Thursday, October 31, 2013
Alito: 'Simply Not True'
In "The First Amendment Often Protects Bribes More Than Speech!!" I reviewed how the current Supreme Court interpretation of the First amendment has become so distorted that it is doing the opposite of what it should be doing by any reasonable interpretation.
The fact that they even chose to hear this particular case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission oral arguments, while declining to hear other cases that might make the first amendment apply to all people equally implies their own intentions. A closer look at their arguments might imply even more. The following are a few excerpts from oral arguments. They're followed up by a few comments that weren't raised by a, well, lessor known, um, Supreme Court Justice, sort of.
In all fairness these are taken out of context and it might be better if you read them in their proper context, assuming you haven't already; however if you do you might agree that most of it was a waste of time and they don't seem to be trying to address the most important issues.
As indicated in the previous post and some of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli's or Stephen Breyer's comments raise a few legitimate issues but even they don't do nearly as good a job addressing the simple points that could have been made. This often appears to be something that they handle more as a joke, as indicated when everyone laughs at Antonin Scalia's bad jokes.
These Supreme Court Justices seem to be bending over backwards to avoid understanding anything that they don't want to understand. They seem to make it clear that those with money should have unlimited amounts of free speech while those that don't buy up speech should be relegated to speaking only in Siberian free speech zones!
If they wanted to they could easily have made a much better case like, well, the following Justice from my imagination; I had to use my imagination since none of the people from the political system are even trying.
Even the Justices and Solicitor General that did make some constructive comments didn't do nearly as good a job as they could have if they simply tried to. They're often much more concerned about being polite to those that are corrupting the system than they are to addressing the problems and they often come up with more complicated cases to make their points whether it is to improve the system or to hide the fact that they're doing the opposite; more often they do the later and this is made partially easier by the bad job those defending it do.
That doesn't even take into consideration what the honorable Justice Thomas had to say as indicated in the following quotes:
Oops I forgot he rarely ever speaks at all, and this was indicated once again. However he can almost always be counted on to vote with his constituents, which doesn't seem to include the public. The same seem to go for the so-called liberal Supreme Court Justices who all supported Monsanto along with the conservatives.
Ironically when the honorable Justice Roberts said "To the extent the State of the Union has denigrated into a political pep rally, I'm not sure why we're there," he was right although his politics are as bad if not worse than Obama's.
The Very Troubling Partisanship of John Roberts
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The First Amendment, as now interpreted by the government or the Supreme Court, has turned into a pathetic joke; which often provides much more protection for virtual bribes, which it was never intended to protect, than for speech, which is supposed to be protected.
The vast majority of us have our right to free speech protected as long as we only speak where few if anyone is listening; which a relatively small percentage of the public buys up almost all the air time that can get messages across to a much larger audience. this means that there is one standard for low profile speech while high profile speech is virtually monopolized by an elite ruling class that controls which candidates get coverage in the commercial media and what political information we receive about them.
Antonin Scalia may have made it clear in another of his recent statements how even he thinks speech should be protected as described in the following excerpt from Democracy now:
This basic concept isn't mentioned nearly as often in the mainstream media as it could or should be. Instead they treat it as if everyone knows it but when they make their decisions they seem to ignore it. They could easily acknowledge that there is an obvious bias in the way they're setting up the system. The public airwaves are supposed to belong to everyone, and the Cable and Satellite industries are dependent on the government regulation to enable them to have a reliable medium. The Satellite industry goes one step further, since it is benefiting from technology made available from work done by NASA at government expense, yet they're under no obligation to give more access to free speech to a large percentage of the public. All this speech must be bought and paid for and the media profits off of corporate welfare they get in return for nothing.
In return for the regulatory benefits and investments from NASA they could be required to give air time to alternative candidates and views that aren't paid for in order to even the playing field.
This isn't even discussed in a high profile manner. Nor do those without political power and money for lawyers have the opportunity to get their views before the public or the Supreme Court, unlike Shaun McCutcheon, who wants to increase his advantage over the rest of us.
Antonin Scalia's comments may have been interpreted as sarcastic by some but his interpretation of the first amendment clearly seems to apply to that "2 percent" even if it is used to drown out the other 98%. With the commercial media consolidated into six conglomerates that have a common economic ideology they can maintain an overwhelming amount of control of the mass speech in this country and the vast majority of us have little or no opportunity to get our views across.
To the best of my knowledge Antonin Scalia had few if any objections when Adbusters attempted to buy "uncommercials" and the networks refused to air them, as i ahve previously reported, 'Adbusters also attempted to buy time on ABC, NBC, and CBS for a spot declaring the day after Thanksgiving, "Buy Nothing Day." None of the major networks would run the ad. Richard Gitter, NBC's vice president of advertising standards and program compliance, says that NBC doesn't air controversial ads. Gitter continued with more candor, "this action was taken in self-interest. It was a spot telling people, in effect, to ignore our advertisers" (Oldenburg).'
Antonin Scalia didn't have any objections either when alternative candidates attempted to participate in the presidential debates but the Commission on Presidential Debates decided that only those that they approved could be allowed to get their views across. The most important debates for the elections were blatantly censored so that only those with political power would have a chance to be heard by the vast majority of the public, enabling the Mass Media to portray alternative candidates, as "non-viable." If they weren't actually "viable" it is only because they were censored by the Mass Media who only covers those that buy up enough time to be considered "viable." (This was covered more in past blogs about the debates including, Occupy the Commission on Presidential Debates!! and Could alternative debates be a game changer?)
What this essentially means is that in order for candidates to be "viable" they're required to collect enough bribes, thinly disguised as campaign contributions, to buy up air time from the commercial media, which makes an enormous profit by selling propaganda to at least partially rig elections.
