Sunday, August 07, 2016

Media: The ignored political party convention

Jill Stein declared Saturday, "The corporate parties are not going to save us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Together we can build an America and a world that works for us all, that puts people, planet and peace over profit. The power to create this world is not just in our hopes. Not just in our dreams. Right here. Right now. It’s in our hands. And together, we are unstoppable."

We looked around as the crowd went wild.

We were in Houston, last we checked, part of the United States.

And we looked in dismay at the press turnout.


In 2008, we attended the DNC convention in Denver and covered it with "TV: The endless non-news"  while we covered the Republican convention with "TV: More sexism, more self-promotion."

That was more than enough for us.

And, eight years later, we still haven't recovered.

But as we've repeatedly noted, the Green Party gets nothing from our so-called 'left' and 'independent' media.

Five minutes, if they're lucky is used on DEMOCRACY NOW! to cover their party's convention.

Contrast that with the ten hours the same program devotes to covering the RNC convention and the ten hours that the DNC convention receives.

We're not Greens and yet we're the ones complaining and objecting.

Of course, we had to head down to Houston -- otherwise, we were no better than those we were whining about.

The US media landscape?

Far smaller than anyone ever wants to admit.

It's quadrennial circus time in the United States yet again.

And it's our third time observing the elephants and asses being fawned over for the occasion.

But what's missing?

The Green Party.

So we went there, to the University of Houston, on Saturday.

In fairness, NPR, POLITICO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER and a few other outlets have done a better job this go round than ever before.

But when we're confronted by the likes of THE NATION magazine with a chart on media ownership, we're encouraged to see the likes of PACIFICA RADIO as independent and needed.

It's neither.

Glen Ford:  Kevin Alexander Gray: But first, the two major political parties have chosen their presidential contenders we spoke with veteran activist and author Kevin Alexander Gray in Columbia, South Carolina.  With Hillary Clinton, the corporate War Hawk, heading up the Democrats and Donald Trump, the White nationalist, in charge of the Republican Party, what's a progressive voter to do?

Kevin Alexander Gray: You know, there's always options.  I voted for Jill Stein the last election, I'll probably vote for her this election.  There are a lot of options. There's the Socialist option.  There's the Libertarian option.  There's the Green option.  You don't have to vote for the -- in this case with Clinton and Trump, it wouldn't even be "the lesser of two evils." It'd just be two evil people.  There are choices that people can make. And it's just good now that there are people running and various third parties to give Americans on the third party system, on proportional representation, on cumulative voting, on parliamentary government,  just all kinds of things that we could be educating people on in this election as opposed to watching them make one of the other bad choice.

That's from BLACK AGENDA RADIO.  It's not a PACIFICA RADIO program.

PACIFICA RADIO is so-called public radio, listener-sponsored radio.

The Green Party, Jill Stein announced Saturday in Houston, is "the only party of, by and for the people."

Which is what public radio should be.

PACIFICA RADIO is not public radio.

"Telling truth and bearing witness to justice," Cornell West explained in his speech Saturday, "that's what the Green Party is all about."

And that's what Lewis Hill created PACIFICA for.

But that's what PACIFICA RADIO is today.

It's a fear-based outlet that frets over taking on the Democratic Party.

That's been true for some time.

But it was only made more clear in this four year cycle when the Green Party took their national convention to Houston.

PACIFICA RADIO owns the following stations: KPFA, KPFB, KPFK, WPFW, WBAI and KPFT.

Where's KPFT located?

Houston, Texas.

Same place as the Green Party's convention was held.

But instead of using their resources to cover the convention live, they aired such 'important' programs as world sports and ZONA LIBRE.

In fact, at the end of the latter coffee clatch, they broke from their usual block of programming few listen to in order to carry two hours on the convention, about 25 minutes of a discussion/analysis while floor voting took place (David Cobb and others), about 39 minutes of speeches and then analysis.

Ignoring the floor vote meant missing statements on known scandals such as the corporate take over of Detroit, the lead water scandal in Flint and lesser known scandals that should have been on the radar.

