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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Bernie Sanders Slams The Media For Their Biased Presidential Campaign Coverage

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called out the media for their biased coverage of presidential campaigns, and refusal to inform the American people during an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources.
During the interview, Sanders hit on the media bias against discussing issues, and the media’s obsession with negative campaigning.
STELTER: With your campaign now a few weeks in, are you finding that the media is taking it seriously or are you finding they’re using you only as a foil to Hillary Clinton to get headlines?

SANDERS: I think we are doing pretty well. And I think the media — we have gotten more serious discussion on our issues than I might have thought about.

But this is what I worry about. In terms of campaign coverage…
SANDERS: … there is more coverage about the political gossip of a campaign, about raising money, about polling, about somebody saying something dumb, or some kid works for a campaign sends out something stupid on Facebook, right? We can expect that to be a major story.
But what your job is, what the media’s job is, is to say, look, these are the major issues facing the country. We’re a democracy. People have different points of view. Let’s argue it.
STELTER: Fundamentally, you’re describing what is the systemic issue in press, in the nation’s news media, which is an interesting spectacle over policy.
SANDERS: To me, it is astounding. And correct me if you think I’m wrong. When you have ABC, CBS, and NBC not devoting one minute to the most significant trade agreement in the history of the United States of America, help me out, help me out. Give me an explanation.
SANDERS: I mean, television is an important medium. You cannot ignore that. You cannot ignore the reality of income and wealth inequality.
You cannot ignore the fact that Citizens United is undermining our democratic way of life. Now, there are two sides to the story. I’m not saying everybody has got to agree with me, but have that issue, have that debate. That’s what elections should be about.
STELTER: Some people might say, how do you do that in a way that keeps people watching, that gets people stay tuned and not turn the channel?
SANDERS: Oh, all right, good question, good question. All right.
So, let me back it up. About a year ago, there was a poll out there. Pollsters asked the American people, tell me which political party controls the U.S. Senate and controls the U.S. House? That was a year ago, when the Democrats controlled the Senate.
STELTER: It’s always disappointing to see how many people are wrong with their answers.
SANDERS: Sixty-three percent of the people in this country did not know that answer.

Who bears responsibility for that? Does the media bear any responsibility? How do you have a serious discussion? If you don’t like what’s going on in Washington, which nobody does, who are you going to Plame if you don’t know which party controls what? So I think that, instead of coming up with the next news of the moment, breaking news, there was an automobile accident, a cat got run over, here is breaking news. For 40 years, the American middle class has been disappearing and the rich have been getting richer. Why?
The reason TPP isn’t getting discussed in the mainstream press is that the media is run by large corporations who benefit from these trade agreements. American media fundamentally changed when news became a for-profit venture. Cable news networks and network news divisions generate huge amounts of profit for their owners, and the way to keep those profits rolling in is to cover cheap gossipy stories.
Hard news is expensive. It costs money to establish and run news divisions around the world. The corporate media discovered that devoting airtime to the latest celebrity scandal was cheap and brought easy ratings. This same mentality has spilled into presidential campaign coverage. The media is more interested in the soap opera storylines of presidential campaigns than the issues.
The majority of American news consumers are either misinformed or underinformed. There is a lack of basic current events knowledge in our society. Most people get their news from television, and television has decided not to cover serious issues.
Media coverage is biased against facts and issues. The corporate press is biased against informing the public. Our electoral system is based on the assumption of an informed electorate, but networks like Fox News are undermining the system by intentionally misinforming.
Sen. Sanders is one of the lone voices who is using his presidential campaign platform to call for a better and more responsible media. Bernie Sanders is fighting for your right to be informed, and the corporate press is getting a lesson in what the American people should expect from the media.

Benghazi testimony works to Hillary's advantage


CNN Highlights How Fox News Is Brainwashing The Republican Party

The wingnut author of a paper that concluded that Fox News is promoting a culture of self-brainwashing in the Republican Party, Bruce Bartlett, was featured on the only Sunday show that would discuss the damage that Fox News is doing to the Republican Party.
Transcript via Reliable Sources:
STELTER: Let me read one line that I thought stood out to me and a lot of other people.

You said: “It can almost be called self-brainwashing. Many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through FOX and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.”

