Friday, May 4, 2012

The Cult of the Far Right & The Myth of Media Liberal Bias

In order to better understand how the Tea Party/FOX/Rush Limbaugh/Glen Beck (better known as Fox World) has been so successful in landing new recruits, one would benefit by understanding how cults successful indoctrinate their followers.

Why? Because the GOPTP (Tea party led Republican party) has definitely become cultist.

I am not referring to mainstream Republican members nor am I referring to anyone who has a political philosophy 180% opposite of mine.

A healthy democracy requires constructive and often passionate debates and diverse ideas to sustain itself. And to be fair, during the 1960's and 1970's the far left was under a cult like hypnotic spell.

However, the GOPTP -- in messianic fervor -- has been marching under the banner of doctrines erected by Fox World, Inc. The cult figure of unadulterated adoration and worship is the mythical (not historical) Ronald Reagan. And they worship at the Reagan altar with unshakable faith.

The historical Reagan raised taxes when necessary, grew the size of government, wanted to crackdown of corporate welfare, negotiated with Democrats for the benefit of our country and authored a sweeping Immigration Reform.

The mythical Reagan hated Democrats, never supported tax revenue increases, shrank government and was our most popular president (for more on mythical Reagan read Washpost). Never letting facts get in the way of a false belief, Fox World created a Reagan god for their minions.

Next, to be a successful cult you can not have your devotees questions the accuracy/validity of the big message nor can you have them getting outside information.

Solution: erect the Mainstream Liberal Media bias myth. Once this fabrication in firmly ensconced in the minds of their recruits they can better control not just the information flow -- they can control how outside information is processed. Net result: any unapproved information is considered tainted liberal bias and therefore dead on arrival.

As an African-American male, I would love to be a by-product of a liberal media bias. The reality is that the overall narrative of the African-American male -- brother Trayvon Martin withstanding -- tilts very heavily on the negative and stereotypical end of the spectrum.

Furthermore, here is the truth of corporate media control and ownership:

Did you know that Viacom owns 160 cable channels that reach more than 600 million people worldwide?

Or that the Hearst Corporation owns 31 television stations and 20 U.S. magazines?
Or that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. owns (seemingly) everything? The company’s holdings include the FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, theNew York Post, the Daily News, HarperCollins Publishers, 20th Century Fox and the scandal-plagued News International. (And that’s not all.)
To learn more about which companies are currently dominating the U.S. media landscape,check out our updated media ownership chart. We’ve got information on all the big players in TV and radio; cable and telecommunications; print and the Internet. It’s not a pretty picture … and it shows the dramatic impact mergers and acquisitions have had in the last few decades. source

Michele Bachman continues to double down on dumb

And the dueling banjos play on...

Not to be out Sarah Palined, Michele Bachmann continues to demand equal time to demonstrate her specialness:

Rep. Michele Bachmann accused President Barack Obama of “waving a tar baby in the air” by blaming oil speculators for the “poor choices” he’s made for energy policy.

“This is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem. I have never seen a more irresponsible president who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everybody else for his failure to first diagnose the problem, and second, to address the problem. It’s always everyone else’s fault,” the Minnesota Republican told Florida-based conservative blog The Shark Tank in an interview on Wednesday. source

I get it Bachman, you yell foul (and demand an apology from NBC, Roots and Jimmy Fallon) when the Roots played an all instrumental version of a song (no lyrics) for your entrance to a night talk show called Lying Ass Bitch, a song so obscure you were unaware until Questlove (drummer for the roots) tweeting about their stunt; yet, you have no problem using highly loaded racial language when discussing Obama's energy plan.

And in a recent interview after endorsing Mitt Romney, Bachman declared:

... Michele Bachmann gave an interview to the Christian Broadcasting Network, producing this interesting bit of revisionist 2012 history:
Michele Bachmann: What they [the media] focus on is kind of amazing, when it looks like the house is burning down around us, that’s what they care about.
David Brody: You ran pretty much an impeccable campaign, in terms of a mistake free campaign.
Michele Bachmann: Thank you, it really was.
David Brody: It pretty much was.
Bachmann: It really was, we were extremely careful, and we were almost mistake free, but for those two points, Elvis Presley’s birthday and John Wayne’s birthplace. I’ve apologized, and we moved beyond. 

