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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Univision Vende

Back in February, the big rumor was that Univision, the largest Spanish Language network in the United States was going to be sold. The only question was "To Whom?" The New York Times had reported that Time Warner, CBS and (gulp) Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, owners of Fox News Channel, were all in the bidding. The price was going to be somewhere around $10 billion. Some of you might remember that General Electric, owners of Fox-Lite MSNBC and "What can I do for you, big businessman" NBC had already purchased the second largest Spanish language network, Telemundo, in 2001. In addition to the largest Spanish Speaking television audience, Univision's assets included a radio broadcaster, music company and Internet operations.

"But Univision dwarfs Telemundo, eclipsing its audience by nearly four times. It is the fifth-largest television network in the country behind Fox and ahead of the WB network, reaching some 98 percent of Spanish-speaking households through its 62 television stations, more than 90 affiliate stations and more than 2,000 cable affiliates."
-From a story by ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, in The New York Times, February 8, 2006

Univision, by the way, is run by A. Jerrold Perenchio, who owns about 11 percent of its stock. Mr. Perenchio, with his wife Margaret and son John, have given "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party well in excess of $800,000 since 2000. Twice they have exceeded the legal amount given to Senator James Inhofe (R-NE) and have had to take back $1,000 each time (both refunds dated May 8, 2002: $1,000 to Margaret and $1,000 to "Jerry"). In fact, the elder male Perenchio gave contributions as A.J. Perenchio, A. Jerrold Perenchio, A. Jerry Perenchio, Andrew J. Perenchio, A. Jerry Perenchio. Andrew Jerry Perenchio and plain old Jerry Perenchio. One wonders if this was a ploy to fool the FEC (Federal Elections Commission)? How many of this guy is there? I guess the thinking is that if you can vary the name, you're a different person, so you can make more donations to the same GOP snake. It's the same way Republicans like J. Kenneth Blackwell and Katherine Harris used in making sure the "Right" people's votes were counted in Ohio (2004) and Florida (2000), respectively.

There wasn't a contribution less than $1,000. There were, however, seven contributions of $25,000; two contributions of $100,000 and one whopping "Gift" of $250,000. Need;less to say, ALL of these "gifts" were to friendly GOP candidates, PACS and organizations. After all, a GOP friend in need...

 

Jerry, Jerrold, Andrew,, Andrew J., A.J. and the rest of the people who are A. Jerrold Perenchio were all born in Fresno, California, by the way.

(To view a chart of the "Gifts" provided by the Perenchios, visit http://www.nationalview.org/Perenchio.htm.)

With these facts in mind, let me just say, I didn't like the probable outlook. Imagine both Spanish language stations in the hands of the right-leaning (and I'm being generous here) GE and the ultra-right-wing The News Corporation. Imagine what they could have done to the Spanish speaking population in terms of spin. After all, just look what Fox News has done to those of us who speak English as our only or primary language. Imagine my surprise when, today, I felt as if I might have some good news to report. General Electric didn't get Univision. An ever-increasingly right-leaning CNN (Time Warner) didn't get Univision. (and if you don't agree with me, then tell me what the heck Glen Beck was hired to do?) People that I never heard of are purchasing it for an estimated $12.3 billion, pending approval from the Univision Board of Directors, of course.

"The consortium, led by private equity firms Texas Pacific Group Inc. and Thomas H. Lee Partners, also includes Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, Providence Equity Partners Inc., and media mogul Haim Saban."
-The Associated Press ALEX VEIGA, June 27, 2006

At the time I read the article, I was unaware of these "moguls" party affiliation or political philosophy. So, off the opensecrets.org I went to find out where their political campaign contributions went to. Get this, they appear to be supportive of more progressive Democratic candidates.

There were other groups in the bidding, including one which included Carlyle Investment Management LLC (a yahoo search showed possible links to the Carlyle Group of bin-Laden, Gorge H.W. Bush and 9/11 infamy, but I couldn't tell).

Whew! That was close.

Maybe progressive voices in America are finally realizing that there is a media war, and we are losing. With Al Gore's foray into Youth TV (Current.tv) and films and this probable purchase, maybe progressives are finally realizing that they are on the front lines.

However, maybe these guys just know a good investment when they see it.

In any even, it's good news that the Right Wing media appears to have lost this battle for an ever-widening market of Spanish Speaking Americans. The likes of Fox News being outbid is a win, just because they didn't get their hands on the station. It's like when a baseball team trades for a pitcher who kills them. When he's on their team, at least he won't be beating them any longer.

-Noah Greenberg



Kean, Junior Can't help But Lie

It's a "GOP Thing"

If you have been following the NJ Senate race, it's clear that Junior Kean is running a bottom feeding muckracking campaign just as Doug Forrester did. Junior accused Menendez of being related to a corrupt Hudson county political machine. Jim Dwyer writing in the NYT concludes:

From the public records, Mr. Menendez emerges as a young man who plainly thrived from his first moments in public life, thanks to the backing of a political machine; just as plainly, the full record shows that he helped thwart a group of politicians and organized crime figures who ran that machine and were looting public funds.

