A Media Monopoly- Koch Network Funds Time Inc. Buyout.

Wicked adversaries

History has taught us that the media industry in Washington is capable of posing a considerable threat to our democracy. It stands to reason that a sound and empowered federal regulation ought to exist, one capable of holding media outlets accountable. There’s got to be a mechanism overseeing the news, to see it stays within the bounds of reason.

Hardly any such protections exist, however, and haven’t since the FCC disposed of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. President Bill Clinton observed this is not a topic frequently discussed by the media giants who govern our screens.

The world of American media is currently going through some fundamental changes. As part of this massive transformation, media companies have dramatically increased efforts to wield influence in Washington.

With a massive lobbying presence, and a steady dose of campaign donations to politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, big media has been pressuring the government to allow it more consolidation. A corollary goal involves privatizing and commodifying the internet.

The media controls the information flow. It has acquired an unparalleled power to reach into people’s lives. If consolidated and twisted to authoritarian purposes, it would turn into a weapon of terrifying strength. Any would-be dictator would naturally perceive this as well, and seek to acquire it.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise to see that the Koch Brothers are providing $500 million of the cash needed to buy out Time Magazine.

Meredith Corp., a magazine publisher and broadcast company, will acquire Time Inc. in a deal totalling $2.8 billion, the company announced Sunday.

The Koch brothers are the domestic source of most of the worst indignities we have suffered these last ten years. All of this is a part of their grand strategy to eliminate government interference from the business sector. Anti-monopoly laws, anti-pollution laws, anti-public aid laws. These things cost the likes of Koch Industries a lot of money every year. This is why they are willing to spend so much to get rid of them in the long run.

They are the money behind many Republicans like Scott Walker, for example, the governor of Wisconsin who used a lousy backdoor bill to cripple the school system there. It was a crucial step in breaking the backs of unions nationwide and in inciting conservatives to wickedness.

If the Koch Network comes to dominate the American media, it will probably come to dominate the American government shortly thereafter.

If that happens, all hope of turning humanity back from the road to ruin it has started down is lost.

Stephen Hawking warned in July that if we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”

He also predicted that humanity’s natural greed would prevent us from properly addressing the problem.

None of this matters to the Koch brothers, however, whose fervent commitment to libertarianism- laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog capitalism- coincides precisely with their foremost, bottom-line interest: the elimination of government regulations aimed at containing toxic pollution and ozone-damaging emissions.

Koch companies are spewing these everywhere. Around the country, around the clock. And the only power strong enough to hold them accountable is the government.

However, there is one sure way they can succeed in tipping the balance against governmental regulation.

Seizing control of the government itself.

The Kochs have been planning this out for a long time. Their father, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the John Birch Society, which can fairly be considered the centre of neo-conservative politics.

The trademark tenets of its philosophy include liberalism being the root of all evil, mistrust and hostility toward persons of color and other groups of at-risk persons, and a deep seeded fear of change. It is typified by racism, nationalism, and an ideologically devoid will to power. It carries within it the essence and spirit of fascism.

This is why they are paying so much money to take control of Time Magazine is one of the most highly recognizable and respected magazines in the world. To buy it out and fashion it into a vehicle of their propaganda would carry obvious strategic significance.

The tactic is to manipulate the national dialectic through their control of mouthpieces in the right-wing media. Recent shows like The Young Turks suggest their ideas have begun taking root on the left as well. This reality has to be faced and fully realized before counter-efforts will prove effective.

In 1983, journalist and professor Ben Bagdikian published his groundbreaking book, The Media Monopoly, which revealed that just 50 corporations owned 90 percent of the media. That number has gradually dwindled over the years and eventually led us to our current crisis, where more than 90 percent of the media is owned by just six companies: Viacom, News Corporation, Comcast, CBS, Time Warner and Disney.

To take control of the media once and for all, they have only to conquer these six companies. Here, we can look to Russia for a model. Putin did it in the post-Yeltsin era within a couple of years, with a nearly identical strategy.

The concept of the media they share, however, is a far cry from the First Amendment. For Putin and the Kochs, it’s a simple equation. Whoever owns the media controls what it says.

Putin pursues a two-pronged media strategy. At home, his government clamps down on internal communications while at the same time positioning abroad by deploying RT, the international news agency formerly known as Russia Today to challenge Western ideas and warp the lines of truth.

However, there is one key difference. Putin controls Russia’s government so thoroughly that he basically is Russia’s government.

The Koch brothers do not yet hold such power here.

So that is what they’re after. By way of achieving this goal, they have targeted the center with a political pincer attack. Their plan is to employ both ends of the radical spectrum with candidates in line with their philosophies and take over from within.

2016 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson pointed out during the cycle that “Interestingly enough, the candidate I most often side with, on 73% of the issues, is Bernie Sanders”.

Putin spoke highly of Bernie as well. And it seems an unlikely coincidence that the Justice Democrats, a Sanders-affiliated organization started by Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur, have targeted Democrats nationwide in primary challenges.

“It is time for them to step aside and let us lead. If you want unity, we’re ready to lead,” Uygur said on his popular internet TV show, The Young Turks.

The sheer brazen insolence! How many Presidents have you helped get elected, Cenk? Worthless as can be. Good for nothing but hurting real Democrats.

Any reasonably intelligent person ought to see this is a time when every dollar should be focused on targeting the GOP and waking our country up from the nightmare we’ve been in since last November. We should be sticking together like the opposition is.

