship. Rather said in 2008: One of the most pernicious ways in which we do this is through self-censorship, which may be the worst censorship of all. We have seen too much self-censorship in the news in recent years, and as I say this please know that I do not except myself from this criticism. As Mark Twain once said, “We write frankly and freely but then we ‘modify’ before we print.” Why do we modify the free and frank expression of journalistic truth? We do it out of fear: Fear for our jobs. Fear that we’ll catch hell for it. Fear that someone will seek to hang a sign around our neck that says, in essence, “Unpatriotic.” We modify with euphemisms such as “collateral damage” or “less than truthful statements.” We modify with passive-voice constructions such as “mistakes were made.” We modify with false equivalencies that provide for bad behavior the ready-made excuse that “everybody’s doing it.” And sometimes we modify with an eraser—simply removing offending and inconvenient truths from our reporting.” Keith Olbermann agreed that there is self-censorship in the American media, and that: You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble …. You cannot say: By the way, there’s something wrong with our …. system. Former Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin wrote in 2006: Mainstream-media political journalism is in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant, but not because of the Internet, or even Comedy Central. The threat comes from inside. It comes from journalists being afraid to do what journalists were put on this green earth to do. . . . There’s the intense pressure to maintain access to insider sources, even as those sources become ridiculously unrevealing and oversensitive. There’s the fear of being labeled partisan if one’s bullshit-calling isn’t meted out in precisely equal increments along the political spectrum. If mainstream-media political journalists don’t start calling bullshit more often, then we do risk losing our primacy — if not to the comedians then to the bloggers. I still believe that no one is fundamentally more capable of first-rate bullshit-calling than a well-informed beat reporter – whatever their beat. We just need to get the editors, or the corporate culture, or the self-censorship – or whatever it is – out of the way. MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends wrote in 2013: Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world. Once upon a time you saw people like this in every newsroom in the country. They often had chaotic personal lives and they died early of cirrhosis or a heart attack. But they were tough, angry SOBs and they produced great stories. Do you want to know what kind of people get promoted and succeed in the modern news organization? Social climbers. Networkers. People who are gregarious, who “buy in” to the dominant consensus, who go along to get along and don’t ask too many really awkward questions. They are flexible, well-organized, and happy with life. And it shows. This is why, just in the patch of financial and economic journalism, so many reporters are happy to report that U.S. corporations are in great financial shape, even though they also have surging debts, or that a “diversified portfolio” of stocks and bonds will protect you in all circumstances, even though this is not the case, or that defense budgets are being slashed, when they aren’t, or that the U.S. economy has massively outperformed rivals such as Japan, when on key metrics it hasn’t, or that companies must pay CEOs gazillions of dollars to secure the top “talent,” when they don’t need to do any such thing, and such pay is just plunder. All of these things are “consensus” opinions, and conventional wisdom, which are repeated over and over again by various commentators and vested interests. Yet none of them are true. If you want to be a glad-handing politician, be a glad-handing politician. If you want to be a reporter, then be angry, ask awkward questions, and absolutely hate it when everyone agrees with you. The Jerusalem Post wrote last year: Any university journalism course will teach that there are two forms of media censorship in the media: censorship and self-censorship. As one online article explains: “Censorship occurs when a state, political, religious or private party prohibits information from reaching citizens. Self-censorship occurs when journalists themselves prevent the publication of information… because they are fearful of what could happen if they publish certain information – they are fearful of injury to themselves or their families, fearful of a lawsuit or other economic consequence.” *** A 2014 academic article was more alarmist in tone. M. Murat Yesil, assistant professor at Turkey’s Necmettin Erbakan University, wrote that “self-censoring practices of journalists put the future of journalism into danger… [such] practices may be threatening the future of journalism.” This past week, Spanish journalists are claiming a new law that protects police officers from having their photographs published will encourage self-censorship. Self-censorship obviously occurs on the web as well as in old media. As Wikipedia notes: Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one’s own work (blog, book(s), film(s), or other means of expression) … 2. Censorship by Higher-Ups Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com. If journalists do want to speak