Oil companies have their propaganda running almost non-stop on the commercial media while the reports of many of the disasters that are caused by the oil companies get less coverage and they’re routinely treated as isolated incidents. At the same time when protesters try to draw more attention to them they’re routinely arrested on flimsy charges like trespassing. These disasters are costing hundreds if not thousands or millions of lives; yet instead of investigating the oil companies for negligent mass murder they protect their rights to free speech and suppress the rights of their critics.
Monsanto and the Pharmaceutical companies are practically using the population of the United States as human research subjects, or guinea pigs, but instead of requiring them to disclose all their activities they pass laws making them trade secrets and protect their rights to free speech while suppressing the speech of their critics.
These companies all pass their advertising and lobbying expenses on to their customers; but they don’t pass on any influence to their customers; nor do their customers have the same rights to free speech. The same goes with the cost of lobbying against single payer health care. Insurance companies take money collected from customers premiums and instead of spending some of it on the coverage it was intended for they spend it on commercials lobbying against the best interest of the customer, while discussions of Single Payer are kept out of the commercial media.
If Antonin Scalia and many of the other people from corporate America, including Shaun McCutcheon have their way then a small number of people will be able to buy up the vast majority of information that many members of the public use to make their decisions. Technically votes might not be for sale but the speech that influences those votes are, which can come close to creating the same results.
What many people may not have even noticed is that while they’re debating rules about which circumstances people would be allowed to donate they avoid any discussion about who controls the election process, which is essentially a job interview for our elected officials.
The people that are supposedly hiring these elected officials are the members of the general public.
When a corporation hires someone they have control of the interview process. It would be perfectly reasonable for members of the public to assume that when they are the ones that hire their own elected officials they should have some control over the interview process.
Recent rulings including Citizen’s United, and perhaps, now McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, have given a small percentage of the public almost complete control of the debate and campaign process; while candidates that gain support at the grass roots level by addressing many of the most important issues hardly get any coverage and are treated as “fringe candidates” that don’t have a chance. The only candidates that are what they portray as “viable” are those that sell out the best interest of the vast majority of us.
Both Adolph Hitler and Vladimir Lenin made statements like, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth;” this is one of the most basic principles of basic propaganda; and it is clear that corporate America is doing this on a scale that is as large as either Lenin or Hitler ever did. They repeat over and over that candidates should control the interview process and no one ever suggest to the majority of the public that since they’re the ones that are supposedly hiring these elected officials that they should have their fair share of control over the interview process.
The current system clearly puts the control of the interview process in the hands of those that buy up all the speech.
Setting up a system where the public has more control of what questions are asked of the candidates and the public has opportunities to hear from all candidates, not just those approved by the corporate contributors, might take some experimenting but if the refuse to even discuss it they can keep the control of the system in the hands of the most corrupt!
Supreme Court weighs limits on campaign donations
Big Oil claims the right to bribe under the First Amendment. Taking the Fifth is more appropriate.
"I tell you they're gifts."
"Did the congressman also give you a gift of a similar value, perhaps like many of us exchange Christmas gifts?"
"I'm sure he did although I don't recall."
"If these 'gifts' were recorded would they show a pattern where much higher value 'gifts' are given to Congressmen that just happen to benefit the donors while the return 'gifts' tend to be of little or no value unless beneficial legislation is considered which would dramatically dwarf the value of the 'gifts' from the donor, at taxpayers expense?"
"Huh, I don't understand the question."
"Take your time and think about it; you might figure it out."
Additional information on the subject is available in the following pages:
First Amendment Violation Silences the Press These 20 Senators Have Committed Treason!
Lobbyist Bribes Congress -"I Paid a Bribe"
Bill Gates’ AstroTurf in Education (Privatisation for Profit) Recruits More Lobbyists, Necessitates More Bribes
Big Oil Uses The Money They Stole From Us To Bribe Our Reps To Defeat A Bill To Curb Their Avarice
Six Billion Reportedly Spent on Election Campaign
Kick them all out!
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Wal-Mart has gone wild thanks to a computer glitch in Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. In some cases they haven't worked at all and some of the customers were outraged and walked out without paying for food they may have taken but the bigger problems seems to be that many of them have removed the limit and allowed unlimited spending, which apparently they weren't supposed to do. According to some stories there are emergency procedures for this and Wal-Mart is supposed to cut them off over fifty dollars.
They didn't do that.
Now it appears as if they will be stuck with the tab and the bickering may last for a while while they point the finger at each other and try to decide whether or not they should prosecute the people that bought more than they were supposed to.
You know how it is; it is always much easier to prosecute people without political power even if they didn't cause the problem.
But the glitch is so obviously not the fault of the poor and even the police don't even seem to be taking that option seriously.
This problem seems to have come up in at least 17 states; one of the stories on it says the incident was "isolated." The voice of Andre the Giant, from the Princess Bride came to my head when I read that, saying, "I don't think that word means what you think that word means."
It will be interesting to see how they sort this mess out. But in the mean time a lot of people got food; and a lot of us are laughing at how foolish this is.
It was a matter of time before Wal-Mart started falling apart and this is almost certainly part of it.
The following are a few of the stories being stirred up; although many of the details haven't been sorted out and they will almost certainly change.
The messages on these articles seem to be full of people that are ready to blame all these people that took advantage of the situation; however this would be much more credible if corporations haven't been outsourcing jobs and crushing wages so that a shocking number of people in this country are no longer able to support themselves since they have to compete against workers that have few if any rights in sweat shops half way around the world and the corporations have consolidated so that they don't face real competition.
Is this as bad as many of the stories that many of us used to hear about what happened in the USSR?
Or is it worse?
Most of these stories seem to relatively that it was relatively civil despite the large crowds and abandoned, or perhaps stolen groceries.
This is supposedly unrelated to the government shut down; but it is another indication that the system is breaking down and when possible they at least consider blaming those that are easiest to blame. But I don't think they'll be able to.
