Category Archives: Business

Make Big Pharma Pay for the Opioid Crisis

Big Pharma is the culprit for the opioid crisis we have today.  This is about crime in the suites.   Big Pharma is the biggest legal drug pusher. The 2017 ranking of just the top 10 U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical companies equals $321 billion, based on revenue, according to a current Financial Times equity screener database. Drug overdoses, primarily from opioids are now the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50.  In 2016, drug overdoses killed more people than guns or car accidents.

Government grants (mostly from the National Science Foundation) to university laboratories do the basic science to explore the causes of disease, which is essential before a cure can be investigated.  Big Pharma then cherry picks the most promising prospects into their corporate labs to find a formula that will work to treat the disease.  After they make progress through clinical trials, they apply to the FDA for approval. Then the highly sophisticated advertising begins. Mostly beautiful, young and fashionably dressed pharma reps are the drug pushers.  They  seduce doctors and their staff in their offices with free lunches and free samples (like street pushers do to hook addicts) and whisk doctors to exotic, tropical locations for “seminars.”

The “Mad Men” phenomenon of present-day drug advertising is also seductive.  The actors in the ads are mostly white and middle to upper class.  They live in beautiful, big homes. The long list of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are recited generally while we watch the actors play tennis, pet their dogs, play with their grandchildren, run through fields of daisies or swim in crystal clear water in slow motion.   Middle-to-upper class Americans with generous company-sponsored health insurance pay very little for a wide variety of drugs.  “Other” people, unable to pay for legal medicines, turn to the streets to alleviate the painful symptoms of diseases they suffer with. And where do their “prescribers” end up?  Mass incarceration of mostly people of color is the answer to that question.

Some members of Congress are now pushing for government funding of opioid treatment centers.  NO!  Make Big Pharma pay!  People who were damaged by legal drugs used to seek trial lawyers to bring product liability lawsuits for damages but the enormous political power of corporate lobbyists now diminishes the ability of citizens to do that.  Furthermore, individual lawsuits take years to work their way through the courts before cases take on class action status.  I experienced this during the 1970s in the now infamous case of the damages done to hundreds of thousands of women who, like me, fell for the pharma advertising that claimed the Dalkon Shield IUD contraceptive was 100% safe and effective. Users experienced a variety of pelvic diseases, perforated uteruses, hemorrhaging, hysterectomy, infertility, and even death. After more than ten years of suffering and mounting lawsuits, this case of egregious corporate crime was exposed.  A large trust fund was eventually set up in 1999, almost 20 years after the damages took place.

Big Tobacco used deceptive advertising back in the day for getting people hooked on smoking. Some of the ads used actors dressed in a doctor’s white coat claiming that menthol cigarettes actually “soothed” the throat!  After decades, Big Tobacco finally made multiple million dollar payouts to many state health departments to help with healthcare needs.

Big Pharma must pay for its sins and take responsibility for this epidemic.  They must set up treatment centers and pay for rehabilitation of the unknowing patients who got hooked (or who had generous supplies of them in their medicine cabinets where teens could get easy access to them).  The medical need for pain relief after major surgeries is essential.  But were doctors ever instructed by Pharma to tell their patients that they must be weaned off the opioids slowly?  Or did they keep writing endless prescriptions once their patients get hooked because the risks were trivialized by Big Pharma?

By Karen hicks/CounterPunch

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Ted Cruz warns of “Watergate-style blowout” in 2018

Wealthy conservative donors and influential Republican lawmakers say they increasingly fear a historic backlash at the ballot box next year if the GOP effort to pass a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws falls short in the coming months.

Image: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

At a two-day midtown Manhattan summit of the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers’ powerful donor network, GOP patrons, senators and strategists spoke in cataclysmic terms about the price they expect to pay in the midterm elections if their tax reform effort does not win passage.

They voiced concerns a demoralized Republican base would stay home, financiers would stop writing campaign donation checks to incumbents and the congressional majorities the party has built in the House and Senate could evaporate overnight.

To head that off, the same Republicans said they are waging an intense, multi-front effort in and outside of Congress and the White House to shepherd the endeavor to the finish line.

