Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What if CEOs were the ones getting laid off?


Requiem for the Antiwar Movement

By Cindy Sheehan

"When you vote for war, don't be surprised when you get it." Cindy Sheehan


"I will send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan." Presidential Candidate Barack Obama


"This war (Iraq) prevents us from tackling every serious threat that we face, from a resurgent al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to a hostile Iranian regime intent on possessing nuclear weapons." Candidate Barack Obama


"And if we have actionable intelligence about high-level al-Qaeda targets (in Pakistan), we must act if Pakistan will or cannot." Candidate Barack Obama

This article and these observations are going to piss some people off—but oh well. You will be angry with me, even though I am not the one who is ordering more war, paying for more war, torturing people and imprisoning them without due process, destroying the economy and the environment, blah, blah, blah. I have developed an incredibly thick skin and if I rankle, it's because I think time is running out to halt the disastrous trajectory this planet (via the US Military Corporate Complex) is on. I promise that I am not writing this because I am holding protests and no one is coming—these thoughts have been percolating in me for months now. (Note: Remember that old saying: "What if they gave a war and nobody came?" Well, here in DC I am living the opposite: "What if they gave an antiwar protest and nobody came?")


My grandbabies and other people's grandbabies WILL NOT live in a world where war for profit is so normal that state-sanctioned violence is rarely even questioned—and if it is, then the person questioning is the "looney tunes," the "mama moonbat," the "radical." That is one seriously messed-up world. You know it is and we are the only ones who have the key to unmessing it.


Last week, the Democratically controlled House of Representatives voted to give Barack Obama 33 billion more dollars to prosecute two idiotic and ill-advised wars. Of course they did—it wasn't the first time since 2007 that a Democratic Congress voted to fund wars, and it won't be the last—do you all know why? BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS DON'T WANT PEACE—THEY ARE JUST ONE-HALF OF THE "WAR PARTY."


Why else did the Democrats vote for more war, more death and more destruction? If you are a Democrat and voted for one of these scum—did you vote for them hoping that you would get more war? Did you vote for Obama hoping that he would dig this country into a deeper hole, and do you still believe that fucking things up even more is the way to solve problems?


Do you all know what else? The wars that were begun in the Bush presidency and fully funded and increased during the Obama regime belong to everyone who voted for Obama, too. If you listened to what Obama said, and not just how he said it, then you would have heard him promise you that he was going to SEND MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN. You would have heard him say that nothing was "off the table" for dealing with Iran.


During the campaign, many colleagues and friends of mine, assured me that Obama was just saying this hostile crap to "get elected" and once he was elected that he would "do the right thing." Well, first of all, why support such a pandering Jackwagon, and secondly, how has that ever worked? Three days after Obama swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, he drone-bombed a "target" in Pakistan killing 3 dozen civilians—and since that day he has elevated the art of drone bombings to new heights, while the so-called antiwar movement looks on in silent complacency and while Democratic operatives disguised as antiwar groups are hoping against hope that Obama comes out strong with a new antiwar marketing campaign to assure his "re-election." Even though not one progressive issue has been propagated during his term, these war supporters are looking forward to another four years of the dance of death. Right foot kill—left foot torture—spin around for environmental devastation—allemande left for health care fascism—and shimmy right for bankster bailouts. Wasn't eight years of this crap during the Bush stain enough for y'all?


Many antiwar groups and people who claim they are for peace lose their minds during election season thinking that the razor-thin difference between the Democrat and Republican is enough to go ape-shit crazy in working for the Democrat. Just take the last two Democratic candidates, for example. Kerry and Obama both supported more war. An "antiwar" movement de-legitimizes itself when it works hard for a candidate who does not promise total and rapid withdrawal of troops from wherever they happen to be at the time AND does not promise to end war as an imperial tool of corporate conquest.


