Thursday, May 31, 2007

Q: Is Scientology a cult?

A: Yep.

Osho: The word that replaced "God"

For the first few minutes Osho, the funniest guru you'll ever meet, talks about how, after Nietzsche's declaration of "God is dead", another word rose to replace "God" in importance. But if you're not interested in any of that fast forward to 3:55 to find out what that word is, and for a pretty good laugh. It's kind of hard to tell what he's saying at first, because of his accent, but listen closely and it'll be quite rewarding.

Monday, May 28, 2007

"Neocon" is the new "Liberal"

liberal vs. neocon copy

A while back I was reading a blog entry (I forget exactly where) which called for the labeling of neocons as "regressives". I thought that was pretty slick. In the immortal words of a great President: "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward."

In the early seventies a bunch of crafty old men began meeting in dark rooms, their fear flowed from the previous decade of hippy love and mutual cooperation which meant American business was under attack. In order to swing the pendulum of popular opinion back in these old codgers' direction they needed to enunciate the goodness of corporations through a tide of propaganda. This tactic rested upon the demonization of a political philosophy, liberalism, and the adoption of the hitherto shunted idea of neoconservatism. It is difficult to comprehend what variety of mountain these men needed to scale. Liberal politics was the prevalent view at the time, it was the word "conservative" which carried the stench of disgrace. But like all capable propagandists, they had money. Enough money to found their own think tanks, and so disinformation collectives such as The Heritage Foundation, Accuracy in the Media, the American Enterprise Institute and the Center for the Study of Popular Culture sprung from the void. They told the "capitalist story" and handed out booklets to Republican Presidents with talking points. Reagan became the realization of neoconservatism, the religious right and "free market" mentality (I would go so far as say "free market morality"). You can find a remarkably well-written essay on the decent of liberalism here.

Neoconservatism was popularized simply to aid American corporations, what's more elitist than that? To smash workers' rights, deregulate environmental restrictions and militarize our culture, this is the origin of the culture wars. Meaningless, polarizing issues such as gay marriage to divert attention from the thievery happening in plain sight. This wealth of deception lead to a "Happy Meal" mindset amongst consumers. It's about the quick fix of sugar and starch followed by a minor prize at the end, something cloying and disposal to temporarily take our minds off how miserable we feel. It breaks, we cry and the cycle begins anew. Instead of buying what you need with business and government placed at a comfortable distance from the other the two have become nearly indistinguishable. The result is calamitous, a niche society of selfish toddlers. Perhaps that's why religion is so important or maybe that's why we act offended by sex but privately giggle at Britney Spears' naughty parts. Where are the risk takers? In Venezuela, people are protesting over a television station - the government is reading our ecards! Where's our march on Washington? Why are we not packing the jails as a conspicuous demonstration of our discontent - Thoreau-style? I am as guilty as the next guy for this complacency. The revolution can always come tomorrow, we think, but today I've got a pilates class.

But as the tried and true cliche goes, the pendulum will swing the other way, and it seems the neocons are strangling themselves with the very leash they fought so hard to control. Progress is slow and it takes a true superman to overcome the trappings of his or her culture. However, I believe "neocon" is turning out to be the next "liberal". It isn't the result of any propaganda mills or dark room planning, it's due to bombast, the kind which allows the gross national happiness to plummet while the super rich get richer. Nobody's investing in Republican campaigns. There's no viable mainstream Republican candidates and the "big tent" can't rival the diversity and charm of the other side. Hopefully, I'm seeing the growing pains of a nation ready to become an adult.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Origin of God - Douglas Adams

I iz in yor howse eatin' up yor helthcarez

DSCF0021Last night my grandma was attacked in her house. More accurately, she was attacked in her garage by an unwelcome guest. A cat had wandered into the garage and scratched her arm, leaving a row of little, red holes zig-zagging up her forearm. Luckily, it was the neighbors', unluckily they couldn't remember if the cat was up-to-date with all its shots. My grandma packed her purse, two yapping lap dogs and her husband, and made the journey down to the hospital to get a tetanus shot.