EBT outage prompts disturbance, theft at Philadelphia Walmart 10/13/2013
Walmart shelves in Springhill, Mansfield, Louisiana cleared in EBT glitch 10/13/2013
EBT benefit card glitch sparks Walmart shopping sprees in Louisiana 10/13/2013
EBT Card Glitch Sparks Walmart Shopping Sprees In Louisiana 10/14/2013
Walmart shoppers fill carts to overflowing when EBT card system fails 10/14/2013
UPDATE: EBT System Running Again, 17 States Still Having Connection Issues 10/13/2013
Not all EBT card users joined in on "limitless" Walmart shopping spree 10/15/2013
Louisiana taxpayers not on hook for EBT spending spree at Walmart, official says 10/15/2013
Monday, October 14, 2013
Apparently when Miley Cyrus did that attention seeking "twerking" performance, instead of ignoring it, as many people paying more attention to real news tried to do, Mika Brzezinski claimed that it was "Pathetic" And "Disgusting."
Perhaps she thinks this is her way of portraying herself as taking the high ground; and the rest of the commercial media is letting her.
With all the flirting and the lousy way they report what they call the news on Morning Joe how many people are going to believe that she deserves to hold the higher moral ground, perhaps as a good mother figure?
It wasn't that long ago when Mika helped create that pathetic excuse for a commercial for her show, 'Morning Joe' Mock Commercial: Joe Scarborough Eats, Mika Brzezinski Exercises (VIDEO). If anyone actually does believe that Mika might be a good mother figure it is almost certainly because of the non-stop propaganda that the commercial media feed them all day every day.
If there is some magic line they shouldn't cross when trying to sex up the news or entertainment I find it hard to believe that Mika is the one to look to for guidelines, not that she provides any that are consistent.
Amazingly this isn't the first time they apparently attempted to giver her the opportunity to take the high ground; according to Wikipedia she Protested "trivial journalism," implying that what Mika wanted to focus on was good and that she could be trusted to bring us the "real news."
This is incredibly phony and it is hard to imagine that all these "fans" of Mika really think she is a real "journalist" anymore than any of their other so-called "journalists;" actually even the commercial media has some "journalists" that are better than Mika, although that isn't enough to make them any good.
Is it possible for any sincere people to get a significant amount time on national TV?
This propaganda is going a long way to turn a lot of people in this country into a bunch of idiots, but even many of them almost certainly won't buy this crap.
It wasn't that long ago that Mika Brzezinski climbed into Ariana Huffington's bed with Katie Couric for cheap thrills; and we're supposed to think that Miley Cyrus is the “Pathetic” one.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
But they must also realize that they've been wasting a lot of time trying to kill us. They went to all that trouble, according to the government and mass media, to try to kill us; and now they realize that all they had to do is sit back and watch while the government self destructs!
This is just too damn easy!
There is absolutely nothing that terrorists could do to match what our own government officials are doing to destroy themselves or at least their reputations which should be beyond salvage.
The only good thing that could come out of this is that there is little or no chance that terrorists would want to launch another attack now; that would be the worst thing they could do if they wanted to let the government continue to self-destruct!
Which just might be the objective.
Perhaps the reason they did this is to provide an incentive to prevent terrorists from launching another attack; they would surely know that the only thing that would unify these bickering damn fools and repair their reputations would be a terrorist attack; so terrorist wouldn't have any motivation to launch an attack.
If any one had a motive to arrange a terrorist attack it would be, um, those that could destroy their own reputations any other way.
Could that be why Barack Obama and John Boehner always seem to be getting along so well when they're not making up arguments for the sake of political posturing??
Unless well, naaaah.
But if they did it has always worked like a charm in the past.
Both the terrorists and the politicians would be laughing their asses off; the only ones that would be screwed would be every one else.
They don't even seem to care about rubbing it in; as Libby pointed out they don't mind shutting down monuments or furloughing people and abandoning the poor but Boehner has ordered them to keep his private gym open at government expense!
If they do this as usual then as soon as it is all said and done they'll wind up paying for everything, or, more likely, just adding it on to the debt for the rest of us to pay, possibly excluding the ones that made the decisions. This is of course how they handled this in the past.
They'll keep laughing it up; unless perhaps it makes them look so bad that all of a sudden millions of people come to the sudden realization that they don't have to vote for all these clowns who refuse to even do their job and expect to get paid anyway; even when they threaten to take the pay of those that are doing their jobs.
Not surprisingly, as I was writing this an article came out indicating that the Taliban made my point before me.
If that wasn't embarrassing enough, Government shutdown means paychecks for federal prisoners, not prison workers!
I suppose I could have made something almost as ridiculous up; but it wouldn't match the foolishness they come up with on their own.
Photos used from some of the following sites.
still believe us
terrorist in soup
don't have to vote Democrat or Republican
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
According to an enormous amount of coverage from the mass media Elizabeth Warren appears to be one of the biggest advocates for consumers out there. However a closer look will almost certainly not back that up; although some of what she says is better than the vast majority of the policies of other politicians. This appears to be primarily because many of the other politicians have become so extreme, and less extreme politicians appear rational by comparison. A closer look at her history has shown these flaws from the beginning but those that rely primarily on the mass media or in many cases even many of the alternative outlet might not know this.
Some of the strongest criticism has, of course, come from the Republicans, as would be expected; but this isn't the best criticism and a closer look at many of the best informed people on various issues might show that she isn't nearly as strong a supporter of the majority as she seems. I went into some of the problems that I found with her in a series of blogs that began with How sincere is Elizabeth Warren? which I initially wrote before I knew much about her but became skeptical when I noticed that the coverage of her started as mostly hype without discussing many of what I considered the most important issues. The most recent article was Elizabeth Warren is NOT a “consumer advocate!!” which I wrote after taking a much closer look and I found many problems and that she was opposed to the best interest of consumers as often if not more often than the high profile rhetoric might imply. There are many issues that I noticed that she wasn't handling nearly as well as she could have but one of the most obvious warning signs might have been that she was able to break so many records when it comes to fund raising and most of her support didn't start at the grass roots level as the media implied; it started with an enormous amount of media coverage that was followed up by support from the public. Then the media portrayed this as grass roots support. Many other candidates that gain grass roots support by addressing the issues the typical politicians refuse to handle well have an extremely difficult time getting any media coverage at all.
