Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dean Baker Saying It Clearly

Dean Baker on the surge in real wages last month, mainly due to the disappearance of roughly $14 trillion in "counterfeit" wealth from the economy, by means of the housing bubble burst and the stock market crash.

The money quote, "[W]hen the rich lose wealth it is a gain to everyone else. In short, they have our money."

Monday, December 15, 2008


David Sirota helps us remember our way--hopefully--back toward sanity.

In the slow-motion train wreck that became the current economic meltdown, our bipartisan political Establishment and the sycophantic punditburo have been wrong over and over and over again. They told us that eviscerating consumer protections would unleash the market's benevolent power and boost the economy. They told us that a trillion-dollar Wall Street bailout would solve a credit crisis. They told us that bailout would be subjected to intense oversight and scrutiny.

Wrong, wrong and wrong -- and when critics predicted just that, sneering commentators and congressional leaders berated us as know-nothing Luddites, conspiracy theorists, or both.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Statue

Obama's achievement at being elected the first African American President was so great, that instead of inaugurating him President, they're going to inaugurate a statue of Barack Obama, The First African-American President of the United States.

In his desire to bring a "new kind of politics" to Washington and to "be President of all the people," Obama has surpassed all previous Presidents-elect. So he will be sworn in in January as a petrified version of himself, a perfect statue all factions of American society can respect, look proudly upon, and position however needed.

The six foot two and one half inch carving of granite shows Obama in shirt sleeves, blazer jacket slung over his shoulder, necktie loosened, standing at a specially-erected podium and rostrum on the mall, and gesturing upward with his right hand.

According to Frida Berrigan at Alternet,

A new era in Pentagon spending would have to begin with a recognition that enduring security is not attained by threat or fiat, nor is it bought with staggering billions of dollars. It is built with other nations. Weapons come second.

Pundits are saying now that it was the problem of bringing change to the Pentagon, that helped Obama achieve the solution to "turn to stone."

See also, Baker, Peter and Shanker, Tom, Obama Plans to Retain Gates at Defense Department, the New York Times, Tuesday, November 25, 2008.

Check out this offering from sagacious William Greider on the SecTreas appointment:

A year ago, when Barack Obama said it was time to turn the page, his campaign declaration seemed to promise a fresh start for Washington. I, for one, failed to foresee Obama would turn the page backward.

Friday, October 24, 2008

First Amendment

Reporters Without Borders publishes a "Freedom of the Press" Index for about 150 different countries. It has been published for about six years now, during which time the United States has dropped from no. 17 on the list to no. 53.

Some media outlets are trying to spin it so that it looks like the U.S. is no. 36 on the list, but this is a distortion that any baseball fan can see through.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Another" Voter Fraud Story?

The San Jose Mercury published an interesting story about an ARREST in California, concerning voter-registration fraud.

Where are all the Republican dogcatchers now?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Pitchfork Moment"

The Bush Administration's proposed emergency loan package for the financial industry disenfranchises the American people, who are putting up the loan.

It's not just that Bush's Wall Street cronies Bernanke and Paulson are presenting the current crisis their policies--along with Alan Greenspan's--hatched, as a do or die moment for western civilization.

The worst feature is the "shock-doctrinesque" Treasury coup by Paulson, aided and abetted by Congress. Glen Greenwald refers to it as a "pitchfork moment--an episode that understandably would send people into the streets in mass outrage ..."


He explains,

What is more intrinsically corrupt than allowing people to engage in high-reward/no-risk capitalism -- where they reap tens of millions of dollars and more every year while their reckless gambles are paying off only to then have the Government shift their losses to the citizenry at large once their schemes collapse? We've retroactively created a win-only system where the wealthiest corporations and their shareholders are free to gamble for as long as they win and then force others who have no upside to pay for their losses. Watching Wall St. erupt with an orgy of celebration on Friday after it became clear the Government (i.e., you) would pay for their disaster was literally nauseating, as the very people who wreaked this havoc are now being rewarded.

