Thursday, June 05, 2014

Censuring Project Censorship

Every year the Reader Weekly publishes excerpts from Project Censored, “The News That Didn't Make The News”, and every year I gnash my teeth over at least half the items.  I’ve already read about them someplace else.  If they were censored, how did they get published so that I already knew about them?  If they were censored stories, how did the authors of these items get all their information?  And if they were censored, how did they get public coverage through Project Censored?  Wouldn’t the “censors” have closed Project Censored’ offices?

This year I’ll try a bit harder to find out where all of these items did make the news.

Widespread GMO Contamination: Did Monsanto Plant GMOs Before USDA Approval?

I am not surprised.  Monsanto has had widespread objection to its products and practices for years.

I searched for “monsanto gmo contamination 2000”.  A History Commons article gives citations from the Washington Post and others from 1999 and from the New York Times from 2000

Pennsylvania Law Gags Doctors to Protect Big Oil’s “Proprietary Secrets”

The Philadelphia Inquirer apparently didn’t know that this story was censored.  In December and January it ran stories on this law in its site. The law is being contested in state courts.  That law is even being opposed by local Republican politicians; one even thought all the state Republicans should be turned out of office in the next election.

The Power of Peaceful Revolution in Iceland

I knew that years ago Icelanders turned out the government that let banks run rampant.  The new government did not bail the banks out.  They let the banks take their own losses rather than  “socialize” the losses as so many other countries did.

Food Riots: The New Normal?

I expected that this could happen given global warming and government corruption impoverishing many countries.  But there could also be a bright side.  Education, cell phones, and local electricity are giving many people the power to better their own lives.  And not all live in areas overrun by militant, religious extremists.

Journalism Under Attack Around the Globe

What’s new?  There have been many reports about attacks on journalists.  Reporters without Borders have been working for years to end violence against reporters.  One of the latest was a German photographer shot point blank in Afghanistan.  And an Italian reporter was killed in Ukraine.

The US Has Left Iraq with an Epidemic of Cancers and Birth Defects

This is not surprising considering the amount of toxic junk left by the military.  I’ve seen many stories about the depleted uranium shells left behind and its dangers.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Threatens a Regime of Corporate Global Governance

This title is ambiguous.  Does TPP threaten an existing “regime of corporate global governance”?  Or does it threaten to bring about a “regime of corporate global governance”?

I’ve seen the latter complaint before, many times.  There are many opposed to TPP who have been vociferous in their condemnation of it.  I’ve read many stories about the requested “fast track” authority and the secrecy about what is in the agreement.  Those voting for TPP ought to consider what happened with the PATRIOT Act.  Most did not read it.  I know of one case in which a Senator read the act and refused to vote for it.

What we probably can know for sure is that the “greatest deliberative body in the world” probably won’t deliberate much.

A Fifth of Americans Go Hungry

This headline is a sweeping generalization of the real problem described afterward.  Going hungry once a year is not the same as always being hungry.  Going hungry through no fault of one’s own is bad enough, but generalizations weaken the case for helping those who do.

Another side is that many unwittingly go hungry even though they have plenty of food.  The “American diet” is filled with food that only increases hunger, food brought to you through the “hard work” and “generosity” of big-ag.

Bank Interests Inflate Global Prices by 35 to 40 Percent

There is a simple explanation; it is called compounding.   Most everything we consume or use is produced by a pyramid of suppliers, each paying interest on its loans and expecting profit. 

Mary sells a widget to John.  John uses Mary’s widget to make a thingamajig.  John sells his thingamajig to Carl.  Carl uses John’s thingamajig to make a whatchamacallit. Carl sells his whatchamacallit to Karen.  Karen uses Carl’s whatchamacallit to make “The Latest Great Thing”.

Assuming the value added at each stage was twenty percent and each paid five percent interest on his or her costs, the accumulated interest is 15.5 percent.  The longer the chain of suppliers, the greater the compounding of interest.  And we aren’t including the interest each of these producers is paying for a house, a car, and a credit card.  And all that interest is not going just to banksters.  Many a pension is paid for by interest.  Many colleges, foundations, and charities depend on the interest and dividends paid on invested donations.

Richest Global 1 Percent Hide Trillions in Tax Havens

Many have complained about this.  It seems I see at least one story a week about tax havens.

Bradley Manning and the Failure of Corporate Media

We don’t know the rationale of rejection by the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Politico.  These are only three of dozens of corporate media.  This is a sweeping generalization too much like too many other sweeping generalizations of all X do Y.  The Huffington Post did report in 2013 that Manning did reveal he tried to reach these media organizations, but he received no answers.  The real question is did those at the lower echelons who received his messages have any reason to believe his credibility.

Think about it!  How often has your contact with any large corporation gone past the first person you reached?

As far as “corporate media” shunning the story, I can easily find many articles at the time of his trial.  I do know that I got tired of reading about it.

Manning’s sexual orientation was new to me after his trial.

Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams Faces Environmental Charges in Spain

Wisconsin Public Radio has been publishing stories about the Spanish pollution charges against Bill Williams.  I don’t know how often they have to cover it to have more than “little coverage”.  The Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative has published several stories.  Maybe about 4,000 followers means little coverage, but how many more read these stories without becoming followers?  Other publications reporting these charges include The Daily Press of Ashland, WDIO, Sawyer County Record of Hayward, and Business North (KUWS story),

Police Brutality and Disregard for People’s Rights

These stories are always coming up.  Sadly, these abuses have been going on for a long time.  Joseph Wambaugh, a police officer who became a novelist in the 1970’s, wrote about some of these abuses in his stories.

Protests Everywhere and No One Cares

Who the hell are the Smiley Cyprus and Dustin Peeper mentioned in this section?  I certainly don’t care to read much about their escapades.

I read about the Venezuela protests in the News Tribune or Star Tribune.

Could the Rome protests be about a story in La Repubblica?  La Repubblica reported that the head of the Ukraine Communist Party was accused of being a sniper, beaten, and forced to kiss a cross.  This story appeared in, an online Communist journal.  Contropiano’s story was published March 1, 2014, but La Repubblica ran a correction on February 22 that the party official was not a sniper!

My conclusion

My “censorship” is your “lack of interest” and vice versa.  We would have to spend all day and all night reading all the stories that may have some interest to us.  But we can never keep up with all that others may consider important.

Almost every day I read the Duluth News Tribune, the Star Tribune, and the New York Times.  Do I read everything published in them?  Come on, I would like to do a lot of other things besides read news on a screen, especially news about the doings of Cypress and Beeper.

People are highly selective in what they read.  Some read only the sports; some, the headlines, some, the entertainment, and on and on.  Because you and I take note of economic treaties doesn’t mean everybody else does.

I know this very well! I’ve been beating the drum that Adam Smith has been misinterpreted.  Other than the copy that was in the Reader (“The Invisible Adam Smith”), I doubt if one hundred people have read that article in my blog.  Has my view been censored?  No, it has only been overwhelmed by millions of articles that are more interesting to tens of millions of readers.

Mel is a gullible skeptic.  Sometimes he swallows somebody's line; sometimes he tries to figure out what is really going on.

Published in Reader Weekly, 2014-06-05,