Posts Tagged ‘Mother Jones’

SENASTE Mother Jones handlar om spin, lögner och halvsanningar som politisk strategi. ”Politicians have always lied. But now they’re carpet-bombing the truth.”

David Corn, tidskriftens byråchef i Washington, skriver om republikanerna;

In the spring of 2009, as the titanic fight over President Barack Obama’s health care proposal was beginning, […] a confidential 28-page report […] suggested that they use a particular phrase: ”Government takeover of health care.” And they did. Again and again, for the entire months-long debate. During one Meet the Press appearance, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), then the House minority leader, referred to Obama’s plan as a ”government takeover” five times (without once being challenged).

It was a clear falsehood. Obama’s system relies on private insurance and the market—especially after he abandoned a public option—albeit with additional government regulation. […] Yet the line stuck.


This was significant: It established a foundation for the right’s counterattacks—including the 2010 congressional elections, the ongoing effort to repeal or curtail the law, and the burgeoning 2012 campaign.

Övrigt: Illustrationen på tidskriftsomslaget är av Eddie Guy.

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DESIGN: Mother Jones är en amerikansk tidskrift som i USA brukar kallas progressiv. I detta nummer för december i år har man haft roligt med Sarah Palin som är Tea Party-rörelsens okrönta drottning. Förebilden är kultrullen Attack of the 50 Foot Woman från 1958.

”MoJo’s creative director Tim Luddy encouraged illustrator Zina Saunders to follow the poster out the window in tone and feel, tweaking only the landscape to look more suburban. Saunders […] took the assignment very seriously, at one point sending a picture of Palin in her beauty-contestant days to confirm that she’d gotten the proportions right.”

Saunders gjorde också en rörlig version på åtta (!) sekunder. Snacka om att vara engagerad!

Mother Jones har en intressant presentation av tidskriften som förklarar namnet och dess historia. Varför inte också kolla på en trailer till original filmen.

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INFLYTANDE: Den finansiella sektorn i USA spenderade 475 miljoner dollar på att påverka politiker under senaste valperioden 2008.

20 år tidigare var summan 60 miljoner.

Siffrorna för försvarsindustrin var 24 miljoner dollar. Hälso- och sjukvårdsindustrin satsade 167 miljoner dollar. För jordbrukssektorn var siffran 65 miljoner.

Pengarna gick till enskilda politiker och organisationer bildade för att stödja en viss lagstiftning, enskilda sakfrågor eller politiska kampanjer (Political Action Committee).

Kevin Drum, som bloggar för Mother Jones, skriver att detta inflytande bidrog starkt till att finanskrisen blev så omfattande.

[F]or three decades [finacial lobby] had us convinced that the success of the financial sector should be measured not by how well it provides financial services to actual consumers and corporations, but by how effectively financial firms make money for themselves. It sounds crazy when you put it that way, but stripped to its bones, that’s what they pulled off. […]

Now if the aerospace lobby had told us after the 1986 Challenger disaster that the key to better performance was to turbocharge the engines and quit performing preflight inspections, everyone would have agreed that they were crazy. Yet that’s essentially what the finance lobby has done over the past decade, and in some weird way we were too mesmerized to recognize it. Within months of a near catastrophe caused by one of the industry’s brightest stars, the lobbyists were busily making certain that it would happen again—and that when it did happen, it would be bigger and more disastrous than ever. […]

It was, depending on your perspective, either a vicious circle or a virtuous one. Deregulation produced vast profits, and those profits in turn provided the money to lobby for further deregulation. It was this ocean of money that allowed the financial industry to spend nearly $500 million on political contributions in just a single election cycle, and it was those contributions that helped keep so many flagrantly abusive—but profitable—practices alive and well. […]

Unlike most industries, which everyone recognizes are merely lobbying in their own self-interest, the finance industry successfully convinced everyone that deregulating finance was not only safe, but self-evidently good for the entire economy, Wall Street and Main Street alike. It’s what Simon Johnson, an MIT economics professor and former chief economist for the IMF, calls ”intellectual capture.” Considering what’s happened over the past couple of years, we might better call it Stockholm syndrome. […]

By October 2008, even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, one of the country’s biggest cheerleaders for self-regulation, was admitting the obvious: There was a ”flaw” in the free-market worldview. ”Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder’s equity, myself especially, are in a state of shocked disbelief,” he said […]

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LÄCKOR: WikiLeaks och dess grundare Julian Assange har släppt 90 000 hemliga dokument om kriget i Afghanistan.

