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Offline Antigen

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Media roundup!
« on: August 25, 2007, 03:36:35 PM »
Don't hate the media, become the media.
http://www.alternet.org/story/60573/

John doesn't seem to mention the teen gulag connection. I don't know why. Usually it has to do with the editorial/legal department making a call on the provability, not truth, of each and every word they print.

But we are not so constrained and alternet is a very popular site. Please jump into the fray and http://www.alternet.org/story/60573/

November 2008 is a long way off, and there's been widespread concern that the presidential campaign season has already drawn on so long that it will exhaust public attention. Fortunately, the McCain, Giuliani and Romney campaigns have generously sustained our interest this summer with one corrupt campaign official after another stepping down after doing more than the law will allow. Here's a rundown on the GOP campaign scoundrels of 2008.

1. McCain campaign's outhouse outreach efforts in Florida

On July 11, Sen. John McCain's Florida campaign co-chair Bob Allen, a state assemblyman with an unrelentingly anti-gay record, knocked on a park bathroom stall in Titusville, Fla., and offered the man within a $20 bill to give him a blow job. The man was an undercover officer.

At first it seemed to be a familiar kind of tale -- the secret passions of a conservative who had taken a strong moral stand against gay adoption, and even presented to his state's Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety a bill that would have tightened the loopholes against public masturbators.

Recently, however, the story has taken on new dimensions with various accounts from Allen. To see the big picture, he explains, you must take into account that there was a lightning storm (from which he took refuge in the bathroom, he says), the park's "stocky" black people (i.e., their presence scared Allen into paying), and his panic that he might "become a statistic" if he didn't act fast.

Fearful of being mugged, the awfully jumpy Bob Allen told the police that he cut the blow job deal so that he could reach a guarded security area, the nearest of which was several miles away from him -- a plan which resists easy understanding. Maybe Allen hoped the oral sex could somehow stun his adversary?

Rather than quit his duties as assemblyman, Allen has apologized to the local NAACP for his "stocky" comment, explaining that in the course of being "accused of being a bathroom cruising pervert, and then a racist," he has come to understand the black (not gay) civil rights struggle better.

He plans to run for the state senate in 2010.

2. Romney's Secret Service wannabe

In 2004, law enforcement officers, having towed an illegally parked car, were surprised to find within it, according to the Boston Herald, "a set of red-and-blue flashing lights hidden in the grill [...] a siren and public address system, multiple police radios, strobe lights on the wheels, a police baton and a metal plate with a photo of a state police patch that said "official business."

The car belonged to Gov. Mitt Romney's "director of operations," Jay Garrity, who quit the candidate's presidential campaign in July after it emerged that he was now in trouble in two states for pretending to be a cop during the course of his duties in Romney's "logistics" department. He had handed out fake State of Massachusetts badges for use by colleagues and was said to have used his cop status to blaze through turnpikes without paying.

"I have resigned from the Mitt Romney for President campaign so that the media attention on me will not become a distraction to the campaign's efforts," he said.

Just two days after Garrity's resignation, the Herald reported that Romney's event planner, Will Ritter, had uploaded a MySpace page painting himself as a "Jason Bourne-esque" figure in the description of the newspaper whose duties include "very secretive work" in "special ops."

3. Romney's fraudmeister

More Romney. One of 35 co-chairs of candidate Mitt Romney's national war chest, a businessman named Alan Fabian, was in trouble this August for an alleged $32 million swindle -- one of the largest cases of its kind ever prosecuted in his home state of Maryland.

The way it supposedly worked was this: As head of his Virginia-based consulting company, Maximus, Inc., he'd first put in fake orders for computers. Instead of getting a Dell, the outfit was secretly paying for Fabian's beach houses and private jet travel. So he's facing 23 charges, including money laundering, mail and bankruptcy fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice.

Fabian was what's known in campaign finance terms as a "bundler." The bundler has emerged as clever rich people have sought to bypass newer campaign finance laws that cap off how much a single person can give. Instead, the bundler promises to bring in an entire network of moneyed friends.

He'd also been a bundler for the president. The Romney campaign has said it will be giving back the $2,300 that Fabian gave directly (the maximum) but not necessarily the heap of cash that he brought in, all bundled up. According to a representative of the governor's 2008 campaign, "The money he helped raise was donated by people who have not been accused of any wrongdoing, and so there is no reason for returning it."

