Category "Video"

American Corporations Profiting From Nazi Germany During World War II

January 28th, 2015 by Andy in Corporations, 'Democracy' & USA Inc., Video

With all of the stories and events taking place this week commemorating the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, it got me thinking once again about about these reports I remember reading and watching many years ago, and which I had always intended to post something about.

It concerns this rather interesting segment from the film “The Corporation” on the history of American corporate collusion with enemy nations during the Second World War in order to keep the profits going. This includes how IBM’s proprietary punch card system was used to help manage the Holocaust in Europe. Unfortunately, this information rarely, if ever, gets discussed in history classes. Or, more importantly, in business schools.

International investigative author Edwin Black (who is featured in the video), has done extensive work on this subject, and published more updated information on IBM’s role in the Holocaust earlier this year on The Huffington Post.

And if one thinks this story is an anomaly, a deviation from the norm of how global corporate capital functions all-too-often in the world, this report from The Washington Post serves as a sorry and disturbing reminder of what constitutes “business as usual,” one of the important elements of American history airbrushed out of the mainstream narrative. Yesterday it was places like Nazi Germany, later to manifest itself in places like Chile and Guatemala, today China…the quest for profit at any cost (usually to be incurred by someone else, of course) never ceases.

No, North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony: Another American Propaganda Success Story

January 21st, 2015 by Andy in Propaganda & Faux News, Video

How many times will Americans keep falling for uncorroborated government claims? Propaganda and jingoistic fear mongering is like feeding candy to babies. As I was noting as soon as this meme started spreading, none of this was adding up.

And yet, as if on cue, so many people started using social media to pile on with vituperative rhetoric about “striking back” at Korea, or some such knee jerk reactionary responses. Really, what does it take for people to begin to stop buying face value the claims of the government, particularly after a long, sordid and bloody history of disasters that have resulted from such mindless incredulity? You’d think people would eventually learn. But then, Hitler, Hearst, Lenin, Bernays, Atwater, Rove, Goebbels, Ailes, and all the successful propagandists of their place and time continue to be proven right again and again. Sad. No, not just sad. Pathetic.

Marc Rogers at The Daily Beast was one of the early ones to write critically about the claims being made.

Here, Tim Shorrock, investigative journalist and author whose been following Korean issues for over 30 years, lays on some insightful critiques on a recent edition of Democracy Now!

Well, first of all, the person she just mentioned, Bruce Bennett, who was a consultant on this film, works for the RAND Corporation, which is a think tank for the U.S. military and has been for decades. And it so happens that the Sony CEO happens to sit on the board of directors of the RAND Corporation. It has—Sony has extensive ties with the U.S. national security system. Its CIO used to work for the secretary of defense, in terms of their—guarding their internal security. That’s one point.

But, you know, second, I think that—you know, that this attack began in late November, early December. At that time, this cyber-attack was run by this group that you mentioned, this GOP, Guardians of Peace. They made no mention whatsoever of the film. It was all about Sony and its internal racism and that kind of thing. I have seen no indication whatsoever that there was any similarity—some real similarity of this attack to anything that North Korea has been accused of before. And, you know, many cyber experts, from Kim Zetter of Wired to Marc Rogers and others, have raised real questions about the FBI evidence.

And so, I think it’s appalling that President Obama goes on a national stage, a global stage, on Friday and basically declares cyberwar, and then, a couple days later, ratchets it back to some kind of like cybernuisance, you know, cybervandalism. And of course North Korea is going to respond to basically a declaration of war by the president of the United States.

And, you know, we have a massive build-up going on in Asia, military build-up. And I think, you know, we need to keep North Korea as the enemy, as the armed enemy that’s going to attack us at any moment, so we can defend these bases in Japan, particularly in Okinawa, which are the focus of a massive public protest. You may have noticed—Americans didn’t notice, but Okinawans and Japanese voted to pull these bases out in recent elections. They want the U.S. forward bases removed.

So, I think there’s a lot of political, you know, situation going on here, a lot of politics going on that’s completely unnoticed. And I think it’s shameful of The New York Times, once again, to be in the leadership of spinning out these claims, dubious claims, and, you know, possibly instigating another war, another confrontation.

There have been a number of other informative pieces on this issue, as well. These include Dan Sanchez at Antiwar.com who chronicles how Emails Reveal US State Department Influenced Sony’s “The Interview” so as to Encourage Assassination and Regime Change in North Korea

William Boot Here at The Daily Beast reveals some of the State Department’s involvement with this cinematic project.

The Daily Beast has unearthed several emails that reveal at least two U.S. government officials screened a rough cut of the Kim Jong-Un assassination comedy The Interview in late June and gave the film—including a final scene that sees the dictator’s head explode—their blessing.