Long story short, she'll be fine. The doctor gave her the shot she needed and wrote her a prescription for some antibiotics. She stopped at a local pharmacy to fill her prescription, but it was closed. On the next stop, the pharmacy was open but refused her medical card and sent her away. On the way to the third stop she realized either the store would accept the card and give her the medication she needed or else she'd be forced to pay $50 for a mere ten pills - just imagine if this were urgent! At the end of the night she received her antibiotics, but it cost her.

In July, my grandma will be 68, she's retired and unable to work. There's nobody who's been better to my brothers and I when we were growing up - she's a true saint. I can't fathom an acceptable reason why she should be forced to pay extreme rates to insurance companies then pay again. In a much publicized report, it's been found Americans, when compared to other industrialized countries, ranks dead last. We're spending three times as much as others in rich western countries on hospitals and twice as much on pills, yet we're receiving worse care. Remind me again, what's wrong with universal healthcare? To echo the sentiments of FDR's New Deal ethos, government must do for people what people can't do for themselves. Isn't it time to stop wearing your side's red or blue t-shirt and help out our grandmothers?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Here's a new rule for ya

New rule: If illegals can't be granted amnesty then neither can the Bush Administration.

Want some kaya, now

growing-marijuanaWhen I was ordered before the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners, the first question I was asked by Dr. Spokas, the chairman, from Ontario, Oregon, was “Dr. Leveque don’t you know that marijuana is very addicting and very dangerous?”

Frankly, I didn’t know or believe this and all of my experience with fifty years study and 4000 patients told me this was totally false, but when one is facing a “Spanish inquisition” with psychological “thumb screws” or “hanging”, I decided to answer “maybe for some people”. I didn’t believe a word of it. I didn’t dare ask where he got his information but I assumed it came from the U.S. government, which has produced false propaganda for 70 plus years.

Marijuana is less addictive and less dangerous than Starbuck’s espresso.

Here's the rest

Grass: The War On Drugs

Medicinal Marijuana


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How will Iraq share the oil?

Iraq Oil FieldBy Gail Russell Chaddock, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Source: Yahoo! News

Washington - The reason
Iraq needs to pass a new oil law,
President Bush has said, is to "share oil revenues among all of Iraq's citizens" – Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds – and to help unify the country.

It's a goal broadly supported in the US Congress and by the Iraq Study Group, whose 2006 report said such an oil law was needed, too, to "create a fiscal and legal framework for investment" in the industry.

But now the oil law's status as a US "benchmark" for progress in Iraq is emerging as a flash point in both Baghdad and Washington.

So far, the frustration on Capitol Hill is mainly over the Iraqi government's perceived foot-dragging in finishing the oil law, which US advisers had a hand in crafting. But resistance is also surfacing to the substance of the oil bill, especially whether its main effect will be to ensure international companies a lucrative role in Iraq's rich oil fields. With House and Senate conferees about to put their heads together on a new war-funding bill that includes benchmarks for progress in Iraq, the proposed oil legislation is beginning to come under closer scrutiny.

"While we can't confirm it, there are enough reports out there that appear to indicate that undue, unfair preference and the influence of our oil companies are part of the Iraqi hydrocarbon law, and if that is true, that is not correct," says Rep. Joe Sestak (news, bio, voting record) (D) of Pennsylvania, a former admiral and defense adviser to the Clinton administration. "The aim of benchmarks is to help the process along, but we need benchmarks that are appropriate for the Iraqis and the Americans – not just our economy but our ideals."

US firms as the major beneficiary?
Fueling new resistance to the oil benchmark are reports that the draft law in fact says little about sharing oil revenues among Iraqi groups and a lot about setting up a framework for investment that may be disadvantageous to Iraqis over the long term. On the flip side: Iraq's oil industry badly needs new investment, and oil companies are reluctant to go into Iraq without a legal framework that ensures that the contracts they sign will be respected by future Iraqi governments.

