Traitors and Enemies

  • Posted on: 17 August 2011
  • By: Aaron Barlow

Yesterday, we visited the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on the Hudson River side of Manhattan. I discovered that the Intrepid was one of the aircraft carriers whose planes my father may have directed to refueling stations as a radio operator on Leyte Island during the naval Battle of Leyte Gulf (while the battle for the island was going on around him). We also toured the Growler, a submarine in use in the early 1960s.


While watching a video in line to get on the sub, I was struck by a section on the history of submarines. After talking about the lack of success of the Turtle in the Revolution (an attempt to find a way to break the British blockade), the story turned to another blockade of American coasts, almost a century later. The blockaders were explicitly compared to those British of the earlier war and were not named as anything other than “the enemy.” The hero of the segment was a “Confederate planter” identified as a “patriot,” a man named H. L. Hunley. My jaw dropped.


How could anyone, there, at a museum dedicated to the armed services of the United States, find it acceptable to refer to the United States Navy as “the enemy” and call a rebel against the country a “patriot”?

Random Japan

  • Posted on: 14 August 2011
  • By: mishima

Photobucket
Click image for larger size.

ON THE ROAD

A homeless man who racked up a ¥180,000 taxi fare from Tokyo to Osaka was arrested after revealing that he only had ¥6,000 to his name.

The National Police Agency sent a team of six judo instructors to teach martial arts to Afghan police officers at a training center in Turkey.

A 24-year-old Tochigi man was arrested for stealing 18 pairs of underwear from the home of a female high school student.

It was reported that mosquito nets made by Sumitomo Chemical Co. are partly responsible for the recent drastic decline in malaria deaths worldwide.

Stats

¥1 million
Bonus payment that beverage giant Kirin will award to all 21 members of Japan’s world championship women’s soccer team

100,000
Households that were unprepared for the switch from analog to digital TV broadcasting on July 24, according to newspaper reports

47/33
Percent of Japanese men and women in their early 30s, respectively, who are single, according to The Daily Yomiuri

Sections: 

The Power of the People: Blogger & Citizen Journalist Sourcing Beats the Traditional Media

  • Posted on: 13 August 2011
  • By: ePluribus Media

A special hat-tip to Kaili Joy Gray of Daily Kos for this, which appeared in today's Midday Open Thread:

Despite years of traditional media outlets bitching that blogs add nothing to the media landscape but simply live as parasites off recycling original traditional reporting, an academic study of local blogs shows that just isn't true:

In the 1,000 blog posts examined, bloggers used 2,246 sources, of which only 517 were from traditional media, and Watson found that local public-affairs bloggers are more likely to depend on original sources—documents, government databases, shoe-leather reporting (interviews, eyewitness reports, etc.)—than on media sources. "Additionally, when these bloggers do use traditional media sources, they are also likely to use additional, non-media sources," Watson writes.

The bloggers studied use significantly greater numbers of traditional media sources when writing about nonlocal topics, but as Watson notes, their use may be analogous to a local paper's use of a news wire to cover nonlocal news: Neither has the resources to collect nonlocal news.

This also relates, indirectly (or perhaps directly?), to the earlier references to convergence from our own Open Thread this morning.

Neat, eh?

 

Sections: 

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Convergence & Coalescence, xkcd Edition

  • Posted on: 13 August 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

Mac/PC
Click to enlarge. Attribution: xkcd.1

To quote Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program as well as a full Professor of Literature at MIT, on the topic of media convergence:

We are living in an age when changes in communications, storytelling and information technologies are reshaping almost every aspect of contemporary life -- including how we create, consume, learn, and interact with each other. A whole range of new technologies enable consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content and in the process, these technologies have altered the ways that consumers interact with core institutions of government, education, and commerce.

That's a lot of "stuff" all coalescing into new, hopefully synergetic ways of disseminating and assimilating information. We've seen examples of it most recently with regard to the activities of loosely organized anonymous hacking groups as well as with the recent internationally reported riots - the riots in Egypt and London, for example (but by no means the only ones).

Even citizen journalism has taken on new power and meaning as various technologies merge, enabling citizens to report local news and events to the masses like never before.

It's a brave new world of information exchange, security and cyber-warfare - and it's permeating the very fabric of the cultures in many first-world nations.

How do you see this playing out now, in your life? Where do you think it's going to lead us, and what are some of the possible as-yet unforeseen consequences that may arise?

Comments are open - remember, this is an Open Thread.

Namaste.

 

Only footnote references - and comments - appear over-the-fold.

