Monday, February 4, 2008

Is there a "Blackout" Behind the Election?

Okay. Let's say that being a conspiracy theorist were accepted in normal society as healthy. In this imaginary setting, an "ounce" of distrust is justified instead of ballyhooed as nonsense. In this society that I created, people can be suspicious of people in power. They are not paranoid, but very sane, and "my country" believes that it is healthy to question what you read or what you are told.

So, let's just imagine that everything I am about to say is not skepticism, but a clairvoyant sense about what's really going on behind the scenes. Remember Mary Tyler Moore? People loved it because you got a sense of what goes on in a television news studio. Remember All the Presidents Men? Two men joined forces to dig out the truth about what happened at the break-in at the Democratic Headquarters Watergate Hotel. Well, let's say I'm a journalist, which I am not (I am a critic of journalists) and I am digging for an understanding about the Obama Juggernaut which is about to take over America. I'm writing this today, just in case it turns out to be the truth down the road.

Let's say Rupert Murdoch and all these other media moguls think that a Republican Administration is better for the country: 1) wars create jobs; 2) we have formidable enemies, not imagined but ones who could blow themselves up in the United States, so we better keep them busy; and 3) let's also say that advertising revenues are always higher when Republicans are in office. So, fearing that their industries might suffer a devastating blow if Democrats are swept into office, they decide they want to orchestrate an election. Yes. Orchestrate. And it doesn't take much because there can always be a candidate that can be used as fodder. The "fictitious" powers that be did it to Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, or was it Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (not sure which one, probably the latter or both), so they can do it in the country I've created in my fictional COPYRIGHTED story.

The "powers that be" find a candidate who is young and eager to run for the highest office in the land, and they fuel him with the belief that he, too, can be President. And he's got Presidential qualities, but he's so green there's no way that he'll make it past the nomination (they fervently hope). They groom him, and they do what they can to make him a viable candidate -- but not too viable because he's being set up to fail. He's the foil for their guy ("the bad guy," as the media identifies people) to win. Now the guy they are "rooting" for, the eager beaver, actually believes that this is about him. But it's not. But how could he not believe it? They make sure that the polls say that he's way ahead, and knowing that Americans like to be on the winning side, the voting electorate join the pack. And they rally around the first "chosen" candidate," who loses, and the other, the real candidate (now seen as the "real good guy") wins.

By saying that Obama can beat McCain sets everybody up to vote for the former, to ensure that he's the Democratic Nominee, who cannot beat their real candidate, McCain. How is it that today, of all days, statistics have come out on every channel extolling that the match up is between Obama and McCain? No one mentioned them a week ago. And the Obama race is definitely heating up, hey, why not let him believe in it, for a second, that he can be President? And he'll do everything he can to be every man's President, and every woman's President. He has charisma and charm; two young kids, and a doting wife whose grace and outward appearance of etiquette rival one of our martyred Presidents, John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie. I don't like the comparison, as that sets Obama up for martyrdom, too, if not literally, then figuratively: he's being set up to fail.

What if Karl Rove left the White House to makes sure that this would happen? So Karl Rove writes an op ed piece giving Obama advice on how to win . Would any sane Democrat take advice from a brilliant maniac? Nowadays, yes; our eager beaver candidate might even go so far as to extol another revered President, Ronald Reagan as a "change agent." So, on the eve of a big, big election day, the word gets out by "the media" that their guy (the eager young Democrat) can win. And lo and behold he wins the nomination, but he loses the Presidency. The word gets out about some past indiscretion and he loses flat out. And we're in war for another 100 years. And the Imperial Presidency is born.

Don't believe what you hear on television -- or what they are writing, unless there are 20 sources that say the same thing, and those sources have to reveal who their sources are (which will never happen as it is protected under the First Amendment, a time-honored tradition). Revealing sources isn't necessarily something I would try to coax out of anyone, but wouldn't it be nice if someone at the news desk who mouthed the words written for him or her questioned the information they were told to speak. What if that announcer cared about about how the information was derived (like the Swift Boat posse who uncovered the dearth of research conducted by Dan Rather's staff).