One of the biggest problems that has come up previously has been her lack of support for Single Payer Health Care; which she has reinforced in a recent speech. And as the following excerpt indicates she has declined to provide much if any opposition to Monsanto when it comes to labeling genetically modified organisms that might impact the health of millions.
Monsanto has a long history of conducting their research in secret and they have been involved in numerous problems where they might have falsified or misrepresented studies about the health of their products. They have also been involved in an enormous amount of political activity to protect themselves from accountability and this has included spending an enormous amount of money to misrepresent the issues in the California ballot initiative which they almost certainly won by deceiving the voters. It should be clear that Monsanto should be much more open about what they've been doing and that their compliance with this shouldn't be just voluntary.
If this was the only issue that Elizabeth Warren strayed on or if it wasn't so obvious that she was holding the wrong position then it might be understandable but a closer look has indicated problems with many other issues, including one of the issues that has made her famous, banking regulation, as indicated by her support of Janet Yellen and her praise for Lawrence Summers, despite her opposition to his nomination which wasn't nearly as strong as some have implied. This is indicated in the following article.
It is hard to imagine how she came to the conclusion that Lawrence Summers "made terrific contributions to the field of economics," if you take a close look at his record including his support of the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which Elizabeth supposedly supported. Lawrence Summers is the same economist who famously wrote a memo about exporting pollution and he was heavily involved in developing the policies that got us into this mess in the first place. Ironically Janet Yellen, who she does support for the Federal Reserve, also supported repealing the Glass-Steagall Act and NAFTA, as well, according to the Huffington Post: "Janet Yellen Urged Glass-Steagall Repeal And Social Security Cuts, Supported NAFTA."
Despite Elizabeth Warren's rhetoric when it comes to a few high profile speeches, she isn't nearly as productive a "consumer advocate" as the commercial media makes her out to be; instead she supports the usual positions of the democratic party and declines to challenge many of the people that she works with even when they take positions that oppose hers. By supporting Janet Yellen she can indirectly support some of the policies she suposedly opposes while taking credit for opposing the policies in a much higher profile manner.
This is typical political manipulation; which shouldn't be surprising, she has surrounded herself with democratic political advisers from the beginning, mainly many of the same advisers that supported Deval Patrick. These political advisers routinely coach candidates on what to say and how to act and their taking points and how to "stay on message." Many of these things wouldn't fit the strictest definition of a conspiracy since they aren't secret; they openly admit they conduct politics this way! However they also admit that an enormous amount of their planning is done in secret; so this clearly would fit the definition of a conspiracy; and once again they admit it; although they seem to act as it is acceptable in a "democratic society."
Essentially what they seem to be admitting to is that many of the methods that they use to manipulate the public are secret and that the public is given an enormous amount of propaganda to base their decisions on. This might not be a good conspiracy in many ways since an enormous amount of the information that exposes their activities is public; however in many other ways it's an excellent conspiracy, or perhaps, more accurately, propaganda effort, since the vast majority of the public continues to rely on the propaganda to make their decisions without taking the time to sort through many of the alternative sources which often take more time to find and the mass media routinely presents many of these sources as fringe.
One of the most common methods that the political establishment attempts to do is to maintain control of who gives the public their information and what questions they have to answer and methods that they might use to avoid grass roots questions that might enable the public to better understand the issues. One organization that has attempted to change that in the past was Project Vote Smart by asking all candidates to fill out a questionnaire. Unfortunately Elizabeth Warren refused to fill out her vote smart questionnaire. In all fairness Vote Smart hasn't done as good a job developing these questionnaires as they have in the past and they have often been late distributing them but they're still the closest thing I know of to a job application that is given out consistently to all candidates. and the fact that they're shorter than they probably should be would make them easier and safer for candidates to fill out; but presumably many of these candidates seem to want to maintain as much control over what information they give out as possible so that might have an impact on the decline of this project.
One of the most important subjects that many people have been advocating for has been Single Payer health Care; however there are few if any people within the political establishment or the commercial media that support it; and Elizabeth Warren is no exception. Last year there were several candidates running for president that supported Single Payer Health Care but the mass media and political establishment treated them as fringe third party candidates and refused to provide any sincere coverage of what it is and how it works, including the possibility that it could dramatically reduce health care bureaucracy and make health care much more affordable for all. This is something that is only discussed in a rational manner on alternative media outlets, for example, Democracy Now has had plenty of stories discussing Single-Payer; and Truthdig does as well!
It turns out that Elizabeth Warren may have once thought it was a good idea but as soon as she began participating in politics she may have done an about face and decided to support the "Affordable Care Act," which isn't nearly as affordable despite it's title. Now that she is in the senate she could easily speak out about this and do much more to inform the public about it but she has declined to do so and she is even attempting to ensure that "the law is here to stay" according to a recnet oped ironically called "This is Democracy." If this was as democratic as she implied she wouldn't hesitate to give the vast majority of the public the information they need to base their decisions and this could include educating them on Single Payer Health Care, which she has written on in the past but, perhaps, only for a smaller audience, of mostly better educated, or better informed people.
The following article covers some of the discussion of health care. It either demonstrates, or hints at, how attempts may have been made to portray Single-Payer as a socialist program that is inefficient during the election by the Republicans and many of the people within the commercial media and instead of speaking out in favor of it Elizabeth Warren remained silent while the only one that attempted to support it was her democratic opponent in the primary, before the primary was canceled ending further discussion.
