AlterPolitics New Post

New Gallup Poll: Americans’ Distrust In The Media Hits All-Time High

by on Friday, September 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm EDT in Politics

A new Gallup study reveals that sixty percent of Americans state they have “little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” This is the highest negative rating the mainstream media has ever received.

Gallup Poll (Sept 21, 2012)

Americans should be concerned about the viability of their democracy when a major majority, responsible for electing U.S. leaders, believes its major news sources — tasked with informing the people so that they may make rational choices — is both untrustworthy and inaccurate.

“whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that, whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them right.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

Confidential Memo Outlines Right-Wing Coordinated Propaganda Campaign To Crush Wind Power Energy

by on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 8:54 am EDT in Environment, Politics

The Guardian recently obtained a confidential strategy plan co-written by John Droz, a senior fellow at conservative think tank American Tradition Institute (ATI), to spearhead a national propaganda campaign against wind farms as a green energy alternative to fossil-fuels. 

One of their primary objectives is to “cause subversion” in the message of the wind power industry “so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants to admit in public they are for it (much like wind has done to coal, by turning green to black and clean to dirty).”

They plan to join forces with the fossil-fuel industries (including oil and coal), as well as with right-wing think tanks (including ALEC and Americans for Prosperity — both funded by the billionaire Koch brothers) to procure financing and to counter findings by the wind industry. Experts will be selected to provide testimony to government agencies, as will key people who are capable of interfacing with the media.

They plan to utilize the tea party, anti-tax groups, business organizations, property rights advocates, and they recommend creating “controversy to spark ideas” and to “get people talking.” The memo states “public opinion must begin to change in what should appear as a ‘groundswell’ among grass roots.” And this appearance of a ‘groundswell’ will “reach the elected officials and policy-makers” in such a way as to compel them to abort their wind power initiative.

It is reminiscent of the national health care reform debates, when the Tea Party stormed Town Hall meetings — shouting, interrupting, threatening — giving the appearance of a serious ‘groundswell’ of opposition to government intervention into health care. Of course, poll numbers, did not substantiate the impression the Tea Partiers and right-wing media left on our intrepid Democratic politicians. A majority of Americans (including the highly coveted Independent voters) were polled as being very much in favor of a public option.

The strategy memo goes further into how they would have hands-on coordination with the tea party and other groups:

The networking committee will be responsible for coordinating the response of networked groups … includ[ing] the tea party, anti-tax leagues and utility rate groups as well as government watch-dog, anti-waste groups. This committee will help spread our message to the network groups and then gather feed-back as to their interests and needs for further information from the organization.

Additionally, they plan on using Youth Outreach (a tax-exempt Christian group whose goal is to bring students and young people into the Church), to help coordinate an anti-wind-power program in public schools and on college campuses. Here is the sneaky way they envision Youth Outreach helping to convince young people that wind power is not a viable energy source:

This will include community activity and participation with sponsorships for science fairs, school activity etc. with preset parameters that cause students to steer away from wind because they discover it doesn’t meet the criteria we set up (poster contest, essays etc). 

Other measures in this effort include:

  • Sending “dummy businesses” into communities that are considering wind power as an energy source, to propose building 400 foot billboards, in order to spark local controversy. 
  • Running ads, funding/distributing signage, bumper stickers, etc., and spreading propaganda across social sites like Twitter.
  • Commissioning a book ‘expose’ on the wind power industry, to spread negative messages about how it would harm communities and negatively impact people and the environment.
  • Spearheading boycotts of any company that imprints a wind-turbine seal on the packaging of its products (to inform green-conscious consumers that wind power was used in its production). 
  • Suing developers, zoning boards, etc. all across America, for a whole host of reasons, all while maintaining comprehensive documentation on these suits, so that any successful legal strategies can be reused in other communities. 
  • Create counterintelligence branch.

And to oversee all of this, they propose forming a tax-exempt organization, with $750,000 in seed money, and a paid staff. The organization would be comprised of the following committees: Media, Science, Regional State Coordinators, Networking, Lobby/Political, Group policy. 

The strategy memo even goes as far as to provide a case example demonstrating how the group’s committees would respond upon learning that a wind power funding bill had advanced in Congress:

In this example, the group policy committee has identified that a particular bill providing funding for the opposition has been advanced to committee for a hearing. Policy committee has asked for a coordinated effort to stop the progress of the funding measure.   

First, the lobby committee uses their contacts to begin a campaign from the inside against the bill with phone calls and private meetings. They meet with several staffers who suggest that the bill is being supported because it has been moved as green legislation and several committee members are afraid to oppose it on that basis. The lobby committee reports this to media and science for further action.

