Media & Politics
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Goldman (and other banks’) “Hedges” (by Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker)
There is a rumor about Goldman Sachs flying around on the street – allegedly they are about to report their second-best quarter in history, +$12 billion or so… Gee, you don’t think being paid by the taxpayer through AIG’s “conduit” for losses that didn’t (yet) happen at 100 cents on the dollar might have anything to do with that, do you? And further (and potentially much worse) there is the repeated statement by Goldman executives that they were “fully hedged” against a potential counterparty default by AIG. One wonders – was that “hedge” to be short the equity on AIG itself, perhaps?… [I]f that’s how Goldman hedged they got paid twice and the taxpayer literally got robbed.
We the people deserve answers on this right now and if persons in our government handed these banks $100 billion dollars of our tax money for what was a covered bet, allowing them to collect twice on a risk that had not yet been realized … every single person involved in that scandal must be immediately removed from office, prosecuted if possible, and every nickel of those funds must be clawed back by whatever means are necessary.
Banks as Bidders and Sellers; Financial Nostalgia (Rortybomb)
The Death Star strategy (yes, they called it that) was where Enron would take a fee for relieving a congested market of its excess supply by moving it elsewhere. Just like our legacy assets! There are too many of them, it is clogging up trade, let’s get them to someone else who wants them. However Enron would just move the energy in a circle, collecting a fee for not doing what it was supposed to. As their memo famously said, they are paid “for moving energy to relieve congestion, without actually moving any energy or relieving any congestion.” And, it appears, that the large banks are gearing up to do just that; with the Geitner Death Star that they’ll just be collecting a large fee to run them in a circle, without actually moving any of them off their collective books.
‘SPRING FORWARD:’ IT IS TIME FOR “A NEW WAY FORWARD,” Confronting The Banks (by Danny Schechter, the News Dissector)
On Saturday, a new group, mostly of young people in their 20’s and 30’s calling themselves A NewWayForward.org used the internet and social networking tools ala the Obama campaign to mount anti-bank protests in 70 cities… As our “mob” of maybe 50 walked into [a Bank of America] branch, a lone guard immediately was on her cell phone. But before New York’s Finest arrived, there was time for the organizer to call for the nationalization of the banks, the reorganization of the economy, the break up of big banks (“If they are too big to fail, they are too big to exist”) and a rejection of plans that reward the very people who created the crisis. There were slogans (“JP MORGAN CHASE: YOU ARE TOO BIG FOR THE HUMAN RACE, BOA, BOA: HOW MANY BONUSES DID YOU GIVE TODAY?”
I believe I love protest more than most Americans love conformity.
Somehow, I don’t think this below is what Danny has in mind for a new way forward:
Actions speak louder than words (by Michael J. Smith t Stop Me Before I Vote Again)
I passed along an item that depicted Obie talking tough to bank honchos about their high-on-the-hog salaries. The reality is a little different: “…The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid… limits on lavish executive pay…. [Emphasis added.]The administration believes it can sidestep the rules because, in many cases, it has decided not to provide federal aid directly to financial companies, the sources said. Instead, the government has set up special entities that act as middlemen, channeling the bailout funds to the firms and, via this two-step process, stripping away the requirement that the restrictions be imposed, according to officials.”
Is Obama the Financial Dubya? (by Umair Haque at the Harvard Business School, thanks to Danny Schechter)
1) Obama has discarded the advice of nearly every eminent economist in the world.
2) To go with the advice of “his” team.
3) Because access to him is apparently controlled tightly by Summers and Geithner.
4) So Obama is bubbled from the growing disbelief at his lack of economic literacy.
5) A plan that is likely to result in massive looting is blindly sailing ahead.
6) Policy is clearly biased in favour of those who can afford to buy it. Hence, banks win — again.
7) And it doesn’t matter if policy works or not — so we get perverse policy after policy.
[T]he same toxic managerial dynamics that poisoned the Bush presidency are already at work in the Obama administration’s economic policy-making. And that’s not a very good sign.
Crisis Altering Wall St. As Stars Begin to Scatter (New York Times)
Top bankers have been leaving Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and others in rising numbers to join banks that do not face tighter regulation, including foreign banks, or start-up companies eager to build themselves into tomorrow’s financial powerhouses. Others are leaving because of culture clashes at merging companies, like Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, and still others are simply retiring early. This is certainly a concern for the banks losing top talent. But other financial experts believe it is the beginning of a broader and necessary reshaping of Wall Street, too long dominated by a handful of major players that helped to fuel the financial crisis. The country may be better off if the banking industry is less concentrated, they say.
“If the risk-taking spreads out to these smaller institutions, it is no longer a systemic threat,” said Matthew Richardson, professor of finance at the Stern School of Business at New York University. “And innovation is spreading out too. This is a good thing.”
Yes, we really need the kind of “innovation” that the smartest guys on the Street come up with to infest the rest of the country’s banks, too. Good idea, Prof. Richardson.
Bailout bonds (by lambert at Corrente)
I heard this one when I briefly turned on “All Things Considered” a few days ago. Put down your coffee: “As part of its sweeping plan to purge banks of troublesome assets, the Obama administration is encouraging several large investment companies to create the financial-crisis equivalent of war bonds: bailout funds. The idea is that these investments, akin to mutual funds that buy stocks and bonds, would give ordinary Americans a chance to profit from the bailouts that are being financed by their tax dollars.”
Such a deal. I’m being offered the opportunity to purchase what I already own – or should if the administration hadn’t decided to throw trillions of my money at the existing bankster management that created the problem, instead of firing them all and nationalizing the institutions. And the beauty part? They’re not only trying to sell us what we already own, they’re going to charge us a management fee for doing it. Truly, we are ruled by the best and the brightest.
People With Fourth Grade Education Support AIG [Heartwarming] (by Hamilton Nolan at Gawker)
Some crazy fourth grade teacher in Texas (*Texas joke*) allowed her young charges to write sympathy notes to AIG, of all places, which made AIG execs absolutely weepy. Public education fails again: Rebecca Chapman was teaching her kids about rapacious capitalism and its miscontents by getting them all mad about AIG’s excesses, but then, as good teachers do, she turned the tables: “‘What if you were an AIG employee?’ she asked… One boy raised his hand. ‘Can we write them and let them know that it’s going to be okay?’ asked the boy, who clearly doesn’t have a 401(k).”
Oh Christ, obviously the correct answer to that is “NO you may not, what are you, a Republican?” But this was in Texas, so they let the kids do it, and it was literally the only good thing that happened to AIG this entire year so far.
The ONLY GOOD THING? I’d say avoiding prison or even any criminal investigation so far is a pretty good thing, Hamilton.
Elizabeth Warren: “The banks exist to serve the American people. Not vice versa.” (by lambert at Corrente)
She gets it! Elizabeth Warren has a seismic interview in the Boston Globe: “…I believe that ultimately, the banks exist to serve the American people. Not vice versa. We cannot have a vibrant economy without a strong and reliable banking system, but it is impossible to save the banking system independently of saving the American family… It’s the design of the rules going forward that will tell us or that will determine whether we are moving to a cyclical economy with high wealth, high risk, and crashes every 10 to 15 years. Or whether we will emerge, as we did following the new regulatory reforms in the Great Depression, with a more stable economic system that benefits people across the economic spectrum. It’s an amazing moment in history.” Double fucking Five-Star Vegas-style ranking bonus pony bingo!
And by way of contrast, how is the administration treating the automobile companies?
U.S. Treasury directs GM to prep for bankruptcy filing: report (Reuters )
GM is operating under emergency U.S. government loans. It has been told by the Obama administration’s task force overseeing its bailout that it must cut costs and reduce its debts in order to continue to receive aid. The White House-appointed autos task force has given GM 60 days to come up with a restructuring plan and it is trying to determine whether the automaker can be a viable company… A plan under consideration would create a new company that would buy the “good” assets of GM after the carmaker files for bankruptcy, the Times said. Less desirable assets, including unwanted brands, factories and health care obligations, would be left in the old company, which could be liquidated over several years, according to the paper.
Tea Parties Forever (by Paul Krugman)
One way to get a good sense of the current state of the G.O.P., and also to see how little has really changed, is to look at the “tea parties” that have been held in a number of places already, and will be held across the country on Wednesday. These parties — antitaxation demonstrations that are supposed to evoke the memory of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution — have been the subject of considerable mockery, and rightly so. But everything that critics mock about these parties has long been standard practice within the Republican Party… [And] it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.
But that’s nothing new, and AstroTurf has worked well for Republicans in the past. The most notable example was the “spontaneous” riot back in 2000 — actually orchestrated by G.O.P. strategists — that shut down the presidential vote recount in Florida’s Miami-Dade County… For now, the Obama administration gains a substantial advantage from the fact that it has no credible opposition, especially on economic policy, where the Republicans seem particularly clueless. But as I said, the G.O.P. remains one of America’s great parties, and events could still put that party back in power. We can only hope that Republicans have moved on by the time that happens.
Obama’s chief political advisor is no stranger to astroturf organizing, either. So we’ll see who’s better at it. Meanwhile, no one is really discussing the policy issues Prof. Krugman claims are advantages to the Obama administration.