The claim that the State Department played an active role in the decision to include the film’s gruesome death scene is likely to cause fury in Pyongyang. Emails between the Sony Entertainment CEO and a security consultant even appear to suggest the U.S. government may support the notion that The Interview would be useful propaganda against the North Korean regime.

Gregory Elich provides some diagnosis Here as to who was behind the Sony hack at Counterpunch

The cyberattack on Sony Pictures unleashed a torrent of alarmist media reports, evoking the image of North Korean perfidy. Within a month, the FBI issued a statement declaring the North Korean government “responsible for these actions.”

Amid the media frenzy, several senators and congresspersons called for tough action. Arizona Senator John McCain blustered, “It’s a new form of warfare that we’re involved in, and we need to react and react vigorously.” President Barack Obama announced his administration planned to review the possibility of placing North Korea on the list of states sponsoring terrorism, a move that would further tighten the already harsh sanctions on North Korea. “They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond,” Obama warned darkly. “We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.”

In the rush to judgment, few were asking for evidence, and none was provided. Computer security analysts, however, were vocal in their skepticism.

And the regurgitation of uncorroborated government claims by the nation’s elite press is something Glenn Greenwald has amply dismantled and deconstructed over the years, and again does his usual acidlcally thorough job in detailing this whole affair, as well. Worth the read Here

Notice how the issue over the past couple of weeks has been dropped by much of the media, as the government, when confronted with all of this countervailing evidence, has seemed to have become less vocal about its accusations. Whether we’ll really get to the bottom of this nor not remains to be seen. I wouldn’t hold my breath, however, considering the volume of historical events, including wars and assassinations that have gone unaccounted for over this nation’s history.

Hello, NSA

May 29th, 2014 by Andy in Patriot Act & The Surveillance State, Video

Hello NSA,

Thank you for being there and for really listening.

Kissing Kissinger - Honoring ‘Heroes’ In America

April 24th, 2014 by Andy in Bush League, Video

How fitting. General David Petraeus giving a “Freedom Award” to his “hero,” the “honorable” Henry A. Kissinger (in a ceremony as tacky as it is absurd). He even kisses ol’ Henry, just to reiterate the depth of his subservient affection for one of history’s most amoral manipulators of power. Kissinger then blows off a man who personally confronts him with questions, calling the questioner a “self-serving coward.” In the standard parlance of psychology, this is called “projection.”

I hope the words “you know this is a lie” ring over and over in his ears on his deathbed. Perhaps there will be a moment of existential dread as he takes his final breath, in realization of what a monster he has been in this world, and the literally millions of people who have suffered due to him and his actions.

And watch this for some background on just how free the ‘Freedom Awards’ are. This gives you a pretty good idea of the type of hermetic, insular, and extensively protected bubble that power exists within.

And as for David Petraeus? That Golden Boy of American war and clandestine services (both the ones he managed, as well as those personally rendered), has, as Tom Engelhardt reported, taken the next spin through the revolving door of “rehabilitation.” The general “who never had a victory and yet never stopped rising” has now reemerged on, yep, you guessed it…Wall Street.

According to Gawker, “David Petraeus’ road to redemption has reached its gilded destination. As we first reported in April, the disgraced former CIA director will join Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity giant best known for ‘large debt-fueled corporate takeovers’.”

And for more insight on the depth of the criminogenic duplicity of one Henry A. Kissinger, there are few places better to start than Christopher Hitchen’s detailed expose’, The Case Against Henry Kissinger. For those of you who may not have time for the literary edition, you can watch the movie version, as well.

FDR and the Fight for the Four Freedoms

April 14th, 2014 by Andy in Politics In America, Video

A friend of mine, historian Harvey J. Kaye, has a new book out on FDR and the Fight For The Four Freedoms, and the need for reinvigorating the fight for them today. This is a project he’s been working on for many years, and it strikes me as more relevant and needed today than ever.

Our society loves to celebrate the “greatest generation” and the heroes of World War II and all. Harvey sheds some essential light upon what exactly they were fighting for, and the type of society that most Americans were setting out to protect and advance through the sacrifices made in that war (principles that have been sold out from under us by our recent generation of neo-liberal market fundamentalists).

Here, Harvey talks to Bill Moyers in an enlightening and inspiring discussion, worth the few minutes of viewing time.

You can also watch Harvey talk about FDR, as well as the legacy of Thomas Paine, in an hour-long interview with Thom Hartmann. Kaye also makes this short appearance on another of Hartmann’s programs in to talk about the fight for the Four Freedoms.

‘Legalize Democracy’ - Time To Move To Amend

April 12th, 2014 by Andy in Corporations, 'Democracy' & USA Inc., Video

Formed in September 2009, Move To Amend is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.

We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

Legalize Democracy is a documentary film by Dennis Trainor, Jr. about the movement to amend — why it is needed, and how you can get involved.