It's elegantly simple. The three key provisions: (1) The Treasury Secretary is authorized to buy up to $700 billion of any mortgage-related assets (so he can just transfer that amount to any corporations in exchange for their worthless or severely crippled "assets") [Sec. 6]; (2) The ceiling on the national debt is raised to $11.3 trillion to accommodate this scheme [Sec. 10]; and (3) best of all: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency" [Sec. 8].

Put another way, this authorizes Hank Paulson to transfer $700 billion of taxpayer money to private industry in his sole discretion, and nobody has the right or ability to review or challenge any decision he makes.

The one problem is, you'll never hear or read anything about those points in the commercial media.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Conversion Cover Story

On Tuesday, September 9, the city of Wilmington, NC held an experimental switchover from analog to digital broadcasting. There were some minor problems, but not a lot of details about them in the press.

According to Bruce Dixon, however, Associate Editor of Black Agenda Report, the real problem with the conversion is something the commercial media, the Congress and the FCC aren't talking about.

According to Dixon, "When I put a microphone in Kevin Martin's face and asked him why none of the new channels were being made available to the public, he said, 'That's a good question. I'd like to hear more from the public about that.'"

Unfortunately, Martin is unlikely to hear much from the the public about this on his upcoming tour. Dixon calls it, the FCC's We're Not Listening Tour.

The tour is supposed to provide the public with a forum to give meaningful input to the Commissioners about the upcoming digital conversion.

Anchorage, Alaska

Fairbanks, Alaska

Baltimore, Maryland

San Francisco, California

Austin, Texas

Houston, Texas

Memphis, Tennessee

New York, New York

Boise, Idaho

Atlanta, Georgia

Missoula, Montana

Helena, Montana

Bozeman, Montana

Billings, Montana

Nashville, Tennessee

Charlotte, North Carolina

Denver, Colorado

Seattle, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Yakima, Washington

Portland, Oregon

Chicago, Illinois

Phoenix, Arizona

The complete list of 80 cities to be visited by the FCC between now and February is here.

In an interview on Media-Monitors (7:30 pm MNN ch. 56 Sept. 18, 2008), Dixon describes what citizen-activists need to do to use this opportunity to wrest some of the intiative away from the big networks and their affiliates in the upcoming digital channel giveaway.

People need to get their questions ready and show up at the FCC hearing when it comes to their town.

We will post the relevant sections of the 1996 Telecommunications Act here as soon as we can extract them from the legislation text.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Update to CNN

FAIR now has an Action Alert out on the CNN coverage of last Friday's hearing.

Host Campbell Brown:

CNN President Jonathan Klein:

My further response to CNN:

After watching and reviewing the coverage of last Friday's (July 25) Judiciary Subcommittee on the The Constitution's hearings on abuses of Executive Power, I feel compelled to complain about the poor quality of the coverage.

Before introducing the story, Anchor Brown and reporter Hill both joked about the hearing's irrelevance and "stagecraft." However, none of the 35 charges of criminal acts documented in the Articles of Impeachment precipitating the hearing were mentioned.

They include knowingly ordering torture of innocent detainees, innumerable First Amendment violations including unlawful warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, mass murder of Iraqi civilians, neglect of American citizens in need of Federal Emergency Management Assistance after Hurricaine Katrina, conspiracy to profit from war and energy market manipulation, among many others.

These seem to me to be far from a laughing matter.

I'm sorry CNN has fallen so far as to mock the American people, our Congress, Constitution and Justice System, and our right to know -- objectively -- what our elected officials are doing in our name.

I hope CNN will try to do better next time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fair& David Swanson

[Go to video]

My reply to CNN:

The Brown & Hill report on last Friday's congressional hearings on the limits of executive power was disturbing in its dismissive tone.

It disregarded the question of whether or not the evidence for impeachment bears any legal basis.

The commentators laughed and disregarded the six hour hearing as "kabuki theater" without covering its substance or trying to inform the American public about the 35 charges.

Both comentators stated that the hearings represented a "waste of taxpayer money" without explaining why they believed the substance of the hearings were so unwarranted.

