They’re Not Cleaning It Up, They’re Covering It Up

Kindra Arnesen is not the only one appalled at this sham of a clean-up effort and the corporate whitewash media-blackout over the level of sheer disaster currently ravaging America at the hands of BP and Transocean.

Arnesen does not even touch on the toxic and hazardous dispersant (Corexit) that does nothing but add a poison that makes the oil harder to clean-up (and videotape / photograph) into the mix of all the other health hazards and environmental hazards already in play.

ProPublica.org:

The two types of dispersants BP is spraying in the Gulf of Mexico are banned for use on oil spills in the U.K.

As EPA-approved products, BP has been using them in greater quantities than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills.

Reuters.com:

Oil-dispersing chemicals used to clean up the vast BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico carry their own environmental risks, making a toxic soup that could endanger marine creatures even as it keeps the slick from reaching the vulnerable coast, wildlife watchdogs say.

The use of dispersants could be a trade-off between potential short-term harm to offshore wildlife and possible long-term damage to coastal wildlife habitat if the oil slick were to reach land.

Repost: Fox “Not-a-news-agency” News is Banned From White House Porch

Obama on FOX-thumb-340x229(Chicago Tribune: Swamp Politics)

Is it a good idea to single out just one outlet in the manner that The Obama White House recently has in the case of removing Fox Broadcasting from the press pool?


At first, I was in favor of the move to ignore the Fox Broadcasting Company by Barack Obama.

His efforts to clear his name on the website “Fight The Smears” stem almost entirely from Fox. He has every right to defend himself from these smear-merchants and radical right-wing propagandist supporters.

The right-wing lobby called “Fox News” (as in the cable pseudo-news) and “Fox News Talk” (as in the radio pseudo-news) is still “not a news organization” in my opinion. But I think this label should include everyone from Comedy Central to HLN to CNN to MSNBC, everyone except PBS and C-SPAN.

It’s been televised tabloidism in place of televised journalism for far too long. In my view.

Any White House that would send a clear signal that The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Countdown, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Glenn Beck Show are all the same thing would be nothing but a benefit in this age of media hate & mass misinformation.

These programs are not news, they are purely entertainment television.

Each of these programs has an agenda, as does the network behind each.

There is nothing wrong with doing agenized news. But it is dishonest and unethical to claim objectivity if you are playing toward a specific political wing, or any specific agenda. This is the greatest offense of the so-called Fair & Balanced Fox Broadcasting. As a network they cater to right-wing political agendas and refuse to declare themselves as a format that promotes conservative ideology. In that case I see it as a function of false advertising on behalf of the network.

All these programs, it‘s important to point out, are television propaganda toward that agenda. Which might be only the agenda to make you laugh.

The broadcasting produced by this political lobby / news agency / entertainment format in only the viewing of it is not dangerous. It is taking these kinds of broadcasts as serious news formats that is problematic in a democratic society.

The informed viewing of propaganda is merely educational. However, to those who refuse to see the difference between opinions and facts the viewing of the propaganda of reckless liars, there is a dangerous situation produced.

Mine is a somewhat complex argument in regards to “The News Wars” between The Obama White House and Fox Broadcasting Company:

It is a good move that Obama is standing up to bad journalism mixed with bad business practices, but a bad move that he singled out Fox News alone when all the news agencies screw something up.

Fox News is just the biggest offender of the smears.

I believe radio and satellite should remain untouched by sweeping regulations, but televised broadcasting of race baiting and McCarthyism is just too much tabloidism for me to handle.

This sensationalist reporting on politics that has been going almost entirely due to Fox News is not exclusive to them, so I think it would be wise to pick out a few other agencies, perhaps CLEARCHANNEL and Comedy Central, to also declare as non-news formats.

It is clear to me when a news group is run by an agenda, thus becoming more like a political lobby than a news group, but it is not clear to everyone.

A President who stands for educating the public should seek to educate people on what exactly “bias” is, and hopefully shed some light on the issue.

The specific near-criminal acts of failure to disclose vital information of a story committed by Fox News should be spoken of plainly and openly if not handled more severely. This tactic of isolation is my only qualm with Obama’s approach to dealing with fake news.

If it is the desire of this White House to tackle the specific crimes against society that Fox has committed, then I would hope the case was made in specifics.

It is my personal view that a news group, of any sort, can lose it’s status as “press” if they fail to uphold the journalistic truth as a matter of course.

