“The American public called PBS the most trusted source for news and public affairs programs and the most 'fair' source for news coverage.” - PBS, February 20, 2014 Last month, in response to Pando...
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Following Pando’s reporting on John Arnold and WNET, CPB ombudsman Joel Kaplan agreed that “without actually being able to examine” the documents involved in PBS transactions, “there is no way to know” if PBS content is being unduly manipulated. Referring to WNET’s move to give Arnold back his money, Kaplan added: “I hope that the decision to return the money was not done to avoid disclosing the original contract between the (Arnold) foundation and WNET – that agreement still needs to be disclosed.”
There's just something about this blog post that may strike some readers (like me, CP News Curator, Greg) as a bit breathless and even a little hyperbolic.
Thanks to this post, I learned that the NewsHour has been produced for years by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions which has been a part of Liberty Media for 20 years. I learned that the Arnold Foundation, not "anti-pension mogul John Arnold" was going to fund a program about pensions. I learned that the money was returned once the alleged conflict of interest was brought to light.
In this post, Mr. Sirota, besides taking a few liberties of his own by using several of his own blog posts as sources, seems to be taking other liberties by implying that CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan's letter of Feb 15th is a broader indictment of PBS instead in what he termed "a scathing report demanding immediate reform."
He seems to be mostly upset that his desire to obtain private contracts is being denied.
I can't help but wonder what all the fuss was and is about.
Last month, in response to Pando’s revelations that anti-pension mogul John Arnold secretly was financing PBS’s “Pension Peril” series, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting issued a scathing report demanding immediate reform. Criticizing “the lack of transparency” at PBS, CPB’s ombudsman Joel Kaplan declared that public broadcasting outlets must let the public access details of their financial dealings.
So how’s that new commitment to transparency going?
Here’s how: Once again, a PBS flagship station is in the process of negotiating a deal with a politically active mogul. Once again, the deal involves the NewsHour — the same iconic PBS program that stealthily promoted Arnold’s anti-pension programming. And once again, PBS is refusing to disclose the deal’s financial details to the public.
The major difference this time is that this new story of secrecy isn’t about who funds the journalism on the NewsHour. It is about who actually owns the NewsHour.
Lo and behold: Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States and the center of federal government, has decriminalized the possession and consumption of small amounts of marijuana. By a near-unanimous vote, the D.C. city council has decided to eliminate laws that made possession of up to an ounce of marijuana a criminal offense punishable by a fine of $1,000 or a six-month prison sentence. When the new regulations go into effect this summer, possession will be punishable only by a fine of $25; public consumption will remain a misdemeanor, but with a maximum fine of $500 or 60 days in jail. D.C. joins the 17 states that have decriminalization laws on the books, and has become one of the most lenient cities in the country when it comes to marijuana offenses.
As the world's biggest online retailer, Amazon wants a benevolent image to encourage trust from customers. Obtaining vast quantities of their personal information has been central to the firm's business model. But Amazon is diversifying -- and a few months ago the company signed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency to provide "cloud computing" services.
Amazon now has the means, motive and opportunity to provide huge amounts of customer information to its new business partner. An official statement from Amazon headquarters last fall declared: "We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA."
The Central Intelligence Agency has plenty of money to throw around. Thanks to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that the CIA's annual budget is $14.7 billion; the NSA's is $10.8 billion.
The EndPartisanship.org coalition today filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Newark,challenging the constitutionality of partisan primary elections.
Coffee Party USA's insight:
The idea of open primaries raises some interesting questions.
Should people who are not members of a party be entitled to vote in primaries to elect candidates chosen from a party?
If public funds were taken out of the equation, would that satisfy the issue and allow the "private clubs" to close their primaries to anyone who is not a member of the party? Would eliminating public funds be a "privatizing" of the electoral process? What are the pros and cons of doing so?
Finally, if so few eligible voters go to the polls for primaries and general elections now, would opening primaries change that behavior if the candidates and the parties don't fundamentally change themselves?
According to Congressional Lobbying Reports linked from this article….
Time-Warner’s 1Q2013 Lobbying Report lists $905,000.00 in total lobbying expenses, and a team of 4 lobbying on trade issues that included TPP, the New Zealand Copyright Act (http://fairdeal.net.nz/) and other matters.
Comcast’s 2Q2013 report lists total lobbying expenses of $5.47million. They categorize their lobbying related to TPP as “International IP Protection – TPP, WIPO (https://www.eff.org/issues/wipo), and TTIP.
In Q4 of 2013, Twenty-First Century Fox spent a total of $1.52million dollars on all their lobbying including the TPP, TTIP, and Trade Promotion Authority, better known as “fast track” authority.
Disney spent a total of $1.11million in the first quarter of last year on lobbying, spreading their TPP-related lobbying around in the House, the Senate, the U.S. Copyright Office, Patent & Trademark Office (PTO), the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), the Department of Commerce (DOC), and with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
Do we perhaps begin to understand better why it is that the corporate/mainstream media has nothing at all to share with us about the secrecy and the potential pitfalls of current trade negotiations?
