Drive, I Said
Pull out your wallet or your checkbook because the WFHB spring fund drive kicked off this morning. The beg-fest will run for 10 days, until a week from Sunday, and the station hopes to pocket some $40,000.
Kick in a sawbuck or two. Every little bit helps.
As part of the festivities, WFHB will bring independent radio savant David Barsamian to town on Sunday, April 10th. The founder of the Alternative Radio network will speak about Media, Capitalism, and the Environment. The talk begins at 7:00pm at the Bloomington-Monroe County Convention Center. Tix are $5 for the speech alone and $35 for the speech and a meet-and-greet with Barsamian after.
WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh worked her newshound paws to the bone to pull this special appearance off. Get tickets here. Barsamian, BTW, is forgoing his speaking fee so all proceeds go to the station.
April 4th, 1968
This day, 46 years ago, a racist drifter whacked Martin Luther King, Jr. Many believe evidence exists that the drifter’s stalking of the civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner was bankrolled by one or more wealthy segregationists.
For public consumption, President Lyndon Johnson shook his head and said it was a terrible thing. So did tons of governors, mayors, and chiefs of police. Their crocodile tears belied their relief that King was erased from the scene because he’d recently begun to talk about the enormous gulf between the haves and the have-nots as well as the evils of unfettered capitalism. That, my friends, was and is a mortal sin.
Ralph Abernathy Tends To The Mortally Wounded King — Note King’s Cigarette on Walkway (Photo/Life)
Meanwhile, acc’d’g to legend, when news of King’s slaying reached the FBI office, agents jumped out of their chairs and cheered.
You want a good, un-hysterical account of the assassination, read Hampton Sides’ Hellhound on His Trail.
All I know is April 4th, 1968, was the day I began to see this holy land in a more clear light.
Brendan Eich gave a thousand bucks to the Proposition 8 forces, who fought tooth and nail to get an amendment into the state constitution banning marriage by anyone except Ma and Pa Kettle. The Prop 8-ers were successful at first, but the amendment was ultimately ruled unconstitutional.
Mozilla-ites Don’t Like Eich
Mozilla, and its flagship product Firefox, are positioned as toys of the people — young, hip, open-minded people, specifically. Throwing money at anti-same sex marriage bigots isn’t looked upon kindly by that demographic. So they screamed and Eich is out.
Which is fine by me. Well, sorta. I’m glad the dope is out but I’m made a little itchy by a loud public outcry costing someone his or her job. It all sounds a little tyranny-of-the-majority to me. We were just lucky — this time — that the object of righteous rage was a bigot.
The Rich Are Something Else
I’m here to guide you through the thickets of the legal and political systems which can be so confounding in this holy land.
For instance, many of us are wondering why the Supreme Court once again ruled against campaign finance regulations, using as its justification the 1st Amendment guarantee of free speech.
Many of us might say, Hey, wait a sec. What does money have to do with free speech?
The answer: Nothing.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission Wednesday, effectively allowing any and every rich guy to donate thousands, millions, or billions, if he so chooses, to candidates, parties, and PACs.The ruling ends whatever caps were left in place after the Citizens United decision in 2010. When the Big Robe writes an opinion, that means the majority thinks the case is mighty important.
They’re right. McCutcheon defines us as a nation.
See, an uber-wealthy political donor named Shaun McCutcheon wanted to plow ever greater piles of his money into the Republican Party and its candidates. The FEC said, Hold on there, pard, we’re trying to level the playing field here. McCutcheon and his lawyers responded by wringing their hands, weeping, gnashing their teeth — and suing, natch. McCutcheon figured, What’s the good of having all the dough in the world if I can’t buy a statehouse or two or even the White House?
Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy agreed. They had to base their ruling on something that sounded high-minded and less venal than the real reason.
Follow me so far? Okay, let’s not bullshit each other or ourselves anymore. Let’s tell each other and ourselves the way it is.
For years our elementary school teachers, newspapers and television stations, flamboyantly patriotic candidates for elective office, and other purveyors of myth and nonsense have sung paeans to our democracy. One man, one vote. The voice of the people. The power of the ballot box. Hey buddy, my taxes pay your salary, and so on ad infinitum, bordering on ad nauseam.
You don’t buy that bologna (oh, alright, baloney), do you? I assume you don’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading these (almost) daily screeds.
Today’s Civics Lesson, Sliced
Cutting through the cheap lunchmeat that is politico-legal jargon today and, for that matter, has been every day since this great country arose from god’s mighty hand some 238 years ago, is really awfully easy.
Just remember that even though we pride ourselves on having a classless society and every man is a king and the rest of that blather, the dominant train of thought in this holy land holds that the rich are better human beings than the rest of us. That’s the truth.
And by rich, I mean rich. Not the schlub down the street who may have cracked the quarter-million-dollar-a-year salary threshold. He’s not rich. He’s comfortable. When his car breaks down, he can get it fixed without thinking much about it. He can even buy a brand new car if he wants. He won’t agonize over the decision. His car breaking down is not a disaster. For the rest of us, it may very well be.
But should our comfy neighbor lose his job, he and his family will start hurting sometime in the not too distant future. He may have a pile of dough today, but it won’t last him the rest of his life.
There are, though, people who’ll never have to work again until the day they die. Nor will their children or grandchildren. For that matter, every successive generation until these United States break up or are taken over by Mexicans or Russians or extra-terrestrials or whomever you envision in your paranoiac fever dreams will be rich enough to laugh at the very idea of work.
Work that puts bread on the table. For them, bread is always on the table. They are given bread as a birthright.
They are different than the rest of us. They are better.
We really believe that.
Real wealth in America buys and sells power. Real wealth can sway elections, get laws passed, regulations ignored, misdemeanors winked at, felonies fixed.
The rich — the real rich — are something different. They’re…, they’re…, well, they’re closer to god.
There’s your American dream.
The Reagan/Bush/Bush Supreme Court appointees voted in a bloc once again to codify the American belief that the rich not only are superior human beings but they should be allowed to elect presidents and governors and senators and even, if any of them is so inclined, the odd county commissioner or city clerk.
Money, Roberts and the boys have ruled, is everything.
That, kiddies, is America. And it ain’t no dream.