Saturday, August 29, 2009

Four Years Ago

(Glad I'm) Not A Kennedy by Shona Laing

I think this is a very sad beautiful song.
(Glad I'm) Not A Kennedy
by Shona Laing 1988 - genre? Chart Info & Lyrics
Lyrics by: Shona Laing *
# Debut Chart
14 Sep '88 Modern Rock

Living on through politics
Body-guarded, heart in bits
A blue-eyed honesty
Indigo injury
The family tree is felled
Bereavement worn so well
Giving up on certainty
Wilderness society

Wearing the fame like a loaded gun
Tied up with a rosary
I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

Imagine being a Kennedy
Rule without remedy
To watch your family die
The world loves a sacrifice
Prophets longing for the three

Lyrics courtesy Top40db.

Honouring the tragedy
They hunger for the crime
The privilege to take a life

Wearing the fame like a loaded gun
Tied up with a rosary
Ooh, I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

(JFK Speech)
...and is not peace basically
A matter of human rights?
The right to live out our lives
Without fear of devastation?
The right to breathe air
As nature provided it?
The right of future generations
To a healthy existence?
Let us if we can step back from
The shadows of war and seek out
The way of peace...

I love the look in your eyes
I can see your soul sometimes and we laugh
When we try too hard we stop and start
Oh imagine being a Kennedy
I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

Wearing the fame like a loaded gun
Tied up with a rosary
I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

Imagine being a Kennedy
Ooh I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

(JFK Speech)
...the cost of freedom is always high,
Yet one path we shall never choose
- that is the path of surrender or submission.
When a man's way please the lord,
The scriptures tell us,
‘He maketh even his enemies
To be at peace with him'.
We will not prematurely or unnecessarily
Risk the course of worldwide nuclear war
In which even the fruits of victory
Would be ashes in our mouths
Ashes in our mouths...
Ashes in our mouths...
Ashes in our mouths...

Lyrics from Top 40Db

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making Torture Patriotic and "The Right Thing to Do"

I went to a dinner party with some old friends the other day. I had fallen out of touch and they invited me to their beautiful house for dinner. As we sat around in the tastefully decorated dining room eating grilled corn on the cob, BBQ tri-tip from Trader Joes and drinking Two Buck Chuck, we talked about home remodeling, the economy and torture. I was the one who brought up torture.

During the process another old friend say, "Wow Spocko, you've gotten dark! You used to be so funny. Where's that funny guy I knew?"

A bit more about the group:

International: People from the UK, US and Africa,
Racial: middle eastern, black and white
Religion: Atheist (Brights), Catholic, Christian, evangelical Christian and Greek Orthodox
Professional: Law enforcement, tech, marketing, sales and design

Photo by John Curley published under Creative Commons license

I asked six questions to everyone in the group.
  1. Is torture wrong?
  2. If yes, how do you know that, what informed you?
  3. If it is your religion that told you this, what are your religion's current official views on torture?
  4. Would you torture?
  5. The ticking time bomb scenario is described: now would you torture?
  6. If yes, and if this is different from your earlier answer, what has changed?

I really appreciated the diversity of the group and the honesty of their answers.
They helped me to understand how the right goes about making torture patriotic and "the right thing to do".

This conversation, and my conversation later with one of my brilliant dinner companion and with my friend Interrobang helped me with a few rhetorical responses.

How You Become a Torturer: The Right Wing Way.

1) The Right makes torture the right thing to do by making you, in your imagination, the personal protector of life.
"What if it was YOUR child, your wife who was in the building that was going to be blown up with this time bomb. Would you torture this terrorist to get the information?" Now if you say no, you, become the bad person. In this scenario (which they love to use) torturing is the right thing to do. Photo by NTodd. Adorable child by Thers and NYMary

In the ticking time bomb scenario you are forced to chose between protecting adorable children and hurting a terrorist. "What would you do? What would you do? THERE IS NO TIME!" screams Jack Bauer.

    2) By evoking your deepest protector or parental feeling, they often overwhelm a stated religious conviction or an insufficiently developed intellectual argument. They use the power of your imagination and the immediate emotion of your desire to protect women and children, your family and, by extension, your country.

    3) In the scenario they propose, you -- the torturer -- are the hero. If you do NOT torture, in the scenario, you are the villain.

    Marcy Wheeler at FireDogLake and Glenn Greenwald at Salon can go on in detail with the legal arguments and the inside baseball methods that John Yoo, David Addington, Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez used to make torture part of the standard operating procedure for the CIA, the military and the groups that they are in charge of. Marcy's and Glenn's work is vitally important for the country so that we can get back to real principles of the constitution.

    But someone also needs to work on the emotional logic that the right used and still uses to make torture okay for their listeners/viewers.

    There are a couple of ways to counter this. I'll write about some more later.

    One I learned from the brilliant radio broadcaster Sam Seder.

    Stop them at the first premise. I'll call it the Seder Premise Stopper. Here is how Sam might deal with a caller. (He didn't actually do this exact call, I'm just using his style as a model. )

    Caller: Let's say you have captured a terrorist who has...

    Sam Seder Clone: Wait wait wait. So are you in the military?

    Caller: No, but that's not important

    SSC: Actually it is. You say you've never served. So you are basing this on something other than direct experience in working with terrorists. What are you basing your views on? The TV show "24"? Because who has "captured" this terrorist makes a difference. Did you know that hundreds of the people at Gitmo were turned over to the military by warlords who wanted to get rid of rivals and get $5,000 bucks in cash?

    Caller: Yes, I know that but I'm talking about the worst of the worst who

    SSC: Did you know that hundreds of those so called "worst of the worst" in Gitmo were released without charges?

    Caller: Yeah, (sensing a coup) but they are all right back there in the field now being terrorists!

    SSC: Really? How many of them are we talking about here? Give me some numbers and then explain how the army screwed up and released them. Do you think it might be possible they weren't a terrorist before and are now, or maybe they were always a terrorist and the army just didn't notice? Are you are in favor of indefinite detention?

