Tag Archives: MSNBC

Connecticut Shooting;On finding perspective

I was flying home from Germany as all this transpired, the murders of 26 people, including 20 children at the Sandy Point grammar school in Connecticut this morning. First I heard of the news was as I climbed into a cab from the airport. There is an arc to these stories, these mass  shootings, which happens in this country far too frequently. Of course the perspective is that in a country of 320 million people, running 3000 miles by 1800 miles wide, your chances of encountering this situation are far lower than your chances of winning the lottery. But, some people win the lottery.

The arc is that we’ll be over-saturated by inanely detailed coverage. Information will be repeated again and ag ain, until the anchors and a few opportunistic politicians feel the need to politicize the tragedy. They’ll amp up the rhetoric; guns good-guns bad. Gradually the filters and respect for the dead and grieving will come off and the victims transition to pawns. Both the Left and the Right will use the issue, which is never really about guns, to assail each other. They’ll drag out the victims and puppet their tragedy for the game of politics. It will be bitter and cruel and filthy. Most of us will be disgusted, some of us will realize that this sort of arc only damages substantive debate and discourse of some of the very serious issues surrounding events like this. There is no intention among the politicos to actually solve this issue, or even to move closer to a resolution. To do so would rob them of their vaudeville show and the wealth they derive from that theater.

I have strong beliefs about a host of issues regarding the tragedy today at that school. Fans to this page can find those views easily enough in the archive. I will not air them here. Not today.  No one should tolerate the puppet dance to victim porn of the corporate  and partisan media. Turn them off. In such a moment the country should  take time to mourn, or to take stock, and it should do so in quiet. The reason they shout and pound the table, or tease trauma is to rob the nation of the introspection inherent in silence. They do not want you to think deeply, to reach into your soul for truths and perspectives stymied by their noise which wants you to react blindly and instantly-knee jerk. They understand only too well how easily shock can be manipulated, and exploit it at every opportunity.

But turn off the media for a while and listen to those truths. They are there. There will be time enough for outrage and even politics, but not now. For now it is more than enough to grieve. we will discuss this. We will argue and fight this. We may vehemently disagree, but those will be tools for the future. Until then, and to insure the tools we employ in this issue are the best and clearest possible, a little perspective is critical.

Listen to 900poundgorilla every Sunday morning 8-9 on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT am820 and streaming live worldwide for the Revolution and Beer show only on Our Town.


Seems everyone has an opinion about Ted Nugent’s so-called threat to Obama at the NRA convention this week. Pundits on the Left remind us of his own boasting how he didn’t bathe and deficated in his pants to get out of the draft during the Vietnam War, or that his clearly vapid rant about Obama was indeed a threat to the President’s personal safety. On the Right, they are all too willing to excuse anything, especially since their plastic claymation candidate has the Republican party against the ropes in the upcoming election. All of them miss the real issue. They all of failed to see the ultimate truth of this entire issue. And that boils down to this one simple observation, so simple that it defies imagination that no one in the media, the secret service, FOX or MSNBC has hit upon it at all. And that is, who has listened to or bought a Ted Nugent record in the last 30 years. When Mike Huckabee thinks you are a rocker, you aren’t a rocker any longer- you’re lame. When Mike Huckabee defines Rock and Roll, well, my friends, Rock and Roll really has died..


A LIBERAL CALLS OUT MSNBC: Moving the ball forward for the Right on election campaign reform

Generally, I enjoy Chris Hayes weekends on MSNBC, but I constantly must remind myself that Mr. Hayes, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and the rest of their line-up are still part of the problem of corporate and power-elite-status-quo control of the discourse and messaging of critical national issues. While MSNBC is routinely “demonized” by FOX and pundits on the Right as far Left wing, it is not-by a long shot.

To support that, I point to the “buy American” push, particularly by Ed Schultz. Recall, this was a rightwing and nationalist mantra following NAFTA. Just as they did in the lead up to Iraq, MSNBC, for all their Liberal bent has missed the real solution to jobs in America and the necessary equitible trade worldwide, and that is not some pseudo-Ron Paul-esque economic isolationism, but forcing international corporations to adhere to wage and safety and pollution reforms regardless of where they are. If GE-owned MSNBC was truly as Liberal as the Right asserts, they would recognize first that mankind is global, and globalization was the direction of the species from those first steps from an African Valley 2 million years ago.