BARTLETT: I don’t think that word is too strong.
I think many conservatives live in a bubble, where they watch only FOX News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people. They — when they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative Web sites, like “National Review,” Newsmax, World Net Daily.
And so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again. And that’s — that’s brainwashing.
STELTER: And do you believe that’s more true for conservatives than for liberals?
BARTLETT: Yes, I do. I believe that, but…
STELTER: What causes that?
BARTLETT: Well, I think, for a long time, the media was — did tilt a bit to the left. And so I think that conservatives, once they got a media of their own, just sort of glommed onto it like a man in the desert, you know, being given some water. They drank very heavily from the FOX waters.
And — but what I don’t think they have quite come to understand yet is, it’s a double-edged sword. There’s no question that FOX helps the Republican Party enormously, but it’s not 100 percent positive. There are some negatives. And I think we’re starting to see some of them in this election cycle.
STELTER: You’re bringing up what — basically, you’re describing negative consequences of having a channel that does reinforce viewers’ beliefs.
BARTLETT: That’s right.
One of the things, I cite a study in my paper where I talk about how FOX viewers in the 2012 election cycle tended to have more wishful thinking, so to speak. That is, they were more confident, unrealistically confident, I think, based on objective analysis of the polls. And you may remember, there was this Web site, what was it, Unskewed Polls. Remember that?
STELTER: Right. Right.
BARTLETT: Where some — it was just widely, widely believed in Republican circles that all of the polls were biased against Romney, and that he was actually doing really, really well, much better, and was going to win pretty easily.
And, as we know, Karl Rove, among others, was shocked on election night, when he didn’t do as well as expected.

It is rare to see any of the cable networks call out the Republican media bubble. Most of the press is so worried about being left out and not getting access to Republicans that they treat Republican falsehoods as facts and don’t bother to examine a media culture that has created millions of brainwashed voters.
Republicans are living in a media bubble that allows them to create a false reality. In the conservative media bubble, facts are bent to fit their ideology. Anything that isn’t sunshine and rainbows for the Republican Party is immediately discredited as “liberal bias.”
The conservative media bubble plays a role in the hyper-partisan nature of Congress. While most networks are afraid to do it, CNN gave a platform to a discussion of how Fox News is harming the Republican Party.

No New Taxes ... (for the wealthy)

These Women Have Crossed the Line

30 activists cross North Korea DMZ for peace
In an historic move, a group of global feminist activists march into the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea to create a space for a new type of conversation about truly ending the Korean war.
At the time of this blog post in Seoul and Pyongyang it’s already Wednesday, May 27th, International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, when a group of more than 30 women are scheduled to cross the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at Kaesong from North Korea into South Korea. Their goal: to draw attention to Korea’s “forgotten” and unfinished war, and move toward a real peace that can reunite families and, perhaps, a divided nation.
The march includes both North and South Korean women marching on their respective sides, and was preceded by a peace symposium in Pyongyang (watch North Korean TV coverage here). It will be followed by a similar symposium in Seoul after they cross the DMZ (Saturday evening in the U.S.).
The Korean War (officially 1950-53) stands out for its bloody toll. Some 4 million people, mostly civilians, perished. Although a “temporary” cease-fire was signed, the last 62 years have been marked by a protracted cold war defined by ongoing threats by both sides of the DMZ, decades of profligate military spending, and what is effectively a permanent state of near-war and the fear of attack. The idea to walk from North Korea into South Korea began with a dream that lead organizer Christine Ahn had several years ago. The concept grew after Ahn connected with feminist icon Gloria Steinem who took a public stand in 2011 against the militarization of South Korea’s Jeju island.
Activist and feminist Gloria Steinem (C) speaks at a news conference before the WomenCrossDMZ group leaves for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonActivist and feminist Gloria Steinem (C) speaks at a news conference before the WomenCrossDMZ group leaves for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
The movement evolved into WomenCrossDMZ as Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia joined Ahn, Steinem and what has grown to more than 30 women from South Korea, Japan, the US, Britain, Australia--at least 15 countries, in all.
A Different Future
Gwyn Kirk, a founding member of Women for Genuine Security, and one of the DMZ marchers, says WomenCrossDMZ is intended to create a space for a new type of conversation about ending the Korean war once and for all. After more than 60 years of tit-for-tat provocations, costly and dangerous brinksmanship and outright nuclear threats, Kirk says it’s time to create a different future.
That this movement is organized entirely by women is natural, says Kirk, pointing to UN Security Resolution 1325 which reaffirms “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction…”
As these women mount a brave effort to do what men have failed to achieve (bring peace to the Korean peninsula), they are also receiving criticism for their efforts. One Korea policy commentator went so far as to call the group “na├»ve, duplicitous, disingenuous, fatuous, and [stupid].”
CNN’s Brian Todd asked if Kim Jong-un was “in league with a women’s group to bring peace between North and South Korea” and played up suggestions Christine Ahn might be “sympathetic” to North Korea. The Monthly Review responded by breaking down why The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer did a “hatchet job” on WomenCross DMZ rather than a serious examination of what they set out to achieve.
NGO activist Choi Ai-young (R) and other members of the WomenCrossDMZ group pose with Korea's traditional patchwork before the group leaves for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonNGO activist Choi Ai-young (R) and other members of the WomenCrossDMZ group pose with Korea's traditional patchwork before the group leaves for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Making history Independent investigative journalist Tim Shorrock had a different take. In an email from Seoul, he called the DMZ march “an important milestone because it runs against the grain of the militarist approach to Korea taken by the Obama administration and the hostility of the South Korean government.”
Shorrock, who has covered Korea and Japan for more than three decades, said the women’s march and symposia held in Pyongyang and later Seoul, sends a message to the North that peace and reconciliation are possible. He hopes the march will also spur the U.S. to “take measures to defuse the tense situation in Korea and adopt a more flexible approach to settling its differences with North Korea.”
Responding to charges that she and her colleagues are “sympathetic” to North Korea, Christine Ahn says it’s ironic that people who claim to be staunch supporters of human rights are the ones most vehemently opposed to efforts to pursue a real peace agreement.
“You’re not going to see any improvement in North Korean human rights if you continue to isolate them or not engage or have dialogue,” Ahn said by Skype. The universal theme that has united years of international NGO reports, she says, is that there needs to be a peace settlement to improve human rights in North Korea.
Crazy repression, crazy militarization
WomenCrossDMZ, Ahn says, seeks to “get to the root cause of the issue of divided families” and what she calls “crazy militarization” and “crazy repression” of democracy in both North and South Korea.
Ahn says former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea James Laney cut to the core of the Korean issue when he said, “...One item should be at the top of the agenda...that is the establishment of a peace treaty to replace the truce that has been in place since 1953...”
To fully appreciate why North Korea has evolved into a “paranoid, hyper-militaristic society,” Ahn says it’s important to carefully examine history before the 1950-53 Korean war and remember the tremendous losses suffered by the North. “We might have forgotten that history,” she says, “but [North Korea] hasn’t.”
Ahn describes WomenCrossDMZ as “peace women” who want to find a peaceful resolution to the Korean stalemate. To do that, she says, requires listening, understanding, dialogue and a degree of empathy which is absent today. Dehumanizing the other side won’t bring peace, Ahn says. “It’s a tough place to be, but I really believe there is no other alternative.”
Being armed to the teeth (hasn’t worked)
Gwyn Kirk says that reducing military tensions is more likely to lead to better human rights conditions. “That’s what we’re advocating...more dialogue and more openness.” As long as there’s no dialogue or engagement, nothing will change.”
Kirk points to diplomatic progress between the United States and both Cuba and Iran, saying that “sanctions, being armed to the teeth [and] militarism hasn’t worked.” 
She adds, “So if that’s controversial, I guess [it’s] controversial but it just seems to me that this old cold war stuff is really history...We need to move forward and think differently.