 

Sections: 

London: The Result of Removing Hope

  • Posted on: 10 August 2011
  • By: Aaron Barlow

Read Tony Wikrent's piece about what's going on in London.  Then read the one by Brian Alexander on the MSNBC site.

I no longer know what to say about what goes on in the world.  The fact that the people of Wisconsin do not see that the rich (the Republicans) do not represent their interests, that they believe they are going to end up on the up side of the divide between the rich and everyone else that is our world... well, that just confirms the depression I've felt since the Tea Party started stealing my heritage (my 5-greats-grandfather, for whom I'm named, fought in the American Revolution).

The fact that few people in the US or in England, or in any place where there is a vibrant middle class, no longer realize that they are able to be that middle class because their cultures pay some attention to the poor... well, it seems to be forgotten.

There's no future - and England's burning

  • Posted on: 10 August 2011
  • By: Tony Wikrent

It has now been three days since riots began in North London after police shot and killed a man reported to be involved with a local drug gang. According to at least one source, the fact that the riots appear to be organized using the relatively secure Blackberry network is evidence that British drug gangs are leading the riots in reaction to recent, highly successful police efforts to terminate many drug gang operations. The reasoning is that unemployed teen punks would not be able to afford Blackberry's. So, it must be drug gang members. Supposedly, the British police are "allowing" the riots to continue (for three days now?!?) so they can get plenty of photos of gang members organizing riots on their Blackberries. Oh, and to sway the "civil liberty types" toward further expansion of an already oppressive police state in Britain:

 

Re Election Fraud By Americans For Prosperity, United Sportsmen Of Wisconsin, And John W. Connors In Wisconsin Recall Election

  • Posted on: 9 August 2011
  • By: luaptifer

Protect Our Elections
POB 9576
Washington, DC 20016
August 8, 2011

Robert Mueller
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

Nancy McNamara<
Special Agent In Charge
330 E. Kilbourn Ave, Suite 600
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Re: Election Fraud By Americans For Prosperity, United Sportsmen Of Wisconsin, And John W. Connors In Wisconsin Recall Elections

Dear Director Mueller and SIC McNamara:

I am writing on behalf of ProtectOurElections.org to request a federal criminal investigation into the activities of groups controlled by or affiliated with John W. Connors, a Wisconsin resident and president and owner of J Connors and Company LLC, whose address is listed at 1126 South 70th St S240, Milwaukee WI 53214. In short, it has been reported that Mr. Connors has been engaged in misleading and fraudulent conduct with respect to the recent Wisconsin recall elections by creating mysterious front group(s) and sending out false mailings in order to suppress the Democratic vote. Investigative reporter Brad Freidman wrote about this earlier today at http://www.bradblog.com/?p=8659, a copy which is attached.

Specifically, two Connors affiliated groups, Americans for Prosperity (“AFP”) and United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, (“USW”) have sent out mailers and absentee ballots to Democrats falsely telling them the wrong date for the return of the ballots. In the case of AFP, the instructions stated that the ballots had to be returned by Aug 11, two days after the election, and in the case of USW, the instructions stated that they had to be returned on August 4, five days before the election. In the first case, the ballot would not be counted if not received by August 9, and in the second case, people who followed the instructions after August 4 may have not voted because they believed that they did not send their absentee ballot to elections officials in time. In both cases, the intent of the mailers was to defraud and mislead voters in order to suppress voter participation by Democrats.

Americans For Prosperity is a national organization under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. It appears that AFP is directly involved with these false mailings and is funding and facilitating the work of Jon Connors with respect to USW and other opaque front groups in order to fraudulently manipulate elections in Wisconsin. If so, this constitutes a federal violation of section 501(c)(4). Moreover, because these false mailings were sent through the United States Postal Service, the federal mail fraud statute, 18 USC 1341, appears to have been violated.

We strongly urge you to investigate and prosecute John Connors, Americans For Prosperity and his affiliated groups for violating these and other federal statutes.

Sincerely,

Kevin Zeese
Attorney at Law

Where did the passion of Barack Obama the candidate go?

  • Posted on: 7 August 2011
  • By: standingup

I have heard enough about the debt ceiling to last a life time. I will probably feel the same way about the S&P downgrade of the U.S. by the end of next week too. But there is an opinion piece in the New York Times worth the time to read. I can't recall reading Drew Westen's work before yet after reading his piece What Happened to Obama?, I look forward to even more.

An excerpt to wet your appetite:

When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.

