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In the future, everyone will be president for 15 minutes
07.25.2011
01:12 pm
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This is a rather extraordinary news item, coming from Thomas Friedman’s New York Times column on July 23. What a revolutionary idea. No matter how you slice it, this is a situation that will wreak havoc on the 2012 election if it catches on, which I suspect it will:

Thanks to a quiet political start-up that is now ready to show its hand, a viable, centrist, third presidential ticket, elected by an Internet convention, is going to emerge in 2012. I know it sounds gimmicky — an Internet convention — but an impressive group of frustrated Democrats, Republicans and independents, called Americans Elect, is really serious, and they have thought out this process well. In a few days, Americans Elect will formally submit the 1.6 million signatures it has gathered to get on the presidential ballot in California as part of its unfolding national effort to get on the ballots of all 50 states for 2012.

The goal of Americans Elect is to take a presidential nominating process now monopolized by the Republican and Democratic parties, which are beholden to their special interests, and blow it wide open — guaranteeing that a credible third choice, nominated independently, will not only be on the ballot in every state but be able to take part in every presidential debate and challenge both parties from the middle with the best ideas on how deal with the debt, education and jobs.

“Our goal is to open up what has been an anticompetitive process to people in the middle who are unsatisfied with the choices of the two parties,” said Kahlil Byrd, the C.E.O. of Americans Elect, speaking from its swank offices, financed with some serious hedge-fund money, a stone’s throw from the White House.

As the group explains on its Web site, www.americanselect.org: “Americans Elect is the first-ever open nominating process. We’re using the Internet to give every single voter — Democrat, Republican or independent — the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. The people will choose the issues. The people will choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, the people will make history by putting their choice on the ballot in every state.”

Here is how it will work, explains Elliot Ackerman, an Iraq war veteran with a Silver Star, who serves as the chief operating officer of Americans Elect, and whose father, Peter, a successful investor, has been a prime engine behind the group. First, anyone interested in becoming a delegate goes to the Americans Elect Web site and registers. As part of that process, you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire about your political priorities: education, foreign policy, the economy, etc. This enables Americans Elect to put you in contact with others who share your views so you can discuss them and organize together. Then you will be invited to draft a candidate or support one who has already been drafted and to contribute to the list of questions that anyone running on the Americans Elect platform will have to answer on the site.

“The questions, the priorities, the nominations and the rules will all come from the community, not from two entrenched parties,” said Ackerman.

If Americans Elect are already getting such high-level press coverage, the media at large might sniff a sexy story here. Is Americans Elect the American Idol of politics? It looks like we’re about to find out. This eagle seems to landing fully-formed. On the ballot in California when they launch? C’est formidable. The outcome of this, if it catches on, will really be something to see unfold.

This seems like quite a positive development and I will be watching this space closely myself. This has some potential to unleash some real populism and that can be a mixed blessing. If there was a modern day Huey Long, for instance, who came out of something like this, to me this would be fantastic. Or if given a chance to nominate Bernie Sanders for POTUS came about so more people had to hear what he has to say, again, sounds great to me.

Now imagine the Teabagger flip-side to that equation. Not nearly so pretty.

ON THE OTHER HAND, this might also be the right vehicle for exposing and laying bare the way the political system really works for the common man. It’s very difficult to see where something like this will eventually land, but almost certainly it will have repercussions for the two main political parties in this nation. It’s impossible to predict exactly how at this early juncture, so I won’t try.

What’s still unclear to me is WHO these potential nominees will be and where they will come from. It’s not like a city council member from Battle Creek, Michigan or a Harvard professor of French literature or Joe the Plumber really have much of a chance of winning the general election, of course. Keep in mind that almost no members of the House have ever won a US Presidential election. Senators and governors, yes. Eisenhower, of course, was a great war hero. WHO is the as yet unknown person of great stature who could really beat the candidates of the two major parties? Not saying it’s impossible, but it sure seems unlikely. For now this seems closer to fantasy football than real electoral politics, but if the right individuals present themselves—and again, I can’t imagine who they are—then all bets would be off. What is so compelling about this, to my mind, is its potential to influence the national debate. The fact that there is a level of American Idol to it is an absolute stroke a genius. The population could become really emotionally invested in this.

I intend to sign up at Americans Elect today. I’ll probably nominate Bernie Sanders when I do

Friedman concluded:

Write it down: Americans Elect. What Amazon.com did to books, what the blogosphere did to newspapers, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life — remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in. Watch out.