Follow the organization on Twitter or Facebook. Link to announcement from “Women Cross DMZ” (PDF)

The shrub’s Former Intel Briefer: ‘Yes, We Lied About WMDs to Go to War’

Appearing on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews last week, longtime CIA official and the shrub’s former intelligence briefer Michael Morell outright admitted that the shrub-Cheney junta publicly misrepresented the intelligence related to Iraq’s supposed WMD program and Saddam’s alleged links to Al Qaeda.
Matthews asked Morell about a statement from Cheney in 2003, where the demon said, “We know [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
Here’s the conversation that followed, as transcribed by Mother Jones:
MATTHEWS: Was that true?
MORELL: We were saying—
MATTHEWS: Can you answer that question? Was that true?
MORELL: That’s not true.
MATTHEWS: Well, why’d you let them get away with it?
MORELL: Look, my job Chris—
MATTHEWS: You’re the briefer for the president on intelligence, you’re the top person to go in and tell him what’s going on. You see Cheney make this charge he’s got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it…and nobody raised their hand and said, “No that’s not what we told him.”
MORELL: Chris, Chris Chris, what’s my job, right? My job—
MATTHEWS: To tell the truth.
MORELL: My job—no, as the briefer? As the briefer?
MATTHEWS: Okay, go ahead.
MORELL: As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA’s best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they’re saying on TV.
[…] MATTHEWS: So you’re briefing the president on the reasons for war, they’re selling the war, using your stuff, saying you made that case when you didn’t. So they’re using your credibility to make the case for war dishonestly, as you just admitted.
MORELL: Look, I’m just telling you—
MATTHEWS: You just admitted it.
MORELL: I’m just telling you what we said—
MATTHEWS: They gave a false presentation of what you said to them.
MORELL: On some aspects. On some aspects.