Mistake free and impeccable?

Doubling Down on Dumb

After the most embarrassing, entertaining, dumbest clown shows on our planet -- this past GOP presidential nomination fiasco -- one of the head clowns has the audacity to be proud of her body of work.  Just look at the list of potential nominees the GOP offered up in the last one year of GOP madness: Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and not to mention the crazy uncle Ron Paul living in their attic.

These half-wits and no-wits losers made the life of being a comedian a lap of luxury. Comedians didn't have to work hard, embellish or exaggerate. All they had to do is roll the tape -- and folks laughed at these buffoons.  But the strangest reaction kept recurring time after time; instead of wising up they doubled down on dumb and blamed the mainstream media.

You can play a tape of Palin being Palin, Bachman being Bachman, Cain being Cain, Newt being well whomever he is at any particular moment, with no edits or additions and these characters will yell foul and tell their hommies (fellow right-wing nut jobs) this is another example of MSM bias - go figure.

And now we are left with clown numero uno, Mitt Romney - a man with at least four recorded positions on each issue. As I stated, the dueling banjos play on...

Junior Seau and the controlled violence of the NFL by Greg Gee & bharv

"I pray to God, 'Take me, take me, leave my son. But it's too late.  I don't understand, I don't understand....I'm shocked....I appreciate everybody showing your love to my son. Junior never did anything bad. I say to you: thank you and you guys for showing your love"

Junior Seau's mother, Luisa, was speaking to reporters and fans after the future hall of fame linebacker was found dead inside his Oceanside, CA home. Seau died apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

As Luisa Seau cried uncontrollably at the microphones, I could not help but think how this death was so tragic on so many levels. I am not saying Junior's death is more tragic than any other death, but his death -- after a stellar 20 year career in the NFL, a loving family, money, and by all accounts, a great guy -- forces us to re-examine how the game of football is played.

No question: The NFL is a dangerous sport.

The NFL has clearly supplanted Major League Baseball as America's favorite pastime sport. There is no single greater American game than the Super Bowl. But at what cost? The players are bigger and faster. The hits are more lethal. Football is a violent, albeit, artistic sport. The physical and cognitive damages are more permanent.

I know it is premature to link Seau's death/suicide to football before a cranial autopsy is conducted, but the signs are there:

There’s no getting inured to scenes like the one that unfolded in Oceanside, Calif., on May 2, where a crowd gathered and a mother wailed as the body of Junior Seau — the sunny, preternaturally good-natured veteran of three NFL teams — was carried out from his home to a coroner’s van, victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He left no note.
What made the loss of the 43-year-old Seau especially cruel was not just that he was a model citizen in a sport too often populated by on-field bounty hunters and off-field felons. It was also that this kind of thing has become drearily familiar: Ray Easterling, who played for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1970s; Dave Duerson of the Chicago Bears and New York Giants; and Owen Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania all committed suicide in the past two years.
Other NFLers have died in violent driving incidents — Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 who tumbled from the back of a moving car while fighting with his girlfriend, who was behind the wheel; and Justin Strzelcyk of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who died in a fiery collision while fleeing the police in 2004. And all of them had one thing in common: their brains had been permanently, disablingly damaged by careers spent clobbering and getting clobbered by other very big, very strong men.
No one yet knows if Seau was suffering from the same kind of degenerative injury, and no one ever will know unless his family agrees to allow his brain to be studied postmortem, the way the brains of the other athletes have been. He does, however, fit the profile. He played for a long time — 20 years in the pros alone, to say nothing of college, high school and Pop Warner. He had recently exhibited uncharacteristically volatile behavior — getting arrested in 2010 on a domestic violence charge and later that day driving his car over a 100-ft. cliff in California, sustaining surprisingly mild injuries. No drugs or alcohol were involved and he claims to have simply lost consciousness.
The condition that claimed Duerson and the others — and may have claimed Seau — is known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Diagnosed only microscopically after slicing and staining cerebral tissue, CTE is an accumulation of sludge-like tau proteins, which, in a healthy brain, are one of the key structural components of nerve tissue. When the head sustains a blow, however, nerve fibers can be wrenched and torn, releasing tau.
“The brain tries to repair this, but it never quite can,” said neurologist Julian Bailes in an earlier interview with TIME. Bailes was the physician who analyzed Henry’s brain and diagnosed CTE. “Given the number of blows or the frequency of the blows, that repair may never quite be complete.”  read more