out about an issue, they also are subject to tremendous pressure by their editors or producers to kill the story. The 2000 Pew and Columbia Journalism Review survey notes: Fully half of [the investigative journalists surveyed] say newsworthy stories are often or sometimes ignored because they conflict with a news organization’s economic interests. More than six-in-ten (61%) believe that corporate owners exert at least a fair amount of influence on decisions about which stories to cover…. The Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who uncovered the Iraq prison torture scandal and the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam, Seymour Hersh, said: “All of the institutions we thought would protect us — particularly the press, but also the military, the bureaucracy, the Congress — they have failed. The courts . . . the jury’s not in yet on the courts. So all the things that we expect would normally carry us through didn’t. The biggest failure, I would argue, is the press, because that’s the most glaring…. Q: What can be done to fix the (media) situation? [Long pause] You’d have to fire or execute ninety percent of the editors and executives. You’d actually have to start promoting people from the newsrooms to be editors who you didn’t think you could control. And they’re not going to do that.” In fact many journalists are warning that the true story is not being reported. A series of interviews with award-winning journalists also documents censorship of certain stories by media editors and owners (and see these samples). It’s not just the mainstream media. The large “alternative” media websites censor as well. For example: Every year Project Censored [which Walter Cronkite and other ] puts together a list of the top 25 stories censored and ignored by the mainstream media. How many of these stories were you aware of? Even regular consumers of alternative, independent media may be surprised to learn about some of these stories …. There are many reasons for censorship by media higher-ups. One is money. The media has a strong monetary interest to avoid controversial topics in general. It has always been true that advertisers discourage stories which challenge corporate power. In 1969, Federal Communications Commission commissioner Nicholas Johnson noted that tv networks go to great lengths to please their sponsors. Indeed, a 3-time Emmy Award winning CNN journalist says that CNN took money from the royalty in Bahrain to kill her hard-hitting expose, and instead run flattering propaganda for Bahrain. Some media companies make a lot of money from the government, and so don’t want to rock the boat. For example, Glenn Greenwald notes: Because these schools [owned by the Washington P0st’s parent company, whose profits subsidize the Post] target low-income students, the vast majority of their income is derived from federal loans. Because there have been so many deceptive practices and defaults, the Federal Government has become much more aggressive about regulating these schools and now play a vital role in determining which ones can thrive and which ones fail. Put another way, the company that owns The Washington Post is almost entirely at the mercy of the Federal Government and the Obama administration — the entities which its newspaper ostensibly checks and holds accountable. “By the end of 2010, more than 90 percent of revenue at Kaplan’s biggest division and nearly a third of The Post Co.’s revenue overall came from the U.S. government.” The Post Co.’s reliance on the Federal Government extends beyond the source of its revenue; because the industry is so heavily regulated, any animosity from the Government could single-handedly doom the Post Co.’s business — a reality of which they are well aware: The Post Co. realized there were risks attached to being dependent on federal dollars for revenue — and that it could lose access to that money if it exceeded federal regulatory limits. “It was understood that if you fell out of grace [with the Education Department], your business might go away,” said Tom Might, who as chief executive of Cable One, a cable service provider that is owned by The Post Co., sat in at company-wide board meetings. Beyond being reliant on federal money and not alienating federal regulators, the Post Co. desperately needs favorable treatment from members of Congress, and has been willing to use its newspaper to obtain it: Graham has taken part in a fierce lobbying campaign by the for-profit education industry. He has visited key members of Congress, written an op-ed article for the Wall Street Journal and hired for The Post Co. high-powered lobbying firms including Akin Gump and Elmendorf Ryan, at a cost of $810,000 in 2010. The Post has also published an editorial opposing the new federal rules, while disclosing the interests of its parent company. The Post is hardly alone among major media outlets in being owned by an entity which relies on the Federal Government for its continued profitability. NBC News and MSNBC were long owned by GE, and now by Comcast, both of which desperately need good relations with government officials for their profits. The same is true of CBS (owned by Viacom), ABC (owned by Disney), and CNN (owned by TimeWarner). For each of these large corporations, alienating federal government officials is about the worst possible move it could make — something of which all of its employees, including