Last week, Rep.
Dennis Kucinich (D) of Ohio, who is a presidential candidate, led off opposition to the draft law in a letter to Democratic colleagues. On Thursday, a coalition of oil industry watchdog groups and peace activists called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) and Senator Reid to drop the Iraqi oil law as a benchmark for progress in Iraq.

"If Democrats are perceived to be advocating withdrawal [of US troops] only after access to Iraqi oil has been assured, this will do little to reassure critics," says Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, a watchdog group that drafted the letter.

In an open letter to Democrats in the US Congress last week, Hasan Jum'a Awwad, head of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, echoed that view. He urged that lawmakers "not link withdrawal [of US troops] with the oil law, especially since the USA claimed that it came to Iraq as a liberator and not in order to control Iraq's resources."

For most US lawmakers, the delay in passing the oil law shows that Iraq's new leaders aren't making tough political choices about their country's future, such as how to fairly distribute Iraq's oil wealth among all Iraqi groups.

"The Iraqi government remains in a dangerous stalemate: No oil law," Senate majority leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record) said during a debate on war policy on Wednesday.

Why Iraqis don't want to rush
But in Baghdad, some Iraqi lawmakers say the oil issue is too vast and complex to rush. It should be the last issue – not one of the first – to be resolved, they say.

Moreover, Iraqi critics of the current draft law say it does not address the issues that US lawmakers think it does.

"The actual draft law has nothing to do with sharing the oil revenue," says former Iraqi oil minister Issam Al Chalabi, in a phone interview from Amman, Jordan. The law aims to set a framework for investment by outside oil companies, including favorable production-sharing agreements that are typically used to reward companies for taking on risk, he says.

"We know the oil is there. Geological studies have been made for decades on these oil fields, so why would we let them [international firms] have a share of the oil?" he adds. "Iraqis will say this is solid proof that Americans have staged the war ... because of this law."

On Feb. 26, Iraq's Cabinet approved the draft oil law, which was to be sent to parliament by March 15 – along with four annexes that provide the fine print, draft oil contracts, and a draft oil revenue-sharing law. The Bush administration wanted Iraq's parliament to approve the entire oil package by the end of May. But as of this week, not even the draft oil law has been submitted to parliament.

"The US talks about the sovereignty of Iraq, but why are they getting involved in this oil law?" asks Mohammed al-Dynee, member of parliament representing the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, a Sunni group. He is in Washington to try to persuade Congress to drop calls for the oil law. "Even if this law can pass, which I doubt, it will remain ink on paper and will not be implemented on the ground."

An unofficial English translation of the draft law was first released on the website of the Kurdish Regional Government and has since been carried on oil industry watchdog sites such as

At least one 'red flag'
In New York, oil industry analyst Fadel Gheit of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. has reviewed both the official Arabic version of the draft law and the unofficial English translation and says they are ambiguous and seem to be written in haste.

"The law did not strike me as something that was explicitly designed to favor American companies, although I'm not ruling that out," he says.

But the stipulation that a new Federal Oil and Gas Council must include foreign participation did "raise a red flag," he says. Under the draft law, the council would carry out Iraqi oil policies and set criteria for foreign companies working in the industry.

"Why shouldn't Iraq use Iraqi nationals to decide how the contracts will be awarded? They have oil engineers. Use the best brains in the country and, hopefully. they will do what is in the best interest of the country," he says. "Otherwise, there's an impression that American companies are telling Iraqis what to do."

Foreign investment needed in Iraq
With the world's second-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, Iraq is the top prize in the international oil business. Iraq needs new foreign investment to help modernize its oil industry, which has been closed to new technology for the past 25 years, says Mr. Gheit.

But even with a new draft oil law, international oil companies won't be eager to send engineers into a nation in turmoil. "It's very difficult for oil companies to recruit people willing to work in the Iraqi oil fields. It's mayhem," he says.

"If the idea of the law is to expedite getting international oil [firms] to ... set up shop and invest money, they're mistaken," Gheit adds. "I doubt very much that any oil company will be willing to send geologists, engineers to be shot at, kidnapped, or beheaded."