4. Giuliani's coke connection in South Carolina

Three men have now been indicted in a federal narcotics investigation that led in June to the arrest of Thomas Ravenel, the state treasurer of South Carolina -- as well as Rudy Giuliani's state campaign chair. The son of powerful former U.S. Rep. Arthur Ravenel, R-S.C., Ravenel has been described by one journalist as "breezy", by some as arrogant and by a federal grand jury as one of a small group who bore a "tacit understanding" that they planned to distribute among themselves less than 500 grams of cocaine.

Prosecutors have not alleged that Ravenel, the real estate developer, actually sold the cocaine. But he could be in prison for up to 20 years and face a $1 million fine if convicted. In response, Giuliani's campaign issued a statement explaining that Rudy's man in the Palmetto State "has stepped down from his volunteer responsibilities with the campaign."

Ravenel, a defender of flying the Confederate flag and speaking to white supremacist groups, has courted controversy in the past by making a defiant speech against the NAACP, to which he referred -- possibly while dusted to the gills -- as the "National Association of Retarded People."

5. Sen. David Vitter -- A familiar face to the House of the Rising Sun

Also coordinating Giuliani's march through the South is his regional chair, Sen. David Vitter, R-La. Cut from the same uncompromising moral cloth as Bob Allen, Vitter is on record as having said he doesn't "believe there's any issue that's more important" than gay marriage.

In July, his telephone number surfaced amid the records of "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Of the several times he rung up her brothel, two of his calls were during House roll call votes, according to the Associated Press.

"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," the senator explained. He is still with the campaign, though a report in New Orleans City Business asserted that he has been "quietly marginalized" in Rudy's army and can probably forget about longstanding hopes to be a veep nominee.

6. Fred Thompson: FEC flouter

This month, liberal activist Lane Hudson made trouble for actor Thompson, filing a complaint that Thompson's "test-the-waters" fund-raising is, on top of being a major disappointment so far to GOP supporters, a pathetic sham that is allowing him to hire, poll and fund-raise, all while escaping the oversight required for real candidates. Now Thompson has two weeks to respond and faces a possible fine of $1 million.

Like singer Axl Rose, who has delayed his comeback album Chinese Democracy for 15 years on the premise that long waits build public anticipation, Thompson has held out months for the moment when, it is believed, he will throw his hat into the ring and be welcomed as the Gipper's second coming. But according to Hudson, Thompson's testing-and-retesting-the-waters promotes him to a scofflaw on the order of such scoundrels as Tom DeLay and Mark Foley. Maybe not: Long-time admirers of high GOP scandal may be disappointed by the shortage here of dirty AOL chats, far-flung webs of bribery, casino yachts whose owners turn up murdered, etc.

*Bipartisan bonus: Bill Richardson's bookkeeper to the pimps

Crime isn't a GOP-only sport. Recently this August, Kristian Forland, who ran Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson's presidential efforts in rural Nevada, got in trouble when it was revealed that he was wanted for passing fake checks. He had also been "manager" of Mona's Ranch, a legal house of prostitution in Elko, Nev. The Mona Ranch website extends a folksy invitation: "Y'all cum now, ya hear!" In his defense, Forland -- disliked by the girls for shorting them on their wages -- explained that he'd merely managed the books and "not the girls per se." He has since left the Richardson campaign.

Read more of John Gorenfeld's work at Gorenfeld.net.
© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/60573/
[/quote]

But wait, there's more! Leme go dig out the rest of what I've got.
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Offline Antigen

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Justin Raimondo of AntiWar.com
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2007, 03:39:02 PM »
August 24, 2007
Home Front 'Surge'
War Party's ad campaign will boomerang
by Justin Raimondo

In a disgusting display of mendacity not seen since the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, a pro-war advertising campaign spearheaded by former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer is buying $15 million worth of 30-second television spots that repeat the lies linking 9/11 to Iraq – and explicitly threatening another terrorist attack in the US if we "surrender." It's the first storm in a season of fear.