Comment on Krugman’s column at Economist’s View: Blissex says…
Krugman is exceptionally naive. The Republicans engage in crazy style politics not because they are crazy, but because it wins votes. Republicans are very driven by polls and electoral strategy; if possible they are even more of a non ideological power-party than the Democrats (they are the party of big business, and big business is non-ideological). There is a large block of Real Americans who vote Republican because they believe in their policies and indeed many of them think they would benefit from those policies, and even antics like the tea-parties are designed to keep the base engaged and to send a message as to what the Republicans want and will do if elected. The values and interests of Real Americans differ so much from those of people like Krugman that the latter think the former are crazy.
But cutting the losers off as ballast, celebrating winners who did whatever it took, building up bubbles to transfer purchasing power to asset owners and speculators, driving wages lower, increasing incarceration rates of minorities, those are all values and policies that a large segment of voters think they like.
CNBC’s Kudlow: “I like this tea party story. And remember, our own Rick Santelli last winter was the progenitor.” (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Matthews laughs at Fox News’ tea party coverage: “Balanced coverage” of an “anti-tax rally” is “so amazing” (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Kurtz: “The question is whether Rupert Murdoch’s network wants to be so closely identified with what has become an anti-Obama protest movement” (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America,)
Which universe is Howie living in? Can he possibly believe that Fox News is a real news organization, rather than a PR front for the Republican Party and vastly rich right wingers?
Mad As Hell (by digby)
I just watched one of the most disturbing yet bizarrely entertaining shows I’ve ever seen on television. It’s a Glenn Beck special called “Destined To Repeat(?)” featuring noted right wing intellectuals Jonah Goldberg, Amity Schlaes, and a couple of other fringy authors discussing the connections between Obama and Hitler, Stalin, Woodrow Wilson, FDR and other “progressive” dictators, illustrated throughout with black and white footage of Nazis and concentration camps. It ended with a stirring speech by an actor dressed as Thomas Paine exclaiming that the American founders wouldn’t have flown airplanes into buildings or passed the biggest spending program in history. And then he said to join the tea parties…
I wrote the other day that Roger Ailes is a genius and I am convinced more than ever that he really is. He’s reinventing FOX News as the voice of a revolutionary, counterculture right and, frankly, it’s really fresh. It’s like they’ve been set free and can finally do what they’ve always wanted to do.
Key Brown aide quits over Labour sex smear scandal (The Guardian)
Gordon Brown was engulfed in crisis last night after a key aide resigned and the Tories threatened legal action over explosive leaked emails discussing how to attack senior Conservatives, including David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, with smears about their private lives.
He was shamed and forced to quit over something Karl Rove did every single day while in the White House. You see, Prof. Krugman—may I call you Paul—right wingers know no shame. They will lie, cheat, and steal to accomplish their goals. Sadly, I’m seeing the same kind of behavior in some so-called progressives.
Report: Pirates were out of ammo, sought to trade captain (McClatchy)
With Somali pirates pointing an automatic rifle at a hostage American ship captain, U.S. Navy sharpshooters opened fire Sunday, killing the pirates and ending an extraordinary five-day standoff that marked the first seizure of a U.S. vessel by pirates on the high seas in at least two centuries. Three pirates were killed, the Pentagon said. The captain, 53-year-old Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vt., was rescued unharmed and taken aboard a U.S. warship. A fourth pirate who’d surrendered earlier also was being detained and could face trial in the United States…
A relative of one of the pirates, who said he spoke with the men by satellite phone at about 3 p.m. — four hours before the Navy opened fire — said they “were getting scared” and trying to persuade the Americans to let them go in return for the captain’s release. “They were trying to save their own lives,” said the relative, Hassan Mohammed Farah, speaking by phone from Haradheere, a coastal town in central Somalia where pirates are known to operate. “The only thing they could bargain with was the captain, but the Americans would not accept.”
But Barack Did Not Bow To Pirates (by Larry Johnson, an international security expert and no fan of Obama, at No Quarter)
Obama deserves credit:
He remained silent and did not play politics with this.
He allowed the professionals to handle the matter.
He showed some patience.
On the downside, the inter-agency process for managing incidents like this is still broken and did not operate as it should have. That can be fixed. For the near term, however, Barack Obama gets to take a victory lap and it is deserved.
The Rescue of Captain Phillips (by bostonboomer at The Confluence)
From my observations, Obama’s decisions are always about politics and about what is best for him. I suspect that Obama had originally given a “no shoot” order in order to avoid the risk of a huge political embarrassment if Phillips were killed or injured in a rescue attempt. On Friday, Phillips himself tried to escape from his captors and was recaptured by the pirates without any effort by Navy snipers to back up his attempt. After that the political calculus changed. It had been three days, and nothing was happening other than FBI negotiations. After the failed escape attempt, there was more criticism in the media and on-line. At this point, I think Obama faced a greater risk of political damage if he didn’t give permission for the Navy to use force than if he did.
Call me a complete and utter cynic–I don’t mind. But that is how I think it went down. I still give Obama credit for listening to his advisors and allowing the rescue to take place… Next question: how can we make it more politically risky for Obama to keep funneling all our money to the banksters than for him to do the right thing?
My comment: You have hit the nail on the head, boomer. That’s exactly what we had to do when Obama was my senator. He never acted in any controversial way until we pressured him. That’s why the “praise Obama or you’re a racist” crowd is doing such harm to liberal issues and to the country as a whole. We have to stay on the guy’s ass if we want to save the country.
Obama’s post-election thank you to Latinos: Officials plans to give 12m illegal immigrants U.S. passport (The Daily Mail, U.K.)
Barack Obama is to push forward with a plan to offer citizenship to up to 12million immigrants living illegally in the United States. Furious Republican opponents said the proposal was ‘disastrous’ at a time when so many Americans are losing their jobs. They claimed it was ‘payback’ for Mr Obama’s Hispanic support in November’s presidential election and a means of guaranteeing votes in 2010. The number of Latino voters in the U.S. nearly doubled from 5.9million in 2000 to more than 10million last year. More than three-quarters of new immigrants voted for Mr Obama.
Immigration legal system does not protect rights (AP)
The American judicial system deems everyone innocent until proven guilty and guarantees a fair hearing with a lawyer — but not when it comes to immigration… Those who go through the immigration legal system can be arrested without a warrant. They are not read their rights unless it’s a criminal case. They do not get a lawyer unless they can pay or find one who will work for free. They can be deported without hearings. And until this January, they didn’t get a free phone call.
Obama and habeas corpus — then and now (by Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory, Salon)
[Candidate] Barack Obama — the one trying to convince Democrats to make him their nominee and then their President — said that abducting people and imprisoning them without charges was (a) un-American; (b) tyrannical; (c) unnecessary to fight Terrorism; (d) a potent means for stoking anti-Americanism and fueling Terrorism; (e) a means of endangering captured American troops, Americans traveling abroad and Americans generally; and (f) a violent betrayal of core, centuries-old Western principles of justice. But today’s Barack Obama, safely ensconced in the White House, fights tooth and nail to preserve his power to do exactly that…
One of the things I always found so striking about debates over Bush/Cheney executive power abuses was that Bush followers who admittedly had no substantive arguments to justify those actions would nonetheless still find reasons to defend their admired leader… As of January 20, 2009, one no longer finds those claims atNational Review, Weekly Standard, right-wing blogs and the like, but instead, finds them commonly expressed in Obama-defending venues and some liberal blogs.
Get It Over With (by paradox at The Left Coaster)
[T]he Obama team isn’t putting Bush’s jock strap on their heads before they go into court to defend themselves, they’re defending the current Democratic Party leadership and brand. View the issue through the prism of culpability: did Bush obtain his shameful power grab with Democratic Party leadership knowledge and acquiescence? Very likely… I don’t empirically know, of course, but what I think happened is that to gain as much political cover as necessary Cheney and Rove informed—and then got approval—to become marauding global felons with the express permission of Democratic Party leadership. They never had to use it, but it was nice insurance, and in just that one window of awful political weakness Cheney and R[o]ve swooped in and happily let Reid and Pelosi—at the very least—totally cripple themselves.
This is why ideas of truth commissions and investigations into Bush felonies go absolutely nowhere in Congress, even though they offer incredible political and moral advantages (can anyone with a remotely straight face state that Karl Rove would pass up the chance to imprison felonious Democrats if he had the chance? Jesus Christ). All the Democratic Party leadership is culpable to Bush felonies to some extent, no one knows to what, but it has to be there, it’s the only reason for Obama’s people to so shame us like this. Needless to say I think this Obama habeas corpus political strategy is a acid, knifing disgrace, and if Reid, Pelosi, Murtha, Durbin and lord knows how many others signed up for Bush felonies they can get it over with and resign. Today.
