Environment Media

liberal media?

while flipping channels this evening, looking for something worth watching (i found nothing), i came across the glenn beck show on cnn headline news. i enjoy the news, so i watched for a minute or two. what i heard was quite disturbing.

mr. beck (ass) was interviewing someone about global warming and the report that ipcc has (will be?) publishing. like i said, i only watched for a minute and caught the end of the interview, but the gist of it was that the ipcc report could not be considered accurate given the manner in which it was produced. the guest suggested that the ipcc directed the authors with regard to the contents of the report. his evidence for this is that the summary was released before the final version. i didn’t hear the whole interview and don’t know enough about the ipcc or its process to comment, in the short time i was tuned in i got the very clear impression that the implication was the report was ‘doctored’ to present results that support the notion of global warming, which it seemed the guess believed to be at best inconclusive, at worst a hoax.

as the glenn beck show led out to a commercial, mr. beck (ass) previewed the next section by saying something along the lines of ‘innovation, not regulation is the solution to the environmental question.’ something like that. i’d like to talk to the conservative jackass that says this is ‘liberal media bias.’ in the three minutes that i watched (which i admit isn’t very long) i didn’t hear one shred of discussion or commentary that led me to think anything other than i already do; the major news media, whether it be fox, cnn, or msnbc, is nothing more than the mouth piece for big business. i don’t say the administration, because the bush administration (as well as congress) is little more than a mechanism functioning for the benefit of big business.

liberal media bias? please! if either mr. beck (ass) or his guest has suggested raising cafe standards, placing higher carbon regulations on manufacturers, or replacing the spr with renewable fuels (like biodiesel), maybe they could be called liberal. that didn’t happen and i don’t expect any major media outlet to do so anytime soon. in the meantime, we’ll continue to be told that things aren’t that bad, or that all the evidence isn’t in yet, or that we can continue to live the way we do. that’s the role of major media. does that sound liberal to you?


Finally!! (and what the hell?)

The word is out.  Yesterday Dennis Kucinich filed Articles of Impeachment against vice president Dick Cheney.  This is a fantastic first step and could be a great lesson for this administration about the constitution (I’m not sure they’ve ever read it).  When I saw the headline, I nearly jumped out of my seat in excitement.  Then I read the rest of the article.  It seems Mr. Kucinich doesn’t plan on putting a whole lot of effort into really getting the ball rolling on this.  What’s more, the speaker of the house, mousy Nancy Pelosi doesn’t mince words when she says keeping (and gaining more) democrats in power is more important than any impeachment proceedings.

Its true that I probably don’t understand the political nuances that are necessary to function in DC, but Pelosi comes right out and says that politics is more important that doing what’s right.  There’s more at stake here than getting the president and vice president out of office.  Impeachment proceedings would send a clear message, to both republican and democratic future presidents that the people will not tolerate the discarding of the constitution for power or political gain.  What this says to me is the democrats don’t like bush and what he does, but they wouldn’t mind it nearly as much if bush were a democrat.

Maybe I’ve become cynical about out government, but it seems to me neither party is really interested in anything other than getting and keeping power.  Of course, there are members of each party that don’t fit that mold, but as entities both parties are completely corrupt.

I applaud representative Kucinich for taking this bold step forward, even if he doesn’t plan to take another.  His actions will add fuel to the fire among liberals and add force to the conversation that’s going on nationwide with regard to impeachment.  And I hope more democrats in the house will wake up and choose to do what’s right, instead of choosing the path of least resistance to keeping their jobs and growing the democratic majority in congress.

What good will a democratic president be if he (or she) continues to ignore the constitution?


Impeachment: A Popular Movement

Impeachment has been on the minds of Progressives since before the 2006 midterm elections, when the Democrats regained control of both the Senate and House. This power shift gave Bush supporters pause and gave Democrats new hope for their party that had seemed to be floundering for so many years. For Progressives, it inflated their hopes for Impeachment of both the President and Vice President. Those hopes were immediately dashed when the new Speaker of the House proclaimed a new era of bipartisanship and cooperation with the new Republican minority.

I’ll admit that I was thrilled by the prospect of a new Democratic majority in Congress, though I was skeptical that they would do much real, substantive good. I doubted little would change. It is still early in this legislative session, but I’ve already seen signs that little will improve in the next two years; even with majority control of Congress, it seems Democrats have yet to relocate the spines they lost oh so many years ago. So it seems there is no reason to hope the Impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney will begin in the halls of Congress.

Instead, we, the people, must take it upon ourselves to force the issue upon our elected representatives who refuse to follow our will.