What prompted this article was a roundtable discussion on Chris Hayes’ Sunday morning show about the 2009 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that allows Corporations, and Unions, to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote candidates and policy, effectively erasing the one man one vote cornerstone of our democracy by overwhelming free discourse through propaganda and false messaging.http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZS.html
With a decptively benign name like Citizens United, the group is in fact a filthy little cabal of Republican hacks in the vein of Andrew Breitbart, with a bias towards editing for innuendo over fact and truth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_(organization)

That’s the background, but on this morning’s show Mr. Hayes had Jack Abramoff, the convicted lobbyist who was unequivical in saying that overturning Citizens United would never happen, because it is fundamental to Conservatives in this country. The statement went virtually unchallenged. Aside the traitorous acts committed by Mr. Abramoff, which did immeasurable damage to this democracy, why would MSNBC legitimize such a character? Because, at the heart of MSNBC is a large mult-national corporation, with significant interests in issues ner and dear to the true powers in this nation (Hint: It isn’t Right, Left, Libertarian or even American).

The Corporate media is overt and subversive alike in its crafting and molding of cultures and nations. It does so to create markets as to define and secure them.

Advertising creates ideals, standards and affirms stereotypes on one hand, while the media carries and promotes those messages. The recent purchase of The Weather Channel by NBC Universal, Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group highlights the effort of Multi-national Corporations and firms to devour media outlets and control what Americans sees, hears, discusses and votes upon. Blackstone bought Neilsen-the rating people in 2006 along with other partners like the Carlyle Group. Bain, by the way is owned by Mitt Romney, and owns Clear Channel, the largest owner of radio stations in the country. Its “news” talk format is 90% rightwing, with Beck, Savage, Limbaugh and Hannity leading that charge, despite that 90% of the country does not vote Republican. Bain also owns or invests in AMC Entertainment and Warner Music group.

So there is real pressure, and undeniable evidence that Liberal MSNBC is hardly a Liberal thinktank, but instead has slipped into a market not served blatantly by FOX as a means, not to promote Progressive ideals, but as a means, as prescribed by their corporate owners, to nudge the message forward far more subtley that FOX can do. But the effort is the same, and in the end it comes down to control-not politics.

The strategy is to create paradigms not cultures, as paradigms become absolute realities that are much harder to find alternatives to or see beyond. Imagine what it would be to breath fire, or breathe watter as a means of survival, and that air and wind could be as deadly as we find those others. Those are other paradigms. That is what corporations are evolving to in a greater and greater consolidation of power and influence. Think back over the last 50 or 100 years about where corporations were and where they are today, with interlocking partnerships and boards, and their ascent to controlling almost fully govenments worldwide.

Now imagine this paradigm. With all that power to control the message and assert culture, a group of people have challenged that by Occupy parks have the power elite absolutely terrified. Now that is a message!


Big government? Damn right. The biggest! Just fix it.

So the mantra from the right these days is that government is too big, and we must shrink it, not to make it more efficient, but so it can get out of the way of business.In the age of the highest corporate profits in human history that rhetoric is obscene. Fundamentally, that is an anti-American, anti-Constituional idea. Let’s set aside the argument that government exists because it has the power to do things individuals simply can’t do, like build a road, fight a war, enforce health and safety codes, maintain a justice system and get toilets to flush safely from coast to coast.

This nation is being duped into buying the perverse and dangerous idea that corporations are virtuous and wise, while government is corrupt, inept and out of control. Are they saying they’d happily trade corporate control for the United States government? Have they never seen a corporation go bankrupt? Go out of business? End pensions? Break the law?

Name me a single corporation that has existed as long as the US government? Name me a single one that acts as a democracy? Name one that voluntarily protects the interests of individual workers rights without those rules being imposed by government. Name one. That corporation doesn’t exist.

Without government, corporations would pollute the environment, abuse employees, and even murder labor activists http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/26/international/26COLO.html?searchpv=day04&pagewanted=print . They would be free to pay employees the lowest possible or barely survivable wages with no benefits in dangerous environments. Get hurt on the job due to their negligence and you’re history, and so is your family’s future.

The problem with government is that the Democrats and especially the Republicans have allowed and facilitated the corporate stranglehold on government,  a crime promoted and repackaged in the pseudo-Press suppositories of FOX, CNN, MSNBC and talk radio, all of which are owned by significant corporations with huge interest in the outcome of this quiet coup.

The people can take it back, but they have to get smart, get organized, and defend a government large enough to defend a Constitution that was written for people not corporations.

