Tuesday, July 3, 2007

"How Rupert Murdoch Will Sabotage American Capitalism" by Andy K.

There are only 3 great daily newspapers left in the
United States, and that sad fact says more about the
decrepit state of American journalism than it says
about the magnificence of The New York Times, The
Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal. Of
these, The Wall Street Journal is arguably the most
important because the planet is owned by corporations
and the men who own these corporations have the time
and patience to read only one newspaper: The Wall
Street Journal.

I have mixed feelings about The Journal, because their
news and business coverage is impeccably trustworthy,
thorough, and objective, while their right-wing
Editorial page is a shameless cheerleader of Big
Business. And so I am amused to learn that the
hypocrites who write The Journal's pro-capitalism
Editorials devoted almost the entire June 6th edition
of their Editorial page to denouncing Rupert Murdoch.

Up until May 1st, the Wall Street Journal's own stock
was trading at $36 a share, and then Murdoch offered
to buy every share for $60 each. How can the
hypocrites at the Journal who worship free market
capitalism possibly oppose such a lucrative offer?
They must be naively unaware that free trade and open
markets solve all problems!

As you probably know, Rupert Murdoch is the Republican
asshole who owns Fox News and MySpace.com. And even
by the grotesque standards of lowbrow mass media (I'm
talking Time Warner, Disney, NBC), Murdoch is the
sleaziest of the sleaziest: for 40 years, he's been
purchasing unprofitable decent newspapers (The New
York Post, The Times of London, etc.) and converting
them into profitable pieces of shit. Murdoch himself
has already admitted that he is "sometimes frustrated
by the [Wall Street Journal's] long stories." In
other words, say goodbye to the Journal's

Contrast Murdoch's "journalism" to the competition's:
during the first 3 months of 2007 daytime programming,
Fox News devoted only 6 percent of their air time to
the Iraq war, compared with 18 percent at MSNBC and 20
percent at CNN. But what Fox lacks in gravitas, it
makes up for in sensationalistic voyeurism: Anna
Nicole Smith received 17 percent of Fox News'
programming time. (Predictably, the Nielson ratings
have consistently ranked Fox as the most popular cable
news network in America.)

The Wall Street Journal is owned by the Bancrofts: a
family of millionaires who desperately want to be
billionaires. In their defense, they hate Rupert
Murdoch. Murdoch has promised the Bancrofts that he
will not debase the Wall Street Journal franchise by
publishing naked boobies on Page 3, although
considering that he DOES publish naked boobies on Page
3 of his own London Sun newspaper, Murdoch's solemn
vow is painfully insincere, and the savvy Bancrofts
know it.

Given that Rupert Murdoch has no respect for literacy
(not to mention decency), I've decided that his bid
for The Journal isn't entirely bad. Yes, he'll ruin
the damn paper. And that's an unfortunate loss for
American journalism. But more importantly, Murdoch is
in a unique position to seriously damage American

Considering that this is the only newspaper that the
executives on Wall Street actually read, Murdoch will
inadvertently make them dumber and less informed than
they already are. Rather than educate them with
objective, thorough reporting, Murdoch will uneducate
them with his unreliable propaganda.

Oh how amusing it will be to watch the markets be
sabotaged! And considering that American capitalism
managed to survive (and grow exponentially) during 40
years of communist threat, wouldn't it be delightfully
ironic if it was finally killed by the sleaziest
capitalist who ever lived? Who would have thought
that the greatest threat to capitalism would be
capitalism itself!

There are many scenarios of how this will play out,
but the most likely will involve China. Some
background: when the Chinese government complained to
Murdoch that his satellite TV service was delivering
the BBC's uncensored coverage of China's fledgling
democracy movement, Murdoch dropped the BBC from his
satellite system. When China complained that his
MySpace subsidiary was being used to challenge China's
authoritarianism, Murdoch agreed to let the Chinese
government censor MySpace.

In fact, the Pulitzer-prize winning reporters who work
at the Journal's China bureau bravely wrote a letter
to the Bancrofts reminding them that Murdoch "has a
well-documented history of making editorial decisions
in order to advance his business interests in China."
In other words, say goodbye to the Journal's

American executives who will be gambling billions of
dollars of capital on China, will be doing so
ignorantly after Murdoch takes over. If another SARS
epidemic hits Shanghai, rest assured that the
Journal's wealthy readers will be the last to know
about it. If China's Da Qing oil field continues to
decline in oil production, the gullible Americans who
run General Motors' and Ford's subsidiaries in China
will be clueless.

In short, capitalism's greatest newspaper will soon be
as trustworthy, thorough, and objective as Fox News.
And that's bad news for capitalism.

Monday, July 2, 2007

on vacation with Mitt Romney's family

This guy is a fucking nut. An excerpt from the Boston
Globe 6/27/07:

Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus,
the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier
and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd
built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride
more comfortable for the dog.

