Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices

    Wednesday
    Jul272011

    What the whole world is seeing


    via the Washington Post


    "There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle."  ~Alexis de Tocqueville



    I'm a poor excuse for a political blogger. Perhaps because I feel things far too deeply and that, already, spells disaster for a life in politics. Regardless, each time I make an attempt to write about the Debt Deficit Debacle of 2011 everything either up and changes or I end up so frustrated by the entire process that I throw my hands in the air and go back to do something far more productive than following adults behave like four year olds. Something like watching Basketball Wives. I'd rather watch a bunch of angry black women yelling and throwing drinks at each other than watch the President and Speaker of the House have a pissing contest. This. Right here. What we're seeing is not only posturing at its absolute finest but also the epitome of what happens when men are in charge of everything: It's like they're averse to compromise. Or being rational. It's a sad state of affairs right now and the policy wonk in me wants to get into the nitty-gritty of whos and whats of the trillions that need to be cut and how we got here in the first place and oh my God, if I hear one more Republican state how awful stimulus funding is without mentioning TARP, I'm going to lose it. Can you sense my anger about this entire situation? One that defies rational so how am I to be rational myself?

    Have you been watching? Even if you started yesterday when you witnessed the Speaker going "mano-a-mano" (his words) with the President of the United States. What are your thoughts? Our country is in some serious trouble though Sarah Palin thinks we're all getting worked up over nothing. There's nothing to fret about as she waves a hand in front of your face. But, I care and worry. Most people do. The markets that help keep this country running sees this as Armageddon. So what do you think? Because I, for one, am embarrassed.

    Yes, the whole world is watching, Mr. President. And we should all be ashamed of what they're seeing.

     
    Wednesday
    Jul202011

    Hackergate: News Corps, it's subsidiaries and the demise of journalistic integrity



    When I'm truly confused by utter stupidity I end up asking many obvious questions and reiterating obvious statements. I'm that girl who wants to bring a bit of reality and obviousness to a situation where, what would be considered to be in the realm of appropriate has long ago jumped off a bridge into a a sea of flames. It's asking blatant 'duh' statements like why a "journalist" - and I say that word as loosely as possible - would think it ok to hack into the voicemail of a 13 year old murder victim. I wonder from what planet said journalist is from where that might be ok. And if so, I bet it's one of those places where Up is Down and cookie's for breakfast are the norm. I wonder how it is ok for the President of the company where the hacking originated would think he has nothing to do with that behavior. Like yeah, it happened while he (and she) were in charge but they have so many employees. How is it their fault?

    The last two weeks of the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks, News of the World scandal have kept me in rapt attention as I have followed the ups and downs and whosits and whatsits and now the whistleblower of the entire thing is dead. If you want to see international scandal, theater and intrigue this might be your thing. I'm waiting for the movie version to come out.

    But in all sincerity I find myself sad. Sad that people who have lost their loved ones much too soon due to murder or terrorist attack are now being forced to not only relive the pain of that loss but also knowing that a news organization is reported to have hacked into the voicemails of their loved ones. And for what I wonder? There is not a news story in the world that is juicy enough to involve listening to little Milly Dowler's voicemails and yet…apparently integrity is lacking in certain people. This goes beyond a lack of journalistic credibility or keeping ones company in order but to the root of all that is wrong with so many in this world that they will literally do anything and everything to get what they're after.

    And once again I am being obvious here in my questions and in trying to find reason for such despicable acts. Which brings me to Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks. Murdock is the President of News Corporation (which is also the parent company of Fox News and I'm hoping that all of that 'trickle down' conservatives are so fond of works in this situation as well. Yes, please, trickle on down) (but I digress) and Rebekah Brooks was the Editor of News of the World before it was shuttered last week after 168 years. Because of their mishandling and involvement in the suspected hacking of phones (every time I write that I shake my head because..God, really??) they were asked to come before Parliament. It should also be said that the FBI is starting its own inquiry here in the US. Yesterday, Murdoch and Brooks made their appearance and I'll spare you play by play to say that though their behavior was 'typical' it was still disturbing to see that them both claiming that they really had nothing to do with what happened and they had better things to do while all of this was going on. Like vacation, according to Ms. Brooks. Murdoch and Brooks continued to play the "I'm sorry but it's not my fault" game and in return they were told by Members of Parliament that they had "immense courage" and my, they have so much guts for coming in to answer to the actions of their companies.

    Sigh.

    The entire thing makes me angry and I'm curious to know if others have been following along as well. My anger comes not just because this is what passes for 'journalism' these days but because the privacy of a 13 year old murder victim was violated for a tabloid story. It doesn't make any sense. Then again, I don't think it's supposed to and that's why people are angry and furious. Because those that are weak are taken advantage of while a billionaire like Murdoch, one of the 10 most powerful people in the world can simply apologize, shrug and go on. I'm pissed because none of this is fair. Then again, who said anything was supposed to be fair?



    Related:

    If you have no clue what I'm talking about a primer from Wikipedia: News International Phone Hacking Scandal

    From Blurbomat: Jaw Dropping Stories from England and Parliament Committee Hearing Day

    From CBC: Murdoch Apologizes

    From Forbes Blog: News Corp: Yep, we're going there
    Sunday
    Jul172011

    Debt Ceiling Explained

    I attempted and failed miserably at explaining the debt ceiling and its importance to a friend. There was a lot of wild gesturing and then a heavy sigh at the end. I think it comes from how debt ceiling, deficit and budget are inexorably intertwined. And the next thing you know states are facing the same budget crises that they faced this past year. A problem that will persist until we are out of this hole. Anyway, if you have been wondering what this is all about, Ali Velshi explains it here.