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Germany’s ‘zombie’ Grand Coalition staggers on

Merkel remains Chancellor, heading a government of ghosts

Alexander Mercouris

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As expected, the SPD leadership in Germany has now completed its U-turn by reversing the decision it announced after Germany’s September elections – that it would go into opposition and would not agree to another coalition with Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU – by agreeing to a new ‘Grand Coalition’ with Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU.

The explanation for this total reversal is set out in an article in the Guardian which supports the deal

……in last September’s general election, [the SPD] went down to historical defeat. As of writing, they are polling a risible 18% or so, not much more than the far-right newcomer Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Now you can argue that this is precisely because the SPD has been in government for so long – since 1998, with a break of only four years between 2009 and 2013 – and that a spell in opposition would do it good. And this is what the SPD’s youth organisation wants. They gaze with envy at Jeremy Corbyn’s populist appeal and dream of a rejuvenated party with a hard-left approach winning big in 2021 or 2025 and giving them lots of career opportunities, maybe in a coalition with the Greens and the radical Left party.

If I were a budding career politician in the SPD, I might think the same way. But for the present middle-aged leadership, four to eight years in opposition watching the rise of a new generation is hardly an attractive option. 

(bold italics added)

In other words, the primary support for the new ‘Grand Coalition’ deal from within the SPD comes from its veteran establishment, which wishes to perpetuate its leadership and its place in government even if this puts the SPD’s future in jeopardy.

There could not be a more straightforward admission that this is indeed an establishment stitch-up by Germany’s centrist political establishment against the SPD rank and file and Germany’s voters.

The Guardian article does say that one other reason why the SPD leadership prefers a coalition is because since the September election the party’s poll rating has fallen further, to a disastrous low of just 18% (I believe the actual rating is 17%), putting the SPD at risk of being overtaken by the AfD.

However the reason for that is surely that the SPD is not doing what it said it would do, and which is what its membership and electoral base want, which is oppose Merkel and the CDU/CSU, but is instead doing the opposite by going into coalition with her.  Given that that is so, it is hardly surprising that its voters are deserting it in droves.

In return for agreeing to go into coalition with Merkel the SPD has secured the Finance Ministry and its erstwhile leader Martin Schulz will now become Germany’s Foreign Minister.

Whether control of the Finance Ministry really is the great prize it is being presented as being is another matter.

Given that in my opinion the mini-boom the German and EU economies have been experiencing – which in my opinion is largely the result of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme – has now peaked, possession of the Finance Ministry could easily turn out to be for the SPD a bed of nails, with the SPD being blamed for any economic downturn, and exposed to criticism if demands for further bailouts from Greece, Spain and Italy follow.

As for Schulz himself, possession of the Foreign Ministry now gives him the opportunity to advance together with Macron their joint hyper-ambitious agenda for further European integration.

That – far more than the future of the SPD – seems to be Schulz’s overriding priority.

Whether at a time when opposition to further integration within the EU is increasing throughout Europe – including within Germany itself – Schulz and Macron really can ride roughshod over all opposition as they jointly pursue this goal remains to be seen.  With the AfD and the Free Democrats breathing down the CDU/CSU’s neck, I would expect much of its membership to be opposed.

Nonetheless Macron has emerged as the one clear winner from the political machinations which have been underway in Berlin since September, which was not how it appeared would be the case when the results of the elections were first announced.

Schulz’s emergence as Germany’s likely future Foreign Minister also reduces the prospect of Germany agreeing to lift sanctions on Russia – increasingly unpopular within Germany and Europe though they are – and probably also means that Germany will take a harder line against Britain in the Brexit negotiations.

However it is important to say that neither the sanctions nor Brexit are where Schulz’s priorities lie.  EU integration is the subject which truly interests him, to which all other considerations – including it seems the SPD – must be sacrificed.

It is difficult to see how anyone comes out well from this affair, except possibly the AfD, which is now confirmed as Germany’s main opposition party and which will therefore gain further publicity as well as control of several of the German parliament’s committees; and Die Linke, which now looks well positioned to attack the SPD from the left.