Below, a short biography of Huey Long from the Pathe News service:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.25.2011
01:12 pm
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‘Murdoch - Breaking the Spell’ - Monday’s informative BBC documentary
07.20.2011
10:53 am
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Murdochgate continues unabated. After yesterday’s questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch (and the cream pie incident), today has already seen the British Prime Minister David Cameron taking part in a parliamentary debate which has been broadcast live, and is set to continue till 7pm tonight (GMT).

It’s also interesting to see a British political scandal begin to get so much attention in the American media. Of course, there are some serious ramifications for the Murdoch’s American operations (especially now the FBI are to investigate it), but so far the story has been pretty well contained to the UK. However Jon Stewart rags on yesterday’s questioning of Brooks and the Murdochs here, and it’s telling that right wing US commenters on that blog post are still trying to pass the whole Murdochgate affair off as an inconsequential “celebrity” scandal (akin to Paris Hilton’s nails getting done, apparently).

Of course, it is much, much more than that. This excellent documentary by BBC’s investigative Panorama program, broadcast on Monday, recaps all the major points, features interviews with many of the key players (including the now-deceased whistle blower Sean Hoare) and shows how the hacking of murdered schoolgirl’s phone has begun to unravel the fabric on which three of society’s four main pillars are based (the media, the police and the political system). We will see how this plays out in the long run, bearing in mind the interests that are potentially at stake here and the possible onset of scandal fatigue in the public, but judging by the bizarre twists and turns this story has taken already, it’s best not to rule anything out yet.
 

 
Parts 2-6 after the jump…

Many thanks to the diligent work of YouTube uploader NOTWPhoneHacking, whose channel contains literally hundreds of clips recorded from the British media about the NI scandal since it broke over a fortnight ago.

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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07.20.2011
10:53 am
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Actual Audio: Eric Cantor on taxes
07.19.2011
02:00 pm
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Is there even one single member of Congress less sincere-seeming than House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia? If there is, I can’t think of who that might be.

Cantor’s the most transparently phony and least-charming politician on the national stage today. Everything that comes out of his mouth sounds like he doesn’t believe it himself. I have to turn the channel when I see his face. Yuck. How did a punk like him get to be so powerful? He’s been elected six times. Is the field so shitty in Virginia that Eric Cantor is the best the state can muster? That’s pathetic.
 

 
Via Daily Kos

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.19.2011
02:00 pm
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Sister Sunshine’s rant about homosexual history being taught in California schools
07.19.2011
12:23 pm
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Yes, Sister Sunshine, I think you’re on to something. The next step IS for the California school system to educate our children about folks who like to have sex with chickens. Good grief. 

 
(via BuzzFeed)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.19.2011
12:23 pm
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A Thousand Cuts: ‘There will not be a middle class in this country’
07.15.2011
11:02 pm
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As frequent readers of this blog know, I consider Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to be a great American and a personal hero. He’s one of the only honest politicians in Washington and a blunt-talking national treasure:

On June 18, 2011 artists Ligorano/Reese presented a temporary monument in the garden of Jim Kempner Fine Art in NYC called “Morning In America.” The installation was witnessed by hundreds and lasted a total of 8 hours throughout the hot day.

...A THOUSAND CUTS is a timelapse video of the event. The soundtrack was inspired by an excerpt from Senator Bernie Sanders 8-hour filibuster on the U.S. Senate floor against the extension of the Bush tax cuts and the effects on the middle class. It is orchestrated to music by composer/violinist Michael Galasso.

The entire text of Senator Sanders speech is available as a book, The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class, published by Nation Books.

 

 
Below, Bernie Sanders speaks about his career and the remarkable 8-hour speech he gave filibustering President Obama’s extension of the Bush tax cuts and the disappearance of America’s middle class.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.15.2011
11:02 pm
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Poverty in America, part 1
07.13.2011
07:42 pm
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A guest essay from our super-smart friend Charles Hugh Smith, cross-posted from his essential Of Two Minds blog. Charles is the author of Survival +: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation.

Poverty is on the rise in America, and buying passivity with cheap bribes has limits when applied to a fraying middle class.

If jobs are not coming back, then we as a nation need a conversation about poverty in America. The Status Quo assumption is that this is just another garden-variety recession, and that employment will bounce back, along with the “animal spirits” that drive borrowing and spending.