Obama’s Torture Bind (by John Sifton, a private investigator and attorney who carries out research for law firms and human-rights groups, writing at the Daily Beast)
[CIA Director Leon] Panetta has increasingly been in the hot seat because of his remarks indicating that he believes no CIA personnel should be investigated for abuse if their actions relied on legal assurances from the Department of Justice—a reference to memos written during the Bush administration by the Office of Legal Counsel, which, [though] deeply flawed and now repudiated legal analysis, attempted to offer legal justifications for the CIA’s various torture techniques from 2002-2006… Panetta’s arguments about “legal reliance” are misplaced and inaccurate as a matter of criminal law. And as a general matter, it increasingly appears as though he’s more interested in protecting various CIA officials beneath him—holdovers from the Bush era—than in cleaning up the CIA…
Ultimately, of course, the failure of the Obama administration to address the Bush administration’s crimes lies with President Obama. So far, he is sending the wrong message to both the CIA and the Department of Justice. And yet the furor continues to grow. President Obama will only lose more credibility if he tries to ignore it.
Obama Administration quietly expands Bush’s legal defense of wiretapping program (by John Byrne at The Raw Story)
In a stunning defense of President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, President Barack Obama has broadened the government’s legal argument for immunizing his Administration and government agencies from lawsuits surrounding the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping efforts. In fact, a close read of a government filing last Friday reveals that the Obama Administration has gone beyond any previous legal claims put forth by former President Bush… For the first time, the Obama Administration’s brief contends that government agencies cannot be sued for wiretapping American citizens even if there was intentional violation of US law. They maintain that the government can only be sued if the wiretaps involve “willful disclosure” — a higher legal bar.
White House Mum On Legislation That Would Nix Bush “State Secrets Privilege” (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
The White House is declining to say whether the Obama administration will support legislation introduced by Senate Democrats that would roll back the use of the “state secrets privilege,” one of Bush’s most controversial legal tools. The White House’s silence on the bill will give more fodder to critics who charge that Obama has broken a campaign promise to dramatically scale back use of the Bush legal maneuver and wants the latitude to use it himself. It also sets up a potential showdown with Senate Dems who continue to view the legislation as crucial to rolling back Bush-era abuses..
The legislation — which represented the consensus view of the Democratic Party a year ago — would drastically limit use of the state secrets privilege, which is the invocation of national security to justify government secrecy and get anti-government lawsuits tossed out of court… Despite Obama’s campaign promise, the Obama Department of Justice has repeatedly invoked the state secrets privilege, most recently in a lawsuit against government warantless wiretapping, prompting many legal observers to conclude that Obama was mimicking Bush’s approach.
Waking up, are we, Mr. Hillary Hater Olbermann?
Keith Olbermann’s scathing criticism of Obama’s secrecy/immunity claims (by Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory, Salon)
Last [Wednesday] night, Keith Olbermann — who has undoubtedly been one of the most swooning and often-uncritical admirers of Barack Obama of anyone in the country (behavior for which I rather harshly criticized him in the past) — devoted the first two segments of his show to emphatically lambasting Obama and Eric Holder’s DOJ for … the Obama administration’s use of the radical Bush/Cheney state secrets doctrine and — worse still — a brand new claim of “sovereign immunity” to insist that courts lack the authority to decide whether the Bush administration broke the law in illegally spying on Americans.
The fact that Keith Olbermann, an intense Obama supporter, spent the first ten minutes of his show attacking Obama for replicating (and, in this instance, actually surpassing) some of the worst Bush/Cheney abuses of executive power and secrecy claims reflects just how extreme is the conduct of the Obama DOJ here.
The turning of the worm and the eating of the crow (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
I see a lot of turning worms on the big prog sites — but when will they get around to placing crow (with a side order of hat) on the menu? In other words, when will “Obama is disappointing us” segue into “We were wrong about those PUMAs”? For example, here’s Democratic Undergound: “Sure the Primaries were brutal around here and I’m told I was lucky to have joined after the 2004 election. I know I’m still nursing bruises from this one. Maybe it’s the ‘hippie at heart’ in me but, peace, guys and gals. Can we put the flowers in the barrels of our rifles for awhile and agree to disagree on how our new President is doing without becoming generic internet assholes to each other?”
I’m going to address the following to the person who wrote those words and to all progs everywhere. (Before proceeding, let me repeat my standard definition: I am a liberal who despises “progressives” — a word and a movement defined by Moulitsas, Huffington, Obama and other Libertarians-in-liberal clothing) There ain’t gonna be any flowers in rifles until you Obots fucking APOLOGIZE.
APOLOGIZE, GODDAMMIT! APOLOGIZE!!
Apologize for the atrocious, disgusting behavior documented here and here and here and here. Apologize for calling Hillary a “liar and a cunt.” Apologize for calling Bill Clinton “a cancer on liberalism.” Apologize for telling all non-Obama supporters to leave the party. Apologize for redefining the term “racist” to mean “any Democrat who won’t vote for Obama over Hillary.” Apologize for the death threats — and believe me, there were plenty.
Sunday: Guns and Roses (by riverdaughter at The Confluence)
With all due respect to Joe, an apology is pretty pointless if the offenders don’t know what to be sorry about. So, to any of you DU lurkers who are out there, let me tell you what the problem is. The primary *IS* the problem. It isn’t merely that our gal lost, though from what we can tell, she really didn’t. No, the problem is you didn’t see what really happened. Now, that the glamour has rubbed off of Obama and he is revealed to be just another human being and shmoozer extraordinaire, you are upset that he isn’t listening to you and responding to your perfectly acceptable demands for ending the war and holding the finance industry accountable. Now, you are looking around for allies hoping that we can all get along to *do* something and hold Congress and Obama accountable.
But the end of the primary was conducted in such a way as to make your input unnecessary, even irrelevant. This is what you agreed to when you did not stand up at the RBC hearing and demand fairness… Once you let them get away with rigging things, there was no further reason for them to pay attention to you. You missed your accountability moment. You, the voter, are now superfluous. They can rig things anyway they like now… The only way to reconstitute the left that remains scorched and burning after Obama’s triumphant march through it, is for those of you who zealously supported him to go back to that day in May and realize what that momentous day portended. No apologies needed.
Obama is a mistake. (by J -SOM at Liberal Rapture)
Cannonfire is right on…We who opposed Obama and chose the rational candidate instead demand and deserve an apology from the Dailykos, Ariana Huffington, Keith Olbermann, John Avarosis, and the rest. The vicious trashing of over half of the former Democratic party by Obama stooges and nasty, vile idiots on the elitefaux Left was beyond the pale… I will never let up on this. Obama is a mistake forced on us by fiends like Keith Olbermann and John Avarosis. He is polarizing the nation in ways we are only now seeing – and this will get worse. Watch. Apologize. Own what you did, cult members.
So now we know what so-called progressive blogs REALLY care about:
Left-Wing Blogs Try on Extortion as a Business Model (by John Cook at Gawker)
The leading lights of the liberal blogosphere are up in arms because the lefty organizations whose agendas they promote—Americans United for Change, the Democratic campaign committees, etc.—aren’t coughing up ad dollars. So they’re threatening them!
Some are waking up, but others are signing on to promote what they professed to hate during the 2008 primary:
‘Progressive’ Warmongers (by Justin Raimondo at Anti-War)
As President Barack Obama launches a military effort that promises to dwarf the Bush administration’s Iraqi adventure in scope and intensity, the “progressive” community is rallying around their commander in chief as obediently and reflexively as the neocon-dominated GOP did when we invaded Iraq.
Rahm Emanuel’s Think Tankers Enforce ‘Message Discipline’ Among ‘Liberals’ (by Jeremy Scahill at Rebel Reports, thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerrilla)
Over the past several weeks, independent journalists and anti-war activists have tried to shine a spotlight on how groups like the Center for American Progress and MoveOn, which portrayed themselves as anti-war during the Bush-era, are now supporting the escalation and continuation of wars because their guy is now commander-in-chief. CAP has been actively pounding the pavement in support of the escalation in Afghanistan, the rebranding of the Iraq occupation and, more recently, Obama’s bloated military budget, which the group said was “on target.” MoveOn has been silent on the escalation in Afghanistan and has devoted substantial resources to promoting a federal budget that includes a $21 billion increase in military spending from the Bush-era.
What is clear here is that CAP and MoveOn are now basically psuedo-official PR flaks targeting ”liberals” to support the White House agenda. This, though, should not come as a shock to those who have closely monitored these groups. They were the primary force behind Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), “a coalition that spent tens of millions of dollars using Iraq as a political bludgeon against Republican politicians, while refusing to pressure the Democratic Congress to actually cut off funding for the war.”
And Rahm is getting an extreme makeover:
Remaking Rahm (Political Wire)
The Washington Post notes White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel “is overhauling his image, becoming more valet than hit man, and his formula for moving Obama’s agenda through Congress is beginning to resonate. Even Republicans concede that given Obama’s early victories, thornier tasks such as landmark health-care, energy and education bills may not be out of reach… The White House legislative strategy blends Obama’s vision and salesmanship with Emanuel’s granular political expertise and dealmaking skills.”
Brought to you by: Rahm Emanuel!
This is from John Cook, who used to work at the Chicago Tribune. No wool over HIS eyes.
A Gentler, Less Stabby, Rahm Emanuel [Obamarahma] (by John Cook at Gawker)
“During a recent Senate debate, Reid asked Emanuel to lean on three Democratic holdouts. When Emanuel reported back with a single convert, Reid chastised him that ‘batting .333 isn’t good enough for the major leagues’ of Congress. Emanuel responded with a string of expletives but tried again and produced a second vote.” The old Rahm would have pushed Reid’s eyeballs out with his thumbs for saying something like that.
