IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Summer of Floods, Summer of Fires: today's unlucky town is Minot, ND; Bad news for US nukes; Sea level rise accelerating; PLUS: Al Gore slams Obama on climate change, Fox "News" gets all confused ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Can nuclear waste storage co-exist with nearby oil & gas drilling?; Drilling co. sells kids on fracking with new coloring book; Google hits $780M in total clean energy investing; Seafood processors accused of violations; Conservative group sues NASA for climate scientist's records; How livable streets make us happier humans; Answers from the E. coli outbreak in Germany; Are architects the change agents for the new Green Economy?; GOP House votes to weaken Clean Air permits for oil-drillers; Transocean blames BP for Gulf Oil Spill Disaster; Canada opposes labeling Asbestos as hazardous; DoD plans large-scale integration of electric vehicles; Civil Disobedience in DC this summer to stop the Keystone XL tar sands p pipeline; Congress: Let's just rename it the "Dirty Water Act" ... PLUS: Which cities can best adapt to climate change? (Congrats, Cleveland!) ...
Shortly after Barack Obama was sworn in as President last January, as Brad Friedman reported at the time, the new White House website "Technology" page signaled a hopeful change, and a call to re-examine the oversight of our public airwaves:
Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum.
Okay, let me connect some dots here.
For more than two years, GOP extremists have made the President's birth certificate an issue that has successfully permeated the country's consciousness. According to a New York Times-CBS News poll last week, 43% of the country is not sure Barack Obama was born in this country, despite long standing factual evidence to the contrary.
How did GOP extremists manage to make a non issue such a huge issue? They used the power of broadcasting to beat the drums of paranoia into 50 million people across our land. They used the power of talk radio, which they have used successfully tomarginalize Democrats and anyone else outside their narrow point of view.
That's right. According to Arbitron, 53 million people listen to talk radio every day in this country. When Glenn Beck loses his Fox "News" audience of 2 million, he still will have his radio audience of 10 million...
[Ed Note: The author appeared with me last night, as I guest hosted the Mike Malloy Show. We discussed the following article, as well as his other recent piece examining the dangerous scam of U.S. corporate welfare as military "foreign aid" in Egypt. You can now listen to that interview here. - BF]
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Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
As Vermont becomes the first state to consider a Constitutional amendment that would put an end to "corporate personhood", it is perhaps worthwhile to examine the historical context in which the concept arose and the forceful challenges to its validity that have been mustered by a minority of Supreme Court Justices.
Sotomayor, whose position was not included in Justice John Paul Steven's dissenting opinion in Citizens United --- a dissent she signed onto --- is by no means the first Supreme Court Justice to question the legitimacy of a long-standing doctrine of U.S. corporate law which has served to undermine the very fabric of individual liberty and democratic accountability, permitting wealth, power and control over mass communications to be concentrated in the hands of the privileged few.
Earlier dissents from Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas not only challenged the legitimacy of extending to corporations Constitutional rights intended to protect the living, breathing human beings who make up our nation's citizenry but exposed the hypocrisy of the activist, Federalist Society Justices, who claim to be "strict constructionists," but who are, in fact, as we've reported previously, part of a corporate-funded, counterrevolution in law...
A discussion I had earlier this week with the non-partisan Allen Handelman on North Carolina's powerful 100k watt "Super Station," FM Talk 101.1 WZTK was particularly enlightening, I think. Most interesting was that the bulk of the callers --- even though I had been hoping for folks to call in disagreeing with my take --- seemed to generally agree with me. That, even on this station in supposedly "red" NC which features both non-RW talkers as well as far RW misinformants and miscreants such as Michael Savage and Neal Boortz who use our publicly owned airwaves to skew the nation with damnable lies and propaganda.
