January 24, 2011

GDAE Podcast - Episode 41

Episode 41 - January 24, 2011

Can Violence be Incited on a Society-wide Level?

Many of us think the shootings in Tucson, AZ were likely influenced by vitriolic speech. It's not too hard to imagine that out of three hundred million people in America one unstable individual might take the most extreme parts of the right wing noise machine literally, as in "Second Amendment alternative."

OK, so we see individuals acting out, including a bomb planted in Spokane, WA along the parade route of a recent Martin Luther King celebration. But, is that where it stops? We only gotta worry about a few nut cases? Maybe it doesn't stop there. Could the violent tendencies get to small groups of unstable, or unsavory, people? Could the violent tendencies infect mass portions of a society? We reflect on that question in Episode 41 of GDAE Podcast.
  • Effect of Hate Speech on Society: "We know that hate speech can incite violence in unstable individuals, but can hate speech infect entire segments of our society?" A GDAE Podcast retrospective.

  • Is the 1917 Espionage Act Constitutional? It depends on how you define the word "traitor."

  • Use of the Espionage Act against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald on why Assange is the wrong man.

Recent Series: Can the Populist Left & Right Unite to Challenge the Establishment and Regain Control of Our Republic?

The answer is "yes," as history has proven. Check out the 9-part GDAE Podcast series that explores how common people across the political spectrum can come to the aid of our democracy.

GDAE Podcast Episode 29
  • Motivation for reaching out to the conservatives, from a progressive perspective

GDAE Podcast Episode 30
  • The Power of Ordinary People

GDAE Podcast Episode 31
  • Left & Right Populists Working Together: to fix our flawed democracy
  • What is a "principled" conservative: Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine has some thoughts
  • Audit the Fed: Bernie Sanders leads the Left & Right to push for Senate Unanimous vote on Amendment to "audit the Fed."

GDAE Podcast Episode 32
  • Left & Right Populists: The American Populist movement of the 1800s with Jim Hightower (Bill Moyer's Journal).
  • Left & Right United: The Tenth Amendment with Michael Boldin (Mother Jones Magazine).

GDAE Podcast Episode 33
  • Principled and Unprincipled Conservatives: Will Bunch, Author of "The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama," on the Tea Party movement and the recent primary elections.
  • Principled and Unprincipled Liberals: Glenn Greenwald, former constitutional and civil rights litigator now writer and blogger.

GDAE Podcast Episode 34
  • Conversation with Vince Tola: Perspectives on the potential of principled people on the left and right to join forces and reassert the power of the people over our democratic institutions. Vince is a public school teacher and Maryland Green Party organizer.

GDAE Podcast Episode 35
  • Case-study from Electoral Politics: David Sirota on Tea-party-backed candidate for US Senate in Colorado, Ken Buck.
  • Shared Left/Right Populist Anger: CNN interview with David Sirota explains Bush & Obama failure on Financial Bailout.

GDAE Podcast Episode 36
  • Motivation for Reaching out to the Political Right on Issues of Common Concern: Preventing the Drift toward "Barbarism".
  • Right-Wing TV/Radio Incitement: The case of Byron Williams who attempted to murder eleven people in San Francisco after listening to Glenn Beck and others.
  • Walden Bello: A historical perspective on the Drift toward "Barbarism" and its relation to the Moviation to reach out to genuine conservatives.
  • 2006 Conservative Essay: "Now Is the Time for a Left-Right Alliance: A rebel alliance already exists that could stop Bush administration attacks on the Constitution."

GDAE Podcast Episode 37
  • History: Demagogues take advantage of bad economic times for political gains including the use of government to enrich themselves.
  • Three economists see three futures: Pretty Bad, Very Bad and Absolutely Catastrophic.
  • Call for unity among principled conservatives and progressives: Unite to counter-act dangers of demagogues during the coming hard times.




For Your Convenience:Sources:


January 8, 2011

We Could See it Coming

Remember? We could all see it coming... like an Iraq War or a financial bubble burst.