Security-Clearance Checks For OPM Allegedly Falsified (Washington Post)
Half a dozen investigators conducting security-clearance checks for the federal government have been accused of lying in the reports they submitted to the Office of Personnel Management, which handles about 90 percent of the background inquiries for more than 100 agencies. Federal authorities said they do not think that anyone who did not deserve a job or security clearance received one or that investigators intentionally helped people slip through the screening. Instead, law enforcement officials said, the investigators lied about interviews they never conducted because they were overworked, cutting corners, trying to impress their bosses or, in the case of one contractor, seeking to earn more money by racing through the checks.
But outside experts said they were concerned about the false reports, given the increasing number of sensitive positions requiring such checks and the pressure to process applications for hundreds of incoming Obama administration officials.
Vatican blocks Caroline Kennedy appointment as US ambassador (The Telegraph, U.K.)
Vatican sources told Il Giornale that their support for abortion disqualified Ms Kennedy and other Roman Catholics President Barack Obama had been seeking to appoint. Mr Obama was reportedly seeking to reward John F Kennedy’s daughter, who publicly gave her support to his election bid.
Kennedy rejected by the Pope (by J -SOM at Liberal Rapture)
What Obama has done is chose a practicing pro- choice Roman Catholic to be the nation’s representative to her church which is pro-life. It is an odd and thoughtless choice… The Vatican is not clean here. They most certainly would have accepted a pro-choice Protestant. Obama can’t be forced to dig around for pro-life Democrats to fill the seat. I suspect the Holy See is as concerned with P.R. than “life.” Kennedy is a member of the quintessential Catholic family in America. Accepting THIS pro-choice Catholic would raise the profile of pro-choice Catholics everywhere. She had to be rejected. She belongs in Ireland. This is the obvious choice. Or [as] head of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Help Wanted in Beijing (Political Wire)
Sources tell Foreign Policy that former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, have turned down offers to be Ambassador to China. “One recently discussed candidate is Bill Owens, a retired admiral. Owens, who was appointed as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by former President Bill Clinton… Another name to watch is former Rep. Jim Leach, the Iowa Republican who broke party ranks early on to endorse Obama’s presidential candidacy.”
That’s weird, I’d think there would be significant business opportunities for a former Ambassador to China.
Obama’s Ratings Hold Steady (Political Wire)
Two new snapshots of President Obama’s job approval ratings were released today: Pew Research has it at 61% to 26%, while Marist has 56% to 30%.
Senate to Uber-Rich: “Help Is on the Way” (by Bob Greenstein, thanks to Economist’s View)
Sixteen months into the recession, the pace of job losses is worse than in the deep 1981-82 recession, a growing number of families are making excruciating choices with their shrinking pocketbooks, and the federal government is facing stunning budget deficits as far as the eye can see. So, is this the time to spend about $90 billion over the next decade to give the nation’s wealthiest households a new, multi-million-dollar tax cut? The U.S. Senate apparently thinks so.
Tax policy lobbying: 22,000 percent return on investment for big corporations (by lambert at Corrente)
McClatchy’s Kansas City Star: “A 22,000 percent return on investment? Three professors at the University of Kansas say dozens of America’s largest companies got that sweet deal four years ago — not by hiring workers or purchasing new equipment, but by investing in Washington lobbyists. Those lobbyists, the three said, helped write a federal tax break that eventually put roughly $100 billion in tax savings in the pockets of the firms and their shareholders, at a cost to the companies of just pennies on the dollar.”
Bayh: ‘I’m Agnostic’ About Having A Public Plan As Part Of Health Care Reform (Think Progress)
On Fox News Sunday this morning, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) trashed the idea of including a new public health insurance plan as part of health care reform, saying “that is exactly the opposite way” to improve health care in America. “We don’t need more money,” said Coburn. “What we need is true markets that will allocate this resource and create a way for everyone to have access.” Host Chris Wallace then asked Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) about “private sector” concerns that a public option would mean “that everybody will end up in the government program.” Bayh replied that he was “agnostic” about including a public plan in reform.
Agnostic? You ought to be a True Believer, Sen. Bayh. If a public option can beat private options on cost and service, who are you to stand in the way of citizens choosing the best solution? Click through to watch the video.
You know your health care system is bad… (by hipparchia at Corrente)
… when it needs $330,855,884 worth of public relations.
Judges rule Franken winner; Coleman to appeal (Star Tribune)
Three judges soundly rejected Norm Coleman’s attempt to reverse Al Franken’s lead in the U.S. Senate election late Monday, sweeping away the Republican’s claims in a blunt ruling Coleman promised to appeal. After a trial spanning nearly three months, the judicial panel dismissed Coleman’s central argument that the election and its aftermath were fraught with systemic errors that made the results invalid… [E]xperts who read the panel’s 68-page ruling say it effectively attacks some of the very arguments that Coleman would use on appeal.
Quote of the Day (Political Wire)
“I don’t know how the Democratic Party operates because I’m not one of them, but every time we had an opening, somebody like Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman and the Republican apparatchiks in the White House decide who is going to represent Minnesota. Closed out the party, closed out everybody else. That’s what’s going on now… ‘We will continue to fund you, just to keep the Democrat out of the Senate.’ At some point, somebody has to deal with what’s the will of the people of Minnesota.” — Former Sen. David Durenberger (R-MN), quoted by MinnPost, on the meddling of the RNC in the disputed Minnesota Senate race.
Murphy Expands Lead in NY-20 (Political Wire)
In the NY-20 special election, the latest update shows Scott Murphy’s (D) lead is now 46 votes over Jim Tedisco (R). The counties that still haven’t counted their absentee ballots: Warren and Washington, which Murphy won, and Saratoga, which Tedisco won.
GOP Targets 43 House Democrats (Political Wire)
The NRCC will launch a recess ad offensive today, hitting Democrats in 43 districts for helping to “rubber stamp” spending bills for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reports Roll Call. Most of those 43 Democrats will be the target of robocalls flooding into their districts later this week, but nine Democrats will begin hearing NRCC radio ads in their district starting today. In addition, Rep. Zack Space (D-OH) is being singled out for particular attention with a TV ad that will begin airing today.
Blagojevich Promised $5 Million If He Appointed Jackson (Political Wire)
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s staff was told last year that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) would raise up to $5 million in campaign cash for the ex-governor if he was appointed to the U.S. Senate, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. “Besides the $5 million to be raised by Jackson, the proposal also included another $1 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund that would come from Indian donors, sources say.” “This is the first revelation that a proposal for the Jackson appointment involved an alleged promise that he’d raise campaign cash for the ex-governor. Also, the amount of money allegedly offered to Blagojevich is significantly higher than what’s been reported so far.”
Republicans Not Very Popular (Political Wire)
First Read: “During the first 11 weeks of the Obama presidency, congressional Republicans have achieved this feat: They have maintained (for the most part) a unified opposition to Obama and the Democratic agenda. All Republicans, save for three moderate GOP senators, voted against Obama’s stimulus. And every single Republican voted against the Democratic budget. But looking at recent polls, we’ve got to ask: Where has this gotten the GOP so far? The recent New York Times/CBS poll showed the Republican Party’s favorability rating at an all-time low, matching the result from last month’s NBC/WSJ poll.”
The GOP spin from a strategist: “My sense is we are making progress towards reclaiming mantle of fiscal responsibility, which is first step towards rebuilding. Obama is hugely popular, which makes for a tough environment. But that will/must fade with time, and we’ll get our second look from public.”
GOP Stimulus Backlash Collides with Reality (Political Wire)
Politico notes the governors “threatening to decline federal stimulus money last month read like a list of Republicans considering running for president in 2012:” Governors Mark Sanford, Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin. “But what began with a bang is ending with something closer to a whimper. All three of those governors have been forced to scale back their expectations, to varying degree, as the push of conservative philosophy gave way to the pull of political reality… All three found that praise from the conservative movement in Washington meant nothing to furious state legislators of both parties. And in the end, along with other conservative Republican governors, the three submitted letters in recent days asking to be eligible for federal funds.”
Jindal Gets Book Deal (Political Wire)
“In a move almost certain to fuel fresh speculation about his national ambitions,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said that he “has agreed to write a book for a conservative publishing house about his life and policy ideas,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. “The book is tentatively scheduled for release in 2010… In recent years, book authorship has become a virtual requirement for presidential aspirants.”
Stevens Files to Run in 2014 (Political Wire)
Former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) has filed a statement of candidacy for the 2014 election, but an aide cautions against reading too much into the move, the AP reports. “Campaign treasurer Tim McKeever says the filing does not mean Stevens has decided to seek re-election. He says it simply was done to accept donations that came into the campaign after the November election.”
The Bush Six to Be Indicted (by Scott Horton, writing at the Daily Beast)
Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge.
Bush Snubs Cheney (Political Wire)
The New York Times: “The old gang is getting back together next week in Dallas for a reunion of sorts, the Bush team’s first since leaving the White House. On tap is a dinner with the former president and a daylong discussion of the future George W. Bush Policy Institute… Mr. Bush is trying to map out what he wants to do with the rest of his life… Not coming to next week’s session is former Vice President Dick Cheney, who in the final days of the administration argued with Mr. Bush about his refusal to pardon Mr. Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr… Cheney later went on television to air his grievances with Mr. Bush, while also accusing Mr. Obama of endangering the country.”
