Thursday 24th of October 2019

when newspapers adverts had wheels...

Most newspapers still derive the majority of their revenue from printed ads and print subscriptions, both of which have been in decline for years. Digital ads remain a minority of the revenue pie, primarily because the competition for advertising is dominated by tech giants such as Google and Facebook and because digital ads sell for mere fractions of the cost of the print kind.

Proposed solutions to the problems — generally focused on cost-cutting — have sometimes worsened them by turning off readers. The weaker newspapers get, the more readers and advertisers abandon newspapers, leading to the next round of cuts. It has also complicated publishers’ efforts to sell digital subscriptions: With weakened newsrooms, digital newspapers often offer less to justify the cost of paying for the news.

Ever since Gannett spun off from Tegna, its broadcasting arm, four years ago, it has been looking to grow through mergers or acquisitions, with little to show for it.

“I think Gannett is looking for some sort of solution to its future,” said Arthur. He said he could see a few hundred million dollars in cost savings up front by eliminating duplicate management and back-office positions, in departments such as human resources, technology, finance and accounting.

In some cases, the companies could save money by printing their newspapers at one facility instead of two, and by combining and centralizing copy editing, design and daily print layout functions. Further savings might result from volume discounts on the company’s massive purchases of paper and ink.

But newspaper companies have been employing similar corporate machinations in search of a solution for local news for more than a decade, with no end to the industry’s problems — particularly in small-town and rural America — in sight.

“If you’re not The Washington Post, the New York Times, hopefully the L.A. Times and to a lesser extent the Dallas Morning News or the Chicago Tribune, this has become sort of a death spiral,” Arthur said.

Paul Farhi and Aaron Gregg contributed to this report.

 

Read more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/05/gannett-merge-with-ga...

 

 

Picture at top from Gus' collection of useless things... Cadillac advert from 1957. The car is more than 2 tonnes... has 2 doors and burns leaded fuel by the barrel.

and the real news came from moscow...

The Guardian, along with several fact-checking sites, has wrongly claimed that an image of two smiling men in front of the burning Notre Dame cathedral had been manipulated to make it look like "Muslims celebrated the destruction of Notre Dame".

The Guardian has issued a mea culpa for falsely suggesting that a Sputnik photo had been doctored to incite hatred toward Muslims – almost four months after being proven wrong.

“In an episode of Fake or for real? published on 19 April, we suggested that a photo that went viral during the Notre Dame fire had been doctored,” the newspaper wrote in an Instagram story Monday.

“We have been contacted by the copyright owner of the photo, Sputnik France, and accept that it had not been doctored; we apologise for suggesting otherwise.”

...

The newspaper suggested that the photo had been altered in a bid to make it look like Muslims were celebrating the tragedy (despite the fact that the photo pulled from Sputnik’s Facebook did not contain any comments as to the men’s background whatsoever).

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201908061076478237-the-guardian-apologise...

only in america... the return of the symbol of slavery...

A Texan police chief has apologised after two white male officers on horseback led a black, handcuffed trespassing suspect by a rope through city streets.

Key points: 
  • The suspect was accused of trespassing and was known to police
  • The arrest was acceptable under Texan police policy
  • The police chief said the policy had since been changed to prevent further use of the technique

 

Photos of the arrest on Saturday in Galveston, about 80 kilometres south-east of the state's largest city, Houston, were widely circulated on social media and drew comparisons to images of the slave era.

In a statement, Galveston police chief Vernon Hale said that while his officers used a technique that was acceptable in some situations, such as with crowd control, they "showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest".

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-07/texan-police-put-black-man-on-lea...

hey you, the media...

In Debates, Let’s Raise the Issue of How To Avert Nuclear War

 

by Lawrence Wittner


You mass media folks lead busy lives, I’m sure. But you must have heard something about nuclear weapons – those supremely destructive devices that, along with climate change, threaten the continued existence of the human race. 

Yes, thanks to popular protest and carefully-crafted arms control and disarmament agreements, there has been some progress in limiting the number of these weapons and averting a nuclear holocaust. Even so, that progress has been rapidly unraveling in recent months, leading to a new nuclear arms race and revived talk of nuclear war.

Do I exaggerate? Consider the following. 

In May 2018, the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the laboriously-constructed Iran nuclear agreement that had closed off the possibility of that nation developing nuclear weapons. This U.S. treaty pullout was followed by the imposition of heavy US economic sanctions on Iran, as well as by thinly-veiled threats by Trump to use nuclear weapons to destroy that country. Irate at these moves, the Iranian government recently retaliated by exceeding the limits set by the shattered agreement on its uranium stockpile and uranium enrichment.

At the beginning of February 2019, the Trump administration announced that, in August, the US government will withdraw from the Reagan-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – the historic agreement that had banned U.S. and Russian ground-launched cruise missiles – and would proceed to develop such weapons. On the following day, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that, in response, his government was suspending its observance of the treaty and would build the kinds of nuclear missiles that the INF treaty had outlawed.