As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the
way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the
rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of
trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid
was dripping down the back window, payback from an
Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind
for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of
disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into
a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed
down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the
highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would
grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis

The Friedman Unit

From Wikipedia:

The Friedman Unit is a reference to New York Times
columnist Thomas Friedman's repeated use of "the next
six months" as the time period in which, according to
Friedman, "we're going to find out...whether a decent
outcome is possible" in the Iraq War. Friedman had
been making such six-month predictions for a period of
two and a half years, on at least 14 different
occasions, starting with a column in the November 30,
2003 edition of The New York Times, in which he
stated: "The next six months in Iraq—which will
determine the prospects for democracy-building
there—are the most important six months in U.S.
foreign policy in a long, long time." The term has
been used in general to describe any pronouncement of
a critical period for the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Such pronouncements have been made by numerous
politicians and military officials involved in the

"The MySpace Boycott Everyone Ignored" by Andy K.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The frivolous liberal bloggers are commanding the sheep to boycott the upcoming Congressional Black Caucus' presidential debate, and most of the sheep (Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Dodd, Richardson) are obediently following orders. Why? Because the debate will be televised on Fox News. Consider the logic: no liberal would dare suggest a boycott of the MSNBC debate, even though NBC is a subsidiary of General Electric, which sells weapons to the Pentagon. GE and Fox News both have crucial roles in the war machine, but in the minds of liberals, fictional propaganda is more despicable than real weapons.

Kucinich and Biden are appalled by the sheep's anti-Fox fetish. Said Kucinich: "I've taken issue with Fox News' coverage," but, he added, "I've also taken issue with the New York Times and other news organizations around the world." Kucinich continued, "Fox broadcasts the World Series, too, but is it any less of a World Series because it's on Fox?"

Hey sheep: if I told you that MySpace.com and Fox News are both owned by the same Republican asshole (Rupert Murdoch), would you take down your MySpace profile?

I didn't think so.

"Bush: 'no comment' on weapons sales to Iran" by Andy K.

From the Associated Press, 6/11/07: "[The House of
Representatives voted] to ban the Pentagon from
selling leftover F-14 fighter jet parts sought by

Wait, stop. How the fuck can Bush possibly have 'no
comment' on a bill banning weapons sales to Iran?!?
Karl Rove can't possibly be so stupid that he's
unaware that supporting this bill is a no-brainer.

Political reasons for Bush to support the ban:
1a) It's great politics to be tough on national
2a) Iran is bad
3a) The F-14 is defunct and no longer in production,
so the corporate war profiteers (Boeing, Lockheed)
won't lose money
4a) Israel

Political reasons for Bush NOT to support the ban:
1b) It's a bipartisan bill and Democrats are bad
2b) Bush doesn't read the newspaper, so he's unaware
of any of this
3b) Bush would never admit that for the first 6 years
of his Presidency the Pentagon was still arming Iran
4b) Bush deliberately WANTS to arm Iran, so that he
can justify yet another war against a dangerous rogue
regime that we armed

The pragmatist in me believes #3b is certainly a
possibility-- after all, Dubya HATES to admit that
he's ever made a mistake. But BushCo is a savvy
political machine, and Rush/FoxNews/Hannity would spin
it to make it look like it was originally Bush's idea
that the poser Democrats are trying to take credit

Simply put, the political reasons to support the ban
are far more persuasive than the political reasons to
oppose the ban. Unless the real reason is #4b... and
if that's the case, then logical reasoning is
irrelevant to the violent psychopath we've got in the
White House.

John Edwards and the populist label

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Andy sent me a New York Times Sunday Magazine piece on John Edwards.
He broke the "long, long, long article" down with three brief excerpts:

Excerpt #1:

When I asked Edwards if he blamed large corporations
or the wealthiest Americans for inequality, he
appeared briefly confused by the question. "No — no,"
Edwards repeated, shaking his head. "I just don't
think blaming helps, to be honest with you. What's the

In fact, the more you talk to Edwards, the more
apparent it is that the populist label doesn't quite
fit. While he talks incessantly about economic
injustice, Edwards isn't proposing anything (beyond an
oil-company windfall tax, which Hillary Clinton has
also embraced) that would strike a serious blow
against multinational corporations or the top tier of
American earners. Even in his rhetoric, Edwards seems
to deliberately avoid stoking resentments or pitting
one class against another the way a true populist
would, unless you count taking a few easy shots at

"Edwards is not in any way attacking the rich or
corporations." says Robert Reich, with a note of
disappointment. "He's not explaining one fundamental
fact of modern economic life, which is that the very
rich have all the money."

Excerpt #2:

The decision that most complicates Edwards's political
message, though, is his affiliation with Fortress
Investments, the hedge fund where he worked in 2006.
Strictly speaking, hedge funds aren't especially
nefarious enterprises in American life, but as a
symbolic matter, they represent exactly the kind of
exclusionary wealth that has led, more than anything
else, to the gross inequality that Edwards deplores.
(More than symbolically, Fortress has invested in
exactly the kind of subprime-mortgage dealers that
Edwards has repeatedly castigated for preying on the

Excerpt #3:

It doesn't help when Edwards tries so hard to
establish his affinity for the common man that it
makes you wince. When the Fortress story first
surfaced, for instance, he told The Associated Press
that he joined the hedge fund partly because he wanted
to learn more about the way markets affected
inequality. This is rather like saying you hired a
stripper in order to better understand the
exploitation of women. Another cringe-worthy example:
In April, The A.P. asked the announced candidates in
both parties what their dream job would be if they
weren't in politics. It was meant to be an amusing
exercise. Barack Obama said he'd be an architect. Bill
Richardson said he'd play center field for the
Yankees. Rudolph W. Giuliani said he'd be a sports
announcer. What was Edwards's dream job — the
alternate life he lay awake fantasizing about, had he
not become a millionaire lawyer and politician?

"Mill supervisor."

MoveOn Is Not Anti-War and Neither Was "Fahrenheit 9/11"

MoveOn Is Not Anti-War and Neither Was "Fahrenheit 9/11"

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I have a love-hate relationship with The Nation magazine nowadays. One week it's Alexander Cockburn's "Beat the Devil" which I love, the next week it's Eric Alterman's "The Liberal Media" which I loathe. Last week Alterman "exposed" Chris Matthews to be pro-Bush. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of "Hardball." In fact, I can't stand the show, so I don't watch it. And I don't need to because my pal Andy K. sends me video clips of the show whenever it's relevant. Andy also sent me this quote from a SF Chronicle piece Matthews wrote in 2002, "This invasion of Iraq, if it goes off, will join the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Desert One, Beirut, and Somalia in the history of military catastrophe. What will set it apart, distinguishing it for all time, is the immense--and transparent--political stupidity."

And here's Matthews, early this year, trying to get Tony Snow to say whether or not Bush will start a war with Iran without congressional approval:

"MATTHEWS: No, I'm concerned because, very much in the years, in the months building up to this war in Iraq, we heard a kind of a drumbeat of the dangers from Iraq and the nuclear weaponry and what we're going to do about it, and then gradually we went to war...

"My concern is we're gonna see a ginning up situation whereby we fall in hot pursuit any effort by the Iranians to interfere with Iraq. We take a couple shots at them, they react, then we bomb the hell out of them and hit their nuclear installations without any action by Congress. That's the scenario I fear, an extra-constitutional war is what I'm worried about.

"SNOW: Well, you have been watching too many old movies--

"MATTHEWS: No, I've been watching the war in Iraq, is what I've been watching."

I first became exposed to The Nation in 1991 and at the time it seemed so Left-wing to me, but I was still in high school. I voted for Bill Clinton the next year, but by 1996 I resented him and wrote-in Nader. The Welfare Bill that Clinton/Gingrich passed was the last straw for me and many others at the time. The next year The Nation cut Cockburn's "Beat the Devil" down from two pages to one page.

Here we are in 2007, The Nation is big "D" Democratic and many people don't seem to remember Bill Clinton's despicable legacy: NAFTA/GATT, the death penalty-expanding Crime Bill, the Anti-Terrorism Bill that was a precursor to the bi-partisan PATRIOT Act. Not to mention his murderous assault on Iraqi civilians. The sanctions he supported killed thousands and he dropped plenty of bombs on the Iraqi people while Congress was impeaching him. Which is why the bumper sticker that reads, "No One Died When Clinton Lied" really should read, "Americans Didn't Die When Clinton Lied." This is a time of phony anti-war entities like MoveOn and Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." Leave it to an American film maker to produce a documentary on the Middle East that doesn't mention Israel. The motivation for that omission is crystal clear if the film is seen not as an anti-war film, but as a pro-Democratic party film. The Palestinian plight is simply not discussed by the Zionist Democratic leadership.

Is Israeli lobbying the story behind the pro-Iran war rhetoric of H.R. Clinton, Barrack Obama and John Edwards? The man who said he "was wrong" to support the Iraq war recently gave a speech in Israel supporting military action on Iran. Direct and to the point, Edwards stressed the "need to keep all options on the table" when dealing with Iran. Obama gave a speech to the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) that was more of the same tough talk on Iran. Obama's a better politician. Stop Me Before I Vote Again's Michael J. Smith compared the two presidential hopefuls, "All in all, (Obama gave) a more polished performance than John Edwards' recent pole-dance for the same outfit."

MoveOn rigidly frames their Iraq war criticism on George W. Bush without a peep regarding his Democratic enablers. It was 2006 when John "A.B.B." Kerry finally supported withdrawing from Iraq, and as late as 2005 he was undercutting Murtha's call for an exit. In regards to the recent $124 billion that the Democrats approved for Bush's war effort, MoveOn has no criticism of their Party. As Cockburn points out in this week's "Beat the Devil," "The focus stays always on Bush, over whom MoveOn will never have influence, as opposed to Democrats, whom MoveOn could have pressured with its 3 million-strong e-mail list."

It looks like the US will be in Iraq at least until 2008. If a Democratic President inherits the war, MoveOn will officially stop acknowledging that the war issue exists.