Help spread the word by hosting a house party to support Move To Amend and show the film. Details about hosting a party are Here

America as a ‘Horror Show’ and the Fraud of Its Politics

February 20th, 2014 by Andy in America and Its Revolution...Is it Over?, Video

I referenced this interview between Bill Moyers and acclaimed journalist and television producer David Simon in a previous posting, but it is so good, so lucidly candid, so completely on the money in its analysis of just what is happening to America politically, economically, socially, that it needed to be highlighted again. I cannot emphasize enough as to the how and why the points presented here by Simon should be seen by all Americans. This should be required reading/viewing in every social studies and political science classroom in the country.

It is well worth the 20 minutes of your time it will take to watch it.

We’ve changed and we’ve become contemptuous of the idea that we are all in this together.

The monetization of human beings like that, you know, anybody tells you that the markets will solve everything, the libertarian ideal.

I can’t get past just how juvenile the thought is that if you just let the markets be the markets, they’ll solve everything.

You know, America worked when there was tension between capital and labor, when there– when neither side won all of its victories, when they were fighting. It’s in the fight that we got healthy, that we transformed a working class into a middle class, that we became a consumer economy that drove the world for about half a century.

——–

And yet that’s the kind of argument that supply-side economics is. Give us, the job makers, the money and we’ll make jobs. Not with all of it you won’t. A lot of it’s going to Wall Street and it’s going to sit there and it’s going to be subjected to much less tax liabilities, the capital gains. You know, the scam of it, the scam of what America’s become, you know, give the money to the rich and they’ll see that you’re not poor. Is that really what you’re saying?

——–

But ultimately, capitalism has not delivered on the promise to be a measurement of anything other than money, of profit. And if profit is your only metric, man, what are you building? Where does the environment fit into that? Where does human potential and you know, for anything other than having some money in your hand, you know, where does, where do people stand when they have health needs or when they make a mistake in life? You know, it was said a long time ago you judge a society by is hospitals and its prisons. By that standard we’re, you know, we have a lot to be ashamed of.

——-

You know, I’ve had the sensation over the last twenty — and before The Wire, even, I mean, when I was just a police reporter in Baltimore — of hearing people inside the beltway speak about the American city or about urban issues or about things that I actually knew a little bit about. And they would talk about it you know, I’d be listening to, you know, a Gingrich or even some well-meaning liberal. And I would think, I would love to have these guys in my Volkswagen Passat and just kick them out on the corner at Monroe and Fayette and you know, and just leave them there for a month, you know, and just see if they can you stop them from saying this stuff with just a little bit of aware.

——-

You know, government and democracy in particular, it is about constant battle, it’s about nothing ever being fixed or ever being right. We will never solve a problem to the point where we can walk away from it and the machine will, you know devour the problem without our attending to it.

There will always be conflict, there will always be competing interests that force us to engage in the hard job of governing ourselves. And so the anti-government thing strikes me as a perversity. I don’t think the founding fathers would recognize it. They were constructing a government of the people. That’s their language and I think that’s their belief.

And the idea that the government is some, you know, once we start regarding it as some alien force that we can’t control, we’re done, democracy’s done. That’s the last stage of walking away from the responsibility of governing ourselves. If we can’t control it, if it is going to be a purchased government, if we can’t institute the reforms that are necessary, then we’re done, we’re done right now.

Read The Interview Transcript

The Divide Between The Two Americas of Rich and Poor and What It Means

February 5th, 2014 by Andy in America and Its Revolution...Is it Over?, Video

David Simon, a journalist and producer of the popular television series The Wire, delivers one of the most succinct descriptions of the problems that are ailing the United States - politically and economically - that one will hear anywhere.

We at USTV Media are enthused about posting this presentation, because it echoes the major points that we have been striving to make over this past decade plus; that you cannot have a workable society if it is run on market principles devoid of social values. You need a society in which neither capital or labor is allowed to dominate. Simon discusses how we either have a representative government or we don’t, and if it is not serving us in that capacity, that should be a call to arms towards rehabilitating and restoring it. Wall Street and the market logic as a guiding parameter for organizing society is doomed to failure, and reversing its destructive qualities will either be done in some practical way when things get bad enough, or it will keep going until people get desperate enough to resort to violence. Today, the triumph of capitalism has become complete, to the point that it has bought the electoral process, he one venue for reform that remained to Americans.

This goes to the heart of another point we’ve been making at USTV Media, that when your democratic society is ruled by the market, you become a market society, one in which everything becomes a commodity and is for sale. Including the rules. And when you can buy the rules, you win the game.

There are so many interesting points raised in this talk, we couldn’t begin to outline them all here. What do “small town values” mean in a mass, urban world? There is the role that race plays, and why class has become the real dividing line in our current political dynamics, and much more. It is well worth taking the time to watch.

