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Everything Under the Sun by Justin Bass

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

FAH-Q Me!

March 6, 2012 Leave a comment

FAH-Q = For All to Hear & Question. ; )

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Advance to minute 2:20 of The New York Times’ “TimesCast” to see an example of an Ignorant Conservative/Ignorant Republican voter in Columbus, Ohio by the name of Isaac Shupe, who is susceptible to the rhetoric of campaign commercials and repeats those talking points in place of his own reasoning.

Today on TimesCast
The Times’s Jeff Zeleny previews Super Tuesday | The changed perspective of a Republican voter in Ohio.

http://video.nytimes.com/video/playlist/timescast/1247467375115/index.html?hp

Could The New York Times’ reporter and the editors of the video have taken Isaac Shupe’s words out of context? Yes! We do not know what Isaac Shupe said off camera, we only know what he said on camera. That is why it is necessary to keep questioning the sources of our information: campaign commercials, TV/Radio/Internet/Print News reports, your neighbor, me, everybody. For All to Hear & Question…that goes for everybody.

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Can you feel your soul? I can feel mine. Wishing people dead is not good for my soul. I can feel it. I still hold on to the hope that Fact & Evidence, Reason & Sense will win out over the people who lie, cheat and steal…and that We, the People, will V-O-T-E for the best ideas and the best solutions that benefit the majority of Americans. Maybe there is hope of changing the greedy, self-serving demagogues and sophists, like the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney?

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Rupert Murdoch…News of the World hacking cell phones and bribing police…Fox News…Harper Collins book publishers…20th Century Fox movies…Fox NFL…Fox Sports…The Soccer Channel…The Wall Street Journal…and much more!

July 16, 2011 Leave a comment

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/16/opinion/16nocera.html?hp

EXCERPT:

“The Journal Becomes Fox-ified

By
Op-Ed Columnist
Published: July 15, 2011

….The political articles grew more and more slanted toward the Republican party line. The [Wall Street] Journal sometimes took to using the word ‘Democrat’ as an adjective instead of a noun, a usage favored by the right wing. In her book, War at The Wall Street Journal, Sarah Ellison recounts how editors inserted the phrase ‘assault on business’ in an article about corporate taxes under President Obama. The Journal was turned into a propaganda vehicle for its owner’s conservative views. That’s half the definition of Fox-ification.”

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http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-0716-rutten-20110716,0,7517076.column

EXCERPTS:

“Rutten: America’s Murdoch problem

Op-Ed

It would be outrageous if the U.S. ignored allegations that an American company used our territory as a haven from which to subvert the laws and democratic processes of Britain.”

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/16/elisabeth-james-murdoch-family-crisis

EXCERPTS:

BEGINNING OF EXCERPT FROM THE UK GUARDIAN:

“Murdochs ‘in family fallout’ over crisis

Biographer claims Elisabeth Murdoch’s outburst was directed not just at Rebekah Brooks but also her brother James

….

A biographer of Murdoch, Michael Wolff, claimed that the tycoon’s daughter, Elisabeth, had said her brother James had “fucked the company”.

This week Murdoch denied she had said something similar about the ousted News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks. But Wolff wrote on Twitter that those reports were “incomplete”: “She said: ‘James and Rebekah fucked the company.’ ” Wolff said Elisabeth made the remark on Sunday at a book launch for the political analyst Philip Gould, hosted by her husband, Matthew Freud, and the editor of the Times, James Harding.

END OF EXCERPT FROM THE UK GUARDIAN.

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Read more:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/16/rupert-murdoch-news-corp-profits

http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/07/16/general-broadcasting-amp-entertainment-eu-britain-phone-hacking_8568880.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/fox-news-program-avoids-talk-of-murdochs-news-international-hacking-scandal/2011/07/15/gIQA1rV6FI_blog.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-18/news-corp-at-50-discount-shows-diminishing-murdoch-real-m-a.html

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/fdda8360-b097-11e0-a5a7-00144feab49a,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2Ffdda8360-b097-11e0-a5a7-00144feab49a.html&_i_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fhome%2Fuk

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-hoyt-newspapers-20110717,0,4409495.story

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304567604576451732627388162.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2011/07/17/british-police-arrest-former-murdoch-aide-rebekah-brooks-report/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jul/18/fox-news-rupert-murdoch-sunday-talk-shows

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/world/europe/19hacking.html?hp

Here’s what the Columbia Journalism Review reported in its April/ March 2010 issue:

http://www.cjr.org/cover_story/dumb_like_a_fox.php?page=5

Dumb Like a Fox

Fox News isn’t part of the GOP; it has simply (and shamelessly) mastered the confines of cable

By Terry McDermott

EXCERPTS:

But is it an arm of the GOP? Not unless you think Roger Ailes would actually work for Michael Steele. It is more likely the other way around. Steele, in some broader cultural sense, works for Ailes, who is without close contest the most powerful Republican in the country today. The national Republican Party has shrunk to a narrow base with no apparent agenda other than to oppose everything the Obama administration proposes. This extends even to opposing policies Republicans either created or once supported. In explaining these reversals, Republicans frequently say that their changes of position—for example, on deficit-reduction measures that they routinely dismissed when in the majority—owes mainly to changes in national circumstances. But the main circumstance that seems to have changed is their loss of formal power in Washington. This suits Fox perfectly, and gives heft to its self-definition as an insurgency….