As of August 2011, it will be three years since the global financial meltdown. In three years, the Savior State has borrowed and blown $6 trillion maintaining the Status Quo, and the Federal Reserve has printed almost $3 trillion and shoveled that vast sum into “risk assets” to keep housing on life support and the stock market rising. The Fed has also devalued and debased the dollar, stealing wealth from the citizenry and holders of U.S.-denominated debt in the process, to serve two goals: 1) spark inflation and thus avoid deflationary deleveraging of the nation’s fast-growing mountain of debt, and 2) to enable servicing that debt with cheaper dollars.

None of these grandiose manipulations has healed the economy or fixed the structural problems which made the meltdown inevitable. The irony here (among many) is that so many people believe the Power Elites controlling the nation have some sort of god-like ability to maintain their grip on the levers of power.

While it’s certainly true that the wealth of the Power Elites has increased as a result of the meltdown and Fed/Savior State response, ultimately the Financial and Political Elites’ power depends on the passivity and complicity of the citizens. This means the Power Elites must buy off or co-opt the majority of citizens to keep them politically neutered and mallable.

The Status Quo has two basic methods of buying the citizen’s complicity: a vibrant economy that supports a middle class that thus has a stake in maintaining the Status Quo, and cash bribes to everyone else to keep quiet, i.e. “social benefits” a.k.a. entitlements and welfare. This renders everyone either dependent on cash payments from the Savior State or a stakeholder in the Status Quo.

Corporate welfare is not a bribe but a mutually beneficial power grab. The Cartel Corporatocracy seeks to eliminate competition from below and guarantee low-risk profts via cartels and quasi-monopolies. It achieves these goals by purchasing the partnership of the Savior State, which smothers competition with thickets of regulations and greases the quasi-monopolies sought by the Corporatocracy. But it’s hardly a one-way exchange; in extending its control over the economy and society to serve the Corporatocracy’s interests, the Central State’s own Elites gain more power, too.

Some observers see the middle class as the natural enemy of the State and Corporatocracy, but this misses the essential relationship of the Power Elites to their citizenry: the need of the Elites to buy complicity and passivity by the cheapest methods available.

It’s certainly possible to use repression to keep a populace under control, but repression is expensive and it doesn’t encourage productive “buy-in”; rather, it encourages opting out and resentful compliance. This leaves less for the Elites to skim off.

Over time, it’s rather obvious that regimes that rely on heavy-handed repression tend to fall while those that offer a small, low-cost stake to citizens are much more profitable to the ruling Elites and also more stable.

The crumbling of the credit-bubble economy has mortally wounded the middle class, and this has created a serious problem for the Power Elites. In extending the credit-bubble economy—that is, “wealth” is created via exponential expansion of debt—to housing, the Power Elites undermined the multigenerational bedrock of middle class wealth.

With housing equity stripped away, the erosion of middle class income and non-housing wealth has now been exposed.

The Power Elites’ other wealth technique, globalization, has also gutted the middle class below the top 10% level of technocrats, and decimated the working class that had aspirations of joining the middle class, i.e. the lower middle class.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Jobs (in the U.S.) (February 9, 2011) Global Corporate America has decoupled from the American middle class; its interests are now international rather than domestic.

The Power Elites’ response—borrow and blow trillions to prop up the engine of their own wealth, the banks, borrow trillions from future taxpayers to maintain the current Status Quo, and devalue the U.S. dollar—have all failed to reflate housing or middle class incomes. Rather, these actions only succeeded in enriching the top 10% who own the majority of stocks. The prop-job in stocks has yielded a propaganda coup, as the Status Quo has successfully identified a rising stock market as “proof the recovery is here,” but this propaganda is starting to wear thin as 90% of the populace are realizing they are still poorer than they were three years ago.

Buying Off Washington To Kill Financial “Reform.”

The Power Elites cannot understand why making credit cheap isn’t creating jobs. Like decrepit generals fighting the last war, they keep sending waves of credit into the system to overpower deflation and reignite “animal spirits,” but the waves of credit are being mowed down by deleveraging and the exhaustion of credit as a stimulus.

In other words, they are clueless to the reality that conventional economics has failed. They have no Plan B. Their only plan, such as it is, is to borrow more money and spend it propping up the current Status Quo. Unfortunately for them, the middle class is unraveling at the edges, and the surest evidence of that is the loss of middle class jobs.

Without good-paying jobs with benefits and rising housing equity, then the citizens have no stake left in the Status Quo.