    Caller: Yes.

    SSC: Really? Do you think that should apply to US citizens? Would you like it if President Obama decides that the guns you stockpiled after the election and the fertilizer in your shed, combined with calls from the neighbor who sent your email about health care misinformation into the White House are cause for indefinite detention?

    Caller: Now wait a minute! I'm no terrorist!

    SSC: Do you or do you not own multiple guns?

    Caller: I believe in the Second Amendment and the right of all citizens to bear arms

    SSC: Do you or do you not own multiple guns? Yes or no?

    Caller: Yes, but

    SSC: Do you think President Obama is a natural born citizen?

    Caller: What? What does this have to do with terrorists and torture?

    SSC: Nothing. Just like your scenario has nothing to do with actual torture as it is practiced in the field. Torture as practiced by the US is not about ticking time bombs it is about protecting political views and getting false confessions (since that was the model it was created on). It is a fiction designed to help cover for a horrific immoral act that has been used, not to protect women in children from a time bomb, but to protect an image of ourselves as good Americans. It is designed to protect the Bush/Cheney administration from the consequences of their lies. Your premise is flawed, your facts are non-existent but you got one thing right.

    Caller: What's that?

    SSC: You aren't a terrorist, just an sad, uninformed person who needs to grow up and understand how torture and the imaginary need for torture is used in the real world by the military and CIA and by politicians and talk radio hosts who want you to reject your own religious views and intellect as well as the violate the Constitution.
    Good day sir.


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    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    He's not "Hyperbolically" dead. He's really most Sincerely Dead.

    Pamela Troy of has long been a favorite of mine. Her writing is fresh and doesn't simply rehash the same views as other people. I especially like her take on this LA Times editorial below.

    Dr. Tiller is Merely "Hyperbolically" Dead

    Why should the 1st Amendment protect someone who publicly says that a politician or judge or doctor should be killed?

    Two reasons: Such statements are often hyperbole, and even statements that include an endorsement of violence can serve the purpose of communicating outrage about public policies. LA Times Editorial

    In an unsigned editorial posted yesterday in the LA Times, the writer expresses dismay about the recent prosecution of Hal Turner. Turner, some may remember, is the racist, right-wing blogger who was recently arrested for posting threats to three Chicago judges because the judges in question upheld handgun bans.

    Naturally, the un-named author makes gagging noises and pinches his or her nose in disgust, describing Turner’s views as “vile” and “odious.” This bit of theater is to show what an upstanding and moral person the writer is, and just how brilliantly the editorial’s clear-minded fairness glows against the nastiness of the person whose “rights” it is defending.

    And of course, there is the mystic invocation of the word “hyperbole” -- a word we’ve been seeing a lot lately. For the past twenty years, it’s most frequently appeared in opinion pieces about prominent, white, right-wing pundits posting borderline and not-so-borderline threats of violence towards liberals, Muslims, Democrats, etc. (You rarely see the word invoked when the threatener is non-white or leftist. Funny that.)

    When the word “hyperbole” appears in such editorials, the actual quotes that got the presumed victim of unfair censorship or criticism are almost always fudged slightly so they seem less inflammatory and the reaction to them less reasonable. In this case, the author allows as how “Turner, who last year publicly relished the idea of violence against editors of this newspaper, posted the photos and office addresses of the judges.”

    In fact, Turner did more even than that:
    Internet postings on June 2 and 3 proclaimed “outrage” over the June 2, 2009, handgun decision by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further stating, among other things: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” The postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.
    You can read the rest here

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Talk Radio Hosts are Not Journalists

    Dear SF Peninsula Press Club:

    Below is the letter I sent to the head of ABC News. I also sent something like this earlier to the Iraq Ambassador and the Iraq Foreign Minister who was trying to drum up business in Northern California.

    When it was announced that Lee Rodgers was going to be in the Bay Area Broadcasting Hall of Fame I thought that either people don't listen to his show on KSFO or they agree with him. I'm hoping the former.

    When I point out these horrific comments below to people I often find the response is to justify and rationalize them. The response from people in the media is especially strong. I believe this is because they instantly put themselves in the position of the person being criticized and think about how to defend them as if they were journalists and the government was attacking their First amendment rights.

    1) Rodgers is not a journalist. He doesn't provide factual corrections, he doesn't even bother to do the "he said, she said" "balanced" views of the weakest of modern journalists, yet he is given all the protections of journalists such as legal protections from slander and defamation as if he was a reporter from the New York Times. All of the protections, none of the responsibilities.

    2) When advertisers pull their ads they are not the government limiting the host's "free speech" they are exercising their rights to place their ad dollars where they feel appropriate. They can follow their own internal policies that say, "We don't advertise on stations where the hosts are racists or call for the massacre of entire groups of people."

    3) Calling for the violent death of others because of their nationality or race is qualitatively different than stating your dislike of the policies of the President or your Conservative political opinion. I also don't use the phrase 'hate speech' because as you know the right likes to conflate the generic definition of hate with the legal definition of hate speech. This is a conscious decision to confuse the issue and dilute the legal term.

    I understand the media's desire to protect journalists who have strong opinions from economic pressure from special interest groups, after all, the right has been doing this to journalists for decades. The pressure has been going on for so long that I think there is an internal moderation that has happened which has lead to some journalists becoming pseudo-stenographers where every story has two sides even when one side is a lie. But as I said earlier, radio hosts are NOT JOURNALISTS. They may be part of "the media" and they often do some of the tasks of journalists, like interviewing public officials, but their goal is not to get to the truth or even to present both sides.

    The letter below outlines some of the reasons why the media have a hard time covering the violent rhetoric, racism and bigotry of talk radio, including the issue of media consolidation.

