- With GOP-Controlled Congress, Roubini Predicts US "Fiscal Train Wreck" [If the Republicans win the election next week ] the U.S. economy is a "fiscal train wreck" waiting to happen that risks ushering in a period of stagnation featuring by minimal growth, high unemployment and deflationary pressure, U.S. economist Nouriel Roubini wrote on Friday.
- Climate Change Denial Pervades US Elections Meanwhile, the issue of climate change is being used by conservative candidates to rally support from right-wing voters, such as those affiliated with the Tea Party movement.
- Climate change: The Evidence So I’ll be clear: climate change is real. The average temperature of the Earth is increasing. This is almost certainly due to mankind’s influence on the environment.
No Republican running for a Senate seat openly supports limiting greenhouse gas emissions, as the proposal for a cap and trade system approved by the U.S. House but rejected by the Senate in 2009 would have done. Many candidates even actively deny the validity of climate change and the science behind it.
- November 2, Creative Destruction and ‘Repealing the 20th Century’ ...protecting Corporate America's ability to engage in creative destruction is the central reason behind the unprecedented flow of corporate money [going to Republicans and Tea Party candidates] from the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads flowing into this midterm election season.
- Child Soldiers Not a Problem for USA In a decision critics say has undermined a powerful new law, the United States has decided to turn a blind eye to four countries that use child soldiers in their armed forces.
- BP, Halliburton Knew Well Cement Was 'Unstable' BP and its cement contractor, Halliburton (the company former vice president Dick Cheney ran), knew weeks before the Deepwater Horizon explosion that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the new well was unstable but still completed the work, staff for the presidential commission investigating the accident said in a letter Thursday.
- Beck's "Us Vs.Them" In All Its Twisted Glory Charles Wilson, jailed last week for threatening to kill a Washington senator who voted for health care reform, was "under the spell that Glenn Beck cast...his fears were grown and fostered by Beck's persuasive personality," wrote a cousin attesting to his character, if not his taste in "pundits".
- Lack of WikiLeaks coverage disturbing, but not surprising The sad lack of coverage ("Sunday talk shows largely ignore WikiLeaks' Iraq files") of the leak of unfiltered, publicly owned information from the latest WikiLeak is disturbing, but not historically out of the ordinary for major American media.
Three cheers for the U.S.! While a handful of American soldiers -- a few bad apples -- may have abused Iraqi detainees in hellholes like Abu Ghraib, those detainees "fared worse in Iraqi hands," so we weren't as bad as the new Iraqi tyrants were. That's the way TheNew York Times chose to frame these revelations. And while that article mentions in passing that "most [abuse cases] noted in the archive seemed to have been ignored, with the equivalent of an institutional shrug," the vast bulk of the article focuses on Iraqi rather than American wrongdoing and even includes substantial efforts to exculpate the American role ("American soldiers, however, often intervened").
The difference in how (a) the NYT "reported on" -- i.e., whitewashed -- these horrific, incriminating revelations about the U.S. and (b) the rest of the world media reported on it, could not be more vast. Again, even Politico understood its significance, as this was the first line of its article: "Newly released Iraq war documents paint a devastating portrait of apparent U.S. indifference to a pattern of murder and torture by the Iraqi army, raising new questions about the Obama administration's plans to transfer the nation's security operations to Iraqi units." But the NYT in its headline chose to venerate the superiority of American detainee treatment, while barely mentioning one of the most critical revelations from this leak.
The notion that the Obama administration not only should -- but must -- investigate the role its military played in enabling this widespread, stomach-turning torture and abuse in Iraq is simply suppressed in American political discourse, most of all by the newspaper which played the leading role in enabling the attack on that country in the first place. It's not hard to see why. The last thing American political and media elites in general want is a discussion of the legal obligations to investigate torture and bring the torturers to legal account, and the last thing which enablers of the Iraq War specifically want is a focus on how we not only allowed but participated in the very human rights abuses which we claimed (and still claim) our invasion would stop.
UPDATE: Note, too, how the NYTin its article on brutal detainee abuse steadfastly avoids using the word "torture" to describe what was done, consistent with its U.S.-Government-serving formal policy of refusing to use that word where U.S. policy is involved. By stark contrast, virtually every other media account uses that term to describe the heinous abuse of detainees chronicled by this leak, the only term that accurately applies: seeThe Guardian ("American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes"); BBC (US "ignored Iraq torture"); Politico ("a devastating portrait of apparent U.S. indifference to a pattern of murder and torture by the Iraqi army"). BoingBoing appropriately mocks the NYT's increasingly humiliating no-"torture" policy by creating a euphemism-generator.
UPDATE II: The Daily Beast has an extraordinary article today by Ellen Knickmeyer, who was The Washington Post's Baghdad Chief during much of the war. The headline of the article is "WikiLeaks Exposes Rumsfeld's Lies," and she writes: "Thanks to Wikileaks, though, I now know the extent to which top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world, as the Iraq mission exploded." She documents how WikiLeaked documents prove that Rumsfeld and other top military and political officials outright lied about the state of Iraq in 2006.
This is the type of language which the NYT and Washington Post would never, ever use; it's undoubtedly true that Knickmeyer could not have written this if she were still at the Post. Our leading establishment news outlets use far more deference and respect and muted language when talking about High Government Officials. They'll unleash a slew of insults about Julian Assange's mental health and alleged personality faults -- and viciously malign anyone who lacks power in their world -- but they would never dare use language like this when talking about a political or military official who wields power. Knickmeyer had to leave the Post in order to speak the truth this way.
UPDATE III: Michael Calderone of Yahoo! News documents how the Sunday news shows barely bothered to discuss the substance of the WikiLeaks documents at all. Even worse, on ABC News, Diane Sawyer demands to know whether WikiLeaks -- but not the U.S. Government officials responsible for perpetrating and sanctioning torture in Iraq -- will be arrested. To paraphrase that exchange:
WikiLeaks documents: There was mass torture, abuse, government deceit, reckless civilian deaths in Iraq.
Diane Sawyer: WillWikiLeaks be arrested?
As I wrote yesterday: "serving the Government's interests, siding with government and military officials, and attacking government critics is what they do. That's their role. That's what makes them the 'establishment media'."
London After Midnight / Sean Brennan