Archive for October 19th, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission, wants to repeal the rule in the next two months — a plan that, if successful, would be a big victory for some executives of media conglomerates.

Among them are Samuel Zell, the Chicago investor who is seeking to complete a buyout of the Tribune Company, and Rupert Murdoch, who has lobbied against the rule for years so that he can continue controlling both The New York Post and a Fox television station in New York.

The proposal appears to have the support of a majority of the five commission members, agency officials said, although it is not clear that Mr. Martin would proceed with a sweeping deregulatory approach on a vote of 3 to 2 — something his predecessor tried without success. In interviews on Wednesday, the agency’s two Democratic members raised questions about Mr. Martin’s approach.

Read the rest at NYTimes.com

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Freedom Rider: Nancy Pelosi, Public Enemy Number One

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

From Black Agenda Report

“If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have ‘Impeach Bush’ across their chest, it’s the First Amendment.” – Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Speaker of the House would like to arrest activists for loitering. Her Quisling like behavior has led protesters to her front door in San Francisco, but she has only herself to blame for the inconveniences she and her rich neighbors now suffer. The great unwashed masses have a right to assemble at her home, her office, or anywhere else they choose in order to exercise what is left of their right to speak freely. Her own words show her level of contempt for the democratic process.

It is clear that Nancy Pelosi’s reign as Speaker has been an absolute disaster for the Democratic party and for the entire nation. Her eagerness to cooperate with the Bush regime is matched only by her incompetence in leading Congress. Under her watch, Congress gave Alberto Gonzales, on his way to riding out of town on a rail, a significant victory by expanding FISA regulations to allow warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

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The story of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act debacle has been blamed on Bush. It is true that he once again lied about a terror threat, but it is not true that Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats were innocently stampeded. The Democrats had every intention of caving from the very beginning. Pelosi and the rest of the leadership promised the ACLU and other civil liberties groups that they wouldn’t pass a bill without first investigating the extent of White House law breaking and without consulting them first. They did no such thing. As an ACLU lobbyist put it, “They turned around and screwed us over – and the Constitution – all at once.”

Disappointment in the Democrats, pleas to “grow a spine” miss the point entirely. Pelosi and her clique have no interest in Democracy. They go through the flimsiest pretense of opposing Bush when they have no interest in doing so. Her goal is to preserve the status quo, not to overturn it.

Nancy Pelosi now has stated publicly what she thinks of us, the citizens of this country. We are an irritant to be tolerated, not people with rights that must be respected. Pelosi is an omen, a warning that acceptance of Democrat party actions is the first step on the road to political hell. It is a lesson that must be learned now, before President Hillary Clinton takes office.

The fix is definitely in for Clinton to win the Democratic party nomination. The Democratic candidates’ fundraising prowess versus Republicans is a sign that the big money political donors of both parties are all betting on the Democratic horse.

Clinton’s ascension to the throne now reserved for family dynasties should not be accepted as an absolute victory. The “middle of the road” after Bush is still right wing. Triangulation this time around means more war, New Orleans destroyed and deserted, and more dirty dealings in Congress.

Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of what passes for Congressional leadership have perfected their criminal enterprise. Every act of treachery is followed by lame excuses for inaction. The truly spineless ones, progressives wallowing in denial, foolishly whine, asking each other what is wrong when the answer stares them in the face. The Democratic party is complicit in killing democracy.

Activists must keep protesting at her house and working for her defeat in the 2008 congressional elections. They must also cease cooperating with her. The farce must end before it is too late. Pelosi, like Bush, has no loyalty to her constitutionally based responsibilities. She must no longer be treated as though she is a friend when she has proven herself to be an enemy.

Civil liberties groups and antiwar groups must stop meeting with Pelosi or her staff. They must finally realize that they can only play a role in movement politics. It is said that insanity is defined as repeating the same action over and over yet expecting a different result. Progressives have waged many righteous battles in the last seven years, but they are about to go down in history as insane actors in a badly written play.

Activists must begin making demands. They must demand impeachment, they must demand that New Orleans be rebuilt, they must demand no further funding for occupation in Iraq or for a new war in Iran. Pelosi and her co-conspirators must be called out as the back stabbers that they are. Only then will democracy have any chance of being restored.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley’ maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com. More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.