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rupert Murdoch ‘not fit’ to run News Corp., U.K. phone-hacking committee finds

Canada has stood firm in its ban of Rupert Murdoch and his FOX style of yellow journalism. The reason: Cananda -- unlike USA --  has a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

Just ruminate on that for a moment, in our country it is legal to promote fictitious, sensationalized, scandal-mongering and misleading news on the public airwaves - and we wonder why we have such a deep rooted political malaise.

Now, across the pond, Great Britian has formally expressed disgust of Murdoch's criminal news empire and their illegal and unethical practices at News Corp:

On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organization and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company. source

The loyal Foxaholics will continue to ignore the egregious crimes and abuses of the mafia style Murdoch clan and decry: this is just another liberal attempt to undermine a Fair and Balanced conservative institution because they hate our politics.

They will continue to ignore how FOX appeals to the lowest common denominator, xenophobic fears, social/cultural insecurities, and overall ignorance. Fox's motives: to keep their viewers blindly loyal to a brand of politics that is antithetical to their self-interest.

Hope does not spring eternal for the average FOX addict - they are too hooked on having their news hateful. However, this announcement from across the pond may help stop FOX from poisoning another generation.

Monday, April 30, 2012

News I am following: Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

When I read the following in today's Washington Post, I said hallelujah big press finally tired of being bullied by the conservative propaganda machine and is speaking the truth.

Conservative press has been working mainstream media like a NBA coach working the refs: They yell liberal bias and to date the MSM cowers behind this accusation and go out their way to be perceived as balanced -- leaving us with the elephant in the  room (pun intended) wrecking havoc.

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.
It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. Ya gotta read mo

Israeli leaders to Benjamin Netanyahu: Dial down the War talk

Unlike here in the American press, Benjamin Netanyahu's war drumming faces serious scrutiny in Israel.

Some very prominent and credible figures question not only Bibi's right-wing hawkish posturing -- ala George W -- they question his mindset and motives.

For example:

JERUSALEM — The former head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency has accused the country's political leaders of exaggerating the effectiveness of a possible military attack on Iran, in a striking indication of Israel's turmoil over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program.
Yuval Diskin said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – who have been saber-rattling for months – have their judgment clouded by "messianic feelings" and should not be trusted to lead policy on Iran. Diskin, who headed Shin Bet until last year, said a strike might actually accelerate the Iranian program.
Shin Bet addresses security in Israel and the Palestinian Territories only and is not involved in international affairs.
In Israel, security figures carry clout well into retirement. Although they frequently pursue political careers, Diskin had been seen as relatively apolitical, perhaps lending his words even greater weight.
"I don't have faith in the current leadership of Israel to lead us to an event of this magnitude, of war with Iran," Diskin said at a public meeting Friday, video of which was posted on the Internet the next day and quickly became the lead news item in Israel.
"I do not believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on Messianic feelings," he continued. "I have seen them up close. They are not messiahs, these two, and they are not the people that I personally trust to lead Israel into such an event."
Diskin said it was possible that "one of the results of an Israel attack on Iran could be a dramatic acceleration of the Iran program. ... They will have legitimacy to do it more quickly and in a shorter timeframe.  source
And he is not alone in his assessment of Netanyahu's beating of the war drums:
JERUSALEM — A former Israeli prime minister added his voice Sunday to a growing chorus of Israeli officials against a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Ehud Olmert spoke to Israel's Channel 10 TV from New York.
"There is no reason at this time not to talk about a military effort," he said, "but definitely not to initiate an Israeli military strike."
Israel and the West suspect Iran is aiming to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Olmert was Israel's prime minister from 2006-2009. He was in office when a suspected nuclear site in Syria was attacked in 2007. It was assumed that Israel carried out the airstrike, but Israel never acknowledged that.
Olmert's remarks came after Israel's former internal security chief, Yuval Diskin, said the government is misleading the public on the level of effectiveness of a military strike.
Meir Dagan, Israel's ex-Mossad chief, told the station he supported Diskin's view. source
Dove-Hawks and Neo-Cons:
We definitely live in the era of the Dove/Hawk -- folks that want to shoot first and ask questions latter; neo-con leaders that infamously used all kinds of deferments and pulled strings to avoid serving on the battlefield (Cheney/Bush comes to mind) yet they have no hesitation to send other young men and women off to harms way.
Granted, protecting one's country is grown-up business; agreed, Israel's security is of vital importance but when everything becomes an existential threat, just like the proverbial boy that cried wolf, no one actually believes you when the wolf shows up.
Cheney/Bush swore up and down about Saddam's WMDs and that he was enriching uranium to make nuclear weapons. Remember Cheney's mushroom cloud?
You don't, well read this snippet from a NY Times editorial:
The indictment of Lewis Libby on charges of lying to a grand jury about the outing of Valerie Wilson has focused attention on the lengths to which the Bush administration went in 2003 to try to distract the public from this central fact: American soldiers found a lot of things in Iraq, including a well-armed insurgency their bosses never anticipated, but they did not find weapons of mass destruction.

