NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Despite earning a ballot line in the 2010 U.S. Senate Race in Connecticut, Dr. John Mertens is not invited to participate in the first post-primary U.S. Senate debate, in New Haven, Conn., Monday, October 04, 2010 from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m., but Mertens has found a way around this roadblock.
Using multimedia technologies to show the televised debate and candidates Blumenthal and McMahon’s answers (live), Mertens and his team will pause to allow candidate Mertens to answer each question before resuming the televised broadcast, giving equal voice to all three candidates. Olwen Logan, publisher of three online local news publications, writer and PR consultant, will be moderating the event.
“John Mertens’ broadcast is a brilliantly creative way of using technology to push back against the duopoly which continues to exclude him and other alternative voices from being heard,” said Christina Tobin, founder and chair of The Free and Equal Elections Foundation. “Voters everywhere deserve to hear from all candidates for public office so they can make educated decisions at the polls.”
“We’re inviting the audience to be citizen journalists during the debate through twitter, and to stay after to connect and discuss issues,” Mertens said.
The Republican grab for Congress is being funded by a pack of wolves masquerading as a herd of sheep.
How sweet and innocent they seem, these mysterious organizations with names like Americans for Job Security. Who could argue with that? Who wants job insecurity?
It turns out, according to The Washington Post, that an entity called Americans for Job Security has made nearly $7.5 million in “independent” campaign expenditures this year, with 88 percent of that total going to support Republican candidates. Who’s putting up all that money? You’ll never know, because Americans for Job Security—which calls itself a “business association”—doesn’t have to disclose the source of its funding.
Phi Beta Iota: The Supreme Court is no longer the arbiter of the Constitution or of Justice–the decision to ratify corporate personality, the most anti-democratic concept after slavery–and to allow organizations to spend freely on manipulating elections, is the nail in the coffin of the Republic. The original Republic is dead–Benjamin Franklin was correct, we could not keep it. Whether a Second American Republic arises from these ashes remains to be seen.
From what we do know, it’s clear that some Tea Party groups and candidates like Sharron Angle, Paul and O’Donnell are being financed directly or indirectly not just by the Kochs (who share the No. 5 spot on the new Forbes 400) but by a remarkable coterie of fellow billionaires, led by oil barons like Robert Rowling (Forbes No. 69) and Trevor Rees-Jones (No. 110). Even their largess may be dwarfed by Rupert Murdoch (No. 38) and his News Corporation, whose known cash contributions ($2 million to Republican and Republican-tilting campaign groups) are dwarfed by the avalanche of free promotion they provide Tea Party causes and personalities daily at Fox and The Wall Street Journal.
Phi Beta Iota: The author provides a long and compelling description of how the Tea Party is a front for big money; most Tea Party candidates are not what they claim to be, and the public–the ignorant, angry, naive public–is falling for the shell game.
The attached critique of network centric change has facebook/twitter evangelicals in uproar, but it is very insightful, and, I would add, consistent with every treatise on guerrilla warfare and revolution I have read.
Social media can’t provide what social change has always required.
The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960. “Social networks are particularly effective at increasing motivation,” Aaker and Smith write. But that’s not true. Social networks are effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires. . . . . . . . In other words, Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice. We are a long way from the lunch counters of Greensboro.
Phi Beta Iota: What is revolutionary about Twitter and Facebook is the ability to move information. Nothing more. It is the content, the nature, the biting, arousing, energizing nature of the content that moves people to burn tires in the streets or do other non-violent mass demonstrations. We are not there yet because nobody–not Ralph Nader, not Ron Paul, not Cynthia McKinney, not Jackie Salit, and certainly not Mike Bloomberg, who could be President–is actually trying to create public intelligence in the public interest. Our Virtual Cabinet series at Huffington Post is a start, but until funding or cognitive surplus can be found for the World Brain and Global Game, Twitter and Facebook will remain in grade school and not graduate to real life. IOHO.
Howard Rheingold, then editor of the Whole Earth Review (WER) gave us access to all past issues of WER, and permission to select and print this special collection of authors and idea relevant to the Revolution in Intelligence Affairs (RIA). All of it remains relevant because both government and industry have chosen to remain on an industrial-era path that over-stresses centralized control, corporate copyright, and technology instead of thinking.
Here is a tiny sampling from that collection, all 75 items free online.
The below linked article in the 2 October 2010 edition of the New York Times [Attachment 1] is a good example of the pro-Israeli bias in the US mainstream media when it comes to portraying Israel’s relations with the Palestinians.
Note the paragraph I marked in bold which says unequivocally that “Israel halted most settlement construction for 10 months last November …” This statement is clearly central to the reader’s understanding of the questions of whether or not Israel has been negotiating with good will and who is responsible for the crisis in the peace talks. It is also outrageously wrong, and that crucial fact was known at least five days before it was written. That this is indisputably true can be seen in Attachment 2 beneath it, a 28 September 2010 report in Ha’aretz, perhaps Israel’s most prestigious newpaper — ironically, Ha’aretz is often referred as the New York Times of Israel. Ha’aretz tells the reader that the Israeli government’s own official statistics show that the settlement freeze was barely a slowdown.