As we prepare to enter the New Year, we’re going to be seeing these themes arise time and again.These are all topics we’ve covered before. Media consolidation. Anti-union sentiment. Attacks of governmental regulation of all kinds. It all comes down to economic slavery gift-wrapped with a fancy word, libertarianism.

2018 is the year that we start taking back our country. The only way we’ve got a shot at cleaning all this up is to retake the Congress. All our energies will be given to keeping #TheBlueWave alive.

There is a reasonable alternative to the pandemonium created by conservative greed and the current administration. Please join us in the task of helping the concept evolve.

 

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Our Last 100 Years? Climate Change and Partisan Denial.

Merry Christmas!
“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

This tweet was Donald Trump’s reaction to the news that it’s going to be a cold New Year’s Day out East.

Climate refers to atmospheric action over a long period of time, while weather describes what’s to be happening in the near future. The climate can be thought of as the sum of long periods of weather. The climate is the forest; the weather is the trees.

The percentage of Americans unaware of this is dangerously high already and growing.

In 2016, Stephen Hawking made a dire prediction. In 1000 years or less, the human race would not survive. Epidemics, rogue AI, and various other factors would combine to make the planet unfit for human life.

Many of us, knowing the brilliance of Hawking’s mind, read those words and shivered. They were, after all, surrounded by the rest of the news.

But here we are at the end of 2017, and Hawking has come up with some new numbers!

Thanks to modern-day health care, 100 years is nearly a lifetime, but in May, Hawking proposed that this is how long humans have left on Earth.

Where’d the other 900 go? In a word? Trump. You read the tweet.

In July, Hawking told the BBC that humanity is at a “tipping point”. If we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”

But a week of cold temperatures was enough for our president to call for more global warming.

Nor was this said in jest. Trump used the frigid East Coast weather as an opportunity to boast of what a good decision he’d made, in withdrawing from the Paris Accord earlier this year.

Hawking predicted that humanity’s natural greed would impede us from being able to properly address this problem.

According to Hawking, Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of this deal might turn out to be the final step towards the drastic climate problems scientists have been warning us about.

Trump’s history of climate change denial highlights a number of problems our society is currently solving.

A presidential administration hostile to climate science is a disaster. It is certain to deepen the already endemic scepticism on the topic existant in American political life.

Scientific reality has not escaped the distorting influence of political polarization in the United States.

Scepticism of man-made climate change within the GOP has been a worsening problem over the course of the last decade.

Like it or not, fossil-fuel corporations relative to the government have a gigantic power and influence over the conduct of the rest of us because they’re the ones who own so much of the information we see. They pay a lot of money to keep this issue frozen in political polarity.

As for Trump himself, his record of making stupid remarks about climate change goes back years. In 2015, he tweeted out something nearly identical to the nonsense he spit out today. As soon as he selected Scott Pruitt to run his Environmental Protection Agency, we could already guess at the rest.

Not long before taking office, Pruitt co-wrote an article claiming that scientists “disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

Trump’s choice to run the Energy Department, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, claimed “the science is not settled” on climate change.

His pick to lead the Interior Department, Republican Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, said that global warming is “not proven science.”

Most Americans know that climate change is real. According to a poll done by Yale, six out of ten Americans consider themselves worried about it.

However, this is where we encounter the crux of the problem; in fact, of all problems dealing with why change in America comes so hard and slow. We are not getting our information from the same sources anymore.

Conservative media and political mouthpieces such as the Koch– funded Tea Party have created a toxic environment for healthy discourse. It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as an “alt-fact”. There’s only errors, blunders, and lies.

If they can succeed in helping people to forget this, they can blur the lines of truthful news and spread cynicism like a plague. What better way to turn a good country into a lousy mess?

Back to our subject, the same Yale poll, Climate Change in the American Mind, finds that although people are indeed legitimately concerned about global warming, if you include a partisan watchword in the question, people start answering through a different frame.

They give the answer that matches their political affiliation, even if they may harbour doubts about it.

For instance, on the question of whether scientists near-unanimously agree that human industrial activity is causing global warming, there is vast partisan disagreement.

Lest there be any doubt on this issue, they do; nearly every study finds unanimity on this issue among scientists.

But only 13 percent of Republicans are aware that is the case, as compared to 55 percent of Democrats.

Climate science scepticism within the GOP has intensified greatly since 2016. Trump’s administration has made every effort to combat anti-global warming efforts as an expensive waste of time.

His withdrawal from the Paris Accord has now increased the odds of a species-ending disaster to the point where Stephen Hawking, for one, has lost all hope.

Trump has made a habit of airing his climate scepticism on Twitter. He has snidely tweeted on the topic of “climate change” or “global warming” more than 100 times since 2011. But it’s more alarming now by far. He’s the President these days.

Some people are bound to follow him, no matter how hard we fight against normalizing his administration. It’s that same recalcitrant third of our populace who says they’d support Trump over Jesus. 

There’s been something in the air these last few years. Instinctively, everyone seems to know that the species is at a crossroads and coming closer and closer to being forced down one path or the other.

We have all made decisions we regret; we have all burned bridges before. There is no walking backwards in time. We learn from these things, we move forward, and we try to help others learn from our mistakes. But when speaking of a geological extinction event, one has to realize there won’t be any more moving forward.

Add your voice to ours, with measured conviction, and help to save the world. Donald Trump’s moronic attempts at levity notwithstanding, it really is that serious. Somehow, we have got to find a way to spread the word. Or the days of saying things like Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays are going to be coming to an end, real soon.

Image result for when the last tree is cut
Why Climate Change Matters