    The people at ABC News (TV) and ABC Radio (Citadel Media) have read this letter and listened to the audio clips. However because of their continued interlocking relationships they will not act. Partly this is because Rodgers is still seen as an asset and not a liability. The ABC Network continues to have its own brand tainted by a man who calls them liars and accuses them of journalistic malpractice. I suppose they can handle the slander and name calling, but to stand by while he calls for the genocide of the people of Iraq is really unconscionable.

    In 2007 I gave local, national and international journalists an excuse to cover the violent rhetoric coming out of KSFO. It was wrapped around two news hooks (fair use/copyright and advertisers leaving). I have attempted to give journalists and media another excuse to cover this story, but it lacks news hooks. I understand this, but is frustrating to have the modern day equivalent of Hutu Power radio broadcasting out of San Francisco. In 2007 I said that this kind of talk reinforces the views of people who will act violently against others. In 2009 we have seen violence from right wing extremists against the left. And while the hosts didn't pull the trigger, to deny their moral culpability in this violence is to deny the power of radio to call people to action.

    Just how many people need to die until this becomes clear again?

    I know that when the blood is on the podium or on the church floor the right wing radio hosts and cable tv hosts will deny responsibility. The management will deny any role. Of course they won't accept their role, that would involve them potentially losing revenue via a civil lawsuit. It is up to others in the public or responsible media to call them out. I want to remind people that even though the talk radio host will claim you are trying to silence them, dissent does not equal censorship. There are differences between first amendment rights and speech that incites violence on publicly licensed, commercially-supported broadcast radio. Just how many people need to die until this becomes clear again?

    Will ABC Radio do anything?
    Will ABC Network do anything?
    Will Citadel Broadcasting do anything?


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    Friday, August 21, 2009

    David Westin: ABC Radio host calls for massacre of all Iraqis. Is this News?

    David Westin, President
    ABC News

    Dear David:

    Lee Rodgers, local host at ABC Radio station KSFO in San Francisco, called for the genocide of the Iraq people following a report from ABC News reporter David Kerley that "US forces are moving back to bases."

    I thought the comment was so significant I contacted the Iraq Ambassador and the US State Department to let them know. I want as many people as possible in the US and Iraq to know what the top host for an ABC News affiliate is saying to the fourth largest market in America about how Iraqis need to act.

    "You people do whatever you want to each other and to [Iraq], just don't give us a reason to come back or we'll massacre every last damn one of you.

    - Lee Rodgers, ABC Radio station host KSFO, 6-30-2009 (short audio clip) (long audio clip) (transcript)

    I believe it's newsworthy when the host of the top talk radio station in San Francisco is suggesting, in 2009, that Americans should be massacring the Iraq people.

    Rodgers is not a "shock jock". His views are considered serious enough that former Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, and multiple Washington foreign policy experts regularly appear on his show. What do you need to make this important enough to cover?
    • Do you need someone official from Iraq to complain? I'm still waiting for a response from the Iraq Ambassador, but the diplomatic clock runs at a different rate. I'll contact Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari if it will help. According to Andrew S. Ross of the Chronicle, Zebari was trying to drum up business in Northern California last month and might wonder why the top SF talk radio host wants everyone in his country dead.

    • Do you need him to say it on TV? Rodgers believes he is smarter than the President and more articulate than ABC TV "wienies". Give him a chance to prove it on TV. Based on his record he never apologizes and is likely to repeat his genocide comments on broadcast TV like he repeated his call to torture and execute Kevin Holder in 2007. (audio link)

    • Do you need the news hook of a minimum number of advertisers to leave because of these comments? I can probably arrange that, I've got a pretty good track record in that area. (NY Times Link) 28 advertisers left KSFO in 2007, four in 2009 because of the violent rhetoric and anti-gay rights bigotry from KSFO hosts. (SF Weekly Link). Do I need to have my blog shut down by your network again?
    • Do you need a Republican politician to express outrage? I'd like to think I could find one who disagreed with genocide, but they are hesitant to criticize talk radio hosts on anything because they have to take it back the next day. A Republican upset by calls of genocide might be hard to find, would an outraged Democrat do? I can probably get one.
    • Are you hesitant to cover someone in your "media family?" I know you are head of the TV news division but since ABC Radio has been spun out and renamed Citadel Media, ABC TV should be free to cover the story.

    • Are you afraid for his personal safety? I've noted that when the media covers extreme comments of talk radio hosts they paraphrase and soften them. Is this necessary? The words are already out there. I think recent events show that it is people on the left who have the most to fear from violence incited from the right; hence my own pseudonyms.

    • Are you afraid a group of the Muslims or Iraqis will attack him? If that is the case, you should at least acknowledge your real reasons. Are you being paternalistic by assuming you are protecting him from non-existent threats? Or is there "chatter" about groups of Iraqis and Muslims looking to attack right-wing talk radio hosts? That might be a real news story.

    • Are you afraid that repeating their exact words will show you have a liberal bias? They already believe that (see below). By NOT covering these comments you are giving your tacit approval. Refusing to call out racism and genocidal comments doesn't make them stop.
    • Are the host's insults to your current and former staff's newscasts and journalist credentials keeping you from even mentioning this? KSFO hosts accuse ABC journalists of being liars and propagandists regularly. They insult them by name and accuse them of deliberately committing journalistic fraud. Isn't it time someone stood up for them? Are you waiting for your competitors to defend them? Please listen to or read a few recent insults.

    Lee Rodgers has:

    Accused John Dempsey, and the entire staff of ABC radio journalists, of lying on a news story about Governor Blagojevich.
    (Audio link)

    Called journalism hall of fame winner Ann Compton a Presidential butt kisser.

    "ABC White House Correspondent and Presidential butt kisser Ann Compton reports."
    -- Lee Rodgers, KSFO/ABC Radio host on Thursday, March 26, 2009 6:43 am (Audio link)

    Disavowed any connection to ABC's "horse c r a p" newscast he says is a "propaganda mill for the Democratic party."