That leaves entitlements and welfare as the cash bribes for keeping quiet. What’s remarkable about the current pastiche of social benefits is how cheap it is to the Power Elites; extended unemployment ($158 billion), food stamps ($68 billion), Section 8 housing ($20 billion), and Veterans Administration medical care for vets ($47 billion)—all together that’s $293 billion, a mere 7.7% of Federal spending.

(These statistics are drawn from:
Is the Recovery “Self-Sustaining”? Here’s a Test (March 22, 2011)
Social Welfare, Socialism and Healthcare (May 19, 2009)
Can We Please Stop Pretending the GDP Is “Growing”? (June 2, 2011)
.
And of course it’s the taxpayers who will foot the bill for the deficit spending, not the Elites

The ideological political-theater stages faux “combat” over welfare, but this is for show: outside the circus, cash bribes for complicity and silence work equally well for both flavors of the Status Quo political Elite.

The “Left’s” concern for the poor is transparently phony; the “Left’s” only concern is to keep the underclass fat, dumb and distracted while enriching its own private fiefdoms such as education: public school fiasco in Atlanta. What terrifies the “Left” is the same thing that terrifies the “Right”—that the citizenry might break free of the bonds of dependency on the Savior State and start demanding a real stake in the economy rather than just a cash bribe to keep quiet.

This is why welfare and middle class entitlements (in various flavors) have continued growing for decades, under both “Left” and “Right” regimes.

It’s been quite a scam: the Savior State borrows immense sums from future taxpayers to bribe the current crop of citizenry, and these same citizenry pay the rising interest on that growing debt via their taxes.

In other words, the debt-serfs pay for the bribes that keep them complicit.

The problem is that the Status Quo has overshot systemic equilibrium. To keep the game going, the debt load is rising at almost $2 trillion a year at the Federal Level, and the Fed’s manipulations are requiring a cool trillion a year in printed money shoveled into risk assets.

The interest on that skyrocketing debt will eventually crimp the borrowing binge, and the Fed’s games are igniting not job growth but inflation, which further saps what’s left of middle class purchasing power.

The Fed’s manic manipulations are losing their effectiveness. Like insulin in a pre-diabetic patient, the Fed’s massive injections of money are not stimulating jobs or productive investment; each new announcement of “easing” generates a smaller jolt of ever-shorter duration. At some point the economy will respond to the Fed’s “easing” injection by going straight into diabetic shock.

There are two cultural issues in play as well. One of the key characteristics of the middle class is high expectations for future power and prosperity. The poor have lower expectations and so it’s relatively easy to buy them off with small sums.

The middle class, however, is less satisfied with crumbs, and getting paid to stay home and watch TV does not appeal to their values or expectations of life in America.

The other issue is the destructive nature of dependence on the Savior State, a dynamic I explored in The Cycle of Dependency and the Atrophy of Self-Reliance (July 2, 2011).

Making people dependent on the Savior State is not “ending poverty”—it is creating a deeper, more pervasively destructive poverty of lost opportunity and shriveled enterprise. People naturally want to contribute to something meaningful and to be respected, and being paid to sit home watching TV does neither. What it does do is fuel a low-intensity resentment against dependency and a pathological incentive for victimhood, neither of which are healthy for the society or those reduced to dependency on the Savior State.

The Power Elites are slowly losing their grip on the middle class. Once people no longer have a stake in the Status Quo, then they might become dissatisifed with the cheap bribes to stay home and rot away, consuming Pringles and “entertainment” on the telly.

Those citizens who are paying the tab for the Power Elites’ debt excesses are also seeing their stake in the Status Quo slip in value: being reduced to a tax donkey does not fulfill their expectations.

The bottom line is poverty on several levels is rising in America, and cash bribes are not a stable “solution,” though they certainly are a cheap one to the Power Elites.

This is a guest essay from Charles Hugh Smith, cross-posted here from his essential Of Two Minds blog

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.13.2011
07:42 pm
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Alan Grayson: A Democrat with guts is back in the race
07.12.2011
01:59 pm
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Alan Grayson is running for the Florida congressional seat he lost and I’m thrilled. He’s one of the very few Democrats left who has the guts to really take it to the Republicans. I’ve always admired his fearlessness and plain spoken bluntness. Losing his last election doesn’t seem to have diminished his passion for confronting the lies and duplicity being spun by both parties.

