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5/20/2006

I am a blogger! Hear me roar !

by http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/

The mainstream media has finally acknowledged what has been obvious for quite some time; that the Internet web logs, or "blogs", are here to stay. Far from being a passing fad, blogs like the present one existed before the word "blog" was coined to describe them. After nearly 12 years, and a readership that exceeds that of most city newspapers, the suggestion that blogs like this one are a passing fancy is at best wishful thinking.

The mainstream media has long attempted to dismiss blogs as somehow "unprofessional", usually because blogs are not vast centers of commerce. Occasionally there will be a gratuitous hit piece, attempting to portray the Internet as a haven for child molesters second only to the clergy. Always there is the implication that blogs should not be taken seriously because the bloggers don't play the game by the same rules as the mainstream media.

With regard to that last one, it is true that the blogs don't play by the same rules as the mainstream media. We have neither governments, owners, nor advertisers imposing rules on us. Media entities with huge overheads can be bought. Reporters will trade their souls for a ride on Air Force One. Private Blogs (as opposed to blogs set up by public relations firms pretending to be private blogs) running on spare change are immune to that sort of thing.

Recently, the media proclaimed "let the battle begin" relative to mainstream media versus the blogs. As has become the norm, the mainstream media is behind the curve. The battle between the mainstream media and the blogs started a long time ago.

The mainstream media's recent focus has been on the blogs' role in the Jeff Gannon story. This is because the mainstream media does NOT want the focus going anywhere else, say, the fact that the mainstream media aided the Presidential lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, while the private blogs correctly exposed those lies as soon as they were uttered. In the battle for credibility between the mainstream media and the blogs, the blogs won that round, hands down. History may judge that the watershed moment, when the public trust in the mainstream media dipped below the level of trust of the blogs.

Another "debate" between the mainstream media and the blogs that the mainstream media hopes you will forget relates to the Anthrax Letters sent to various people immediately after 9-11. The mainstream media put the focus on Stephen Hatfill, a "person of interest", and kept that focus there despite a complete lack of any evidence connecting him to the crime. Meanwhile, a small town newspaper, the Hartford Courant, blew the lid off of the cover-up by revealing the name of a man actually caught on the security system entering the area where the particular strain of Anthrax used in the letters was kept, without proper authorization, and AFTER being fired from his job at the lab for a racially motivated attack on an Egyptian co-worker. The mainstream media ignored the story, but it was the blogs that made the name of Dr. Philip Zack, the man caught entering the Anthrax storage area, a household word. And it was the blogs, not the mainstream media, that asked why the FBI remained so totally focused on Hatfill, for whom no evidence existed, while going out of their way not to talk to Zack.

Then there is 9-11 itself. The mainstream media reported the official story that a "raging inferno" caused the collapse of the twin towers. That there had never been a case of a steel framed building collapsing from fire was never mentioned by the mainstream media, again it was up to the blogs to make that fact known. Likewise, when photos surfaced showing people looking out the holes of the towers and waving at the ground, proving that there could not have been any such raging inferno, the mainstream media again ignored the story, while the blogs got the word out.

Admittedly, Fox News did report one important story about 9-11, that of the arrested Israeli spies, but quickly pulled the story because of public pressure from AIPAC. I imagine their was egg on a few faces when AIPAC was named in the latest Israeli spy scandal, but if the mainstream media was pressured into reporting the Pentagon spies by the blogs, they still failed to note what was obvious to all, that the Pentagon office infiltrated by the spy operation was the very same office from which all those now discredited claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction flowed. The mainstream media can't (or won't) make the obvious connection between Israeli spies and lies about Iraq. Only the blogs have had the courage.