That process brought down Mr. Musto, the mentor and surrogate father whom Mr. Menendez publicly beseeched to abandon his corrupt associates. He ended up going to federal prison. So did six other people, all of them convicted of racketeering in one of the longest criminal trials in New Jersey's history.
Contrary to the central accusation made by the Kean campaign, the prosecutors all say that Mr. Menendez never had to bargain his way out of trouble in that case by testifying.

Richard L. Friedman, the former prosecutor who questioned Mr. Menendez in court and before the grand jury, said that he had taken risks to tell the truth.

"I thought he was very gutsy and courageous, because he stood up to Musto,"

Mr. Friedman said. "There certainly was never any deal, or any need for a deal. Menendez just testified truthfully. By the way, I have nothing against Kean. I don't know anything about how Menendez turned out."

The other two prosecutors, James Plaisted and Mark Malone, agreed with the views of Mr. Friedman and Mr. Rosenthal. And one of the defense lawyers, Joseph A. Hayden Jr., remembered that Mr. Menendez had been scrutinized by the defense.

"Do I recall any evidence that Mr. Menendez had any personal legal problems that prompted his cooperation? The answer is no," said Mr. Hayden, who represented a school official convicted in the case. "I find it mind-boggling that a man's trial testimony 25 years ago is now being made into a campaign issue."


***

Well, Mr. Hayden I find it disgusting but not mind-boggling. Junior Kean is after-all a Bushite. He is from the party that has no shame and will say/do anything to win. Junior Kean has now been exposed as yet another pathological Rethuglican liar.

-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane

 

Haven't we had enough "Juniors" for awhile? -NG



Media Madman
Calling the Times


I called the New York Times yesterday. I was in my car, coming home from Manhattan (as in New York, not Kansas) and I was steaming. No, no... I wasn't steaming at the fuss the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party were making at the New York Times "leaking" a report stating that the average American citizen's bank records weren't safe. We expect the GOP to attack the New York Times, even though the Los Angeles Times and the ultra-conservative Wall Street journal reported the same thing. I was ticked off at the Times themselves. I called because I wanted to know what their response was going to be to the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople mouthpieces..

 

I reached a nice young woman at the News Desk and asked her what the "Paper of Record" (that's how I termed it) was doing to fight back against the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople operatives who were attempting to portray the Times as traitors and the "bastion of liberalism" we all now they, in fact, are not. I asked if they were going to send writers and editors on the talk show circuit, or if they were going to take out TV ad time to fight for their right as a member of the fourth estate to report wrongs when they are committed. I reminded her of the embarrassing Judith Miller/ Valerie Plame/ Traitor-Gate affair.

And I was doing so whimsically.

She laughed, put me on hold so another employee could listen in to my rant and told me the Times' plan. I paraphrase: "Well, we printed a response on our website."

"That'll teach 'em!" I said with my usually flair for the sarcastic.

With that, I quoted my journalistic hero (not to mention my High school's namesake) Edward R. Murrow. I said, "Ma'am... Good-Night and Good Luck."

-Noah Greenberg

P.S. The Health Care editor's desk was unattended. I had to leave a message there. Funny thing... They have yet to call back.-NG



Answering the negative response to "We Democrats Make Good Decisions", Robert Chapman writes:

-Like backing down when vote counts were in doubt?
-Backing down when vote counts were in doubt. I am so glad you brought this up. This is one of those issues that can lead to massive recriminations. The Dems lost the ground war in 04. It took us too long to get back to our senses after "United We Stand," and to move from the one percent solution to opposition and organizing. The Dems lost 04 by 2.5 million votes. Kerry got more votes than any Democrat in history, He got 5 million more than Gore. The trouble is the GOP got SEVEN MILLION more votes in 04 than in 00. You can cry about "stolen" elections or you can recruit , organize and mobilize more dems. Being disaffected is the GOP's passport to power.

-Like agreeing to pass Medicare Part D?
-Remember AARP made a historic and stupid deal with the GOP to pass this and in the hallowed Chamber of the house Dems were Shut out of the mark up , locked out during the late night vote ,
and that the vote in the House had a major procedural irregularity, i.e., voting kept open four hours to get GOP members onto the floor to vote....outside of staging a coup d'etat, how were we supposed to stop this one?

-Like "welfare reform" that allows 5 year of bad luck and then too bad?
-TANF was the first substantive reform of welfare in over sixty years. TANF superceded ADC and improved welfare by introducing a demand for personal responsibility on the part of recipients into the system. The trade-off for the recipient was work skills and an improving economy and governmental commitment to opportunity and economic advancement for low SES persons. Welfare reform an integral part of the 90's Clinton Economic Miracle lifted millions of families from dependency and poverty to work and independence. The Clinton economic package that grew the economy and created tens of millions of jobs for the poor was an integral and essential component of welfare reform. This bipartisan, broad ideological spectrum approach to reforming our social institutions is something anyone involved with or living near poor communities can support and one of the few legislative actions of the PAST TWO DECADES that anyone SHOULD actually be proud of.

