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The Beginning of a Political Revolution Led By Young Women By Robin Barnes

Parsing Talk of Danger, Targets, Hell and Bimbos

This blog is largely devoted to media analysis, featuring original posts or those written by others that speak to issues surrounding media influence in public debate.

The 2016 Election coverage provide more grist for the mill than nearly any other topic, as it provides a first-hand look at all aspects of national reporting: coverage, blackouts, orchestrated attacks, ownership, regulation, corruption, abuse of power and the most contentious arena (ascribing motive). The missing link is analysis of the extent to which all of these issues affect the lives of real people.

Another title for this post might be: Threats, Warnings and Crisis: He Said, She Said, And the Insults Just Keep Coming!

revolutionBernie Sanders is sweeping the democratic primaries.

Iowa was a draw: technically which translates into a HUGE WIN for Sanders.

New Hampshire was a landslide victory for Sanders that included 82% of women under the age of 30.[i]

He assured the masses:

Together we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California,” said Sanders in his victory speech. “And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs.[ii]

Sanders’ message resonates: He cited Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein as a prime example of corporate greed that is harming the US.[iii]

Goldman Sachs Executive, Lloyd Blankfein said of Sanders’ attacks on Wall Street:

It has the potential to personalize it, it has the potential to be a dangerous moment. Not just for Wall Street not just for the people who are particularly targeted but for anybody who is a little bit out of line.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren responded: Blankfein “thinks it’s fine to prosecute small business owners, it’s fine to go hard after individuals who have no real resources, but don’t criticize companies like Goldman Sachs and their very, very important CEO — that’s what he’s really saying.” Is it? Sounds like a garden path sentence (perhaps a none-too-subtle threat). What of danger, targets and those who step out of line (even just a little)?

According to a USA Today/Rock the Vote poll, Democratic and Independent women ages 18 to 34 prefer Sanders to Clinton, 50 percent to 31 percent.

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said of young female millennials, on the subject of the broader fight for women’s equality:

We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done. It’s not done: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”[iv]

Gloria Steinem quipped that younger women were just backing Sanders so that they could meet young men. “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie. After a vicious backlash…, Steinem issued an apology.

Failure to focus on the power of Wall Street during the 2016 election could be dangerous to the economy. Too big to fail, jail, or prosecute is not a message that resonates with Sanders. However, it could represent a chorus for Clinton. Goldman has showered her with $675,000 worth of speaking fees, $930,000 in campaign contributions from the GS network both a senator and Secretary of State, on top of the quarter million donated to the Clinton family’s foundation, all nearing the $2 million line

Warren reminds us that the financial crisis cost an estimated $14 trillion: it cost jobs, it cost homes, it cost retirement funds. “And Lloyd Blankfein stands up and says ‘Don’t even criticize me, I ran a company that was right at the heart of some of the biggest financial frauds in history and made money off it, but don’t you dare criticize me’. “That’s why we need voters to get really engaged.”

See more at:


[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/new-hampshire-women-chose-bernie-sanders_b_9200174.html

[ii] https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/09/sanders-defeats-clinton-new-hampshire-primary/QhrFO8eUZ6frFZoisXbDfN/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos1

[iii] https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/02/05/warren-blasts-goldman-sachs-ceo-defends-sanders/grFPoPsPrfsnoLE55NAYgK/story.html

[iv] https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2016/02/07/albright-and-steinem-scold-young-women-backing-sanders/i8K8EE3UgBNOPOFRCC7QSL/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos19


Donald Trump is to Bernie Sanders as Archie Bunker is to Jon Stewart

ElizabethWarrenFormer Labor Secretary Robert Reich said it all: I’ve been in and around Washington for almost fifty years, including a stint in the cabinet, and I’ve learned that real change happens only when a substantial share of the American public is mobilized, organized, energized, and determined to make it happen.”

Spin Shift on Bernie: The Escalating Media Assault, by Norman Solomon[i]


Read Full Story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norman-solomon/spin-shift-on-bernie-the_b_9087176.html?utm_hp_ref=media&ir=Media

For a long time, as he campaigned for president, a wide spectrum of establishment media insisted that Bernie Sanders couldn’t win. Now they’re sounding the alarm that he might.

And, just in case you haven’t gotten the media message yet — Sanders is “angry,” kind of like Donald Trump.

Elite media often blur distinctions between right-wing populism and progressive populism — as though there’s not all that much difference between appealing to xenophobia and racism on the one hand and appealing for social justice and humanistic solidarity on the other.