But apparently you can't cover everything.

At least not in two hours.

That was, however, just enough time for them to brag about themselves as they begged for money, "Reporting like this is why you know and trust PACIFICA RADIO.  And we hope you will consider making a financial contribution to see it continue.  We are taking donations right now in the studios of our sister station of KPFK in Los Angeles."  (You can check the KPFT archives, as we did.)

They skipped earlier moments, moments that maybe especially needed highlighting.

"Right now, in Texas especially, only a very small minority of the people who are eligible to vote vote," declared Martina Salas.  She is running for Texas Railroad Commissioner and maybe a little coverage of her race -- even just 1% of the rah-rah national press wasted on media star and failed candidate Wendy Davis -- she might stand a chance at some real fundraising.

Not only was her campaign undercut by the refusal of PACIFICA RADIO to cover her speech, but democracy and voting were undercut as well.

"A wasted vote." Salas addressed that charge against voting Green.

Martina Salas:  You know what?  In Texas it's so red a blue vote is a wasted vote.  It is an illogical fallacy that needs to be turned upside down and erased.  A wasted vote is wasted when you vote against your conscious.  When you vote for the establishment whether it is blue or red they think that you are with them. The only way that they will know that you do not agree with what they say and do is when you vote against them.

A wasted vote?

We've long argued that no one should vote out of fear.

We've also long argued that candidates have to win your vote -- you don't owe them anything.

But it's also true that the duopoly has nominated two candidates -- Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump -- who stand out as two of the least popular people to ever head the top of a presidential ticket.

Is that what's driving people to look at the Libertarian and Green parties this go round?

That's got to factor in to it.

But so does the two terms of Bully Boy Bush and the two terms of Barack Obama.

From 2001 through 2008, Democrats told the American people that Bully Boy Bush was destroying the country with his wars and his illegal spying and his executive orders and so much more.

Then came 2009 through today with Barack Obama and Barack's got all the same programs and so much more.

The hypocrisy long ago went public.

Add in the last seven years have seen a lousy economy that's only benefited the extremely rich and that, with talk of the 99% and the 1%, Americans now are fully conversant in what's happening and more than willing to use the terms to describe it.

These realities were touched upon in Jill Stein's acceptance speech:

We face unprecedented crises that call for transformational solutions, a new way forward based on democracy, justice and human rights. And that won’t come from corporate political parties funded by predatory banks, war profiteers and fossil fuel giants. It will come from we the people, mobilized in a broad social movement, with an independent voice of political opposition, because, as Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has. It never will.” And we must be that demand.  They say we’re in a recovery but in fact it’s an emergency. We’ve lost good jobs - replaced by part time and temporary jobs. A generation of young people is locked in predatory student debt. Black lives are on the firing line. Immigrants face mass deportation. Wars for oil are blowing back at us with a vengeance. And the climate meltdown threatens civilization as we know it in our lifetimes. Meanwhile, the super-rich party on, richer than ever. Twenty-two of these super-rich people have the wealth equivalent to half of the US population. And the political elite that serve the economic elite are making things worse, inflicting austerity on everyday people while they squander trillions on wars, Wall Street bail outs, and tax favors for the wealthy. No wonder people are in revolt. And the good news is that we actually have the power to turn this around, the minute we stand up with the courage of our convictions. Because we have the vision and values of the American people. And, as a broad coalition for justice, we have the numbers to win the day.

But it's not just the realities in the US.

It's also the never-ending war that has become the norm with Bully Boy Bush and Barack Obama -- the duopoly has insisted not just that we always be on war time footing but that we also always be engaged in wars.

This results in much more than a loss of money that could be spent at home in the US, it also results in death and destruction around the world.