Koch network officials said they have invested more than $10 million this year in advocating for the GOP tax plan.

Art Pope, a major conservative donor from North Carolina, put it this way: “When you have lack of success, that may depress voter turnout for Republicans, that may depress donations for Republicans and conservatives.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) warned that Republicans could face a “Watergate-level blowout” in the midterm elections if they don’t make major legislative strides on taxes and health care, invoking the political scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and set back the GOP considerably in subsequent elections.

“If tax reform crashes and burns, if [on] Obamacare, nothing happens, we could face a bloodbath,” said Cruz, who spoke in a moderated discussion.

More from Apple news via WaPo

Posted by Libergirl

 

US House panel approves $10bn for Mexico border wall

US House panel approves $10bn for Mexico border wall © Jorge Duenes / Reuters

The Border Security for America Act, proposed by Chairman of the the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul (R-Texas), was approved by the committee in an 18-12 vote along party lines Wednesday.

The bill would authorize $10 billion for construction of the border wall, and another $5 billion to improve ports of entry. The bill would also add 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 5,000 Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers.

“We have been talking about border security for many years. Now that we finally have a partner in the White House who has prioritized this issue, it’s time for Congress to do its part and get the job done,” McCaul said in a statement.

The American people demand and deserve secure borders. @HouseHomeland is marking up my bill today that will deliver and .

In addition, the bill would authorize the federal government to reimburse states up to $35 million to use the National Guard in support of border security. Federal agents also would be prohibited from restricting CBP activities on federal land within 100 miles of the border. The bill would also create a Biometric Entry-Exit System at all air, land, and sea ports of entry to identify immigrants who overstay their visas.

 

There are currently 68 Republican co-sponsors in the House and a number of law enforcement and border organizations have endorsed the bill.

The Border Trade Alliance said that the bill “wisely seeks to ensure that our international borders with Canada and Mexico have the personnel necessary to process legitimate cross-border trade and travel securely and efficiently.”

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association said that the legislation “makes improvements to our border security through strengthening physical structures, updating administrative processing, employing state of the art technology, expanding surveillance, and adding to enforcement personnel.”

Democrats, however, strongly oppose the border wall and many see this bill as a political move by Republicans to appease President Donald Trump, who made constructing the wall a major campaign promise.

“To waste this money on basically a campaign promise is pretty disgusting,” said Rep. Nannette Barragan (D-California), a committee member, according to The Hill.

It’s disgusting to watch @GOP push Trump’s wall of hate in Homeland Committee today. What a waste of $15 billion of American taxpayers $$ https://twitter.com/HomelandDems/status/915583256174751745 

Democrats are also concerned that the bill will be attached to legislation that would turn the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

After Republicans met with Trump at the White House on Monday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) said that “the president was very clear” on what he wants from Congress on DACA.

Cotton said that any efforts to codify DACA “ought to include some kind of enhanced measures, whether it’s on the border or interior enforcement or what have you.”

denies Schumer and Pelosi claim that agreed to DACA deal excl. wall funds http://on.rt.com/8n5t 

Photo published for Off the wall: Trump denies agreeing to DACA deal, despite Democrats' claim — RT America

Off the wall: Trump denies agreeing to DACA deal, despite Democrats’ claim — RT America

US President Donald Trump has denied reaching a deal which would see young immigrants protected from deportation without his proposed border wall as a condition. It comes despite a claim to the…

rt.com

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Ranking Member of the Border and Maritime Subcommittee, proposed several amendments to the bill, including withholding funds from the border wall until the Mexican government agrees to reimburse the US for the costs as well as an amendment that would prohibit the federal US government from seizing private property along the border “without truly providing just compensation to property owners.”

“Put simply, the legislation under consideration today is an offensive joke and a fiscally irresponsible mess,” Vela said in a statement. “It insults border communities, threatens private landowners, and would devastate the wildlife of the Rio Grande Valley.”

“I appreciate the gentleman’s creativity in this amendment and sense of humor, but I will oppose this amendment,” McCaul said, according to The Hill.

However, the committee did adopt amendments introduced by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), whose district includes more than 800 miles of the US-Mexico border. The amendments would prevent construction of the wall in Big Bend National Park and other areas “where rough terrain, natural barriers, and the remoteness of a location render a wall or other structure impractical and ineffective.”