Many journalists can’t resist lumping Trump and Sanders together as rabble-rousing outliers. But in the real world, the differences are vast.

Donald Trump is to Bernie Sanders as Archie Bunker is to Jon Stewart.

Among regular New York Times columnists, aversion to Bernie Sanders has become more pronounced in recent days at both ends of the newspaper’s ideological spectrum, such as it is. Republican Party aficionado David Brooks (whose idea of a good political time is Marco Rubio) has been freaking out in print, most recently with a Tuesday column headlined “Stay Sane America, Please!”

Brooks warned that his current nightmare for the nation is in triplicate — President Trump, President Cruz or President Sanders. For Brooks, all three contenders appear to be about equally awful; Trump is “one of the most loathed men in American public life,” while “America has never elected a candidate maximally extreme from the political center, the way Sanders and Cruz are.”

That “political center” of power sustain huge income inequality, perpetual war, scant action on climate change and reflexive support for the latest unhinged escalation of the nuclear arms race. In other words, what C. Wright Mills called “crackpot realism.”

Meanwhile, liberal Times columnist Paul Krugman (whose idea of a good political time is Hillary Clinton) keeps propounding a stand-on-head formula for social change — a kind of trickle-down theory of political power, in which “happy dreams” must yield to “hard thinking,” a euphemism for crackpot realism.

An excellent rejoinder has come from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. “Krugman doesn’t get it,” Reich wrote. “I’ve been in and around Washington for almost fifty years, including a stint in the cabinet, and I’ve learned that real change happens only when a substantial share of the American public is mobilized, organized, energized, and determined to make it happen.”

And Reich added: “Political ‘pragmatism’ may require accepting ‘half loaves’ — but the full loaf has to be large and bold enough in the first place to make the half loaf meaningful. That’s why the movement must aim high — toward a single-payer universal health, free public higher education, and busting up the biggest banks, for example.”

But for mainline media, exploring such substance is low priority, much lower than facile labeling and horseracing… and riffing on how Bernie Sanders sounds “angry.”

On “Morning Edition,” this week began with NPR political reporter Mara Liasson telling listeners that “Bernie Sanders’ angry tirades against Wall Street have found a receptive audience.” (Meanwhile, without anger or tirades, “Hillary Clinton often talks about the fears and insecurities of ordinary voters.”)

The momentum of the Sanders campaign will soon provoke a lot more corporate media attacks along the lines of a Chicago Tribune editorial that appeared in print on Monday. The newspaper editorialized that nomination of Trump, Cruz or Sanders “could be politically disastrous,” and it declared: “Wise heads in both parties are verging on panic.”

Such panic has just begun, among party elites and media elites. Eager to undermine Sanders, the Tribune editorial warned that as a “self-declared democratic socialist,” Sanders “brandishes a label that, a Gallup poll found, would automatically make him unacceptable to nearly half the public.”

A strong critique of such commentaries has come from the media watch group FAIR, where Jim Naureckas pointed out that “voters would not be asked to vote for ‘a socialist’ — they’d be asked to vote for Bernie Sanders. And while pollsters don’t include Sanders in general election matchups as often as they do Hillary Clinton, they have asked how the Vermont senator would do against various Republicans — and he generally does pretty well. In particular, against the candidate the Tribune says is ‘best positioned’ to ‘capture the broad, sensible center’ — Jeb Bush — Sanders leads in polls by an average of 3.0 percentage points, based on polling analysis by the website Real Clear Politics.”

In mass media, the conventional sensibilities of pundits like Brooks and Krugman, reporters like Liasson, and outlets like the Chicago Tribune routinely get the first and last words. Here, the last ones are from Naureckas:

[i] Author, ‘War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death’


Press Freedom in the UK, Right Laws for the Right Reasons

ukflag Although the laws in the UK, alongside recent verdicts in the European Court of Human Rights, have been slow to back-peddling in protecting the privacy of those who hold prominent positions in society, especially when facing assaults by the tabloid press, a recent victory for Human Rights and investigative journalism is to be celebrated nonetheless.

Read the Full article here:

Why the David Miranda Verdict Was an Important Victory for Our Free Press   By Rosie Brighouse


Relevant edited excerpts:

Few political punch-bags take quite such a regular pummelling in the media as the Human Rights Act. But yesterday it came to the rescue of press freedom in the face of arbitrary abuse of state power – and not for the first time.

Back in 2013, David Miranda was stopped by police at Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act. He was held for nine hours and questioned for long periods without a lawyer.

His electronic equipment was confiscated – equipment that happened to be carrying encrypted journalistic material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Miranda was helping his partner Glenn Greenwald, the first journalist to drag Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations kicking and screaming into the light, when he was detained.

For years Liberty has argued that Schedule 7 – a breathtakingly broad and intrusive power to stop, detain, question and seize without suspicion that can be used against anyone travelling to, from or through the UK – is ripe for overuse and abuse.

And yesterday, in a landmark victory for our free press, the Court of Appeal agreed with Liberty’s intervention. It ruled Schedule 7 incompatible with journalists’ right to freedom of expression, protected in British law by – guess what? – Article 10 of the Human Rights Act, because it allows the state to pry into journalists’ work without any proper safeguards.

This isn’t the first time the Act has proven a bulwark for the protection of journalistic sources against powerful interests. It’s the latest in a long line of cases.

Like the FOIA, the HRA has been responsible for exposing countless acts of state mistreatment, neglect and abuse – revelations of monumental public interest.

Without it, journalists wouldn’t have been able to establish that they should not be at risk of being detained and questioned and having precious information seized under Schedule 7 while travelling through UK airports.

Yet while newspapers of all persuasions have rightly gone out of their way to stand up for the FOIA, they’re giving the Government a much easier ride when it comes to the HRA.

Let’s be clear: plans to scrap the HRA are fuelled by exactly the same motivations as the bid to curb FOI. Like the FOIA, the Human Rights Act is one of very few pieces of legislation that allow ordinary people – including the press – to take the mighty to task.

Both Acts are crucial weapons in journalists’ legislative armoury. Both Acts are currently in the crosshairs of a Government determined to pull down the shutters and keep inconvenient truths, valid concerns and dissent at bay. The powerful don’t like giving away power.

The British press has a world-envied tradition of first-class investigatory journalism, of asking difficult questions, of seeing past the spin to hold the powerful to account. Let’s hope they uphold that proud tradition as they report on the battle to save the HRA in coming months.

Fox News is a hate machine, spewing out horrible things” about Muslims

California Attorney Michael Malowney brought this fact to light in criminal court after his client was charged with a hate crime.

On Jan. 14, 2015, John David Weissinger called the San Diego office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — a civil rights group that advocates on behalf of U.S. Muslims — and left a terrifying voice mail.

“You’re gonna be in the news. It’s gonna be like Charlie Hebdo,” said Weissinger, 54, referring to the deadly attack on the French satirical magazine that had taken place a week earlier. “Guess what? It’s coming your way, motherfuckers

An insightful piece on the Consequences of Rhetoric by Christopher Matthias, HuffPost, raises important issues about media, cable licensing and public policy.

 It demonstrates how Media Matters has documented the propaganda:

The defendant has since written an apology for his drunken rant which was preceded by non-stop viewing of Fox Cable TV. 

Read the full article here:

Did Binge-Watching Fox News Inspire This Man To Threaten Muslims?

by Christopher Matthias, HuffPost






The Never Ending Stream of Refugees


The Rift Across Europe Cathrine Gyldensted

Director of Constructive Journalism, Windesheim University


Citizens of numerous European nations have divided in two camps: Pro or Against refugees. The middle ground has a hard time getting any press.

How will my country and so many others deal with the enormous stream of refugees fleeing from Syria?, or the many seeking a better life in Western Europe from African nations where possibilities and opportunities are scarce? How will we manage to establish a conversation that bridge views instead of creating trenches? Will we choose to shed light on everything or only the parts that are faulty? Will we portray refugees as victims without hope or capable human beings with resilience and resources?

When the landing gear touches the tarmac, I am embarking on a significant journey myself with the potential to mend what is missing from news journalism.

I am taking on a position as Director of Constructive Journalism in the Netherlands, which will be a World’s first. Windesheim University taking this bold step believes that journalism should stop victimizing victims and demonizing crooks, stop its chronic focus on conflict and shy away from acting as polarizers.

Instead we will focus on solutions:

Facilitating a future-oriented debate Expand interview techniques Shed light on the middle ground Work with journalists unrecognized hidden biases Skillfully create engagement View audiences as co-creators

Share our learning curve

In our current time and age, we need to see far. We need to look ahead.

Poland’s Media Now Government Controlled

polish flag

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president signed a new law giving the government control of state radio and television, despite concerns from the European Union, an official said Thursday.