Here are some more representative examples. They might seem chosen to make a point; they were not. They are admittedly impressionistic, but we think a fair sampling of what was on the air that day.

On the Senate compromise on health care reform:

MSNBC—Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon called it “a godsend.” Howard Dean said “the Senate bill really does advance the ball.”

CNN—Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, called it “the type of coverage that they [her constituents] deserve.”

Fox—Neil Cavuto posed this question to independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut: “Senator, they just didn’t put lipstick on a pig? It’s still a pig, right?” Lieberman was noncommittal on the porcine nature of the compromise, but assured he would vote against it. Hayes of The Weekly Standard said, “it is absolutely insane.” Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, “It is the lump of coal in our Christmas stocking.”

On climate change:

MSNBC—Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, addressing Sarah Palin’s claim that climate change is not necessarily the result of human activity: “Her bigger problem, if she wants to be a candidate, is that she’s on the wrong side of history. She’s on the wrong side of science. She’s on the wrong side of politics here.”

CNN—Kitty Pilgrim, CNN correspondent: “The United States is falling behind the rest of the world in what some see as the cleanest energy option available, nuclear power.”

Fox —Amy Kellogg, Fox correspondent: “. . . stolen e-mails suggest the manipulation of trends, deleting and destroying of data, and attempts to prevent the publication of opposing views on climate change . . . .”

We could go on, but the pattern would not change….

A close look at Fox’s operations seemed an obvious way to examine the claims and counter-claims. When I approached Fox to gain access to their studios and staff for a story about the nature of their news operations, I was told that if I wanted to do a piece on Fox, I should do a profile of Shepard Smith, their main news anchorman. I should be careful, they told me, to distinguish between Smith, a newsman, and their bevy of more notorious personalities—Bill O’Reilly, Neil Cavuto, Glenn Beck, and Greta Van Susteren*. They aren’t really news people, I was told; they are editorialists and ought to be analyzed as such. They are analogous, Fox suggested, to the editorial and op-ed opinion pages of newspapers, which ought not be confused with the straight news coverage.

The proposal to do a story on Smith was fair enough, but would not in any way address the central issue: Was Fox a political operation? I declined. A Smith profile would be a wonderful story for another time, I told Fox, but it wasn’t the story we felt relevant at the moment. That being the case, Fox “declined to participate” in my reporting, which is another way of saying I should go do something to myself and possibly the horse I rode in on, too.

I’ve been told worse, so I wasn’t offended, but this put the story in a bind. I had thought a reported story on how Fox assembles its daily programming would be useful. Doing a story on Fox without access and cooperation necessarily changes the nature of the story. So in lieu of talking to Fox, the main thing I did was let Fox talk to me. That is, I watched a lot of Fox News, and I must report the Fox spokeswoman was absolutely correct. Shepard Smith is an interesting guy. He is far and away the most charming personality on Fox. Not that this takes special effort. Generally speaking, Fox doesn’t do charm. O’Reilly, for all of his considerable talents, blew a fuse in his charm machine years ago, and it’s not clear Beck ever had one to blow. Let’s not even start on Sean Hannity and Cavuto.

Smith’s show—or, rather, shows; he hosts two of them every weekday—are absent much of Fox’s usual cant. They are odd in Smith’s own ironic, idiosyncratic way, but not so unusual that you couldn’t imagine them appearing on one of the other cable news networks. In sum, they seem a perfect rebuttal to Dunn’s critique….

There is no shortage of people eager to comment on Fox and the nature of its news. We thought it simpler and potentially more valuable to just watch its programs and see what they said. We decided to examine and compare the prime time cable news programming of a single day, and we picked December 10, a Thursday. The newscasts that day and the programming that surrounded them offer some clear testimony on the question: What is Fox News?

If you talked all day every day you’d say some pretty stupid stuff and, no surprise, the cable talkers are no exceptions. Much of what gets said, in fact, is just barely above gibberish. On his December 10 show, O’Reilly led with an attack on Dick Wolf, the creator of the Law & Order television franchise, for allowing a character on one of his shows to criticize O’Reilly by name. To buttress his rebuttal of Wolf, O’Reilly quotes—who better?—himself. Later in the show, he interviews fellow host Glenn Beck about President Obama’s Peace Prize, which Beck says was given as a sort of affirmative action award.