“Politically unacceptable” generally seems to refer to what is acceptable to powerful institutions, not to the vast majority of the the public. These institutions have an enormous amount of influence over what the public hears about any particular subject, so they can have a major influence on the decisions they make by controlling the propaganda that is given to them. when it comes to "cost-containment issues" related to Single payer health care compared to the current system many of them might be much worse in the current system. this is because their are an enormous amount of bureaucratic expenses and the need to give investors large profits in the current system. If they eliminated the enormous amount of money donated to politicians or spent on advertising that demonized universal health care then this money could be diverted to actual health care expenses which is what it was intended for in the first place.
And as for "the ever-present specter of rationing medical care,” this is already happening by withholding care from millions of people. This leads many people to wait until the last minute when it is much more expensive and the state often gets left with the tab anyway because people show up in the emergency room much more often. By not waiting to the last minute they could reduce both of the problems that Warren and Thorne acknowledged and she could do much more to explain this to the majority of the public now that she is in a position where even the commercial media will cover her.
Instead she now only supports or discusses what the establishment considers “Politically acceptable.”
According to Medicare for All, Elizabeth Warren does not support the will of 67% of the people of Massachusetts regarding health care. there are many other well informed consumer advocates on many other issues that look into them and find that Elizabeth Warren doesn't support the best interest of the public on those issues but they can't get any attention from the commercial media anymore than Medicare for All.
One argument that has been made in the past is that she might not want to alienate people and that she has to be careful about picking her fights; on the other hand one of her most popular ads was of a woman who seemed amazed because Elizabeth warren isn't "afraid of anyone." It might be extremely difficult to get things done in Washington but this would be much easier if she had support at the grass roots level and she could get much more of this if she spoke up much more often on a variety of issues load and clear as someone who really isn't "afraid of anyone."
If she did this, even if she lost then she would at least do much more to educate a large percentage of the public on many of the issues that the media and political establishment aren't covering properly.
Instead, as I have indicated in this blog or some of my past blogs she has taken the side of the political establishment against the public on a large variety of issues including charter school, gambling, health care, asbestos, Monsanto, advertising to children and many other issues.
In all fairness a lot of her rhetoric is very good and if she followed up on it with actual policies or much better efforts to educate the public then she would be the "consumer advocate" that they portray her to be; but instead she spins things like any other politician. The same thing happened with Barack Obama with his promises of "hope and change" and this is jsut one of many other examples where the hype seems to good to be true.
The hype surrounding Wendy Davis seems a lot like the hype that i saw when I first started paying attention to Elizabeth Warren and, perhaps, it should make many people just as suspicious. Considering how bad Rick Perry is it is hard to imagine how she could be worse, but even if she is much better than Rick Perry she is another creation of media hype and they should spend much more time discussion the details of many issues. Considering the track record of the media it is hard to imagine that they would provide her with this coverage unless they knew she wouldn't get out of line anymore than Elizabeth Warren is getting out of line now.
This may seem cynical but the media and the political system has demonstrated over and over again that this is justified.
However this doesn't mean that there isn't an alternative because a closer look at many of the grass roots efforts indicates that there are many people that haven't been fooled by this hype and if they had a chance to get their views across in a higher profile manner then they could implement real reform.
It may not seem easy but what we need to do is to get people elected that are chosen at the grass roots level; not people that are chosen by the media. As long as our leaders see that they can continue to fool us by giving us one hyped up candidate after another without rational discussion of the issues they'll continue business as usual!
Friday, October 4, 2013
Forbes recently reported a little known story about how Wal-Mart and other advertisers have been accused of participating in censorship in cooperation with the Argentina government. the low profile of this story is a subtle form of censorship or propaganda. By reporting the things they want to emphasis over and over again while they report the things they don't want too much emphasis on briefly then forget about it they can claim they aren't censoring things but few people would notice that they have focused the public's attention where they might want it, or at least tried.
More important they don't even focus on some of the more insidious forms of censorship and the possibility that it is already happening on a much larger scale in the United States. If they did it would almost certainly raise many more questions about how allowing large corporations to consolidate into only six major conglomerates that control the media and a similar small amount of companies that control what books, movies and CDs people buy.
Perhaps more importantly, it should raise more questions about relying almost entirely on media outlets that are financed by advertising revenue that gives them an incentive to look the other way at problems with the corporations that provide financing and makes it much more difficult for opposing views that aren't backed up with big money to get their messages across to the public.
One major example is the fact that advertising expenses have been rising dramatically while at the same time manufacturing expenses are being cut significantly. This hasn't been reported widely, presumably because the people that do most of the reporting of the news are dramatically increasing the amount of revenue they collect at the expense of the rest of the public; and if they report it the public might consider reform that might reverse this trend, which must have a major impact on the increasing wage gap and the lowering of quality of merchandise.
This is especially important when these advertiser are involved in activities that are destructive to the environment, the education system and that might encourage violence. Not that they should be completely censored either but those with opposing views that protect the environment education system and reduce violence need to have a much better chance to speak to the majority of the public not just those that seek out alternative views.
The following are a few excerpts from the Forbes article:
The example sited in Argentina would be considered so blatant and outrageous that it might raise major objections if it happened here in the U.S., yet in a more subtle manner it already is happening here in the U.S., on a much larger scale and it has been happening for years.
Most people have come to think of this as normal; or more likely they don't think about it at all.
The amount of influence that advertisers could potentially hold over the coverage in the media has always been a problem however thirty years ago before all the mergers and acquisitions enabled a relatively small number of corporations to dominate large markets, in theory if some media outlets investigated the wrong doing of one of them they could easily get advertising from many of the other businesses and it would add to their credibility by demonstrating that they're doing good investigative reporting.