In the 1990s,
Saddam Hussein shifted Iraq's oil industry from production-sharing agreements, which gave foreign investors a substantial share in revenues, to service agreements, which limit such investors' profits.

"It's very important, as we said in the [Iraq Study Group] report, that the US not be seen as trying to seek control of that oil," says Lee Hamilton, a cochairman of the Iraq Study Group. "But that will be very difficult to achieve because of the mind-set in much of the region today that we went in because of the oil.... Most of the critics will not be persuaded by any rhetoric of the US but by a law that is drafted and implemented fairly."

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Shadow Debate: What's causing illegal immigration

Immigration Border Fence CapitalWith illegal immigration back in the news and after viewing raw footage of the cataclysm inside MacArthur Park, I thought I’d post a point or two that always seem to be left on the editing room floor of most leading infotainment outfits.

I understand American anger toward illegal immigrants, however, I cringe at this proposed cruelty of displacing the whole lot, as we're talking about millions of human lives. So, from that perspective this view is rather bigoted. With NAFTA's disintegration of the Mexican border for agribusiness, Mexican farmers are unable to compete with corporate mega-farms, which exploit cheap, Mexican resources. Consequentially, unemployed laborers are squeezed north with their families in order to make a meager living. For them, it is an issue of survival.

We need to adopt a policy allowing for the integration of current illegal immigrants along with renegotiating the patently racist Mexico-U.S. article of the NAFTA treaty so the same restrictions that are found in the Canada-U.S. agreement apply to our relationship with Mexico. As it stands, the agricultural section of the NAFTA agreement is divided into three parts, making it unique from the other articles of the treaty. Instead of one overarching standard for all the countries involved there are three individual sets of regulations between each country. While the American/Canadian portion imposes strict restrictions on American agribusiness inside Canada, as the ruling class is primarily white and of European decent when compared to our neighbors to the south, the American/Mexican agreement grants corporations greater access to Mexican land and significantly relaxes operational constraints. The implication being: They’re tiny and brown. We can step on them all we want.

As far as political footballs are concerned immigration isn't the Republican's undoing, it's Bush and his war. True, I know of plenty Americans, many of who are fairly liberal in thought, who feel amnesty is wrong and harbor animosity toward these tax-paying residents, but to victimize these families a second time by sending them back to the squalor they escaped would be an odious policy, and holding them here under such a threat as "guest workers" without appropriate benefits or fair wages is appalling on a human rights level.

Short Film: Police Coercion inside the LA Immigration Rally

Immigration ProtestsA horrifying short film taken of the LAPD's march into MacArthur Park during a peaceful Immigration Rally. The police spray the crowd with rubber bullets and muscle them out of the park even though it was a non-violent demonstration. What's amazing is how shots continued to be heard even as the protesters entered urban areas, endangering innocent onlookers. What were the conditions which permitted this level of oppression on our soil?

Here's the video

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The ageless wisdom of Christopher Hitchens

Anyone who knows me can figure out that I don't see eye to eye with Hitchens on everything *cough* Iraq *cough* but I will say that he argues the case for that clusterfuck better than any other war apologist out there. When it comes to matters of history and political philosophy he's peerless. These clips are fine examples of Hitch's acid-tongued insights:

Hitchens calls Falwell a "toad" and "huckster"

Hitchens visits Hannity's America

The Moral Necessity of Atheism

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Legendary physicist gets huge laughs while making point

Staying Abreast of Human Sexuality

new_ff_logo_bigThere are 1.75 million animal species that have been noted and named by our scientific classification system. Of them, there are 5,800 types of mammal. All mammals are warm-blooded and have a four-chambered heart, but so do birds. Most mammals give birth to live young, but there are exceptions to that. Mammals all have hair, but again they share that trait with other creatures–in this case spiders. In fact there is only one truly defining characteristic of mammals that is unique, and that is the trait for with they are named: the mammary gland. All mammalian species posses a gland that secretes or oozes milk for the repast of their young. In most cases the mammary gland becomes enlarged during lactation, and diminishes to almost unnoticeable when the milk is unneeded. However, amidst all 5,800 mammals, there is only one species that has perpetually swollen mammary glands. Odds are you are a member of this strangely anomalous, difficult to explain species.