Possibly if Merkel’s CDU/CSU poll rating continues to drift downwards – as I expect – then the Free Democrats will in a strong position to capitalise on that, especially amongst centre right voters in the former West Germany.  However I am not sufficiently well informed about political opinion in Germany to say that with any confidence.

What I can say with confidence is that the ‘Grand Coalition’ deal has been agreed without enthusiasm in order to perpetuate an exhausted government bereft of ideas which is obviously past its sell-by date.

The result is that the same gaggle of politicians who in September visibly lost support – Merkel, Seehofer, Schulz, Gabriel and the rest – are still there.

Even Alan Posener, the author of the Guardian article, admits that Merkel looks tired and stale, and is unlikely to remain Chancellor for very long

…..the loser in the poker game of the past weeks and months is Merkel. The only party that honestly wanted to govern with her were the Greens. The liberal Free Democrats (FDP) walked out of negotiations, and the SPD had to be enticed back with a deal that leaves Merkel’s own party without a single key ministry. Horst Seehofer, who is being forced out of his office as prime minister of Bavaria by his own party, the CSU, is being rewarded for his constant sniping at Merkel’s refugee policy with the thankless job of interior minister, where he can take responsibility for future terror attacks.

Everyone expects the chancellor to leave in the middle of her term and hand over to a successor. As the leader of a so-called Jamaica coalition between the Christian Democrats, the FDP and the Greens, she might have gained a new lease of life. As the leader of her third Groko, she looks tired. The concessions she has made to the SPD give superficial credence to the claims of the AfD that it is the only truly conservative force in the country and that it has stepped into the shoes abandoned by the CDU under Merkel.

If Merkel had accepted that the outcome of the September elections meant that she could no longer continue as Chancellor, and had resigned, then the outcome would have been better for her, and for her party and for Germany as well.

She would have left office with her record and reputation intact, whilst the CDU/CSU would have a chance to pull together around a successor.

As for Germany, following another election it would have had a good chance of gaining a strong and renewed government.

Instead Merkel’s decision to cling on, and the decision of the CDU/CSU and SPD leaderships to help her do so, has left Germany politically speaking adrift, with a Chancellor lacking credibility and authority, ensuring that Merkel’s last years as Chancellor will be unsuccessful and unhappy.

How that helps either Germany or the CDU/CSU I cannot see, but the key point is that at a time of growing international tension and instability, and of growing discontent within both Germany and Europe, it has left Germany with an exhausted and unwanted government which – save for Schulz’s integrationist dreams – has no idea what to do.

The result is that as in late Habsburg Austria and Theresa May’s Britain, in Germany administration is about to replace government.

As for the AfD, whether it really is the ultra right wing crypto-fascist anti democratic party which some say, or is simply a conservative party with a more right wing and radical edge, I do not know, though I suspect that it contains elements of both those things.

However if the priority of Germany’s centrist establishment is to prevent its rise, then the proper way to do it is to take it on in an election.

Instead, by pulling out all the stops to avoid an election which polls show most Germans want, Germany’s centrist establishment is giving every impression of running scared of it.

That – taken together with the decision to cede to AfD the opposition role in the Bundestag and the chair of important committees – ensures that the AfD will continue to gain credibility, popularity and support, rather than lose it.

The ‘Grand Coalition’ deal Schulz has just forged with Merkel still has to be approved in a ballot by the SPD’s membership.  There remains an outside chance they may reject it.

For Germany’s and the SPD’s sake it is to be earnestly hoped that they do.

POSTSCRIPT: No sooner had I finished writing the above then news came through that Martin Schulz, the SPD’s erstwhile leader, has been forced by what the Financial Times calls a “furious backlash” in his party to abandon his plan to become Germany’s Foreign Minister.

Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz said he will not serve as foreign minister in Germany’s new coalition government, after coming under intense pressure from his own party to give up the role.

Mr Schulz faced a wave of anger from across the SPD after taking the job, despite vowing never to serve in a cabinet led by Angela Merkel. Senior Social Democrats said the volte-face left the party with a huge credibility problem just as it launches a nationwide poll of its 460,000 members over the coalition agreement clinched this week with Ms Merkel’s conservatives.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Schulz said the discussion of his role was “endangering a successful vote”, and said he hoped that by giving up the foreign ministry, he could bring an end to the personnel discussions inside the SPD”. “We all do politics for the people in this country,” he said, “so it’s appropriate that my person ambitions should take a back seat to the interests of the party”.