Robert W. McChesney has gone into this much more in his work including two books, "Rich Media, Poor Democracy," and "The Problem of the Media." Advertisers have plenty of time to get their views across and in some cases the critics of these advertisers can't even buy time on TV like when Adbusters attempted to by what they called "uncommercials" which the networks refused to air as indicated in the following excerpt:
The clear implication is that major media gives preferential treatment to those that spend the most. This effectively means that the truth, as presented by the mass media, is for sale, at least partially. However many people may never have even heard of this which happened years ago and many of those who have may have forgotten about and they may allow the corporate control of the media to influence their thinking without realizing it.
The commercial media is much less likely to report on many of the activities of Wal-Mart and many other major advertisers than they are the activities of people without political power and in many cases when they involve both they might present things in a manner which implies that any negative aspects are solely the fault of those that aren't their advertisers as in the case of the large amount of crimes that are taking place at Wal-Mart every day, as I pointed out in "Wal-Mart high crime rate continues uninvestigaterd." Studies have shown that there are much more crimes committed at Wal-Mart than at other competitors and that small businesses are much less likely to result in high police expenses. There are also many studies that indicate that Wal-mart leads to higher poverty and lower quality and paying jobs but these studies aren't covered much if at all in the commercial media.
In one example Wal-Mart supporters misrepresented a study from the University of Missouri to imply that it showed that Wal-Marts were good for communities when the actual study indicated that there were some good aspects of it but there were also many negative aspects and that they caused many problems as well. This misrepresentation was debunked; however the coverage of this didn't get much coverage at all while the misrepresentations continued to be repeated over and over again. Other examples where positive stories about Wal-Mart have been reported much more widely include when they report they're hiring for the holidays without reporting how low quality their jobs are, or when they report that they're buying American, which they ahve done over and over again even when they increase their imports from China and Bangladesh. The most recent incident where they reported this apparently there is finally an increase in American manufacturing but what was reported much less widely is that the manufacturers took the lead, for all retailers not just Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart took the credit this time.
This is clearly a major part of the reason why Wal-Marts have been growing long after many people have started to learn how bad they are for communities. Hardly a store opens any more without major opposition from local people organizing against it, or at least trying; but they report these as isolated incidents just like they report each shooting or bomb scare as isolated without letting many people know how much opposition there is to Wal-mart and why or that their policies might potentially be contributing to their higher crime rates.
The majority of the criticism of Wal-Mart's censorship has been about their attempts to control the books and music that is sold at their stores and this is a major concern, especially when they have such a dominant position in the retail industry. Many of the best books or music might not make it if they're not featured in Wal-mart and it may have already led to lower quality of these items. It also may mean that major celebrities might not dare to criticize Wal-Mart.
However, this may not be the most important concern. a bigger problem might be that many of the biggest critics of corporate America including but not limited to Wal-mart might not have an opportunity to get their views across to a large percentage of the public that still does take the initiative to seek out their own information even though it is increasingly obvious that the commercial media isn't even trying to do a good job reporting the news especially when it comes to reporting on those that finance them.
The same could just as well go for the oil companies which buy an enormous amount of propaganda on TV telling the public how the "energy future could look very Bright," and that what they call "safe technology" or "clean coal" could address all our environmental and economic problems. This could also go for Monsanto which is hardly being exposed even though they don't seem to be buying much advertising time at all, at least not directly; however many of the companies that deal with their products buy an enormous amount of advertising time, including Wal-Mart.
The Mass Media outlets that we rely on to bring us the most important news have a major incentive to continue to sweep it under the rug instead!!
Most of this isn't as blatant as their cooperation to censor Argentina's media, assuming people see this article, but the more people look at it and think about it the more problems they might be able to find and the more clear that it should be that a much larger group of people need to have ways to get their views across, not just the six media conglomerates and the corporations they sell advertising to.
The following are some related articles:
Top 10 reasons why media censorship in China sucks (photo source)
Corporate Censorship, Part I: Son of Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Bans Sheryl Crow's Next Album
12 Items Walmart Apparently Considers More Dangerous Than Assault Weapons
The Wal-Mart Thought Police The 'everyday low prices' superchain refuses to carry books and music that dare criticize conservative values.
The Inconsistent Censorship of Walmart: Fifty Shades of Grey?
Green Day Changes Its Stance on Walmart and Censorship
Censorship Backfire: Surge Of Interest In Zinn’s ‘People’s History’
Censorship & Comics
Wal-Mart tries to shut down union organizing site
The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Robert W. McChesney
Juan Gonzalez interviews Robert W. McChesney on Democracy Now
Corporate Control of the Media
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
In 2006 Wake Up Wal-Mart did a study, "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" based on incidents in 2004, (PDF) about crime at Wal-Mart which showed that it increased when Wal-Marts opened up and that crime was higher at Wal-Mart than at other retailers. Since then Wal-Mart Shootings began compliling a list of gun related incidents at Wal-Mart and demonstrated that they have a large number of them, including on average more than one shooting per week somewhere in the country. I also added my own review about why I think that Wal-Mart policies have been contributing to higher crime in a blog, Wal-Mart high crime rate continues uninvestigaterd and have provided additional information under the author tag Walmart Crime Watch. Stacy Mitchell has also compiled a list of other studies about Wal-Mart and how they impact society, Key Studies on Big-Box Retail & Independent Business. To the best of my knowledge Wal-Mart has done as little as they seem to get away with, often relying on rhetoric that isn't backed up with action, when it comes to addressing any of their critics concerns, including crime. The following are a list of incidents that occurred in September 2013. According to the "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" the average store in their sampling had 250 incidents per year, indicating that these are only a fraction of the crime reports at Wal-Mart, and presumably, the ones most likely to make the news on the internet nationwide. To minimize redundancy most gun related incidents will only be one lines, since they have been highlighted by Wal-Mart Shootings; some of the other more relevant incidents may have additional summations.
There have been at least seven bomb threats during the month; and two of the articles about them have mentioned more which haven’t been reported here. They don’t report these nationwide any more than they report the shooting incidents although they are much more common than most people realize. There has also been a bomb threat at a school that was allegedly made because a janitor didn’t get a free gift certificate which was given to the teachers.