It's clear from the indictment that Vice President Dick Cheney and his staff formed the command bunker for this misdirection campaign. But there is a much larger issue than the question of what administration officials said about Iraq after the invasion - it's what they said about Iraq before the invasion. Senator Harry Reid, the minority leader, may have been grandstanding yesterday when he forced the Senate to hold a closed session on the Iraqi intelligence, but at least he gave the issue a much-needed push.

President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and George Tenet, to name a few leading figures, built support for the war by telling the world that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling chemical weapons, feverishly developing germ warfare devices and racing to build a nuclear bomb. Some of them, notably Mr. Cheney, the administration's doomsayer in chief, said Iraq had conspired with Al Qaeda and implied that Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11. read entire editorial

We have a vested interest with this issue. If Israel launches a strike against Iran, we will invariably -- as Israel's staunchest ally -- be dragged into this conflict. Where does Mitt Romney stand on this issue (other than on all sides)?

Mitt and Bibi are old friends dating back to 1976 1976, the lives of Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu intersected, briefly but indelibly, in the 16th-floor offices of the Boston Consulting Group, where both had been recruited as corporate advisers. At the most formative time of their careers, they sized each other up during the firm’s weekly brainstorming sessions, absorbing the same profoundly analytical view of the world.

That shared experience decades ago led to a warm friendship, little known to outsiders, that is now rich with political intrigue. Mr. Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is making the case for military action against Iran as Mr. Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, is attacking the Obama administration for not supporting Mr. Netanyahu more robustly. read more

Let's not sleep walk into another catastrophe. Be engaged.

Titanic II: All aboard?

When I first read this story, I thought it was one of those fake Onion articles mocking a high profile figure.

But lo and behold, Einstein -- pictured below -- thinks it would be wise to not only build a replica of the original Titanic, he wants to recycle the name.

 Talk about branding a winner.

As for me, call it superstitious or not wanting to tempt fate -- I saw the movie  --I will never set foot on that vessel...  

A new Titanic could be sailing the high seas within a few years.
Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer announced plans Monday to build an ultra-modern, luxury version of the ill-fated ocean liner in China.Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer. (AFP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Palmer, one of the richest people in Australia with an estimated worth of more than $5 billion, said he had commissioned a state-owned Chinese company to construct Titanic II with the exact dimensions as the original.
"It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," Palmer said, according to AFP.
He said Titanic II would make its maiden voyage from England to New York in late 2016.
The news comes just two weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, which hit an iceberg on its first voyage across the Atlantic on April 15, 1912, sending more than 1,500 people to their deaths.
"Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high class restaurants and luxury cabins," Palmer said.
The cost of the new ship was not disclosed. read entire story