Happily, NC's FM Talk 101.1 is the exception to the national rule, as it uses its licensed airwaves to serve the public interest, as they are supposed to by law, by offering a variety of political viewpoints. In the bargain, they are the area's #1 talk station (yes, even beating the stations which carry Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.). That, of course, would go against a lot of the "conventional wisdom" (propagated, naturally, by RWingers) which says that NC is "red," that RWingers only want to listen to RW talk, and that folks like Limbaugh and Hannity are so "good" and so many people agree with their "point of view" that they can't be beat. Of course, having the biggest 100k watt blowtorch in town never hurts either, as is the case in most places where the most powerful signal also seems to receive the most listeners for some odd reason.
So where RW stations are placed on 50,000 watt clear channel transmitters, they tend to handily beat the 1k and 5k and 10k stations where one may be able to hear progressive talk --- if you are in a town lucky enough to have such a station and live close enough to its transmitter to actually hear it.
If you'd like to listen to my two "hours" (with commercials already removed, they're really about 40 mins each) with Allen, they can be downloaded or listened to online below. My thanks to Allen for both having me and for sharing the audio files. He also informs me that he'll be re-playing these two hours on his nationally syndicated show as well this weekend...
A moment like Columbine, like Fort Hood, like Oklahoma City, yet different; different because the madman's rampage that targeted Tucson, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was predictable.
It's hot in Tucson --- temperatures soar to 117 degrees in the summertime. But that's nothing compared to the political heat generated recently in this community just an hour north of the Mexican border. Nowhere in the country were the 'Tea Parties' angrier than in Arizona; rage over healthcare and immigration reform boiled over in Tucson.
Who wouldn't be incensed? Reports of increased crime, beheadings on the borders, government takeover of health care, death panels. Given all that, who would not stand and fight to protect their grandmothers?
If all that were actually true. But of course, it is not true. Those reports and other fabrications like them are a creation of Right Wing Talk Radio. It isn't just the vitriol spewing from Savage and Hannity and Boortz and others, it is what is behind the vitriol: a genuine fear born of propaganda. And as a culture, we the people are buying into it.
So, regardless of whether the alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner actually listened to any of the six "Conservative" stations on the dial in Tucson, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was correct when he blamed the attack on a cultural environment built of Talk Radio...
And last Sunday, the good Mr. Swanson came to Los Angeles for a book event at the home of actress and PDA advisory board chair Mimi Kennedy where I joined him, along with KPFK's Lila Garrett and Truthout's Jason Leopold, on a panel to discuss it.
The over-flow event --- impressive for any day in laid back L.A., much less in the middle of record rainfall --- was video-taped and is now posted below in seven parts, if you're interested.
(If you're looking for me in the videos below, my opening statement is near the beginning of Part 3, and my closing statement is in Part 7, beginning just before the 4 minute mark. As mentioned in my remarks, please support independent media and, along with it, the truth. You can help do so, among other ways, by buying David's book here.) Enjoy...
See Greenwald's piece last week at Salon on Sen. Joe Lieberman "emulating Chinese dictators" by what seems to be an abuse of his post as Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee in helping to intimidate WikiLeaks' Internet server Amazon.com into shutting them down, and some in the MSM's support of the notion that WikiLeaks is the bad actor here, despite having broken no laws and being charged with no crime.
This seems to be all out "Information/Cyber War", at the very least, and like nothing we've ever seen in this country. Greenwald has more on all of this today, and it's chilling --- particularly his UPDATE on that link.
In the October issue of O magazine, Democratic consultant and commentator Donna Brazile did the unthinkable: she used the "F" word --- in Oprah Winfrey's publication, no less! Eyebrows are being raised across the political spectrum.
Okay, not that "F" word, a different one which is, apparently, far more controversial these days: Brazile says that if she "were in charge" her first priority would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine." She says that that would require "holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in an honest, equitable, and balanced fashion."
To the uninitiated, bringing Fairness to the public airwaves --- broadcast radio and TV --- is a no-brainer. But to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and an army of 550,000 amassed to keep the nation's radio airwaves under "conservative" control, Brazile's declaration of priorities could be a call to arms. Is it possible that the Democratic establishment is finally ready for a fight to take control of their message? While no longer with the DNC, Brazile is still closely aligned with the Democratic power establishment after all.