its media division employees, are well aware. But the Post Co.’s dependence is even more overwhelming than most. How can a company which is almost wholly dependent upon staying in the good graces of the U.S. Government possibly be expected to serve as a journalistic “watchdog” over that same Government? The very idea is absurd. In addition, the government has allowed tremendous consolidation in ownership of the airwaves during the past decade. Dan Rather has slammed media consolidation: Likening media consolidation to that of the banking industry, Rather claimed that “roughly 80 percent” of the media is controlled by no more than six, and possibly as few as four, corporations. This is documented by the following must-see charts prepared by: Media Channel The Nation Free Press And check out this list of interlocking directorates of big media companies from Fairness and Accuracy in Media, and this resource from the Columbia Journalism Review to research a particular company. This image gives a sense of the decline in diversity in media ownership over the last couple of decades: The large media players stand to gain billions of dollars in profits if the Obama administration continues to allow monopoly ownership of the airwaves by a handful of players. The media giants know who butters their bread. So there is a spoken or tacit agreement: if the media cover the administration in a favorable light, the MSM will continue to be the receiver of the government’s goodies. The large alternative media websites also censor news which are too passionately anti-war. Huffington Post – the largest liberal website – is owned by media giant AOL Time Warner, and censors any implication that a Democratic administration could be waging war for the wrong reasons. So HuffPost may criticize poor prosecution of the war, but would never say that the entire “War on Terror” as currently waged by the Obama administration is a stupid idea. The largest “alternative” websites may weakly criticize minor details of the overall war effort, but would never say that more or less worldwide war-fighting is counterproductive. They may whine about a specific aspect of the war-fighting … but never look at the larger geopolitical factors involved. They all seem to follow Keith Olbermann’s advice: You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble …. You cannot say: By the way, there’s something wrong with our …. system. 3. Digital Demonetization The biggest social media websites censor the hardest-hitting anti-war stories. And see this. We noted in 2013: Reddit, Facebook, Digg, Youtube and other social media sites have long censored content as well. For example, Facebook pays low-wage foreign workers to delete certain content based upon a censorship list. For example, Facebook deletes accounts created by any Palestinian resistance groups. [See this] Digg was caught censoring stories which were controversial or too critical of the government. See this and this. Many accuse Youtube of blatant censorship. Indeed, Youtube admits that it censors: Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown Moreover, all of the social media giants say they’re going to crack down on “fake news”. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social media are partnering with corporate media such as the ABC News, NBC News, Washington Post, New York Times, to filter out what they label as fake news. Why is this a problem? Because corporate media giants like the Washington Post are labeling virtually any website which questions U.S. foreign policy as “fake news” … and calling on them to be “investigated” by the FBI and Department of Justice for treason. So think about how this will play out 1. First, criticizing U.S. wars will get a website listed on a slapdash “fake news” list 2. Second, the blacklisting will lead to social media – and perhaps search engines – blocking links to the site 3. With links blocked, ad revenue for the site will plummet, which will destroy the main source of revenue for most websites, effectively shutting them down. Get it? If this trend continues, it will lead to tremendous pressure to stop criticizing U.S. military policy. 4. Drumming Up Support for War Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com In addition, the owners of American media companies have long actively played a part in drumming up support for war. It is painfully obvious that the large news outlets studiously avoided any real criticism of the government’s claims in the run up to the Iraq war. It is painfully obvious that the large American media companies acted as lapdogs and stenographers for the government’s war agenda. Veteran reporter Bill Moyers criticized the corporate media for parroting the obviously false link between 9/11 and Iraq (and the false claims that Iraq possessed WMDs) which the administration made in the run up to the Iraq war, and concluded that the false information was not challenged because: The [mainstream] media had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked. As NBC News’ David Gregory (later promoted to host Meet the Press) said: I think there are a lot of critics who think that . . . . if we did not stand up [in the run-up to the war] and say ‘this is bogus, and you’re a liar, and why are you doing this,’ that we didn’t do our job. I respectfully disagree. It’s not our role. The same thing happened in the Libyan and Syrian wars. But this