Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Propaganda Tube

Recession? What Recession?

Jobs have been cut- homes have been lost. Yet government funds are still being extended to US consumers to help pay for the converter box necessary for the upcoming, congressionally mandated analog-digital tv broadcast switch on February 17, 2009- now even further extended to June.

To that end, any household- regardless of their income can request two $40 coupons.

The total cost of this plan, you ask? $ 1.5 billion dollars! Cut from initially 3 million.

If thats not enough- Congress has pre-authorized 11 million MORE vouchers for households. And another $600 million in the stimulus package from President Obama.

Their public message is that this is absolutely splendid for the American home! Personally, I saw at least 30 commercials and government-funded, advisory messages over the past fews months- reminding me to cash in my voucher.

What's not great about getting a basically free converter box? You go home, plug it in. This is so cool! But oh wait- look at the resolution! Then you ask yourself, "Wouldn't that look great on a bigger screen?" And then (here is the important part) you go out and buy a new tv and a fun new tv programming plan with all the great HD channels- which you won't need the converter box for.

The House and Senate, including many Republicans, Democrats and of course Barack- all believe that this will generate a lot of income/taxes for the government. Good right? Well-unfortunately they are digging into the fed's already empty pocketbooks! So, they can spend 1.5 billion dollars on TV converters! Not on food and definitely not on housing loans-which the banks don't care about either, by the way. (Thank you bail-out plan.)

Why are they mandating this? Who benefits from this?

We do know that TV manufactures, programmers and retail stores are making bank on this transition. Not to mention companies, such as Verizon and At&t whom already have spent 16 billion on guaranteeing access to the soon-to-be-vacated public airways.

Isn't it just so fab that the same company that runs the DMV, runs this? I mean- if people don't have their $40 dollar box, how in the world are they going to pay for their $60 tv plan so they don't miss Tyra Banks playing the fool again?

Since we have known about the switch (really since 2001) why couldn't the "poor" save less than 1 buck a month to
buy their own box? What in the world would happen if the poor couldn't watch the tube? Possibly go to the movies? Read a book?

Overall- this is strange to me. Why in the world is the government making it their business that your home watches television? I mean I had heard of a bully pulpit- but who ever thought that the government would deem it necessary that you see all of their propaganda on HD?

The Nazis may have been evil, tyrannical and murderous- but even they were more honest than our current government in how they referred to the propaganda wing. ...Here we call it the FCC.

Where is my free newspaper subscription? Free internet? Free data service on my iPhone? What is so important to the government that the public be forced to pay for this service through our taxes?

Something bigger is happening here. I am afraid that this mandate is yet another federal foot through the door in our private lives.

...heard of the fairness doctrine?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Should Al Qaeda have the same constitutional rights as American citizens?

On June 12th, 2008 the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that suspected terrorists that have been held as Guantanamo Bay detainees have the right to challenge their detention in federal court.

Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican- S.Carolina) has strongly opposed the ruling, stating “The American people are going to wake up tomorrow and be shocked to hear that a member of Al Qaeda has the same constitutional rights as an American citizen.” "[Even] the Nazis never has that right."

Flash forward a few months to President Barack Obama's first day in office, January 21, 2009 where he signed three executive orders to:

  1. ban the use of torture
  2. close Guantanamo Bay within one year
  3. review detention policies for terrorist suspects- and review existing inmates

What does this mean for the American people?

"Transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. soil will endanger American lives," Sen. Jim DeMint said. Even New York City mayor, Rudy Guiliani joined the debate on Hannity saying, "People that we have released from Guantanamo have gotten involved in terrorist activities again and killed people, innocent people, Americans."

Conservative talk show host, Rush Limbaugh has similarly argued that this "polictical" move has been made at the expense of America's national security. "They're going to have to be held accountable in any future attacks as a result of this."

Why is it that they fear future attacks when we haven't seen one on American soil since 9/11?

Well- There have been over 61 inmates released from Guantanamo that have gone back to terrorism and killing innocent lives of Americans and our allies.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell released this information on January 13, 2009.

This figure is an drastic increase from the 37 in March of 2008. The Pentagon's information has been gathered over the years from photographs, intelligence and forensic evidence such as fingerprints and DNA that tie the inmates to known terrorist activity.

Obviously a lot of information on the detainees at Guantanamo has yet to be released- but human rights activists and lawyers have concluded that only a few of those still held are actual terrorists.

But who wants to be the one responsible for releasing the next Osama bin Laden?

House Majority Leader John Boehner, (Republican-Ohio), has expressed his concerns as well.

"I think the first thing we have to remember is that we're talking about terrorists here,” Boehner said January 15. “Do we bring them into our borders? Do we release them back into the battlefield, like some 61 detainees that have been released we know are back on the battlefield? And do we release them to get back and rejoin this fight?”

He added, “The big concern is, how do you come up with a policy to say, ‘We're going to close Guantanamo,’ without having a policy in place for what you're going to do with those that are there?”

In addition, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, (Republican-Virginia) said, “Actively moving terrorists inside our borders weakens our security, raises far more questions than it answers and is the wrong track for our nation. Most families neither want nor need hundreds of terrorists seeking to kill Americans in their communities. We need to have a serious, careful, and realistic national discussion about the ramifications of closing Guantanamo Bay.”

It is correct that an active approach must be taken to examine the detainees' innocence in a timely fashion. But by bringing these detainees to American soil- it provides them American rights. Their grievances should not be opened to the public- there is national security that must be considered and upheld.

Not to mention- why is Obama's first duty as President ensuring the rights of known and suspected terrorists?