The issues you brought are serious and problematic, but if the Dems were the only ones voting, or if WE were in the majority and maintained PARTY DISCIPLINE, the result would be that this debate would not be taking place. We would not be having this debate because the issues you mentioned would not be on your radar screen, we would still be arguing about weighty matters like whether oval office BJs are a private matter or a public concern.



And Robert Scardapane writes:

Actually, this is a mixed bag. The majority of Democrats in the House voted against giving Bush the authority to go to war (over 60%). The Senate vote was more like 50%. The majority of Democrats opposed both Roberts and Alito. The overwhelming majority of Democrats supported raising the minimum wage - the Repubs used an obscure Senate rule to impose a super-majority (60 votes).


I agree that most Democrats have chickened out when it comes to censure.

The majority of Democrats were against Medicare Part D - the Repubs only got it through after keeping the vote open for almost 24 hours and brow beating their own caucus. Okay, Dems did vote for the Mass Mess and Clinton was responsible for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

The problem we sometimes have is that Democrats don't vote as a solid block.

I suspect it's because we are in the minority and sometimes sell-out to appease special interests when we think a bill will pass anyway. I know that's frustrating to the faithful but keep in mind who sets the agenda - it's Repubs. If Democrats were in the majority, this awful bills wouldn't even come to the floor.



Pat's Retorts

In response to "In 2000, I was a McCain guy. I wasn’t sure about the Texas Governor. He had name recognition and a lot of money behind him, but other than that? What? Still, I was sick of all the Clinton shenanigans and the thought of President Gore was… unthinkable. So, GWB became my guy," Pat Thompson writes:

Al Gore was the best Vice President ever; the most involved, the most productive. Bill Clinton's so called "shenanigans" hurt no one but his wife, and should not have been played out on the world stage -- thanks to right wing nuts. Bush was a failed businessman most of his life, despite enormous assistance from friends of his father and the fathers of his friends. He ran many companies into the ground, before bailing out and selling his stock before the crash. (some people go to jail for that). You, Bush voter, were very negligent in finding out more about this person who had "name recognition and money". Frat boy, AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, drunken bum til he was 40. How did I know those things prior to the 2000 election? I went to the library and read his own parents' books -- even they didn't think too much of their eldest son.



In response to, "Then September 11th happened. September 11th changed everything for me, like it did for so many of you. After September 11th, all the intramural idiocy of American politics stopped being funny. We had been attacked by a vicious and determined enemy and it was time for all of us to row in the same direction," Pat Thompson writes:

On September 11th my first question was: "What have we done to make these people hate us so?" Maybe we should all ask that question. And are we still doing those things that will create more terrorists who have reason to hate us enough that they don't mind dying to take out some Americans? I think we definitely are, in Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu Graib -- and perhaps in Saudi Arabia, by supporting their so called Royal Family who keep all the oil money we send them and leave their people in dire poverty. Keep that picture of Bush Sr. and Jr. holding hands with and kissing the Saudi princes in mind.



In response to, "After five years of carefully watching George W. Bush I’ve reached the conclusion he’s either grossly incompetent, or a hand puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both," Pat Thompson writes:

Yes, he is grossly incompetent. And has the damaged brain of a former alcoholic. But worst of all, he thinks God (the creator of the universe!) told him he should be President! And he is part of a long line of Bush family men who are definitely evil and take what they can get from the USA, lining their pockets at the expense of the people. Bush's forebears made their fortune arming the Nazis. Bush Sr. has some small amount of decency, due to his mother, Dorothy Walker. Bush Jr. is a useless human being, just like his own mother, who has never done a single days work in her entire life, and played golf on the day her little daughter died of leukemia. These people are hardly human.



In response to, "We’re being governed by Paper-Mache patriots; brightly painted red, white and blue, but hollow to the core," Pat Thompson writes:

Not true of all. McCain is a decent man. On the Democratic side, we have many real heroes and patriots. Al Gore was a great Vice President, and is doing good work right now on global climate change. Did you see his movie An Inconvenient Truth? Or read his book of the same name? John Kerry was a hero in Vietnam, and has worked tirelessly ever since, first in the anti-war movement to end the Vietnam war, and in the US Senate. He would be President right now if it wasn't for the crimes committed with black box voting and the shenanigans in Ohio. Al Gore did win in 2000. These people are criminals who have stolen two elections -- we no longer have the vote in America. John Edwards is a decent man, who wants to give a fair chance to the working people of America. Howard Dean is another Ben Franklin; a genius. Barbara Boxer is a very brave woman, whose heart is in the right place. The Democratic Party is full of good people. What they don't have is the single minded purpose of stealing the freedom of America, perverting the Constitution, and making America a corporate fascist country. The Republicans are owned and operated by the profit making corporatists who speak with one voice -- tax cuts and war profiteering.



In response to, "If Democrats make bad decisions, then how would one describe the decisions that the are Republicans making?" Pat Thompson writes:

Democrats, in the minority in both houses of Congress, aren't making any decisions these days. They can't even get a bill onto the floor.


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-Noah Greenberg