is nothing new. In fact, the large media companies have drummed up support for all previous wars. For example, Hearst helped drum up support for the Spanish-American War. So why has the American press has consistently served the elites in disseminating their false justifications for war? One of of the reasons is because the large media companies are owned by those who support the militarist agenda or even directly profit from war and terror (for example, NBC was owned by General Electric, one of the largest defense contractors in the world … which directly profits from war, terrorism and chaos. NBC was subsequently sold to Comcast). Another seems to be an unspoken rule that the media will not criticize the government’s imperial war agenda. And the media support isn’t just for war: it is also for various other shenanigans by the powerful. For example, a BBC documentary proves: There was “a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American businessmen . . . . The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.” Moreover, “the tycoons told the general who they asked to carry out the coup that the American people would accept the new government because they controlled all the newspapers.“ See also this book. Have you ever heard of this scheme before? It was certainly a very large one. And if the conspirators controlled the newspapers then, how much worse is it today with media consolidation? (Kevin Dutton – research psychologist at the University of Cambridge – whose research has been featured in Scientific American Mind, New Scientist, The Guardian, Psychology Today and USA Today – also notes that media personalities and journalists – especially when combined in the same persons – are likely to be psychopaths. Some 12 million Americans are psychopaths or sociopaths, and psychopaths tend to rub each others’ backs.) 5. Direct Government Funding and Support An official summary of America’s overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Iran in the 1950′s states, “In cooperation with the Department of State, CIA had several articles planted in major American newspapers and magazines which, when reproduced in Iran, had the desired psychological effect in Iran and contributed to the war of nerves against Mossadeq.” (page x) Indeed, it is well-documented that the CIA has long paid journalists to write propaganda. This includes foreign, as well as American reporters. And the military-media alliance has continued without a break (as a highly-respected journalist says, “viewers may be taken aback to see the grotesque extent to which US presidents and American news media have jointly shouldered key propaganda chores for war launches during the last five decades.”) As the mainstream British paper, the Independent, writes: There is a concerted strategy to manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it. The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the production of our news. The article in the Independent discusses the use of “black propaganda” by the U.S. government, which is then parroted by the media without analysis; for example, the government forged a letter from al Zarqawi to the “inner circle” of al-Qa’ida’s leadership, urging them to accept that the best way to beat US forces in Iraq was effectively to start a civil war, which was then publicized without question by the media. Indeed, many branches of the U.S. government - and allied governments - fund propaganda. As one example, the New York Times reports: Richard Stengel, the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy [i.e. minister of propaganda] ... has approved State Department programs that teach investigative reporting and empower truth-tellers .... In other words, the State Department is supporting reporters who spout its party line about U.S. foreign policy without question. And Robert Parry, the investigative reporter who many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s, points out: In May 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a fact sheet summarizing its work financing friendly journalists around the world, including “journalism education, media business development, capacity building for supportive institutions, and strengthening legal-regulatory environments for free media.” USAID estimated its budget for “media strengthening programs in over 30 countries” at $40 million annually, including aiding “independent media organizations and bloggers in over a dozen countries,” In Ukraine before the 2014 coup ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych and installing a fiercely anti-Russian and U.S.-backed regime, USAID offered training in “mobile phone and website security,” skills that would have been quite helpful to the coup plotters. USAID, working with currency speculator George Soros’s Open Society, also has funded the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which engages in “investigative journalism” that usually goes after governments that have fallen into disfavor with the United States and then are singled out for accusations of corruption. The USAID-funded OCCRP collaborates with Bellingcat, an online investigative website founded by blogger Eliot Higgins. Higgins has spread misinformation on the Internet, including discredited claims implicating the Syrian government in the sarin attack in 2013 and directing an Australian TV news crew to what appeared to be the wrong location for