This isn’t the only example where Wal-Mart has been getting involved in the local education system and it might raise conflict of interest issues. Their involvement is often portrayed as charitable, however it may come at a higher cost than many people realize. If local schools are indebted to Wal-Mart many of them may hesitate to criticize them as many that have also received money from oil interests haven’t taught children about environmental destruction. Also it gives Wal-Mart an unfair advantage over competition and it is clear from many of the stories that Wal-Mart has much more support from politicians and business interest than they do from local communities who are constantly trying to keep them out, perhaps because they are aware of the damage indicated in \the studies previously mentioned. In one example after community opposition convinced a town to get another impartial study, at a high cost to the town, the mayor indicated that he would make his decision before they even came up with their report.
They have also attempted to use their “low price” reputation to justify a veto of the bill giving their workers a higher wage in Washington DC, which is misleading since the wages of their workers is a very small percentage of their expenses and it ignore the studies that indicate that Wal-Mart contributes to poverty. It also ignore the fact that Wal-Mart ahs been a leader in off-shoring and that their products are much lower quality forcing the needy to replace things more often.
They have even come up with a new reality show instead of relying on the market and choices of consumers to decide what their new products might be. The winner of this contest should keep in mind the pressure that Wal-Mart puts on its suppliers.
I started with one that I missed from August; strange things happen at Wal-Mart.
Kansas Couple Arrested For Walmart Sex 08/01/2013
Police: Suspects identified in Walmart shooting 09/01/2013
Faulty fire alarm causes Augusta Walmart evacuation 09/02/2013
Demetris Oneal: Walmart worker accused of stealing bras, beef jerky from Greenacres store 09/02/2013
Return trip to Walmart lands man in jail 09/03/2013
Two men arrested for trying to steal vacuum cleaners from Wal-Mart 09/04/2013
$12K worth of phones stolen from Thomasville Walmart 09/05/2013
Drug-related shooting in Mississippi Walmart Parking Lot 09/05/2013
Former Walmart Employee Suspected In Over 30 Robberies 09/05/2013
Police: Thieves loading shopping carts, boldly walking out of local Walmart 09/05/2013
Disguised man accused of Walmart thefts 09/05/2013
Port St. Lucie police need help identifying man who exposed himself to Walmart shopper 09/06/2013
Police arrest man accused of stealing $30K worth of iPads from several Walmart stores 09/06/2013
Gunman robs filling station at Louisiana Walmart 09/06/2013
Man robbed at gunpoint at Georgia Walmart 09/06/2013
Walmart video game scam under investigation by Michigan State Police 09/08/2013
Walmart theft suspects crash after fleeing police 09/08/2013
Trio sought in theft of TV from South Union Wal-Mart 09/08/2013
Two people dead from murder/suicide in Ohio Walmart parking lot 09/08/2013
Police Find Drugs On Cedar Rapids Man After Walmart Theft 09/09/2013
Manhunt Monday: Walmart homicide suspect eludes police 09/09/2013
Sheriff's Office reports multiple larcenies at Walmart 09/09/2013
Police: 27-year-old man accused of stealing from Rock Hill Walmart 09/09/2013
Woman tries to walk out Walmart with a full cart, twice 09/09/2013
Robber gets away after threatening employee with gun at Walmart on Sparkman Drive, police say 09/10/2013
Deputies seek couple who robbed northwest side Walmart 09/10/2013
2nd man charged in Walmart robbery attempt 09/11/2013
Computer thief strikes again at Valley Walmart 09/11/2013
Marietta police: 2 wanted in Walmart parking lot armed robbery 09/11/2013
Woman facing charges in Walmart theft 09/11/2013
Man arrested stealing magic cards at Walmart 09/11/2013
Tampa Walmart evacuated after threat 09/12/2013
Police search for Walmart scammers 09/12/2013
Man fires shots in parking lot of a Florida Walmart 09/15/2013
Woman arrested for setting fire in Walmart 09/17/2013
Sheriff's sergeant reprimanded for vulgar language at Walmart 09/17/2013
Logan man sent to prison for 2011 Walmart arson 09/17/2013
String of thefts at Walmart related, deputies say 09/17/2013
Deputies looking for robbers of Spanaway Walmart they say shoved, injured pregnant woman and other customers 09/17/2013
Man must make restitution for stolen Walmart electronics 09/17/2013
Duo wanted in theft of $1500 in goods from Boone WalMart 09/17/2013
Concord police seek help in identifying body found near Walmart 09/18/2013
Man Arrested, Woman Cited After Incident At Pulaski County Walmart 09/18/2013
LMPD: Man impersonates officer, steals from Wal-Mart 09/18/2013
Kingsport police seek man who used fake debit card at Walmart 09/18/2013
PCSD searches for man connected to Walmart robbery 09/18/2013
Young girl arrested in Wal-Mart robbery 09/18/2013
Meth-making drug sales spike at Walmart in South Charleston 09/18/2013
Police Chase Ends at Dallas Wal-Mart 09/19/2013
Sumter County deputies search for man in upskirt Walmart photos 09/19/2013
3 face felony charges after North Utica Walmart incident 09/19/2013
Mandan police seek men in Walmart theft 09/19/2013
17-year-old arrested, charged of robbing Huntsville Wal-Mart 09/20/2013
Gunman robs two Walmart stores in Missouri 09/20/2013
Newport News: Woman reported wallet stolen at local Walmart 09/20/2013
Bank branch in Wal-Mart robbed 09/21/2013
Sumter man barricaded self in home after touching woman at Walmart 09/22/2013
Gadsden Police investigating knife-point robbery attempt at Wal-Mart 09/23/2013
Shots fired in Carlsbad New Mexico Walmart parking lot 09/23/2013
Teenager is charged with using fake gun to rob 2 Walmart stores in Branson 09/23/2013
Update: Pedestrian hit outside Paragould Walmart escapes serious injury 09/23/2013
Woman charged with shoplifting at Walmart 09/23/2013
New arrest made in Smyrna gift-card-scam case 09/24/2013
Threat forces evacuation at Gladstone Walmart Tuesday afternoon 09/24/2013
Police Looking for Walmart Shoplifting Suspect 09/24/2013
Walmart in Mount Pocono evacuates Tuesday morning 09/24/2013 briefly evacuated Tuesday morning after a forklift hit a propane line.