Justice depends on having a fair chance to be heard, regardless of who you are, where you live, or how much money you have. The National Center for Access to Justice has created the Justice Index to help make access to justice a reality for all. The Justice Index provides a vivid picture of which states are following practices and providing the resources necessary to make the legal system fair to everyone. Our justice system is among the most highly regarded in the world and we cherish our ideal of equality before the law. But for too many people the reality falls short of the promise.
Can politics be cleaned of lies, spin, and allegations? Can a government agency—an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”—police political rhetoric in order to determine what is true, what is false, and what is, as Stephen Colbert would say, “truthy”? Not if we want to uphold the values of the First Amendment.
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Trevor Burrus Contributor
Can politics be cleaned of lies, spin, and allegations? Can a government agency—an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”—police political rhetoric in order to determine what is true, what is false, and what is, as Stephen Colbert would say, “truthy”?
That is just what the Supreme Court is considering in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, which will be argued in April. The case is a challenge to Ohio’s bizarre statute prohibiting knowingly or recklessly making “false” statements about a political candidate or ballot initiative. In other words, the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) essentially runs a ministry of truth to which any citizen can submit a complaint. Amazingly, twenty other states have such laws.
William Rivers Pitt: Abandoning the concept of single-payer health care is the Original Sin of the Affordable Care Act.
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:04 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed
Nothing so thoroughly dominated the American political landscape over the last year more than the Republican assault on the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known now as "Obamacare." The GOP's eternal refrain that "Government is the problem" was used as a battering ram against the law, and House Republicans have voted to repeal or denude it exactly fifty times as of today. Ted Cruz and his cohort of wreckers shut down the government over it, and the Tea Party base broke out their Sharpies to make gloriously stupid protest signs that read "Government Keep Your Hands Off My Medicare."
Amusing as all this was, the dark underbelly of it all is dangerously wrong. Yes, the ACA exchange website rollout was a train wreck, and yes, a small segment of the population has had problems with the new law. This is not in dispute. Websites can be fixed, however, and problems can be solved. None of this holds a candle to the awesome misery and financial pain inflicted upon the populace by the holy and sainted world of private business, known in this instance as the insurance industry.
Bridgette McGee is unearthing everything she can about her grandfather's life - and his death.
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Bridgette McGee grew up knowing nothing about her grandfather, Willie McGee. Now she is on a quest to unearth everything she can about his life – and his death.
In 1945, Willie McGee was accused of raping a white woman. The all-white jury took less than three minutes to find him guilty and McGee was sentenced to death. Over the next six years, the case went through three trials and sparked international protests and appeals from Albert Einstein, William Faulkner, Paul Robeson, and Josephine Baker. McGee was defended by a young Bella Abzug arguing her first major case. But in 1951, McGee was put to death in Mississippi’s traveling electric chair. His execution was broadcast live by a local radio station. Today, a newly discovered recording of that broadcast provides a chilling window into a lost episode of civil rights history. Narrated by Bridgette McGee, this documentary follows a granddaughter’s search for the truth about a case that has been called a real-life To Kill A Mockingbird.
Italian Historical Society of America, This website is sponsored by the Italian Historical Society of America which, since its founding in 1949 has been devoted to “perpetuating the names of those of Italian heritage who have contributed to the betterment of humankind.” We also provide information about currant and past events for those interested in Italian culture. Explore our ever expanding website and feel free to contact us with your reactions and requests and suggestions.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) sent the following letter to Speaker of the House John B ...
Coffee Party USA's insight:
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) sent the following letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (OH-08) regarding Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s conduct during yesterday’s committee hearing where he shut Ranking Member Elijah Cummings’(MD-07) microphone off as the Congressman began speaking. The full text of Chair Fudge’s letter is below and is available for download here.
Kamilah Moore Opinion The Afrikan Student Union at UCLA currently exists to promote, protect and serve the social, educational, and political interests of people of Afrikan descent. On Tuesday, February 4th, ASU Administrative Staff introduced a resolution to UCLA’s Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC) urging it, the UCLA Foundation, and the UC Regents to divest from corporations that have investments in the two major private prison companies, CCA and GEO Group.
As Black intellectuals and activists, it is important to recognize the context in which we are functioning. The UC has the largest endowment in the world. If we know, through public information on the UC Regents, that the UC is investing in corporations such as Wells Fargo, Vanguard Group, Blackrock Fund Advisors, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Invesco Finance LTD, and JP Morgan Chase, which contribute to the privatization of prisons and in turn, the enslavement of black, brown and other oppressed communities, it is our collective responsibility to challenge this reality.
OpenSecrets.org has fundraising profiles for all 535 members of Congress (and more).