a video of a BUK anti-aircraft battery as it supposedly made its getaway to Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014. Despite his dubious record of accuracy, Higgins has gained mainstream acclaim, in part, because his “findings” always match up with the propaganda theme that the U.S. government and its Western allies are peddling. Higgins is now associated with the Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO think tank which is partially funded by the U.S. State Department. Beyond funding from the State Department and USAID, tens of millions of dollars more are flowing through the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which was started in 1983 under the guiding hand of CIA Director William Casey. NED became a slush fund to help finance what became known, inside the Reagan administration, as “perception management,” the art of controlling the perceptions of domestic and foreign populations. 6. Access Dan Froomkin, Brett Arends and many other mainstream reporters have noted that “access” is the most prized thing for mainstream journalists … and that they will keep fawning over those in power so that they will keep their prized access. But there is another dynamic related to access at play: direct cash-for-access payments to the media. As previously mentioned, a 3-time Emmy Award winning CNN journalist says that CNN takes money from foreign dictators to run flattering propaganda. Politico reveals: For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post has offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to “those powerful few”: Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and — at first — even the paper’s own reporters and editors… The offer — which essentially turns a news organization into a facilitator for private lobbyist-official encounters — was a new sign of the lengths to which news organizations will go to find revenue at a time when most newspapers are struggling for survival. That may be one reason that the mainstream news commentators hate bloggers so much. The more people who get their news from blogs instead of mainstream news sources, the smaller their audience, and the less the MSM can charge for the kind of “nonconfrontational access” which leads to puff pieces for the big boys. 7. Censorship by the Government Finally, as if the media’s own interest in promoting war is not strong enough, the government has exerted tremendous pressure on the media to report things a certain way. If reporters criticize those in power, they may be smeared by the government and targeted for arrest (and see this). Indeed, the government treats real reporters as terrorists. Because the core things which reporters do could be considered terrorism, in modern America, journalists are sometimes targeted under counter-terrorism laws. The government spies on reporters. Columbia Journalism Review notes: The Edward Snowden leaks made clear that the internet is a tool for peering into the lives of citizens, including journalists, for every government with the means to do so. Whether domestic spying in the United States or Great Britain qualifies as censorship is a matter of debate. But the Obama administration’s authorization of secret wiretaps of journalists and aggressive leak prosecutions has had a well-documented chilling effect on national-security reporting. At the very least, electronic snooping by the government means that no journalist reporting on secrets can promise in good conscience to guarantee a source anonymity. Not only has the government thrown media owners and reporters in jail if they’ve been too critical, it also claims the power to indefinitely detain journalists without trial or access to an attorney which chills chills free speech. After Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge. An al-Jazeera journalist – in no way connected to any terrorist group – was held at Guantánamo for six years … mainly to be interrogated about the Arabic news network. And see this. Wikileaks’ head Julian Assange could face the death penalty for his heinous crime of leaking whistleblower information which make those in power uncomfortable … i.e. being a reporter. As constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald notes: It seems clear that the US military now deems any leaks of classified information to constitute the capital offense of “aiding the enemy” or “communicating with the enemy” even if no information is passed directly to the “enemy” and there is no intent to aid or communicate with them. Merely informing the public about classified government activities now constitutes this capital crime because it “indirectly” informs the enemy. *** If someone can be charged with “aiding” or “communicating with the enemy” by virtue of leaking to WikiLeaks, then why wouldn’t that same crime be committed by someone leaking classified information to any outlet: the New York Times, the Guardian, ABC News or anyone else? *** International Law Professor Kevin Jon Heller made a similar point when the charges against Manning were first revealed: “[I]f Manning has aided the enemy, so has any media organization that published the information he allegedly stole. Nothing in Article 104 requires proof that the defendant illegally acquired the information that aided the enemy. As a result, if the mere act of ensuring that harmful information is published on the internet qualifies either as indirectly ‘giving intelligence to the enemy’ (if the military can prove an enemy actually accessed the information) or as indirectly ‘communicating with the enemy’ (because any reasonable person knows that enemies can access information on the internet), there is no relevant factual difference between [Bradley] Manning and a media organization that published the relevant information.” *** It is always worth underscoring that the New York Times has published far more government secrets than WikiLeaks ever has, and more importantly, has published far more sensitive secrets than WikiLeaks has (unlike WikiLeaks, which has never published anything that was designated “Top Secret”, the New York Times has repeatedly done so: the Pentagon Papers, the Bush NSA wiretapping program, the SWIFT banking surveillance system, and the cyberwarfare program aimed at Iran were all “Top Secret” when the newspaper revealed them, as was the network of CIA secret prisons exposed by the Washington Post). There is simply no way to convert basic leaks to WikiLeaks into capital offenses – as the Obama administration is plainly doing – without sweeping up all leaks into that attack. *** The same [Obama] administration that has prosecuted whistleblowers under espionage charges that threatened to send them to prison for life without any evidence of harm to national security, and has brought double the number of such prosecutions as all prior administrations combined. Converting all leaks into capital offenses would be perfectly consistent with the unprecedented secrecy fixation on the part of the Most Transparent Administration Ever™. The irony from these developments is glaring. The real “enemies” of American “society” are not those who seek to inform the American people about the bad acts engaged in by their government in secret. As Democrats once recognized prior to the age of Obama – in the age of Daniel Ellsberg – people who do that are more aptly referred to as “heroes”. The actual “enemies” are those who abuse secrecy powers to conceal government actions and to threaten with life imprisonment or even execution those who blow the whistle on high-level wrongdoing. Former attorney general Mukasey said the U.S. should prosecute Assange because it’s “easier” than prosecuting the New York Times. Congress is considering a bill which would make even mainstream reporters liable for publishing leaked information (part of an all-out war on whistleblowing). As such, the media companies have felt great pressure from the government to kill any real questioning of the endless wars. For example, Dan Rather said, regarding American media, “What you have is a miniature version of what you have in totalitarian states”. Tom Brokaw said “all wars are based on propaganda. And the head of CNN said: There was ‘almost a patriotism police’ after 9/11 and when the network showed [things critical of the administration’s policies] it would get phone calls from advertisers and the administration and “big people in corporations were calling up and saying, ‘You’re being anti-American here.’ Indeed, former military analyst and famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said that the government has ordered the media not to cover 9/11: Ellsberg seemed hardly surprised that today’s American mainstream broadcast media has so far failed to take [former FBI translator and 9/11 whistleblower Sibel] Edmonds up on her offer, despite the blockbuster nature of her allegations [which Ellsberg calls “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers”]. As Edmonds has also alluded, Ellsberg pointed to the New York Times, who “sat on the NSA spying story for over a year” when they “could have put it out before the 2004 election, which might have changed the outcome.” “There will be phone calls going out to the media saying ‘don’t even think of touching it, you will be prosecuted for violating national security,’” he told us. * * * “I am confident that there is conversation inside the Government as to ‘How do we deal with Sibel?’” contends Ellsberg. “The first line of defense is to ensure that she doesn’t get into the media. I think any outlet that thought of using her materials would go to to the government and they would be told ‘don’t touch this . . . .‘” Indeed, in the final analysis, the main reason today that the media giants will not cover the real stories or question the government’s actions or policies in any meaningful way is that the American government and mainstream media been somewhat blended together. Can We Win the Battle Against Censorship? We cannot just leave governance to our “leaders”, as “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” (Jefferson). Similarly, we cannot leave news to the corporate media. We need to “be the media” ourselves. “To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.”– Abraham Lincoln “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Powerlessness and silence go together. We…should use our privileged positions not as a shelter from the world’s reality, but as a platform from which to speak. A voice is a gift. It should be cherished and used.”– Margaret Atwood “There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at points in history and creating a power that governments cannot suppress.”– Howard Zinn (historian) “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”– Thomas Jefferson
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