Okay, time for a bit of history.
Our elders will remember a time when radio was America's number one source of news and information. And they remember being horrified at how Tokyo Rose and our enemies used the radio airwaves to promote hate and propaganda against the U.S.
So they watched as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and radio station owners worked together to prevent propaganda from ever being broadcast over the public airwaves in these United States of America. This coalition of government and business put the "Fairness Doctrine" in place to ensure a healthy, reasoned discourse so critical to our democracy.
The thing is --- and a point important for those who believe much more information is now available on cable and the Internet --- radio is still America's number one source of news and information. More people listen to radio than watch television, read newspapers, or go online. Nearly fifty million people in the U.S. listen to talk radio.
But Fairness? Equal Time? Reasoned discourse? Those went out the window in 1987 with - drumroll, please - President Ronald Reagan...
On California's June ballot this year, a measure paid for and deceptively represented by one major corporate sponsor, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), purports to be a "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act." In truth, the initiative represents one corporation's attempt to pervert the "citizen's initiative" process by spending millions to deceive voters into believing they can push back against the vaguely socialist-sounding notion of "government-run electric service."
The measure is anything but a "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act," and that name itself has even been out-and-out rejected for use on the ballot by the state's Attorney General --- not that it has stopped PG&E from misleadingly selling it that way to the public in a multi-million dollar television ad buy and direct-mail propaganda campaign...
“We now have the entitlement generation as CEOs. They just plain feel entitled to being wealthy as Croesus with no responsibility, no accountability. They have become literal sociopaths.” - William K. Black on Bill Moyers’ Journal
Californians have been drawn within the cross-hairs of a propaganda blitz bought and paid for by Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who, since declaring her intent to run for governor in February, 2009, has already contributed $59 million of her own money to her "campaign" --- a one-sided political phenomenon which has seen a stealth candidate, with disturbing connections to Goldman Sachs, soar to the top of the polls because the electoral process has been emasculated by the absence of mandatory debates and meaningful investigative journalism...
Sorry this took a few days to get posted. Have been busy. As noted last week, on Saturday I made my third appearance in as many years at the annual "L.A. Media Reform Summit" sponsored by CA Common Cause. It was again held at Occidental College, and I was honored to serve as their keynote speaker for the first time this year.
Below is the video of my full speech, in which I discussed the serious crisis we now face as our corporate mainstream media hit full fail mode. That point, as I argued, is exemplified by 1) the massive failures of the old "dead tree" media to meet their constitutional responsibilities to help protect the public from bad guys (as illustrated by the NYTime's months of damaging and flagrant misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for months), and 2) the full, rightwing take-over of nearly every inch of the public's broadcast spectrum by a handful of corporations that do not meet their FCC license obligations to manage those airwaves in the public's interest (as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for years).
I also discussed your responsibility in doing something about both of those serious problems!
The video is posted below the fold, since it's about 40 minutes in all, and might otherwise get interupted by the main page's auto-refresh routines. Enjoy. And get to work!...
Just a quick note to mention I'll be presenting Saturday's (3/27) keynote address at the "Media Reform Summit" sponsored by CA Common Cause here in Los Angeles at Occidental College @ 11am. The theme of this year's conference is, appropriately enough, "Preserving Democracy."
After appearing on panels at each of the past two year's conferences, I'm honored to have been invited back to offer this year's keynote and am much looking forward to it. (Here's some video/text-transcript from my first appearance two years ago, on a panel alongside then-Congresswoman, now-Sec. of Labor Hilda Solis.)
If you're in the 'hood and can drop by, please do! I'll work to make it worth your time! More details, including directions, other speakers/panels, etc. are all available here...