The media committee decides to use a full page advertisement in the Washington Post as a method of communicating the ‘not so green truth’ to congress, and at the same time coordinates a special interview and story from a scientific point of view that illustrates the dirty side of the industry. At this same time, the science committee holds a press conference to announce that the industry is using dishonesty and “greenwashing” as a cover for what amounts to corporate welfare.  

The message is also repeated in Wash Times, WSJ, Fox and other sources.  

State regional coordinators are tapped at this time to provide a letter writing campaign from the grass roots asking the key legislators to back away from the funding measure. This campaign is also echoed in various directorate groups coordinated from the organization including tea party, anti-tax leagues, etc.    

The coordinated effort stretches across multi-channels and multi-voices, and appears to come from as many as a dozen separate sources, but the message is the same and stays on point. The created barrage of voices provides enough cover that the elected officials have a way to vote no because they can clearly see they have support for our position.

ATI, a think tank devoted to discrediting climate science, told The Guardian that its senior fellow Droz worked independently on this plan, though the document does list ATI as a group likely to join the effort.

Droz held a meeting in Washington last February, attended by members from 30 anti-wind-power groups, including the Tea Party Patriots. Since then, the groups have begun pooling their efforts together on this issue, including phone call and email campaigns to Congresspeople.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this memo, is the insight it gives into how the corporatocracy works to maintain the destructive, yet highly profitable, status quo. 

Everyone intuitively knows this sort of coordination happens, but this memo actually documents it: the insidious collusion between industry, right-wing think tanks, AstroTurf groups (like the Tea Party), tax-exempt Christian groups, lobbyists, right-wing media — all collaborating, synchronizing their propaganda (so that all remain on message), while pretending to act independently of one another; and thereby giving the grand illusion of a ‘ground swell’ of opposition coming from many different places.

Neocon David Frum Distorts Reality To Push An Anti-Palestinian Narrative

by on Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum just posted pure pro-Israel propaganda on his blog, Frum Forum.  In it he attempts to outline why a UN Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders would be counterproductive.

First, he disingenuously blames the failure of the latest rounds of peace talks on the Palestinians, and then concludes that for the UN to recognize a Palestinian state would be tantamount to giving Abbas cover to never speak with Israel again:

From the beginning of the Obama administration, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate directly with Israel. Indirect discussions have stumbled along without result. Abbas has insisted he cannot talk without a settlement freeze. Then when he gets his settlement freeze, he explains he still cannot talk.

The beauty of the UN approach is that it provides a perfect excuse never to talk to Israel again.

What Frum fails to mention is that the United States government demanded that Israel freeze its illegal settlement expansions.  By conveniently omitting this fact he implies that ONLY the Palestinians made such a ‘bold’ demand that Israel stop stealing their land as a sign of good faith in negotiating borders roughly along the 1967 green line (with occasional land swapping).

Could you imagine haggling with someone who wants to purchase your car, only to watch him park your car in his garage during the negotiations, and proceed to have a pal of his at the DMV change the title to his name?  Frum seems to believe this is acceptable negotiating behavior.

The US government went so far as to offer the right-winged Israeli government an additional $3 billion in military aid, and to pre-veto any UN Security Council Resolutions for an entire year (thereby hurting its own standing in the world, by trivializing international law as it might one day impact its own ally’s illegal actions), if Israel would just agree to suspend settlement expansion for a mere 3 months.

So how does Israel respond to its largest benefactor — who provides it with $3 billion annually in foreign aid?  Israel astonishingly refuses the offer.  Why?  Because in the spirit of Zionism-run-amok, Israel is determined to steal all of the Palestinian’s land, and will allow NOTHING to get in its way.

What Frum intentionally fails to mention is that the so-called ‘settlement freeze’ that Israel agreed to for a period of ten months — which strategically ended just before the 2010 US Midterm Elections — excluded East Jerusalem, an area that the international community recognizes as Palestinian territory.

What Frum fails to mention is that Peace Now, at eight months into the so called 10 month ‘settlement freeze’, reported that the moratorium on settlement expansion never actually occurred.  The Israelis plowed right along with their illegal settlements:

The Main Findings:

  • At least 600 housing units have started to be built during the freeze, in over 60 different settlements.
  • At least 492 of those housing units are in direct violation of the law of the freeze.
  • During an average year (when there is no freeze) approximately 1,130 housing units start to be built in 8 months in the settlements. The new construction starts during the moratorium constitute approximately half of the normal construction pace in the settlements.
  • Some 2,000 housing units are currently under construction in the settlements, most of them started before the freeze was announced in November 2009.

This means that on the ground, there is almost no freeze or even a visible slowdown, despite the fact that legal construction starts have been frozen for 8 months. It also means that the Government of Israel is not enforcing the moratorium.

