Thursday, July 22, 2004

Censorship

I used to be an avid Howard Stern listener. I listened from the first day that he came on in Philly—I was 15. For weeks before his climactic debut, the station kept running this promo of Stern repeating, “He’s a Dick, He’s a Dick” (referring to the local ‘Morning Zoo’ guy who was #1 back then …you know the type –Hawaiian shirt Fridays and Wacky Wednesdays). Anyway, what could be cooler at 15 than someone saying ‘dick’ on the radio –it was unheard of then. I was hooked. Years ago he did this great bit about turrets before people believed it was a real ailment –he called the principal of a school with the perspective turrets inflicted ‘student’ on the extension. It was SO funny, the kid kept saying all these crazy sexual things and cursing and the Principal was trying to be PC but had no idea what to think.

I don’t listen to Howard anymore. It isn’t because of his daily bash-Bush tirades. I stopped listening after his wife left him. He wasn’t real anymore and he became another rich, ugly guy with a hot young blonde that wouldn’t have given him the time of day were he not ‘Howard’. I understand why Howard is lashing out about being censored, but I am angry that he is misdirecting that anger. I am even angrier that people are listening to him—he is swaying votes based on false information! Howard ‘the hawk’ had Michael Moore on the other day and kissed his ass!

We should all be outraged at censorship. Be outraged even if you despise Howard, because it may not stop with him. I hear many conservative Christians saying “Good, take him off, he’s a pig”. What about someone that thinks Rush, Sean or Savage is a pig? TURN THE DIAL PEOPLE. I have been glad to hear Rush, Sean and Glen Beck all defend him…but I have yet to hear that Howard has defended Rush. A defense appropriations bill was recently sent to the Senate where Tom Harkin(D) added a stipulation that Rush be removed from Military radio. That is scary…a senator using a defense bill to censor a political personality.

With a bit of digging Howard would see that the person leading the ‘indecency’ witch-hunt over at the FCC (did you know that the commissioners regulating what you see and hear are NOT elected officials) is not Michael Powell, but Michael Copps (D). This should NOT be a partisan issue. Just like our soldiers fight to keep the freedoms that allow people to say things that they may not agree with –we need to fight for the same things here at home.

14 comments:

this we'll defend said...

From the left - amen Ala71. I didn't know about the proposal to ban Rush from military radio. Bastard. As a vet I can tell you that soldiers are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves what they should think and believe, thank you. I think Rush is a big fat idiot. Still, anybody that tried to prevent him from being on military radio because they disagree with him is a fascist, plain and simple. Should military theaters ban F9/11? Should Stars and Stripes be vetted by censors? Perhaps we should order soldiers to vote a certain way too? I am as indignant as you are. You are right to say this is not a partisan thing. We NEED BOTH PARTIES - if there is only one party then there is no organized opposition to anything and tryanny follows quickly. People that are offended by more than one point of view should go to the "workers' paradise" of North Korea. They won't find any disturbing opposing opinions there. As for me I'll take messy democracy with Rush and Moore anyday.

justrose said...

TWD -- I've enjoyed all your posts on CBFTW and here. Haven't you also posted on 91Ghost? You have a lot of interesting and informed opinions . . . thanks for being part of the bloguniverse. JR

Tammi said...

Great post and I have to say I agree 100% on the Stern issue. Nope, not gonna listen. Go away.

You make a lot of really great points, and I'm going to enjoy rolling thru your archives.

Thanks for stoppin' by over at my place. :)

leftyjones said...

A,
With minor exceptions I agree heartily with your commentary.
What most Americans seem to forget is that,

You do NOT have a RIGHT to not be offended!
You do, however, have the ability to turn a dial, push an off button or just go read a book.
I agree with you A, that this is damn important and worth fighting for.

I think I heard the Rush story differently but maybe I'm wrong. I thought the bill stated that since the government foots the bill for military radio and the Limbaugh show is a political show, there needs to be equal time for opposing viewpoints as the show is funded by the public. If there could be no equal time, THEN there should be no political shows on taxpayer funded radio.
Now, before you start screaming about NPR, I'm simply stating what I heard....maybe it was incorrect. Either way, I do believe that every voice deserves to be protected and that includes Rush and all of those who are like him. I'd turn my back on any politician who differs with me on this issue.....it's that fundamental.
Also, you are right that Michael Copps(D) is a nutbag and I have a feeling that he's just waiting to run for office one day saying that......"he protected the children" but do keep this in mind.
The FCC is comprised of 5 appointed officials...3 Repub's, 2 Dem's. ( appointed by the sitting president)
Anything that gets passed by the FCC can only get passed with Repub. approval.
Secondly, the legislators pushing the FCC down this path are led by crazyman Sen. Brownback(R) and this man has NO problem with censorship.
Hopefully we will see people from both sides come together on this issue and win one for free speech.