The content of the ads – four of them, so far – is so completely dishonest that one wonders what the producers were thinking: do they really imagine the American people are going to swallow another round of complete fabrications? It's hard to believe, but there you have it. Even more surreal than the assertions tying the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the Iraqis is the blatant exploitation of US troops in Iraq: this one, for example, shows a soldier who has lost a leg declaiming that he will have lost it for nothing if we allow "politics" – i.e. the overwhelming majority of Americans – to influence our policy. Then "everything I've given and sacrificed will mean nothing." Here is the complete text:

"Congress was right to vote to fight terrorism in Iraq and I re-enlisted after September 11 because I don't want my sons to see what I saw. I want them to be free and safe. I know what I lost. I also know that if we pull out now everything I've given and the sacrifices will mean nothing. They attacked us and they will again. They won't stop in Iraq. We are winning on the ground and making real progress. It's no time to quit. It's no time for politics."

So the liars who lied us into war, who fabricated "evidence" of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction," aren't to blame – oh no, of course not! It's those of us who oppose this monstrous and mistaken invasion who are to be targeted as advocating "surrender" in a conflict that cannot be won without murdering half the population of Iraq and enslaving the other half. Because we allowed the Scooter Libbys and the Ari Fleischers to lure us into a quagmire, we must remain submerged there forever – or the loss of this soldier's leg was all for naught.

What kind of morality is it that lets the perpetrator of a fraud off scot-free while blaming the victim who has been defrauded? It's called neocon morality – where the neocons are always in the clear, and the rest of us are dunned to pay the price of their immeasurable hubris.

This ad features a grieving mom who opines "we've already had one 9/11 – we don't need another," while giving out the administration-neocon line that we're "making progress" in Iraq, and can't "surrender" now. Yet how will withdrawing from the midst of the Iraqi civil war, where Sunnis fight Shi'ites and we are caught in the middle, result in an attack on the U.S.? Logic has nothing to do with the message behind this ad, which is all about pure fear, plain and simple. Again, the implication is that the fallen soldiers will have died in vain if we leave – not, you understand, because the war we started had no clear rationale, and was based on a series of carefully-forged lies.

Here is a vet in a wheelchair who glowers at the camera as he contemplates Congress "considering surrender." There is a vaguely threatening tone to his words, as if all the wounded veterans of this misguided war will descend on the Capitol and exact vengeance if we don't "emerge victorious."

Here the neocons – let's name the real enemy, after all – are quite explicitlypushing their "stab-in-the-back" theory, which blames our looming defeat in Iraq not on the inherent impossibility of winning over the Iraqis while we occupy their country and brutalize their people, but on the evils of "politics" (i.e. democracy, where the majority supposedly rules) and scheming politicians, who are somehow manipulating the popular will in order to betray our fighting men and women.

"They attacked us" avers the wounded vet, but that's not true: Iraq never attacked us, never had the capacity to attack us, and was never even a credible threat. We attacked them – i.e. the Iraqis, not al-Qaeda – and we're still attacking them, four years after the "liberation" of Iraq.

In this one, a woman talks about the tragic loss of her uncle and her husband – the former was a New York City fireman on 9/11, the latter a soldier fallen in Iraq – and warns that if we leave Iraq, "it will mean more attacks in America." Her husband died so that her children won't have to fight. Blah blah blah blah – it's just one lie after another, with sinister speed-freaky music playing in the background and all of it overhung with an all-pervasive fear. Logic, reason, and facts – all are absent from this emotive narrative, which simply reiterates the conflation of Iraq and al-Qaeda, and reinforces the urban legend that has Iraqi rather than Saudi hijackers ramming into the World Trade Center towers.

Here is the real face of the War Party: openly and brazenly peddling long-debunked myths designed to appeal to the emotions, rather than the intellect. This is classic war propaganda produced without respect for the facts of reality or the most basic human decency.

So what else is new?