They openly sided with the Republican opposition and implied that it wasn't worth the Republicans' time to show up at the hearings.

They then showed President Bush kissing a baby and declared him to be "undisturbed" by the hearings.

Such baseless, partisan and contemptuous broadcasting is far from news. Brown and Hill are not journalists but talking points puppets who repeat what their bosses in the CNN corporate offices want them to say.

Members of the public, ordinary working people, citizens without special statusl, means, or access to the media have worked for years to have a hearing like last Friday's.

It occurred in spite of the effort by CNN, Fox, MSNBC and ABC to tell the public that it doesn't matter if the President and his Administration commit felonies and shred the Constitution.

Ha ha ha. Just a laughing matter, according to CNN's anchors.

CNN needs to issue a formal apology to the American people for the disservice they performed last Friday, and continue to perform by deliberately misreporting the news.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Upcoming Elections

Chomsky in the (foreign) media (again.)

No, the public is the same, it's been saying the same for decades, but the public is irrelevant, is understood to be irrelevant. What matters is a few big interests looking after themselves and that's exactly what the public sees.

Read more

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Looking Forward To Hanging Up Dirty Laundry

Bill Moyers did a film called, Buying the War.

The transcript is available online.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Big Media Are Bad For Democracy

The segment of the Thursday, July 3rd episode will wind up focusing on the Big Media issue as led by Stop Big Media. We want to encourage as many viewers as we can to pick up the phone, call their Congressperson, and weigh in to say NO to the FCCs ruling expanding cross-ownership rights.

read more | digg story

Approps May Vote To Block FCC Cross-Ownership Rule

From David Hatch at CongressDaily

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve provisions Wednesday that effectively block the FCC's controversial relaxation of its media ownership rules, forcing newspaper and broadcast opponents to fight another day. The language would bar the agency from using its funds to implement the rule change, which permits the consolidation of newspaper and broadcast properties in the nation's top 20 media markets and in smaller cities under limited circumstances. Both industries have launched a coordinated effort to convince committee members to remove the restriction, inserted by House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., during his panel's markup last week. The newspaper and broadcast industries would be forced to seek a remedy on the House floor or during conference negotiations on the spending bill if the section survives Wednesday's full committee markup. The language is part of a larger effort by members in both chambers to rescind the rule change, approved by the FCC's three Republican members in December. In May, the Senate easily cleared a "resolution of disapproval" authored by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., that would nullify it, and Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., has introduced a House counterpart.

"The modest step that the FCC took should not be upset," said John Sturm, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, which is playing a lead role in the lobbying blitz. "It was a policy decision that was made after years ... of study, of field hearings," he said in an interview. Opponents are questioning the germaneness of attaching the provisions to a spending bill. "This looks to me like a committee not with jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission making what is in essence a policy decision," Sturm argued. Serrano is not a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has primary responsibility for regulating the communications sector, although he insists he has jurisdiction because his panel oversees the FCC's budget.

In a letter Thursday to Appropriations Chairman David Obey, Sturm outlined the NAA's arguments. "An amendment restricting the FCC from implementing its new rule would make it that much harder for newspapers to compete in a hyper-competitive media market while so-called 'new media' has the good fortune to flourish unencumbered," he wrote. He also noted that the FCC sought five years ago to lift the ban in the top 170 markets. But at the markup, Serrano said he believes "the loosening of media consolidation rules is detrimental to the goals of diversity in ownership and viewpoints, as well as to localism and independence in the news media." The National Association of Broadcasters is keeping a lower profile on the issue as newspapers -- many of which are struggling financially and downsizing -- play up their challenges.

Congress Moves To Stop Cross Ownership Rule

Rep. Jose Serrano says relaxing the media consolidation rules is detrimental to the goals of diversity in ownership and viewpoints, as well as to localism and independence in the news media

Congress has moved to prevent enactment of the FCC’s controversial new rule that would relax the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership ban.

Last week, a House appropriations subcommittee voted to prohibit funding of the new rule. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate passed a “resolution of disapproval” that would nullify the rule. If the defunding provision survives mark-up in the House — expected this week — it could achieve the same effect.

