Category Archives: Under Reported

Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite by George Monbiot

The Guardian Tuesday 20 January 2015 20.07 GMT

If you think the news is balanced, think again. Journalists who should challenge power are doing its dirty work

'Every weekday morning the BBC's Today programme grovels to business leaders.' Photograph: Graeme Robertson
‘Every weekday morning the BBC’s Today programme grovels to business leaders.’ Photograph: Graeme Robertson

When people say they have no politics, it means that their politics aligns with the status quo. None of us are unbiased, none removed from the question of power. We are social creatures who absorb the outlook and opinions of those with whom we associate, and unconciously echo them. Objectivity is impossible.

The illusion of neutrality is one of the reasons for the rotten state of journalism, as those who might have been expected to hold power to account drift thoughtlessly into its arms. But until I came across the scandal currently erupting in Canada, I hadn’t understood just how quickly standards are falling.

In 2013 reporters at CBC, Canada’s equivalent of the BBC, broke a major story. They discovered that RBC – Royal Bank of Canada – had done something cruel and unusual even by banking standards. It was obliging junior staff to train a group of temporary foreign workers, who would then be given the staff’s jobs. Just after the first report was aired, according to the website Canadaland, something odd happened: journalists preparing to expand on the investigation were summoned to a conference call with Amanda Lang, CBC’s senior business correspondent and a star presenter. The reporters she spoke to say she repeatedly attempted to scuttle the story, dismissing it as trivial and dull.

They were astonished. But not half as astonished as when they discovered the following, unpublished facts. First, that Lang had spoken at a series of events run or sponsored by RBC – for which she appears, on one occasion, to have been paid around 15,000 Canadian dollars. Second, that she was booked to speak at an event sponsored by the outsourcing company the bank had hired to implement the cruel practice exposed by her colleagues. Third, that her partner is a board member at RBC.

Lang then interviewed the bank’s chief executive on her own show. When he dismissed the story as unfair and misleading, she did not challenge him. That evening she uncritically repeated his talking points on CBC’s main current affairs programme. Her interests, again, were not revealed. Then she wrote a comment article for the Globe and Mail newspaper suggesting that her colleagues’ story arose from an outdated suspicion of business, was dangerous to Canada’s interests, and was nothing but “a sideshow”. Here’s what she said about the bank’s employment practices: “It’s called capitalism, and it isn’t a dirty word.”

Continue reading Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite by George Monbiot

Scarfolk – Somewhere in the north-west of England a town stuck in a hellish vision of the 1970s

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“Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. “Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay.” For more information please reread.”

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How to wash a child’s brain: Designer Richard Littler creates fictional world based on terrifying public service films
by SIMON USBORNE Wednesday 17 April 2013

Scarfolk, population unknown. Precise location: open to interpretation. Somewhere in the north-west of England, a town stuck in a hellish vision of the 1970s. Thought detector vans called “think tanks” roll through the streets and those who dare to speak to outsiders are handed black spot cards that require a human sacrifice. It’s a place of pagan rituals where the water is electrified and the fear of grisly death stalks every corner.

A tour of the town is in turns horrific and hilarious. It’s also, thankfully, a ride not around a real place but the brilliantly warped imagination of Scarfolk’s self-appointed mayor.

Continue reading Scarfolk – Somewhere in the north-west of England a town stuck in a hellish vision of the 1970s

U.K.’s New Porn Laws Aren’t Just Out of Touch. They’re Sexist

porn-censoredBy Lauren Razavi DECEMBER 5, 2014

In a hopeless government attempt to control what Britons get off on, new rules regulating the U.K. porn industry have come into force this week. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 imposes restrictions on the content of pornography made and sold within the U.K.—and it does so with a perplexing ignorance about the realities of modern technology.

British porn producers and consumers will now be subject to some of the harshest restrictions anywhere in Europe, with speculation that this is only the beginning. Video-on-demand content produced or sold in the U.K. is no longer permitted to show a vague and arbitrary list of explicit acts.

Physical or verbal abuse, depictions of non-consensual sex, strangulation, and urination in sexual context are all included on the list. Only “gentle” spanking, whipping, and caning is allowed, though where exactly the government draws the line between the gentle and the excessive on this particular matter is unclear.

