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Archive for April 8th, 2009

Right off the bat, allow me to be perfectly clear: I don’t want Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or any of the other far-right talkers to be silenced or fired, that is unless their corporate bosses decide they ought to be silenced or fired. And if they are, I hope it’s for a funny reason — like Hannity getting caught on a surveillance camera peeing into the break room coffee pot, or Glenn Beck conspiring with Billy Bibbit to steal all of Charlie Cheswick’s cigarettes.

That said it’s becoming increasingly evident that the recent shooting sprees aren’t just isolated incidents, but are actually part of a dangerous trend. And regardless of whether or not there’s a direct connection with the usual cable news and talk radio suspects, broadcasters like Beck ought to take responsibility for some of their more incendiary remarks — remarks which appear to be ginning up the darker, uglier, fanatical tendencies in an already militaristic, jingoistic, reactionary audience.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. For example:

…in this day and age where we have a lot of fanatics out there, I find the whole concept unbelievably irresponsible. Did you not think that there are people that are going to see this and maybe take an idea like that and run with it? Did you think about that? […] You’ve got to — do you not have a responsibility to think of the impact, the impressions that could be made on people?

That was Sean Hannity on October 26, 2006 interviewing the director of the mock-documentary The Death of a President, a film that dramatized the potential aftermath of a successful assassination attempt against George W. Bush. Hannity was saying in no uncertain terms that merely discussing a violent act might encourage a viewer to do something crazy, and so the purveyor of such a discussion is being dangerously irresponsible.

Oddly enough, I agree with Hannity in theory, though not in terms of context. Hannity and others on the far-right seem to crap their cages only when it comes to works of make-believe. Video games, Teletubbies, Spongebob. Yet real-life cable news networks, according to Beck and others, should be allowed to broadcast whatever insanity happens to achieve the biggest ratings regardless of taste, standards, ethics or professional responsibility.

To wit: on the Monday edition of his FOX News show, Glenn Beck was outraged that anyone would look to his militaristic rants and crying jags — specifically his Obama-is-coming-for-our-guns hysteria — as a possible contributing factor in last weekend’s Pittsburgh shooting spree during which an ultra-far-right maniac murdered several police officers in cold blood because he feared his guns would be taken away by President Obama:

Blaming anyone except the nut job for what happened in Pittsburgh is crazy.

Okay, but here’s the problem. The Glenn Beck who said this on Monday is clearly at odds with the Glenn Beck of Spring 2008 who blamed the video game Grand Theft Auto for “training our kids to be killers” and “our sons to treat women like whores.”

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Did Paranoid Right-Wing Media Fuel the Pittsburgh Cop Killer’s Rage?

By Max Blumenthal, The Daily Beast. Posted April 8, 2009.

Richard Poplawski, the man who allegedly murdered three Pittsburgh cops, was clearly influenced by Fox News’s Glenn Beck and right-wing radio.

On April 6, two days after the 22-year-old Richard Poplawski allegedly murdered three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a radio host named Alex Jones settled in before a microphone in his studio in Austin, Texas to do some damage control. “The mainstream media has certainly enjoyed tying me into this story,” Jones complained. “They’re attacking me and saying I’m delusional and there’s no New World Order The Second Amendment, what the country’s founded on–it’s all my fault!”

Poplawski was a neo-Nazi wannabe who railed against blacks, Jews, “Zionists,” and gun control. And like many members of the far-right fringe, he allegedly visited Jones’ Web sites and posted alarming reports by Jones’ writers on the white supremacist message board, Stormfront. (Poplawski’s posts are here, authored under the handle, “Braced For Fate.”) While Alex Jones generally avoids overt racism, he has found an eager audience on Stormfront by conjuring dark visions of an impending New World Order, claiming FEMA is secretly building a national concentration camp network, and announcing that President Barack Obama has planned mass gun seizures on his way to establishing a leftist dictatorship. “Remember, the first step in establishing a dictatorship is to disarm the citizens,” warned a March 13 commentary on Jones’ website, Prison Planet.

In the wake of Poplawski’s alleged murder spree, the killer’s friends and family members painted a portrait of a paranoid young man whose worldview was informed almost totally by the kind of conspiratorial themes entertained by Jones. Poplawski’s best friend, Edward Perkovic, who also spouted white supremacist rhetoric, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that his friend “grew angry recently over fears Obama would outlaw guns.” Poplawski’s mother remarked to police investigators that her son targeted cops “because he believed that as a result of economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society.”

MORE HERE

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american-dream-house-with-white-picket-fence-793784originally, i thought that i would do a piece on monsanto and genetically modified seeds.  they are, imo, simply evil and lacking any sense of morals or ethics- they force farmers worldwide to use their seeds and buy only their seeds- and the seeds don’t work.  if you don’t go along with them, they basically destroy you.  but then i thought better of it.

because the problem is so very much bigger.  i have been giving some thought as to what american culture is; what the american way of life is; what the ‘american dream’ is- and i really don’t know that we have one that is real.  isn’t that what we all are grappling with- the fact and reality that ‘our way of life’ was one big credit card induced fantasy?  probably so.  but it’s easy to throw out the bad stuff and not as easy to really examine what being american really means.  we are proud- or we were proud- to be americans and i have a feeling that’s really all we know.  americans tend to be an incurious lot as a whole.

but i put a bit of time into my thoughts and opinions and came up with- we are a culture of ideas.  whether they be right ones or wrong ones- we have them.  it has always been our idea that we live in a free democracy and were able to work hard and do better than the previous generation.  our idea was that we were always the land of opportunity and betterment and that we were a safe haven for the world’s beleagured and mistreated.  we were the world’s champion of the underdogs.  of course, then we got fairly prosperous as a whole and stopped having ideas.  we decided to feel rather than think- be hedonistic rather than introspective- and we got lost.  chris rock puts it pretty much in perspective:

“The number one reason people hate America: the number one reason is because of our religion. Americans worship money, we worship money. Separate God from school, separate God from work, separate God from government, but on your money it says in God we trust. All my life I’ve been looking for God, and He’s right in my pocket. Americans worship money, and we all go to the same church, the church of ATM. Everywhere you look there’s a new branch popping up … remind you about how much money you got and how much money you don’t got. And if you got less than twenty dollars, the machine won’t even talk to you. The machine is like, “You better go see a teller.” You ever go to a teller and try to take out eight dollars and fifty cents? Oh, it’s disgusting … oh man, you gotta wait on that long ass line, people doing real transactions in front of you, you get on to the fucking front, you fill out your form, eight fifty. The fucking teller looks at it, she look at you, she looks at the check, she don’t even take the money out of the drawer, she take it out of her pocket, “Here you go, get outta here.” And here’s something, man. Drugs are illegal, but ATM machines are open twenty-four hours a day. Twenty-four hours a day. For who? Who the fuck is it open for? Have you ever taken out three hundred dollars at four o’clock in the morning for something positive? Shit, when you press that machine at four o’clock in the morning, I think a psychiatrist should pop up on the screen and go, “Come on, man, save your money, man. Don’t buy drugs, buy some rims. They spinning, nigga, they spinning, they spinning, nigga, they spinning.” Americans worship money. Shit, you know why banks are closed on Sunday? ‘Cause if they wasn’t, church would be empty.

i watched bill black on bill moyers and what he said struck me- he said that this whole issue we are having with the economy is- well:

BILL MOYERS: “Yeah, and this week in New York, at this conference, you described this as more than a financial crisis. You called it a moral crisis.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Yes.

BILL MOYERS: Why?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Because it is a fundamental lack of integrity. But also because, if you look back at crises, an economist who is also a presidential appointee, as a regulator in the Savings and Loan industry, right here in New York, Larry White, wrote a book about the Savings and Loan crisis. And he said, you know, one of the most interesting questions is why so few people engaged in fraud? Because objectively, you could have gotten away with it. But only about ten percent of the CEOs, engaged in fraud. So, 90 percent of them were restrained by ethics and integrity. So, far more than law or by F.B.I. agents, it’s our integrity that often prevents the greatest abuses. And what we had in this crisis, instead of the Savings and Loan, is the most elite institutions in America engaging or facilitating fraud. ”

and the enormity of that hit me.  our entire system is broken.  every day i read the news and i see corruption oozing out of every facet of our system- drug and food recalls; people dying from shoddy healthcare or no healthcare; bloated education system based solely on testing, etc., and people firmly plugged into that system- with little choice not to be.

i also watched amy goodman and glenn greenwald on bill moyers– the last great journalist, imo- and listening to them i felt the enormity of broken system.  the establishment exists to protect and perpetuate itself:

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, what I think is interesting is to look at what journalists, establishment journalists, who work in the largest corporations in the country, in the media division, say about what their role is. In order to understand how the reporting on Iraq was done. How it’s done on the financial crisis. Last month Howard Fineman, the “Newsweek” reporter, and MSNBC contributor, wrote an article in which a column, in which he said that the establishment is now worried that Barack Obama is not up to the job. And he made clear that he was speaking on behalf of the establishment, as a member of it. And he said that the establishment, to the extent it exists in America, is now comprised of three stools. The financiers on Wall Street, political elites in Washington, and media stars in the New York/Washington corridor. And there’s a “Newsweek” cover story by Evan Thomas, who’s a long time Washington insider reporter. And it’s concerning Paul Krugman’s status as a critic of Obama from the Left. And in this article Evan Thomas, I thought quite revealingly declared himself, as well, like Howard Fineman did, to be a member of the establishment persuasion, as he called it. And what he said was that, by definition, members of the establishment are devoted to preserving the existing order. The prevailing status quo. Keeping things the way they are.

the fact that the politicians and the bankers and the corporates and the media are all working together to perpetuate an unethical, immoral, greed and wealth driven system on the backs of decent people around the globe angers me like nothing else.  and i know that i am not the only one:

chris hedges- resist or become serfs

joe bageant- we have let corporations and the media rob our souls– let’s do something about it

washington post reporters call george will out for lying on climate crisis

this economic disaster did not happen overnight- it was a well planned, system wide looting of our monies into the pockets of the very people who are now pocketing our money again in the form of bailouts.  we got double dipped and that’s for sure.  probably triple and quadruple dipped.

make no mistake, there are many everyday americans who don’t believe as i do- that every human being deserves basic necessities of life- water, food, clothing, shelter, and imo, healthcare.  many folks right now are going about their lives with nary a thought of the suffering going on around the globe- and here in this country- brought on by ‘our way of life.’  but if and when the shit hits the fan for them- they will be the first ones in line for a handout- from neighbor, family, or government.  because we have lived the life of plenty for so long and lost skill sets to help us get through the bad times.

president obama ran on ‘hope and change’- those were the two themes throughout his campaign and i really believe he meant it.  i don’t know that that is what we need.  oh, the change definitely- but the hope is that we will stabilize and folks can go back to their old lives.  our way of life is gone forever.  the houses with the white picket fences and the dog and the 2 kids- well, it was a bit of 1950’s tv schtick.  the thoughts in my head are far too many for me to keep writing in the post- but it is food for thought.

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