A Flood of Issue Ads (Political Wire)
Politico: “Television viewers are being deluged by so-called issue ads paid for by corporations, unions, advocacy groups and individuals who have spent a whopping $270 million just since Obama took the oath of office… It’s an unprecedented clip, experts say, a breakneck pace that could yield more than $1 billion in issue ad buys before the end of the year.
Dobson concedes that the far right has ‘lost’ the culture war. ( Think Progress)
In a farewell address to the staff of Focus on the Family, James Dobson conceded that evangelical conservatives had lost most of the recent so-called “culture war” battles. Attributing the right’s recent failures to the “internet” and the election of Bill Clinton, Dobson said, “Humanly speaking, we can say that we have lost.” He added that the nation is now “absolutely awash in evil“.
Don’t be fooled. Statements like this are motivators for the troops. And they bring in lots of donations.
Gay Marriage Leads To Mass Murder? (by David Corn, Mother Jones)
Is there a connection between same-sex marriage and mass murder? That’s what one religious right outfit is suggesting. This week, Morality in Media disseminated a statement noting that the Iowa Supreme Court had legalized gay marriage on the same day that a gunman murdered 13 people in Binghamton, New York. The headline on the release: “Connecting the Dots: The Line Between Gay Marriage and Mass Murders.” The group’s president, Bob Peters, notes that the “underlying problem is that increasingly we live in a ‘post-Christian’ society, where Judeo-Christian faith and values have less and less influence.” And, he continues, this “secular value system is also reflected in the ‘sexual revolution,’ which is the driving force behind the push for ‘gay marriage.’”
Discussing gay marriage ruling in Iowa, Beck says, “I believe this case is actually about going into churches, and going in and attacking churches and saying, ‘You can’t teach anything else’ “ (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
See, right wingers don’t just give up and go hide in a corner when defeated, the way Democrats do:
Operation ASU to Pass Out Obama Deception DVDs (Infowars, a right-wing site)
Activists in Phoenix are planing on passing out 10,000 DVD’s of the New Film “Obama Deception” before May 13 when Obama will be coming to ASU campus.
“They do it because it works” (by lambert at Corrente)
Dave Johnson is right: “In fact they’re back to being as crazy and paranoid as they were when Clinton was President. Remember the accusations that Clinton and Hillary were murderers, that Hillary personally killed Vince Foster, that Clinton ran a drug-smuggling operation out of an airstrip, that he was looking through FBI files, that he fired the travel office to put a cousin in, that he “sold” plots in Arlington cemetery, that he held up runway traffic to get a $500 haircut, that he used cocaine in the White House, that he hung obscene ornaments on the White House Christmas tree and the other fabrications that came daily? [*1] We laughed then, too, and how did that work out? They took over the Presidency, the House and the Senate…”
But Dave Johnson is also wrong: “It works. They’re doing it and they are funded and strategic. We aren’t. We’re right and they are wrong, progressive policies and candidates are better for people than conservatives ones, but we aren’t telling the public. We have no coordinated marketing effort to explain to the general public how and why progressives and progressive ideas and policies are better for them than the conservative approach. Until we do the right remains just as dangerous as ever.” [*2]
I really do hate to relitigate the primaries, which is why I mostly write on finance and health care and obscure reggae tracks from the 1970s, but as a matter of record, Johnson is wrong. “Progressives” are fully capable of using “crazy and paranoid” talking points to “explain to the general public how and why progressives and progressive ideas and policies are better for them.” It’s just that they do that against other Democrats. Why don’t they give Republicans the same treatment? I don’t know.
*1 Oh, yes, I remember, and I remember also that it was one of the reasons why Democrats had to nominate Barack, and not Hillary. The right wing COULDN’T go after him, remember?
*2 And haven’t I been saying this for EIGHT LONG YEARS?
Barack Obama Bows Before Our New Ruler [Image File] (by Gabriel Snyder at Gawker)
The President can’t go anywhere without betraying America. Here he is today, at the White House Easter Egg Roll, debasing himself yet again.
Karnak says (2)… (by Tengrain at Mock, Paper, Scissors)
“…The Carebear is forcing little white children of the GOP to bow before him, then go to re-education camp.” (…[J]ust guessing what I will read later today when I visit the Freeper sites.)
Limbaugh blames Al Gore for woman being mauled by polar bear after jumping into animal’s enclosure at zoo (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Limbaugh’s dirty little secret of radio “success” (by Eric Boehlert at County Fair, Media Matters for America,)
Bill Mann at HuffPost pulls back the curtain a bit and explains one of the reasons why Rush Limbaugh over the years has been able to line up approximately 600 radio outlets to carry his show, a number the media always use to tout the talker’s influence. Answer: Limbaugh and his syndicator give the show to some stations for free.
Sorry, Eric, it’s not a secret. It’s how he built his audience in the late 80s. He was so successful that a lot of syndicators do it now. They barter for ad time.
Ari Fleischer, Nobody Cares What You Think [Flackery] (by Hamilton Nolan at Gawker)
Is there any more irrelevant talking head in America than Ari Fleischer, Bush’s former roboflack? His only skill was obfuscating on behalf of important people. Now he doesn’t work for anyone important. Except himself! Ari is in PR. So he should really, you know, be great at tapping into the public consciousness, right? And what issue will resonate with the broke, unemployed citizens of our recession-wracked nation now more than this: Poor people should pay more taxes!
Movie Deal for Staggeringly Wrong Political Journalist [The Cinema] (by Ryan Tate at Gawker)
He said Matt Drudge and Karl Rove held the key to the presidency. His last book was embarrassingly wrong. Barack Obama won by studiously ignoring his advice. Someone put Mark Halperin in pictures! Halperin, who inflicted The Note on the world before moving to Time, sold an option HBO Films to turn into a movie his forthcoming 2008 campaign book Game Change, even though that book is effectively an extended correction on his last book.
Chuck Todd to Host New Show (Political Wire)
Multiple network sources tell the New York Observer that MSNBC is in the process of developing a weekend political show to be moderated by Chuck Todd, the network’s political director and chief White House correspondent. “The new show on MSNBC, to debut in late spring, would give Mr. Todd more experience as a political moderator and provide him with a good opportunity to develop his long-form interviewing skills.”
Fox’s Glenn Beck Announces Comedy Tour
Glenn Beck, Fox News Channel’s latest sensation, is taking a comedy show on the road for six live performances. Beck calls his act a “poor man’s Seinfeld” and intends to mix topical humor with his modern-day reimagining of Thomas Paine’s 1776 pamphlet Common Sense.”
Every day is a comedy tour for Glenn Beck.
Ebert thanks O’Reilly for putting the Sun-Times in his “Hall of Shame”
“To be in an O’Reilly Hall of Fame would be a cruel blow to any newspaper,” writes Roger Ebert. “It would place us in the favor of a man who turns red and starts screaming when anyone disagrees with him.” The film critic adds: “Bill, I am concerned that you have been losing touch with reality recently. Did you really say you are more powerful than any politician?” (Yes, he did.)
Old Media Hack Attacks New Media Hacks [Journalismism] (by John Cook at Gawker)
Howard Kurtz scolds Politico … for spinning stupid bullshit “stories” into Drudgebait, a critique we endorse. But: Physician, heal thyself… The Washington Post could stand to gain some more readers for it’s substantive, serious coverage of the political scene. Take the paper’s Bo series for instance. The Post’s coverage of Bo, which was supposed to be a silver-platePost exclusive, handed out by the White House in exchange for the Post’s silence on a gardening story that had been promised to the New York Times, is an exercise in the sort of sober, non-audience-generating reportage that is currently rocketing the newspaper industry to new heights of profitability. Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia is obviously proud of his work on the beat:
Let’s follow the trail.
The Obama puppy trail.
Why? Because it is our duty.
Awake and Sing (by Susie at Suburban Guerrilla)
Frank Rich on the Wall St. culture’s permeation of the Obama administration: “We discovered, for instance, that Lawrence Summers, the president’s chief economic adviser, made $5.2 million in 2008 from a hedge fund, D. E. Shaw, for a one-day-a-week job. He also earned $2.7 million in speaking fees from the likes of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Those institutions are not merely the beneficiaries of taxpayers’ bailouts since the crash. They also benefited during the boom from government favors: the Wall Street deregulation that both Summers and Robert Rubin, his mentor and predecessor as Treasury secretary, championed in the Clinton administration. This dynamic duo’s innovative gift to their country was banks ‘too big to fail.’”
Bob Somerby asks, “Obama, whose money values are amazingly good [according to Rich], appointed Summers (amazingly bad). But if something is wrong with Summers’ values, could that reflect on Obama’s values? Not in a novel by Rich.”
Clark drops Holocaust scholar (Boston Globe)
Clark University canceled a campus talk scheduled for later this month by controversial Holocaust scholar Norman Finkelstein, saying his presence “would invite controversy and not dialogue or understanding,” and would conflict with a similar event scheduled around the same time… In a letter to the university’s campus newspaper, Clark’s president, John Bassett, wrote: “The university remains committed to inviting a wide range of speakers to encourage diversity of opinions on controversial topics. My decision was predicated on its untimely and unfortunate scheduling.”