What's interesting, aside from the crude content of these ads, is their funding: who's paying for this pack of lies? The Washington Postlists the major donors:

Mel Sembler – A multi-billionaire shopping center magnate and real estate developer, CEO of the Sembler Company, and former ambassador to Australia, Nauru, and Italy, Sembler was also chairman of the Scooter Libby Defense Trust. His tenure in Rome was coincident with a series of rather dubious goings-on connected to the Niger uranium forgeries, including secret back channel meetings between leading neocons in the Pentagon, Iranian arms dealer and Iran-Contra figure Manucher Ghorbanifar, and convicted spy Larry Franklin, who was caught red-handed funneling classified top secret information to Israeli embassy personnel via two officials of AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group. As Joshua Micah Marshall put it:

"There's a lot that's still really murky about what was happening at the U.S. embassy in Rome after 9/11 with the forgeries and other matters. That was on Sembler's watch. And Libby's bad acts stem from the whole forgeries bamboozlement. (Whacking Wilson was part of the larger White House effort to keep the forgeries scam covered up – a cover-up that's still underway.)

"So Sembler just seems like a pretty big part of this story to be collecting money for the one person under indictment for their role in it."

Sembler's bio veers from the neoconnish to the nightmarish when we consider his founding of "Straight, Inc.," a teen drug rehabilitation program that was forced to close on account of numerous successful lawsuits by former clients who were tortured, raped, and systematically humiliated. Their hair-raising testimony of sadistic abuse while in custody at Sembler's teen-Guantánamo can be read here. Apparently, an entire movement of Sembler's victims has risen up spontaneously – that's how many lives "Straight, Inc." destroyed. All this bad publicity required a name change, and "Straight, Inc.," was reconstituted, in 1996, as the Drug Free America Foundation. As a result of Sembler's political clout, the Foundation is prospering, thanks to federal subsidies, $720,000 in the year 2000 alone.

The drug war, the Iraq war, Scooter Libby's private war against Valerie Plame and her husband – with Sembler, it's always wartime, and that's the way he likes it.

John Templeton, Jr. – The son of renowned investor John Templeton, is in charge of the Templeton Foundation, which, last year, poured some $60 million into numerous projects broadly dedicated to "bringing science under the guiding hand of religion." Templeton is an evangelical Christian, and his generosity has funded a wide variety of projects dear to conservative hearts, such as the theory of "intelligent design" and the re-election of George W. Bush. Some libertarians have also been in on the gravy train: the Cato Institute received funding for its Russian-language web site, cato.ru – and presumably to pay for the dubious services of such pro-war blowhards as Cato senior fellow Andrei Illarionov, who has openly called for the West to prepare for a military conflict with Russia.

Sheldon G Adelson – He's the third richest person in the U.S., worth $20.5 billion, with a rags-to-riches story: the son of a Boston cabdriver, Adelson inaugurated the Comdex computer trade show, and then went into tourism, real estate, and casinos. He is CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates the Venetian Casino Resort and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Adelson is a major contributor to Jewish and Israeli causes, and to the GOP. This series of ads isn't his only propagandistic foray: the Vegas casino king has also gone into the newspaper business – in Israel. Yisrael Hayom is a new daily paper closely tied to the ultra-nationalist wing of the Likud party, and Benjamin Netanyahu's political aspirations. It was recently launched with a massive free mailing to hundreds of thousands, and has attracted considerable attention.

Richard Fox – He made his fortune in real estate, with properties centered in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, and is a co-founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Gary Erlbaum, owner of Greentree Properties in Ardmore, Pa., an ardent Republican organizer in the Orthodox community and a Giuliani supporter, as well as a staunch advocate for Israel.

Anthony Gioia, former ambassador to Malta, and the head of Gioia Management. He's on Giuliani's "finance team."

Howard Leach, former ambassador to France, CEO of Leach Capital Corp. and president of Foley Timber and Land Co.

Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast Spectacor, which includes TicketMaster and the Philadelphia Spectrum sports center. He also is the proprietor of Prism, the biggest pay-per-view TV network in America. Snider sits on the board of the Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust museum in Los Angeles, and is owner of the Philadelphia Flyers pro hockey team.

Kevin E. Moley, once a senior advisor to Dick Cheney and formerly US representative to international organizations in Geneva.

President of this astroturf outfit is Bradley A. Blakeman, formerly a deputy assistant to the president and now with the public relations firm of Gordon and Gregg.