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Some of the acts facing on-screen censorship are especially popular in LGBT and BDSM communities, and participants argue that taking part in them poses no risk to consenting adults. Much more taboo sexual activities such as bukkake (a large group of men climaxing all over the same woman) and paraphilic infantilism (dressing up and being treated like a baby for sexual pleasure) are seemingly not addressed by this new legislation.

Not only is the law misguided, it’s also deeply sexist. Showing female ejaculation on screen has been outlawed completely, while male ejaculation (on the face, breasts, feet, backside, wherever) faces no direct restrictions. Is female ejaculation really so vulgar and explicit that people shouldn’t see it, in pornography or anywhere else?

Continue reading U.K.’s New Porn Laws Aren’t Just Out of Touch. They’re Sexist

What Happens when you let Men define what Rape is..?????

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Men Defining Rape: A History By Erika Eichelberger Mon Aug. 27, 2012 5:00 AM EDT

Men have been in the business of deciding when it is okay and when it is not okay to rape women for thousands of years. If Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s claim that women’s bodies magically fend off rapist sperm or the US Republican’s meditation on what’s really rape sound medieval to you, that’s because they are.

Check out our timeline of the male notions and common-law statutes that have defined rape over time, and see for yourself which eras the GOP’s views on rape line up with:

Property theft: The Code of Hammurabi, one of the first sets of written laws, which dates to about 1780 BC (and contains the old “eye for an eye”), defines rape of a virgin as property damage against her father. If you were married, sorry lady: You were an adulteress. Punishment? You get thrown in the river.

God is a dude: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 says if you rape a virgin, you have to give her dad 50 shekels and take her to the altar.

Et tu, Roma? The Latin root raptus referred to the abduction of a woman against the will of whatever male controlled her life. What the abductor did with her was secondary.

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Continue reading What Happens when you let Men define what Rape is..?????

Ferguson Missouri is about to catch fire again – A Grand Jury of mostly whites is probably about to say that the officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown should not face charges.

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‘Police Are Preparing for War’ – ‘We don’t see any interest from police in shifting their relationship with the communities they serve’  By Alyssa Figueroa November 17, 2014

So it begins. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency on Monday. He authorized the National Guard to assist police in Ferguson ahead of the grand jury’s decision on whether or not to charge Officer Darren Wilson for the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Less than a week ago, Nixon announced that law enforcement was well prepared for protests in Ferguson if Wilson walks free. He said, “Violence will not be tolerated”—but he wasn’t referencing police violence. Instead, since Brown was killed in August, St. Louis County police has spent $172,669 on tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment meant to harm protesters.

“We see them preparing for war,” said Mervyn Marcano, spokesperson for Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE).

“We don’t see any interest from them in shifting the relationship between police and the communities that they serve,” said Marcano, who is from Oakland, California, and now lives in Ferguson.

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

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Police Prepare for War

Continue reading Ferguson Missouri is about to catch fire again – A Grand Jury of mostly whites is probably about to say that the officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown should not face charges.

Russia’s Currency Is Plummeting and Putin’s Billionaires Are Cannibalizing Each Other

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By Julia Ioffe

While we were all panicking about Ebola and the US was obsessed with the Democrats’ getting schooled in the midterms, the bottom dropped out of the Russian economy.

The ruble has been nosediving for weeks, despite the fact that the Russian Central Bank has spent some $40 billion over the last two months to prop it up. In January, you would have to shell out 32.86 rubles to buy one U.S. dollar. Through October, that number edged higher and higher into the thirties, prompting nervous jokes from Russians as they watched their national currency lose value before their eyes. By November 1, a Russian would need to scrape together over 43 rubles to buy one U.S. dollar, a drop of over 30 percent.

Every day since November 1 has brought new lows for the ruble. By Wednesday, the Russian Central Bank, which had been spending billions of its reserve dollars every day to prop up the Russian currency, announced it was no longer going to do so. It was going to let the ruble float. (Technically speaking, it said that it would “only” spend $350 million a day to prop up the ruble.)

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The ruble promptly nosedived.

Continue reading Russia’s Currency Is Plummeting and Putin’s Billionaires Are Cannibalizing Each Other