For the 70% of all homeowners in Orlando who owe more than they own on their home, and the 25% nationwide who are “underwater,” and feel like they are drowning, I’m in. For the six million Americans who haven’t worked in six months and are seeing their benefits running out, for the eight million more who are unemployed, and for the eight million on top of that who can find only part-time work, I’m in. For the millions of parents who have absolutely no idea how to pay for a college education for their children, I’m in. And for everyone who is appalled by the prospect that we may cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as we spend more than $150 billion a year on three unnecessary wars and almost $100 billion a year on the Bush tax cuts for the rich, I’m in.

If for no other reason, I love Grayson because he’s an unfashionably idealistic peacenik at a time when no one seems willing to give peace a chance or even talk about it. He also wins points with me for quoting John Lennon.

Imagine if we had decided after 9/11 to wean ourselves off oil and other carbon-based fuels. We’d be ten years into that project by now.

Imagine if George W. Bush had somehow been able to summon the moral strength of Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller, or Martin Luther King Jr, and committed the American people to the pursuit of a common goal of a transformed society, a society which meets our own human needs rather than declaring “war” on an emotion, or, as John Quincy Adams put it, going “abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”.

Imagine.

Imagine that we chose not to enslave ourselves to a massive military state whose stated goal is “stability” in countries that never have been “stable”, and never will be.

Imagine.

“Imagine all the people, living life in peace.”

You can contribute to his campaign here. I’m in.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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07.12.2011
01:59 pm
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Does Murdochgate spell the end of oldstream media?
07.12.2011
11:01 am
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The News of the World/News International scandal (or Murdochgate as it has been dubbed by the UK media) continues to grow amid allegations that NI’s The Sun newspaper illegally obtained information on the former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s newborn child while he was still in office.

This broadens out the problems in three ways. Firstly, while the information on Brown’s child may not have been hacked necessarily (as is being reported) it was still possibly obtained illegally, through the process of blagging, or obtaining classified information under false pretences. Ironically Brown’s Labour government introduced heavier punishment for blagging while still in power. Secondly, it brings into doubt the old red-tops’ excuse that they only investigate or dig dirt on people who “deserve it” (the argument wheeled out by Paul McMullan on Newsnight last week). As Prime Minister, Brown did deserve to be investigated of possible wrong doing, but exposing private medical details about his new born child just seems like a nasty step too far with no real journalistic purpose other than to put the PM on a Murdoch-controlled leash. 

Thirdly it proves, as many people had previously speculated, that the rot within NI has spread much further than simply one or two rogue investigators or even one particular publication. It’s getting harder and harder for the Murdoch organisation to claim that these incidents are isolated, as opposed to part of a broader culture at NI. As more and more salacious details leak out and more journalists, politicians and police are implicated, Murdochgate is shaping up to be he biggest scandal in British public life since the Profumo affair. News Corporation lost $3.4 billion in market capitalization yesterday, and now even the American media is interested, which is really saying something.

So, are these crimes going to be the undoing of the oldstream, printed press? Perhaps, but not fully. Yes News International are up to their necks in a sea of shit, but what is really sounding the death knell for newspapers to my ears is the fact that this is a scandal that is breaking and being consumed on the internet. I can’t remember this being the case before, but the web seems to be the only place to keep track on the ever evolving story, as more and more facts and bizarre twists emerge that prove too much to be neatly encapsulated by traditional news narratives.

Television and newspaper reportage just doesn’t seem adequate in this particular case - it took three to four days of issues being covered by a select few sources before the mainstream media deemed them newsworthy, by which time the public was already well aware of what was going on. The delay in reportage was indeed a bit of a gaffe, but more seriously it also brings up the question of media trustworthiness. Why now trust what the media says when the media themselves are directly implicated in a scandal? Press impartiality is out the window, as evidenced by the lack of coverage of Murdochgate in Murdoch’s biggest UK title The Sun.

While it’s ironic that a newspaper broke this story of press misdoings, what’s more telling is the traffic being directed not to the printed Guardian newspaper itself, but to the paper’s website. This paper’s news blog and its live feed is the premier source for keeping up with the scandal as new elements emerge. It’s also highly ironic that the story that sees internet news coverage really come into its own is the story of the major failings of the mainstream media. The author Will Self, in a slightly verbose but incisive article for the Guardian, calls this a tectonic shift in the media. I think he’s right, and I don’t see how the oldstream press can recover from these multiple knocks in confidence and consumption.