March 24, 2010, Huffington Post, "Sarah Palin's PAC Puts Gun Sights On Democrats She's Targeting In 2010":

Sarah Palin is targeting -- yes, with gun sights -- House Democrats facing tough reelection fights who voted for health care reform.

Palin's Facebook page now carries a map featuring 20 gun sights, one for each of the Democrats targeted this year by her political action committee SarahPAC.

March 26, 2010, Elizabeth Hasselbeck: Sarah Palin's Crosshairs Ad 'Despicable' (See Video)

After "View" co-host Joy Behar said the map, which features white and red gun sights drawn over districts whose Democratic representatives voted for health care, "looks like an al Qaeda Christmas card" Thursday, Hasselbeck -- who campaigned with Palin in 2008 -- spoke up in uncharacteristic agreement.

"This hasn't been a great week in terms of, I think, the Constitution and where it says that you're supposed to, you know, everybody is, has a mandate to have insurance. But I think the way some Republicans are handling this is nothing more than purely despicable," Hasselbeck said. "The names that are next to and being highlighted by those crosshairs -- I think it's an abuse of the Second Amendment. I also feel as though every single person on here is a mother, a father, a friend, a brother, a sister, and to take it to this level is -- it's disappointing to see this come from the Party, and I would hope that leaders like Sarah Palin would end this."
... and this beauty from Sarah Palin via Titter:

Don't retreat. Reload.

October 31, 2010, I commented in Episode 36 of GDAE Podcast:

[Seeking unity among principled populists on the left & right to buffer the violence coming from the right] was a reaction on my part to signs that our society is drifting toward "barbarism," and, frankly, it's coming from the right wing of the political spectrum. We saw examples of it in the extreme rhetoric at the Sarah Palin political rallies of 2008. We saw it in the violence-tinged Town Hall meeting disruptions during the Health Care debate. We see it in the fear-mongering TV campaign adds of Nevada's US Senate Sharon Angle that show dark-skinned immigrants and make sweeping claims about their violence and gang activity, which are a threat to "You" the white suburban family. We see it becoming ratcheted up in the rhetoric of right-wing radio and on Fox TV to the point of inciting violence.


January 6, 2011

Two Years of Bush Officials Looking Over their Shoulders

Before I get started I have to say that Obama's choice of Daley for his Chief of Staff is it. $#^!& Obama. He just shot himself in the foot.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Remember two years ago, when Obama was coming into office, we wondered if the new administration would hold Bush administration officials accountable for their crimes? Crimes like illegal wiretapping and surveillance, placing Republican Party operatives into US attorney positions in line for future federal judge positions, various instances of obstructing justice and misleading Congress, like intentionally under estimating the cost of the prescription drug law? Oh yea, starting a war of aggression on false pretext, again misleading Congress, renditions, torture. The only one we ever hear about these days is torture as if all the other supposedly 269 broken laws are just too petty to deal with.

All of the above citations are from the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Mother Jones. Karen Greenberg wrote an article called "The People vs. Dick Cheney," that raised the question and the options for "bringing the Bushies to account."

Just to look back a little, here are the ways Greenberg identified Bush could be brought to account:

  • A Rouge District Attorney: Based on a legal strategy by the famous prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, any county of the approximately 2,700 district attorneys, at any time in the future (multiply 2,700 by 10 as different individuals are cycled thru over the coming years) could prosecute Bush for the deaths of soldiers in the DA's county that died in Iraq.
  • Ticked-off Lawyers: Bush administration lawyers, John Yoo, David Addington, Alberto Gonzolez, Jay Bybee brought shame to the profession. Many in the legal community would like to re-establish the credibility of the profession. If they can't make criminal charges stick, they can seek to have Bush lawyers de-barred, and in the case of Jay Bybee, impeached from the federal judgeship he currently holds.
  • The United Nations: Secretary General Kofi Annan said, explicitly, the Iraq war was illegal. The UN could find crimes were committed, as it did in the case of US dirty war against Nicaragua (mining its harbors); however, enforcement of the findings lies with the UN Security Council. Still, it's a way of bringing out the facts.
  • International Criminal Court: Another long shot, but it is a potential forum.
  • The Garzon Factor: Spanish judge Baltizar Garzon went after Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, having him arrested in Britain. The same could occur some day to various Bush officials. We saw the gears of that process start turning on CIA agents involved in renditions and Guantanamo torture, only to be stopped under intense political pressure according to recently leaked State Department cables.