The next nuclear disarmament agreement on the chopping block appears to be the 2010 New START Treaty, which reduces US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 each, limits US and Russian nuclear delivery vehicles, and provides for extensive inspection.  According to John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor, this fundamentally flawed treaty, scheduled to expire in February 2021, is “unlikely” to be extended. To preserve such an agreement, he argued, would amount to “malpractice.” If the treaty is allowed to expire, it would be the first time since 1972 that there would be no nuclear arms control agreement between Russia and the United States.

One other key international agreement, which President Clinton signed – but, thanks to Republican opposition, the US Senate has never ratified – is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Adopted with great fanfare in 1996 and backed by nearly all the world’s nations, the CTBT bans nuclear weapons testing, a practice which has long served as a prerequisite for developing or upgrading nuclear arsenals. Today, Bolton is reportedly pressing for the treaty to be removed from Senate consideration and “unsigned,” as a possible prelude to US resumption of nuclear testing.

Nor, dear moderators, does it seem likely that any new agreements will replace the old ones. The US State Department’s Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence Affairs, which handles US arms control ventures, has been whittled down during the Trump years from 14 staff members to four. As a result, a former staffer reported, the State Department is no longer “equipped” to pursue arms control negotiations. Coincidentally, the US and Russian governments, which possess approximately 93 percent of the world’s nearly 14,000 nuclear warheads, have abandoned negotiations over controlling or eliminating them for the first time since the 1950s.

Instead of honoring the commitment, under Article VI of the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to pursue negotiations for “cessation of the nuclear arms race” and for “nuclear disarmament,” all nine nuclear powers are today modernizing their nuclear weapons production facilities and adding new, improved types of nuclear weapons to their arsenals. Over the next 30 years, this nuclear buildup will cost the United States alone an estimated $1,700,000,000,000 – at least if it is not obliterated first in a nuclear holocaust.

Will the United States and other nations survive these escalating preparations for nuclear war? That question might seem overwrought, dear moderators, but, in fact, the US government and others are increasing the role that nuclear weapons play in their “national security” policies. Trump’s glib threats of nuclear war against North Korea and Iran are paralleled by new administration plans to develop a low-yield ballistic missile, which arms control advocates fear will lower the threshold for nuclear war.

Confirming the new interest in nuclear warfare, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, in June 2019, posted a planning document on the Pentagon’s website with a more upbeat appraisal of nuclear war-fighting than seen for many years. Declaring that “using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the document approvingly quoted Herman Kahn, the Cold War nuclear theorist who had argued for “winnable” nuclear wars and had provided an inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s satirical film, Dr. Strangelove. 

Of course, most Americans are not pining for this kind of approach to nuclear weapons. Indeed, a May 2019 opinion poll by the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland found that two-thirds of US respondents favored remaining within the INF Treaty, 80 percent wanted to extend the New START Treaty, about 60 percent supported “phasing out” US intercontinental ballistic missiles, and 75 percent backed legislation requiring congressional approval before the president could order a nuclear attack.

Therefore, when it comes to presidential debates, dear moderators, don’t you – as stand-ins for the American people – think it might be worthwhile to ask the candidates some questions about US preparations for nuclear war and how best to avert a global catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude?

I think these issues are important. Don’t you?

 

Lawrence S. Wittner (lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press). Reprinted with permission from Foreign Policy In Focus.

 

 

Read from top... The media is forgeting a lot of stuff in order to survive....

swiss cheese on the menu...


The image of the future war


by Gotthard Frick*

 


All competing major powers are arming themselves. On 28 March, President Trump said that he wanted to build a “great relationship” with Russia and China, and on 4 April at the appearance with China’s Deputy Prime Minister Liu He he said that the money for the three major powers’ arms spending should be better spent on things that serve long-term peace (Strategic Newsletter 1 April, “Schiller Institute”). But in contradiction, the US wants to remain the dominant world power.

 

From 1990, Russia wanted to establish an amicable relationship with the West among equal partners. But the US does not want partners on an equal footing. Humiliating, they rejected Russia. Thus it has oriented itself towards Asia and is arming itself massively. After China had shaken off the long Western rule, it has become an important power and is beginning to compete with the USA. India has territorial conflicts with China, has great tensions with its arch-enemy Pakistan, is arming itself and seems to want to lean on the USA.

