Ralph spends the entire hour with co-founder of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Norman Solomon, to discuss his latest book, “War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine,” which examines how our “military-industrial-media-intelligence complex” conspires to suppress the truth about war.
Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of War Made Easy, Made Love, Got War, and his newest book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine.
The tacit motto of huge media outlets like the New York Times is: Being pro-war means never having to say you’re sorry. If a journalist or a media outlet is in favor of the US engaging in war, that is couched as “objective.” If a journalist (such as Phil Donahue on MSNBC) in the leadup to the war even raises questions, serious questions critical of an impending invasion or ongoing US war then that's considered “biased.”
These wars are treated as though they aren’t wars. That they don’t exist. That “there’s nothing to see here, folks!” Because we say so. We have our own criteria. And part of that is the jingoism and the nationalism and the racism that says if the people at the other end of US firepower don’t look like us, are not in a country aligned with us, then we don’t think there’s really a reason to consider it a major problem. It’s only a problem when Americans are dying.
This was a real sociocide—thousands and thousands of bombs and missiles dropped on Iraq. And here’s the New York Times, being fed by one of their reporters Judith Miller total lies about Saddam importing uranium from Niger and Africa and other falsehoods that made page one in the New York Times. What is clearly probably its darkest journalistic chapter… There doesn’t seem to be anything learned today. They could just as well do it today against another country.
In Case You Haven’t Heard
1. On Wednesday, The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that the online retailer “tricked and trapped people into recurring subscriptions [for Amazon Prime] without their consent, not only frustrating users but also costing them significant money,” according to FTC Chair Lina Khan. Khan added “These manipulative tactics harm consumers and law-abiding businesses alike.” According to internal documents “Amazon named [the cancellation] process ‘Iliad,’…refer[ing] to Homer’s epic about the long, arduous Trojan War.” More about this lawsuit is available at the Washington Post.
2. As the Teamsters continue to negotiate for a better deal with UPS, the membership has voted overwhelmingly to approve a strike. This vote – which passed with 97 percent support – gives the union “maximum leverage to win demands at the bargaining table,” according to the union’s statement. The statement goes on to note that the Teamsters represent more than 340,000 UPS package delivery drivers and warehouse logistics workers nationwide. Teamsters president Sean O’Brien added “The strongest leverage our members have is their labor and they are prepared to withhold it to ensure UPS acts accordingly.”
3. For the fist time since 2019, the Democratic-controlled Senate Banking committee will hold a “mark-up” session on a bill – a key step toward enacting any legislation. This bill – sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown, who chairs the committee, and Tim Scott of South Carolina – seeks to claw back excessive compensation from executives at failed banks and penalize them for misconduct. This legislation was almost certainly drafted in response to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. The draft text of this bill is available at Punchbowl News.
4. The American Prospect reports that, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” or FSD has led to at least 736 crashes – causing 17 fatalities – since 2021. Mile for mile, Tesla’s FSD system is “likely…ten times more dangerous at driving than humans.”
5. Leaving aside self-driving, a CBS News report sheds light on new dangers associated with electric vehicles. “Their batteries make the vehicles heavier, offering better protection to the passengers inside, but that extra weight — hundreds to even thousands of pounds — has traffic safety advocates concerned about the potential risk to other drivers.” To give some perspective on how heavy these vehicles are, “GMC's Hummer EV weighs more than 9,000 pounds…more than 3,000 pounds heavier than the GMC's full-size pickup. The Hummer EV's battery alone weighs about the same as a Toyota Corolla.”
6. The Washington Post reports that the strike at Insider magazine, the “longest ever [strike] in digital media,” has ended. The new deal raises the minimum salary for Insider staff and prevents any further layoffs this year, along with an immediate 3.5 percent raise upon ratification of the contract. The strikers got a boost in public support when the editor-in-chief was filmed “tearing down fliers bearing his face with the phrase, “Have you seen this millionaire?”’ Insider, formerly Business Insider, was acquired by German media conglomerate Axel-Springer in 2015; Axel-Springer’s later acquisition of POLITICO was covered in the first edition of the Capitol Hill Citizen.
7. Yahoo Finance reports that, in a major reversal, Shell plans to “[pivot] back to oil to win over investors.” The company will forego its goal to reduce oil outputs by 1-2% each year, and its CEO Wael Sawan emphasized that “shift[ing] to low-carbon businesses cannot come at the expense of profits.” No word yet on whether life on planet Earth can come at the expense of corporate profits.
8. This month, American troops will begin arriving in Peru, where they will be stationed until the end of the year. These troops, invited by the wildly unpopular Peruvian Congress and unelected president Dina Boluarte, are charged with “preparing Peru’s intelligence command for “joint special operations.” The timing of this arrival is notable; while protests against the antidemocratic Peruvian government peaked in February, resulting in 70 deaths, a new rash of protests are planned for July. This from CounterPunch.
9. The Catholic News Agency reports that a restaurant in Sacramento, California “had an individual impersonate a priest to encourage employees to confess their “sins” against their employer,” – the catch? He wasn’t a priest at all. The Department of Labor called this “among the most shameless” of employee intimidation methods they’d ever seen. In addition to the priest fiasco, investigators said the restaurant “denied overtime pay to employees and illegally paid managers from the employee tip pool….[and] threatened employees with retaliation and immigration-related consequences for cooperating with investigators.” The employer has agreed to pay $70,000 in back wages and $70,000 in damages to 35 employees, as well as $5,000 in civil penalties to the Department of Labor.
10. Daniel Ellsberg, the legendary whistleblower who exposed the lies being fed to the American people regarding the Vietnam War via the Pentagon Papers, has passed away. He was 92. Ellsberg, who had been in hospice following a diagnosis of inoperable pancreatic cancer, wrote a final note in March. This note mostly focused on the nuclear peril posed by the war in Ukraine, but the last few lines should be repeated here:
“I’m happy to know that millions of people–including all those friends and comrades to whom I address this message!–have the wisdom, the dedication and the moral courage to carry on with these causes, and to work unceasingly for the survival of our planet and its creatures.
I’m enormously grateful to have had the privilege of knowing and working with such people, past and present. That’s among the most treasured aspects of my very privileged and very lucky life. I want to thank you all for the love and support you have given me in so many ways. Your dedication, courage, and determination to act have inspired and sustained my own efforts.
My wish for you is that at the end of your days you will feel as much joy and gratitude as I do now.