Thanks to Richard Metzger for the financial information.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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07.12.2011
11:01 am
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Steve Coogan makes mincemeat of News Of The World ‘journalist’
07.09.2011
10:26 am
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Not only is oldstream UK media tearing itself apart right now, previously picked on figures are getting their own back too. For the benefit of non-UK readers, “mincemeat” is also known as “ground beef”, and that is exactly what comic Steve Coogan makes of former deputy features editor for News Of The World, Paul McMullan, on last night’s BBC Newsnight program’s round table discussion concerning the phone-hacking scandal, the closure of NotW by Rupert Murdoch, and his still possible takeover of the BSkyB TV network. Paul McMullan is no stranger to celebrity revenge, as a covertly-recorded pub conversation between himself and Hugh Grant, in which he admitted the extent of the NotW’s phone-hacking activities, and which was then published in the New Statesman, was responsible for reopening this whole media can of worms.
 

 
Steve Coogan has had a tussle with the tabloids before, when it was claimed he was having an affair with Courtney Love (which was denied by both parties, but which caught the public imagination). But what’s going on here is not simply revenge - as Coogan rightly points out in his very first sentence, Paul McMullan is a walking PR disaster for the tabloid press and News international. He comes across as oily, evasive, self-interested and a hypocrite - perfectly fitting the public image of everything bad about tabloid-level journalists.

Journos love to pick on politicians, but in the British public imagination they are second only to them in terms of being disliked. I’ve always wondered if they know this and pick on politicos and celebs to deflect attention from themselves, or if they genuinely, honestly, believe they are doing some kind of public service. According to McMullan it’s the latter (though I can’t believe that he is completely unaware of the level of animosity the public has for him and those in his trade).

So perhaps they really are that self-deluded, but the other thought echoing through my mind during all of this coverage is “these people work/live/breathe the media - so how can they look so bad on the TV screen?”. OK so the press seem to be trying to outdo each other to find the worst picture of Rebekah Brooks, but also take for instance News International’s Director of Corporate Affairs Simon Greenberg (interviewed here by Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow) or Roger Alton, Joint Executive Editor of The Times (also owned by parent company News international). These people deal in exposé, guilt-admission and subsequent rehabilitation for a living. So why aren’t they acting humbled, the way they tell everyone else they should act?

Interestingly, Paul McMullan has had some bad things to say about his then editor Brooks (neé Wade) recently. Brooks, more than anyone, is the central figure in this row, and it is claimed that Murdoch has sacrificed the oldest running, and most widely circulated newspaper in British history, just to protect her. But McMullan is not the only disgruntled former employee of NotW willing to dish the dirt - internet hype has been building around a Twitter account that has gone online during the last couple of days called ExNOTWjourno. The account is run by a journalist who has now found herself jobless, and who intends spill the beans on life behind the scenes of NotW under Rebekah Brooks, in a new blog. According to the account there are now 16 newly unemployed journalists working on dishing the dirt (and running stories planned for the last ever publication of NotW tomorrow), and the blog is due to go online sometime this evening. This is going to get interesting…

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Who benefits by Rupert Murdoch sacrificing the ‘News Of The World’?
The phone-hacking scandal that may finish Rupert Murdoch’s ambitions

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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07.09.2011
10:26 am
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Eric Clapton’s DIsgusting Racist Tirade
07.03.2011
05:08 pm
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I was only made aware of this speech by Eric Clapton at a 1976 gig in Birmingham, UK, the other day, but It’s truly disgusting. Here’s a relatively short sample (quoted from Rebel Rock by J. Street (1986) and sourced from New Musical Express, Melody Maker, The Guardian and The Times):

Stop Britain from becoming a black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white. I used to be into dope, now I’m into racism. It’s much heavier, man. Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back.

It goes on for a lot longer than that - the entire speech can be heard in the animated YouTube clip below. The “Enoch” Clapton is referring to is the notorious English politician Enoch Powell who in 1968 made the infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech, also in Brimingham. How Clapton didn’t get crucified at the time in the popular press is beyond me, as is the fact that the rest of the concert continued as normal, with no rioting or no bottling. The activist group Rock Against Racism was set up as a direct response to these remarks. Clapton has never properly apologised  - how does he still get away with receiving so much praise and acclaim? Fuck Eric Clapton.  
 

 
Thanks to Joe Spencer for alerting me to this.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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07.03.2011
05:08 pm
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