His move comes after he was subject to a blistering attack from Germany’s serving foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, who accused him of a breach of faith by taking his job.

Mr Gabriel told the Funke media group that he had been a successful and popular foreign minister, but “the new SPD leadership clearly didn’t care a hoot about this public appreciation of my work”.

Berlin has been in uproar since Angela Merkel’s conservatives and Mr Schulz’s SPD unveiled their new coalition agreement on Wednesday, amid widespread fury over the way ministerial posts were divided up between the two parties.

The 177-page agreement is designed to end the political deadlock left by the inconclusive elections in September, in which both parties lost votes to the far-right Alternative for Germany. But the deal has been overshadowed by the row over who got which ministry.

Conservatives are incandescent that the SPD, despite winning only 20.5 per cent in the election — its worst result in postwar German history — was awarded the critical finance ministry, which for the past eight years has been a fiefdom of Ms Merkel’s CDU.

In the SPD, the anger over Mr Schulz’s appointment at foreign minister was, if anything, even greater……

This row and Schulz’s decision to give up the Foreign Ministry underlines the fact that trying to perpetuate the ‘Grand Coalition’ government which lost so much support in September is an extremely bad idea.

The fact that Schulz has been forced to go, and the angry reaction to the ‘Grand Coalition’ deal on the part of many within both the SPD and the CDU/CSU, may be a sign that the deal is starting to unravel.

If the deal does go ahead and a ‘Grand Coalition’ government is patched together nonetheless, then all I will say is that Schulz’s departure robs the government of the one individual who did at least have some genuine goals and ideas – utterly misguided and unrealistic though I think they are.

That will leave the government even more a ‘government of ghosts’ than it was before.

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Denmark As A Model For American Socialists?

In Denmark, everyone pays at least the 25% value-added tax (VAT) on all purchases. Income tax rates are high.

The Duran

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Authored by Lars Hedegard via The Gatestone Institute:


Here are some facts to consider before American “democratic socialists” look to Denmark for guidance, as Senator Bernie Sanders did during the 2016 presidential campaign.

First of all, Danes actually pay for their brand of socialism through heavy taxation. In Denmark, everyone pays at least the 25% value-added tax (VAT) on all purchases. Income tax rates are high. If you receive public support and are of working age and healthy enough to work, the state will require that you look for a job or it will force a job on you.

The willingness of all the Danes to pay high taxes is predicated on the country’s high degree of homogeneity and level of citizens’ trust in each other, what sociologists call “social capital.” By and large, Danes do not mind paying into the welfare state because they know that the money will go to other Danes like themselves, who share their values and because they can easily imagine themselves to be in need of help — as most of them, from time to time, will be.

Whenever politicians propose tax cuts, they are met with vehement opposition: So, you want to cut taxes? What part of the welfare state are you willing to amputate? And that ends the debate.

Danes, in contrast to American socialists gaining ground in the Democratic Party, are increasingly aware that the welfare state cannot be sustained in conditions of open immigration. A political party agitating for “no borders” could never win a Danish election. Danes do not suffer from historical guilt: they have not attacked any other country for more than two centuries and have never committed a genocide.

Moreover, there is an even deeper truth to ponder: Denmark is not really socialist but constitutes a sui generis fusion of free-market capitalism and some socialist elements. Denmark has no minimum wage mandated by law. Wages, benefits and working conditions are determined through negotiations between employers and trade unions. 67% of Danish wage-earners are members of a union, compared to 19% in Germany and 8% in France. Strikes and lockouts are common, and the government will usually stay out of labor conflicts unless the parties are unable to agree.

It is uncomplicated for enterprises to fire workers, which gives them great flexibility to adapt to shifting market conditions. To alleviate the pain, the state has in place a number of arrangements such as generous unemployment benefits and programs to retrain and upgrade redundant workers.

Danish companies must make ends meet or perish. They generally will not get handouts from the government.