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Trump says Puerto Rico’s debt needs to be wiped out

Trump says Puerto Rico’s debt needs to be wiped out US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend a meeting with Governor Ricardo Rossello (L) © Mandel Ngan / AFP

US President Donald Trump said that Puerto Rico’s $74 billion debt would have to be wiped out to help the island recover from the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Maria that he witnessed during his visit.

“We’re going to work something out. We have to look at their whole debt structure. You know they owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we’re going to have to wipe that out. You’re going to say goodbye to that, I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs but whoever it is you can wave goodbye to that,” Trump told Fox News, according to Reuters.

Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s infrastructure, leaving the majority of the 3.5 million residents without access to power.

During his visit, Trump said that the reconstruction costs have thrown the federal budget “out of whack.”

“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget out of whack – because we have spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico. And that’s fine, we’ve saved a lot of lives,” Trump said.

‘You can be very proud’: #Trump praises hurricane relief in #PuertoRicohttps://t.co/GTsJKZfepbpic.twitter.com/tbj8mP4d9z

— RT (@RT_com) October 4, 2017

Moodys estimated that the recovery could cost as much as $95 billion, according to Reuters.

In May, Puerto Rico filed for the biggest bankruptcy in US municipal history, approximately $74 billion of bond debt and $48 billion of unfunded pension liabilities. The bankruptcy would break the record in the US, which was previously set by the $18 billion Chapter 9 claim by Detroit, Michigan in 2013.

The island’s economy has been in recession for nearly 10 years, with an unemployment rate of about 11 percent. At the same time, the population has fallen by about 10 percent in the past decade.

According to census data taken before the storm hit Puerto Rico, unemployment on the island was about 11 percent, while the poverty rate stood at 45 percent. The average income was $19,350, compared the the average income of the entire US, which stands at $56,516.

The White House is also reportedly preparing a $29 billion disaster aid request to support recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida, according to Reuters.

The White House will ask Congress to fund $13 billion in new relief for hurricane victims and to forgive $16 billion in debt that has accumulated in the National Flood Insurance Program.

The request is expected to be sent to lawmakers in Congress by Wednesday.

After Trump left the island, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello updated the official death toll from 16 to 34. Rossello said that the main causes of death were flooding, flying debris and mudslides.

The death toll is expected to increase further in the coming weeks.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Puerto Rico’s crisis: How did it get so bad?

Puerto Rico is supposed to be America’s paradise island.

The temperature rarely falls below 70 degrees and it’s smack in the middle of the clear, warm Caribbean sea. Actor Johnny Depp, who owns a nearby island, says that part of the world “can add years to your life.”

Yet Puerto Rico today is in crisis. “America’s Greece,” some say. It’s makes more headlines for its unpaid $70 billion debt than its paradise beaches.

1. Government overspending

For years, Puerto Rico’s government spent more money than it took in from taxes. American states are required to craft balanced budgets every year, but Puerto Rican leaders didn’t, taking advantage of the island’s limbo status — it’s not a state, it’s a U.S. territory.

The big spending was fueled by a translation error between Spanish and English in the island’s 1952 constitution. It enabled Puerto Rico to issue debt to fund many activities, including day-to-day operations. It all comes down to the interpretation of the phrase “recursos totales” — total revenue or total resources? It was interpreted as resources, which is a broader term allowing the government to fund regular operations (e.g. education, policing, health care, etc.) via bonds.

Puerto Rico issued debt many times over the years. But it really skyrocketed in the the past decade, when total debt went from an already hefty $43.5 billion in 2006 to over $70 billion by 2014. (The island also has over $40 billion in unfunded pension liabilities).

2. The U.S. Congress changed the law

So what happened 10 years ago? Congress is partly to blame for the mess. The island used to be a tax haven for some big businesses such as the pharmaceutical industry. It was cheaper to make drugs on the island than anywhere else in America because companies didn’t have to pay federal tax on the Puerto Rican operations.

But in the mid-1990s, Congress began rolling back the special tax exemptions for businesses operating in Puerto Rico. The tax breaks phased out and fully ended in 2006.