I believe Obama did not go far enough to fight unethical journalism and false reporting.

But I certainly agree with the point that Fox has become something other than a news agency when they promote bad journalism that is not related to their “opinion-makers.”

Senate Reconciliation Now!

The Republican obstructionism on the health care reform agenda is not “principled objections” as Senate minority leader Eric Cantor suggests. It is non-principled, pure nihilistic policy of poisoning the well and deception on behalf of conservatives.

The liberal majority that elected Democrats to office in 2008 has spoken.

The Public Option must survive in a final health care bill, and the process of reconciliation between House and Senate bills is the only avenue by which Democratic representatives can claim to have made any “meaningful reform” come reelection time.

Make it clear that this will not go away, and we the liberal progressives will not be silent.

This push did not come from the White House, or the Progressive Caucus, or from the desk of Sen. Harry Reid. This push for a strong public option through reconciliation came from the people who understand that health care is a moral issue, not merely a budgetary issue.

Both President Obama and Senator Reid remain open to the pursuit of Senate reconciliation, but I believe it important to state that this in itself is the “failure to sell health care reform to the American people” I spoke of before.

Instead, we will have to make perfectly clear that the public option must go forward and does not continue to be the “public optional.”

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Friday afternoon that he would work with other Democrats and the White House to pass a public option through reconciliation if that’s the legislative path the party chooses.

The party has spoken. The ball is their court now in congress, but we must not allow this to fade into the night.

Just as Paul Krugman recently closed an op-ed with, “Health Care Reform Now!” I would say the as he except in different words given the changing of the situation but holding the same meaning:

Senate Reconciliation Now!

Texas Joins In On The Science-Denial Trend

The state of Texas has jumped on the science-denial bandwagon currently gripping the right-wing. Texas has challenged the EPA findings that greenhouse gas emissions are classified as “dangerous,” claiming that the findings are based on flawed science. This is of course a false and absurd claim coming from the leading greenhouse gas emitter of the U.S.

Al Armendariz, the EPA’s regional director over Texas, said the agency is confident the finding will withstand any legal action. He also said the move isn’t surprising considering Texas’ pattern of opposition to the EPA.

“Texas, which contributes up to 35 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted by industrial sources in the United States, should be leading the way in this effort,” he said. “Instead, Texas officials are attempting to slow progress with unnecessary litigation.”

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said it’s the first legal challenge by a state, though industry groups have also challenged it.

Texas says the EPA’s research should be discounted because it was conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007 for its work on climate change but has since been embarrassed by errors and irregularities in its reports.

(Nobody ever successfully connected the so-called “Climategate” hacking incident, which I assume are the “errors & irregularities” mentioned, and the matter of the Greenhouse Gas Effect or the Climate Science findings as a whole in any way except political partisans with obvious Big Energy funding and absolutely no facts to back up the case they make.)

The guys and gals of The Great State of Denial, good ol’ Texas, seem to hold different standards of The Scientific Method and Comparative Analysis. Maybe those words are just too big for Texas.

I see this as just a symptom of a much larger problem breeding under the surface: the praise of ignorance over knowledge; the willful destruction of critical thinking.

The “debate” over climate change can be settled in moments by the most simple process of comparing the credibility of the sources and the amount of raw data on both ends. There is not a debate going on in the scientific community, there is a consensus with a few skeptic holdouts that have almost all published debunked papers at some point or another, but within the political community and the business community they would like very much for this issue to be up for debate. But it’s not, an overwhelming body of evidence exists in favor of Climate Science and skeptics fail to bring any new data (“Climategate” was the biggest joke on conservatives and their complete inability to rationally review data ever) so it’s simply “denial” and nothing more from these Big Money influenced talking heads. The Deniers and the Consensus; Texas just put itself on the side of the Deniers.

What lies under the surface here is the desire to squelch all rational discussion and replace it with bumper-sticker sound bytes. If anyone dares speak out against these ridiculous claims circulating and tries to use facts instead of rhetoric, then you can bet they will start up the personal attacks and just making even more broad claims about more unproven garbage. If you are even perceived as “smart” then you must be a “elitist liberal” who will only “lie to confuse you.” They are teaching people to hate intelligence and love stupidity in the once great state of Texas, all in the name of keeping their rich friends happy and scoring cheap political points while they are at it too.

Sane Society and Intellectual Honesty

Sometimes things I say confound people. They are talking to me via Facebook or chat room or email, and I say something like: “I think the term ‘intellectual honesty’ is a misnomer, just like the term ‘sane society.'”