Beck: I used to believe in a meritocracy. I used to believe you would. . . .

O’Reilly: Earn things?

Beck: You would earn things. I have no problem with the president winning a Nobel Peace Prize.

O’Reilly: No, I agree he didn’t earn it, but so what? It’s Norway. You know? It’s Norway. You know what I’m talking about?

Beck: Well, now that you put it in that context.

O’Reilly: Right. And I love Norway.

Beck: You’re exactly right. Who doesn’t love Norway?

O’Reilly: I love the fjords.

Beck: Sure.

O’Reilly: I’ve been to Oslo.

Beck: I have never.

O’Reilly: Right. I believe I have some Viking blood in me.

Beck: Do you? I think you do.

O’Reilly: OK. So. . . .

Beck: I want him to wear the hat with the horns. Don’t you? Seriously.

O’Reilly: It’s Norway.

Beck: Send him the hat with the horns. He’ll wear it. But [singing] la la la la. [speaking] He’d do it.

O’Reilly: Easy, Mr. Fascination. Calm down.

There’s a loopy self-absorption to this that is peculiar to Fox and that derives from its origin narrative as the network for the unrepresented, for the outsiders. There is a strain of resentment, of put-upon-ness that pervades almost everything Fox puts on the air. Beck, in particular, was born to play this part….

On his own show that night, Beck spent fully two-thirds of his time in an agitated defense of himself against charges few would ever had heard of had he not spent so much time defending them.

No reasonable person would sincerely deny that Fox has a distinct bias favoring Republicans, and conservative Republicans especially. Even Fox used to admit as much. When he started the network, Ailes was straightforward in talking about his desire to redress what he saw as ideological bias in the mainstream media. He wanted to address the same “silent majority” his old boss Richard Nixon had sought to serve. This is nowhere more apparent than in the guests who appear on the network. On the day in question, other than short video clips of news conferences or other public appearances, Fox didn’t put a single Democrat on the air except as a foil for Republican or Fox commentators….

Although cable news is a comparatively small market, it is a small market with a much larger mindshare, mainly because the media are self-reflective, creating a kind of virtual echo chamber. It is also lucrative. Advertisers want exactly the sort of educated, higher-disposable-income audience news programming tends to attract.

Ailes has proven an extraordinarily acute businessman who has, according to an excellent piece by David Carr and Tim Arango in the January 9 New York Times, turned a fledging news operation that barely existed a decade ago into the runaway market leader in cable news and a profit engine that turns out more than $500 million annually for Rupert Murdoch’s global News Corporation.

Ailes’s most valuable insight was that sharp opinions do not necessarily chase an audience away. In fact, they seem to have created one. There is no worry of offending a broad audience, because there is no broad audience to start with anymore.

It’s worth noting that MSNBC languished in the cable news ratings competition until becoming more sharply opinionated, in that way becoming a left-leaning analog to Fox. It’s highly doubtful this change was due to political considerations. In other ways, though, MSNBC is not a Fox analog at all. Although its overall operation is sharply to the left of Fox, it offers a wider array of guests and doesn’t completely shut out Republicans. Matthews, for example, on the day in question conducted a friendly interview with two Tea Party Republican activists. The existence of Morning Joe, starring outspoken conservative Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC’s morning air offers further evidence.

Ailes, by his programming choices, sees no need to have a liberal counterpart to Scarborough on Fox. Why should he? He’s got the ratings, the money, and a political operation that is nearly pure in its adherence to contemporary populist Republicanism.

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FAH-Q Heritage Foundation

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment

* FAH-Q = For All to Hear & Question. ; )

For lagniappe, here is Thomas Jefferson’s sentence as originally written:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

I like the “all men are created equal” part. And the “pursuit of happiness.” That’s pretty cool, too. : )

Watch out for that conservative propaganda coming at you from all angles. These youtube videos…watch ’em and notice how the Heritage Foundation presents the quote “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” or how the on-screen time for oil companies looks like hardworking, middle class, family-owned small businesses, as though BP and Halliburton did not exist as oil companies. You can see in the other two videos that Ronald Reagan sure could act enough to deliver a good speech. Unfortunately, he left America with a staggering deficit that we only climbed out of thanks to the late 1990s tech boom under Clinton, which turned out to be an over-inflated bust thanks to Wall Street’s greed…even though Yahoo, Google, and other dot-com start-ups and successfully launched public companies from that era still survive and thrive. It’s called the Nasdaq. Look it up.

What really brought down the economy was Enron, Tyco and WorldCom collapsing in the early 2000s.

http://money.cnn.com/2002/07/19/news/worldcom_bankruptcy/

“July 22, 2002: 10:35 AM EDT
By Luisa Beltran, CNN/Money staff writer

WorldCom files largest bankruptcy ever

Nation’s No. 2 long-distance company in Chapter 11 — largest with $107 billion in assets.”

