Blast from the Past: Andy’s Blog
Andy made be gone, but his writing lives on. Here’s an archive of Andy’s blogs that he posted on the old website. They were either announcements for upcoming TruthToTell episodes or comments on past shows.
GUEST BLOG: RECALL THE ROGUES
Listener Mark Davis sends this along. Link to RECALL THE ROGUES.org (We do not necessarily endorse this action, but thought it worthwhile to present the pitch from at least one group tired of the deadlock.)
Eligible for Recall: Only state and local officials
Signature Requirement: 25% of the total votes cast for Senate in the previous election
Circulation Time: 90 days
Type of Recall Election: Recall election followed by a separate special election for successor
Constitutional Provision: Article VIII Section 6
Sec. 6. Recall. A member of the senate or the house of representatives, an executive officer of the state identified in section 1 of article V of the constitution, or a judge of the supreme court, the court of appeals, or a district court is subject to recall from office by the voters. The grounds for recall of a judge shall be established by the supreme court. The grounds for recall of an officer other than a judge are serious malfeasance or nonfeasance during the term of office in the performance of the duties of the office or conviction during the term of office of a serious crime. A petition for recall must set forth the specific conduct that may warrant recall. A petition may not be issued until the supreme court has determined that the facts alleged in the petition are true and are sufficient grounds for issuing a recall petition. A petition must be signed by a number of eligible voters who reside in the district where the officer serves and who number not less than 25 percent of the number of votes cast for the office at the most recent general election. Upon a determination by the secretary of state that a petition has been signed by at least the minimum number of eligible voters, a recall election must be conducted in the manner provided by law. A recall election may not occur less than six months before the end of the officer’s term. An officer who is removed from office by a recall election or who resigns from office after a petition for recall issues may not be appointed to fill the vacancy that is created. [Adopted, November 5, 1996]
Initial Procedure: A petition for recall must set forth the specific conduct that may warrant recall. A petition may not be issued until the supreme court has determined that the facts alleged in the petition are true and are sufficient grounds for issuing a recall petition.
Office of the Secretary of State
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
St Paul, MN 55103
Phone Lines: (9 a.m. – 4 p.m., M-F)
Metro Area (651) 296-2803; Greater MN 1 (877) 551-6767
Fax: (651) 297-7067
Andy Driscoll: The Truth? It’s Never Really Been There in Journalism
I have added remarks to what actually may be a pretty naïve short entry by Mark Karlin of BuzzFlash on the actual sponsorship of a candidate by CNN. First Mark…then yours truly. (Thanks to John Kalbrener for passing this on.)
…Almost Everywhere In The Media Means More Profit For Corporations And To Hell With Our Right To Know The Realities — Without The Denials And Pretentions Of Fair And Honest Reporting By Sold-Out News Editors And Reporters Covering Their Asses (Kalbrener)
From Mark Karlin BuzzFlash
December 18, 2010
Did you hear the joke about CNN sponsoring a Republican presidential candidate debate with the Tea Party as a partner?
Well, it’s not a joke.
According to Mother Jones, “Sam Feist, CNN’s political director, says the arrangement was designed to give undecided voters a way to educate themselves about ‘ “diverse perspectives” within the Republican Party, including those of the Tea Party.’ It’s not the first time CNN has partnered with this group. Earlier this year, CNN embedded with Tea Party Express on one of its bus tours, giving the group extensive (positive) coverage.”
Hold that outraged laughter for a moment. Each year, the media corporations get more and more skewed toward titillation and craven appeals to “targeted news marketing.” And that is dangerous to a democracy.
Television news, in particular, has long since become an entertainment product, something that is sandwiched between commercials. To get higher fees for ads, the mediacorporations need to attract more viewers. And to attract more viewers, they need to sensationalize and reinforce a viewer’s worldview, not objectively report the news.
In essence, “the news” has become another branded consumer product. It’s not about a balanced perspective on what is happening in the world or the key policy issues facing the nation; it’s about what will attract more viewership.
Yes, CNN is making a concession to the populist right wing, which is perceived as being in political ascendancy in Congress, but it is also trying to attract a niche market share normally “owned” by FOX. Accurate news hasn’t been seen as profitable since the days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, but selling an “attitude” about the “news” is — or in the case of FOX, making the news up to fit a political prism.
Many progressives, including BuzzFlash, may feel vindicated that a recent study indicated that FOX viewers are the most misinformed about the news. Indeed, according to TPM, “as exposure to Fox News increased, so did the misinformation.”