Writing or saying it doesn't make it so. But in America, that might be different. Hey, I have a poll too, with a sampling error of only 1%. My poll of one says that something smells "Karl Rov-ingish" about the way the media has handled this election.

Now, my Karl Rove is fiction. I don't believe there's anyone who has those kind of powers; someone that Machiavellian would have gotten us out of the war by now, and would have expropriated all of Iraq's oil. So, this is fiction. But just in case.... you heard it here first. And if it's fiction, which it is, if you copy it, I'll kick your ass.... my copyright is on this one, baby. Get your own story.

All Rights Reserved
(c) ShutUpMedia 2008

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tiger, Not Obama, is a Uniter

I've been pondering the "who said what first" concerning the Clinton-Obama "race issue," so rapaciously analyzed and supposedly the basis of a new balkanization of the black-white divide. I've come to the conclusion that Senator Obama made race an issue because he called out Hillary Clinton, after hearing by a third party that she said that "it took a President to get it done" to turn the Civil Rights Act passage into law. During the weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King's celebration of birth. Senator Clinton, speaking in the South, had the audacity to be so rude as to not give the man credit. C'mon.... Barack. C'mon..... lawyer?

I was disappointed in Barack for stooping to playing a race card, because I wanted to believe that he really could transcend race, even though I wasn't a supporter (I didn't agree with his health care plan, and, frankly, didn't want a neophyte in such an important office during the most troubling time in our nation's history since Pearl Harbor Day, and the Civil War before that). But I watched him, wondering if -- hey, maybe America really has changed? Maybe someone can be accepted by the content of his character? But my hopes were dashed by his singling out the female Senator. Now, I believe it is O'Bama's character that is in question.

Senator Obama walks a tight-rope of being biracial, like Bob Marley, an icon that allows both black and white people to embrace him as one of their own. To "take sides," destroys the privilege of being a "uniter," (he makes multiracial Tiger Woods seem more Presidential) and to do it over such a meaningless tidbit of speech was disingenuous on his part. I want to believe in Camelot -- but Kennedy's Camelot also used underhanded tactics such as stuffing ballot boxes to get into office. This was one of those Kennedy-esque type chess moves, almost carefully laying in wait. "A brother" who transcends race is a brother to everybody, so to call out a colleague as racist was a low blow, especially considering the popular records of the Clintons' support for black America (Truthfully, I'm not aware of any support per se -- it just seems as though they feel at home with Black Americans, which is tantamount now, to being Mother Theresa). Clinton put many people of color in office, but he also shied away from them when the going got tough for them (Cisneros, Joycelyn Elders, Brown, all left worse off than when they entered (especially Brown, who gave life to the Democratic Party).

I don't know enough about history (especially while I'm living it), but playing it nice rarely gets you in office nowadays. People want a fighter, with virility, and strength and machismo. And Bill Clinton has a lot of that; but in defense of the Clintons -- where was the hue and cry and the chatter after Obama's wife made references to a woman's need to clean her own house or something to that effect (which had the [unintended?] effect of injecting the campaign with mention of Bill Clinton's infidelities). Why did they hold back on that one, so sensitive they are about issues of race. And the fact that a Senator's wife can take his spot if he dies, suggests that wives and husbands are fair game in U.S. politics.

It's almost comical to see the media talking about themselves, asking each other for permission to not be called "bigot" in making a statement about race. And there's the rub: the media are people, too. But they are a monolithic people owned by a couple of people. And they can win and lose a war, or win or lose a political race of their choosing, by choosing to air or not to air. Below is a link to an interesting take on the question, on Joe Scarborough's show, "Morning Joe," which Newsbusters called "unconventional," but I agree with Craig Crawford and said the same in my last blog, blaming CNN (I couldn't find the tongue-lashing that Tucker got ("get a life, Tucker" ) from a Black Congresswoman (I'll find the name when I have the time). Basically, what Senator Clinton said could have been a line in a newspaper but they turned it into the first salvo in a new, more civil war.