The majority of the so-called antiwar movement, in fact, voted for a candidate that PROMISED to contract one war only to be able to profoundly EXPAND another. Obama all along said that he is not against all war, just "dumb wars." If there existed an antiwar movement that had integrity—it would have said that "all wars are dumb," and we withhold our support for just another dyed-in-the-wool warmonger.


What do we do now that we have another two and a half years of a hawk who thinks it is just hunky-dory that his supporters are under the delusion that he is a dove—he was awarded the war-establishment's highest prize wasn't he? He is, after all, a Nobel Laureate.


First of all, voting just doesn't cut it. Realistically, our choices are between War Party Candidate A and War Party Candidate B. A true peace candidate is marginalized, metaphorically spat upon, and reviled. This is not a nation that honors peace and non-violence. From the top down, we are a violent nation—so from the bottom up, we have to restructure society. Liberate yourself and remove your Obama bumper sticker that has a peace sign instead of the "O." If you are antiwar, you know in your heart that he is not a peace monger.


Secondly, our resources and energy are stretched thin. We live in a credit based economy where good jobs are scarce. Many people, who have the same values, in this almost value-free society, constantly tell me that they would be with me if they could afford it.


Since my son was killed, which was as violent of a paradigm shift as anyone should have to endure, I have whittled my life down to a bare minimum. I have no car. I have no pets. I have no plants. I have no credit cards. My income is based on my donations from my itinerant peace travels and book sales. I have moved eight times since Casey died and now I can move with one small u-haul. I have a cell phone and computer, a bed, clothes, a few dishes, a few valued books and peace paraphernalia and pictures of my children and grandbabies.


As HD Thoreau said: "You don't own your possessions, they own you." This consumer orgiastic society makes us literal slaves to a system that is detrimental to our health. Freeing oneself from those chains frees one to be a full-time, or near full-time activist. "Simplify, simplify, simplify."


Massive antiwar protest in this country is dead. We may as well acknowledge that and just bury the corpse, mourn, and then figure out a better way of doing things.


In the Christian tradition, death was only a prelude to new and better life and farmers well tell you that a seed has to die before a health-nourishing plant can be born and then there's the ever ubiquitous example of the ugly, hairy, and yucky caterpillar being reborn as a magnificent and beautiful butterfly. Have I hammered you with enough clichés yet?


The key to turning this caterpillar of a country into a beautiful butterfly is in Peace and recognizing that no matter if one is Bush, Obama, McCain or Palin—these people don't want Peace, but we do.


I think we lose the raw humanity of war when we allow ourselves to wallow in War Party politics. When the Democratic Wing of the War Party took over the mis-management of the Empire, the anti-war movement was effectively neutralized even though the wars weren't.


So after we are done mourning, we get together as one human family to organize something that will bring positive change. We are not enemies with each other—we may be "enemies of the state," but the state is our enemy.


No more marching in circles, it makes us dizzy.


No more signing petitions, it gives us writer's cramp.


No more calling Congress-scum, the war machine is its master.


The establishment wants us to think that this busy-work has a chance to be effective—but when is the last time any of these tactics worked on a Federal level? Your president or your congress rep couldn't care less want you think or want. Your vote doesn't even count—in case you haven't heard, they steal votes and falsely manipulate you, anyway.


I am going to close with my organization's motivational quote. Peace of the ACTION takes our inspiration from a Mario Savio quote that he said on the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley, 46 years ago:

"There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part. You have to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who own it, to the people who run it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."

Oliver Stone: US should nationalize oil resources

Yahoo! News

Oliver StoneThe Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows that the United States should follow the example of South American socialists in nationalizing its energy industry, filmmaker Oliver Stone said Tuesday.

The Academy Award-winning director of "Born on the Fourth of July" and "JFK" said that America's country's natural wealth was too important to be left in private hands, telling journalists in central London that oil and other natural resources "belong to the people."

"This BP oil spill is typical" of what happens when private industry is allowed to draw revenue on what should be a public good, Stone said.

