Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

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DR Congo’s Road to 2016

All photos in this post are by Prince Balume and Achilles Balume, and are posted here with permission.

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In 2006, DR Congo passed a new constitution, which is similar to our (US) constitution in many ways. The right to vote, to assemble, and to free speech are guaranteed. Beyond our constitution, it guarantees strong parity between men and women. The issue today, though, is that it imposes tenure limits on the President.  

By law, President Joseph Kabila must step down and allow an open election in 2016. He began as a military dictator who led the country through a transitional government, and was then democratically elected President. His re-election met with some criticism, and he’s since been maneuvering to extend his tenure — recently by trying to amend the tenure law outright, and then by introducing requirements that would delay the election.

People in DR Congo are still learning about the law and starting to believe in their rights. If Kabila stays in power, it will set back the progress the people have made toward a Democratic DR Congo. John Kerry and the US State Department have been trying to get him to step down at the end of his term.

Last month, Kabila’s supporters in Parliament passed a census requirement for the next election. That law would delay the 2016 election indefinitely. The people of DR Congo organized a coordinated demonstration to protest the census requirement. The government cracked down on the protesters. Some were killed and others are not yet accounted for.

The great success was that Parliament eventually relented and removed the census requirement. It was a real step toward implementing democracy. It dearly cost people who demonstrated, though — some who paid with their lives.  

300 Schoolgirls


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300 schoolgirls.  300 schoolgirls.  300 schoolgirls…stolen from their classrooms, kidnapped by men.  300 schoolgirls kidnapped by men who have publicly announced their intention to sell them as slaves.  To sell them into slavery.  To sell them to men who would rape them and terrorize them into drudgery.  No more school.

This morning I kissed my daughters as they went off to school.  I didn’t remember the 300 schoolgirls waiting to be sold.  I didn’t remember them until I read a headline on a left-wing blog and I think I know why.  And it’s the ugliest of reasons.  It’s a reason I only impute to others in the most severe situations.  It’s the reason that people were stolen from Africa and sold into slavery for centuries.  It’s the reason that stands behind slavery, murder, torture, humiliation, lynching.  It’s the reason that 6 million members of my own community were exterminated.  Racism.

WSJ Gets Existence of Double Standard Right. Naturally Analyzes it Wrong.

New York Daily News

From today’s Wall Street Journal explaining how Chris Christie is so much better than President Obama when it comes to showing contrition in the wake of misconduct by his underlings:

Not that this should make Mr. Christie or any other potential GOP candidate complacent. Republicans operate under a double media standard that holds them to a much lower scandal threshold. (emphasis my own) In that sense the pathetic New Jersey traffic-lane scandal may be, as Mr. Obama likes to say, a teachable moment.

Perhaps the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal hasn’t watched its sister outlet, Fox News, try and stir outrage over Benghazi 24/7 on a story that doesn’t exist.  Perhaps it hasn’t watched the same channel on Fast and Furious.  Perhaps it hasn’t watched the same channel on the IRS scandal.

Perhaps they consider reporting on Iran Contra or the no-bid contracts of the Iraq war not newsworthy and therefore any reporting on them is creating a double standard.  Perhaps they consider petty political revenge because a politician from the other political party did not endorse their candidate for re-election.  Perhaps they consider investigating whether that revenge broke federal law and whether it affected emergency response to be a non-story that is only reported because it is a Republican.

Why Are All the Females at Fox News Blonde?

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Fox News is the most popular cable news channel in America, and it’s quite unique. Most obviously, there’s Fox’s conservatism. Other differences are more stylistic. A lot of Fox News programs are fairly similar to talk radio, for instance. Indeed, shows such as Hannity actually star on conservative talk radio stations.

Then there are the women on Fox News:

Photobucket

More below.

How the Media Portrays Africa, China, and India Differently

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

I recently had the pleasure of listening to a fascinating presentation in my Introduction to International Relations class. The professor showed the class pictures what one family in a variety of different countries ate during the duration of a week. The pictures came from the book Hungry Planet, by Peter Menzel. Time Magazine published a series of excerpts (part one and part two) of these pictures.

It was quite interesting to see the typical weekly meal of one family in several countries, ranging from Japan to Germany. The American photo, unfortunately, was the picture-perfect stereotype of over-consuming pre-prepared food (rather than real food).

There was something else that caught my eye, however, as the presentation went on.

More below.

Shooting the Messenger Redux: Guardian in the firing line

Last night the Observer newspaper, a long standing paper in its own right (it actually predates the Guardian by several years) publisheda badly sourced front page story taken from Birtherist Wayne Madsen and the privacy surgeon site about European surveillance

Disaster for the Observer, which has been running on a much reduced staff for several years. It is owned by the Guardian now, but has a long and distinctly different identity and editorial separation.