What you really what, whether you realize now or later, is a government big enough not to get bullied by terrorists, rogue nations, competing nations, and least of all self-interested corporations. But it has to be a government humble enough to protect the homeless guy on the corner from being run off because he fell on hard times, or the millions of families faced with foreclosure

The Bush tax cuts for the rich (still in effect) have failed to generate the jobs Republicans and the rich promised would happen if those tax cuts continued. The government should be big enough to conclude a war and recognize the rights of minorities and the wrongly accused.

Big government? Damn right. The biggest! just fix it.


Truth and Lies: Musings from the bike trail

Its forty-seven miles by bicycle from the Wisconsin border to my doorstep on the North side of Chicago. There’s a stunning bike path for a good stretch, more or less from the Great Lakes naval Air Station almost to Winnetka. It was a brisk Autumn day today. The leaves were just changing and a steady wind was coming off Lake Michigan, The wind and cool temperatures no doubt conspired to chase off the summer and fair-weather riders, leaving only hardcore adventurists.

On the trail near Fort Sheridan in Northern Illinois

That near solitude, the smell of wet leaves from the previous day’s rain and a mottled sky with patches of rich blue between fat grayish-white clouds lent itself perfectly to odd musings. Passing through North Chicago, a struggling town just outside the Naval Air Station, where unemployment is as problematic as the crime level, a town like so many others around the nation, in which the “American Dream” is fast becoming at best an illusion and at worst a hypocrisy, I had a thought.

It had to do with the truths and lies we tell ourselves, that the media fills the culture with and which our leaders recite almost mechanically and certainly in an obligatory reflex. The difficulty is in separating truth from lies and fact from fiction. That task, and responsibility as an American citizen and voter, becomes harder every day, more so as agenda driven information and propaganda makes it more difficult than ever to tell the difference. And that is very much by design.

This culture uses words like lies and facts and truth with careless disregard. But the truth is, lies and truths have something in common. They both rely upon facts. Both include and exclude facts to define their character. But while facts are bricks, a pile of bricks does not make a house. A set of facts may create some truth, but they may also reinforce a lie. By purposeful omission, or rearrangement facts become a lie. Indeed, a truth may also be a lie, as in a partial truth, or say, FOX News; the News part becoming at the very least a supreme exaggeration.

What each of us is seeking(or seeking to obscure) are ultimate truths. That is truths that are well beyond mere facts, and absolutely not a lie.For example, there is an ultimate truth to whether or not God exists. For now, that ultimate truth is unknowable and untestable. since facts alone fail us here, we bridge that immense gap with faith-the polar opposite of fact.

It may be said that faith is the  acceptance in at least one possibility of an ultimate truth. But faith is not a fact, and faith alone is a choice. Reason dictates that our faith is potentially the belief in a falsehood. One who has faith has a responsibility to understand that alternate faiths are then equally valid.

In the end could it be that there may be no real truth, but only lies and shades of the truth, and faith? So where does that leave us? If truths and ultimate truths fail us, what is left?

The media is more and more under the control of corporations. More and more it plays a game between satiating its consumer audience, while steering the nation and government towards corporate governance and control. The Occupy Wall street protests, now catching on in cities around the nation are illustrative here. When they began two weeks ago, I had to look to news organizations outside the country for information. There was not a single story in MSNBC-owned by GE, a major weapons contractor, or FOX-News Corp and CNN-owned by Time Warner, who contributed the maximum allowable amount to George Bush in 2005.

The media, with so-called Liberal bias like MSNBC and Right-wing bias like FOX, dominate and steer the discourse  on topics of grave national interest through carefully channelled and scripted arguments, and in very much the same direction.

Take the Iraq invasion. In the weeks and months leading up there was ample evidence that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. Evidence was forged, critics of the invasion were pilloried and discredited for daring to point out that even the most credible reports had come from highly unreliable and even corrupt sources. Chris Matthews, castigated by the Right, and held up on the Left for his insight never once debated before the invasion what should have been obvious questions to the rest of us. He finally did, several years, many thousands of lives and a trillion Dollars later. The media’s truth was a self-serving truth, but it revealed a truth beyond even ultimate truth.

The trail

It contributed to and created real human pain and suffering. Human pain might well prove the profoundest truth, and the only truth impervious to lies, distortions, facts and faith. For each of us, our own pain becomes the ultimate truth. At the end of all lies is human pain, which arises from the individual as a wall. Where your pain meets the pain of another becomes, in the absence of real truth, the point of negotiation. From each person’s perspective the other’s pain is hardly equal to their own, but there is ultimate equality in their opposing pain. It was, after all the true basis for the civil rights movement, and indeed all assertions of minorities for their rights. It is even at the heart of those sadly mislead and exploited folks that believe the Tea Party isn’t merely a populist front for predatory corporate greed.