In this month’s issue of The Progressive magazine, there is an article by Howard Zinn which deals specifically with the issue of Impeachment. Howard Zinn, just in case you’re unaware, is the author of one of the best books I’ve ever read (though it admittedly took me months), The People’s History of the United States. Professor Zinn is a Progressive through and through and while I’m not surprised by his position, I was surprised to see his name attached to a magazine article: Impeachment by the People.

Right off the bat, Zinn holds no punches:

The realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos….

But if sanity is to be restored in our national policies, it can only come about by a great popular upheaval, pushing both Republicans and Democrats into compliance with the national will.

It has become plain, or so it seems to me, that these Democrats who control Congress cannot be counted on to do what is right, and instead we’re told we should be realistic and we’re lectured on what is politically possible. In this Zinn is right. The Impeachment movement must begin with us:

The Declaration of Independence, revered as a document but ignored as a guide to action, needs to be read from pulpits and podiums, on street corners and community radio stations throughout the nation. Its words, forgotten for over two centuries, need to become a call to action for the first time since it was read aloud to crowds in the early excited days of the American Revolution: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and institute new government.”

So the next logical step, according to Zinn, is “the convening of ‘people’s impeachment hearings’.” Now, he falls a bit short, in my opinion, of describing these “hearings,” but does equate them to the meetings which prefaced the American Revolution against the British Crown. In this way, as is his apparent style, he places the work and responsibility of setting things right with the people.

In the months since the election, I’ve had countless conversations with friends and family regarding this issue of impeachment. While everyone I’ve talked to believes he should indeed be impeached, they’ve all accepted this idea that there are better things our Congress can be doing for us: increasing the minimum wage, fixing health care, improving prescription benefits, the list goes on. I certainly don’t disagree that all these things are important, I do believe that no real positive steps will be made while these to (excuse me) bastards are allowed to remain in office.

What about the rule of law? What about doing what’s right? What about taking steps to correct some of the wrongs this administration has committed against us and against the world? It seems to me blatantly obvious that this administration enjoys flying in the face of public opinion. Have Bush and Cheney taken up as a hobby violating US and international law? While this may seem like an absurd question, it certainly appears that these two absolutely believe they are above the law; they make the law.

The popular movement has indeed begun, but I fear it isn’t moving forward fast enough. Of course, I am counting the days until they are voted out of office, but I would so much rather kick them out and send them to jail. If they are allowed to leave with no repercussions, no punishment, I think it will send a sad signal to the rest of the world and send a message to future administrations that the people of this nation have lost any and all will to defend the ideals and laws that could make this country great.

Iraq War

Clarification on Iraq

I’ve been talking to one of my very best friends about the war in Iraq and what the correct course of action should be. For some time I’ve believed that we should leave. Immediately. We shouldn’t be there in the first place and the result of our illegal coup has been increased violence in the region, complete loss stability, an upsurge of sectarian violence, a financial boon for US corporations, the needless deaths of thousands of US military and civilian personnel, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Of course we shouldn’t be there. We shouldn’t have gone in the first place and this president (and vice-president) must absolutely be held accountable for these deaths and the blatant violation of US and international law.Having said all this, the question has crept into my brain; is an immediate withdrawal of our troops the best course of action? Would the region stabilize upon our departure, or would things continue to spiral out of control? While few would argue that Saddam was a horrible dictator, with all that’s happening now, is Iraq really better off? Iraqis are potentially in more danger now, than they were four or five years ago and the country’s infrastructure is in ruins. It appears the only people to have benefited from this war are the US corporations that supply the military with its weapons and those who won no-bid contracts of the reconstruction (which is months, if not years behind schedule).

So, what is the upside to leaving? What’s the positive? What’s the moral argument? I mean, shouldn’t we stay and make every effort to clean up this horrible mess we’ve made? Instead of sending the 21,500 more troops as a temporary stop gap measure (which military experts don’t even think will make a difference), why not sent the roughly 150,000 it has been suggested it will really take to put an end to the violence? Why not cancel the contracts with those companies that have not done the necessary work and instead have corporations from around the world BID on new contracts?

Should we really leave? Should we really quit before the job we set out to do is finished? Do we not have some responsibility, some moral obligation to finish what we started and do right by the Iraqi people?

My position hasn’t changed and I still think we should leave; we are there illegally and I honestly can’t trust this administration to do anything right. At the same time, I have some doubt and feel there may be some moral justification in staying to clean up this horrible mistake of ours.

General Topics War

post-election overhaul

so, in case you haven’t noticed, i have done a less than stellar job with this site this far.  i admit to being busy with the mid-term election activity here in hawaii and haven’t given this site the attention i think it deserves.  and now i’m acknowledging that fact.

as such, i’m going to give proper notice that the people’s dialectic will undergo an overhaul to improve the look of the site, as well as its content.  please be patient… and in the meantime, please check out regardingfrost and the pdh-blog.