But the study also showed that consumers of broadcast news outlets, in general, had many facts distorted, just to a much lesser degree than FOX viewers.
It’s a perilous time for lucid decision making when “the news” is adapted to preconceived ideas and prejudices that can increase big media profits, rather than exposing us to the truth. A perilous time indeed.
The early newspapers were little more than vehicles for political rhetoric and slants on “the news.” In fact, most newspapers were founded by political parties or those wanting to start one. The phony push for “objectivity” in news gathering and delivery did little more than hornswoggle a public itching to learn “the truth” from “professional journalists” who, while gathering the information necessary to convey it, found it filtered through editors and publishers made so by their biases. And it all carried over in spades to electronic newsrooms.
The Hearsts and Grahams and all the other information moguls in their respective markets were out to control the flow of information and the flow of commerce, including the sale of advertising as the financing tool to make people believe their news is/was “free.” Meanwhile, those same information empire builders started wars, ruined businesses and competitors as well as thousands of individuals publishers needed out of the way. They saw to it the law hanged or executed innocent men and women by using their papers and stations as ropes and electric chairs.
From Gibbon and Aristotle on down to the present day, the search for truth in the news is a futile one.
There’s more, obviously, but we need to wake up the public, even to our own biases in reporting and presenting public affairs we find compelling, if necessary, if only to keep people from being sucked in as they have for millennia by the promise of printing and airing “The Truth.”
In fact, we should welcome the return to “honest” and open advocacy of a point of view, or support of a candidate (or several), of endorsing a party perspective – by all news outlets in the USofA. Such candor in coverage allows readers and viewers and listeners to determine where corporate media actually stand and drop the pretense that The Truth or The News is forever and always tainted by its presenters.
ANDY DRISCOLL: WHO, ME? Not a Prayer!
Some kind soul sent me an email recommending that I throw my hat into the ring and run for state DFL Party Chair. I think I’ll kill him.
No. Hell, no, Nada. Nein. And not a prayer.
There was a time when my ambition exceeded both my talent and popularity, but I’m far too old and, while my energy level is only fair, my ambition to serve in any political office, well, let’s say run for a political office, is nil. Who would want to consume the kind of time and energy to run for a “no-win” office? Actually, I chaired Senate District 65 for a time in the early 80’s. It had its moments, but it didn’t take long to alienate enough people to vote me out the next time around. Thank god.
ANDY DRISCOLL: The FBI at War–in Minnesota:The New Gestapo?
The following – slightly edited – was the script used for the weekly hour-long program, TruthToTell for Monday, December 6, 2010 at 9:00AM titled The FBI at War – in Minnesota: The New Gestapo? – on KFAI FM in St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN. This essay version has been requested by several listeners, thus the posting here. It’s still slightly raw, but it’s what we said.
The program can be heard/downloaded from www.TruthToTell.org
By Andy Driscoll, Producer/Host, TruthToTell
It’s come to this: it has become illegal to disagree with this nation’s government, its policies, its cavalier entries into war and to say anything publicly that would thus appear threatening to those policies, no matter how unconstitutional they may be. Oh, they may not be coming to get you right away, but the stories about the overreach of the US government into the lives of other peoples is only as bad as it is in its intrusions into the lives and welfare of average American citizens dissenting from, protesting and challenging the authority of the police, the FBI, Homeland Security, the TSA, CIA and the entire alphabet soup that makes up the country’s military and law enforcement community. And it becomes increasingly apparent that the current administration, the President and his Justice Department are almost as stifling of our First and Fourth Amendment freedoms as any Fascist regime history has dealt humanity.
Extreme? Before you laugh in our faces over the very serious use of that term as it applies to much of what has been termed and institutionalized as national security, homeland security and other post-9-11 federal agencies, listen to this TTT discussion about what is actually going on at home and abroad in the land – our land – as witnessed by the raids conducted, subpoenas issued to and spying invoked on, and generally nasty treatment of – citizens and immigrants, dissenters and demonstrators, travelers and at-home residents who resist privacy invasions or challenge arrests for even minor offenses. The evidence is rapidly mounting in all of these disparate quarters – word of mouth tales, stories published by credible reporters and publications and videos appearing online of just how bad it’s getting between we the people and our federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The resemblance to the Gestapo of legendary German fame is all too clear, according to credible observers.