"We shouldn't make this kind of profit on oil or on health or on war or on prisons. All these industries should be public industries."

Your Guide to Next Generation 'Content Farms'

content farms logo small.jpg

From time to time, we provide an overview of one broad MediaShift topic, annotated with online resources and plenty of tips. The idea is to help you understand the topic, learn the jargon, and take action. We've previously covered Twitter, local watchdog news sites, and Net neutrality, among other topics. This week MediaShift editorial intern Davis Shaver looks at the "content farm" phenomenon.

As traditional news outlets continue to lay off journalists, a new generation of companies is betting big on online content. Their approaches differ significantly, but are all built on the common premise that for online content to be profitable, it has to be produced at a truly massive scale. The proliferation of these so-called "content farms" -- a name the companies predictably dislike -- has raised the ire of journalists and pundits alike.

"If you want to know how our profession ends, look at Demand Media," wrote Jason Fry, a former Wall Street Journal columnist who edits Reinventing the Newsroom.

Of course Demand Media is far from being the first online content company built on search-driven data. Both and Weblogs Inc. built content based on popular search terms, and employed large teams of content producers and bloggers to create stories to help answer common questions.

It's easy to see why Demand Media's strategy has been replicated by start-ups and start-arounds alike. When Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt discovered that algorithmically-generated assignments could generate 4.9 times the revenue of traditional editor-generated ideas, the sheer profitability of this new content paradigm guaranteed that companies like Demand Media would be viewed as outliers in the context of a news industry facing significant fiscal troubles.

This is the first article in what will be a full week of PBS MediaShift special coverage dedicated to next generation content companies. We're calling this series "Beyond Content Farms" and each day will see us examine different aspects of these companies and what they mean for the web and the media world. Below is an overview of the major companies that are taking a "content farm" strategy of pushing out massive amounts of content, a primer that sets out some of the key players, what they do, and what their goals are.

Obama's War on the Internet
By Philip Giraldi

The Ministry of Truth

The Ministry of Truth was how George Orwell described the mechanism used by government to control information in his seminal novel 1984. A recent trip to Europe has convinced me that the governments of the world have been rocked by the power of the internet and are seeking to gain control of it so that they will have a virtual monopoly on information that the public is able to access. In Italy, Germany, and Britain the anonymous internet that most Americans are still familiar with is slowly being modified. If one goes into an internet café it is now legally required in most countries in the European Union to present a government issued form of identification. When I used an internet connection at a Venice hotel, my passport was demanded as a precondition and the inner page, containing all my personal information, was scanned and a copy made for the Ministry of the Interior -- which controls the police force. The copy is retained and linked to the transaction. For home computers, the IP address of the service used is similarly recorded for identification purposes. All records of each and every internet usage, to include credit information and keystrokes that register everything that is written or sent, is accessible to the government authorities on demand, not through the action of a court or an independent authority. That means that there is de facto no right to privacy and a government bureaucrat decides what can and cannot be "reviewed" by the authorities. Currently, the records are maintained for a period of six months but there is a drive to make the retention period even longer.

The excuses being given for the increasing government intervention into the internet are essentially two: first, that the anonymity of the internet has permitted criminal behavior, fraud, pornography, and libel. Second is the security argument, that managing the internet is an integral part of the "global war on terror" in that it is used by terrorists to plan their attacks requiring governments to control those who use it. The United States government takes the latter argument one step farther, claiming that the internet itself is a vulnerable "natural asset" that could be seized or damaged by terrorists and must be protected, making the case for a massive $100 billion program of cyberwarfare. Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) argues that "violent Islamist extremists" rely on the internet to communicate and recruit and he has introduced a bill in the Senate that will empower the president to "kill" the internet in case of a national emergency.

But all of the arguments for intervention are essentially themselves fraudulent and are in reality being exploited by those who favor big government and state control.

