The Fall of News Corp?
Posted in Media, National Issues August 13th, 2011 by admin

The commentary I’ve read suggests the answer to this question is most likely “no,” but the events unfolding in the U.K. resulting from the phone-tapping scandal has already resulted in numerous arrests, including that of former News Corp executive Rebekah Brooks, and the fall of one of Rupert Muroch’s largest U.K. newspapers, the News of the World. And as the effects of this scandal continue to be seen in the U.K., questions have begun to be asked here in the U.S. and the FBI has announced the opening of an investigation into allegations that News Corp may have also at least attempted to hack into the phones of victims of the September 11th attacks. All of this has resulted in a growing discussion about the effects of consolidated media, its power, and its influence on public debate, and on government, which suits me just fine.

Earlier this month, the London newspaper, The Guardian, reported the head of Britain’s Labour Party, Ed Miliband, has called for the dismantling of Murdoch’s media empire. (more…)

How Progressives Can Effect Change with Obama as President
Posted in Civil Rights, Economy, Environment, HI Politics, National Issues August 10th, 2011 by admin

Originally written for the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii blog on July 25, 2011

It has been suggested that the previous post should have been geared more along the lines of this topic. After thinking about, it, I decided that instead of rewriting it, I should simply write a follow-up post. For starters, I think it is important to say, again, and with no equivocation, that Obama isn’t progressive, even though there are those who believe he is, “in his heart of hearts.” Using this notion as a starting point for action is, in my opinion, a mistake and progressives will serve their causes much better if they first abandon it.

I’ll be referring to PDH for my examples, but the concepts will obviously apply to other organizations, as well as individuals. (more…)

Obama Is Not Progressive
Posted in 2012, Afghanistan, Economy, Elections, Health Care, Iraq, National Issues, Uncategorized, War August 7th, 2011 by admin

Originally written for the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii Blog, July 17, 2011

Thinking or hoping otherwise will not make this statement any less true. Barack Obama is not progressive. For my part, I never believed he was and one only need look at his time in office thus far for evidence.

Let’s start with health care, if only because the issue is at, or near, the top of my priority list. While it’s true there are some good things in the Affordable Health Care Act, like extending to 26 the age under which parents can choose to continue to cover their children, or eliminating the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage because of a preexisting condition, there’s no denying that when it’s all said and done, it is little more than a massive handout to health insurance companies.

While on the campaign trail, Obama said he’d prefer a single-payer-type system of health care if he had his choice, but when the debate on health care reform was in full swing in 2009, he denied making any such statement. And while there was some lip service from the White House paid to a “public option” to compete with private insurance, no such option was remotely considered seriously, despite polls which consistently showed a majority of Americans supported such an option. (more…)

Obama Supports Gay Marriage?
Posted in 2012, Civil Rights, Elections, HI Politics, National Issues, Same-Sex Marriage August 1st, 2011 by admin

Written for the Equality Hawaii blog on May 21, 2011

The other day I saw an article from On Top Magazine suggesting the President will support Gay Marriage.” After glancing at the article, I posted this on Facebook:

Good for him… Still, I find the timing a bit suspect (shortly after the launch of his reelection campaign) and while this is a promising development, people shouldn’t take him at his word during the campaign. Supporters of marriage need to CONTINUOUSLY PUSH Obama on this  issue. We’re definitely winning the fight and the tide is turning and this is reflected in Obama’s “evolution,” but we mustn’t rest on our laurels….

I’ve been thinking about this more and just went back to take a second look at the short article. Obama’s support isn’t explicit in the article. In fact, his position could easily be described as nondescript; (more…)

Stop Media Consolidation Now
Posted in Consolidation, HI Politics, Media, National Issues July 29th, 2011 by admin

Originally written for the Media Council Hawaii Blog, June 28, 2011

Though I imagine many people have moved on from the issue, even forgotten the problem exists, Media Council Hawaii continues to fight media consolidation here in Hawaii. We have, in partnership with the Institute for Public Representations at Georgetown Law, filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to halt the takeover of three television stations (KGMB, KHNL, KFVE) in our market, by Raycom Media of Alabama. We took this action because Raycom’s layoff of 68 people, combined and simulcast operations, and reduction in enterprise reporting, diminishes diversity of opinion, competition, and localism. The complaint is still alive and we continue to wait for a decision.