I had the pleasure to appear on San Francisco public radio's "Friday Media Roundtable" on their Your Call program today (heard on KALW in San Francisco and KUSP in Santa Cruz).
Along with the NYT's massive ACORN "Pimp" Hoax fail, we also discussed and critiqued media coverage of healthcare insurance reform, the latest in the U.S./Israel diplomacy theatrics, and even a bit on the guilty verdict for Kentucky election officials yesterday. Joining me on today's panel, along with host Sandip Roy, were Alex Wayne of Congressional Quarterly and Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera English.
The audio is posted below, and I believe it's well-worth giving a listen to --- particularly in regard the direct disagreement that Wayne and I got into over the media's failure (as I see it, though he didn't), to have covered the substance of healthcare insurance legislation, while devoting an inordinate amount of coverage to the politics of that debate instead.
(Continue reading below for more on that, more on how the NYT's Public Editor Clark Hoyt illustrated the very crux of the media's failure on so many stories of importance to the public, and for the audio of the show itself)...
I recently attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C., with video camera in hand, to report on the attendees. I was particularly interested in interviewing James O'Keefe, the miscreant (and accused felon) responsible for the ACORN video media hoax that The BRAD BLOG has been meticulously detailing for several weeks, including the important focus on how the mainstream corporate media (the old-media) have been had by the scam.
O'Keefe's phony "pimp" story has been debunked, but, as Brad Friedman has shown, the old-media remain remarkably reticent to admit their errors, and the publisher of the videos, O'Keefe's employer and promoter Andrew Breitbart, has been unwilling to help them off the hook. Witness the outrageous email responses from the NYTimes' Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock and then from their Public Editor Clark Hoyt, when it was shown to them that "the paper of record" had been had --- that O'Keefe had never "visited Acorn offices...dressed so outlandishly" in the now-infamous "pimp" costume as the paper had reported, as O'Keefe had represented, and as Breitbart himself had claimed in his own column, to the public.
While I didn't get the chance to speak with O'Keefe, I did catch up with his partner in fraud, Hannah Giles. Alas, she was surrounded by a protective coterie and fled without answering any questions when one of her entourage recognized me.
But then my luck turned. I trekked to the basement to cover the "XPAC" party and found myself standing shoulder to shoulder with Breitbart, O'Keefe's promoter, publisher, and employer, and owner of the website which launched the infamously damaging, misleading, deceptive, and highly doctored video tapes. I had previously questioned Breitbart at a press conference at the National Press Club press last October. He's had a pretty easy ride of it since then, facing questioning only from a largely adulatory press.
Though old-media, as Brad has shown, have been remarkably reluctant to demand answers to hard questions from Breitbart --- or any of the players involved in the ACORN secret video scheme --- I felt it important to do so for a number of reasons. The results were revealing, both in Breitbart's insanely manic demeanor, and in the substantive content of his answers to my questions.
Ultimately, as I believe you'll find in the video, he reveals a lot about his own editorial judgment, professionalism, and reliability --- none of it is good...
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The Breitbart/O'Keefe media fraud has been wildly successful for the pair, helping to launch Breitbart's BigGovernment.com site late last year. But, unfortunately, it's hurt a great number of innocents.
Lost in the outrage against the New York Times for having fallen for the scam without bothering to fact-check, as The BRAD BLOG has been detailing for the past several weeks, is the fact that Breitbart and his ward O'Keefe have accomplished a despicable goal: They've all but destroyed an organization committed to helping those Americans most in need. Real people --- thousands of children amongst them --- will suffer hardship as a direct consequence of Breitbart's and O'Keefe's mendacious and malicious hoax, and singularly partisan political agenda. When will the media get around to telling that story?
And what of the damage that disreputable propagandists like Breitbart and O'Keefe bring to the real citizen journalists in the new media --- those of us striving not to sell a political agenda under false pretenses, but, rather, hoping to document facts, truth, and on-the-record positions of those who would corrupt our system through disingenuousness, self-enrichment, and lies?...