Finkelstein’s address would conflict with a similar conference hosted by the university’s Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, scheduled for April 23-26, two days after Finkelstein’s speech, Bassett said in his letter. That conference could draw Holocaust scholars who MacMillan said may disagree with Finkelstein.
There might have been a time, at least I think there was, when we welcomed having different opinions expressed at or near the same time. But not now. We cannot disagree, you see. It is verboten. We must all pretend to be of like mind. We must all be made of ticky tacky. We must all be just the same.
Censoring Norman Finkelstein (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
Finkelstein is the son of Holocaust survivors. In no way can his works be construed as sympathetic to the scurrilous claims of the Holocaust revisionists and their anti-Semitic ilk (although some Finkelstein critics may try to propagate that impression). His book The Holocaust Industry addresses the ways in which Israel’s apologists have used the memory of that tragedy in order to justify modern-day actions that would be universally condemned if committed by any other state. I encourage you to read the book and to judge for yourself…
When Clark issued it’s decision, one Doug Tarnopol issued the following response: “…[T]ake it from this American Jew whose family lost members during the Nazi holocaust: by using that historical event to undermine, Nazi-like, the free speech and academic freedom of a nonviolent scholar, you have committed one of the worst moral atrocities I can imagine that doesn’t entail physical violence. Well done! This is surely the triumph of ethnocentrism over ethics, and it pretty much solidifies in the public’s mind that Dr. Finkelstein’s work on Israeli crimes in the occupied territories, and the ideological use of the Holocaust to silence those crimes, is pretty much on the ball.”
Resource: OpenSecrets.org Goes OpenData (Capital Eye)
Politicians, prepare yourselves. Lobbyists, look out… [T]he nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics is putting 200 million data records from the watchdog group’s archive directly into the hands of citizens, activists, journalists and anyone else interested in following the money in U.S. politics. For the first time in CRP’s 26-year history, the nonprofit research group’s most popular data archives are fully and freely downloadable for non-commercial purposes from the Center’s website, OpenSecrets.org–a four-time Webby winner for best politics site online.
I do database work. If you decide you want to look at the Open Secrets data in a way that’s not possible from the forms on their website and are willing to pay, I will get the data and extract the information you want.
Media Matters for America headlines
YouTube, not boob tube, now source for shared memories
Media experts say that, for the first time, there exists a generation whose collective memories are being created as much by what they experience on their computers, particularly on the video-sharing site YouTube, as what they see on TV or hear on the radio. They say that as the Internet becomes increasingly ubiquitous and portable, with easy accessibility on cell phones, the greater the influence of computer culture is likely to become.
Can Twitter Make You Amoral? Rapid-fire Media May Confuse Your Moral Compass
Emotions linked to our moral sense awaken slowly in the mind, according to a new study from a neuroscience group led by corresponding author Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California… The study raises questions about the emotional cost—particularly for the developing brain—of heavy reliance on a rapid stream of news snippets obtained through television, online feeds or social networks such as Twitter. “If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality,” [first author Mary Helen] Immordino-Yang said.
I’ve said for a long time that what we do on the internet is read/react, read/react, read/react, rather than what we did before, some of us at least, which was to read/REFLECT/react.
Iraqi General Filing Suit to Close Newspaper and TV Channel Over Alleged Misquotes
The Iraqi military put local journalists on notice on Monday that their organizations could be shut down for misquoting officials, while the Iraqi government accused the news media of deliberately seeking to promote sectarian strife.
Iran says US journalist tried behind closed doors
A jailed American journalist charged by Iran with espionage stood trial behind closed doors and a verdict is expected within weeks, Iran’s judiciary spokesman said Tuesday. Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But an Iranian judge leveled a far more serious allegation against her last week, charging her with spying for the United States.
A Reporter Describes How Drug Violence Has Taken A Heavy Toll On Journalism In Mexico (by Alfredo Corchado at Nieman Watchdog)
Media members self-censor themselves to survive. Many reporters, especially along the U.S.-Mexico border, are now limited to reporting on body counts. Investigations are rare. Even reporters in Mexico City now withhold bylines on ‘sensitive stories’ for fear of reprisal from members of organized crime.
YouTube riddled with drug cartel videos, messages
Videos on YouTube and Mexican-based sites increasingly use professional singers to croon about cartel leaders while images of murdered victims fade one into the next. Such videos are used to intimidate enemies and recruit members by touting “virtues” of cartel leaders, says Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence for Stratfor, a Texas-based global-intelligence company. Howard Campbell, an anthropologist at the University of Texas-El Paso who studies border issues, says the videos also signal how the cartels have evolved from pure moneymaking ventures to sophisticated groups with political agendas.
Google Decides Not To Cave To South Korean Government (Paid Content)
Google has decided against bending to a South Korean law that could require it to hand over to the government the identity of people who upload videos to YouTube Korea. To get around the regulation, the company will no longer let South Koreans post videos or comments on the site, according to a report in the Korean paper Hankyore. By limiting uploads and comments, Google could potentially lose some share in the online video market in South Korea because it will be more difficult for people there to interact with the site.
Newseum had 714,000 paid visitors in its first year in DC
In the final year at its old Arlington location, the museum had 480,000 visitors. Of the $20 entrance fee, Newseum CEO Charles Overby says: “We know a large group of people will not come because it is not their thing and they don’t want to spend the money. But we don’t receive any government tax money.”
The Last Hurrah of Hollywood’s Hero Journalist? (by Simon Dumenco, Advertising Age)
Watching “State of Play,” I couldn’t help but think that I was witnessing the dying of a cinematic archetype: the Hero Journalist. It feels like a bookend to “All the President’s Men,” with Crowe’s worn-down, worn-out reporter character, Cal McAffrey, as the earnest-but-embittered descendant of Robert Redford’s and Dustin Hoffman’s dashing young Woodward and Bernstein. Hollywood’s going to stop making movies like this because, let’s face it, newspapers — those that are left — are in no position to inspire yarns like this anymore.
Another Los Angeles Times Advertisement Draws Fire
After running a front-page advertisement for an NBC show that resembled a news story on Thursday, The Los Angeles Times Calendar entertainment section on Sunday was accompanied by a four-page advertisement for the movie The Soloist that was laid out like a news section.
Shame on Daily Bruin’s publisher for running a “deceptive” ad wrap
With the exception of the “Paid Advertisement” note below the flag, Tuesday’s Daily Bruin ad wrap is a pretty close knock-off of the editorial design of the real paper, writes Bryan Murley. “I have no problem with ‘innovative’ advertising ideas, but this ad went way beyond ‘innovative’ and ventured into the area of ‘deceptive’ and ‘unethical.’”
CEO story vanishes from Financial Post Magazine
A Financial Post Magazine story about Manulife Financial’s CEO contained a “serious error” that wasn’t caught until after the magazine was printed. Staffers physically removed the page from every copy of the April issue to appease the financial services giant, reports Rita Trichur.
A beat-sweetener isn’t unethical, but it’s a lousy marketing strategy
“At a time when readers are abandoning newspapers and magazines in droves, it hardly behooves reporters to bore them” with pieces designed to suck up to government officials, says Tim Noah. “What’s the value of access if you have no public to share it with?” His beat-sweetener survey explains how some source-greasers fall short of the usual standards.
He Said, She Said Journalism: Lame Formula in the Land of the Active User (by Jay Rosen at PressThink)
Any good blogger, competing journalist or alert press critic can spot and publicize false balance and the lame acceptance of fact-free spin. Do users really want to be left helpless in sorting out who’s faking it more? The he said, she said form says they do, but I say decline has set in.
Claim: Internet hurts journalism more than it helps
The Atlantic and National Journal asked 43 media insiders whether, on balance, journalism has been helped more or hurt more by the rise of news consumption online. Sixty-five percent said journalism has been hurt more, while 34% said it’s been helped more.
Pegoraro: “The news business has issues, but blaming the Internet won’t fix them”
The Internet didn’t make Sam Zell pay for Tribune with $8.2 billion in loans, notes Rob Pegoraro. “The Internet did not make the New York Times spend $1.1 billion to buy the Boston Globe, then put $600 million into a new headquarters building on some of the most expensive real estate in the United States. The Internet did not make the Washington Post Co. waste a few years of effort on a nightmarishly-bad dial-up online service called Digital Ink.”
Pros, cons of newspapers turning to universities for help
They’re tossed out by Lou Ureneck, Jim O’Shea, and Lauren Rich Fine.
Departing LAT columnist favors a government bailout of journalism
“If we’re willing to use taxpayer money to build roads, pay teachers and maintain a military; if we’re willing to bail out banks and insurance companies and failing automakers, we should be willing to part with some public funds to keep journalism alive too,” writes Rosa Brooks. About her move to the Pentagon: “Some might say I have a ‘new job,’ but because I’ll be escaping a dying industry — and your tax dollars will shortly be paying my salary — I prefer to think of it as my personal government bailout.”
Spare change for news (by Katharine Mieszkowski, Salon)
Is going nonprofit the best way for journalism to get by? Take the word of leading editors who already have their hand out.
