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The American Press and War

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There is a myth of an independent American press existing as a counterforce to government power. Unfortunately, the truth is less inspiring, especially with respect to the U.S. government’s wars, invasions, and foreign interventions. Rather than keeping the public well-informed, journalists and reporters have all too often served as conduits for government propaganda in the march to war. Sensationalistic “yellow journalism” played a big part in stirring up hatred of Spain in the 1890s and providing the pretext for America’s first war beyond her maritime borders. William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s the World, the two largest U.S. newspapers, printed misleading stories of Spanish atrocities in Cuba, thus inflaming public opinion and garnering support for American military intervention. When an explosion sank the USS Maine, killing 260 of her crew, the American press eagerly ran stories suggesting Spanish culpability, even though the most likely cause of the disaster was an accidental fire in the ship’s coal bunkers. ...

Hornberger’s Blog, January 2012

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012 Just Ditch Medicare and Medicaid I just don’t get conservatives. They say they support individual freedom, economic liberty, free markets, limited government, and the Constitution. They also say they oppose socialism, interventionism, collectivism, and paternalism. They point out that such isms just don’t work. Okay, fine. Then why don’t conservatives call for the immediate repeal of Medicare and Medicaid? Why do they focus their entire attention on calling for the immediate repeal of Obamacare and its health-insurance mandate? Surely conservatives realize that Medicare and Medicaid are socialistic programs. The government takes money through taxation and uses it to fund the healthcare expenses of the elderly and poor. Surely conservatives realize that there is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the federal government to provide healthcare to people. Surely conservatives realize that the root of America’s health-care woes lies in Medicare and Medicaid as well as other interventions into healthcare, such as medical licensure and insurance regulations. Surely, they don’t think that simply repealing Obamacare ...

Secret Wars and the Rule of Law

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The president of the United States now wages secret wars virtually independent of Congress and in direct violation of the United States Constitution. Earlier this month, the White House issued several findings authorizing U.S. intelligence services to carry out covert actions against Iran and Syria. A presidential finding is a directive similar to an executive order; it instructs a government agency, usually the Central Intelligence Agency, to carry out clandestine operations against a foreign government or foreign entity. The current use of presidential findings is based on the 1974 amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibited the use of appropriated funds by the CIA for intelligence activities unless and until the President finds that each such operation is important to the national security of the United States and reports, in a timely fashion, a description and scope of such operation to the appropriate committees of Congress. Supposedly, the intent of the amendment was to curb abuses by making sure the ...

9/11 and the National Security Scam

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National security is a scam — an $8 trillion scam. That’s the amount spent since September 11, 2001, on the military, including the Iraq and Afghan wars, and “homeland security,” according to Christopher Hellman of the National Priorities Project. If “veterans benefits, future costs for treating the war-wounded, and interest payments on war-related borrowing” are added, Hellman writes, the cost ...