Thursday, May 27, 2010

Amendment To Limit Corporate Campaign Funds

HJ 74 IH


2d Session

H. J. RES. 74

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.


February 2, 2010

Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland (for herself and Mr. CONYERS) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:


`Section 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.

`Section 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.'.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

OpEdNews - Article: What BP's Blocking of CBS Crew Means for Americans

by Kevin Gosztola

This is pretty much a "must read" at OpEd News, which is rising rapidly in my estimation because of statements like this one, at the end of this piece:
At a time when surveillance is entirely acceptable and normal, when cameras at traffic intersections photograph those running red lights, when cameras watch your every move in city, state, federal or private buildings, when street cameras track movements of people in areas thought to have high levels of crime, the public must decide whether it will or should assert its right to survey and cover anything in the same way that authorities, corporations or organizations would assert their right to survey and cover anything.

The democratization of media makes it possible for all of us to be, at least, amateur journalists. Coverage of events no longer has to be left up to officially recognized news organizations (see and countless other Internet news sites for further examples).

Coincidentally, other outlets are voicing concerns about this problem, too. Joel Simon of CJR, doesn't go far enough, though, in pointing the finger of blame at the corporate chiefs:
In seeking to stem the flow of information online, governments have exploited vulnerabilities at each step in the journalism process: the gathering, dissemination, and consumption of news.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

On reality and bitter truths - Reality Asserts Itself

We can't always know everything we're talking about,
[b]ut we can strive to base our opinions on evidence.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010


There's something really refreshing about Bill McKibbon's book, Eaarth. Unfortunately, it's the kind of refreshing like,
Now that I've found out things really are as bad as I have suspected for a long time, I don't have to worry about whether or not it's just me.

He says that we've passed the point where we can avoid serious change, but he's working to prevent climate change from causing complete chaos.

He mentions the melting of the ice caps, the expansion of the tropics with resultant desertification, and ocean acidification as the three primary effects we have to deal with at present.

Yeah, eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and you get driven out of the garden every damn time!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dear Senators and Representatives,

It is much too late for Congress to put more strict regulations in place for the coal and oil industries, or to make them safer and more accountable for the damage they do. A ban on new offshore drilling won't prevent destruction of our environment from spreading.

Oil and coal are fossil fuels that produce heat trapping gasses when burned. As those gasses collect in the atmosphere, they cause what is known as "The Greenhouse Effect." This is the trapping of heat in the atmosphere and resultant rise in termperatures in direct proportion to the quantity of gas emitted from burning the fuels that remains in the atmosphere.

The earth can absorb excess CO2, but its ability to buffer the excess is shrinking as oceans acidify and forests are cut down.

As tragic as the current Gulf Disaster is, it will matter little in the long run if global average temperatures increase by 5-7 degrees this century. That is the conservative estimate for an atmosphere with 750 ppm CO2 by 2100.

It could be more.

The bad news is that even if we drastically reduce our emissions to align the world with the goal of 350 ppm by century's end, the damage WE ALREADY HAVE DONE IS IRREVERSIBLE.

The investment squandered on drilling and exploration, not to mention cleanup, represents a great opportunity cost to the human race, and the entire planet in our charge.

This cost can never be repaid. It's toll is growing higher and higher every day we continue to resource the retrieval and combustion of fossil fuels.

Congress must pass legislation that jumpstarts the clean energy revolution. Half measures, loopholes, and giveaways to polluters won't cut it this time. Now is the moment for action.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Schechter on Media Fail

a financial failure was facilitated by the media failure

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Monday, May 3, 2010

WAPO on Broadband

Am I misreading this article or are there some glaring errors in the composition?
FCC Chairman Genachowski expected to leave broadband services deregulated

Example No 1:
Three sources at the agency said Genachowski has not made a final decision but has indicated in recent discussions that he is leaning toward keeping in place the current regulatory framework for broadband services but making some changes that would still bolster the FCC's chances of overseeing some broadband policies.