I always manage to do these things where I make a complex statement, and it’s hard to jam the reasoning behind it into “140 characters,” so to speak.

This is why I love blogging.

I might lose just about all of you if I go on too long, but these URLs won’t go down so you can read my verbose verbage another time if you so desire. Like most who know a little about writing I know to kind of sum it all up in that last paragraph that everyone reads anyway.

Let’s start with “Intellectual Honesty” and why I call it a “misnomer”:

I am most certainly not saying that any person being intellectual is thereby being dishonest, by any means. The reason I believe the two words do not link is because the alternative is an impossibly. One cannot be dishonest in regards to your own personal reasoning and personal opinions, no matter if any facts collide with their intellectual position or not.

I can “intellectualize” any issue for you to the point that whatever provable facts and established evidence have far departed from whatever wide assertion I am making. You can find lots of examples of this on this very blog.

Whereas “honesty” relates to strict codes of precise reasoning that, as much as many desire them to, do not change at the whim of an individual. I believe the people screaming these false cries of “creeping socialism” are being “intellectually honest” with us, but they are still dishonest in their facts, in the labeling and on the raw record.

“Intellectual Honesty” is either one of two things: it is a given, where 100% of all people everywhere are “intellectually honest” so it is a redundant term; or it is a fallacy in that intellectualism may be in it’s nature honest but honesty is not by it’s nature intellectual. Either way I feel that this term doesn’t convey any kind of realistic view of the world, regardless of who is using the term.

Now on to “Sane Society”:

This term, to me, is a misnomer in complete and full. While one can glean and nit-pick through a society and raise up certain examples of sanity and good graces, there is a massive gap between that assessment and the picture of the whole.

I present to those believing that at a certain point we will attain a fully “Sane Society” here on planet Earth that to a certain degree establishments rely upon a certain amount of disorder. Utopian Society would be without need for “laws” or even “group morals” for all persons would never consider such acts that might disturb good public order and ethical treatment of others in first place. Other than for the sake of pomp and circumstance there would no need for “leaders” or anything but basic levels of “establishment” because all peoples everywhere would already understand and adhere to “Sane Society” principals. I believe a certain amount of chaos and disorder is inherent to the human condition itself, therefore while I enjoy musing over a “Sane Society” and the “Utopian Dream” I also view it as nothing but a muse in which to model a better world as opposed to the ultimate consequence of human progression.

What I am really talking about is the words we use and how we use them.

With the sharp increase in ad hominem attacks and red herring arguments in our lexicon, I can see how some might view these as less than important points. But I think these kind of issues are at the root of what is preventing good communication between opposing viewpoints in our society today. There is a strong need for a focus on critical thinking and making better arguments, and it starts with using language that makes real sense.

Cut It All Right In Two

Right in Two” from 10,000 Days by Tool

Angels on the sidelines,
Puzzled and amused,
Why did Father give these humans free will?
Now they’re all confused,

Don’t these talking moneys know that,
Eden has enough to go around?
Plenty in this holy garden, silly monkeys,
When there’s one you are bound to divide it,
Right in two,

Angels on the sidelines,
Baffled and confused,
Father blessed them all with reason,
And this what they choose,

Monkey killing monkey, killing monkey,
Over pieces of the ground,
Silly monkeys give them thumbs,
They forge a blade,
And when there’s one,
They’re bound to divide it,
Right in two,

Monkey killing monkey, killing monkey,
Over pieces of the ground,
Silly monkeys give them thumbs,
They make a club,
And beat their brother down,
How they survive so misguided is a mystery,

Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to life an eye to heaven conscious of his fleeting time here,

Cut it right all,
Right in two,

Fight over the clouds, over wind, over sky,
Fight over life, over blood, over prayer,
Over head and light,
Fight over love, over sun,
Over another, Fight…

Angels on the sideline again,
Benched along with patience and reason,
Angels on the sideline again,
Wondering when this tug of war will end,

Cut it right all,
Right in two,

Right in two…

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I cast the Judgment of Solomon upon my fellow Americans.

This swaddled child of fragile democracy passed down to us from generations of proud Americans shall be for neither the leftwing nor the rightwing — we shall divide it in half. For we cannot come to terms and no aggrieved party shall ever be satisfied henceforth.