This is different. Unlike in the case of Dr. Phil's wife, for whom I have a healthy dose of "why is she in the picture?", Ms. Hillary Clinton has been on the sidelines, studying, earning the right, as a two-time popular Senator to be legitimately called a politician. She has the right to be a President. And I guess, Senator Obama does too, because he's been in office for two years.... but go Johnny Go. It might happen, in spite of my non-vote.

But I digress. Back to my story. In my humble opinion, Senator Obama hoodwinked us all -- he's a real brother, after all. And everybody who thinks that he was dissed, is going to rally around him -- engulfing the nation in a racial divide not seen since the 1970's -- but this one is polite, which is a good thing. I'm one of those Americans who does not trust politicians or magicians. They both profess they can perform miracles and all we realize is that they performed a deft slight of hand. I'd really have to see someone levitate by sitting under them and looking above me to believe in that kind of magic. So, I'm a skeptic. But I also believe that those of us who are skeptics are also hopeless romantics -- I really want to believe in Santa Claus (even at my age). I want to believe that this land is my land and your land from California to the....[that's all I know].. from the Redwoood Forests, etc. Well, this land thing, it's not ours, per se. The people who owned it are in camps called reservations-("We'll give you alcohol and casinos, just stop whining."). Black America -- we'll elect Obama. Now, shut up about rights - there's your friggin' reparations.

Obama burst my bubble. I wasn't rooting for him, even though part of me really wants to -- but my skepticism hit me square in the face and announced to me last week - any political race in America is about color, even when there's no one of color around. That's a statement in and of itself. And the only way that can change is for the media to not be so shamefully hoodwinked and manipulated so as to destroy relations between blacks and whites just when all of us were starting to become believers in the American Dream.

Lincoln, Kennedy and LBJ, may you all three rest in peace - you did do a good job, and you did what it took, like Senator Clinton said. That's why Mr. Obama emulates you. But just like Kennedy -- Obama, we hardly know ya. Maybe the Senator's stage debut really was a false start. He's not a uniter. He's a divider. Al Sharpton, come back. Run for office. Tell it like it really is, now that we have just another brotha running.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

CNN Fanning the Flames of Race during a Holiday - does it really sell nowadays?

The media is still drumming the beat about race, gleefully, on a day when race should be ignored. Dr. Martin Luther King was about Peace, so why the media insists on innervating the issue about the "civil wars" among pro- or anti- Clinton camps of blacks is gratuitous and another example of how the media always gets in the way of politics.

I know we need them. The media. But we don't need them playing ping pong with the facts and putting their spin on it. CNN was doing good for a while there, during its Election Bowl yesterday where, for once, they shut up and let us watch the news ourselves, allowing us to draw our own conclusions about what we witnessed -- it was the best viewing I've ever seen on the show. No re-interpretations of what was said, nobody's voice was narrating the subjects performance simultaneously preventing us from hearing the subject's speech. CNN just put the microphones on and did the right thing: They Shut Up.

But of course, they can't go off air too long, as we might turn to C-Span, so they did their schtick for their advertisers and returned on air, and started talking about how everything is about race. Well, in a country of former slaves, a majority of whom thought they'd never see a black man reach Senator Barack Obama's stature, it's a foregone conclusion that it's an emotional vote for the black masses. That's like denying that Scots weren't proud when Sean Connery finally became knighted or whatever it was he was bestowed. We live in clusters in this society, but the media tries to do the defining of those clusters, which is the problem.

The media defines what is fighting words with their leading questions, and make much ado about nothing, then ask people the self-serving obvious question about "is race now a factor in the election?" Yes, you put it there by drawing attention to it -- idiot! You can't be the boy who cried wolf and expect to be ignored only the second time around! But here's to hoping the issue will go away.