At first glance the human breast defies explanation, but there are those who have spent careers and lifetimes in pursuit of explaining the relative enormity of the bust. Theories about the abundance abound. As of yet there is no consensus as to why the human female is so endowed, but staying abreast of the emerging ideas can make for titillating research.

Here's the rest

Power of the Situation

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bush sidesteps over 750 laws, cites "executive privilege"

My Democratic Congressman recently sent me this letter in reference to the impeachment of Bush/Cheney:

Dear Richard,

Thank you for allowing me to listen to your concerns regarding the possible impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. I understand your frustrations regarding their failed leadership, but impeachment is not the appropriate response to leaders with poor judgment.

While it may be true that President Bush and Vice President Cheney lied to the American people and took us to war based on lies and deceptions, our efforts should be directed in a more positive direction - building a better nation for all of us.

The path our nation was on prior to last November was morally unacceptable. Today, the Democratic majority is leading our country back to the basics. We are fiscally responsible and socially progressive.

Thank you once again sharing for your concerns with me. Let's work together, and we really will build a better future for everyone.


Steve Kagen, MD
Member of Congress

True, I voted for this guy, and, no, I don't think the other wiseacre would be doing a better job, but c'mon, "poor judgment"? Is it really only "poor judgment" that got us into an eternal, untenable War on Terror? "Poor judgment" is what my senile grandpa uses when merging onto the highway, what Bush/Cheney's exhibited is a blend of arrogance, ignorance and malice, resulting in profit for their corporate string-pullers - just look at the 20/80 division between the Iraqis' share of their country's oil revenue and American Transnationals' - and thousands of dead American boys and girls in order to bring this to fruition.

Domestically, Bush has been the first president to symbolically incinerate our most venerated contribution to the world stage, our constitution, and piss on its ashes. Robbing both the Congress and the Courts of their oversight powers, Bush has cried executive privilege more than any other commander-in-chief in history, elevating his position dangerously above the law. In fact, he's sidestepped over 750 laws during his tenure. And we're not talking small potatoes, we're talking a real disregard for important laws such as his aggressive resistance to the ban on torture and his liberal use of signing statements, which alter bills without the approval, or even notification, of Congress.

Clinton may have had a few black spots on his record, but that infamous white one wasn't one of them. If impeachment isn't a real option for Bush and/or Cheney this isn't a real democracy. Murtha has recently stated that there are four ways to persuade a president: 1) elections, 2) public opinion, 3) the power of the purse and 4) impeachment. Well, we've tried three out of the four which have lead to the Military Commissions Act, decriminalization of torture, a culture of fear, the Patriot Act, two disastrous wars, journalistic docility, Walter Reed, Hurricane Katrina and on and on and on. So, what has been displayed to the point of nausea, Dr. Kagen, hasn't simply been "poor judgment" as you so diplomatically phrase it, it's the most impeachable offense of them all - recklessness.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Human Mutation - The Gene that Makes us Human

Human GeneThe human and chimpanzee genomes vary by just 1.2 percent, yet there is a considerable difference in the mental and linguistic capabilities between the two species. A new study showed that a certain form of neuropsin, a protein that plays a role in learning and memory, is expressed only in the central nervous systems of humans and that it originated less than 5 million years ago. The study, which also demonstrated the molecular mechanism that creates this novel protein, will be published online in Human Mutation, the official journal of the Human Genome Variation Society.

Here's the rest

Why the May 15th "Gas Out" Will Not Work

gas prices

I've been receiving a lot more of those "stick it to the man on such-and-such date" bulletins. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

NO GAS...On May 15th 2007

In April 1997, there was a "gas out" conducted nationwide in
protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon

On May 15th 2007, all internet users are asked to not go to a gas station in
protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most

There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the internet
network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up.

If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take
$2,292,000,000.00 out of the oil company's
pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on
May 15th and let's try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry
for at least one day.