The FCC, led by chairman Kevin J. Martin, rushed the vote on the new rule in a pre-holiday action last December. Congress opposed it and warned Martin it would seek to undo his regulation at the time.

President Bush may ultimately veto the legislation. However, the actions by both bodies of Congress signal increasing hostility to easing or loosening any media ownership rules. Numerous consumer groups have criticized the rule change, and efforts to oppose it show no signs of diminishing.

“I believe that the loosening of media consolidation rules is detrimental to the goals of diversity in ownership and viewpoints, as well as to localism and independence in the news media,” said Rep. Jose Serrano, D-NY, chairman of the House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee, which passed the defunding provision.

The FCC voted to allow media companies to own both a newspaper and a broadcast station in one of the top 20 markets in the country.

Read More

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Latest Round of Consolidation

Back in December 2007 FCC Loosens Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Limits-
Federal Communications Commission Voted Along Party Lines; Copps Expects Rule to Be Overturned

Read More

Friday, June 20, 2008

Florindo J. Troncelliti

MNN Independent Producer

Telephone: 212-222-1709

Daytime: 212-310-6784

Cellular: 646-508-9647


Summer 2008


How can Your News or Arts Program reach a potential audience of over one million viewers in Manhattan?

Can Your News or Arts Program obtain friendly, free publicity and gain recognition for your mission and public service?

Yes! Appear on an episode of the weekly MNN series “MEDIA MONITORS”, being produced to air this summer, from June 26 to September 18.

The public access television show “MEDIA MONITORS” will

  • promote public access, independent and public media by featuring “watchdogs” and other groups with a media public service mission;

  • We will examine current reporting in the corporate outlets as well as issues of ownership and control in commercial mass media in the United States.

  • Generally, the program will focus on specific issues to analyze the social and political impact of mass media in our society.

Each week, one 30-minute episode of “MEDIA MONITORS” will profile an activist or (mainly not for profit) group. The groups’ work will be portrayed and promoted through interviews, promotional video, and coverage of events.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you or someone at Your News or Arts Program would be interested in collaborating in the production of an episode of “MEDIA MONITORS” to showcase Your News or Arts Program.

Florindo Troncelliti


Bill O'Reilly on the "Heavily Liberal" Media

Special thanks to Media Matters for America for this footage.

This is exactly what Chomsky et al were talking about.

background slides

Monday, June 16, 2008

First Show To Air Thursday, June 26th!

The first episode of Media Monitors will air on MNN channel 56 at 7:30 PM on Thursday, June 26.

The show can also be viewed online through the streaming feature on the MNN website.

The first episode contains some footage provided by the Media Education Foundation, Media Matters For America, and the annual FreePress National Media Reform Conference.

Episode 1 includes music by Phil Ochs and a slideshow compiled by Producer, Florindo Troncelliti, on the first of six media filters identified in the Propaganda Model theory advanced by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in their classic work, Manufacturing Consent.

Ownership and Size constitute the first filter, which will be addressed in the last segment of the introductory episode of Media Monitors by a speech given by FreePress Chair, Professor Timothy Wu, at the recent NCMR in Minneapolis on June 7, 2008.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News

Here Chomsky, Herman and Lewis discuss some aspects of the Propaganda Model, particularly, "Ownership."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

After the conference

The NCMR ended on Sunday afternoon, June 8 in Minneapolis.

It took me from 4:40 PM to 1:00 AM to get from the Minneapolis airport to LaGuardia. That's over eight hours. Normally, direct, it's about a 2 or 2-1/2 hour flight.

There's a lot of footage from the conference that I'll be working this summer to post to this blog and elsewhere on the web.

Media Monitors
MNN channel 56
Thursdays 7:30 PM

Meanwhile, the first episode of the show is on Thursday, June 26th, so I'm trying to get ready for that--using the footage from the conference and combining studio stuff.

Hopefully, a successful format will emerge.

Thank you, God, for the opportunity to get on this soapbox. Help me make it valuable for others.