För många – och kanske de allra flesta – är Assange en klassisk whistleblower som via WikiLeaks skapat möjlighet även för andra att kunna avslöja obekväma sanningar utan att riskera avslöjande.

Men det finns också en rad märkligheter i hur WikiLeaks arbetar som är mindre smickrande.

Innan den senaste raden av dokument släpptes skrev David Kushner på tidskriften Mother Jones om Assange och WikiLeaks historia.

When I contacted the impressive figures who’d been listed on WikiLeaks’ advisory board, some didn’t know exactly why they were named. Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, a former representative of the Dalai Lama, recalls getting a cryptic email from WikiLeaks a few years ago, but says he’s never been asked for advice. Xiao Qiang, a Chinese democracy activist, says he exchanged emails with Assange but little more. (After this article was originally published, WikiLeaks removed its advisory board from an updated version of its website.) 

Digital security expert Ben Laurie laughs when I ask why he’s named on the site. ”WikiLeaks allegedly has an advisory board, and allegedly I’m a member of it,” he says. ”I don’t know who runs it. One of the things I’ve tried to avoid is knowing what’s going on there, because that’s probably safest for all concerned.” Laurie says his only substantive interaction with the group was when Assange approached him to help design a system that would protect leakers’ anonymity. […] 

When asked about his supposed advisors’ denials, Assange downplays the board as ”pretty informal.” But can WikiLeaks be trusted with sensitive documents when it is less than transparent itself? […] 

At first, WikiLeaks was conceived as an open and ”completely neutral” conduit for forbidden information. ”WikiLeaks does not pass judgment on the authenticity of documents. That’s up to the readers, editors and communities to do,” a 2008 version of the site explained. It has since moved away from crowdsourcing the analysis of leaks and has even publicly toyed with the idea of selling its juiciest material to the highest bidder. It also no longer claims to be a neutral messenger: It created a site called CollateralMurder.com to host the Iraq helicopter footage; WikiLeaks and Assange were quick to call out those who offered differing interpretations of the video.

När vem som helst har möjlighet att lägga upp dokument på sajten blir det också ganska uppenbart att det finns goda möjligheter att fabricera läckor. Finns det inte finns tillräckliga resurser eller intresse av att kontrollera dessa dokument uppstår en rad olika spörsmål kring WikiLeaks.

På WikiLeaks finns t.ex. ett dokument som påstås avslöja John McCains strategi för hur man planerade att bemöta Barack Obamas kampanj om presidentposten. Dokumentet är troligen fejkat.

Möjligheterna att använda WikiLeaks för propaganda och desinformation är något många kritiker har påtalat.

Ett annat problem är de etiska och moraliska aspekterna kring hela konceptet WikiLeaks.

”It’s a good thing that there’s a channel for getting information out that’s reliable and can’t be compromised,” says Harvard law professor and online transparency pioneer Lawrence Lessig. But, he adds, ”There’s a difference between what you can legally do, what you can technically do, and what you ought to do.” […]

Steven Aftergood, who writes the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News blog and has published thousands of leaked or classified documents, says he wasn’t impressed with WikiLeaks’ ”conveyor-belt approach” to publishing confidential material. ”To me, transparency is a means to an end, and that end is an invigorated political life, accountable institutions, opportunities for public engagement. For them, transparency and exposure seem to be ends in themselves,” says Aftergood. He declined to get involved.

Läs mer: WikiLeaks senaste publicerade dokument relaterade till kriget i Afghanistan släpptes först till The Guardian, The New York Times och Der Spiegel.

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