Denmark is more free-market oriented than the US. According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, Denmark is number 12, ahead of the United States (number 18). Venezuela is at the bottom, one place ahead of number 180, North Korea.

Mads Lundby Hansen, chief economist of Denmark’s respected pro-free-market think tank CEPOS, comments:

“Very high taxes and the vast public sector clearly detract in the capitalism index and reduce economic freedom. But Denmark compensates by protecting property rights, by low corruption, relatively little regulation of private enterprise, open foreign trade, healthy public finances and more. This high degree of economic freedom is among the reasons for Denmark’s relatively high affluence.”
Trish Regan recently claimed on Fox Business that Danes pay a “federal tax rate” of 56% on their income. This is misleading. The 55.8% is the levied on the marginaltax for the top income bracket, only on the part of their income above DKK 498,900 ($76,500). Any income under DKK 498,900 is taxed at lower rates. And the 55.8% marginal rate does not represent a “federal” or “national” rate. It represents the total of all taxes on income: national tax, regional tax, municipal tax and labor market tax. It does not, however, include Denmark’s 25% value-added tax (VAT), paid on all purchases.

Regan also claimed that Danes pay a 180% tax on cars. While it is true that there was once a maximum tax of 180% on care in Denmark, the vehicle tax rates have been lowered in recent years. Today, the first DKK 185,100 ($28,400) of the price of a gas- or diesel-powered car is taxed at 85%, and if the car’s price is above DKK 185,100, the remaining amount is taxed at 150% — which is of course bad enough.

Denmark’s total tax burden amounts to 45.9% of GDP, the highest of all countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

As pointed out in the Fox Business segment, all education for Danes is tuition-free, all the way through to a Ph.D. Not only that; the state will, within certain time constraints, pay students to study. For students at university level no longer living with their parents, the monthly cash grant comes to almost $1,000 per month. No fewer than 325,000 students out of a total population of 5.6 million benefit from this generous arrangement setting the state back to the tune of DKK 20.9 billion or 1% of GDP (latest 2018 figures just in and supplied by Mads Lundby Hansen). Denmark even pays student support to 20,000 foreign students.

Attempts by fiscal conservatives to cut down on payments to students have been successfully resisted by the vociferous and influential student organizations; at present it would appear impossible to muster anything like a parliamentary majority to limit the student handouts.

Fox Business is right that a great many Danes are on public transfer payments. Government figures from 2017 indicate that 712,300 Danes of working age (16-64) — not including recipients of student benefits — get public financial support. But Regan’s claim that most Danes do not work is ludicrous. According to Statistics Denmark, 69.9% of Danes aged 16-64 are active in the labor market.

How can Denmark pay for its comprehensive welfare state, which includes free medical care regardless of the severity of your condition? Regan claims that Denmark is “heavily in debt.” Not so. As it turns out, Denmark is among the least indebted countries in the world, even when compared to other Western countries. The Danish government’s gross debt stands at 35.9% of GDP. Compare that to, e.g., The United Kingdom (86.3 %), The United States (108%), Belgium (101%), Canada (86.6%), France (96.3%), Germany (59.8%), The Netherlands (53.5%), Italy (129.7%), Spain (96.7%) and even Switzerland (41.9%).

Comparing Denmark to the US, Madsen notes that the latter has a problem with fiscal sustainability that may necessitate tax increases. Denmark enjoys what he labels fiscal “oversustainability” (“overholdbarhed”).

At a time when socialism appears to be popular among certain sections of the American population, its proponents would do well not to cite Denmark as a model. The Danish fusion of free-market capitalism and a comprehensive welfare state has worked because Denmark is a small country with a very homogeneous population. This economic and social model rests on more than 150 years of political, social and economic compromises between peasants and landowners, business-owners and workers, and right- and left-leaning political parties. This has led to a measure of social and political stability that would be hard to emulate in much larger and more diverse counties such as the United States.


Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Speech Society, is based in Denmark.

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Ron Paul: Protectionism Abroad and Socialism at Home

One of the most insidious ways politicians expand government is by creating new programs to “solve” problems created by politicians.