So, at the end of all truth,  when truths are distorted or framed artfully to be just this side of a lie we are left to negotiate one another’s pain. It transcends media and propaganda and politics. It becomes the point in which each of us draws a line in the sand and forces us to face other human beings as equals. I think Jesus said it best…do onto others… 

And, oh, by the way. Just in case you were wondering, with a couple scenic detours, the ride from Wisconsin back to the city takes about 3 hours. Lots of time to chase errant thoughts.


Republican candidates debate in spirited Beer Commercial: Sounds nice, feels great

Republican candidates debated last night in a spirited beer commercial on MSNBC. The great debate coming down to this one simple concept: Sounds nice, feels great!

For a country in the sort of crisis the Republicans constantly remind, there was no talk about shared sacrifice, of hard work in difficult days ahead, of getting dirt under our collective fingers, as Obama and the Progressives have been espousing from the beginning. Instead we’ll all have rainbows and puppy dogs the first day of the hoped for Republican Administration. All we have to do is eliminate corporate taxes, lower taxes on the rich who bless this country daily with their warm glowing presence and eliminate the agencies that keep our food and water and workplaces safe. Sounds nice, feels great!

Perry would eliminate  “schemes” like healthcare and social security. Healthcare should be done at the state level-the bankrupt states- so that he can eliminate corporate taxes. For guys who claim to be god’s gift to the nation, not a word where that state money would come from-oh, wait, higher state and local taxes! Sounds nice, feels great. 

Thankfully there was no indication that military spending should be curbed, controlled or even looked askance at. In fact they would all increase military spending. They’d all give China what-for-even though a couple years ago it was a sin to criticize Walmart’s operations in China, all of them heralding the wonders bestowed upon American consumers with Walmart’s flood of cheap Chinese goods-to the peril of the American worker. That aside, they’d talk tough to them Arabs, Red Chinamen, the Ruskies, the Socialists Europeans and anyone else that dared question American policy. We’ll stick a boot in their ass, or drive a Chevy up it! Sounds nice, feels great

Bachmann trumpeted the one thing that has gotten her into the headlines, and that is she is promising $1.79 gallon gas. nevermind those headlines have become a joke. beyond that her campaign has become sad. If she wasn’t a nut I almost feel sorry for her. Sounds nice, feels great, poor Barbara.

The highlight of last night’s two-hour long beer commercial on MSNBC was Perry’s  comment about Social security being a big Ponzi scheme. Unfortunately this one worked, as my parents and neighbors can attest, as well as tens of millions of Americans who, for the last 70 years have received checks to lighten the load of their post-retirment years, and allow either for dignity and in many cases survival after lives lived in this country. “It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today,” Perry said, apparently unaware of estimates that without reform SSI would be solvent through 2050, “you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there. Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right.” Sounds nice, feels great.

What remains to be seen is whether America wants the sort of shared sacrifice and hard work necessary for the sort of troubles we all acknowledge need to be fixed. The issue becomes who will reap the benefit for the solutions to those issues. It could be average and poor Americans, the ones now struggling and suffering the current economy, and the ones fight the current conflicts. With any of the current crop of Republicans, they’ll have you believe that the poor and middle class aren’t paying enough, and that the rich and corporations-reaping historically high profits, already not paying taxes, and paying CEOs unprecedented salaries and bonuses are more burdened, and if we ever want a job we’d better kiss the …ground beneath a rich person. Does anyone really believe that the American worker will ever conceded to wage and benefit cuts that will make them competitive with sweat shop labor in Bangladesh?  Sounds nice, feels great, but it ain’t America, it’s a beer commercial not reality.


Big government? Damn right. The biggest! Just fix it.

So the mantra from the right these days is that government is too big, and we must shrink it, not to make it more efficient, but so it can get out of the way of business.In the age of the highest corporate profits in human history that rhetoric is obscene. Fundamentally, that is an anti-American, anti-Constituional idea. Let’s set aside the argument that government exists because it has the power to do things individuals simply can’t do, like build a road, fight a war, enforce health and safety codes, maintain a justice system and get toilets to flush safely from coast to coast.