The mainstream media today beats its breast and wonders what it can do to regain its former credibility. Sadly, there is a great deal of history to overcome. Jeff Gannon is only the most recent fraud to surface. There was the New York Times' Jayson Blair, caught stealing stories or fabricating them outright. ABC has a rather nasty reputation for fakery. 20/20 broadcast a story claiming that lab tests proved that food bought at organic stores contained the same amounts of pesticides as food from major supermarket chains. A follow up investigation revealed that ABC had never even sent the samples to a lab for tests of any kind. John Stossel was forced to apologize on-air. ABC's Primetime Live was caught faking footage that showed bad meat being sold by the Food Lion Supermarket chain. An apology wasn't enough in that case, ABC was sued and lost, paying Food Lion $5.5 million in damages. ABC Producer Rick Kaplan was "punished" with a better job at CNN. Nor is ABC alone in their abuse of the public trust. NBC Dateline defamed a trucking company in a report which manufactured claims of unsafe driving. NBC had to pay a half million in damages. Stephen Glass, a reporter at the New Republic, wrote several award winning articles which reinforced the liberals preconceived notions about conservatives and the nation at large. One example involved a story of a conservative conference that degenerated into drug use and group sex. The story passed editorial review and ran without basic fact checking. The story turned out to be a fabrication, along with almost 1/3 of the total work product of Glass's career at New Republic. Patricia Smith resigned her job at the Boston Globe after having to admit she fabricated characters for one of her stories. Later investigation shows that 52 of her articles for the newspaper could not be verified as factual. Smith had been a finalist for a Pulitzer prize at the time of her disgrace. Mike Barnicle refused to resign his job at the Boston Globe after having been caught plagiarizing, and was fired. It was not the first time he had been investigated for fraud in his articles. Barnicle was suspended without pay for two months, which prompted an accusation of racial bias from the NAACP due to the difference in treatment between the white Barnicle and the black Pat Smith. Both CNN and Tom Brokaw settled out-of-court with Richard Jewell. The Wall Street Journal lost a record libel suit filed by a Texas company, paying $200-million in damages. And on and on and on and on and on...

The mainstream media's attitude is perhaps best typified by the story of Fox News and the Monsanto Synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone. A team of reporters, Steve Wilson & Jane Akre, researched the effects of synthetic bovine growth hormone on cattle and discovered that a great deal of evidence exists that people who consume the meat or dairy products from treated cattle can suffer adverse health effects. Monsanto got wind of the story and together with dairy associations pressured Fox News to shut the story down. Fox News ordered the reporters to change the story, the reporters refused and Fox fired them. The reporters sued and LOST on appeal when the court ruled that since there is no law requiring the media to tell the truth about anything, the mainstream media is within their legal rights to fire reporters who refuse to lie! As a side note, that legal precedent is troubling when one realizes that our national elections are counted by a privately owned company, owned jointly by the TV networks (who are not bound by law to tell the truth) and not subject to either citizen or governmental oversight.

So, when it comes to regaining their credibility, the mainstream media has a huge mountain to climb. It should come as no surprise that the mainstream media, rather than start telling the truth, has decided that it is easier to try to discredit the bloggers. And so we get phony blogs operated by public relations firms and various intelligence agencies that put out total nonsense, such as pods on the 9-11 planes, so that the mainstream media can point to it on cue and say "See, we told you they were loons", as Popular Mechanics is doing in their March issue.

But in the end, such dirty tricks only work if the public doesn't know the tricks are there, and because of the blogs, the tired old cold-war-relic propaganda tricks are now widely known and easily spotted by the public at large. The numbers make it clear. Total viewership of the network news is in decline, while readership of the blogs is exploding. The public has become skeptical and now trusts only themselves to sort out what is true and what is false. That is a very healthy thing.

The battle between the mainstream media and the blogs isn't starting. It's already over. The blogs won.

See also: Alternative Media Amplifies as Mainstream Gatekeepers Decline

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5/13/2006

America No. 1 ???

America Number 1 Large GloveAmerica is an Empire. An empire without a manufacturing base. An empire that must borrow $2 billion a day from its competitors in order to function. Yet the delusion is ineradicable. No. 1?
Well...here are some facts:

  • The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

  • The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NY Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

  • Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).

  • "The International Adult Literacy Survey...found that Americans with less than nine years of education 'score worse than virtually all of the other countries'" (Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, p.78).

  • Our workers are so ignorant and lack so many basic skills that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training (NY Times, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!

  • "The European Union leads the U.S. in...the number of science and engineering graduates; public research and development (R&D) expenditures; and new capital raised" (The European Dream, p.70).

  • "Europe surpassed the United States in the mid-1990s as the largest producer of scientific literature" (The European Dream, p.70).

  • Nevertheless, Congress cut funds to the National Science Foundation. The agency will issue 1,000 fewer research grants this year (NY Times, Dec. 21, 2004).

  • Foreign applications to U.S. grad schools declined 28 percent last year. Foreign student enrollment on all levels fell for the first time in three decades, but increased greatly in Europe and China. Last year Chinese grad-school graduates in the U.S. dropped 56 percent, Indians 51 percent, South Koreans 28 percent (NY Times, Dec. 21, 2004). America is not the place to be anymore.