Ron Paul

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Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity:


One of the most insidious ways politicians expand government is by creating new programs to “solve” problems created by politicians. For example, government interference in health care increased health care costs, making it difficult or even impossible for many to obtain affordable, quality care. The effects of these prior interventions were used to justify Obamacare.

Now, the failures of Obamacare are being used to justify further government intervention in health care. This does not just include the renewed push for socialized medicine. It also includes supporting new laws mandating price transparency. The lack of transparency in health care pricing is a direct result of government policies encouraging overreliance on third-party payers.

This phenomenon is also observed in foreign policy. American military interventions result in blowback that is used to justify more military intervention. The result is an ever-expanding warfare state and curtailments on our liberty in the name of security.

Another example of this is related to the reaction to President Trump’s tariffs. Many of America’s leading trading partners have imposed “retaliatory” tariffs on US goods. Many of these tariffs target agriculture exports. These tariffs could be devastating for American farmers, since exports compose as much as 20 percent of the average farmer’s income.

President Trump has responded to the hardships imposed on farmers by these retaliatory tariffs with a 12 billion dollars farm bailout program. The program has three elements: direct payments to farmers, use of federal funds to buy surplus crops and distribute them to food banks and nutrition programs, and a new federal effort to promote American agriculture overseas.

This program will not fix the problems caused by Tramp’s tariffs. For one thing, the payments are unlikely to equal the money farmers will lose from this trade war. Also, government marketing programs benefit large agribusiness but do nothing to help small farmers. In fact, by giving another advantage to large agribusiness, the program may make it more difficult for small farmers to compete in the global marketplace.

Distributing surplus food to programs serving the needy may seem like a worthwhile use of government funds. However, the federal government has neither constitutional nor moral authority to use money taken by force from taxpayers for charitable purposes. Government-funded welfare programs also crowd out much more effective and compassionate private efforts. Of course, if government regulations such as the minimum wage and occupational licensing did not destroy job opportunities, government farm programs did not increase food prices, and the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies did not continuously erode purchasing power, the demand for food aid would be much less. By increasing spending and debt, the agriculture bailout will do much more to create poverty than to help the needy.

Agriculture is hardly the only industry suffering from the new trade war. Industries — such as automobile manufacturing — that depend on imports for affordable materials are suffering along with American exporters. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (who supports tariffs) has called for bailouts of industries negatively impacted by tariffs. He is likely to be joined in his advocacy by crony capitalists seeking another government handout.

More bailouts will only add to the trade war’s economic damage by increasing government spending and hastening the welfare–warfare state’s collapse and the rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status. Instead of trying to fix tariffs-caused damage through more corporate welfare, President Trump and Congress should pursue a policy of free markets and free trade for all and bailouts for none.

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In Monsters We Trust: US Mainstream Media No Friend of the American People

Over 300 US newspapers ran editorials on the same day denouncing Trump, an event in itself that points to some high degree of collusion and groupthink.

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Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Over the course of his turbulent presidency, Donald Trump has accused various media companies, with special attention reserved for CNN, as being purveyors of ‘fake news.’ In one early-morning Tweet last year, he slammed the “FAKE NEWS media” as the “enemy of the people.”

This week, over 300 US newspapers ran editorials on the same day – an event in itself that points to some high degree of collusion and groupthink – denouncing Trump’s insensitive portrayal of them, as if the notion that journalists were not in the same sleaze league as lawyers, politicians and professional con artists never crossed anyone’s mind before. Even the peace-loving Mahatma Gandhi recommended “equality for everyone except reporters and photographers.”

But is the MSM really an “enemy of the people?”

First, it cannot be denied that the US media, taken in all its wholesomeness, has been overwhelmingly consistent in its ‘style’ of reporting on Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS. And by consistent I mean unprecedentedly critical, misleading and outright aggressive in its guerilla coverage of him. If one is not convinced by the gloom-and-doom Trump stories featured daily in the Yahoo News feed, then a study by the Media Research Center (MRC) should do the job. From January 1 through April 30, evening news coverage of the US leader – courtesy of ABC, CBS and NBC – were 90 percent negative, which is pretty much the same incredible average revealed by MRC one year earlier.

The study looked at every one of the 1,065 network evening news stories about Trump and his administration during the first four months of 2018. Total negative news time devoted to Trump: 1,774 minutes, or about one-third of all evening news airtime. That’s pretty much the definition of a circle jerk.