    Lee Rodgers: I would like to take just a moment to completely disavow any connection with that horse c r a p newscast that you just heard from the ABC Network. People, I hear from people regularly asking 'why do you carry those things?' Well we HAVE to. This station is owned by ABC Radio so we HAVE to carry their crappy newscast. And you heard another example of they're nothing more than a propaganda mill for the Democratic party and they got that wienie on there suggesting that 'well anyone who disagrees with President Obama may be a threat'. That was the implication, it was clear.

    Officer Vic. Oh there was the implication of assassination there!

    LR: Yeah.

    OV: Come on, that's a little bit over the top

    LR: So please, don't blame us for this pile of horse pucky that was just foisted upon the radio audience by the ABC NETWORK News department. Believe me, if we had our way we wouldn't carry a damn thing by that bunch of leftist propagandists. And I didn't need this frigging job anyway, so there.
    -Lee Rodgers, Officer Vic KSFO, ABC Radio August 14, 2009 5:04 am (audio link)

    KSFO morning host Lee Rodgers and his sidekick "Officer Vic" have been making denigrating comments about the intelligence and integrity of the ABC reporters for years.
    "God almighty what an awful newscast. What a piece of c r a p that was!"
    "Officer Vic" on a newscast of ABC News Correspondent Daria Albinger ).

    I understand the desire to just ignore talk radio as if they didn't exist under the theory that they aren't serious and giving them attention just encourages them. But failing to condemn his comments sends the message it's okay.

    Although ABC Radio News is no longer under your control, the radio network people still draw from the ABC News TV network resources. Are you getting compensated for this? Their reports certainly aren't appreciated at KSFO. I contacted Steve Jones, VP and Jim Kane, Deputy D.C. Bureau Chief of ABC News Radio about these attacks in April, but nothing changed.

    Maybe you can do a story about the most powerful man in radio. Lee Rodgers answers to no one and can call for the death of everyone in Iraqi on the publicly-licensed broadcast network. If he called for the genocide of the Jews would it be ignored? Why is this ignored? Is this blatant genocidal racism not addressed because it is sanctioned or because it is still profitable?


    SF, CA


    ABC News
    Kerry Smith,
    Senior Vice President, Editorial Quality
    Paul Mason, Senior Vice President, Politics

    ABC News Radio
    Steve Jones, VP ABC News Radio
    Jim Kane, Deputy D.C. Bureau Chief

    David Kerley, ABC News, Baghdad
    Laura Marquez, ABC Correspondent, San Francisco

    Brooke Gladstone, Co-Host and Managing Editor, On the Media
    Eric Boehlert, Senior Fellow, Media Matters
    Jay Rosen, Press Think

    Tim Karr, Campaign Director Free Press

    Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute
    Richard Gizbert, host of The Listening Post, Al-Jazeera English

    Bill Moyers, Moyer's Journal

    Glenn Greenwald, Salon
    Joe Conason, Salon

    Digby, Hullabaloo
    Mike Stark
    , FireDogLake

    Greg Sargent, Washington Post

    Andrew S. Ross, San Francisco Chronicle
    Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
    Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle

    David Neiwert, author, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right, editor Crooks and Liars
    Sara Robinson,
    Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

    Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates, author, Toxic to Democracy
    Tarso Luis Ramos, Executive Director, Political Research Associates

    Eric Klinenberg, Fighting for Air The Battle to Control America's Media

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Turning to the Bullet Box when the Ballot Box Fails

    From my comments section:

    The underlying Republican message is, in case of defeat, one or more brainwashed emotionally disturbed Republican supporters will turn to the Bullet Box and has the moral right to "forcibly remove" Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and any other Nazi Democrat as needed.
    From Grung_e_Gene at Disaffected and it Feels so Good

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    Will they only be happy when there is blood on the podium?

    PHOENIX - About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday - the latest incident in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.

    Story from KTAR (which I understand from a Spocko's Brain fan, sucks, but I went there to see the comments which were oblivious and bizarre.
  • The reason....
    Jason S.
    for the 2nd admendment is to give the people power to remove enemies of the state "foreign and domestic", "commoner and president". The early americans new that evil people only fear their death and that arms, swords and muskets (guns), were the only way a free people could remain free.
  • cont...
    Jason S.
    Whether you like it or not it it is your requirement as an American to take arms against those who are against true freedom. Obama and his cirle of friends, republican and democrat are enemies of freedom. The only diference today is we "think" we can reach an agreement with civility, but the truth is that you can't reach any agreement with people who don't want one.

  • Here was my response.

    You don't really mean that "Obama and his cirle of friends, republican and democrat are enemies of freedom".

    Do you really mean that "Whether you like it or not it it is your requirement as an American to take arms against those who are against true freedom."?

    You are just joking, right? Because if you meant those things then that would mean you would have to take up arms against Obama and his cirle of friends.

    Have you taken up arms? Why not?

    Someone else posted how this was no big deal. Really?

    As for the guns at the protest, said hb1234100, "nothing happened so what is the problem?"

    What makes them, said PCUB, "nuts??? They are exercising their 2nd Amendment Right. There was no fight, no arrest, so what is the problem?

    You know this is insane. I think all those people who are strong 2nd Amendment supporters need to take these people aside and say, "You are not helping."

    They right often said that the moderate Muslims need to tell the radicals to knock it off. Well the people who aren't nuts who have guns need to tell these people that this is inappropriate given the history of Presidents who were assassinated or who were targets of attempted assassinations.

    Would the posters have said the same thing about John Hinckley?

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    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    KSFO Town Hall Protests Pelosi on Health Care at Justin Herman Plaza

    Attention TV assignment editors: (KPIX, KGO, KTVU, KRON, KNTV) for Friday Aug 14, 2009 1-5 pm

    Brian Sussman of KSFO is whipping his listeners into a frenzy before attending the faux town hall at Justin Herman Plaza Friday. Supposedly the topic is about about health care reform so if you cover it, here are a few questions to ask him and his listeners about health care and what they are hearing on KSFO (just to see how many conspiracy theories they believe based on his comments and willful misinformation).