This program was originally going to try to dissect the raids on three of this area’s most vocal antiwar activists, including Jess Sundin, who was scheduled to be with us today, but encountered a medical emergency. Jess is known widely for her antiwar efforts, including around the RNC in 2008 and other time. She and Mick Kelly and others were subpoenaed to appear before a Chicago federal grand jury and they refused to do so.
Those demands went away, but three more subpoenas were later issued to three others – Sarah Martin, a member of Women Against Military Madness, Tracy Molm, an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society and Anh Pham, an anti-war and immigrant-rights activist. This time, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is not backing off. Now, after a couple of weeks of research, it is clear that these subpoenas and others issued in Chicago are simply one more of the rocks in the rippling waters of encroaching law enforcement. Some of that research, for instance, has led to serious questions about the legitimacy of the troubled young Somali, Mohammed Mohamud’s plan to trigger a bomb at a crowded Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland.
The well-known critic and filmmaker, Glenn Greenwald, writing in Salon Magazine, goes after media sycophants who have bought the FBI line whole, never questioning once the underlying truth of this episode, which may be a case of well-crafted entrapment, which Mohamud’s family is now loudly claiming. Greenwald’s story is well worth examining in detail we haven’t time to relate today.
But similar stories of such manufactured plots to discredit Muslim-Americans date back several years, including one related in Rolling Stone about a Rockford, Illinois, when members of the Northern Illinois district office of the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force recruited a local Muslim to rope in a hapless young and essentially homeless, video store clerk – an unhappy young jihadist who would rail on about Americans and Jews, thus attracting the attention of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
He hardly had the wherewithal to do anything about his rantings. Nevertheless, the Task Force recruit offered this kid shelter and some ideas about targeting some local folks and malls for bombing. The convoluted plot ended when the kid tried swapping his stereo speakers for some grenades and guns. In what Rolling Stone’s Guy Lawson calls the Fear Factory, this Joint Terrorism Task Force – the very same that occupied St. Paul during the RNC and conjured cases against the young antiwar protesters here, only to watch those cases dissolve into nothing, has some 100 units operating in similar fashion all around the country.
These task forces are comprised of the agencies of the Justice Department and Homeland Security – the FBI, the Secret Service, CIA, ICE, Drug Enforcement Agency – as well as the State Patrol, sheriff’s offices and local police. They’re everywhere all the time – on our streets, our telephones, and the Internet, interconnected by what are called Fusion Centers.
As we said earlier, the stories are really mounting with regard to the overreach of law enforcement – in so many ways emboldened and set free from Constitutional constraints by the Patriot Act and subsequent court rulings that seem to have unleashed a fearful rise in legal intimidation and concocted events and enemies in several of our cities, focusing, more than ever on our most vulnerable groups – those easily swayed and considered enemies in the eyes of middle-class America, thanks to media reports that fall in, lockstep, behind official pronouncements that Muslims and Latino immigrants are the enemy within.
County sheriffs and city police have become handmaidens of these joint task forces. Local citizens are finding that any arguments with any officer about the legitimacy of an arrest or stop for alleged violations can get them beaten and/or taken to jail for the slightest infraction.
The problem is that most Americans would say we’re exaggerating the fear, the danger of a police state, but others will tell you that this is a creeping phenomenon, not yet fully realized by a good share of society – yet – but not unlike – truly – the German experience of the 1930’s in many more ways than one – as we’ve been reminded by social critic Allen Roland, who quotes liberally from the classic book, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans from 1933 to 1945. He parallels Roland cites to today’s United States are startling and fearsome.
Resistance can be one of those scary maneuvers when what you’re resisting can bite back with the power and authority currently vested in our myriad law enforcement agencies at all levels. Bur resist we must even as we risk our necks if we’re to uphold the basic tenets of the Constitution – to be free – to dissent – to question authority when authority violates the law.
Obama Was Used, And Is Now Used Up
(Comment from Dr. Gary Kohls: You ALWAYS lose when you make a pact with the devil!!) How true this truism.
It’s a sad duty to pass this on. I’ve worried that those of us who have shared these assessments of Mr. Obama for almost a year were too isolated to be believed. Indeed, many of my family and friends have scorned such blasphemy as all of us usually do in initially defending our voting choices, rationalizing the results of this President’s disappointing decisions over the last 19 months. One need not demand the solid evidence required by others to conclude that the outcomes are the proof of each point made below. Each is its own stark reality.
Published on Sunday, November 7, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
For Now, It’s Probably the Same Ol’, Same Ol’