There is no way the author of the NYT report, Ethan Bonner, the senior New York Times reporter based in Israel, could have been unaware of the Ha’aretz report, and his (or his editor’s) countenancing such an unequivocal statement, without at least a caveat, can only be construed to be a deliberate attempt to mislead the reader with respect to the nature of the settlement freeze, and by extension, the good will in Israel’s negotiating stance vis a vis that of the Palestinians. His biased outlook becomes transparently clear when one compares the tone and context to the two reports.
To those readers, who think I am nitpicking, I would urge them to think about the wisdom embodied in the following two quotes: The first is by James Madison, the father of the US Constitution, describing the importance of popular information to effective functioning of a representative democracy. The second is Edward Gibbon’s assessment of how ignorance and fanaticism sapped the cognitive faculties of the Roman peoople:
“A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” – James Madison, from a letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822
”Their credulity debased and vitiated the faculties of the mind: they corrupted the evidence of history; and superstition gradually extinguished the hostile light of philosophy and science.” – Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian leadership said Saturday that four-week-old direct talks with Israel should be suspended if Jewish settlement construction resumed in the West Bank. It called on the international community to pressure Israel to stop the building but withheld a final decision on the talks until an Arab League meeting on Friday.
What took place in the past few months is, in the best case scenario, not more than a negligible decrease in the number of housing units that were built in settlements.
By Dror Etkes, Ha’aretz, 28 Sept 2010
The official statistics supplied by the Central Bureau of Statistics describe the story behind the 10-month construction moratorium in the West Bank. The story can be called many things but “freeze” is certainly not one of them. What took place in the past few months is, in the best case scenario, not more than a negligible decrease in the number of housing units that were built in settlements.
Phi Beta Iota: Apart from facts in isolation, context matters. The Israeli settlements are unsustainabile in relation to available water and the continuing atrocities against the Palestinian people on their own land is an ongoing crime against humanity that is easily, in today’s context, as terrible as the Holocaust was in Hitler’s time. None of this has entered the human consciousness of the US public because their leaders lack integrity, as do the corporate media led by the New York Times.
Admit it. Secretly you think optimistic people are just a little annoying—their constant, insufferable smiling; the way they’re always looking on the “bright side” and reciting cheerful aphorisms. When you encounter an optimist, uncharitable words like “sap” and “chump” may pop into your head. And when optimists veer off into wishful thinking, and the ridiculous state called “blind optimism,” you suspect they are downright delusional, even dangerous. Is optimism really a characteristic we want to instill in ourselves and our kids?
Actually, yes. Optimism can protect against depression and anxiety disorders and promote emotional resilience. Optimists are physically healthier than pessimists, and they recover faster from conditions like heart disease. Optimism can help us cope more effectively with stress, and affects the immune system in ways that are largely beneficial. Plus, most people prefer the company of optimists. Compared to pessimists, they have more friends and are more likely to have wide social networks, which confer additional health benefits.
CAIRO — Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden called for the creation of a new relief body to help Muslims in an audiotape released Friday, seeking to exploit discontent following this summer’s devastating floods in Pakistan by depicting the region’s governments as uncaring.
It was the third message in recent weeks from al-Qaida figures concerning the massive floods that affected around 20 million people in Pakistan, signaling a concentrated campaign by the terror group to tap into anger over the flooding to rally support.
But while the earlier messages by subordinates were angry, urging followers to rise up, bin Laden took a softer, even humanitarian tone – apparently trying to broaden al-Qaida’s appeal by presenting his group as a problem-solving protector of the poor.
“What governments spend on relief work is secondary to what they spend on armies,” bin Laden says on the 11-minute tape titled “Reflections on the Method of Relief Work.”
“If governments spent (on relief) only one percent of what is spent on armies, they would change the face of the world for poor people,” he said
Phi Beta Iota: We believe Bin Laden to be dead or comatose, but it merits comment that some people do take on a life of their own after death, as with many prophets whose messages are refined or corrupted, but carried on. What should shock and awe here is that this message makes a great deal more sense than the current US strategy of spending trillions on elective occupations and Wall Street bail-outs, and nothing at all on eight of the ten high-level threats to humanity, with stark poverty in the USA and elsewhere being #1.
Over 50% of youth in shelters and on the streets report that their parents told them to leave or knew they were leaving and did not care.
One IN four homeless youth come from the foster care system
33% of heterosexual homeless youth have been sexually abused
Less than one in four homeless children will graduate from high school
Every day 12 kids die on the streets of America
Why are there more than 1,600,000 homeless youth right here in our own backyard?
As I continued to study the issue I have found there are basically two camps out there. The main camp are the people, myself included at first, who simply have NO CLUE that this is such a huge problem. Most people I talk to have no idea that this is such a major epidemic.
The second camp is the people who feel the statistics are made up. There are a lot of people who don’t want to believe this could be happening on the streets of our country. Sure there are homeless kids in Africa, India, Pakistan and a host of other third world countries, but not here!
We can no longer allow this epidemic to continue. The future of our great country is in the hands of our children. How can we comfortably sleep at night when so many of our children are alone, scared and living homeless on the streets?