And here's why it's not going to work. For most of us, if we don't buy gas on May 15th we're not really eliminating the amount of gas we consume, we're just shifting it over by a day or two. The oil companies are going to get their money one way or the other. Let's say enough of us go through with the plan and cost Exxon Mobile several billions of dollars worth of profits for a single day. Exxon, Shell and the others have enough money in their bank accounts to cover themselves for that anomaly, and would in all likelihood raise their prices in the following days in order to compensate.

The real fix isn't so easy, but has been proven effective time and time again. It takes discipline and control. The price of petroleum, like all commodities, is governed by the fundamental tenets of economics: supply and demand. We must collectively agree to curtail our net usage of gasoline in the coming weeks and months which will cause demand to shrink conversely allowing supply to rise and the rates to naturally fall.

I know it's not what most people wish to hear, that an overall lifestyle change need be made, but it's the best weapon we have in our arsenal. Consider biking or public transportation. Do you really need to vacation this weekend or can you organize a car pool? If you apply your creative faculties you'll be surprised by how much gas you'll be able to conserve. All you have to do is think about all the money you're keeping out of the hands of people like this:


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Saturday, May 05, 2007

An afternoon with the Dalai Lama

the Dalai Lama in Madison "There are not many paths to God" a man bellowed, his voice a dirty baritone, "the Bible says you must know Jesus in order to go to heaven - know him as your personal savior." A bristly mustache kept his upper lip warm on that atypically cool May afternoon, and alongside his makeshift pulpit stood a sandwich board bluntly pronouncing that homosexuality was satanic, a declaration oddly out of place for the event. A child of about eleven or twelve tried to hand me a religious pamphlet while the forty-something man spat Bible verses. I looked into the eyes of the children as they offered their literature - blank, obedient faces providing an expressionless foil to their father's lively rant.

This was the scene outside the Dalai Lama lecture I attended yesterday. I never imagined His Holiness as a controversial speaker, hell, his talk was entitled "Compassion: The Source of Happiness" that's about as innocuous as chocolate chip cookies and puppies. And his temperament couldn't be at issue either. When the man entered the room his enthusiasm radiated all the way into the upper balcony where I was seated. At one point, as the introductory speaker read the Dalai Lama's list of achievements, this man who many Buddhists see as one of the most enlightened on the planet bent down to tie his shoes.

The self-deprecating Tibetan leader, even after forwarding the cause of his occupied people, gaining international notoriety and winning the Nobel Peace prize, still refers to himself as a simple Buddhist monk. This kind of humility is evident in every word he says. Soft spoken yet confident he exemplifies the middle path. His lecture didn't contradict this feature of his personality it portrayed it. Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian household I worshiped at plenty "big tent revival" weekends complete with the preplanned sermons and staged lighting cues for maximum impact, and the Lama simply cross-legged on an over-sized easy chair speaking casually to a crowd of several thousand outshone all of that affected pageantry.

At the end of his talk the Dalai Lama took questions from the audience. The first of the series asked his thoughts on how to best raise children in this age of terrorism and violence. He began by restating the day's topic, to show them an abundance of affection, but he soon stopped, restarted and joked that kids would probably be fun for a few hours however he wouldn't want to comment on child rearing as he doesn't have any children of his own. What honesty from a holy man. Why can't Catholic priests adopt that kind of frankness and resist the urge to counsel married couples?

For years the Dalai Lama has worked with neuroscientists studying the effects of meditation on the body. There has been many documented cases where Tibetan Buddhists, while in a meditative trance, have completely dried dripping wet garments with body heat.

