Thursday, September 30, 2004
Who says Big Media are Pro Business?
L.A. Weekly has learned that CBS, NBC and ABC all refused Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD advertising during any of the networks’ news programming. Executives at Sony Pictures, the distributor of the movie for the home-entertainment market, were stunned. And even more shocked when the three networks explained why.
“They said explicitly they were reluctant because of the closeness of the release to the election. All three networks said no,” one Sony insider explains. “It was certainly a judgment that Sony disagrees with and is in the process of protesting.”
Monday, September 27, 2004
AlterNet Review of "Runaway Train: The True Story of the U.S. Patriot Act"
"Yet these oversimplifications don't overshadow the film's compelling argument: the Patriot Act was indeed ushered into law before Congress could carefully consider its consequences and without any mechanisms for public intervention. The result is that while the US is no safer than it was before September 11th, this legislation has enacted legal changes that not only target possible "terrorists" but also criminalize almost any U.S. citizen who dissents. The many personal narratives in the film add a rich texture to these bare bone facts about the Patriot Act and illustrate who really pays for this reactionary and discriminatory legislation: immigrants, people of color, and potentially every single US citizen. "The review notes some problems but it's still seems worth viewing to me.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Women Bloggers Unite!: What She Said!
Prescott Bush's connections to the Nazi regime
AmericaBlog also has this comment: "That's right. Bush is being sued by survivors of Auschwitz (!)because they say his family profited from the death camps. The Guardian also suggests that one reason Bush backtracked on Clinton's support of the World Court was because his family could be dragged in front of it!"
"His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.
The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
The debate over Prescott Bush's behaviour has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the "Bush/Nazi" connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty."
"A provision in the USA Patriot Act states that anyone who uses his position of prominence to endorse terrorism or terrorist organizations may not enter the United States. This was what a DHS spokesman was referring to when he said that Islam was denied admission to the United States 'on national security grounds.'"
Friday, September 24, 2004
We get wingnuts
Republicans Admit Mailing Campaign Literature Saying Liberals Will Ban the Bible
"Republicans Admit Mailing Campaign Literature Saying Liberals Will Ban the Bible
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: September 24, 2004
The Republican Party acknowledged yesterday sending mass mailings to residents of two states warning that 'liberals' seek to ban the Bible. It said the mailings were part of its effort to mobilize religious voters for President Bush.
The mailings include images of the Bible labeled 'banned' and of a gay marriage proposal labeled 'allowed.' A mailing to Arkansas residents warns: 'This will be Arkansas if you don't vote.' A similar mailing was sent to West Virginians."
Thursday, September 23, 2004
The Language of News and Politics
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Terrorists! Everywhere! Oops, sorry...
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Changing the Electoral College
US soldiers watching Fahrenheit 9-11
Monday, September 20, 2004
A grassroots tactic but you need a law...
Mike Walker recently got bumped by the cops – again. This time it went down on a Friday afternoon as he was heading home from school with his boy Brandon. The eighteen-year-old northeast Denver natives were treading steady down tree-lined 29th Avenue toward Williams Street when a District 2 Gang Unit police cruiser lurched across the intersection and onto the sidewalk in front of them. Two officers got out and told them they matched the description of a suspect in a ring of car thefts. "He said that the guy looked just like us," Walker recounts. "A big black man."
A quick ID check proved that neither Walker nor his friend was their guy, but Walker says that Officer Rick Eberharter then accused him of representing the Tre-Tre Crips simply because he was wearing a blue hat, blue shirt and dark-blue jeans. (Actually, Walker is the son of Pan African Arts Society director Ashara Ekundayo and has been a local community activist since the age of fourteen.)
Walker said, "No way," and quickly asked the officers if he and Brandon were being detained. Eberharter answered in the affirmative, and then, Walker says, he and his friend were handcuffed, searched, questioned, checked for outstanding warrants, verbally abused and finally cleared of all wrongdoing and released. "Have a nice day," Walker remembers the officers saying as he stuffed rooted-out pencils and binders back into his bag. But before the police peeled off, Walker made sure he did one thing: He demanded their business cards.
Since 2001, every police officer in Colorado has been obligated to offer a business card if they detain someone in a traffic stop but don't cite or arrest them. This was established as part of House Bill 1114, which was passed a year after Governor Bill Owens's 2000 executive order banning racial profiling. The ban was issued in response to a series of nationwide studies that found that law-enforcement agencies were specifically targeting Black and Hispanic motorists for vehicle searches ("Target Practice," January 24, 2001). The bill not only required that business cards be given out, but mandated that all law-enforcement agencies have a written policy against racial profiling and provide officer training on the issue.
Dem/Repub demographic info
"In the 1980 presidential race, Democratic and Republican counties on average had about the same number of voters. By 2000, however, the average Democratic county had three times as many voters as the average Republican county. ...
In the country's most partisan counties -- those where one party wins by more than 20 percentage points -- the split is overwhelming. In 2000, the average landslide Democratic county was eight times larger than the average landslide Republican county. [By contrast] in 1980, the average landslide Republican county was more populous than the average partisan Democratic county."
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Strange Representative Democracy
The Economist notes that "if democracy means multi-party competition at the
grass roots, America is not a full democracy in elections to the House of Representatives."
"The sheer uncompetitiveness of most House races takes one's breath away. In 2002, four out of five of them were won by more than 20 points. The average margin was a stunning two to one, meaning some races had even bigger margins. Last time, 200 races had margins of 40 points of more and 80 were uncontested. So far this year, the uncontested figure is 68. In 2002, just four incumbents lost to challengers at the polls (another four lost in primaries). North Korea might be proud of the incumbent re-election rate: 99%. More than nine in ten Americans live in districts that are, in practice, one-party monopolies."