This nation is being duped into buying the perverse and dangerous idea that corporations are virtuous and wise, while government is corrupt, inept and out of control. Are they saying they’d happily trade corporate control for the United States government?

Name me a single corporation that has existed as long as the US government? Name me a single one that acts as a democracy? Name one that voluntarily protects the interests of individual workers rights without those rules being imposed by government. Name one. That corporation doesn’t exist.

Without government, corporations would pollute the environment, abuse employees, and even murder labor activists http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/26/international/26COLO.html?searchpv=day04&pagewanted=print . They would be free to pay employees the lowest possible or barely survivable wages with no benefits in dangerous environments. Get hurt on the job due to their negligence and you’re history, and so is your family’s future.

The problem with government is that the Democrats and especially the Republicans have allowed and facilitated the corporate stranglehold on government,  a crime promoted and repackaged in the pseudo-Press suppositories of FOX, CNN, MSNBC and talk radio, all of which are owned by significant corporations with huge interest in the outcome of this quiet coup.

The people can take it back, but they have to get smart, get organized, and defend a government large enough to defend a Constitution that was written for people not corporations.

What you really what, whether you realize now or later, is a government big enough not to get bullied by terrorists, rogue nations, competing nations, and least of all self-interested corporations. But it has to be a government humble enough to protect the homeless guy on the corner from being run off because he fell on hard times, or the millions of families faced with foreclosure

The Bush tax cuts for the rich (still in effect) have failed to generate the jobs Republicans and the rich promised would happen if those tax cuts continued. The government should be big enough to conclude a war and recognize the rights of minorities and the wrongly accused.

Big government? Damn right. The biggest! just fix it.


Dumming Down of America? Its all in the headlines

Not convinced we get a different quality of news here than overseas? Anyone lucky enough to see the original BBC version of Planet Earth heard a cogent adult narrator. The US version had Sigourney Weaver’s Disney-esque cutsy narration. One offered a fascinating comprehensive look at the wonder and breadth of our planet. The other led us by our little hands through a parade of cute and crazy animals, not unlike the Saturday Night Live skit by a half-wit nature guy named Brian Fellows, played perfectly by Tracy Morgan of 30 Rock Fame.

As a science nut, I daily troll the news, particularly the BBC. Today I happened to check MSNBC and well, let see who attempts at intelligent science reporting and who reflects a consumer driven society completely self-focused and separated from the world, and charging headlong into the abyss of abject vapidity.

Top 10 Science Headlines BBC News:

Iceland Ash Jet threat “founded”
Motivation “key to high IQ score
Hidden CO2 emissions revealed
Lasers could replace spark plugs
Climate change to hit US rivers
Aurora from Saturn Moon circuit
Sunspot Twist sparked huge flare
Iran uncovers espionage virus
Quake mission to “ring of fire”
Rig Culture “factor in BP spill”

And now from MSNBC:

Robot helps woo bride in video game proposal
Plug in cars meet the real world
Facebook game lets you throw friends off buildings
How to choose the right Blu-ray player
Surprise mom with a video just for her
Man sues Facebook for$1-for attention
Puppycam makes a comeback
Squid camouflage catches Pentagon’s eye
Enormous statue of powerful pharaoh unearthed
Rocketeer aims for Mars in 10 years

Surely FOX will save us from MSNBC’s liberal pandering:

Nintendo to Launch new Wii in 2012
Can Nintendo Wii and game consoles reinvent themselves
500-year-old book surfaces in Utah
Tantalizing hits of secretive spaceship builder’s plan
Sony chairman credited with developing CDs dies
Pope may make first call to space
Watching Internet porn at NYC protected by First amendment, officials say
Has quest for elusive God particle succeeded
what the devastating Japanese earthquake sounds like
Secret Space sex experiment rumors denied by Russian expert.

…Oh so close. And for the life of me, I cannot imagine why we have slipped behind Moldova in science education. Consumerism and Corporate media have succeeded in finally make us all dumb shopping drones, blades of grass whipped by whatever wind the corporate elite, who own the government and use the media as their message board and propaganda machine, decide. They sy be afraid and we no longer question what or why, or even the legitimacy of those claims. We are told and we follow obediently. And on rare occasions, when someone does questions the media kicks in to belittle, degrade, ignore or destroy their message. A whistleblower to corporate or government crime and corruption somehow is shown to be mentally unstable, a viewer of porn or a child molester, as thy did in the Soviet Union to dissidents. When that failed to quiet dissent the Soviets had citizen informers, which is why corporate America and the Republicans invented the Tea Party.


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