Puerto Rico’s economy tanked after this happened, and it has yet to recover. Many good private sector jobs were lost and tax revenues dropped. The economy has shrunk almost every year since.

On top of that, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 mandates that only U.S. vessels can take goods between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland. This increases prices on the island and makes goods produced in Puerto Rico less competitive than those coming from cheaper Caribbean nations that send goods on their own ships.

3. Skilled workers left the island

Residents are literally fleeing Puerto Rico, packing up and moving to the mainland U.S. in an exodus not seen since the “West Side Story” era of the 1950s.

It’s harder and harder to find a job. The unemployment rate is 11.8%, more than double the U.S. national rate.

What is especially worrying is that Puerto Rico is losing talented and skilled workers. A doctor a day (or sometimes two or three) leaves the island. Skilled professionals like doctors can get higher pay in the mainland U.S., and they just don’t see a clear path for the island to turn itself around. Families with young children — the future workforce — are also departing.

The shortage of medical workers has made the Zika virus outbreak in Puerto Rico even harder to handle. The island suffered the first death from Zika in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed.

4. Congress stripped Puerto Rico of its bankruptcy rights

Another major drawback for Puerto Rico is that it doesn’t have access to the same bankruptcy laws that states do. So-called Chapter 9 bankruptcy was created after the Great Depression to allow cities, towns and other municipalities to address severe debt problems under a workout process overseen by the courts. Detroit is the most famous Chapter 9 bankruptcy case so far.

Puerto Rico used to have Chapter 9 bankruptcy rights, but the island lost them in the 1980s when Congress revisited this part of the bankruptcy code. The Obama administration and the governor of Puerto Rico argue that it was an unfair decision and that Congress should give the island Chapter 9 rights again. So far, the Republican-controlled Congress is largely against it.

Many experts believe some sort of debt restructuring will be necessary. It may mean delaying payments to creditors or paying less than 100% back. The problem is Puerto Rico is in legal limbo. Neither the island, nor the creditors, want to budge much in negotiations until they know what the laws are for sure.

There’s a case sitting at the Supreme Court that could alter the rules, and Congress is debating a bill that could also change everything.

“We’re very far from the end,” says Philip Fischer, the managing director of municipal bond research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

By Heather Long/CNNMoney

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The GOP tax plan, explained in simplest possible terms

The big tax code makeover President Trump and Republicans have been promising for months is finally out.

It’s nine pages long. That may sound like a lengthy document, but the final bill in Congress will be hundreds of pages. What the White House released today is a framework. It’s a summary of what top Trump officials and congressional Republican leaders have agreed to so far. The Trump administration says it’s the job of Congress to flesh out the specifics.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • The plan will likely add to America’s $20 trillion debt. There are lots of tax cuts spelled out. There are almost no loopholes eliminated.
  • The rich make out pretty well. The White House vows poor people won’t have to pay more than they do now, but there are few specifics in the plan so far to ensure that.
  • Businesses (both small and large) get major tax cuts.
  • Most people will pay lower taxes, although it’s unclear if the rich get a bigger break than the middle class.
  • There are still a lot of details Congress has to figure out.

What’s in there for the rich?
The wealthy get a tax cut. They will pay only 35 percent on their income taxes (down from 39.6 percent). At the moment, this rate applies to any income above about $418,000. It’s unclear if Congress will tinker with the income level that rate kicks in at. Trump says he would be fine with Congress raising taxes on the rich in the final plan, but he isn’t requiring that they do that.

The bigger tax break for the rich is the elimination of the estate tax, sometimes called the “death tax.” It’s the tax families currently pay when an asset like a house or ranch worth over $5.49 million is passed down to a heir after someone dies. Trump’s plan scraps this tax entirely.

What’s in there for the middle class?
This is the giant question mark. There’s a lot of details left for Congress to fill out. Under the plan, America will have just three tax rates: 35, 25 and 12 percent, but we don’t know yet which rate someone earning $50,000 or $80,000 will pay.

What we do know is the standard deduction (currently $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for married couples) will nearly double. This means that a married couple earning $24,000 or less or an individual earning $12,000 or less won’t pay any taxes. But the plan also eliminates what’s known as the additional standard deduction and the popular personal exemption. Some filers may end up worse off after these changes.