Not for much longer after a disaster like that.

Complete cock up.

However, it wasn’t long before many were claiming that this cock up undermined all of the Guardian’s reporting on the Snowden issue. To me, that would be like assuming that News of the World’s hacking undermined the Wall Street Journal’s financial reporting, just because they have the same owner. In a long a protracted twitter exchange with Charles Johnson at Green Footballs (beginning somewhere round here) I noticed the claim had gone from ‘Observer screws up’ to “Guardian repeatedly used Madsen as a source.”

Well, no. A source of a story in journalistic terms is the ‘source/origin’ of a story. Apart from the Observer debacle, he is cited five times by the Guardian, for one line quotes, often taken from other news sources. All but one of these were from before 2003, when he launched towards birtherism

Having put paid to the idea he’s a major source for the Guardian, perhaps it would be worth watching this excellent Charlie Rose interview with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and US editor Janine Gibson to see their real motivations.

Three things are apparent to me

1. They verified everything

2. The redacted anything that was a threat to national security

3. They think it’s bigger than Snowden, and digital surveillance, for the first time in history, compromises the right to protest and the possibilities of investigative journalism

The latter is my biggest fear as expressed in the New Republic last week

Enjoy

Meanwhile Der Spiegel is reporting about surveillance on the EU parliament (Germans have a historical reason for mistrusting this level of intrusion) and the Washington Post is reporting that the NSA capture was of live information, with 49 per cent risk the target is domestic.  

Key Facts Wrong in Rush to Report NSA ‘Scandals’

Last week there was report after report about a supposed bombshell with respect to NSA surveillance and data collection operations against Americans on American soil.  There is a major problem with those reports:  It seems much of that early reporting was wrong.  Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter summarizes it thusly:

To summarize, yes, the NSA routinely requests information from the tech giants. But the NSA doesn’t have “direct access” to servers nor is it randomly collecting information about you personally. Yet rending of garments and general apoplexy has ruled the day, complete with predictable invective about the president being “worse than Bush” and that anyone who reported on the new information debunking the initial report was and is an Obamabot apologist.

That, of course, is not really the end, but only the beginning.

Fox News Contributor Claims Abortion Clinic Bombers Are Not Terrorists

In the real world, the deliberate targeting of clinics where women seek to exercise a constitutional right is called terrorism.  In the world of Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers, it is not (h/t Media Matters):

Just b/c the bombing suspects were Muslim, that doesn’t make it ‘terrorism’ any more than a crazy abortion clinic bomber is a terrorist.

– Kirsten Powers (@kirstenpowers10) April 19, 2013)


And, as Media Matters points out:


The intent behind this tweet isn’t immediately clear, but the message it conveys — that an anti-abortion zealot who sets off a bomb inside of an abortion clinic is not a terrorist — is absolutely false. The FBI treats attacks against abortion service providers as acts of terrorism and anti-abortion movements that resort to violence as terrorist groups.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid…Or Fight Back Against Fear-Mongering!

Have you been feeling fearful these days, as though the world has become a much more dangerous place, almost overnight? You’re not alone. Keeping populations in a state of heightened fear and dread is big business these days, and everyone wants a piece of the action.

Corporations who live and die by short-term financial metrics, want to find ways to grind out more profit per employee.  In a challenging economy, continuing layoffs and cuts to hours and benefits and ambiguous corporate communications keep employees from seeking raises or better assignments. Nobody wants to speak up about dangerous or illegal working conditions or crushing demands. Everyone’s just trying to “stay below the radar” and avoid being the next casualty.

Congress, where elected officials pledge their loyalty to the NRA, Grover Norquist, political caucuses, and the corporations that funded their election and re-election, is another bastion of fear-mongering. Truth in advertising suggests that instead of business suits, Congress-critters be forced to wear NASCAR-like jumpsuits with patches denoting each of their sponsors. But… I digress.  Congress likes to focus on vague fears like The Deficit That Will Force Your Grandkids into Economic Slavery, while the obvious, in-your-face fears like Climate Change Which Spawned the Superstorm That Washed Away Part of the Country go largely unremarked upon.  When Americans can be frightened by the looming perils of complicated issues, it’s so much easier to strip them of their freedoms and rob them blind.

Advertisers, always early adopters of any new revenue streams, have launched campaigns suggesting that “you may be eligible for [insert worthless scam here]”, drawing you in to learn about dreadful things that might happen.  Your car might break down. Your identity might be stolen. You might lose out on all life’s possibilities due to low testosterone. If you act now, and part with your hard-earned dollars, you might be able to forestall these apocalyptic outcomes… but only if you’re among our first 25 callers.