    Brian Sussman will be there from 2-3 with his producer Eric Santos.

    1) Is it true that Sussman believes Rahm Emanuel's brother, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, will be in charge of a federal system for withdrawing care for those chosen for death?

    2) Did Sussman really call Dr. Emanuel, Dr. Easy Kill Emanuel?
    Answers? YES! (transcript link)

    "Some call him Dr. Easy Kill Emanuel."

    Your dad who's suffering from the dementia? Your mom who's got the Alzheimer's? Guys like Dr. Emanuel want to kill them! I guess it would be called a mercy killing back in the 30's in Germany. This is what they want to do to our people! That Down Syndrome baby? I've got news for you. There will be amniocentesis when the child is in the womb and when they find out that kid's got Down Syndrome or some other life long ailment, oh they'll put an end to that life in no time flat. Is this what you want?"

    -Brian Sussman, KSFO, Citadel Broadcasting 8-7-2009 6:20pm (audio link)

    Sounds just like Bill O'Reilly calling Dr. Tiller, Dr. Killer, doesn't it? Remember how that turned out for Dr. Tiller?

    3) Does Sussman regularly call Speaker Nancy Pelosi "The House Madam?"
    Answer? Yes! (audio link 8-10-2009 5:28 am) (transcript link)

    4) Does Sussman direct his listeners to attend town halls and shout down any discussion?
    Answer? Yes! Here he is explaining how "we are going to shout them down on this." (audio link) Saturday they will be shouting down Pete Stark!

    5) Does Sussman encourage listeners who attend to be prepared to "flatten" people who disagree with them?
    A. Yes!
    "Our side has to get past this Mahatma Gandhi stuff here. Because this is outright, this is like what the Brownshirts did in Germany in the 20s and 30s and although I intend to be peaceful and law abiding if one of those people comes up to me and does like what you describe, I don't care if I even have to do it alone, I'm going to flatten whoever it is"

    -George in Oakland (audio link)

    (BTW, listeners who suggest violence toward others is not new on the show, here a caller wants to kill innocents attending prayer services at mosques. (audio link). You will note Sussman’s support of the killing. Sussman has asked these same listeners to take the day off work and attend this event.)

    6) Does Sussman believe President Obama is a natural born citizen?
    A. NO! Sussman is a "Birther" and refuses to accept any proof to the contrary. Ask him if he is calling Hawaiian officials liars or if Obama's operatives traveled in time to place those newspaper birth notices.

    7) Does Sussman suggest to listeners that President Obama's going to take their guns?
    A. Yes! Sussman calls his show, “Sussman’s Revolution" and stokes the, “Obama’s going to take your guns” paranoia after President Barack Hussein Obama was elected (audio link).

    8) Did Sussman really call President Obama a "halfrican"?
    A. Yes! (Link)

    9) Does Sussman believe that the census bureau is gathering GPS coordinates so President Obama can find and take people's guns?
    A. Yes! Ask him!

    10) Has Sussman called the President a socialist, a fascist and a communist? Compared him to Hitler?
    A. Yes, yes, yes and yes.

    Listen to any of his KSFO shows on line. Prove to yourself I'm not making this stuff up, I'm not editing it, or taking it out of context. Listen and you will be shocked and appalled. This is not the pleasant weatherman you thought you knew from KPIX.

    He's a pro-torture, anti-Muslim, anti-gay rights bigot who has been spreading violent rhetoric for years.

    He spreads these same kind of conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric that can be read in the manifesto of Unitarian Universal Church shooter James Adkisson (pdf link)

    Please ask some of these questions of the organizer of this faux town hall.
    As journalists you can do more than just, "cover the controversy". You know that "both sides DON'T make equally good points. Comparing lies and willful misinformation with the truth is beneath your standards.

    You have plenty of documented quotes here, please confirm them live.
    It's time to see more than a "the truth lies somewhere in the middle." about the issue of health care. False equivalences need to be shown for what they are. False.

    What ever you do, be sure to give Sussman credit for his call to action for the thousands who attend on Friday. If you don't give him credit he might decide you are unAmerican and decide to torture you, cut off one of your finger or penis or blow your kneecap off. (audio wma) (audio wma) (audio wma)

    Thank you for your time.

    If you want to read a calmer and more logical statement about Sussman and his role in the organization of this town hall, (with documenting audio) please go here.

    Will Citadel be Financial Liable for Town Hall Mobs Organized by Their Radio Hosts?

    (Spocko's Brain)

    Monday, August 10, 2009

    Will Citadel be Financial Liable for Town Hall Mobs Organized by Their Radio Hosts?

    Judy Ellis, Chief Operating Officer
    Citadel Broadcasting

    Dear Judy:

    I wanted to alert you that Brian Sussman, a radio host from your San Francisco station KSFO, has been directly telling listeners to attend a rally to protest health care reform Friday August 14th between 1-5 at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco.

    I have a few questions for you.
    • What is Citadel Broadcasting's experience in controlling mobs of angry people filled with "righteous indignation?"

    • Has your legal counsel signed off on sponsoring this protest rally?

    • Has your insurance carrier issued you a special event policy for any property damage, injury or wrongful deaths that may occur?*

    Listen to Sussman direct listeners to attend.
    "This Friday, Justin Herman Plaza, we are planning on having a Bay Area tea party. This was going to go down in front of Nancy Pelosi's office, but I will tell you right now, the interest has swelled due in large part to the reach of this station. I got on board with this last week and said, 'You know what? I'm going to be there I'm going to be in front of Pelosi's office, I'm going to go through that line I'm going to shake every hand of every great American present and by getting on board with the great reach of KSFO the numbers have swelled for this thing. There are not going to be just hundreds, now there are going to be thousands of people attending."
    Pelosi, if you won't have a town hall we are having a town hall at Justin Herman Plaza on behalf of every American. You are the house Madam.
    If you're working I want you to take the day off. I want you to join us. You need to be emboldened surrounded by all these great patriots who are standing shoulder to shoulder against this plan.
    (audio link 8-10-2009 5:28 am) (transcript link)
    Sussman has been broadcasting this call to action since last week. I want to be clear that I believe in the right of the people to peaceably assemble. But the word peaceably is there for a reason.