Art Contest

LOS ANGELES -- The Gulf oil disaster is but one example of the ways in which our fossil fuel economy is impacting the planet we call home. But as bad as this catastrophe is, the specter of global climate change looms even larger as a threat to sustaining life on Earth. Despite overwhelming evidence -- species extinction and dwindling water supplies to mass migrations and mega-storms -- the public is still unclear what climate really means for them.

That is why we are calling on artists worldwide to participate in the CoolClimate Art Contest - the first online art contest exploring climate change in its many forms - how it is impacting our lives and what can be done to ensure a sustainable future for all of Earth's inhabitants.

Artist brief: submit a work of art that explores our relationship with the climate - from clean energy jobs to pollution-free oceans - the subject choice is yours. You can submit a piece you've already made, or pass this email along and get an artist friend involved. Post your art on and you will be eligible to win prizes, be featured on the Planet Green Planet100 show and be displayed at key leader events nationwide on 10/10/10.

A panel of esteemed judges will select 20 finalists from hundreds of submissions. The finalists will then move to Huffington Post for public voting utilizing the Huffington Post's innovative online social voting tool. Judges include:

     · Mel Chin (artist)
     · Philippe Cousteau (ecologist)
     · Agnes Gund (collector & philanthropist)
     · Van Jones (environmental activist)
     · David Ross (curator)
     · Carrie Mae Weems (artist)
     · Jackson Browne (musician) and Dianna Cohen (artist)
     · Chevy Chase (Comedian) and Jayni Chase (philanthropist)

Submissions are now open and will close on August 23, 2010. You can read the Official Contest Rules on the CoolClimate Group Page.

Historically the creative community has always helped to create new and expanded visions of possibility during difficult times and we look forward to the artist's vision for a cool and sustainable future.

CoolClimate on deviantART

Confirmed: Breitbart called Sherrod a racist without having the full tape

by Matt Gertz

This afternoon in a Hot Air blog post, Ed Morrissey wrote:

[Former USDA official Shirley] Sherrod and others can complain about Fox News and the editing of the tape, but two points should be remembered. First, Andrew Breitbart made it clear to me last night that this was the entirety of the speech he had in his possession. He also wants to find the whole speech and is trying to get it. 

Are you kidding me?

In his post yesterday -- headlined "Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism - 2010" -- Breitbart claimed to have "video evidence of racism" on Sherrod's part. He said it showed her describing "how she racially discriminates against a white farmer," and referred to it as her "racist tale." The piece was illustrated with a literal "race card."

According to Breitbart:

In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn't do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from "one of his own kind". She refers him to a white lawyer.

It soon became evident that there was something fishy about the heavily edited video - even conservative bloggers questioned its sudden ending and wondered what the full context might reveal, while nonetheless saying that they trusted Breitbart.

Throughout the day, the story has unraveled. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published this morning, Sherrod said that the clip had been ripped from context, leaving out "the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with him and his wife." Sherrod reiterated her statements on CNN's American Morning.

Later in the day, the farmer's wife called in to CNN, calling Sherrod a "friend" and praising her for having "helped us save our farm."

Meanwhile, we pointed out that Breitbart's suggestion that Sherrod was discussing actions that she recently took as an Obama administration official was flatly false.

All day, we've been asking when Breitbart was planning to release the full tapes. Now, it looks like he may never have had one. If what Morrissey says is true, Breitbart tried to destroy the life of a largely unknown Obama administration official and called her a racist, and he didn't have the full context to back it up.

Why Journalists Make Mistakes & What We Can Do About Them

Poynter Online
The Chicago Tribune's infamous "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline, the 2000 election night calls for Al Gore and then George Bush, a 2004 Providence Journal headline that said, "Rumsfeld's Pubic Role is Shrinking."

These mistakes reflect the reality that, as hard as we try to get the facts right, sometimes we get them wrong. Our fallibility is the subject of journalist Kathryn Schulz's new book, "Being Wrong," which looks at how human error can transform our perceptions of the world and of ourselves.