Andrzej Duda signed the legislation because he wants state media to be “impartial, objective and reliable,” his aide Malgorzata Sadurska said. She added that the president doesn’t believe the broadcasters guarantee objective information in their current form.

The new legislation allows for the immediate ending of the terms of the heads of state radio and television, and gives the treasury minister the authority to appoint successors. It also limits the number of members sitting on the state broadcasters’ supervisory and management boards.

Sadurska said the president shares concerns for the quality of Poland’s media voiced by some EU leaders, and believes the new law will help that goal.

But some EU leaders have expressed alarm, saying that Poland’s media freedom is being threatened. On Tuesday, EU human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks appealed to Duda not to sign the law.


The European Commission will debate Poland’s rule of law on Jan. 13, a step that could eventually result in Poland losing its EU voting rights on matters that concern the entire 28-nation bloc.


Read Article concerning long-term implications here.



Senator Bernie Sanders: History-Making Grassroots Support

nonspoilerQuestion of Media Black Out?

Is the Democratic National Committee trying to undermine the presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders? That’s the charge Sanders’ team is making amid a dust-up over a breach of voter information. On Friday, the DNC suspended Sanders’ access to a critical database after finding his staffers improperly viewed front-runner Hillary Clinton’s proprietary information when a computer glitch made it briefly available. The DNC backed down after Sanders filed suit, but the Sanders campaign has accused party leadership of trying to thwart the Vermont senator’s bid. This comes as the Sanders campaign says it’s on pace to break President Obama’s record of more than 2.2 million individual donations. Sanders is making history despite being subjected to what he calls a “blackout” in the corporate media. A recent report finds the flagship news programs at major networks NBC, CBS and ABC have dedicated 234 minutes this year to stories about Donald Trump—compared to just 10 minutes for Sanders.

Read Full Story Here:



Conviction: Former Cop, Serial Rapist Who Targeted Black Women Receives 263 Year Prison Sentence


Daniel Holtzclaw, a former college football player and pro NFL player in 2009 for the Detroit Lions, will serve life in prison for sexually assaulting over a dozen black women, mostly while on duty.

Read Full Story


[1] Toni Irving, Decoding Black Women: Policing Practices and Rape Prosecution on the Streets of Philadelphia http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ff/summary/v020/20.2.irving.html

Black women are generally displaced as victims of rape. The police response to the sexual assault of black women in general and lower-class black women in particular is illustrative of how sexual ideologies help construct complex social hierarchies that in turn structure rights. How the law currently deals with rape places black women outside of the narrative frames that legitimate entitlement. Rape continues to stand in for, and effectively obscure, other social, political, and economic concerns. Unpublished and often ignored, the rape narrative is a ripe site to supply oppositional interpretations of national experience and transmit some of the structural problems in the criminal justice system. Pulling from over two thousand “real” rape cases of low-income black women ignored and not investigated in Philadelphia between 1995 and 2000, this article reads black female rape narratives as case studies in order to discuss the way personal narratives of rape victims are structured by competing and overwhelming socio-legal narratives that undercut their reception. As the fastest growing prison population, the presence of the law to punish black women stands in stark contrast to the absence of the law to protect them.


libertyBill Federer said

The COUNTRY is controlled by LAWS

LAWS are controlled by POLITICIANS

POLITICIANS are controlled by VOTERS (forget problematic voting machines)

VOTERS are controlled by PUBLIC OPINION

PUBLIC OPINION is controlled by the MEDIA (News, Hollywood, Internet…) & EDUCATION

It’s not clear who controls education in the US, but it’s worth investigating. Based upon their article titled Best Education In The World: Finland, South Korea Top Country Rankings, U.S. Rated Average, the Huffpost team, might agree.

According to Free Press

Massive corporations dominate the U.S. media landscape. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, these companies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear and read. In many cases, these companies control everything from initial production to final distribution.

Free Press even has an interactive charts that reveals who owns what.


Here’s an addition to their litany with kudos to the huffpost media watch team for reporting that matters.

Las Vegas Review-Journal Reporters Believed Credibility Depended On Revealing Secret Owner. So They Did.


Judge in Adelson lawsuit subject to unusual scrutiny amid Review-Journal sale


Daily Beast Didn’t Know American Was Stuck In Iran When It Published Anonymous Story Attacking Him




Hate-Monger Ban: Trump, Westboro Baptist, KKK, & anti-Muslim Bloggers

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a Pearl Harbor Day rally aboard the USS Yorktown Memorial in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, December 7, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Trump UK ban petition passes 370,000 signatures

10 December 2015

A petition calling for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to be barred from entering the UK has gathered more than 370,000 names, so MPs will have to consider debating it.