Coffee Party USA's insight:
"As surely as water flows downhill, money in politics flows to where the power is. Individuals and interest groups will give campaign contributions to politicians in the best position to deliver what they're looking for. That means incumbents get vastly more than challengers, committee chairmen and legislative leaders get more than rank-and-file members, and parties in power get more than parties in the minority."
"When conservatism became a movement, it lost its soul."
- Alan Pell Crawford
Just 2 days ago, I posted a piece about conservative radio host, Mark Levin, receiving the "inaugural" Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
I posed these questions with it:
"Is this really what it means to be "conservative" in America today? Is it any wonder so many of us struggle to connect with each other?"
Now, and with sincere thanks to a good friend who just happens to be a conservative, I offer this article from The American Conservative by Alan Pell Crawford.
I strongly encourage everyone - especially liberals and progressives, but regardless of where you place yourself on the socio-political spectrum - to read it. It is informative, educational, and thought-provoking. It helped me to better understand where and how modern day conservatism got its start, as well as how the "conservative movement" has changed over the last few decades.
The contrast between Levin and Crawford is stark. The question now, it seems, is which one of them is more representative of conservatism to conservatives? Only conservatives can answer that question.
It is the night of August 15, 1973. I’m at Washington’s Sheraton-Park Hotel, now the Marriott-Wardman. The occasion is the annual convention of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), formed 12 years earlier by, among others, William F. Buckley Jr. While nearly 1,000 YAFers are elsewhere in the building, I, by special invitation, am at a reception hosted by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. Tyrrell—who had been kind enough to help me land an internship that summer at the right-wing weekly Human Events—was then the dashing editor of The Alternative, a magazine for undergraduates with Tory sensibilities.
The Alternative in time was renamed TheAmerican Spectator, and as Tyrrell became more enmeshed in conservative-movement politics, it would move uptown to the Washington, D.C. suburbs. But back then, The Alternative was edited in a farmhouse outside Bloomington, Indiana, home to Indiana University. It was at Indiana, as an undergraduate who had consumed a heady concoction of two parts Mencken and one part Edmund Burke, that I became an occasional contributor to The Alternative. Its publisher, the man we called “Baron” Von Kannon, is now a vice president at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank established that same year.
An Oxford scholar warns that our outmoded economic model is a “warrant for inflicting pain” first on the poor and minorities and eventually on most of society. - 2014/03/02
OXFORD, England—The morning after my Feb. 20 debate at the Oxford Union, I walked from my hotel along Oxford’s narrow cobblestone streets, past its storied colleges with resplendent lawns and Gothic stone spires, to meet Avner Offer, an economic historian and Chichele Professor Emeritus of Economic History.
Offer, the author of “The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain Since 1950,” for 25 years has explored the cavernous gap between our economic and social reality and our ruling economic ideology. Neoclassical economics, he says, is a “just-world theory,” one that posits that not only do good people get what they deserve but those who suffer deserve to suffer. He says this model is “a warrant for inflicting pain.” If we continue down a path of mounting scarcities, along with economic stagnation or decline, this neoclassical model is ominous. It could be used to justify repression in an effort to sustain a vision that does not correspond to the real world.
Since 1995 (HB 194 of 1995) Alabama has, at least on the books, had a mandatory recusal statute with respect to campaign contributions: a $2000 contribution to a trial judge or $4000 to an appellate judge would require the judge leave the case (specific law here).
The provision, however, was only sporadically enforced because it was not precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1964, which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
HB 543 of 2014 as introduced repeals the 1995 $2000/$4000 limits and replaces it with a new system
Coffee Party: Reviewing Issues You May Have Missed Lunch with Louden host Jeanene Louden is interviewed on the Tim Danahey Show (pre-recorded) Jeanene Louden of the Coffee Party USA and I discuss a number of issues not well covered in the news...
by HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY & COLEMAN LOWNDES, Media Matters
Conservative radio host Mark Levin is receiving the "inaugural" Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at noon today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual conference for right-wing activists.
According to Breitbart News, Levin is winning the award because he "fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence."
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Coffee Party Curator asks conservatives this question:
If Levin is receiving this award, is he representative of what it means to be a model conservative in America today?
Politics Done Right With Egberto Willies is a political talk show on current events. While the show has a admittedly liberal bent, it seeks to engage citizens of all political ideologies to foment a healthy discourse.
We've already passed a critical eye over the report on the War on Poverty issued by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), specifically its inaccurate and undeserved drive-by attack on Medicaid .
Unfortunately for Ryan, several experts on the War on Poverty have now taken their licks at the report. Doubly unfortunate for Ryan, some of them are experts whose work he cited in the report, and they say they've been misrepresented. That's important, because the goal of Ryan's report is to show that existing poverty programs are ineffective, and therefore should be changed (mostly by cutting them). But he cooked the books.
Rob Garver of the Fiscal Times has collected several of these complaints in one place. The scholars, he observes, "had reactions ranging from bemusement to anger at Ryan’s report, claiming that he either misunderstood or misrepresented their research."