Curious about how Schulz's findings relate to journalism, I talked with her about:
  • The need for corrections that address the range of errors journalists make.
  • How the provisional nature and accelerated pace of journalism can lead to error.
  • Reasons news organizations don't correct most of their mistakes -- and what they can learn from them.
Need for corrections that address a spectrum of errors

Kathryn Schulz
Misspelled names and typos are among the more basic errors journalists make. But there's another type of error that is harder to correct: when journalists miss the story completely.

"You can do all the legwork of saying 'We spelled Kathryn Schulz's name wrong,' but that doesn't get you anywhere near the deep and substantive wrongness that we sometimes commit in the field," Schulz said by phone. "We have this formalized mechanism for dealing with very small errors, and they're not necessarily trivial, but we don't have any mechanism whatsoever for 'Oops, we blew it, we missed the entire point' types of errors."

The Lexington Herald-Leader is an unusual example. The paper ran a clarification in 2004, saying "It has come to our attention that the Herald-Leader neglected to cover the Civil Rights movement. We regret the omission." And back in 1969, a day after Apollo 11 launched, The New York Times ran a correction saying it retracted a 1920 editorial that had argued space flight was impossible.

It's not always enough to just write a sentence or two explaining that we've erred, says Schulz.

Democratic senator: GOP using unemployed people as pawns to make Dems fail

sherrod1 Democratic senator: GOP using unemployed people as pawns to make Dems failWASHINGTON – A Senate Democrat charged that the chamber's GOP leader is compelling his colleagues to block the extension of unemployment benefits in an effort to prevent economic recovery and tarnish Democrats ahead of the November elections.

"I think there are some Republicans that want to vote for it who don't, because [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is putting so much pressure on Senate Republicans for President Obama and the Democrats to fail," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told Raw Story and other reporters on a conference call late Monday afternoon.

"And it's too bad that McConnell does that on the backs of … people that are really, really hurting," he added.

USDA Admits Link Between Antibiotic Use by Big Ag and Human Health

Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) read from his previously submitted testimony that the USDA believes it is likely that U.S. use of antibiotics in animal agriculture does lead to some cases of resistance in humans and the animals.

Why is this news? Because the USDA has been continually playing the Three Wise Monkeys game -- it sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil -- when it comes to deadly consequences to humans of the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals. In fact, Dr. Clifford looked as if he'd been given a choice between testifying or having his eye poked out with a stick and he lost the toss.

Man Steals House, Claimed He Purchased it From Yahweh

Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Here is a story of one Montana man with a very creative, and sadly, very illegal, answer to the foreclosure crisis. Brent Arthur Wilson took possession of a foreclosed house and started living in it. However, in part because he had bigger dreams, he was caught, put on trial and convicted.

The Associated Press reports that Brent Wilson was found guilty by a Lake County jury on July 13, of theft, deceptive practices and tampering with public records or information. Wilson was discovered and subsequently charged after a real estate agent investigated the removal of "for sale" signs from a $380,000 house he was selling on behalf of a lender in August 2009.

Wilson did not stop there however. It was also discovered that he tried to use the house as collateral for a $125,000 loan he sought from a Missoula financial institution. It seems Mr. Wilson had a plan, as detailed in the journals presented by the prosecution as evidence at trial. Wilson planned to steal up to 100 homes in foreclosure. Details of the plan were entered in his diary. "The prospect of claiming and fulfilling my 100-title vision is growing stronger," read one. "Took down one of two Realtor signs," says another entry. "The other needs a tool to dig it up."

The jury was easily convinced that Wilson had a plan to steal. What they may have been confused about is who exactly he thought he was stealing from. According to the AP, the paperwork Wilson filed on the house with the county stated he purchased the house from Yahweh. As in God.

Biting the Ass that Feeds You