In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:

“I know you’re scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn’t work out. And it didn’t work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can’t promise that we won’t make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again.” A story isn’t a policy. But that simple narrative — and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it — would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn’t tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit — a deficit that didn’t exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.

U.S. Fiscal Policies, Economic Drivers and Energy Reform: Will we get what we need, or more of the same?

  • Posted on: 6 August 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

(Hint: "More of the same" is killing our nation)

The following is my opinion, and is not to be taken as synonymous with or supported by the staff, writers and editors of ePluribus Media. It is my own take on my personal observations. - GreyHawk, August 2011

Over the past decade, the GOP gutted the US infrastructure as well as the social safety net while simultaneously killing revenues from corporations and the "elite" - in addition to starting two wars, the second of which was started based on carefully manufactured lies and which was used to justify multiple constitutional violations as well as the implementation of and reliance upon crimes against humanity. The second war was kept "off books" for the most part, was highly mis-managed and lost TRILLIONS of dollars.

To fix this mess, another stimulus - this time grounded in a strong infrastructure program and new energy policy - is needed along with single-payer health care, Wall Street & banking reform, closing of loopholes and tax revenues from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

Getting even 1 of those things will be a miracle with the current Congress.

The US people need to vote out the GOP and Tea Party from all levels of government - local, state & federal (and yank what they can from the judiciary - which is nigh impossible) - in order to foment effective change and positive growth.

 

 Use this as an Open Thread, and add your comments below. Thank you.

 

Sections: 

Welcome to the October 2011 Coalition - Help Stop The Machine + Create A New World

  • Posted on: 5 August 2011
  • By: luaptifer

 

October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.
READ MORE


 
 

 

"I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America's resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning."

 

 


 

All-Time All-American Musicians

  • Posted on: 3 August 2011
  • By: Aaron Barlow

During this week of great political frustration, perhaps it is best to turn our attention elsewhere for a moment. So...

The other day, I heard someone say that Aaron Copeland's Symphony No. 3 is the quintessential piece of American music. I couldn't agree. Classical music, even if it tries to incorporate "American" musical themes, never can be American at its core. It just doesn't grow out of the people here, no matter how much some of us may love it.

But the statement got me asking: Just who or what is best representative of American music? I flipped through a dozen or so answers, starting with Louis Armstrong and including Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Irving Berlin and Richard Rodgers. I wasn't looking necessarily for the best, or even the most influential, but for the one (or ones) who best exemplify this country, its good as well as its bad.

Eventually, I came up with two (I could not bring it down to one--America just isn't that simple), one male, one female. One black, one white. One exquisite songwriter, one stupendous performer. One from country & western, one from the blues.

Victory for Bunny Greenhouse

  • Posted on: 2 August 2011
  • By: susie dow

It seems like an eon since I first learned of Bunny Greenhouse's work on the Defense Base Act. Most Americans best know her as the whistleblower who blew the lid off of KBR/Halliburton no-bid contracts in the run up to the Iraq War.

Few know that she is responsible today for ushering in significant reforms the Defense Base Act, the equivalent of workers compensation for overseas contractors. Over the years, I wondered if her work with the Defense Base Act played a part in the retaliation she faced. For too many insurance companies, the Defense Base Act was a cash cow.

Victory for Bunny Greenhouse
Press Release, Web Wire, July 26, 2011

Today, the National Whistleblowers Center announced that the United States District Court in Washington D.C. gave its final approval of a settlement between Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After a six year legal battle, the Army Corps agreed to pay Ms. Greenhouse $970,000 representing full restitution for lost wages, compensatory damages and attorneys fees. Ms. Greenhouse was notified that she was going to be removed from her position as the Army Corps chief contracting and procurement executive after being demoted out of the Senior Executive Service when she strongly objected, during the award of a secret contract granting Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (“KBR”), a no-compete, sole source, cost-plus $7 Billion contract as the invasion of Iraq was about to commence.

Her work with the Defense Base Act will over time save the American taxpayer billions of dollars.

Additional Reading

Iraq, Contingency Contracting and the Defense Base Act
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, March 4, 2007

 

Sections: 

Open Thread: Debt Ceiling or Credit Limit and Other Nonsense

  • Posted on: 1 August 2011
  • By: Roxy

I got a letter from my credit card company the other day ... it said:

Congratulations! We have increased your credit limit to $XX!  

Apparently they thought increasing my spending limit was a good thing -- the CONGRATULATIONS! part was heavily emphasized (see below).

CONGRATULATIONS!

They didn't tell me that I could only spend the increase on DingDongs and that I had to curtial my spending at Old Navy. No, the letter simply said I could now spend more money.

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