The plan also promises a “significant increase” to the child tax credit (it’s currently $1,000 per child) and that middle class Americans can keep using the mortgage interest deduction as well as tax breaks for retirement savings (e.g. 401ks) and higher education. But it eliminates the state and local tax deduction, which is used by many in high-tax states like New York and California.

Can I really file my taxes on a postcard?
The “file on a postcard” idea was an exaggeration. The goal now is to get most people’s tax returns down to one page.

What about the working poor?
A senior White House official told journalists Tuesday, “We are committed to making the tax code at least as progressive as the current tax code.” Translation: The poor should not end up paying more than they do now. But it’s hard to check if that’s true because we still don’t have enough details.

In theory, increasing the standard deduction should mean that more Americans pay $0 in taxes, but it depends what happens to a lot of other tax provisions (and whether Congress ends up cutting safety net programs that help the poor to pay for tax cuts). Top Republican officials have not decided what to do with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is widely used by the working poor to help them reduce their tax bill and even get a small amount of money back from the government.

What happens to the Alternative Minimum Tax?
The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) would go away under the plan. It currently applies mainly to individuals earning more than $130,000 and married couples earning more than $160,00. It was created in the 1970s to prevent wealthier families from taking so many tax breaks that they end up paying little to no taxes, but over the years, the AMT has impacted more and more families.

What happens to big businesses?
America’s large corporations will get a big tax cut. The top rate at the moment is 35 percent, one of the highest rates among developed nations. Most U.S. companies don’t pay that rate, but it is still a starting point. The Trump plan slashes the rate to 20 percent, just below the average of major developed countries the U.S. competes against.

The White House and Congress promised to close some loopholes that businesses currently enjoy, but no one is saying what those are yet. In fact, the only details we have show MORE business goodies, not less. The plan calls for businesses to be able to write off their investments (e.g. the cost of building a new factory) right away instead of crediting a little bit each year for several years. This is supposed to encourage companies to invest more, which will hopefully create more jobs.

What happens to small businesses?
Small businesses also get a tax cut under the plan. At the moment, many small business owners pay whatever their personal income tax rate is, so some end up paying as much as 39.6 percent. Under this plan, most “pass throughs” (code for small businesses) would pay at the 25 percent rate (the exception is if a small businesses earned very little income, they might be able to pay at the 12 percent rate).

There’s concern some rich people, especially hedge fund managers and consultants to the stars, will simply use this as a way to lower their tax bill. Instead of paying at the new 35 percent top income tax rate, they could say all their income is small business income and pay at the 25 percent rate. Trump has promised to fix that problem, but no one is sure how.

How will this plan help growth?
Trump’s big claim is that this tax overhaul will unleash economic growth. The United States has been growing at about 2 percent a year lately, below the historic norm. Trump keeps saying this plan will unleash growth of 3 percent — or more.

Economists, even those who work at Wall Street banks and for big companies, only project a modest boost to growth. Estimates range from 2.1 percent to 2.25 percent.

How much will this add to the debt?
Originally, Republican leaders said they would not add $1 to America’s debt, but that promise appears to be gone. The White House says it will go along with whatever price tag Congress allows. Right now, Senate Republicans have a deal to add $1.5 trillion to the debt over the next decade, so there’s a good chance this tax plan will add to the debt.

What are the pitfalls?
There’s a ton we don’t know yet. Many on the left are concerned this plan gives away too much to the rich and big businesses. Many across the political spectrum are alarmed that it will likely add to America’s already large debt.

By Heather Long/WashingtonPost

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Trump, “Fake News” and the War on Dissidents

The state-corporate media must be in trouble if a BBC veteran like Nick Robinson is getting dirty in the trenches, taking up arms against the “guerilla war” he claims people like me are waging. In a new commentary piece for the Guardian, he argues that media critics – from the right and the left – are taking to social media in an organised campaign to discredit what Robinson calls the “mainstream media”. Predictably, his article strikes the self-satisfied tone of those who claim to be right because they have come under attack from both sides.