John McCain Celebrates Memorial Day By Calling For More Americans To Die In The Middle East

john mccain face the nationJohn McCain celebrated Memorial Day weekend by going on CBS’ Face The Nation and calling for Americans to be sent to die in a new war in the Middle East.
Transcript via Face The Nation:
SCHIEFFER: And for more on this, we`re now joined by the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, John McCain.
Well, you heard what Clarissa just said. You have called this a strategy a disaster, but what can, what should we be doing about this?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think there`s a lot of things we can do.
First, have the president recognize that he was incorrect when he said we`re not losing. We had before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week two architects of the surge that won. And we did have it won until the decision was made to withdraw all troops.
And I won`t get into that fight with you, but Senator Graham and I predicted at the time that this would happen. I`m sorry we were wrong. We need to have robust strategy. We need more troops on the ground. We need forward air controllers.
SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, Senator, and the president called these latest setbacks, he called them technical setbacks or something to that effect.
But there`s no appetite in this country, I think it`s fair to say, for sending a lot more American troops into Iraq. But is that in the end going to be necessary? And I guess the reason I would ask you that, is this posing a threat to our national security?
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, there is a larger number of Americans that believe we ought to have more American troops on the ground, not the massive 82nd Airborne, but certainly in the realm of several — a number of thousands, so we can do the missions that I just described to you.
John McCain wants everybody to relax. He is only advocating for sending thousands of young Americans to die. In his view, this is apparently no big deal. It is Memorial Day weekend, and John McCain went on national television to argue for more war in the Middle East.
Is there ever a day in his life when John McCain doesn’t try to send more young Americans off to war?
A big piece of what is at stake in the 2016 election is that warmongers like John McCain are itching to return to the Bush foreign policy of perpetual war in the Middle East. Every time John McCain opens his mouth and argues for more war, he confirms that voters made the correct choice when they elected Barack Obama to be the next president in 2008.

Ted Cruz Panders To Assassination-Threatening, Race-Baiting Gun Nut Agitator Larry Pratt

Gun Owners of America, the lunatic fringe gun nut cabal that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican pretender candidates in order to vet the candid... MORE

Maryland's Larry Hogan Vetoes Major Criminal Justice Reform Bills

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Vetoes Major Criminal Justice Reform Bills
Larry Hogan, R-Md., issued a press release on Friday declaring that he vetoed six pieces of legislation, including major reforms to Maryland criminal justice law. The governor, who campaigned on a promise to limit government overreach to win his upset victory last November, vetoed legislation designed to rein in law enforcement abuse of power, More

Bill Kristol slams death penalty repeal

Bill Kristol speaks to ABC News (screen grab)
Wrong, they're not.

Inhofe: Patriot Act Critics Forget That North Korea, Iraq on Path to “Kill Everyone”

Senator Inhofe: Patriot Act Critics Forget That North Korea, Iraq on Path to “Kill Everyone”Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., says his office is getting deluged with phone calls in support of his colleague Rand Paul’s, R-Ky., campaign to end dragnet surveillance enabled by the Patriot Act. But in an interview on Friday with radio station KTOK in Oklahoma City, Inhofe dismissed his constituents, claiming that privacy advocates don’t understand More

Bill Kristol Pretends Rand Paul Is A 'Liberal Democrat' For Blocking The Patriot Act

Bill Kristol Pretends Rand Paul Is A 'Liberal Democrat' For Blocking The Patriot Act
Bloody Bill Kristol... still wrong about everything.
Bill Kristol is an idiot

Who you gonna believe ...

The Bizarre, Shania Twain-Based Argument For Keeping McDonald’s Wages Low

Say What?!

ICE Agent Probed U.S. Citizen Child About ‘Inappropriate Touching’ During Surprise Visit

"They cut off his fingernails to take his fingerprints," an 11-year-old recounted when immigration agents entered her home.

ISIL: FLOTUS Worth $40 As A ‘Sex Slave’ – Guess How Scumbag Wingnuts Reacted

As expected, wingnuts on Twitter — with their customary charm — allied themselves with the islamic fundamentalists by attacking the First Lady. 
It’s appalling that these people dare to call themselves Americans.

The real protectors and servers

Activist Confronts CNN Host For Assuming Cops Tell The Truth

'Maybe We Differ On What True Means': Activist Confronts CNN Host For Assuming Cops Tell The Truth
Social activist Deray McKessan criticized the media over the weekend for the way they had handled a white biker shootout in Texas with "nuance," but black rioters in Baltimore who did not kill anyone were not "humanized" in the same way.

Cop Pepper Sprays, Falsely Arrests Driver

Featured image credit: video screen capture, WNYT via Photography is Not a Crime on youtubeAn out of control cop illegally stopped this driver, pepper-sprayed him in the face, arrested him for no reason, then falsified the police report. Thankfully, it’s all on video.