While we wait, the issue continues to get attention nation-wide. A report, Local TV & Shared Services Agreements: Examining News Content in Honolulu, from the University of Delaware lay out the damage caused by the media consolidation here in Hawaii. Also, a new campaign, Change the Channels – Expose Covert Media Consolidation, by Freepress uses Hawaii in its new video. Check it out:

The Death of Osama bin Laden
Posted in General Topics, Media, National Issues, War May 8th, 2011 by admin

It’s been a week, now, since I picked up my phone to see a message saying President Obama was going to be announcing that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had been killed.

My first reaction was one of disbelief, so I immediately reached for the remote and turned on MSNBC. While listening to the coverage as the nation, and the world, waited for Obama to address the nation, my disbelief changed to disgust as the news coverage was showing the breakout of spontaneous celebrations, chants of “USA,” and singing of the national anthem. I wondered if I was the only one who found the celebration of the death of another person as distasteful. Thankfully, I quickly found others expressing similar feelings on Facebook. (more…)

Who’s To Blame?
Posted in Economy, General Topics, National Issues February 22nd, 2010 by admin

I received an email a while back from my stepfather with an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune. The basic thrust of the piece was that the President, and public at large, were pointing the finger of blame for the financial meltdown in the wrong direction. Instead of pointing them at the banks and large financial firms, we should be directing the blame toward all those selfish, unaccountable individuals who bought homes with adjustable rate mortgages. Those stupid, self-interested bastards!

Just like it was the unions and workers who should be blamed for the ruin of General Motors and the other American car companies, not the companies themselves selling gas-guzzling cars no one wanted.

The opinion piece has a whining tone, it seems to me. Oh, those poor banks and financial giants are always being picked on. (more…)

From a Demoralized Activist, Part 2
Posted in Elections, General Topics, National Issues February 12th, 2010 by admin

Some time before the indefinite deferral of HB444 SD1, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a devastating ruling on corporate financing of campaigns. The ruling confers rights to corporations under the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

and 14th Amendment, Section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (more…)

Afghanistan: A ‘Just War?’
Posted in Afghanistan, General Topics, Iraq, National Issues, War December 15th, 2009 by admin

President Obama, in his address accepting his Nobel Peace Price, referred to the notion of ‘just war.’ Early in his remarks, he says:

The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when certain conditions were met: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence. Of course, we know that for most of history, this concept of “just war” was rarely observed. The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different G[-]d. Wars between armies gave way to wars between nations — total wars in which the distinction between combatant and civilian became blurred. And while it’s hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the Axis powers, World War II was a conflict in which the total number of civilians who died exceeded the number of soldiers who perished.

Here he refers to basic principles, a checklist of sorts, that helps define what constitutes a ‘just war.’ As a country in the midst of two wars, the President makes no apologies for either the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, only states that one of them is drawing to a close. If a war is illegal, it follows naturally that the war is also unjust. One might conclude from statements Obama made during his campaign, that he would agree the Iraq war was not only ill advised, but illegal, and therefore unjust. As our nation’s focus has slowly shifted, since Obama took office, from Iraq back to Afghanistan, his administration has done nothing to punish, or even investigate, those responsible for the illegal war in Iraq. (more…)

Congressional Hypocrisy
Posted in Civil Rights, National Issues October 10th, 2009 by admin

This week the U.S. Congress moved one step closer to expanding Hate Crimes Legislation to include protections against crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation.

There is no doubt that this is a huge step forward in the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation. What’s more,  President Obama again pledged to today to end the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in the military. This pledge, unfortunately comes without any specifics with regard to a timeline for such an end. (more…)

please sign my guest book