Greenville Walmart shooter picked victims by race 09/24/2013
Arrest made in Walmart filming girls, indecent-exposure case 09/24/2013
Bomb threat closes Heights Walmart for a few hours 09/25/2013
Two women who attempted theft at Lake Hallie Walmart in July apprehended again 09/24/2013
Law and Order: Cashier accused of stealing $1K from Walmart 09/24/2013
Cops: Thief Used Stolen Credit Cards at Warminster Walmart 09/25/2013
Caught on Camera: Woman's Trailer Stolen from Durant Walmart Parking Lot 09/24/2013
Summerfield man, 80, accused of stealing clothing from Walmart 09/26/2013
Woman accused of fatally shooting boyfriend in League City, Texas Walmart parking lot 09/27/2013
Conroe officer indicted for fatally shooting teenage shoplifting suspect at Walmart 09/27/2013
2 persons of interest ID'd in attempted abduction at Mooresville Walmart 09/27/2013
Cause Of Fire Behind Walmart Under Investigation 09/29/2013
Police: Nearly three pounds of meth found after dealer attempted to sell at Walmart 09/30/2013
Police believe 2 men who crashed truck into city house stole TVs from East Lampeter Walmart 09/30/2013
Ark. man sentenced for defrauding Wal-Mart 09/30/2013
Angry shoplifter causes a scene at Walmart 09/30/2013
Replay: '100 Eyes' on how Walmart affects home sales 09/30/2013
How a Wal-Mart Bangladesh “safety” scheme is dividing the Democratic Party 09/30/2013
Impact and Echoes of the Wal-Mart Discrimination Case 09/30/2013
Walmart in Hialeah evacuated after gas leak 09/30/2013
Are Wal-Mart's shoppers disappearing? 09/28/2013
Wal-Mart Supplier Li & Fung Says No Order Cutbacks in U.S. 09/26/2013
Neighbors wage war on proposed Winston-Salem Walmart 09/26/2013
Board approves a Tax Increment Financing Agreement to aid infrastructure improvements for the Walmart Supercenter under construction. 09/26/2013
UK retailers remove 'staggeringly offensive' mental health costumes from sale 09/26/2013
Another Corruption Scandal For Wal-Mart As Retailer Accused Of Censoring Argentine Media 09/26/2013
Holyoke anti-Walmart group Holyoke First glad retailer retreating from Whiting Farms Road, but ever vigilant 09/25/2013
Winston-Salem Homeowners Fighting Proposed Walmart 09/25/2013
Walmart pulls "Naughty Leopard" costume 09/25/2013
Wal-Mart Cutting Orders as Unsold Merchandise Piles Up 09/25/2013
Wal-Mart Stock Dives, Then Comes All The Way Back After Inventory Scare 09/25/2013
Walmart opponents speak out in force, threaten legal action 09/24/2013
Insight: Wal-Mart 'Made in America' drive follows suppliers' lead 09/24/2013 But an examination of the company's "Made in America" campaign suggests Wal-Mart's caught on to a reshoring phenomenon that was already underway.
Wal-Mart selling a 'naughty' costume - for 2-year-old girls 09/24/2013
Wal-Mart moving 70K workers amid empty-shelf complaints 09/23/2013
What Happened to Wal-Mart? 09/20/2013
Community fights Seminole Heights Walmart plans 09/19/2013
Mollen shuts headquarters after losing Walmart contract 09/18/2013
Wal-Mart Sells Coors About at Cost to Be Largest Beer Seller 09/16/2013
From JC Penney to Walmart, to Macy's and Kohl's, It's Going to Be A Tough Holiday Season This Year 09/16/2013
Muslim group asks Walmart to re-hire manager fired over Facebook posting 09/12/2013
D.C. Mayor Vetoes Wage Bill Affecting Walmart 09/12/2013
Walmart To Skip Discussion On Compensation For Bangladesh Factory Victims 09/12/2013
How Wal-Mart’s Waltons Maintain Their Billionaire Fortune: Taxes 09/12/2013
Rescuers called to Castle Rock Wal-Mart on report of food poisoning 09/09/2013
Same-sex benefits at conservative Wal-Mart: What gives? 09/09/2013 Lately, Wal-Mart has been in a slump. Same-store sales have dropped for two quarters in a row. And last month, the company cut its sales forecast for the remainder of the year.
Broadway businesses vote 'no confidence' over Walmart store 09/05/2013
After Raytown beat Wal-Mart, what will happen in Waldo? 09/05/2013
Wal-Mart's Charm Offensive 09/05/2013
Cabot woman says new Walmart will ruin her property value 09/05/2013
New Wal-Mart underscores trend toward redevelopment 09/05/2013 Typically, Walmart plans for a store of some type about every three miles in a market as dense as the Tampa Bay area.
Walmart inspecting Sioux Falls petitions 09/05/2013
Wal-Mart and Washington D.C. in minimum wage showdown 09/05/2013
Wal-Mart Protesters Arrested Outside Board Director’s Office 09/05/2013
Businesses vote 'no confidence' over Walmart store 09/04/2013
Alaska fishermen protest Walmart decision 09/05/2013
Hamburg Walmart manager fired over anti-Muslim posting 09/04/2013
Bozeman widow files wrongful death lawsuit against Wal-Mart because of bad cantaloupe 09/04/2013
Walmart workers planning massive strike 09/04/2013