Just as the internet already has become complete in its utter division and quartering-off into tightly bound untouching spheres; as shall the the Union be broken forever and the United States shattered to nothing but individual states so that if any union is to be formed it may be formed anew. The same sword that the slew the free web should also slay the entire United States for the electronic landscape is but a mere reflection of what we are as a modern people and as a modern society.

We as a people, as a political and deliberating body, do not communicate any longer and as such it is time to crush the false former preconception that there is such a structure in this world called “The United States of America” as such an entity does not currently exist.

There is but one fair solution: we part our ways from the notion of unity altogether.

People need not tolerate one another any longer, we shall cast our entire social structure into rigid fixtures that do not touch one another. People need not be confused by differing views any longer, we shall keep our intellectuals isolated unto themselves in tight-knit groups that do interact with each other let alone the outside world.

Freedom and liberty can be redefined, just as morality and justice have been in the present day.

We will survive, but first we have to lay down and die.

We will thrive, but first we must lay our head in the guillotine.

LiberalViewer Tackles “Citizens United v. FEC”

LiberalViewer of YouTube attempts to set the record straight on mischaracterizations of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.”

It appears based on watching this video that the ruling is greatly misunderstood by both sides and I myself am inspired to try and read the whole 180+ page Opinion of the Court.

I am in no way advocating the chilling of free speech by value of it simply coming from a corporation or union.

It is a falsehood to state that this ruling allows for “unlimited contributions to political candidates” and also a point that is not within the primary argument against this ruling, as it did not effect those existing limitations.

I believe, personally, that the argument made that this will benefit non-profit advocacy organizations over private sector special interests has some serious flaws in it, while it is not altogether untrue.

It’s true that some of the confusing regulations surrounding political advocacy have been discarded in this recent decision, but it is the structure and measure of what they have done that is so reprehensible.

Were it to be the case that a corporation had to declare their logo and “I Support This Ad” with the CEO standing there; then this decision would be far different in implications to our political process.

This logic that major multinational corporations will for some reason “not go there” with political issues is true to a certain extent but it precludes the simple truth that when seeing itself as threatened, as the insurance companies did the early days of the Health Care Debate, they will spend whatever they can as fast as they can to flood us with … media. Media like television ads.

How quickly we forget as a nation, as a people, that Sen. John Kerry was literally “slimed” out of his equal opportunity at the democratic process in a bid for president no less by what we now call “swing voting” but if you track this story out it was a bunch of frauds who demeaned their personal character in a outright smear campaign. One of them lives right here in Santa Cruz, California and just like the Bush administration itself they are taking no responsibility for this in public.

How easy it will be now for a nameless silent corporate partner to just bankroll a bunch of TV ads either pro or con for a candidate that had policies that just might ask them to give a little back after they take so much from the environment, for instance. If understand that McDonald’s is Pro-McCain, just as a random example, then many of my concerns go away. But as it stands the Sierra Club, the NRA and the example of the video clip Microsoft could all wildly flood a campaign with media while grassroots money and dedicated social advocates of any position would be overshadowed.

Also this argument that money doesn’t win elections is also partly false. Money is not enough, as the examples of Ross Perot and Mitt Romney illustrate, but the 2008 Campaign for the White House was in part decided on the dollars and cents. Of course you need the solid candidate, as the Democrats held with Obama, to seal the deal but my studies in Political Science completely disagree with the scoffing of this notion of looking at the financial impact and earnings to get the best picture.

As I stated before, I believe I may have to read this entire decision before I am totally satisfied I understand it fully.

For now, I am strongly standing with the words of President Obama in his State of the Union address calling this decision a means by which we will “open the floodgates” to foreign special interests and corporate lobbyist influence over the actual results of our elections themselves.

I feel both the SCOTUS and perhaps LiberalViewer as well have concerned themselves too much with entities that deserve very little concern or express protections of the court while neglecting to see the ramifications of said decision on the people that truly represent democracy at it’s core.

To put it plainly: this appears a “open door” policy in terms of slash-and-burn negative political ads at the end of a campaign cycle to force a candidate to lose based on hyperbole, as we have seen before in politics. Slime works, and I as I understand it the SCOTUS just ruled in favor of slime in our elections.

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UPDATE!

Russ Feingold at CounterPunch.org explains what Sam Donaldson was speaking about that I referred to as “inaccurate” in the above piece.

I was under the impression that he was saying that Soft Money limits are now gone under this ruling but in fact it he was speaking to the issue of spending directly out of the treasury without limit.

***Thanks to Paul J. Rourke for bringing this to my attention and providing the link.