Friday, September 17, 2004
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Hijacking Catastrophe, a review
Free speech, for those who can afford it
There are two points that strike me. One, the startling disconnect between the newspaper account and the comments made about it on the conservative side. The comments seem to attribute facts to the story that aren't there. Perhaps these people are getting their facts from another source? Two, the idea that someone can be fired for having a bumpersticker on their car is so unjust, so bent on suppression of opposing views that it takes my breath away.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Fascism: the definitions
Saturday, September 11, 2004
The Distortions of Polling
Retro Poll is trying to conduct polls somewhat differently than the usual news and political opinion polls. Here is their mission statement:
Our Mission: Retro Poll is a citizen based voluntary non-profit organization which aims to contribute to building a free, open and democratic society in the U.S. Retro Poll designs and performs opinion polls that look at the relationship between public knowledge and public opinion. In so doing so, Retro Poll reveals how the government and corporate media distort information in order to manipulate, confuse and disorganize the public's will.
Here is their most recent poll from spring of 2004.
That said, I'm still a bit of a junkie for infomation. So here is a aggregate polling site covering the current Electoral Vote predictions for the 2004 presidential election.
Didn't I say I was looking forward to the new Censored book? I think I did. However, coming across what must be an advance look at the top 10 stories (the book has 25 stories plus additional material), I found myself getting quite depressed about the state of mainstream journalism. Some of these stories are a testament to the gaps in the information available to the the ordinary person in our society. Note how many of the sources for these stories are not mainstream. Sullenness is lapping at my mind. Still, I think spreading the word on these stories now will help us pay more attention in the future. Right?
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Voting machines and glitches
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Terror in 1984, uh, 2004
With fighting terrorism a cornerstone of President George W. Bush's re-election
campaign, the Bush administration has been unapologetic in its aggressive
approach. "You have to have a zero-tolerance policy for anything that
could germinate into a terrorist plot or facilitate a terrorist plot,"
said U.S. Attorney David Kelley of New York.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Murdoch and Me
I didn’t pay much attention when there was a proposal for Echostar, another satellite provider, to merge with DirectTV. That fell through and guess what? This is from The Center for Public Integrity website:
News Corp. and Fox, of course, are owned by Rupert Murdoch, funder of conservative causes everywhere. I’m feeling a little ill at the moment. I’m really hoping that there won’t be any “streamlining” of the channel lineup because I know which will go first.
News Corp., which was active in blocking the EchoStar deal, eventually prevailed in the bidding wars and bought a controlling interest in Hughes for $6.6 billion. Unlike EchoStar, News Corp. managed to get the deal through federal anti-trust regulators. In March 2004 Hughes Electronics became The DirecTV Group under News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment Group. Link to source.
LinkTV is one of my few lifelines in the relatively barren television media landscape. They have recently started showing Democracy Now! in the morning and at 6pm. DN! isn’t perfect but it’s head and shoulders above the regular spectrum of shows on TV. Watching DN! also brings home how far to the right all political discussion on TV has slipped. Political concepts the conservatives on TV call “liberal” or “radical” all seem to be centrist or, in rare instances, somewhat to the center-left. Intellectually I understood this to be the case but actually seeing and hearing progressive-left viewpoints really shows how closed and narrow mainstream TV is these days.
I also really like Mosaic: World News From The Middle East. "Mosaic features selections from daily TV news programs produced by national broadcasters throughout the Middle East. The news reports are presented unedited and translated, when necessary, into English." American media are generally very limited when it comes to international news, providing little insight and relying on a "newsworthy" event to cover anything. If I depended on mainstream media coverage, well, let's just say I would wonder why there's anyone left in the Middle East considering the number of car bombs going off there.
Adsense by Google
My initial view of this was the obvious: who has the money for advertising? Who invests most in advertising? I'm particularly struck by the first ad which, in one short sentence, promotes what I consider a lie. And there it is on my blog, immediately giving and presenting an opposing view that I see too often everywhere in the media. It's possible that after I get some more traffic through the site, the nature of the ads may change. Maybe. If they don't change in a week or two, I'll drop the program.
Transgender and Feminist Politics
I also liked the page on 12 Trans Myths and Feminist Responses, laying out the differences between Trans Arguments and the Feminist Response. If you like cogent feminist analysis, I think this is a great site. It's probably not too popular in some circles but I think it's a reasoned and careful approach.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
The police told us to get in a single line and we’d be fine. We got in a line, and then they arrested every one of us.
We were told as long as we stayed on the sidewalk and kept a pedestrian lane we could march. We stuck to the sidewalk and kept a lane open, but we were arrested anyway.
The police said Go this way and you’ll be fine. When we did, there was another line of cops: it was a trap.
They said you can’t put the banner there but you can hold it here; when the guys held it where they were told they were arrested. Then half of us who were there were arrested, and half were not.
Faith in the System
Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as
being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. We have no king but
Jesus. - John Ashcroft
- 38 % of Americans wouldn't vote for a well-qualified Muslim for president.
- 52% wouldn't vote for a well-qualified atheist.
- There are 3,000 fewer Rastas in the U.S. now than in 1990, but 126,000 more Wiccans. [Really?]
- Since 2002, a sex-ed group that criticizes the administration's abstinence-only policies has been audited by federal health officials three times.
- 78% of Americans would rather hear a presidential candidate's plan for fighting poverty than his position on gay marriage.
- President Bush has used the word "evil" at least 350 times in speeches.
- [And the winner in my opinion...]
- In June, the Vatican announced that church Inquisitors had tortured people for only 15 minutes at a time, and only in the presence of a doctor.