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See The Mediachannel.org Interview With Our Media Shero Alexa O’Brien; Magnitsky, Angela Davis Film Promo, Cuban Reform

April 13th, 2013 - by:

*Bookmark the New Wikileaks Site

Please see the updated Mediachannel.org: Here’s our latest announcement:

The Mediachannel.org Interview with Alexa O’Brien

Dear Friends,

Since our return, we have sought out the most informative perspectives, provocative critiques, and cogent news relating to the evolution of the worldwide media system with a clear subtext, that system needs more monitoring, dissecting, and dramatic improvement.

In keeping with that MO, we are very pleased to bring you the latest Mediachannel.org interview with the awesome Alexa O’Brien, one of only a handful of journalists covering the trial of Bradley Manning. It is no exaggeration to say that Alexa is responsible for the lion’s share of information we have about what may very well be the most important trial in a generation. Her work is simultaneously a stellar example of great journalism and a glaring indictment of our “established” media institutions.

You can read her reporting at the definitive Alexaobrien.com. Please pay her site a visit, learn about Bradley’s case, send a kind word and/or material support her way, and get involved to the extent that you are able.

Additionally, we have uploaded a TV report from a series I produced titled, Who Rules America. This installment, The Power of the Media, focuses on the unelected elite who rule the corporate media and how they shape how we interpret reality, constrain our civic debates, and manipulate public opinion in the service of narrow interests.

Over the coming weeks we will be posting many more interviews with people who are covering important issues, analyzing the veracity of mainstream content, and imagining the future possibilities of media.

However, the future of Mediachannel.org is totally dependent on your donations, so please consider making a one-time or monthly donation via PayPal or by sending a check to The Global Center, PO Box 677, New York l0035 (Please mark for Mediachannel.org). A big THANK YOU to those of you who have already given, you make our work possible.

Stay tuned, lots more coming.

Trailer For New Documentary About Angela Davis

•News360: Congress Weakens a Key Transparency Bill – Will Obama Approve?

••People Push Politicians: How Newtown Families Saved Gun Control

•AP: Chile’s Neruda bone remains to be analyzed in US

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – Bone remains of Chilean Nobel literature laureate Pablo Neruda will be analyzed in the United States as investigators seek to resolve a four-decade mystery about his death. Neruda’s body was exhumed this week in an effort to discover if he died from prostate cancer as was recorded, or if he was poisoned by agents of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s bloody dictatorship…

Syrian “Rebels” Hire Occupy Activist As Lobbyist

•FAIR: On Thatcher, What’s The Difference BetweenPBS and Fox News?

It was striking to see the parallels between the way Thatcher was covered on the PBS NewsHour and Fox News Channel’s most popular show, the O’Reilly Factor. Though some people like to think that PBS and Fox couldn’t be further apart, they were basically singing the same tune.

The main Thatcher segment on the PBS newscast was a discussion with two former Republican secretaries of State, George Shultz and James Baker. Of course, both were big fans of Thatcher’s foreign policy (which was closely aligned with their own priorities during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush years). It was more than that, too; as Baker put it, Thatcher “emphasized the private sector and got rid of the oppressive influence of the trade unions.” And Shultz explained that Thatcher “was a very attractive woman. So you were certainly aware of that.”

•Gary Younge, The Guardian, Thatcherism Lives On (Via Portside.com)

In 1966, a little more than a year after Martin Luther King won the Nobel peace prize, only 33% of Americans had a favourable view of him, as opposed to 63% who viewed him unfavourably. It’s not difficult to see why. He was a civil rights leader in a country where 85% of whites thought blacks were “moving too fast for racial equality”. He had also become a vocal opponent of the Vietnam war. Just six days after King’s death in April 1968, the Virginia congressman William Tuck blamed King for his own murder, telling the House of Representatives that King “fomented discord and strife between the races … He who sows the seed of sin shall reap and harvest a whirlwind of evil.”

But in the intervening 45 years, the mud slung at him has been cleaned off and his legacy buffed to resemble that of a national treasure. In 1986 his birthday became an annual national federal holiday. By 1999, a Gallup poll revealed that King tied with John F Kennedy and Albert Einstein as one of the most admired public figures of the 20th century in the US. More popular than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Pope John Paul II and Winston Churchill. Only Mother Teresa was more cherished. In 2011, King’s memorial was opened on the National Mall in DC, with a 30ft statue sitting on four acres of prime, historical real estate.