Google CEO’s remarks “were disconnected from the reality of our times”
Eric Schmidt’s pitch to newspaper publishers was “like offering a five-year plan to a group that’s found itself afloat on a deserted island with little food,” writes Ken Doctor. “Here he is talking to a newspaper industry that has already seen five bankruptcies, newsroom cuts of greater than 20% and a downsizing future as far as any impartial observer can see, and he’s talking to them about the transformative power of the mobile experience, how ad models will work out in the end and micropayments. We need to be talking about macropayments.”
They Pay for Cable, Music and Extra Bags. How About News?
[F]rom networks selling downloads of TV shows, to music companies trying to curb file-sharing, to struggling newspapers and magazines, the make-or-break question is this: How do you get consumers to pay for something they have grown used to getting free? Some industries have pulled it off. Coca-Cola took tap water, filtered it and called it Dasani, and makes millions of dollars a year. People who used to ask why anyone would pay for television now subscribe to cable and TiVo. Airlines charge for luggage, meals, even pillows. And some music fans who have downloaded pirated songs are also patrons of iTunes. All of these success stories offered the consumer something extra, even if it was just convenience.
John Morton proposes “The Morton Plan” for saving newspapers
The veteran newspaper industry analyst writes: “I call on all you publishers to decide individually (to ward off the antitrust folks) to charge for Internet access to your newspaper content: Offer your readers the choice of getting their paper online, with the advantages of expanded information and search capabilities, or in print for the same price. A modest premium would give them both. Charge advertisers the same for online or print space, based on print’s current cost-per-thousand for advertising.”
Biz prof is amazed that media companies repeatedly add free online services
“Before you add something to your site, you should say that if consumers really want it, that should be part of a package that you could charge for,” says Columbia Business School’ Eric J. Johnson. He uses online video as an example.
WSJ Online to charge more for special content
Wall Street Journal Online executive editor Alan Murray says the paper is planning a “premium initiative” to sell “narrower information services” at a higher subscription rate to subsets of its readership. “He was coy about what services will be offered,” writes Zachary M. Seward, “but mentioned, as examples, energy coverage and some sort of news service for chief financial officers.”
“Fixing the Boston Globe involves at least two things”
“As much as it pains me to write it, the business needs to get even smaller to meet shrinking revenues,” writes the Globe’s Steven Syre. “Also, newspapers like the Globe must find some way to get paid for their Internet content. I don’t know if that means micropayments, subscriptions, or something else.”
“Our print subscribers are strongly behind us,” says Boston Globe columnist
Scot Lehigh asked readers to weigh in about the plight of the Globe, and those who responded were “full of ideas and passion for the paper.” Lehigh says “many online readers, meanwhile, are enthusiastic about the value of Boston.com — and willing to pay for it. It’s time we gave them the chance.”
Boston Globe decided against investing in Monster.com in the 1990s
Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor once proposed that the Globe put up $1 million for an ownership stake that would give the paper a chance to put its lucrative classified advertising business online. Steve Taylor, who was executive vice president of the Globe during those discussions, tells Robert Weisman: “I’m sorry to tell you that’s an absolutely true story.”
MinnPost founder doubts his nonprofit model could save big newspapers
“I don’t think that if the New York Times or the Boston Globe went nonprofit tomorrow they could sustain the size newsroom that the old model did,” says Joel Kramer, whose nonprofit MinnPost has an annual budget of $1.2 million. “I don’t think that the nonprofit model will get you there. I think it can create a lot of small success stories, but there is no way our model will support hundreds of journalists. It’s just not going to happen.”
Washington Times to run citizen journalists’ stories
One full print page per day of news stories reported and written by citizen journalists will run in the Washington Times, beginning today. “We know there are many issues and communities we have not been able to fully cover within the confines of a newsroom budget, and we are excited to empower citizens within those communities to provide us news that will interest all our readers,” says executive editor John Solomon.
Marriott to stop automatic newspaper delivery to guests
At check-in, guests will be asked if they want USA Today, Wall Street Journal, the local paper, or no paper. Marriott claims guest demand for newspapers has dropped about 25%.
They’re selling it as an environmental move.
Rising Circulation at Papers Sold by Homeless
Newspapers produced and sold by homeless people in dozens of American cities are flourishing even as the deepening recession endangers conventional newspapers. At many of them, circulation is growing, along with the sales forces dispatched to sell the papers to passers-by.
Globe union tells members about NYT demands
The Times is seeking concessions that could include pay cuts of up to 20%, the elimination of seniority rules and lifetime job guarantees, and millions of dollars in cuts in company contributions to retirement and health care plans. “The long list of union givebacks was greeted with anger, concern, and sadness by some 200 union members who attended the meeting,” writes Robert Gavin.
Philly papers’ senior lenders want “independent oversight” imposed on CEO Tierney
In a court filing, the lenders demand that an adviser currently reporting to Philadelphia Media Holdings chief executive Brian Tierney be given the title of chief restructuring officer with greater decision-making power. They also want two independent “directors/managers” to oversee the bankrupt company’s operations and its reorganization.
Chicago Tribune Cutting Newsroom 20 Percent (Paid Content)
The bleeding isn’t stopping at the Chicago Tribune, as Crains Chicago Business reports (via E&P) the paper told employees last week that the newsroom would lose another 20 percent of its staff. The news comes as the Labor Department has opened an inquiry into the way bankrupt parent The Tribune Company made use of the ESOP (employee stock option plan) as part of SamZell’s purchase of the publisher two years ago. The company sought bankruptcy protection back in December.
Doug Feaver’s defense of unmoderated, anonymous comments prompted Clark Kauffman to dig up a letter he wrote to Gannett’s news chief in early 2008. The Des Moines Register newsman complained that the chain “is systematically dismantling its professionally staffed newsrooms and replacing them with Information Centers staffed in part by unpaid (and sometimes anonymous) contributors. I know financial pressures are driving this, but the result is as predictable as it is unavoidable: a lower quality news product.”
Amazon Says ‘Glitch’ Caused Sales Rank Outage For Gay, Lesbian Titles (Paid Content)
Author Mark Probst was told his gay-themed novel lost its Amazon sales rank “in consideration of our entire customer base” because it was “adult material” but an Amazon spokesman responding to our query said the de-rankings of an untold number of gay and lesbian titles are due to a “glitch” that’s “being fixed.”… The result was an online uproar that escalated Sunday afternoon and evening, and will take more than a one-line statement from Amazon to quell.
BookTour Raises $350,000 From Amazon (Paid Content)
BookTour, an online directory of author events, has raised $350,000 in seed capital from Amazon, peHUB reports. The company’s chairman, Chris Anderson, is the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail. BookTour lets authors create pages that update their fans on relevant news and events, and include biographical and other information. Authors can update their profiles whenever they like and users can search the site’s database to find out when their favorite author will be at an event near them, contact authors with questions, or invite them to speak at events.
Active Interest Media Acquires Four Magazines
Backpacker publisher Active Interest Media has purchased four home magazines from Gloucester Publishers. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal includes Old-House Interiors, Arts & Crafts Homes, Early Homes and Design Sourcebook, as well as their online assets.
In Switch, Magazines Think About Raising Prices
As advertising falls, publishers are assessing whether they can charge more without losing subscribers.
Why The Sun magazine decided to get rid of ads
Ads define the magazines they run in, which is one reason The Sun founder Sy Safransky didn’t want any. The former newspaper reporter tells Michael Miner: “It’s hard for people to describe the Sun in a few sentences, and without any advertising that became even harder, which was fine with me. [Besides], I don’t want a reader finishing a deeply moving story, only to turn the page and see an ad for a soy burger.”
The Latest Chapter in the Fall of Doubledown
The story of the fall of Doubledown Media, the once-rising publisher of magazines aimed at the Wall Street elite, continues to produce twists worthy of a John Grisham novel. The latest chapter: according to court documents, more than 350 claims have been made against Doubledown.
Even a Print Advocate Turns to the Web
The Magazine Publishers of America is for the first time allowing consumers to vote for their favorite magazine ad — online.
Radio Host Rick Dees Takes It to the Web
Popular radio host Rick Dees is launching a Top 40s Web site today. The 59-year-old is surviving the industry shift and bracing for the future of radio. “I don’t think local stations are understanding how to use their Web sites,” he said.
Netflix for Wii and PS3, Here it Comes?
Ah, job spots, you tease us so. Credit Crunchgear for pulling this one out, acting on a tip about a Netflix Engineering Leader position whose description suggests everyone’s favorite online video provider (ahem, Netflix) may be flirting with another console. Make that consoles, plural, per the job listing
NBC Again Will Limit Live Olympic Broadband Coverage To Pay TV Subscribers (Paid Content)
While Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has been talking up TV Everywhere, NBC quietly has been planning once again to limit live broadband viewing of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver to pay TV subscribers—but with tougher authentication. Live streaming will be offered to cable, satellite and telecom multichannel subscribers whose distributors agree to a deal with NBC Universal; last summer, Cablevision subs were blocked because the Long Island operator didn’t sign on. Sports Business Journal reported the plan and we have confirmed it. NBC had no comment.
Beam ESPN Content to Your Nintendo DS
Take me out to the ballgame, just don’t forget my Nintendo DS.