Many of these avenues don't require Obama to do anything except stay out of the way. A gutsy local DA, a determined foreign judge could start a legal process. Each simple, incremental step would stand on its own merits, leading to its own logical conclusion, taking on a life of its own. Bush officials know this, which is why they've hired lawyers, bought legal insurance, etcetera. They will live the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders.

January 2, 2011

FCC Complaint for FoxNews' Intimidating Threats

File a Complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stop Fox News' pattern of violent threats, which constitute clear intimidation. (The words "threat" and "intimidation" have special meaning to the FCC). We need to raise our voices.

On December 6, 2010, during the program "Follow the Money," the following statements were made in reference to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:

BOB BECKEL: We’ve got special ops forces. I mean, a dead man can’t leak stuff. This guy’s a traitor, a treasonous, and he has broken every law of the United States. The guy ought to be—and I’m not for the death penalty, so if I’m not for the death penalty, there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a [bleep].

The FCC complaint process is easy:

1. Go to the FCC: CLICK HERE (http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm)

2. Select Complaint Type (Broadcast (TV and Radio), Cable, Satellite)

3. Select Complaint Category (Unauthorized, unfair, ...) 4th button down. Includes "threatening and intimidating statements"

4. Fill out & submit the on-line complaint form. Key information:

Fox "Follow the Money" with Eric Bolling
December 6, 2010
9:00 pm Eastern Time

Here's the comment I provided:

During the FoxNews "Follow the Money" show participants made intimidating threats against an individual, Julian Assange, who is associated with WikiLeaks. The following is a partial transcript.

BOB BECKEL: We’ve got special ops forces. I mean, a dead man can’t leak stuff. This guy’s a traitor, a treasonous, and he has broken every law of the United States. The guy ought to be—and I’m not for the death penalty, so if I’m not for the death penalty, there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a [bleep].

This is one of a pattern of comments made by various personalities on FoxNews Corp. that constitute direct and indirect advocacy of violence, including assassination. These threatening remarks are a clear case of intimidation.


January 1, 2011

Who Rules in the World?

Reading the intro to Robert McChesney's "Communications Revolution"* today I was reminded of the following quote. It's from "The Revolt of the Masses" by Ortega y Gasset*, chapter 14 entitled, "Who Rules in the World?":

"It is necessary to distinguish between a process of aggression and a state of rule. Rule is the normal exercise of authority, and is always based on public opinion, today as a thousand years ago, amongst the English as amongst the bushmen. Never has anyone ruled on this earth by basing his rule essentially on any other thing than public opinion."

Not sure I buy much else written by Ortega y Gasset, but this resonated.

McChesney observes that the communications system is going through a transition that we can influence. In simple terms, the outcome of that transition will a media system that either "emphasizes democratic values" or "corporate profits." The default will be greater corporate domination, or "rule," over every facet of our lives and the future of our republic.

McChesney calls on us to seize "an unprecedented opportunity in the coming generation..."

... to create a communication system that will be a powerful imptus to a dramatically more egalitarian, humane, sustainable, and creative society, where justice and self-government are the order of the day.

He warns that

This window of opportunity -- what I call "a critical juncture" -- will not be open for long. We will be opposed by very powerful entrenched corporate and political interests. We will need all hands on deck to win the fight.

If we fail, the outcome of "who rules in the world" is predictable.


Communications Revolution: Critical Junctures and the Future of Media, Robert M. McChesney, the New Press, (2007).