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The Obama Administration Plans to Embed “Government Researchers” to Monitor Media Organizations | A Lightning War for Liberty

The Obama Administration Plans to Embed “Government Researchers” to Monitor Media Organizations | A Lightning War for Liberty.

Last week, I highlighted the fact that the latest Press Freedom Index showcased a 13 point plunge in America’s press freedom to an embarrassing #46 position in the global ranking. If the authoritarians in the Obama Administration have their way, this country is set to fall much further in next year’s index.

Incredibly, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to roll out something called the Critical Information Needs study, which will embed government “researchers” into media organizations around the nation to make sure they are doing their job properly.

No this isn’t “conspiracy theory.” It is so real, and represents such a threat to the First Amendment, that a current FCC commissioner, Ajit Pai, recently wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, warning Americans of this scheme. He writes:

News organizations often disagree about what Americans need to know. MSNBC, for example, apparently believes that traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., is the crisis of our time. Fox News, on the other hand, chooses to cover the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi more heavily than other networks. The American people, for their part, disagree about what they want to watch.

But everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.

Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission, where I am a commissioner, does not agree. Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.

The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” along with “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

I have no idea what country I am living in at this point.

How does the FCC plan to dig up all that information? First, the agency selected eight categories of “critical information” such as the “environment” and “economic opportunities,” that it believes local newscasters should cover. It plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their “news philosophy” and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.

Participation in the Critical Information Needs study is voluntary—in theory. Unlike the opinion surveys that Americans see on a daily basis and either answer or not, as they wish, the FCC’s queries may be hard for the broadcasters to ignore. They would be out of business without an FCC license, which must be renewed every eight years.

Should all stations follow MSNBC’s example and cut away from a discussion with a former congresswoman about the National Security Agency’s collection of phone records to offer live coverage of Justin Bieber‘s bond hearing? As a consumer of news, I have an opinion. But my opinion shouldn’t matter more than anyone else’s merely because I happen to work at the FCC.

I am simply speechless.

Read the full Op-Ed here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

Debt and Taxes: Symptoms of Our Core Problem | Dylan Ratigan

Debt and Taxes: Symptoms of Our Core Problem | Dylan Ratigan.

The three charts below offer insight to the rottenness at the core of a banking and political system that relies entirely on the money of others–taxpayers, pensioners, those who pay insurance and, most disturbingly, future American earnings–to create short-term, private-sector income around housing and finance. With these profits, the banking system deals in politicians by offering political bulletproofing in the form of low-cost financing for housing using–you guessed it– other people’s money.

Until we deal with this problem, which is deeply entrenched in our election finance system, our government will continue to borrow and tax us to serve its short-term interests even as our lives become more expensive and offer less in return.

First, take a look at our Long-Term Debt:

2013-10-17-1.jpg

Our nation’s leviathan debt expansion began in 2001. The War on Terror and President Bush’s Medicare Part D–each implemented without proper consideration for costs, the possibility of a long, protracted war, US healthcare monopolies and our out-of-control drug pricing.

Debt exploded in 2008 as the US government provided a multi-trillion dollar safety net to insolvent banks while attempting to provide a cushion for individual citizens in the form of social services, which exploded following the spike in unemployment (caused in large part by the lending contraction from the banks).

The stunning chart below shows what happens when an extractive alliance between bankers chasing bonuses and politicians chasing votes. The game is cemented by profits generated by banker custody of the money of others in order to finance housing. These profits are partially invested in the pockets of those politicians willing to continue providing favorable legislation. And, of course, the illusion of growth helps keep these elected officials firmly in control of their congressional seats.

The chart below is represents more than a century of housing data. Look at the stunning distortion in home prices this extractive alliance created.

2013-10-17-2.jpg

A few things drove this. In no particular order:

Politics – Homeownership became a political metaphor for freedom and the “American Dream.” Left-leaning politicians even articulated it as a right as important as freedom of speech and religion.
Private-Sector Marketing – Like diamonds or tulips, billions were invested in the glamorization of homeownership as the peak of adult social status.
End of the 30-Year Bond – Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin abolished the 30-year bond, forcing pension and insurance portfolio managers to move billions of dollars into the only government-backed 30-year duration investment left, which just so happened to be housing bonds sold by thegovernment agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Zero percent interest from the Federal Reserve
New Default Swapping Derivatives – These instruments were designed to eliminate all risk from banks and transfer it to the investment pools of insurance companies and pensions.
The housing price collapse seen in the chart above precipitated lending contraction, which led to layoffs and a slowdown in new business formation. This, in turn, caused a spike in unemployment which exacerbated the housing decline in a vicious cycle as the newly jobless could no longer buy homes or pay mortgages

Check out the spike in long-term unemployment below:

2013-10-17-3.jpg

When faced with all of this in 2008 and 2009, our President and Congress decided to ignore all of the underlying factors and rely on our central bank to manufacture trillions of new dollars to stabilize the banks while allowing our debt to spiral out of control and looking to increased taxes to stanch the bleeding. All of this was driven by the decline in housing, where the bankers and politicians had all of our eggs stored. The unemployment some politicians ascribe to a softening of American spirit was actually caused by the reckless lending from banks and our government in between 2001 and 2008.

The reason our politicians consent to the madness represented in these charts is that they work for the 150,000 people in America who finance our elections, rather the 300 million people whose money they spend.

In a nutshell, until we reform our banking system to eliminate “Too Big Too Fail” and reform our political system to be less corrupted by the 150,000 folks who finance it at our expense, the mainstream dialog is nothing more than useless distraction.

 

Video of the Day: Interview with Matt Taibbi About JP Morgan and the CNBC “Presstitutes” | A Lightning War for Liberty

Video of the Day: Interview with Matt Taibbi About JP Morgan and the CNBC “Presstitutes” | A Lightning War for Liberty.

The top definition of presstituteaccording to Urban Dictionary is:

1. presstitute
A member of the media who will alter their story and reporting based on financial interests or other ties with usually partisan individuals or groups.

It has become abundantly clear in recent years that the mainstream media can not be identified as anything other that a collective of mediocre, corporate/government ass-kissing presstitutes. Differentmedia outlets cater to different special interests, but the end result is all the same. MSNBC for example is essentially a straight up PR outlet for the Democratic Party, while Fox News represents the neo-con arm of the Republican Party and the military-industrial complex generally. CNBC has a special position in the presstitute media hierarchy. They basically defend Wall Street at all costs. The station represents the most important media gatekeeper for the financial oligarch, crony class.The following video is an interview on the daily political talk showMajority Report, hosted by Sam Seder. In this episode, he discusses with Matt Taibbi the recent appearance of Salon’s Alex Pareene on CNBC in which Maria Bartiromo unabashedly presstitutes herself out for Jaime Dimon and JP Morgan in an utterly embarrassing manner.The clip is a little over 16 minutes, but well worth your time. Sam Seder is pretty hilarious and his rapport with Taibbi is excellent…

 

Santelli On IRS Witch-Hunt Repurcussions: “No Stent For You” | Zero Hedge

Santelli On IRS Witch-Hunt Repurcussions: “No Stent For You” | Zero Hedge.

 

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