“Nearly two-fifths (39%) of the TV coverage we examined focused on Trump scandals and controversies, while 45 percent was devoted to various policy issues,” MRC wrote in its report.

Meanwhile, the farcical Russia ‘collusion’ story was consistently the main grabber — clocking in at 321 minutes, or nearly one-fifth of all Trump coverage. Of the 598 statements MRC calculated about Trump’s personal scandals, virtually all of them (579, or 97%) came out of the media wash cycle tarred and feathered.

If this represents an orchestrated attack on the Commander-in-Chief, and in light of those numbers it would be difficult to argue it isn’t, the strategy appears to be falling flat. Despite, or precisely because of, the avalanche of negative media coverage, Trump’s popularity rating smashed the 50 percent ceiling in early August and continues to remain high.

In Monsters We Trust

Although it can be safely stated that the MSM is an entrenched and relentless enemy of Donald Trump, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an “enemy of the American people,” as Trump argues it is. Let’s be a bit more diplomatic and say it isn’t our friend.

One yard stick for proving the claim is to consider the steadily mounting concentration of media holdings. In 1983, 90 percent of US media were controlled by 50 companies; today, 90 percent is controlled by the Big Six (AT&TComcastThe Walt Disney Company21st Century FoxCBS and Viacom control the spoken and printed word from sea to shining sea).Although many people are aware of the monopolistic tendencies of the US mainstream media, it’s important to understand the level of concentration. It means the vast majority of everything you see and hear on any electronic device or printed publication is ‘democratically’ controlled by six average white guys and their shareholders.

However, keeping track of who owns what these days is practically impossible since the dozens of subsidiary companies that fall under each main company are themselves fiefdoms, each with their own separate holdings. In fact, the already short ‘Big Six’ list is already dated, since National Amusements, Inc. has gobbled up both Viacom and CBS, while 21st Century Fox merged with Disney this year. As for the 350 US newspapers that penned tortured editorials decrying Trump’s critical opinion of them, many of those ‘local’ publications get their marching orders from either the Hearst Communications or the Gannett Company on the East Coast.

Now, with this sort of massive power and influence lying around like dynamite, it stands to reason, or unreason, that the corporate and political worlds will succumb to the law of attraction and gravitation, forging powerful and impregnable relationships. It’s no secret that the politicians, our so-called ‘public servants,’ are mostly in the game to make a fast buck, while the corporations, desperate for ‘democratic representation’ to control regulation and market share, have an inexhaustible source of funds to secure it. Naturally, this oligarchical system precludes any sort of democratic participation from the average person on the street, who thinks just because he remembers to yank a lever once every several years he is somehow invested in the multibillion-dollar franchise.

As far as media corporations being ‘private enterprises’ and therefore free to demolish the freedom of speech (even censoring major media players, like Infowars, simply because they whistle to a different political tune), that is quickly becoming revealed as nothing more than corporate cover for state-sponsored machinations.

“In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship,” writes Caitlin Johnstone. “Because legalized bribery in the form of corporate lobbying and campaign donations has given wealthy Americans the ability to control the US government’s policy and behavior while ordinary Americans have no effective influence whatsoever, the US unquestionably has a corporatist system of government.”

Meanwhile, it cannot be denied, from the perspective of an impartial observer, that the mainstream media is nearly always positioned to promote the government narrative on any number of significant issues. From the media’s unanimous and uncritical clamoring that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 (even the FBI has admitted it has no “hard evidence” that bin Laden carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon), to its gung-ho enthusiasm for the 2003 Iraq War, to the sycophantic cheerleading for a war in Syria, the examples of media toeing the government line are legion. And if US intel is in bed with Hollywood you can be damn sure they’re spending time in the MSM whorehouse as well.

Is it any surprise, then, that public trust in the US media is reaching all-time lows, while news consumers are increasingly looking to alternative news sites – themselves under relentless attack – to get some semblance of the elusive truth, which is the God-given right of any man? Truth is our due, and we should demand nothing less.

As Thomas Paine reminded the world in the face of a different foe: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

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