Top-Tier Cable Networks Set to Take on Broadcast
Don’t Expect a Whopping Increase Compared With ’08, but Those With Ratings Traction Could See Gains
Bravo Shows Move Further Into Licensing Products
Bravo is developing products based on its popular programs that will be promoted on the air and sold on Bravo’s Web site.
What’ll Be the Breakout Star That Links TV to Net?
From Boxee to Apple TV, Slew of New Products Promise Smooth Transition and Expanded Offerings.
YouTube, Universal in Tune With Deal
YouTube and Universal Music Group are teaming on an online music video venture called Vevo that will make available UMG’s entire catalog of nearly 10,000 music vids. The companies will share ad revenue on the Vevo.com site, a Vevo channel on YouTube and a tailor-made video player.
‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers
A number of Web start-up companies are creating so-called hyperlocal news sites that let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, often without involving traditional journalists. The sites collect links to articles and blogs and often supplement them with goverment data and other sources.
Hyperlocal Sites Ready To Fill Lost Newspapers’ Vacancy—Except For One Thing (Paid Content)
Up until the latter half of the year, local was a major engine of online ad growth. But since this past fall’s global financial meltdown,even local ad spending has been pulling back. So even though they are loaded down with millions of dollars of debt and managing huge overhead costs, the current economic climate makes the question of survival just as urgent for hyperlocal sites as well as newspapers.
Ex-AOL exec’s True/Slant “might be worth a look”
Lewis Dvorkin’s True/Slant is launching with 65 journalists, or “knowledge experts,” assigned to specific topics, including politics, culture, sports, business, and health. They’re required to actively engage with site visitors — an attempt to capture some of the excitement of a social network, says Walt Mossberg. “It’s way too early to know if True/Slant will succeed,” he writes, “but it’s another example of how the Web is changing traditional media.”
Why journalists shouldn’t ignore Twitter and Facebook
Brian Solis says journalists must tap the Statusphere — Twitter, Facebook and other micro communities — “in order to earn awareness for their work and more importantly, build relationships with those who share affinities for the topics they cover.” He notes: “While traditional media models lived and breathed through the sharing of content directly to the existing readership, new media will thrive from those individuals who reach people where they interact and hand-deliver relevant information directly to them.”
Facebook Shares Tips and Case Studies for Brand Marketers (Mashable)
With its recent redesign and a slew of new features, Facebook has been moving to make Pages a focal point of the site. Personally, I recently described these changesas “the business model that moves [the company] from a successful social network to a highly profitable business.” Thus, it’s not surprising that Facebook is starting to do more to reach out to brands that might benefit from using revamped Pages. The latest example is (fittingly) a Facebook Page that the company has setup to promote “Facebook Marketing Solutions,” complete with case studies from a number of large brands using the tool, tips and how-tos, and discussion with marketers.
The brands that Facebook is featuring include household names like Adobe, Lionsgate, and Ben & Jerry’s, but there are still some useful tidbits for those with slightly smaller budgets. For example, Ben & Jerry’s implementation of Facebook Connect is something that any website could deploy with a bit of coding work and zero marketing spend.
Facebook Users Get Worse Grades in College
Facebook users have lower overall grades than non-users, according to a survey of college students who also ironically said the social networking site does not interfere with studying. That disconnect between perception and reality does not necessarily mean that Facebook leads to less studying and worse grades – the grades association could be caused by something else. However, it does raise more questions about how students spend their time outside class.
Startup embeds Web photos with shopping links
Inspiration comes in many forms, and in the case of James Everingham, it appeared as a pair of knockoff Christian Dior shoes. Everingham’s vision ultimately became Pixazza, an online advertising startup that converts photos on Web sites into interactive advertisements. Mouse over an image, and tiny price tags appear over handbags, dresses and other items. Hover on top of one, and a balloon pops up with images and links to similar items you can buy online. Move your mouse away, and the balloon disappears. Even Google Inc. is interested.
Build a better shopping mechanism, and the world will beat a path to your door.
Catching criminals — in 140 characters or less
When Milwaukee police wanted to get word of a murder out quickly, they did it in 113 characters on Twitter.
Bakery uses its loaf and turns to Twitter
A London bakery has started using the Internet messaging system Twitter to inform customers when the latest batches of bread hit the shelves.
TwitZap: Never Refresh Twitter Again (by Stan Schroeder at Mashable)
TwitZap is a new web-based Twitter client that focuses on 3 major features, all very neat. First, it lets you tweet (very fast, under 800ms, they claim) even when Twitter is slow or down. Your messages will get through on TwitZap, and they will be relayed to Twitter as soon as possible. Another important feature is search channels… If you want to always be able to quickly search for terms “social media”, “job”, and “Trent Reznor”, you can easily add them to the [search] menu. Finally, unlike Twitter, TwitZap’s site is updated automatically and in real time, at the speed you choose with the little bar in the upper left corner. Turn the knob all the way left, and the updates will be paused. This is a nice improvement from Twitter’s standard page which has to be updated manually.
Although still in beta (what isn’t these days), TwitZap offers a nice blend of features which just might make it worth your while. On the other hand, advanced clients like TweetdeckTweetDeck reviews offer a lot more functionality, so users who are already used to them might prefer to wait till their favorite client adds these features. But, if you’re using the standard Twitter interface and want some improvements without switching to a desktop client, TwitZap is a solid choice.
StumbleUpon’s founders buy service back from eBay
Two founders of Web content recommendation service StumbleUpon said Monday they bought the company back from online auction house eBay Inc… When eBay purchased the company two years ago, the startup was considered a pioneer of the so-called “Web 3.0″ niche. The term refers to technology which pairs up general Internet search capability with a user’s personal data and aggregated community data, in an effort to deliver more relevant results than a standard search engine such as Google Inc. But San Jose, Calif.-based eBay itself has stumbled… Chief Executive John Donahoe, echoing investors, said at the time that the marketplace business has not kept up with the changing competitive landscape and customers’ needs.
Skype Founders May Seek to Buy It Back
The founders of Skype are said to have approached several private equity firms to make a bid for the Internet calling service.
Yahoo and Microsoft Said to Be Weighing Ad Pact
The two companies, which held a series of fruitless negotiations last year, have restarted discussions, this time over a possible advertising agreement, a person briefed on the discussions said.
Microsoft Lands Significant Ad Deal With Discovery (Paid Content)
With display ads out of favor, Microsoft has been making a push to do more cross-platform ad sales, and the company has now landed its first sizeable account: the entire seven-figure ad budget for the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” television series… Bloomberg News quotes Keith Lorizio, a Microsoft ad sales vp, as saying that the cross-platform approach would have not worked before, because Microsoft has separate teams for each of the properties that didn’t work together. Advertisers had to deal with multiple bills and multiple account reps. Last fall, the company hired Robin Domeniconi, a former executive at Time Inc., as its vice president of U.S. advertising sales, to help change that.
Ad Net Funding Redux: Rubicon Project, Collective Media Nab Investments (Paid Content)
Ad networks will continue to flourish as long as publishers keep churning out more content than they can sell ads against on their own—which is why VCs keep investing in networks like Glam Media and network optimizing firms like Pubmatic. The latest spate of investments include Collective Media and the Rubicon Project; it’s worth noting that they both have proprietary targeting and inventory management platforms, since technology is what helps smaller players differentiate themselves from bigger networks like AOL’s Platform-A and Yahoo.
Daily Beast Inks Monthlong Deal With Luxury Handbag Maker
The Daily Beast is launching what it’s calling “breakthrough ads.” The campaign includes expandable rich-media ad units, as well as sponsored content. The units feature several Bottega Veneta products, with text wrapped around them, eschewing a traditional square or rectangle layout.
Addressable Ads Are Here; Who’s Ready?
Canoe Ventures Rolls Out National, Scalable, Interactive TV Spots
On the Lookout, With a Digital Security Camera
The Digital Window D7, to be released this year, covers a 180-degree view by synchronizing images and stitching them simultaneously into one panoramic stream.
It will be interesting to see how media use this capability.
What an Apple Netbook Might Look Like
The Apple rumor mill is once again running overtime on the topic of netbooks. If you believe the reports, Steve Jobs is himself leading the charge. My take: Whatever Apple does, it won’t be a netbook in the usual sense, I also bet that Apple, if it does anything, will itself avoid using the n-word to describe it.
iPhone finds a home in the enterprise market
Market-research firm Forrester on Monday released a report that looks at several companies using the iPhone in the enterprise market. That’s significant for Apple because one of the knocks against the iPhone when it first came out was that it didn’t have sufficient security for large businesses.
Low-tech tools take out phones in Silicon Valley
Forget, for a moment, computer viruses and sophisticated cybercrimes. A hacksaw and a few other tools were probably all it took for someone to sever eight fiber-optic cables inSilicon Valley this week, knocking out cell phone, landline and Internet service. The attack was a reminder of the fragility of the telecommunications networks that are increasingly important in our lives. Yet physical sabotage of the networks is extremely rare, and far overshadowed by natural disasters like hurricanes. Security experts were unable to recall a similar incident.
Um, what about the mysterious cutting of cables in the Mediterranean, which has happened twice in the past year?
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