Let me delay briefly to point out that critics of the BBC, including myself, are not suggesting – as Robinson claims – either of the following: “that we reporters and presenters are at best craven, obeying some diktat from our bosses or the government, or at worst nakedly biased.”

Robinson, like his colleagues in the corporate media, seems either averse to, or incapable of, understanding that serious criticism of the corporate media is based on the Propaganda Model, set out in great detail in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent by Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky.

According to that model, structural constraints – what Herman and Chomsky call “filters” – ensure journalists conform ideologically to their role in a media system that is incapable of questioning the foundations of the capitalist system of which the media is an integral part.

Put at its simplest, journalists like Robinson succeed in the state-corporate media because they are supremely good at promoting the official line. They rise through the ranks while journalists who are too critical fall by the wayside, weeded out in the long selection procedures journalists undergo before they reach the top.

In other words, journalists aren’t “cravenly taking orders from bosses”. Journalists like Robinson are selected for their highly partisan assumptions, because they proudly believe in and promote orthodoxy – in this case, the legitimacy of the neoliberal system. They manufacture consent for the present economic, political and social conditions, not because they are told to do so but because they fervently believe those conditions are for the benefit of all. If they did otherwise, as Chomsky once famously pointed out to Robinson’s colleague Andrew Marr, they would not be sitting where they are – in the interviewer’s chair.

Anyone who threatens the legitimacy of this system is treated as a menace, whether it be a progressive like Jeremy Corbyn or a too-nakedly brutal neoliberal capitalist like Donald Trump.

And this brings us to the second point. Robinson suggests that the new social media “guerrilas” plotting against the “mainstream media” are somehow indistinguishable from each other in their methods. Those on the right, the Trumpists, are no different from those on the left. In fact, he goes further and argues that progressive-left critics of the BBC are actually learning from Trump’s attacks on the media.

Campaigners on left and right have been looking at and learning from the method behind what some regard as the madness of Donald Trump’s attacks on the “failing” press as purveyors of “fake news”. Italy’s leftwing populist Beppe Grillo has described the Italian media as “the opium of the people – they hide the truth to reassure you, while you slowly die”. In Germany the rightwing Alternative für Deutschland party (AfD) has revived the Nazi insult “lugenpresse”, meaning “lying press”.

But this is to invert reality. It is an example of the very “fake news” Robinson claims to be worried about. Trump isn’t teaching us about “fake news”. He’s exploiting popular disllusionment with the corporate media – the understanding that it has a corporate agenda that benefits a tiny elite – for his own political ends.

It is not that Trump rejects that corporate agenda, as progressives do; it’s that he is reckless in regard to the image carefully crafted for it by its guardians, the traditional political and media elite. He is not interested in advancing the broader interests of the corporate system, of maintaining its legitimacy; instead, he wants to advance his own personal interests within that system. He is a prime example of the self-destructiveness at the heart of neoliberal capitalism.

What Trump and his followers have done is appropriate the linguistic veneer of media criticism, without its intellectual substance, to justify their hyper-selfish agenda. By “fake news”, Trump means those who disagree with him and his political programme. That is not what the progressive left means. Their goal is to identify when and how the news is misrepresented by the corporate media, and whose interests are being served.

Worse for the progressive left, Trump has given ammunition to the enforcers of orthodoxy, like Robinson. The Trumpists’ often-empty claims of “fake news” serve to obscure or discredit the reality that the corporate media daily promotes fake news to further its agenda, whether it’s in Iraq or Venezuela, or whether it’s articles about a comic-book super-villian Putin taking over the US, or another moral panic about supposed rampant anti-semitism in the Labour party.

In reality, Trump’s scatter-shot claims of fake news are being exploited to shore up the corporate system. There is already a backlash, one being used to justify ever tighter controls over the internet and access to websites offering real critical news. Robinson’s claims that the left and right are the peddlers of the same “fakery” in attacking the media is part of that campaign to ensure normal service is resumed as soon as possible.

As the saying goes, the corporate media would have had to invent Donald Trump if he didn’t already exist. He has become the perfect foil to allow the system to relegitimise itself.

By Jonathan Cook/DissedentVoice

Posted by The NON-Conformist