    As you know, several Town Hall events have turned violent and have resulted in an inability for constituents to have a civil discussion. Sussman approves of shouting. Here he is explaining how "we are going to shout them down on this." (audio link)

    Sussman also has a history of violent rhetoric and has vocalized his rage on air many times. (link) (Shown here posing with a gun. Photo from KSFO website.) Last week, while discussing health care reform, he singled out President Obama's chief of staff's brother, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel as being in charge of designing a federal system for withdrawing care for those chosen for death. (transcript link)

    "Some call him Dr. Easy Kill Emanuel."
    (I'm reminded of Bill O'Reilly calling Dr. Tiller, "Dr. Killer" in the months leading up to his assassination in a church.) Sussman goes on, please listen to the audio to hear the rage in his voice.
    "Your dad who's suffering from the dementia? Your mom who's got the Alzheimer's? Guys like Dr. Emanuel want to kill them! I guess it would be called a mercy killing back in the 30's in Germany. This is what they want to do to our people! That Down Syndrome baby? I've got news for you. There will be amniocentesis when the child is in the womb and when they find out that kid's got Down Syndrome or some other life long ailment, oh they'll put an end to that life in no time flat. Is this what you want?"
    -Brian Sussman, KSFO, Citadel Broadcasting 8-7-2009 6:20pm (audio link) Bold
    It is also troubling to hear the views of his listeners who may attend this event. Directly after the above comment "George in Oakland" said he was planning on attending and said,

    "Our side has to get past this Mahatma Gandhi stuff here. Because this is outright, this is like what the Brownshirts did in Germany in the 20s and 30s and although I intend to be peaceful and law abiding if one of those people comes up to me and does like what you describe, I don't care if I even have to do it alone, I'm going to flatten whoever it is" -George in Oakland (audio link)

    Listeners who suggest violence toward others is not new on the show, here a caller wants to kill innocents attending prayer services at mosques. (audio link). You will note Sussman’s support of the killing. Sussman has asked these same listeners to take the day off work and attend this event.

    Sussman has been willfully ignorant that there are no corporate sponsors behind the tea party organizing. (audio link) When told of death threats to Democratic congress people and the name of an organizer, FreedomWorks, he dismisses the information and attempts to pin the death threats on "union thugs". (audio link) Even if this was a grassroots movement at one time, the resources committed and the support of Citadel Broadcasting now can not be denied.

    I encourage you to listen to the entire Aug 7th show. It is clear listeners intend to create as much physical provocation as possible and then claim victimhood when something erupts. This kind of talk sets up KSFO listeners to indulge in the "defensive" violence that Sussman described after Obama was elected (audio link).

    I won’t use the phrase inciting people to riot to describe what he is doing because that is something for the district attorney and the courts to decide after the event.

    Sussman Gets the Credit, You Get the Liability

    Following the week long promotion on KSFO and his bragging about the people he has drawn to the event, this upcoming event is now squarely on Citadel Broadcasting's books in the potential liability column.

    Sussman says, "Republicans don't have thugs". I have documentation of destruction of property from a Melanie Morgan KSFO protest against Code Pink where a man she invited to a "show down" at "high noon" slashed the Code Pink sign and Medea Benjamin's microphone cable (nice metaphors for silencing speech by the way). I will happily make it available if there is a repeat of the violence at this event so we can see if it is the same listener of KSFO causing the violence and so we can rule out agent provocateurs.

    KSFO's history of violent rhetoric is relevant because the hosts are using Citadel Broadcasting resources to organize a potentially violent event.

    Who's Responsible When Violence or Death Occurs Based on a DJs Actions?

    You may recall the Clear Channel Sacramento Radio station KDND which sponsored a contest where a woman died as a result of drinking too much water to win a Wii video console. Although the DJs were warned of the possible danger in advance the DJs response was, "We are aware of that," while another added, "They signed releases, so we're not responsible. It's OK." A total of ten people were fired. Perhaps this was to appease the FCC so that Clear Channel would not lose KDND's broadcast license. It's one thing to demonstrate "responsibility" after the fact, but would the FCC act differently if they knew that upper management was informed in advance, but approved the contest anyway? Could they point to steps taken to ensure the safety of the public and how they were serving the public interest?

    While KSFO hosts successfully whip people into a frenzy at the local level it is up to YOU to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved and to protect your corporation from litigation and ruin.

    Sussman calls his show, “Sussman’s Revolution" and stokes the, “Obama’s going to take your guns” paranoia after President Barack Hussein Obama was elected (audio link). He is a "Birther" who doesn't believe that the President is a natural born citizen. He has called the president a "halfrican" and has compared the President to Hitler, and believes the census is gathering GPS coordinates so Obama can take people's guns. These same kind of conspiracy theories can be read in the manifesto of Universal Unitarian Church shooter James Adkisson (pdf link)

    You have your own policies about the threatening talk of your contract employees. Do they cover genocidal talk? Most recently KSFO's Lee Rodgers called for the massacre of "every last damn one of you." referring to the Iraq people.

    Although the FCC has no current fines tied to this kind of talk, commissioner Copps has said in the past stations that ignore the public interest will go on probation and if they don’t, then it’ll be “good-bye license. We’ll give it to someone who has a personal interest in the public interest."

