Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Where's the Macaca?/Ready for War in Darfur

This morning I was at a hearing of the Senate foreign relations committee. The last seat on the Democratic side was inhabited by Senator Jim Webb, the freshman from Virginia. That made me wonder what had become of the man he defeated: Republican Senator George Allen. Had Allen not uttered the racist-tainted "macaque," he'd still be a senator. And he would be one of the leading GOP presidential contenders. (Don Imus, so far, is faring much better than Allen.) So what happens to a conservative Republican ex-senator and former presidential aspirant when he hits Palookaville? Today's Richmond Times-Dispatch has the answer:

WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. George Allen will give talks on college campuses, write op-ed pieces and promote the ideas of President Ronald Reagan for a conservative political group.

The 55-year-old Virginia Republican is joining the Herndon-based Young America's Foundation as its Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar for 18 months, the foundation said yesterday. The post is a part-time job. The foundation would not say what Allen will be paid.

"This is just absolutely perfect for me," Allen said.

Yes, it's exactly what Allen had in mind a year ago for his career.

Back to the hearing. The subject was the Darfur crisis. Senator Joe Biden, the committee chairman and a Democratic presidential candidate, declared he was tired of watching the Bush administration pussyfooting with the Sudan government regarding genocide in Darfur. "It's time to put force on the table and use it now," Biden said. Keep an eye on this issue, as hawkish Democrats--particularly presidential candidates--push the Bush administration to use bombs not just sanctions and diplomacy.

Posted by David Corn at April 11, 2007 03:14 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

I hope even the hawks know better. The bombs have not worked.



capt said...

Take Back the Airwaves

Our airwaves, the single most important method by which Americans get information about choosing the future president, are being held hostage by corporate broadcasters.

As the TV pundits on the networks gab about the tens of millions of dollars raised by the top presidential candidates, what they don't talk about is where that money is going: to their own networks.

Money is now considered the single most important factor in our electoral process. Ideas and issues take a back seat to the bottom line. This prostitution of our electoral process has one key culprit: television advertising.

Political advertising makes or breaks candidates, and it takes a huge amount of money to implement a national advertising strategy. Now more than 20 states are piling onto Feb. 5, 2008, as their primary day, including states like California and New York with large, expensive media markets. The early, deciding role of money and television advertising in determining who gets to run for president is secure.

The costs of running for federal office have been skyrocketing. More than $880 million was raised by the 2004 presidential campaigns. The 2008 election is expected to cost more than $1 billion. Sixty percent will be spent on advertising.

The citizens are the losers, and the broadcasters and elite political consultants are the winners. We ought to turn this around. The public owns the airwaves that are being used by the big corporate broadcasters. The broadcasters, like NBC, ABC and CBS, have an obligation to use those airwaves "in the public interest, convenience and necessity." These profitable corporations take these public airwaves for free, then peddle them for exorbitant advertising rates.


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Now imagine you are an owner or officer in a major media outlet. You have a favored candidate (either side or party). You know the money you donate will come back to you as the favored candidate will buy ad time from your media outlet. How much is enough? Could you spend too much knowing you are really buying your own ad time through a surrogate cutout (your candidate or political cause).

Where do the people fall in this formula? The will of the people has nothing to do with the very predicatable and profitable process. That is unless they support the media outlet.


David B. Benson said...

Alternet today has a good piece about the 'failure' of buying carbon offsets...

capt said...

New Thread!

Pat said...

Capt., thank you for your earlier post about stem cell research and its positive effects on diabetes. That is wonderful news.

Question: Does anyone know how or whether the DoJ responded to Rep. Conyers's letter asking for all documentation about the U.S.As firings? I think the request had a due date of today.