  • The World Health Organization "ranked the countries of the world in terms of overall health performance, and the U.S. [was]...37th." In the fairness of health care, the US is 54th. "The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more and get less.

  • "The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're keeping.

  • Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NY Times, Jan. 12, 2005.)

  • "U.S. childhood poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. Only Mexico scores lower" (The European Dream, p.81). Been to Mexico lately? Does it look "developed" to you? Yet it's the only "developed" country to score lower in childhood poverty.

  • Twelve million American families--more than 10 percent of all U.S. households--"continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NY Times, Nov. 22, 2004).

  • The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NY Times, Jan. 12, 2005).

  • Pregnant women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NY Times, Jan. 12, 2005).

  • The leading cause of death of pregnant women in America is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).

  • "Of the 20 most developed countries in the world, the U.S. was dead last in the growth rate of total compensation to its workforce in the 1980s.... In the 1990s, the U.S. average compensation growth rate grew only slightly, at an annual rate of about 0.1 percent" (The European Dream, p.39). Yet Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.

  • "Sixty-one of the 140 biggest companies on the Global Fortune 500 rankings are European, while only 50 are U.S. companies" (The European Dream, p.66). "In a recent survey of the world's 50 best companies, conducted by Global Finance, all but one were European" (The European Dream, p.69).

  • "Fourteen of the 20 largest commercial banks in the world today are European.... In the chemical industry, the European company BASF is the world's leader, and three of the top six players are European. In engineering and construction, three of the top five companies are European.... The two others are Japanese. Not a single American engineering and construction company is included among the world's top nine competitors. In food and consumer products, Nestle and Unilever, two European giants, rank first and second, respectively, in the world. In the food and drugstore retail trade, two European companies...are first and second, and European companies make up five of the top ten. Only four U.S. companies are on the list" (The European Dream, p.68).

  • The United States has lost 1.3 million jobs to China in the last decade (CNN, Jan. 12, 2005).

  • U.S. employers eliminated 1 million jobs in 2004 (The Week, Jan. 14, 2005).

  • Three million six hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment insurance last year; 1.8 million--one in five--unemployed workers are jobless for more than six months (NY Times, Jan. 9, 2005).

  • Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40 percent of our government debt. (That's why we talk nice to them.) "By helping keep mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NY Times, Dec. 4, 2004). Read that again! America owes its housing boom to China, because they want America to keep buying all the products that they manufacture.

  • Sometime in the next 10 years, Brazil will probably pass the U.S. as the world's largest agricultural producer. Brazil is now the world's largest exporter of chickens, orange juice, sugar, coffee, and tobacco. Last year, Brazil passed the U.S. as the world's largest beef producer. As a result, while America deals with record trade deficits, Brazil boasts a $30 billion trade surplus (NY Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

  • As of last June, the U.S. imported more food than it exported (NY Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

  • Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible voters who didn't vote: 79,279,000 (NY Times, Dec. 26, 2004). That's more than a third.

  • One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house. (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004).

  • "Americans are now spending more money on gambling than on movies, videos, DVDs, music, and books combined" (The European Dream, p.28).

  • "Nearly one out of four Americans [believe] that using violence to get what they want is acceptable" (The European Dream, p.32).

  • Forty-three percent of Americans think torture is sometimes justified, according to a PEW Poll (Associated Press, Aug. 19, 2004).

  • "Nearly 900,000 children were abused or neglected in 2002, the last year for which such data are available" (USA Today, Dec. 21, 2004).

  • "The International Association of Chiefs of Police said that cuts by the [Bush] administration in federal aid to local police agencies have left the nation more vulnerable than ever" (USA Today, Nov. 17, 2004).

No. 1? In most important categories, America was not even in the Top 10. Not even close.

The USA is "No. 1" in nothing but weaponry, consumer spending, debt, and delusion.


US 'no longer technology king'

BBC - Thursday, 29 March 2007

Demonstration at a recent technology fair in Singapore Singapore was among the nations ranked higher than the US The US has lost its position as the world's primary engine of technology innovation, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

NETWORKED READINESS INDEX RANKINGS 2006 (2005)

1: Denmark (3)
2: Sweden (8)
3: Singapore (2)
4: Finland (5)
5: Switzerland (9)
6: Netherlands (12)
7: US (1)
8: Iceland (4)
9: UK (10)
10: Norway (13)
Source: WEF

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