Switzerland practically defenceless

Do we really have to ask ourselves what a future war might look like? Did not the Federal Council tell about the WEA1 that war against our country was practically impossible? Should however a “military attack” take place, it says on 3 September 2014 in its explanatory report: “[…] special forces and command support (including Cyber-defense) have become more important, heavy terrestrial weapon systems, used in masses, less important”. Russia refuted him with the February 2016 report on the operational readiness of the 1st Guard Tank Army. Also the 7870 Abrahams tanks of the USA are a clear hint.
Not the “prevention of war” (BV Art. 58), the most important task of the army, indeed of our state, but the money still granted to it determines its possibilities. The Federal Decree of 29 September 2011 already set the benchmarks of “100,000 men and 5 billion Swiss francs”. Therefore, in the Explanatory Report of 26 June 2013, the task was – honestly – limited to “[…] the maintenance and further development of defence competence”, the “savoir-faire”, but “to the smallest possible extent”.The “ability” to “defend” Switzerland was expressly given up. These clear words were replaced by positive ones in the following Explanatory Statement of 3 September 2014 (the Army “protects”), but the WEA Army approved by Parliament in 2014 did not become stronger than already decided in 2011. On 18.3.2016, the Federal Assembly decided to create Mech Br 4. Despite its martial name, it is not a combat unit, but a reconnaissance unit with two artillery divisions. This did not strengthen the army. As early as 2015, the director of a large Chinese IT company suddenly asked the author at a friendly dinner in Beijing: “Why did the richest country in the world abolish its army? The general staffs, which are important to us, will also have recognised the defencelessness of our country and will have included military intervention in their war plans.

The picture of the future war

Today’s conventional means of war are many times more far-reaching, more precise and more destructive than earlier ones. This is joined by numerous new types of weapons: Airplanes and missiles of all ranges and types, high-performance air defence systems, cyber, space, hypersonic, radiation, immediate global strike weapons, drones and self-guided weapon systems. The use of biological and chemical warfare agents is also conceivable. The NEMP, the nuclear electromagnetic pulse, which deactivates all unprotected electronic devices from an altitude of several hundred kilometres, is another option. We must be prepared for the unexpected at all levels. A nuclear war does not need to be discussed, as it would probably mean the end of the modern world.
What could war look like? One of the greatest changes in the image of war is the connection between man and “artificial intelligence”, the use of completely new technologies, weapons and the inclusion of space.
The future land war will mainly be fought in cities and will be more deadly than all wars since the Second World War. Even the US ground troops can no longer – until now taken as granted – expect the air force to smash the enemy before they attack. Often the enemy territory must be occupied and the air defence there must be taken off before the air force can intervene.
The great powers, including Russia and China, have the ability to eliminate electronic means and communication between armed forces, even the American forces, the High Command and the White House. The battlefield will no longer be linear and coherent. The battlefields will be far apart, and there will be great gaps between one’s own forces. Being surrounded by the enemy will become the norm. The troops have to find their way around with map and compass again and learn to fight in complete isolation, without any wireless communication and in a limited electronic environment.

Mobility and autonomy

Because of the highly perceptive sensors, the probability of being detected is very high. Thanks to the precision of today’s weapons, whoever is detected will be hit. General ­Milley: “If you are in the same place for more than two to three hours, you are dead.” The combat units would have to move constantly far apart, pull together very briefly for an attack, and immediately move far apart again, otherwise they would be destroyed immediately. Each unit must have the full range of weapons at its disposal, including more wide-ranging and more effective ones, including a very sophisticated air defence system, in order to defend its own airspace.
The volume of messages and false alarms, combined with high technology, will plunge the situation assessments into chaos and will paralyse decision making, provided that the electronic systems for communication, command and control and fire control function at all. In this environment, crises develop extremely rapidly, which extremely shortens the time required for decision-making and operations.
Leaders must be able to lead their units completely autonomously, often without any contact with the higher command. Therefore, they must learn to act against order in order to achieve the overall goal. If it is possible to open the supply lines to the combat units, only robotised or remote-controlled supply units may be used to avoid the risk of total destruction of the crew. Troops in the combat zone have to resign themselves to extreme renunciation and misery, since the luxury common in the US armed forces with pizza huts, fast food, showers and mail can no longer be routinely maintained in modern war.
The supply over the oceans to areas in war is no longer guaranteed, therefore it must be brought there beforehand. According to unverified reports on the Internet, the USA is bringing large quantities of heavy material to Europe and storing it, among others, in unused caverns in Norway.
Switzerland would have to examine impartially how it should prepare for this kind of war, if our people finally were to realise that we need a “war-preventing” army.    •

* Major Gotthard Frick, former Battalion Commander, 4103 Bottmingen

 

Read more:

https://www.zeit-fragen.ch/en/editions/2019/n-16-22-juillet-2019/simaginer-la-guerre-future.html

 

 

 

 

we, nasty atheists, oh, you mean the religious vice president?

Why People Hate Religion

The charlatans and phonies preen and punish, while those of real faith do Christ’s work among refugees.

You don’t hear much about Sister Norma Pimentel in the secular press. She’s not a wacko, a hypocrite, a sexual predator or a political operative. Her life’s work, she says, is guided by seeing “the presence of God” in migrant children in the shelter she oversees in the Rio Grande Valley — vulnerable souls that her president would otherwise put in cages.


What you hear about is the phonies, the charlatans who wave Bibles, the theatrically pious, and they are legion. 

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/30/opinion/trump-religion.html?

 

We, atheists, do our bit of salvation... not of souls of course, but of people who are in trouble, usually for no fault of their own, but this would not matter... We have been there with our own bits of self-inflicted failure... so we know.