Frum states the following on the likelihood of a US veto over any UN Security Council Resolution which might acknowledge a Palestinian state along the internationally recognized 1967 borders:

Such a [UN] vote is not very likely to happen. The United States could and would veto it. (On Wednesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to urge President Obama to veto any such UN move. The vote was unanimous. And that was the outgoing Democratic-majority House.)

He uses the term “Unanimous” to describe the vote taken by the US House of Representatives in making his point that the US Congress is firmly committed to pressuring the Obama Administration to veto any such UN Resolution.

I would recommend that Mr. Frum read this article which gives a behind-the-scenes look at how that AIPAC-sponsored resolution was passed.  It shows how this so-called “unanimous vote” amounts to ten Representatives who voted on a bill that was rushed to the floor late at night, for fear it might not pass.

He then lies that the Palestinians have never acknowledged the state of Israel:

The UN approach may never achieve anything. It may leave the Palestinian people stuck in a frustrating status quo. But anything is better than a deal that would require a Palestinian leader to acknowledge the permanence of Israel. Back in 2000, Yasser Arafat told Bill Clinton that signing a treaty with Israel would cost Arafat his life. Abbas seems to have reached the same conclusion.

What Frum fails to mention is that in 1992, Arafat and the PLO DID acknowledge Israel’s right to exist in peace, and accepted a two-state solution.  The Palestinians to this day STILL recognize Israel’s right to exist, despite the fact Israel refuses to remain bound by its internationally recognized borders.

Israel continues to this day, to steal Palestinian land (as if Palestinians don’t exist), and ethnically cleanses Palestinians from East Jerusalem.  And yet, not a mention about any of this from Frum.

The audacity that such a prominent voice — who unfortunately is just one of many in our media establishment that seem to monopolize all middle east discussions with a dishonest pro-Likud narrative — would sign his name to such a blatant distortion of the facts, goes to the heart of why this country remains impudent in bringing peace to the Middle East.

WATCH: Bill Maher Pans Jon Stewart’s ‘Restore Sanity’ Rally’s False Equivalency Theme

by on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm EDT in Politics

I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and was ecstatic their “Restore Sanity” Rally was so successful.  But I have to agree with Bill Maher here as he comically nails the Rally’s major flaw:  Its main theme, in attempting to be bipartisan, created a false equivalency between the Right and the Left. ENJOY:

War Of Words: Why Failed Theories, Like Reaganomics, Continue To Linger

by on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 2:55 pm EDT in Politics

The Republicans have long engaged in historic revisionism as a means of covering up a long record of failed policies and blunders.  Some of their most disastrous ideological experiments over the years, like Reaganomics, have been successfully re-framed into mythological successes.  Democrats have no one to blame for this, but themselves.  They’ve done next to […]

MUST WATCH: Sarah Palin Supporters Reveal Their Ignorance On Every Issue

by on Monday, November 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm EDT in Politics

For those of you who — like me — have been mystified by the huge crowds flocking to tea parties, anti-health care reform rallies, nut-job Sarah Palin events, etc. this video will shed some light on things.  On November 20th, Chase Whiteside and Erick Stoll attended a Sarah Palin book signing event at Borders bookstore […]

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly: Was For The Public Option Before He Was Against It

by on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

The disingenuous Bill O’Reilly … Here’s Bill O’Reilly on September 16, 2009, understanding the significance of a public option, and saying that he supports it: O’Reilly: I want for working Americans to have an option — that if they don’t like their health insurance, if it’s too expensive and they can’t afford it — if […]

Talk Radio Inflates 4,000 Attendees At GOP Anti-Health Care Reform Rally To ‘Millions’

by on Friday, November 6, 2009 at 10:46 am EDT in Politics

The audacity of this lie has got to make you laugh.  Remember how Fox News ‘personalities’ inflated the 60,000-70,000 attendees (as reported by the Washington DC Fire Department) at the 9/12 March as ‘millions’?  Well, the far-right have really outdone themselves this time.  Think Progress reveals : On G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show today, producer […]

Video Clips Capture The Right-Wing Media Spin Cycle: Lie, Terrify, Win, Repeat

by on Monday, October 26, 2009 at 3:01 pm EDT in Politics

Media Matters has just released a fascinating compilation of clips showing step-by-step how Fox News, Industry-Funded Operatives, and right-winged politicians take a simple lie / fear-mongering point, and spread it like wildfire, until a significant number of American citizens believe it, and become terrified by it.  This is a MUST WATCH: Let us know what […]

These Fox News Clips Show It For What It Isn’t: News

by on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 12:58 am EDT in Politics

Watch these clips of Fox News programming (beginning from Obama’s inauguration), and then tell us with a straight face that Fox News is a real news network: It can’t be done.