“We can view the past and achieve our understanding of the past only through the eyes of the present,” argued the historian EH Carr in What Is History?, his landmark essay. “The historian is of his own age, and is bound to it by the conditions of human existence.”

America came to appreciate King only once it had reached a consensus that legal segregation was wrong, that the Vietnam war was a mistake and that the other things he said about wealth redistribution, American militarism and affirmative action had conveniently been forgotten. At that point his legacy could be understood by enough people, not as the source of division – as his contributions were seen at the time – but of resolution.

The polarised, polemical and at times problematic response to Margaret Thatcher’s death has highlighted that, in her case, there has been no resolution and therefore there can be no consensus. Coming at a time of rising unemployment and economic inequality, declining social mobility, entrenched poverty and welfare cuts, with a Conservative-led government pursuing swingeing austerity measures, her death serves as a proxy for debate not only about divisions of the past but of the present. The front-page headline of the Financial Times on Thursday read: “Prosperity gap widens as welfare cuts hit north hard.” It could have been written at almost any time during the 1980s.

Hers is a living legacy of marketisation, privatisation, economic stratification and social dislocation. Its victims and beneficiaries are not only still alive; they are still being born. Old, unhealed wounds about pit villages and hunger strikers are being exposed as new ones about disability benefits and the bedroom tax are being inflicted. A poll shows that Thatcher’s policies – such as cutting income tax and raising VAT, privatisation and cutting top tax rates for the rich – are among the least popular today, but these are the very ones the coalition government is pursuing. Appreciation of her breaks down pretty much on party lines: 90% of Conservatives said she was good or great, as opposed to just 23% of Labour voters.

This is why attempts at hagiography and canonisation are continually interrupted by outbursts of outrage, incredulity and, occasionally, even jubilation.

•Guardian: Police officer resigns over Margaret Thatcher tweets

•Worldcrunch: When Politicians Lie – A Philosopher Deconstructs The Latest French Scandal

•Warren to Feds: ‘You Don’t Know’ How Many Banks Broke Laws?

Watch as the perfectly reasonable Sen. Elizabeth Warren backs these government hacks into a corner over protecting … Read more

*Economic Policy Institute Report: Class of 2013 faces dim job prospects and depressed wages

In The Class of 2013: Young graduates still face dim job prospects, EPI’s Heidi Shierholz, Natalie Sabadish, and Nicholas Finio find that for the fifth consecutive year, new graduates will enter a profoundly weak labor market and will face high unemployment and underemployment rates and depressed wages. In the report, the authors show how the Great Recession and its aftermath have harmed young workers’ current job and earnings prospects. They also detail the long-term consequences, including reduced earnings, greater earnings instability, and more spells of unemployment for at least the next decade.

•Ellen Brown: Winner Takes All: The Super-priority Status of Derivatives

Cyprus-style confiscation of depositor funds has been called the ‘new normal.’ Bail-in policies are appearing in multiple countries directing failing TBTF banks to convert the funds of ‘unsecured creditors’ into capital; and those creditors, it turns out, include ordinary depositors. Even ‘secured’ creditors, including state and local governments, may be at risk. Derivatives have ‘super-priority’ status in bankruptcy, and Dodd Frank precludes further taxpayer bailouts. In a big derivatives bust, there may be no collateral left for the creditors who are next in line.

Cyprus-style confiscation of depositor funds has been called the ‘new normal.’ Bail-in policies are appearing in multiple countries directing failing TBTF banks to convert the funds of ‘unsecured creditors’ into capital; and those creditors, it turns out, include ordinary depositors. Even ‘secured’ creditors, including state and local governments, may be at risk. Derivatives have ‘super-priority’ status in bankruptcy, and Dodd Frank precludes further taxpayer bailouts. In a big derivatives bust, there may be no collateral left for the creditors who are next in line.