Simon provides a written synopsis of his talk in this piece which ran last fall in The Guardian, There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.

For as Simon recently told Bill Moyers

We’ve changed and we’ve become contemptuous of the idea that we are all in this together…

The horror show is we are going to be slaves to profit. Some of us are going to be higher on the pyramid and we’ll count ourselves lucky and many many more will be marginalized and destroyed…

I don’t think that you can call the American government anything other than broken at this point. And I think the break has come at the legislative level. I mean, that’s the part of the government that has been purchased.

Watch the complete, must-see interview with Bill Moyers

Media Consolidation? No, There’s No Media Consolidation. Why Would You Think That?

February 1st, 2014 by Andy in Deconstructing The Media, Video

If a consolidated media system can deliver these kinds of results in reference to holiday gift giving, can you imagine what a concerted effort to sell specific talking points for an agenda regarding, say, the existence of weapons of mass destruction, or the supposed imminent threat that a select Middle Eastern nation would be?

UPDATE: A friend and colleague made some good points in reference to this video compilation, and its relevance to the ongoing issue of media consolidation. They are definitely worth sharing, as the bring more focus upon the depth and nuances of the problems inherent in our media system today…

Not sure media consolidation is exactly the problem here. These stations rely on wire services for “video of national or international stories”… Matthew Weesner, the news director at KHGI in Kearney, Neb., one of the stations O’Brien included in the self gifting montage [said] “We’re doing six and a half hours of live programming a day, and we’ve got a lot of space to fill with a pretty small newsroom.”

I’m not condoning the practice but instead of worrying about consolidation we should look at alternative ownership models. It’s not as if the public interest was much better served when the number of private media owners was significantly higher than it is today.

An article posted on Poynter shed further light on this… Conan’s Comedy Bit Hints at Serious Issues for Local TV News

The points he raises, and the article on Conan’s montage, are both good, and I wholeheartedly agree with the need for new ownership models. It is true that the media consolidation thing is not the exact problem here. However, I do think it has had an effect. With ever-increasing consolidation, resulting in the merging of fewer and fewer resources, including more staffing reductions for less overhead and increased profit, the incentive to get “lazy” about resorting to more “rip and read” among news personnel has increased. It is no longer a matter of stations simply looking to wire services and such to find ideas for content, which they have always done. Today, they simply take fully formed pre-packaged product, including VNR’s (video news releases), and just run them straight off the production line.

As for the point about the number of private owners before, and whether that actually meant better quality coverage, my colleague makes a valid point. But then again, the media terrain was also different then, too. Now with less one-to-many models of media production and distribution, and with more many-to-many, that kind of bottleneck through ownership has the potential to change for the positive. But if this kind of consolidation process continues in regards to not just the sources of production (individual stations, etc…), but now subsumes whole networks (i.e. the internet itself, thanks to all those issues we know well enough these days, especially with net neutrality, SOPA, etc…), then things could really get bad, and quickly. So yes, ownership models are a major key here.

His response to these points was even more lucid and insightful…

Yes I think that’s all true. I just think media consolidation is the logical outcome of a profit-driven news structure. The whole “media consolidation” complaint also seems emotionally wedded to “big = bad” which I think is silly (not that you’re drawing that connection). For instance, my local newspaper, which is financially independent and locally owned, is a bastion of right wing ideologues, and hosts way too much frivolous reporting. And the media consolidation critique can treat media consumers as if we’re all passive vessels who play no role in what we choose to read or watch. I don’t agree with that.

I’m with him on this important point, in that “big = bad” is a correlation that isn’t a causation per se. Big is bad when “big = small,” as in small numbers of people deciding and controlling the content over large swaths of distribution. Again, the issue keeps coming back to ownership.

What We Must Do: How To Enable A Movement For Real Change

November 10th, 2013 by Andy in Politics In America, Video

This is a great talk by Gar Alperovitz, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, and co-founder of The Democracy Collaborative. Referencing his work What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution, Alperovitz provides some excellent insights and advice about how we can most effectively go from here in addressing the profoundly challenging issues of our time.

Alperovitz challenges our “vested interest in pessimism,” which forgives apathy and inaction, for if one “believes nothing serious can be done, you don’t have to do anything.” Transformation rarely happens overnight. It’s all about every action we take, step by step. What can seem like a futile action in one sense, is actually part of the building blocks, laying the seed for further action, until a tipping point is reached. Alperovitz puts a healthy emphasis on what we do locally, for if we can’t change our own communities, we aren’t (and can’t) change anything. Also, some good descriptions on why the problems we face are fundamentally systemic, and how and why politics as usual is a dead end. It’s all good, but starts to dig in even deeper about 12-14 minutes in.

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