    I have demonstrated time and time again where the KSFO hosts have violated your own policies. I understand you are balancing potential revenue with potential liability, but when the tipping point happens I want to make sure that both you and the FCC are clear that you were alerted to this behavior ahead of time.



    P.S. I’ve also copied the San Francisco district attorney’s office to alert them of this upcoming event and Sussman’s on-air stated intentions.

    *(Note: I just found out that political protests, political rallies, protest rallies and weapons shows are event types that are ineligible for insurance from the National Alliance of Special Event Planners. (link) Of course they are only three underwriters in this area, your policy may cover these events. I also discovered that anyone who submits an application or files a claim containing a false or deceptive statement is guilty of insurance fraud, a Federal Offense)

    Kamala D. Harris, San Francisco District Attorney

    Michael Copps, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission
    Shawn Lapinski, Associate Chief, Public Communications Outreach and Operations Division

    Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates, author, Toxic to Democracy
    Tarso Luis Ramos, Executive Director, Political Research Associates

    David Neiwert, author, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right, editor Crooks and Liars
    Sara Robinson,
    Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

    Thursday, August 06, 2009

    Bay Area Radio Museum & Hall of Fame Inducts Lee Rodgers

    When I read that Lee Rodgers was going to be in the Bay Area Radio Museum & Hall of Fame I was a bit puzzled, but when I looked at the list of the members I saw that it was filled by a lot of people who probably knew of him at KGO. The power of early impressions is very strong and people don't want to believe that someone could become dark and mean as they age.

    We are hesitant to call out anyone as a racist and bigot if it is socially acceptable racism or bigotry. Saying overtly racist things about blacks is no longer acceptable. Saying overtly bigoted things toward Jews is not something a mainstream public person will say. However, you CAN still say overtly racist things about people from the Middle East and you can say overtly bigoted things about Muslims.

    • Would you honor someone who called for the massacre of everyone in the nation of Israel?
      Then why honor someone calling for the massacre of everyone in Iraq?
      (Lee Rodger's audio)
    • Would you give a trophy to someone who said blacks should be hanging from lamp posts?
      How big is the trophy for the person who said liberals should hang from lamp posts?
      (Lee Rodger's audio)
    • Would you toast someone suggesting millions of Christians be killed?
      What is your toast to the person suggesting millions of Muslims be killed?
      (Lee Rodger's audio)

    Some people who hear vicious comments from a radio host think, "It's just an act," maybe you knew the guy personally years ago and he wasn't vicious then. Maybe you have the brain of a liberal; you believe that people are good. So you excuse them. Otherwise you would have to reevaluate your impression of this person. But even if you KNOW that it's all an act and the person is really nice to his dog, they are STILL saying these things and the rest of us can only judge them on their exact words.

    Could you believe that someone is so vile that they would joke about torturing people with electrodes attached to their testicles and end the torture by blowing their "bleeping brains out?" (audio link)

    Why do some of the nastiest radio hosts broadcast out of San Francisco? Three reasons.
    1. Liberals believe in people having a chance to express their views.

    2. We are hesitant to do anything that even has the impression of limiting someone's speech. This hesitation is even there when someone crosses over into speech that fits the legal definition of hate speech or the common sense limitation to not falsely cry fire in a crowed theater.

    3. Radical conservatives exploit this hesitancy of liberals, up to and beyond the bounds of decency.
    But just because we are hesitant doesn't mean that we shouldn't act when someone does cross the line and descends into violent rhetoric directed towards people because of their religion, race, nationality or sexual orientation. To not act is to condone this speech. And to honor the speaker is sending a message to the people being attacked verbally. Do you concur with these comments? Do you disagree? If you disagree, how serious is your disagreement? What message do you send with your honors and your plaques? You honor the man but not the words?

    Who this group decides to honor is their decision. The members can decide what they are really honoring, but it would be nice if they didn't fool themselves with the answer.

    Here is a slightly edited letter I sent to Darryl Compton, the Executive Director of the Bay Area Radio Museum & Hall of Fame.


    I know the Hall of Fame is a popularity contest and a lot of very vile broadcasters are popular, but before you honor Lee Rodgers you might want to actually listen to some of his current shows to see how far he has descended from the Lee Rodgers you and others might have known at one time.

    You can listen on the Internet to a current show and hear some of his genocidal comments directed toward directed toward Iraqi's, Muslims and liberals.

    In addition to his desire to "massacre every last damn one" of the Iraqis he is un-apologetically pro-torture. And if you think that Rodgers apologized for his torture comments, think again. He did NOT apologize for talking about torturing the blowing the brains out of a criminal (link) Here's audio of Rodgers not apologizing for those comments and embracing them. (Link)

    Suggesting that someone suspected of a crime be burned alive is just another day on Rodger's talk radio (You will note his old sidekick, Melanie Morgan, added the "hogtied" to the being burned alive comment, I guess when she wants someone to die in a fire she really wants to make sure it happens.) These vicious comments aren't just one time outbursts, they are the backbone of his show, along with his name calling and his constant talk about testicles (link to multiple audio clips)

    I suppose Rodgers will have to come back to the Bay Area to pick up his award, but he clearly hates San Francisco and the majority of the people in the city. I know this because he says so almost every day as he broadcasts out of his home in Arizona.

    I suppose you can honor his longevity, that is your prerogative, but you may want to listen to the words said by the man you are honoring. Rodgers may be nice to his friends off the air, I can only judge him based on the exact words he says on the show.
    And I know exactly what he says because I've being monitoring his violent rhetoric for years.

    Would you honor a man who said we should massacre the Jews? The Tutsis? Then why are you honoring Lee Rodgers who on
    June 30, 2009 at 6:24 am said this about all the Iraq people.

    "You people do what ever you want to each other and this country just don't give us a reason to come back or we'll massacre every last damn one of you."