Most of the above are closely tied into the Lobby, and their agenda is pretty clear: to manipulate the American people into once again supporting a foreign policy that serves the interests of a very narrow sector of foreign opinion, rather than distinctly American interests. This is, in short, a revolting attempt to pimp out the misery of those who have lost loved ones in the neocons' war to make the Middle East safe for Israel – while sacrificing American lives to do so.

The "Freedom's Watch" ad campaign is going to boomerang, and badly, hitting the War Party in the face with a loud wallop – and a richly deserved one. To argue, as these ads do, that we have to keep fighting a war in spite of a complete lack of public support – "politics" – or else we're going to be attacked again, just like on September 11, 2001, is a thinly disguised threat – almost as if the War Party is wishing, hoping, and praying for another 9/11-style attack.

You'll note that this propaganda campaign is being launched as we approach the sixth anniversary of that signal event, and we can expect the atmosphere of impending doom to thicken considerably as the day approaches. These ads are part of it, as is the crazed rhetoric coming from the administration, including the President's evocation of the "stabbed-in-the-back" thesis as applied to the Vietnam war.

The American people are not going to be won over by a cabal of money-laden ideologues who use the suffering of others to promote and ensure yet more suffering. The judgement of the majority is clear, and the margin of the antiwar movement's victory in the battle for public opinion is growing by the day: Americans oppose this war, and want it to end as soon as possible. No amount of scare-mongering and slick appeals to primitive emotions are going to revive the war hysteria of the immediate post-9/11 period. Nothing short of another 9/11 will accomplish that – which is why we have the more honest neocons, like Stu Bykofsky, openly pining for just that.

What's pathetic, really, and quite telling, is that Señor Fleischer, asked by guest "Hardball" host Mike Barnicle the name of the soldier in the first ad, didn't know it. "I don't have it here in front of me." So for all the emotionalism of these ads, they are offered in the most cold-blooded, manipulative manner – typical of the tactics of the War Lobby, and utterly repulsive to most normal people.
 
 

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http://www.antiwar.com/justin

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Offline Antigen

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Media roundup!
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2007, 03:45:30 PM »
The Huffington Post
 August 25, 2007
Maia Szalavitz

How ABC, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Botched A Tale of Reputations, Tough Love and Censorship

Posted August 24, 2007 | 06:57 PM (EST)
Read More: Breaking Media News, Google Inc.

stumbleupon :How ABC, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Botched A Tale of Reputations, Tough Love and Censorship   digg: How ABC, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Botched A Tale of Reputations, Tough Love and Censorship   reddit: How ABC, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Botched A Tale of Reputations, Tough Love and Censorship   del.icio.us: How ABC, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Botched A Tale of Reputations, Tough Love and Censorship

If you want to marvel at big media's laziness-- and the exploitable flaws in citizen journalism-- check out this story I've just written for Reason.

The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, ABC News and Forbes all portrayed Sue Scheff as an innocent victim of internet cranks, a tireless advocate who works to help parents find schools for troubled teens. They told of a wonderful internet service, called Reputation Defender, which works to shut the cranks up-- or at least, push their complaints further down on Google search results.

But they missed the back story-- in which Scheff was the one being sued by a business competitor for making the exact same claims she turned around and sued the "cranks" for making about her!!!

They also missed the lawsuit and local media coverage which suggests that the "cranks" may not be the ones who are getting the story wrong. And they missed a glaring fact about the $11 million libel judgment Scheff won. This "child advocate" may have good reason to worry about her reputation-- and the press has been curiously supportive of a service which works to bury bad news.

A tale of tough love and free speech--and how one of the few places where teen survivors of abusive treatment can talk about what happened to them was nearly the victim of one woman's quest to hide her own links to programs that have hurt teens.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maia-szal ... 61765.html
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"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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Offline Antigen

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Media roundup!
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2007, 04:33:22 PM »
Leading The News    Print
Lawsuits hit a Romney money man
By Alexander Bolton
June 20, 2007
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars through the fundraising efforts of a supporter targeted by several lawsuits alleging child abuse.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, 133 plaintiffs have alleged that Robert Lichfield, co-chairman of Romney’s Utah finance committee owned or operated residential boarding schools for troubled teenagers where students were “subjected to physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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Offline Antigen

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Media roundup!
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2007, 04:35:28 PM »
Feel free to jump in any time....
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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