Thursday, February 5, 2009

AP Impact: Pentagon boosts spending on PR

AP Impact: Pentagon boosts spending on PR by the AP.

Hey, I think we just found $5 billion a year that can be diverted to helping economic recovery and preventing home foreclosures on hard working (or trying to work) Americans.

On an abandoned Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas, editors for the Joint Hometown News Service point proudly to a dozen clippings on a table as examples of success in getting stories into newspapers.

What readers are not told: Each of these glowing stories was written by Pentagon staff. Under the free service, stories go out with authors' names but not their titles, and do not mention Hometown News anywhere. In 2009, Hometown News plans to put out 5,400 press releases, 3,000 television releases and 1,600 radio interviews, among other work — 50 percent more than in 2007.

The service is just a tiny piece of the Pentagon's rapidly expanding media empire, which is now bigger in size, money and power than many media companies.

So, do you think sometimes you see articles in the local paper, or stories on local TV news that seem ridiculously tilted towards the US military. Well, that's your tax dollars hard at work.

First off, this is very, very close to being illegal. Even the AP, which is not exactly hostile to the US military, hints at that in this article.

And the reason that this was at one time made illegal is that this is very destructive to democracy and freedom. Do you ever notice how its become almost impossible to speak against the US military in this country? Its becoming very hard to have any sort of discussion that might lead to lower defense budgets, or less of our military going around the world killing people. And when you realize there's a $5 billion a year operation employing 27,000 people promoting the US military, then one starts to see why.

In a democracy, power is supposed to reside with the people. The government is supposed to reflect the will of the people. As such, its not the government's role to be telling the people what to think. That distorts the process. That puts power with the government, as opposed to power residing with the people.

Anyone want to make a small wager that this doesn't change under Obama? Maybe I'm wrong, maybe his radical pick of Gates as Sec of Defense means that policies like this under previous Sec of Defense Gates will be reversed.

In Washington, Public Policy and Private Wealth are Hopelessly Tangled

In Washington, Public Policy and Private Wealth are Hopelessly Tangled by William Pfaff on

Good article on health care ....

To get back to Washington, while ex-Sen. Daschle is a reputed expert on health systems, he has also, since leaving the Senate, made a quarter of a million dollars as speaker, consultant and adviser to private health insurance and health-care companies.

Does anyone think that, as secretary of health and human services, he would have recommended a new system that cuts out the private health insurance industry? The insurance companies are the ones that killed Hillary Clinton’s health proposals eight years ago. Where do you think the money goes that makes American health care the most expensive in the world? It’s not going into nurses’ salaries.

My one problem with the article is that he perpetuates the myth that Obama is some sort of saint trying to work around all of this corruption. To check that, let's go to There we can find who the health insurance industry gives money to in Congress. Hey, look, there's Obama as the number 1 recipient of health insurance money in Congress at $232,000.

Note carefully that this is only money given to Congressional campaigns. I don't believe it includes any health insurance money that's a part of the $700,000,000.00 that just got Obama elected President. This is only money given to Senate campaigns from 2001 to 2008. Interestingly, Obama's first campaign was in 2004. So, he either became the largest recipient of health insurance money in that one race, or they were giving a lot of money to his 2010 accounts on top of other money that probably went to his Presidential campaign.

Now, is it any big surprise that Obama's first choice for HHS was someone else who gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from the health insurance industry? And he sure as heck ain't gonna pick a proponent of 'single-payer', or maybe someone like the head of the CA Nurses union to replace Daschle.

Green960 Radio and Cindy Sheenhan's Soapbox

I guess I'm still on Cindy Sheehan's email lists after the elections. One thing I got from her was a letter saying she's already planning on running against Pelosi again in 2010. Yahoo! Pelosi needs a challenger. And one thing I think we have a problem with is that too many of our political campaigns are 'one and done'. We need to build a grassroots movement, and to do it in the face of massive propaganda. That doesn't happen overnight, and having the same campaign just roll over into the next cycle is a very good way to fight.

Her recent email was about her radio show. And it mentioned that it could be 'podcast' (ie played back anytime) on the website. Then, the link I followed not only led me to her shows, but also what seems like a bunch of other decent voices from the left. So, I thought I'd pass it along. And I'll also add it to the lists on the left. Podcast Page

Afghanistan says foreign fighters coming from Iraq

Afghanistan says foreign fighters coming from Iraq on

Interesting. For years we heard about the 'foreign fighters' in Iraq. Of course, they never showed up as prisoners captured after actions, or as dead bodies on the battlefield. Analysis of those sorts of hard facts always showed the Iraqi resistance was almost entirely Iraqi. There were a few foreign fighters, but never the numbers that were implied by the propaganda about them.

Now, amazingly enough, as the US shifts its active war fighting from Iraq to Afghanistan, these mythical foreign fighters are also flocking to Afghanistan.

Growing up in East Tennessee, I used to watch some pro wrestling on TV. I became convinced that they only had a limited number of scripts that were constantly recycled. Now I'm starting to think the same thing about US propaganda. They really don't have many new stories to tell. They just keep recycling the same scripts over and over. Heck, this reminds me a lot about those nasty Cubans and Soviets that were flooding into Nicaragua so they could drive up through Texas and thus destroy the American way of life. Same script, they just changed the name of the bad guys. These days with computers and printers, they don't even have to use 'white-out'.