    Rodgers on Iraqis (audio link) I rarely use the phrase hate speech because it has a legal connotation that the right likes to willfully confuse, especially when it is linked to a hate crime, but hate speech is bias speech and Rodgers' bias toward a group of people because of their religion, Muslim, and their nationality is clear.

    If you would like to hear some of his comments over the last couple of years go here (link). Sadly, if you listen to an entire recent program you will hear more of the same, plus the usual name calling and violent rants. (link)

    You may believe that all those votes for Rodgers are based on popular support (you might want to examine your voting methods and records however) but I'm sure the radio hosts at Hutu Power radio also were very popular. When they told the Hutu's to "cut the tall trees" and "stomp on the cockroaches" lots of Hutu's listened and then acted. And they killed Tutsis. Rodger's didn't pull the trigger on the gun at the Universal Unitarian Church, but do these words sound similar?

    Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I'd like to encourage other like minded people to do what I've done. If life aint worth living anymore don't just kill yourself. do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.
    Jim Adkisson's Manifesto written before he killed Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger at the the Unitarian Universalist

    Think my metaphor is too extreme? Here is Lee Rodgers saying that a protester should be stomped to death and his co-host "Officer Vic", saying liberals are like cockroaches, cut their heads off.(audio link) And

    Why do I not identify myself, but go by Spocko? Because as "Officer Vic" said just the other day, "When a man says he is going to kill you, believe him."

    "We'll trace you back, hunt you down and kill you like a mad dog."
    Lee Rodgers, KSFO about supporters of Ron Paul (audio link)

    Instead of a ceremony to honor them, the broadcasters of Rwanda's Hutu Power radio went to trial for their contribution to war crimes. Hassan Ngeze was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, and in 2005, Leon Mugesera was deported from Canada to stand trial for his role in the killing.

    You are honoring Lee Rodgers Darryl. Be sure to play some of these audio clips at the ceremony just so everyone knows what Rodgers has been broadcasting and who you are placing in the hall of fame.


    Tuesday, August 04, 2009

    Success! LifetimeTV and Beach Blanket Babylon Stop Ads on KSFO

    I thought folks on our side would appreciate hearing some success stories when it comes to pushing back on the right-wing media.

    Last week Beach Blanket Babylon and LifetimeTV agreed to stop advertising on KSFO.

    The removal of their ads was prompted by letters that I sent at the end of July. (Link to Beach Blanket Babylon letter here) I documented the host's verbal attacks on gay rights activists. I also documented how the host Brian Sussman actively works to deny gays equal rights. In addition, in my LifetimeTV letter, I pointed out the history of violent rhetoric from the various hosts that were directed toward liberal women.

    The advertisers sent a message back to the station. We will not financially support this kind of talk.

    Here is an authorized quote from the producer:

    "Beach Blanket Babylon will never advertise on any station, like KSFO, that attacks the LGBT community (or any community for that matter) and actively works to deny anyone equal rights."

    Jo Schuman Silver, Producer

    When I alerted Meredith Wagner, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs & Corporate Communications for Lifetime Networks about the running of Project Runway ads on a station that traffics in violent rhetoric and anti-gay shouting she explained they weren't aware of this station's content. Now that they are aware, I asked about future ads; she said, "It's not happening again."

    She said that going forward ad buyers will provide a more detailed list of where the Project Runway ads are going. If Beach Blanket Babylon's ad buying experience is any example they will still have to look closely, it turns out that because of media consolidation the KSFO parent company sales reps sometimes throw in KSFO as part of package-- as if they were just a generic station -- instead of the one of the top purveyors of violent rhetoric and genocidal statements directed toward Iraqi's, Muslims and liberals.

    One thing I've learned about the right wing media, the hosts will not change because there are no consequences for even the most repugnant comments.

    Some advertisers will accept a back room apology, believe transparent excuses or accept promises of future compliance. Others will look the other way when KSFO ads are hidden in massive ad packages. That is their choice. But some choose not to taint their brand. Others will remember they have been promised better behavior but note when the media spotlight dies down the host's true nature returns.

    Based on their history, advertisers need to understand that KSFO shows will never be a safe place for their ads, either now or in the future. Sponsors are always at risk of their brand being tainted.

    I accept that there are some advertisers who agree with Sussman that gay rights activists are out to "completely destroy and pervert this country". or agree with Lee Rodgers that the Iraqi's better not "Give us a reason to come back or we'll massacre every last damn one of you." but I doubt they will say it out loud.

    Most advertisers are decent humans that ARE concerned about things like equal rights for gays and the ratcheting up of violence on the airwaves. They see the incompatibility of right-wing radio with their products, services and core values. Removing their ads from right wing radio is one way they can do something instead of throwing up their hands after the next shooting of someone targeted by the right-wing radio hosts.

    Here's the deal folks. There will be another shooting. The shooter will be a regular listener of right-wing radio. He may even come right out and say exactly why he is acting and where he got the idea from, but no action will be taken by any right-wing radio management.

    Right wing media management will never accept any responsibility for encouraging violent rhetoric and genocidal statements toward others. Unless there was a law and a fine, like we have for obscenity, indecency and profanity, they will ignore our comments and encourage the hosts bigotry and genocidal statements. They will never acknowledge a causal link between violence suggested on the radio and violent action taken by a listener, even though they regularly expect listeners to take action such as going to teabag parties and buying sponsored products.

    However they will have to accept a causal link between the advertiser pulling their ads because of the violent rhetoric and bigotry of the hosts.

    I'm so pleased that Beach Blanket Babylon and LifetimeTV have stood up against the anti-gay rights statements from KSFO hosts. They did it in a way that reflected their own values and they can even respond to the most extreme free speech supporter by saying that removing financial support is not silencing a critic. As someone who HAD been silenced, when my blog was shut down by KSFO/ABC Radio/Disney with a bogus copyright claim, I know the difference.

    As Matt Zimmerman from the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, "While such radio personalities certainly have a right to air their views, the First Amendment says nothing about a right to advertiser-subsidized speech."