The problem I have is with the word, "but" (broadband services but making some changes). If he is keeping the regulatory framework in place, there shouldn't be any "buts". That means he's not really keeping it in place. He could keep it in place and make some additional changes on top of it ... that would make sense. Plus, Ms. Kang overuses the gerund to the point of incomprehensibility: leaning toward keeping ... but making some changes. Both "lean" and "make" are transitive verbs, but the gerund and progressive forms of those verbs prohibit taking a direct object, which really alters the active essence of the verbs.

"[H]as not ... but ... but ..." What the heck is Cecelia Kang talking about?
Shitty syntax, usage.

Example No. 2:
It should come as no surprise . . . that leading financial analysts and technology commentators have questioned this path," the biggest telecommunications and cable trade groups wrote in a letter to Genachowski last week, warning against further regulation.

The subject should come first so the reader knows what the sentence is about! This sentence is written as if to be a mystery, only solvable by repeated, careful analyses. It's only the last verbal clause, "warning against further regulation," that allows us to grasp what is meant by "this path", earlier in the sentence, and, for that matter, the word "It," at the beginning of the sentence. So, this is written so as to prevent one comprehending as one reads. One has to get to the end of the sentence, and then look back on the whole puzzle--sort of like a haiku.

The other problem I have with this sentence is the idea that "leading financial analysts and technology commentators" would matter to the "biggest telecommunications and cable trade groups" (whomever they might be!), especially in a warning letter to the Chairman of the FCC. Why would either the FCC or the trade groups really care what the commentators have to say, when the issue of telecom regulation directly affects the two parties? The parties' own direct interest is much more of a significant point in the discussion than the paid utterances of some unnamed pundits!

Example No. 3:

This last paragraph, though, really reads like notes jotted carelessly while sitting on the toilet bowl, or riding up in the elevator on the way to the editor's office.
Supporters of net neutrality -- companies such as Google and Skype as well as public interest groups -- have called for the agency to shift broadband Internet services more clearly under the agency's authority, saying consumers would be more vulnerable to business decisions that could cut off competition and access to applications on the Web.

How could any knowledgeable journalist attribute net neutrality to some limited pool of advocates? Net neutrality is and always has been the clear and unequivocal built-in structure and requirement of the broad public at large ever since the internet first came on line in the early 1990s. The internet was set up to give the public access to information! Now, for some reason, twenty years later, we're supposed to forget all about that and attribute net neutrality to the cause of some limited subgroup--a special interest! This is an attempt to tell the public that net neutrality and service to the public interest have not been foundational to the internet's development, as well as to the entire history of American mass media and telecommunications. Does "the public" who use Google and Skype and iTunes, and a million other applications, represent "a public interest group?" Since when does a national newspaper require some special category or rationale for the public interest?

But the real hack job in this article comes with the gerund clause beginning with "saying consumers would be more vulnerable..." The problem is that net neutrality is exactly the thing that will not render the consumers vulnerable! Ms. Kang is joining the idea of fear of vulnerability to supporters of net neutrality, which is the direct opposite of what the supporters of net neutrality are promoting, and of the truth, incidentally. Net neutrality isn't going to threaten competition at all, and consumers know it. The whole point of net neutrality is to preserve competition and prevent monopoly.

This part of the article really closely approaches that "lying or stupid?" conundrum so characteristic of right wing, corporatist media outlets.

The implication is that supporters of net neutrality threaten consumers with the loss of protections and fair competition. Just the opposite is true and everybody involved in the debate knows it!
Also, how could the agency "shift" the internet more clearly under its control? It has been under the agency's control since 1990! The only "shift" there has ever been was two weeks ago when the Federal Appeals Court [wrongly] argued in favor of Comcast. The Post is implying here that the internet has never been under the FCC's control, and that it would be a "shift" for it to disempower the big telecoms. Just the opposite is true, in fact.

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Dirty Tricks, reprise

Robert Parry continues to articulate the glossed-over essentials in
When out of power in recent years, the Republicans haven’t even pretended to cooperate with Democrats; instead, the GOP and its media allies have set out to make Washington ungovernable. The incivility is not just some naturally occurring phenomenon; it is a conscious strategy for regaining power.

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