Shock waves went around the world when the IMF, the EU, and the ECB not only approved but mandated the confiscation of depositor funds to ‘bail in’ two bankrupt banks in Cyprus. A ‘bail in’ is a quantum leap beyond a ‘bail out.’ When governments are no longer willing to use taxpayer money to bail out banks that have gambled away their capital, the banks are now being instructed to ‘recapitalize’ themselves by confiscating the funds of their creditors, turning debt into equity, or stock; and the ‘creditors’ include the depositors who put their money in the bank thinking it was a secure place to store their savings.

RT: Russia warns US against publishing names on ‘Magnitsky List’

Moscow has reiterated that the forthcoming identification of Russian officials on Washington’s ‘Magnitsky List’ blacklist will deteriorate bilateral relations between the two countries, and promised immediate reciprocal action.

Russia has its own list of US officials that would be similarly sanctioned under the ‘Dima Yakovlev law,’ and will release those names when the United States publishes the names on the Magnitsky List, Kommersant daily reported, quoting an unnamed source in the Russian presidential administration.

The Russian list initially included 71 names, but has recently been expanded to 104 US officials, the source noted, adding that this step was taken as a reciprocal measure after Moscow began to suspect that the US blacklist could be longer than 60 names.

Kommersant also said that the head of the lower house commission for international relations, Aleksey Pushkov, confirmed its report “in principle.”

One possible complication is that the US could classify the Magnitsky List under the umbrella of ‘national security.’ Since Russia has not released any official details about its own blacklist, it is uncertain if the names on the Dima Yakovlev law would likewise be classified as national security threats in the name of reciprocity.

The final draft of the Magnitsky List will now be sent to the US Congress and published before April 13. This date is particularly important, as it falls on the previously postponed visit to Russia by US National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon, who is expected to meet top Russian security officials on Monday. Donilon will also reportedly deliver a message from US President Barack Obama expressing a desire to salvage the stalled ‘reset’ in Russia-US relations.

In Friday comments, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the publication of the Magnitsky List would have a definitively negative impact on bilateral relations between the two nations. At the same time, Peskov explained that Russia-US relations were multidimensional, and that “even while being under a burden of various negative manifestations and taking damage from these manifestations, these relations still have a lot of perspectives for future relations.”

“Therefore, there will always be a lot of topics for discussion,” Peskov concluded.

The official objective of Donilon’s visit to Moscow was announced as talks over nuclear arms control and ballistic missile defense, as well as preparations for Obama’s future visit to Russia

IPS:Leonardo Padura, Change in Cuba Comes in Stops and Starts

HAVANA, Apr (IPS) The reform process launched in Cuba by the government of president Raúl Castro has made several changes to the country’s rigid social and economic structure, with the ultimate aim of bringing this island nation out of its economic lethargy and making production, which is sinking under the weight of restrictions, controls and contradictions, more efficient.

After the announcement of the government’s intention to introduce “structural and conceptual changes” to “update” the model, the 2011 Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba ­ the sole legal party, which governs the country ­ approved the Guidelines for Economic and Social Policy which set forth the transformations to be carried out.

The programme laid out in the document, which is precise on some issues but vaguer on others, sets out guidelines and commitments for the proposed changes, small and large.
In response to demands or criticism that the pace of change is too slow for a country plagued with social and economic problems that range from the highest structural and macroeconomic level to the complicated daily life of the average citizen, Raúl Castro has stated on several occasions that the transformations will keep pace with well-thought out plans, in order to avoid new errors. He calls this tempo “slow but sure.”

While economic and social changes have so far brought about slight (or not so slight) shifts in he relations of production, property and citizen rights, such as the revitalisation of private enterprise, creation of agricultural and worker cooperatives, distribution of land for farming, or the important migration reform that allows a majority of the population to travel, changes in the years to come will have a more radical effect on the basic structures of the system.

*Fluent: ‘US identifies alleged Russian human-rights abusers targeted for sanctions’

•RT: Russia Says Don’t Release Magnitsky List

•Fluent: ‘Despite sequester, State Department ups support for the UN’

•BBC: NY teacher in ‘Nazi’ assignment row

A New York state English teacher faces disciplinary action for assigning students to argue Jews were to blame for the problems of Nazi Germany.

*IN Memoriam: Comic Johnathan Winters

•Pulse: 8 Social Media Blunders to Avoid

*Thanks for being here. Help us build this blog’s visibility and that of Mediachannel.org. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org