July 26, 2002
Media: abuse and ownership

Robert McChesney: The Place of Politics

Dean Baker proposes that all taxpaying Americans be entitled to divert $200 from their federal income taxes to any IRS-recognized nonprofit medium. This would constitute a multi-billion-dollar subsidy for the nonprofit media sector, without any government official determining the flow of funds. Crucially, recipients of these funds would be required to place their work in the public domain; it would not be covered by copyright laws. This is a brilliant way to think of media in the Internet age: provide for payment at the beginning and then have open access. This approach seems vastly superior to putting up electronic barbed wire all over the Internet, and converting our computers and television sets into vending machines.

The coverage on The Global Indymedia site is quite good these days.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow: The Meaning of the Gaza Bombing

One possible answer is that the Israeli government thought it so important to kill these two leaders of Hamas that it did so DESPITE the consequences to be expected: that Palestinian civilians wouild die, that suicide bombings would continue, Israelis would die as a result of retaliataory attacks, negotiations would become impossible again, the Palestinian Authority's authority again be undermined and its painstaking efforts for a cease-fire go for nought.

There is another, even more dreadful possibility: That the Sharon government took these actions not despite but BECAUSE it expects these consequences.

Norman Solomon: Will This Be an "Official Scandal" -- or Something More?

"Despite all the hand-wringing, the press avoids basic questions that challenge institutional power and not just a few powerful individuals."

Yes, some former private-sector heroes are becoming prime-time villains. And in Washington, after flak-catching functionary Pitt gets tossed overboard or decides that he must spend more time with his family, the ex-captain of (the U$$) Halliburton is likely to face increased pressure as more becomes known about Dick Cheney's former lucrative role as head of that particular books-cooking firm.

But the nonstop flood of corporate money into the coffers of the two major parties has not slowed. And while the latest "official scandal" shows no indication of abating anytime soon, there's still a shortage of high-profile reporting on the nation's extreme disparities of power.

On a less serious note, some guy named Jay Krasne has threatened to sue Kendall because a reply to an email criticizing an article of Kendall's now shows up on google. He claims that his name is "registered service marks" [sic], and that a reply to his email is libellous! If that wasn't bizarre enough, the guy could easily be mistaken for a rejected American Beauty subplot.

Village Voice: Buying Trouble

As John Ashcroft's Citizens Corps spy program prepares for its debut next month, it seems scores of American companies have already become willing snitches. A few months ago, the Privacy Council surveyed executives from 22 companies in the travel industry—not just airlines but hotels, car rental services, and travel agencies—and found that 64 percent of respondents had turned over information to investigators and 59 percent had lowered their resistance to such demands.
I'll look over my shoulder twice and pay with cash next time I buy an Edward Said book.

posted by dru in politicsoftech