13 October 2004
The FCC has been accepting phoned-in complaints about Sinclair's corporate decision to air the anti Kerry propaganda piece, "Stolen Honor", just 10 days before the election.
Contact the FCC
I spoke with them yesterday and the lady I talked to said that they
had been inundated with calls over this deal. I also emailed them separately, and signed the petiton at http://www.stopsinclair.org/index.php as well. I did
all three because the could "accidentally" lose the list
showing the number of negative calls and emails, but they have a tougher time covering up the names of those signing petitions and "snail" mail.
Here are some facts I think they should consider when deliberating over what
to do about the upcoming broadcast.
1. By issuing a corporation -wide order to broadcast, Sinclair has decided
that the viewing public should see a propaganda piece without regard to the
sentiments or the needs of the local communities which they serve.
2. Since the invention of broadcast television, Congress and its delegated
agency, the Federal Communications Commision, have alsways worked together
to pass laws and regulations to ensure that broadcast television stations
provide reasonably accurate, balanced and fair coverage of major
presidential and congressional candidates. These obligations are reflected
in specific provisions relating to rights to buy advertising time, bans
against the gift of advertising time, rights to reply to opponents, and
various other specific means of accomplishing the goal of balance and
fairness. This doctrine is why the broadcasters carry the conventions and
the debates - for a semblance of fairness and evenhandd ness.
3. Broadcasting companies purchase their licenses with the understanding
that they are obliged present to fairness in political presentations, and
make an effort to present true facts regarding news stories. If "Stolen
Honor" is supposed to be a news documentary, then the FCC has an obligation
to make certain that the material presented therein is fundamentally true.
If the piece is fiction presented as factual for the purpose of presenting
political propaganda, then there may be irreperable harm done to the public
by that presentation.
One condition of holding broadcasters to laws and licenses is the obligation
to help us hold a fair and free election. The Supreme Court routinely
upholds this "public interest" obligation, and up until now, virtually all
broadcasters understand and honor it. But if Sinclair broadcasts lies and is
allowed to present them as facts just before an election, then no amount of
fine or suspension could undo the damage to the political system.
The FCC should consider issuing a stay order until after the election so
that a full investigation can be mounted before airing material which can
render irrepairable harm to the political landscape of America.
Contact the FCC
"There's no end to the rascality of these flinty-hearted bastards..."~~Sen John Dingle (D.Mich) speaking of Republicans, quoted on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Nov. 11, 2003
By Sheila Samples
10/12/04 "ICH" -- What is the matter with the Republican Party? As one born within a tiny, tree-shaded Republican enclave in Missouri, raised by compassionate family-values-oriented Christian conservatives, and whose entire family remains staunchly, even militantly conservative, I think I have earned the right to ask that question.
So--what the hell is wrong with you guys?
History bumps along from dateline to dateline with no regard for party affiliation. That's why last week during the second presidential debate, when President George Bush slid off his stool, assumed his arms-akimbo "Super Hero" stance and childishly blurted out, "You can run, butcha can't hide," I was jerked into the realization that it's not possible for such a horrid, vacuous little creature to be the cause of the rampant madness zigzagging throughout our society today. Bush is the effect of it -- the natural result of a cruel, thoughtless and destructive movement within the Republican Party that had lain dormant from its inception, but like Stephen King's evil "Christine," shivered into life on November 22, 1963.
Both parties have been running and hiding ever since.
This is not a treatise on the assassination of a popular American President, nor of the massive manipulations of an investigative commision to cover it up. That tragic November day marks the "bump" in our history that began the evolutionary implosion of the Republican Party into neoconservatism and the sheer, bleak cruelty of a loveless Christianity.
Before that fateful 1963 bump, New York Govenor Nelson Rockefeller was truly the face of a kinder, gentler Republican Party. Rich, philanthrophic, and middle-of-the-road, as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America in the 1940's, Rockefeller was responsible for the success of FDR's "Good Neighbor" policy. During his four terms as governor, Rockefeller began large-scale welfare and drug-rehabilitation programs, reorganized the New York transportation system and built major public works projects.
At the 1964 convention, Rockefeller pleaded with a booing crowd to "keep the Republican party the party of all the people." He warned them of the danger of allowing extremists to gain influence, and of the threat they posed, not only to the party but to the entire nation. "These extremists feed on fear, hate and terror," he said. "They have no program for America and the Republican Party."
Rockefeller sounded the alarm that hateful neoconservatism would only get stronger and more destructive. "They operate from dark shadows of secrecy," he said, and his warning that "extremist groups" would ultimately subvert the values and morality of the Grand Old Party were lost in a wave of jeers -- "We want Barry! We want Barry!
Rockefeller, in what was considered possibly his finest moment, lost the ideological battle for the Party to Arizona's "Mr. Conservative," Barry Goldwater. The miracle it would take for either man to win the presidency didn't happen, of course, but the ideology embraced by the conservative wing of the party would result in a Nixon, a Reagan, and two Bushes -- all swept along under the evangelical influence of a Pat Robertson and the warmongering cabal of New World Order neoconservatives.
If ever there was a "flinty-hearted bastard," it was Barry Goldwater. In his acceptance speech for the nomination, he brazenly admonished his followers, "...Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...and moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue." Although Goldwater lost in a landslide to Johnson in 1964, he succeeded in putting a new face on the Republican Party. He achieved his goal of shifting control from the "liberal" Eastern wing to the radical extremists.
"First let's take over the party," Goldwater told his aides. "Then we'll go from there."
That's exactly what they did. And, they're still going -- still imploding, still evolving. The faces change...yet remain the same. They do not intend for their "forward movement" to be halted and, as the election date looms, they're increasingly desperate. Frantic. Shrieking. Lying. Totally out of control.
And that's just Rush Limbaugh. The self-proclaimed Most Dangerous Man in America.
If Limbaugh -- Rush...El Rushbo...Rusty -- is not the "face" of the Republican Party, he is its heart and soul -- and its mouth. He's the coward who crouches behind the "golden microphone" at the Exellence in Broadcasting (EIB) AM Radio Network and spews hate and filth 15 hours a week, wallowing ecstatically in his own vomit. He's the guy -- married three times, divorced three times -- who brags that he's a shining example for the "yoots" of America.
He's the guy who accused the President of the United States of murder, the First Lady of resembling a grotesque Pontiac hood ornament; the guy who referred to the First Daughter as the "White House dog." He's the guy who recently called John Kerry, a respected US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate, a "stupid SOB..."
Limbaugh's the guy addicted to Hillbilly Heroin (OxyContin) now facing ten felony drug counts who once declared that "too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer," he said, "is to find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river..." For once, as he so often reminds us, Rush is right. A trip up the river for Limbaugh just might heal some of the wounds he continues to inflict upon this nation's once proud Republican Party...
There are many frightening things about Limbaugh, but none more so than the influence he exerts upon his millions of robotic "Dittohead" listeners, many of whom I suspect would do anything he asked them to. He launched them into a scary crusade against the music group, The Dixie Chicks, one of whom dared to criticize George Bush. Think how easily they accepted his explanation of the torture, abuse and even murder of Iraqi citizens held captive at the now infamous Bahgdad Abu Ghraib prison.
When a caller suggested in early May that the helpless pile of naked bodies -- the hooded, electrically wired figure forced to stand on a box -- were nothing but "fraternity pranks," Rush shrieked, "Exactly! Exactly my point! ... This is no different than what happens at the skull and bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?"
Three months later, George Bush, the Dittohead in Chief, called Limbaugh, who is an "official unpaid advisor" http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_091304/content/eib_extra.guest.html to the Bush/Cheney Campaign, from Des Moines, Iowa, http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/dailysite_083104/content/eib_interview.guest.html to explain that we really could win the war on terror after admitting to Today Show's Matt Lauer that we could not win the war on terror.
If that's not enough to make the few Republicans who still have the ability to think for themselves remove their partisan earphones, carefully back away from AM radio, and race out to make an honest effort to retreive their party from the edge of the abyss, maybe they should consider that Bush 41 routinely calls Limbaugh during campaigns -- that Vice President Dick Cheney is a regular caller to the "Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies."
I would like to think there are some Republicans who would even agree with those of us who think it a bit strange that three of the most powerful men in the world, when faced with a critical necessity to address all the citizens of the United States would choose to dial up a foul-mouthed, lying egomaniacal college drop-out and stroke a bunch of Dittoheads.
Republicans don't seem to realize that they are no longer individual members of a coherent "party," but are merely part of a mean-spirited and dangerous movement that is theatening to sweep away democracy as we know it. For example, on C-Span's July 31 Washington Journal show, Kellyanne Conway, CEO and president of the Polling Company, angrily demanded -- "Where does the middle class get the idea they're entitled to a big house, foreign cars and tuition for all their kids? We got off track in the mid and late 90s -- we need an administration that will get people back to the reality..."
Reality? Well, according to George Bush's little brother and Florida governor Jeb Bush, some people just can't handle the truth. Jeb once told retired Naval Intelligence Officer Al Martin (cited in Bushwhacked, Sept. 2002, by Uri Dowbenko)...
"The truth is useless. You have to understand this right now. You can't deposit the truth in a bank. You can't buy groceries with the truth. You can't pay rent with the truth. The truth is a useless commodity that will hang around your neck like an albatross -- all the way to the homeless shelter. And if you think that the million or so people in this country that are really interested in the truth about their government can support people who would tell them the truth, you got another think coming. Because the million or so people in this country that are truly interested in the truth don't have any money."
Each generation of Republicans appears to get a little more malicious, more dangerous to the common good -- more, well --flinty-hearted. Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, who is no less than God's spokesman here on earth, was recently outraged at the release of photos of the Abu Ghraib inhumanity. "These prisoners wake up every morning thanking Allah that we are torturing them instead of Saddam." Inhofe snarled self-righteously during a nationally televised Senate hearing on the abuse.
Where have all the good guys gone? Where are the "Rockefeller Republicans?" Do they all buy into the "new" conservative ideology espoused by ultra right-winger Adam Yoshida in Insight Magazine, that social programs shouldn't be viewed as an effort to "help" anyone because those who depend upon the government are "beyond help" anyway?
Yoshida does not advocate cutting off benefits, because he warns doing that "will simply rouse them from their stupor and get more of them to the polls on Election Day. Rather," Yoshida continues, "we should consider maintaining (or even increasing) their benefits while, at the exact same time, making it harder for them to vote."
This compassionate conservative admits that it "might cost the government some extra money in the short-term to keep the dregs relatively happy and silent but, in the long term, it will be a great investment, as fewer of them vote and therefore allow us to make up for the money spent by electing wiser governments which will allow for faster economic growth."
Yoshida says keeping the "dregs" poor but happy is "a necessary amputation. We will discard a diseased limb to save the whole..."
Americans -- both Republicans and Democrats -- must face the reality that, since November 1963, we have evolved from a government of all the people to pacification and amputation of the most vulnerable and needy among us. Think about it.
Americans are on this trip together, and together we must work to change direction. We can no longer run and hide. Because we are hurtling headlong into a deadly fascist wall. And that final bump will be fatal.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma based freelance writer and a former US Army Public Information Officer. She will accept praise and atta-boys at: email@example.com. Complaints and death threats should be directed to her cousin, Junior Samples, at BR-549.
By David Rennie in Washington
In another test of America's frayed relations with France, Russia and other allies, the US Congress has ordered the State Department to start rating governments throughout the world on their treatment of Jewish citizens.
The resulting report cards on anti-Semitism would be published in annual US surveys of human rights abuses around the world.
The proposed law was passed by the House of Representatives on Monday, in response to what its sponsors called an alarming surge in anti-Semitism, especially in Europe. It has already been passed by the Senate.
Congress overruled strong opposition from diplomats at the State Department who complained in an internal memo that a special focus on Judaism, "opens us to charges of favouritism and challenges the credibility of our reporting".
There is little doubt that the new law will create diplomatic waves.
France, Russia, Malaysia, Egypt, Canada and Australia were singled out by congressional sponsors of the law as countries that had witnessed disturbing outbreaks of discrimination against Jews in the past year.
The law, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, also ordered the establishment of an office at the State Department dedicated to monitoring anti-Semitism, again over the department's protests.
The resulting internal row must now be resolved by President George W Bush as the legislation heads to his desk from Congress. With the act overwhelmingly backed by both parties, officials in Congress said they expected he would sign it into law.
A three-page State Department memorandum, leaked to The Telegraph yesterday, complained that congressional plans would throw US human rights reporting "out of balance", and "erode our credibility by being interpreted as favouritism in human rights reporting".
In a sign of the diplomatic anxieties, the State Department argued for anti-Semitism monitoring to remain a task conducted behind closed doors, by the department's existing "special envoy for holocaust issues".
At the moment, US diplomats discreetly gather data on anti-Semitism from other governments, in multilateral conferences held in Europe and an annual international religious freedom round table sponsored by Washington.
"There is no need for the special envoy to hold public hearings, take testimony or receive evidence to effectively monitor and combat anti-Semitism," said the memo, which was sent to congressional sponsors of the new law.
Tom Lantos, a California Democrat and Holocaust survivor who was one of the sponsors, denounced State Department talk of "favouritism" as an alarming nod to "the worst stereotypes of Jews perpetrated in anti-Semitic tracts throughout modern history".
Mr Lantos said the objections from diplomats overlooked existing offices at the State Department dedicated to promoting religious freedom, women's rights, and Tibetan rights.
He did not touch directly on the risk of offending French or other allied sensibilities.
Lynne Weil, his communications director, said: "It's unclear why anyone would be offended by this.
"If a government takes offence at this, that government should be offended by the acts of its own citizens, if they are hateful."