It's a point that the Greens aren't willing to be silent on as singer and activist YahNe Ndgo demonstrated in her speech on Saturday:

It is not revolutionary to have a president drop a microphone and then drop a bunch of bombs on a bunch of people across this earth. It's not revolutionary for us to not criticize a president simply because he's a Black man.  And to hold on to him as somebody who's too important to criticize because he got swag, because he's walking around with a good looking face and a smooth voice. It's not revolutionary for us to criticize the [former] Secretary of State and act like that man is not her president, to act like that man is not her boss. That coup in Honduras that she supported?  He supported that s**t too.  And I want you to understand that when you don't fight for the people of Honduras, you are fighting against me.  If you don't stand with the people of Rawanda, then you don't stand with me.  You stand against me. Those are my brothers and sisters in Rawanda.  Those are my brothers and sisters in Honduras. Those are my brothers and sisters in Haiti.  Those are my brothers and sisters in Iraq.  Those are my brothers and sisters in Libya. Those are my brothers and sisters in Syria.  It don't matter that they are on the other side of the world. 

We are connected.

We are living on the same earth.

We are related.

We need to move beyond these wars of empire and these illegal attacks on self-rule that the US government is carrying out around the world.

In her acceptance speech, Jill Stein touched on some of these themes:

And finally we can create a foreign policy based on international law, diplomacy and human rights, not on global military and economic domination, which has been catastrophic. This policy will have cost us $6 trillion dollars including the costs of caring for our wounded veterans, which translates to $75,000 per American household on average. Over a million people have died in Iraq alone, which is not winning us hearts and minds in the Middle East. And tens of thousands of US soldiers have been killed or maimed. And what do we have to show for it? Failed states, worse terrorist threats, and mass refugee migrations that are tearing the EU and the Middle East apart.  More of the same failed war on terror is not the answer. It’s time to stop ISIS in its tracks and end the Wars for Oil with a new kind of offensive in the Middle East, a Peace Offensive -- including a weapons embargo to the Middle East, and a freezing of the bank accounts of countries that are funding international jihadism, including the Saudi’s, who comprised 15 of 19 9/11 attackers, and who were identified as still the leading funder of Sunni extremist terrorism worldwide in State Department cables signed by Hillary Clinton in 2009, released by Wikileaks.  I's important to recognize where this violent extremist threat came from in the first place. A global terrorist movement linked to Saudi wahhabism was an idea cooked up  CIA and Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan to grow the Mujaheddin to stop the Soviet Union. And it has continued with Saudi schools --  madrassas -- that continue to be a recruiting and training ground for tomorrow’s terrorists.  We can’t simultaneously fight terrorism with one hand, while we and our allies fund terrorism, train terrorists and arm terrorists with the other. The only ones benefitting from this catastrophic policy are the war profiteers themselves, who are calling the shots in foreign policy by funding the establishment parties and their politicians. In fact, US foreign policy has become fundamentally a marketing strategy for the weapons industry. We started the terrorist threat. Now it’s time to shut it down. That is what our campaign alone will do.  This is the world we can create outside of the two corporate parties sponsored by predatory banks, fossil fuel giants and war profiteers. So it’s time to vote for our deeply held beliefs, not against what we fear. Because that politics of fear has delivered everything we’re afraid of.  

The politics of fear.

We remember when we rejected it.

It was THE NATION magazine declaring an election was the terror election, that if the results went wrong, everything was over, everything!!!!!!

We're so sick of hacks and liars.

We're so sick of people who try to scare you to vote or try to scare you to vote one way.

In a functioning democracy, a candidate earns votes or doesn't.

We haven't had functioning democracy in some time.

"Are you ready to make history?"

That's what Ajamu Baraka asked the assembled on Saturday.

We looked around at those cheering.

"I said: Are you ready to make history?"

As he repeated the question, we looked to the sparse media turn out.

Clearly, the people are ready to make history -- it's just the media that's holding back.

"Let America be America again," the 2012 Green Party vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala insisted as she introduced the 2016 Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka.

Let America be America again, she was quoting the late poet, activist, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes.

A country free of The PATRIOT Act, a country free of Wall Street control of the elections, a country where the people actually lead and the people actually matter.

Why will some people be voting Green this November?

Let America be America again -- sounds like a pretty solid reason to us.

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