The Real Problem is Fox News Itself: The Juan Williams Affair

October 27, 2010

(Counterpunch) The problem with the Juan Williams affair is not his comment to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly; that Muslims in full dress on airplanes make him nervous– but Fox News itself. Over the course of many years, as the nation became more and more deeply immersed in its cloud, NPR bent over backwards to ensure its reports were free from taint of opinion irrespective of ideological origin. NPR performs a crucial service to the public despite a constant barrage of attacks from the right. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Florida Growth Machine: Back With a Vengeance

October 26, 2010

(Counterpunch) Florida has three industries: tourism, agriculture, and construction/development. These industries are bound together by land speculation, avoidance of environmental regulations, and gaming buyers. The hucksterism expanded radically in the past decade to include the idea that the environment is protected by existing regulations and a (bloated, inefficient) bureaucracy. What is true is that environmental agencies are so brow-beaten by Growth Machine ideologues, a significant percentage of agency time and energy is spent either fending off attacks or strategizing how to avoid them. Florida is the manifest example of government designed to fail; pressured from outside and from within. Appointees to lead environmental agencies must pass the litmus test. In Florida, they are then charged with channeling missions toward allowing foxes in henhouses, opening the gates at night, evening using flashlights to show them the way in. Legislators target budgets and staffing wherever government and regulations interfere with campaign contributors’ business lines. It is the Grover Norquist/ Karl Rove model, and it is poised to come back with a vengeance on November 3rd because Democrats simply failed to explain how these simple mechanics of theft ruin ordinary taxpayers degree by degree. Read the rest of this entry »


NIMBY: The Next Idiot Might Be You

October 21, 2010

(Counterpunch) This¬†election cycle in the United States, televised debates only seem worse than in recent decades. What changed is the urgency of the economic meltdown and the unwillingness of Americans to confront how globalization imposed structural changes on a society ill-prepared for sacrifice and adaptation. No one wants to be wrong. No one wants to be a loser. But explaining why representative democracy has failed to protect the national economy simply exceeds the capacity of a political culture that is oriented to sound bites on television the way the planets rotate around the sun. Read the rest of this entry »