General Topics War

Changing the World….

Here in America, the media bombards the public with all sorts of entertainment, advertisements, and information. If I were to ask someone to describe what they consider to be news, I would suspect a natural response to be “current events” or “world events” or “local events.” Some might include sports and weather in defining ‘news’, but would anyone offer as their first response, “celebrity adoptions, marriages, diets of the stars, or celebrity culture”? I suppose it’s possible, but I certainly don’t know anyone who would.

Yet, occasionally when I sit and watch the news, whether it is CNN or the local ten o’clock news, they all seem to have a greater proportion of their broadcast dedicated to entertainment news than to world news. That’s right. According to the news, the lives of celebrities have reached the same level of importance as world events.

I am often awestruck, while standing in line at supermarkets, by the sheer number of pop magazines: Star, People… I don’t even know the names of the rest. Amongst all those pop magazines and tabloids I rarely see more than one or two news magazines: no Time, no Newsweek, no The Economist or others of the genre. How is it possible that more people in this country vote for the next big star on American Idol than for the President of the United States? How have we come to care so little about all the things that happen to the people in this world, both good and bad? How have we, as a society, become so uninterested in our own lives and our world? Entertainment news and sensationalism has captured the hearts, minds and ever-deteriorating attention span of the American public.

Well, actually, the answer to these questions is simple, though understandably hard to swallow. We have been trained to care more about Tom Cruise and Britney Spears than about populations devastated by hunger and war. We have been conditioned to be more interested in reality television and celebrity gossip than about our own lives and the future of our children. News has been condensed into small, quick, and ready to swallow sounds bites. We have come to trust CNN to define what is important. If it’s not covered by CNN, it can’t possibly be of much consequence.

Our current government, with the help of the news networks and media conglomerates in this country, has become skilled at keeping us both frightened and distracted. Threats to our safety and our freedom abound, so they tell us just before giving us the skinny on the newest celebrity gossip or exciting us with a preview of the hottest new blockbuster. Important topics like homelessness or our children’s education have been relegated to sound bites or the news ticker.

Walter Lippman, who was an adviser to President Woodrow Wilson, called this kind of distraction and filtering of information “manufacturing consent”. Lippman believed democracies, such as ours, should be led by a specialized class which was capable of processing and understanding the complex world while the large majority of the population, “the bewildered herd,” needed to be kept frightened and distracted so as to keep them passive. Failing at this task meant members of the herd may start to think for themselves. It happened during the 1930s and again during the 1960s and the specialized class called this uprising of the herd a “crisis of democracy”.

Sadly, we have again been lulled into complacency and lost the ability to think rationally for ourselves. It seems to me, though, there is a solution. There is a way forward. Certainly, one can look at the world around us and feel discouraged. Certainly, one can say to themselves, “I’m just one person, what can I do?” These are honest and relevant feelings, but we need not let them dictate our actions—or encourage our complacency. As much as our society has the seemingly endless capacity for war and violence, it also has an equal capacity for understanding and compassion. We need only decide to make an effort.

The best and easiest way to start is by questioning the world with which we are presented. One must not automatically accept as fact that which is presented on the news or in the paper. One must question. One must investigate. One must look for different perspectives; study both sides and alternative versions of what is presented as truth. CNN and FOX News do not have a monopoly on fact and truth. To some extent, we all have an instinct for truth, even if it’s a tool most have allowed to grow frail. I am no exception. I have only this year started exercising my skepticism.

If our leaders tell us we have a new enemy that hates us and wants to destroy our way of life, don’t readily believe the propaganda. Question their story and their motives. If our leaders tell us they have a plan to improve the education system or the economy, insist on learning the details. Question the plan and who might benefit. Treat their statements with skepticism and look for deviating commentary and dissenting opinions.

The next thing to do will, admittedly, take a bit more determination and will power; turn off the television. Redirect your interest away from celebrity culture. Ignore the sitcoms and reality shows. Some will argue these shows are entertaining and they are right. These shows are meant for nothing more than to entertain and distract you from the world and the reality that is taking place whether you choose to pay attention, or not.

This is not an easy pattern to change. We’ve been trained. Television is a nasty habit and America is hooked. I am no exception. I watch far less television than I once did and when I do watch I do it with more skepticism. I am repeatedly stunned by the way in which the media entertains us and by the merchandise corporations try to sell us. Some are really cool, but do I need any of them?

It is important to start a dialog. It is important to attempt to wake people up to their lives and the lives of those around them and across the globe. That is the first step toward improving the lives of people all around the world. Change isn’t easy and often isn’t accomplished without a fight. It is the bewildered herd to begin thinking, questioning, organizing, and halting the manufacture of consent.

General Topics War

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