Elections are personal choices, some racial-based, some gender-based, some financial-based -- it depends upon the person. Trying to bring race into the picture during celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's achievements shows how far we truly haven't come. The press should be ashamed of itself for fanning the flames of dissension through its race-baiting rhetoric. Were they taking polls of Jewish voters when Senator Leiberman was running for Vice-President with Al Gore?

No one is getting hosed today, or beaten, except on MSNBC's Dock Block shows (more on that, when I have the time).

I believe in a free press. But I believe they've changed their job descriptions. They give us their slant on the news then tell us how to think. Well, that's why we need to muzzle them. The news anchor as star was supposed to be on the Mary Tyler Moore show, acting the part. Now life imitates art and they've become real life "characters."

If I had it my way, all the news should be C-Span. Just like we don't miss the Writers Guild writers while on strike (we're doing fine without their banal shows), the press could do well to strike, too, so we can define the issues (by talking amongst ourselves). Let people turn on the TV and watch live news feed. The last thing I want to do is listen to a bunch of touted "black-for-the-week" pundits trotted out to talk about race issues about people to whom they can barely relate -- because they have different ethnic experiences (Soledad O'Brien referred to Senator Obama as a "black guy," exclaiming about Obama's poll rankings or something -- I usually turn the channel when she's on television nowadays, so I don't know if she did worse or better beyond her exclamation).

The media has to dim its star to truly let the sun illuminate. They can't be the subjects of the piece. Nor should they be pontificating. They're journalists. Bring on the experts -- not the same old pony-experts, who make a living at talking on the quick and like James Brown said -- but "Sayin' Nothin!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Media is Told to Shut up (not only by me) by the Presidential Candidates.

I guess today was a slow day for the media. Barely any mention was made of the US Embassy car bombing in Lebanon, although some anchor says it was of ominous portent for the U.S. Only three people died, so I guess it wasn't that important. But the rest of the day was talk about Race in the race to President that is all about Race, but no one is in a race to talk about it, when it's embers are blown out of proportion in an attempt to create a fire. It didn't work. The media tried to make a mountain out of Senator Barack Obama's molehill about Senator Clinton's statement about what Lyndon B. Johnson did for civil rights.

Get real, Senator Barack. You're a friggin' lawyer. Nothing happens without legislation, no matter how important those courageous civic leaders walk and march and sing and -- vote. I believe Senator Clinton might have been making that point. So in no way was Senator Clinton discounting the advances of slain martyr Dr. Martin Luther King. You have special protection because of your race, so let's not drum up the "race" card where it's not needed.

But boy, did the media like this one. How many times did the media mention race. They had different angles discussing the subject, practically salivating over the idea that things were gonna get "mean and dirty."

It was a non-starter.

The American public knows when something is racial, and this one was not it. Try though you might to foment a hue and cry the likes of a Rodney King incident or an O.J. Simpson verdict, you were shut up, not by us (as we weren't listening anyway - we know a cheap shot when we see one). The candidates told you to shut up. This was a good day. The media tried, yet again, to inject its high school morals into a serious time of debate about who will run our country, and they want to see a mudslinging match. Well, they did. The media lost and they're still wiping their mud from their faces.

Here's not listening to you, Media.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Fear of Tears - Why the Media is so VerKlempt about Hillary Clinton's Emotions

Okay. I know this is controversial, but I just can't understand the mania surrounding the prospect of a woman President. The furor with which the media (mostly male) gushed and blushed over Barack Obama, his winning smile, his oratory, I thought they were reliving an unrequited crush from grade school. Leave it to the women in Media to give them a dose of reality.

Hey cavemen: wo-man-are-po-li-ti-cians-too. And they have to be scrutinized 2x as men. As a resurged internal Taliban nation (that's a later blog when I have a week to write), we must ensure that women dress like women (those pantsuits! the horror!), that if they cry, then it's a show of weakness that makes her--guess what--HUMAN? Hillary Clinton is Human. Oh My God, she's not a Pod, or an Alien from outer space. But can she be a politician? If she cries? How weak of her. We're a strong nation who doesn't cry (Not. We Tear up at Commercials!). But we make our enemies cry with our shock and awe.