* “Largest bankruptcy” is relative. WorldCom was the “largest bankruptcy” before Lehman Brothers toppled over. Then Lehman Brothers’ title as biggest bankruptcy passed on to AIG, when the nation’s biggest insurance company crumbled. Somewhere during the Bush years, we also had the biggest bank failure in United States history when Washington Mutual disappeared from our consciousness.

Of course 9-11 happened right after Enron’s fraud was found out…the fear of the fog of war set in, until George W. Bush told us it was safe to go shopping at the mall again. Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff corrupted Congressional Republicans behind the scenes. We had rainbow-colored terror alerts, strip-tease conga lines at the airports (for which we had to wait in line for hours sometimes…oh yeah, hours), Afghanistan, the War on Terror, WMDs, WMDs, WMDs, Iraq, but we still had reality TV and, most of all, American Idol. Don’t you forget about the BIG FINISH! The Subprime-Mortgage Meltdown created by greedy banks, like Goldman Sachs, where Hank Paulson was CEO before becoming George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary, before administering the $700 Billion Bailout to the Wall Street banks, like Goldman Sachs.

If you think that’s a run-on sentence, check out this one. Dick Cheney, who served in the Nixon administration, was George H.W. Bush’s Defense Secretary, only to become Halliburton’s CEO, only to become George W. Bush’s Vice President, during which tenure he issued Billions of Dollars in No-Bid Contracts during the Iraq War to…Halliburton! That’s H-A-L-L-I-B-U-R-T-O-N…you know, the Defense Contracting Company where Dick Cheney made millions of dollars as the company’s top executive. Halliburton, the company that botched the cement job on the offshore oil rig that bled black sludge across the Gulf of Mexico beaches, from Texas to Florida.

The Egregious Corruption during the Republican Administration of George W. Bush stings like a physical beating one tries to deny from memory. And the Heritage Foundation propagandizes for limited government now? Uh, Heritage Foundation, where were you when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were in the White House? The Republicans of the 2000s just stole Trillions of Dollars from the American People without the Heritage Foundation making too much of a fuss.

* Yes, President Bill Clinton left Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in Surplus Money. In the first four years, the Bush administration put us Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in the Red (meaning losses of money) as a result of the Bush Tax Cuts alone. Then Bush & Cheney continued to throw Hundreds of  Billions of Dollars down a hole in Iraq: we spent over a Trillion Dollars in Iraq by the time Bush & Cheney left the White House in January 2009. But not before Bush tried to add an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage. Bush also tried to privatize our Social Security (meaning make our social safety net into stocks traded on Wall Street). He did manage to pass through the Republican-majority Congress a Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit without paying for it, though. Oh, yeah, Bush & Cheney also funded the Iraq War with “supplementals” or “off-the-book” accounting tricks. THE IRRESPONSIBILITY OF REPUBLICANS NOT PAYING AS THEY WENT ALONG CREATED THE MAJORITY OF OUR COUNTRY’S BUDGET DEFICIT TODAY.

Hello Heritage Foundation, I realize you as a self-serving, demagogic enterprise bent on duping the emotionally swayed groups of people in America who get teary-eyed at flag demonstrations and want to home-school their kids or want to pump as much oil from the ground as possible while receiving oil subsidies from the government without thinking too much about it, or who want to pay no taxes and receive no services from the federal government (except roads and bridges, and the postal service, and medicare and social security, and embassies abroad, and of course our military, and a lawyer if perhaps one can not afford one, and cops, and firemen, and teachers, and schools…ok, so government isn’t all bad as long as they don’t upset the memory of Ronald Reagan, the B-movie actor turned speech-giver and President of the United States, who sold weapons illegally to Iran in order to give money illegally to revolutionary soldiers in Nicaragua while leaving this country with a huge hole in our budget due to tax cuts and increased defense spending, as well).

“[The Iran-Contra Affair] was a covert operation taken at my behest.” – President Ronald Reagan, minute 10:50

“I only recall learning that there had been at some point a shipment of hawk missiles by Israel to Iran.” – President Ronald Reagan, minute 00:58

O.S.T.R….Enjoy!

October 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Politics Schmolitics

October 16, 2010 Leave a comment

One Love

Arrgghh, what is left? What is right? What is wrong? What is a “conservative”? What is a “liberal”? What is a blah, blah, blah…

Just do me a favor and listen to the next time you hear the word “conservative.” Who said it? About whom? What does it mean/ imply about the situation and the person? And most importantly, after that word what topics of discussion ensue?

Consider it a scientific experiment: form a hypothesis, conduct a test, report your conclusions.

Whatever you do, please vote NO on Proposition 23. My job depends on it, literally.

Here’s to the Indian Summer in LA 2010

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment