GE/NBC/Comcast Merger Approved, Olbermann Fired…50th anniversary of what speech?

Oh yes, the first Texan in the White House (and just for the official records, this guy was a yankee).  Here’s that speech..

There’s some great historical context here.  This was the previous election that he mentions in passing. The direction the country would go next was very much up for debate and led to a very close election (and the subsequent second amendment rebuttal).

Wonderful under-quoted part of this (@5:00), “Crises there will continue to be.  In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great of small, there is a recurring temptation to feel some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties.”   For some reason, “Shock and Awe” springs immediately to mind.

His call to balance that followed was nice as well.

But the tides have changed since his warning.  He notes how military spending was roughly on par with corporate earnings in 1961.  Fifty years later, the balance of power has shifted as much as how we engage our enemies.

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms.

[full story]

Military spending was roughly $0.750 trillion in 2010.     So while I love Eisenhower’s take on it, and it’s been around for a while, the balance of power really has shifted away as mergers, consolidation, and attrition have brought this whole military industrial complex thing to a whole new level.  Which the acquisition of NBC some time ago, there was a mouthpiece, and with Universal, always something to say (and charge for).  Now with Comcast thrown into the mix, you do *really have* a vertically integrated global behemoth that can start the wars, cover it up, hide the news, broadcast something else, and keep pumping out half-hour crap that seems to be the only thing the only cable company left in town carries.

The scary part, at least from the recent developments file, is how they’ve been using an idiot led mob-horde of political opinion to make net neutrality, the obvious policy-level antidote to the entire scenario I described above, something akin to death panels/commie/socialism/etc. etc. the same bag of connotation and guilt by association used by all the media slime balls to slime things.

So where are we now?  GE owner of NBC Universal has been approved to buy Comcast and later that week Olbermann gets the quick axe.   I wouldn’t doubt he pulled it down faster, he’s just that kind of guy, but while his hyperbole wasn’t really my cup of tea, I didn’t doubt his sincerity, and found folks like him to be something of a bulwark against *actual* policy threats, and not the imagined ones.   Kind of like Donahue used to be.

You know about Phil Donahue, right?  He was a lefty political commentator on MSNBC back before the Iraq War.  He started asking lots of questions.  Having lots of guests.  As the war rhetoric heated up, so did his ratings. Three weeks before the bombs started dropping in Baghdad, GE dropped one on Donahue.

It simple doesn’t do to have one division of your company making and selling bombs, and the another of your division riling up domestic opposition to the use of them.  It’s not really a conspiracy folks.  There’s not man behind the curtain pulling all the strings.   There’s just a lot of people doing their jobs, trying to make it through the week/month/year.

But how it works, ultimately?  And how the *system* as a whole works to protect itself, and it’s profits?    That bothers me, that scares me.  That is something I try to fight against, in whatever way possible.  Unfortunately such a system is not an easy thing to combat, as I agree that each discrete decision such a system makes is rational, or very close to it.

Net neutrality is one of those things that would acts as a check and balance against such concentrated market power.   The Net can level the playing field, but only if the Net is level.

So there’s one less loudmouth on the air, and one more corporate behemoth encircling the globe (NEW AND IMPROVED: With a completely unfettered ability to distribute political money [and free airtime/bandwidth to the good kids]).

Joy.

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A Bit or Twenty About My Political Views

[this is an excerpt from a private conversation with a friend, who wish to remail anonymous, I think]

This is a much more civilzed conversation, but I really do prefer to have these conversations in public, as, you know…I’m a struggling writer. Really struggling.

To summarize…I’m not a Democrat and don’t follow their agenda. I saw Obama admitted a mistake with Dashle, which is why I like Obama. Bush couldn’t think of a mistake he made after four years…which was a sad joke.

I think both Cavuto and Olbermann are loud mouthed windbags who treat politics like college football. Cavuto is damn near retarded and Olbermann is a pompous windbag.

I enjoy watching and responding to, the Sunday morning talkers. NPR is one of the better sources of info. I usually scan Google News, which is run by an AI and then research from there to do my writing.

I don’t think News and Opinion should be mixed, which is why I think Fox, MSNBC, CNN, etc. are a joke. Cronkite could say more with the raise of an eyebrow than most of these modern schlubs can say with a ten minute rant. All of them are first and foremost a BUSINESS and in the media game to make money. They are not after Truth, at all, they go after ratings, which is why they suck.

I blame Bush and Cheney for making a series of huge strategic blunders that pushed our country to bankruptcy. That was the goal of AQ, BTW, to bankrupt the country. It worked. Bush is an anti-intellectual fool who picked party over principle again and again and again. He picked image over substance and should be in jail for endorsing and pushing torture.

Morals are still important. 9/11 didn’t change that. We’ve killed tens, if not hundred of thousands of innocent people in response. That, I feel, is very immoral.

I’m against torture because I have friends in the military. I also believe in the Golden Rule, as it has been “discovered” by every major religion on the planet. If one endorses torture for others, they endorse it for their friends. I don’t want anyone tortured and think there are much better ways to get information. Study how we “interrogated” German and Japanese Generals during WWII for some good examples.

I can, and have, sat down with people, been honest with them, and have had them telling me their secrets in under 20 minutes. Torture only makes people tell their torturers what the tortoree thinks their torturers want to hear. It’s not a good avenue to get at the truth. It’s torture, and it’s wrong. No matter who does it. Jack Bauer is a fictional character and a number of lecturers at the U.S. War College had to make a public statement about it, because of bunch of keyboard commandos think we should torture more people.

It won’t work, and you also might want to read up on the Japanese we executed for war crimes after they water-boarded Americans. It’s just not right. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

As Martin Luther King said, “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.” He got assassinated for that view.

I’m not a big fan of Clinton. He sold his soul to be President. Watch, or read “Primary Colors” to see how that worked.

I’m currently reading McClellen’s book on Bush, and consider it to be one of the more accurate readings on what went on in that White House.

I’ve also read two of Obama’s books, and consider him to be a very intelligent, very well read, and very good leader. I don’t agree with the Limbaughian traitorous stance that seems to be dominating the GOP. I also think “Joe the Plumber” is a tard and have written extensively about him.

I’m curious about your view of Islam, which I have a great deal of respect for, and am also critical of in my book.

BTW, would you like to buy a book? I hate to give my writings aways for free to people, as I believe them to have real value. I am an independent thinker, and wish to stay that way.

Regardless, I hope this finds you well. And I VERY MUCH appreciate the more respectful tone this conversation now has.

Peace,
-Roy

Military Industrial Complex Shuts Down Olbermann and Matthews on MSNBC (owned by GE)

(and Microsoft).  Microsoft doesn’t want to pay their taxes anymore than you do.

GE has a number of interests.  Some on them deeply involved in the could hundred billion dollars a year business of “defense”.   They don’t like Obama, or his change.

Oblermann and Mathews do.

So they’re gone.

MSNBC Takes Incendiary Hosts From Anchor Seat

MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel’s coverage of the election.

That experiment appears to be over.

After months of accusations of political bias and simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage.

The change — which comes in the home stretch of the long election cycle — is a direct result of tensions associated with the channel’s perceived shift to the political left.

Although MSNBC nearly doubled its total audience compared with the 2004 conventions, its competitive position did not improve, as it remained in last place among the broadcast and cable news networks. In prime time, the channel averaged 2.2 million viewers during the Democratic convention and 1.7 million viewers during the Republican convention.

The success of the Fox News Channel in the past decade along with the growth of political blogs have convinced many media companies that provocative commentary attracts viewers and lures Web browsers more than straight news delivered dispassionately.

“In a rapidly changing media environment, this is the great philosophical debate,” Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, said in a telephone interview Saturday. Fighting the ratings game, he added, “the bottom line is that we’re experiencing incredible success.”

[full story]

The problem is that the “president of MSNBC” isn’t the presiden of MSNBC, of ya follow, as they are owned by other companies.  They are big gears in a bigger machine, and the bigger machine makes a whole lot more money the way things are, than they would if things were to change.

Real change.  So it’s pretty evident who they support in this election, and who represents a “changing of the guard” if you will…

BTW, this happened before.  Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Donahue’s final show will be Friday night. The news show that precedes him on the air, “Countdown: Iraq,” temporarily will be expanded to two hours to replace him.

“We’re proud of the program and we’re disappointed that the show was not able to attract the viewership we had hoped for and expected,” said Erik Sorenson, MSNBC president. “We thank Phil and his staff for their dedication, commitment and passion.”

Donahue’s office referred calls to his agent on Thursday, and he did not immediately return a call for comment.

The move was not a surprise. MSNBC hoped “Donahue” would provide a liberal counterweight to Fox News Channel’s competing “The O’Reilly Factor,” but the ratings started poorly and didn’t improve.

[full story]

Donahue was very much against the invasion of Iraq. It was an unpopular opinion at the time, both with the general public and his bosses (and their bosses). 

He’s still not so hot on it. 

I wonder what his ratings would be if he had been broadcasting for the last five years.  I wonder if we’d still be there now.  That’s how powerful a TV program can be.  Don’t fool yourself.  People can only make decisions on the information they have at hand.  Visual, visceral images can be *very powerful* forms of information.  Often the people who bring you information try to find experts to trust to analyze and simplify complex information and situations. 

We can’t all be experts at everything, but some of us try to be quick studies on as many things as possible.  And try to see how the inter-relate.  And try to see what is happening now.

We write journals about it.  Some people call us journalists.  Nowadays a subset of that group is called bloggers.  I thought this was important enough to write about.

Because I’ve seen it before.  I’ve seen the same people do the same thing.  And I’ve seen the result. 

 Interesting times, we have here, that’s for sure.