And his close relationship with science doesn't stop there. The Dalai Lama has said in interviews and in print that whatever science disproves all thinking people should reject. This may be one of the complaints those fundamentalist preachers on the outside have with him. He accepts evolution, studied string theory and quantum mechanics and possesses considerable knowledge of relativity. The goal of the Lama is to bridge the gap between the two fields, not deepen the gulf, and in the end arrive at a better understanding of the true nature of reality.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

In all fairness

Fairness Doctrine

Rwanda: 1994. The President's helicopter had just been shot and long-curdling hatred between two warring ethnic groups detonated into genocide. Heavily armed Hutus raided Tutsi churches and neighborhoods indiscriminately slaughtering every man, woman and child they found. How was this level of organization achieved in such a short period, and how could a few unholy puppeteers provoke such an orgy of bloodshed? Answer: state-sponsored radio. In the years preceding the genocide, Hutus were told to listen to their radios for their news, the messages riding the airwaves were considered instructions direct from the President. During the mass slaughter, enraged Hutus tuned in to find out what areas required eradication and how to mobilize with others to achieve that end. At its conclusion approximately 500,000 Tutsis died in a supremely well-coordinated assault on a devalued segment of the population.

Rwanda wasn't an aberration. Nazi Germany used radio to brand fear of Jews into the disenchanted, and similar actions were taken in the Balkans. Here, in America, the "Fairness Doctrine" in broadcasting was nullified by a Reagan-appointed Chairman of the FCC. This opened a hole in radio which was immediately filled by a young, jabbering neo-con, Rush Limbaugh. From this first seed sprouted a healthy crop of imitators, all eager to shout their watchword louder than the others.

The "Fairness Doctrine" obliged broadcasters to present all perspectives of controversial issues. This way a journalist's editorial slant didn't disrupt the flow of information. The doctrine's abolition kicked the door open for the right and slammed it shut for the left. All journalists were remade into spokes models. No longer were there just journalists whose prime operative was a well-informed Democracy, their mission became the wholesale marketing of paranoia.

It is difficult to tell which sells better: sex or fear. But one thing is certain, fear is effective. Despite legislation in the Regan and George H.W. Bush administrations, the resurrection of the "Fairness Doctrine" was never realized, and the right consequentially established an empire of profit-centric infotainment. Until now the perpetual spin machine has been relatively unchallenged. The introduction of the "Media Ownership Reform Act" (H.R. 3302) has Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and others squirming. Perhaps these propagandists' days of repurposing old tricks are numbered.

Talk radio's denigration of liberals mirrors aspects of Rwandan hate radio. Both warn of an internal threat that thirsts for dominance. Throughout the genocide, the Hutus were convinced they were fighting a war of self defense. Conservatives have been made to feel victimized by the leftwing who they believe exists solely to undermine their values.

You may be saying - "Wait, at least our rightwing nutjobs aren't calling for the massacre of progressives." My response: Terrific. So, we're better than Rwanda. That is not what makes a great Democracy. The lifeblood of a Democratic society is information carried to the people through the media, however, people no longer trust these sources, and plenty of this erosion of trust in this apparatus is due to the adjournment of the "Fairness Doctrine". It's time to restore our faith in this public commodity.

Impeachment made easy

pelosiPelosi taking phone poll on Bush/Cheney Impeachment!!!!

"Call Now!!!!

No Joke!!!!!


A human will answer or a message

just say

'i wish to register my support for the impeachment of Bush Cheney'

they will say okay


Please call and please help slam them"

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bush seeks to expand spying privilege

Government Spying"Suddenly, Mr. Bush is in a hurry. He has submitted a bill that would enact enormous, and enormously dangerous, changes to the 1978 law on eavesdropping. It would undermine the fundamental constitutional principle — over which there can be no negotiation or compromise — that the government must seek an individual warrant before spying on an American or someone living here legally."

Here's the rest

Control Room

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers

It is deplorable how the distance and disguise of Cyber culture allows some people's inner reptiles to freely creep about. What is the solution here and where is the line between freedom of speech and protection for these victimized women? What is the source of misogyny, and how can it be reduced?

Online Stalking"A female freelance writer who blogged about the pornography industry was threatened with rape. A single mother who blogged about 'the daily ins and outs of being a mom' was threatened by a cyber-stalker who claimed that she beat her son and that he had her under surveillance. Kathy Sierra, who won a large following by blogging about designing software that makes people happy, became a target of anonymous online attacks that included photos of her with a noose around her neck and a muzzle over her mouth."

Here's the rest