Think Again and ask yourself: where was the outrage when these politicians sniffled, chocked back teaars, and even sobbed (I am not making fun of any of these youtube images below. I only make the point that there's a double standard here, and in "Taliban nation," we just don't comment about a man's weakness when he shows emotion, but we do highlight it as a flaw when a woman plays in a man's game.

Here's another show of tears by then Senator Dole at President Richard Nixon's funeral:

Senator Clinton warned us that she cried when she had to get up early in the morning.

Leave it to Rachel Maddox [who gets my snap back award] to set the record straight on the manic mania of the media men while appearing on Reliable Sources on CNN. As usual, she spoke some common sense to the multitude of the opposite gender media perplexed who wanted to know: was Hillary Clinton really crying and if so, is it good or bad?

KURTZ: Rachel Maddow, has there been something of a revolt against the male pundits and the way they kick Hillary around on this and other incidents?

MADDOW: Yes, absolutely. I think that it's -- this is politics, and so it is, you know, above board to question whether or not somebody's effecting show of emotion was put on, sure. That's above- board questions.

But the pile-on, the glee with which that -- with which that incident was taken apart by the pundits, by supposedly -- by people who are supposedly news anchors, I think was gross. And I think that people who saw the tape were personally affected by it.

It was an emotional moment. And then to see the kind of "blood dripping from the fangs" glee from mostly male pundits, I think made people feel like they wanted to rush to Clinton's defense in a way they wouldn't if there weren't that media pile-on.

She goes on to excoriate [I overuse this word, I know] the male media for their condescension toward these new candidates (a white woman and a black male)

KURTZ: Rachel, Chris Matthews has also taken some heat for saying on "Hardball" that Hillary Clinton would never have become a senator and, therefore, would never have become a presidential candidate, had she not been humiliated by her husband over the Monica Lewinsky affair. So -- which some people say is a factual statement.

But what did you make of that whole moment and the whole role of people like Matthews are playing?

MADDOW: I think it was hard to see Chris say that the morning after he had so emphatically stated that he was never going to underestimate Hillary Clinton again and to attribute her whole political career to something the person she's married to did.

I mean, I will say, there's something going on here, which is that, on the Democratic side, the two front-runners right now are an African-American man and a white woman. And we have never had that situation before in politics. And there's something going on with both the coverage of Obama and Clinton, which is pundits feel like, I feel, treat them in a way that is weirdly patronizing. Whether it's the metaphors, whether it's Chris Matthews actually reaching out and grabbing Hillary Clinton's cheek, whether -- I mean, even just today, while we have been discussing this, Michael, you described -- you used terms likes Barack Obama getting back in the kitchen or him being exotic.

I mean, there's stuff that is -- there's the language that is used, there are techniques that are used to describe and talk about these candidates that I think is -- looks uncomfortably like patronizing them. And it feels racist and gendered (ph) to me in a way that I think a lot of people, potential voters, react to.

[Just an aside -- Rachel Maddow spoke for at least 3 minutes and there was no name or affiliation at the bottom of the screen, then Michael Medved speaks, and his flashes. Again, men.... you'll never learn.... you can't use Taliban tactics to keep women down. We're too strong for that even if we do cry.

If you can't take the effect of too many onions, get outta da kitchen -- go work on a big rig somewhere; you're all so manly sitting at your desks (and your attempts at bravery by being with the embedded troops is absolutely dangerous, and you can't learn fighting on the job - Stay home where you're safe). Write your hearts out, you masculine men of media who use pens for javelins to poke fun at strong women who are strong enough to show emotions.

And Tim Russert: your time is over. You're no longer a media darling. I'm glad Clinton pinched your cheeks. She sees you as the cherub that you are -- who can easily be manipulated by your corporate owners. But I'll study you, later.

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