The petition went on Parliament’s e-petition website on Tuesday.

It was posted in response to Mr Trump’s call for a temporary halt on Muslims entering the United States.

Chancellor George Osborne criticised Mr Trump’s comments but rejected calls for him to be banned from the UK.

A counter-petition, set up on Wednesday, saying Mr Trump should not be banned as it would be “totally illogical” has attracted more than 9,000 signatures.

Any petition with more than 100,000 signatures is automatically considered for debate in Parliament.

Mr Trump is seeking the Republican nomination for next year’s US presidential election.

He said on Wednesday he would never leave the 2016 race, despite the volume of calls for him to step aside.

In other developments:

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stripped Mr Trump of his status as a business ambassador for Scotland.

Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University has revoked Mr Trump’s honorary degree, which he received in 2010 in recognition of his achievements as an entrepreneur and businessman.

One of the Middle East’s largest retail chains, Lifestyle, has withdrawn Donald Trump products from its shelves following his comments.

‘The signatories believe Donald J Trump should be banned from UK entry’

Trump claim that police ‘afraid’ in London is wrong, PM says

Donald Trump: Free speech v hate speech

How you can get banned from coming to the UK and why

Labour home affairs spokesman Jack Dromey and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett have backed the petition to ban Trump from entering the country, with Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston saying the proposal merited “serious discussion”

The Home Office has powers to ban speakers from overseas coming to the UK under the “unacceptable behaviours or extremism exclusion policy”

Last year, Home Secretary Theresa May said she had excluded “hundreds” of people

People banned from entering the UK under the exclusion policy in recent years include leaders of the Westboro Baptist Church, Islamist preachers and Ku Klux Klan officials, and two anti-Muslim bloggers

Home Secretary Theresa May can exclude an individual if she considers their presence is “not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds”.

Mr Osborne told the Commons that the remarks by Mr Trump flew in the face of America’s founding principles and “were not welcome”.

Downing Street said it was not aware of any plans for the billionaire businessman to visit, so any question of a ban on him coming to Britain was “hypothetical”.

The full text of the petition – entitled “Block Donald J Trump from UK entry” – reads: “The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK.

“If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful.”

In the US, the Pentagon has warned that Mr Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims undermines US national security by boosting the Islamic State (IS) group.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry added to the widespread condemnation of Mr Trump’s comments, saying they were “not constructive” in the fight against IS.

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq says Donald Trump is not welcome in the UK following his anti-Muslim comments

Mr Trump called for the ban on Muslims entering the United States following a mass shooting in San Bernadino, California.   A  Muslim couple, believed to have been radicalised, killed 14 people at a health centre.

The prime minister’s official spokeswoman has said David Cameron “completely disagrees with Donald Trump”.

How petitions work

Pen and paper

In 2011, the coalition government launched a new e-petition site, with the prospect of a debate if 100,000 signatures are reached.

Petitions which reach the required number of signatures are almost always debated in Parliament, but the government might decide not to put a petition forward for debate if the issue has already been debated recently or there is one scheduled for the near future. Petitions that pass 10,000 signatures receive a response from the government.

The petition is initially handled by the Petitions Committee, set up by the House of Commons and comprising up to 11 backbench MPs from government and opposition parties. Petitions can be rejected for a number of reasons, including for being about something that the UK government or Parliament is not responsible for, or is nonsensical.

Topics put up for petition have included the introduction of mandatory drugs tests for MPs, the full disclosure of all government documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster, and minimum prices for milk.

But while a Parliament debate is a good way to raise the profile of an issue with lawmakers, it does not automatically follow that there will be a change in the law. In 2015 there were 14 petitions debated in Parliament, but none directly brought about any change in UK laws.

Are e-petitions a waste of time?

Labour’s Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, also called for Mr Trump to be banned from the UK after he claimed that parts of London were “so radicalised” that police were “afraid for their own lives”.

Mr Trump’s comments about the UK capital previously led to London Mayor Boris Johnson saying “the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump”.

He added: “Donald Trump’s ill-informed comments are complete and utter nonsense.

“As a city where more than 300 languages are spoken, London has a proud history of tolerance and diversity and to suggest there are areas where police officers cannot go because of radicalisation is simply ridiculous.”