Kat said...

Great blog! Good subject for posting, too. I don't believe in censorship. Period. I didn't like it when Tipper Gore tried to get the bandwagon going and I don't like it under the guise of "conservative" politics, either.

They can say whatever they want and I can turn the channel.

In terms of Howard Stern, I thought he was a lot more funny and original 10 years ago. Now he is just kind of sick and pathetic, trying to push whatever button he can to get ratings. His cable show is really just an x-rated boob program.

So...I think he should go off the air because he stinks as a host, not because the FCC says so.

~Jen~ said...

This we'll defend, I really enjoy reading your take on things.

Tammi said...

I just had a thought. Maybe the reason we thought Stern was ok 10-12 years ago is because we were 10-12 years older?

Naa - how can that be when I'm only "21" now! LOL.

I do think he is just chasing ratings right now. You're Right Kat - he should go because he stinks not because of censorship.

ALa said...

ThisWe'llDefend_ I also enjoy reading your posts (when are you starting a blog?) -you raise very good points--can you really be a lefty or you just a Democrat? A 'Lieberman Democrat' maybe?

justrose_so glad we joined blogworld together

Tammi_ Yes, i think the Howard thing has to do with our ages and also I agree with Kat that he has gotten lame --it's hard to have angst when you are richer than God.

Kat_ I HATED Tipper Gore in my young rebel days. Anthrax had a song about her that was funny
"...You know that you can't censor my feelings, You can't censor my thoughts, Censorships against everything that America stands for..." Startin' up a Posse (Anthrax)-*Explicit Lyrics*
I hear that Lynne Cheney dabbles in this too.

leftyjones_you read my mind --Rush is QUITE balanced with about 10 NPR programs...

spaceCADETzoom said...

I agree with the whole censorship thing...I really scratch my head and wonder if there are actually folks out there that are truly debilitatingly struck with discomfort at "offensive" material. I mean really...did the radio knob magically turn itslef to his show? Did I spontaneously combust into flames when I saw Janet Jackson's nipple?

It goes all directions. I hate how the Dixie Chicks (God bless'em, I love their music) were complaining about censorship when folks were stomping on thier CD's. Poor things figure only millionaires can have free speech, not angry folk with steamrollers. I liked how funny it was Elton John was saying how anti-war comments are somehow being censored, and celebrities black-listed...not realizing the irony that I was reading this in a newspaper...

I'm a just a silly kid who spends too much cash on videogames. People can talk about Hitler or Mao or Stalin...but there's no bigger baddie to us videogamers than CT's own Joe Lieberman. There doesn't seem to be rhymre or reason in the delineation of issue stances among Democrats/Republicans. I still do not understand why people can be militant in protection of all personal freedoms...save those concerning guns. evil guns.

Anyway. thanks aLa71, for your comment on my fresh blog.

end stream of incoherence. We now return you to regularly scheduled comments...

this we'll defend said...

Thanks everybody for the nice comments.

Ala71 - yes I am left of center. If you promise not to believe everything that is said about liberals on Fox News I promise not to believe everything that is said about conservatives on AirAmerica. For instance, I believe in a progressive income tax system, for instance, and hate the Bush tax cuts. That doesn't mean I want to punish the rich for being rich or that I believe in income redistribution or communism (I am VERY capitalist because I think history has shown it to be a more effective system). Instead I believe that we are all better off when we invest in schools, infrastructure, enforcing the rule of law, ensuring poor children have a healthy diet, etc. Just like I believe tax dollars spent on defense can be good or bad depending on how they are spent - spend wisely and we are better off, spend poorly and it is a waste - such as national maginot line - I mean missile defense. And if you disagree with me - God bless America that you and I can do so and not want to imprison each other, or censor each other, or even hate each other. That is what scares me about how partisan and one-sided the nation has become. Next stop: one party state. I don't care which party it is - it is wrong and everybody that believes in democracy and our Republic should say STOP. That is why your "funny" DNC schedule of events really wasn't that funny. Flag-burning? Do you honestly believe that Democrats hate America when they oppose changing the 1st Amendment to prevent flag burning? Or do you think we really burn flags? Or that we want to appease terrorists? Why even suggest it? Don't give me the humor excuse. I'm not blaming you, it is acceptable these days. But that doesn't mean it is right.

Let me give you a scenario for how our media (all media) report the news: you and I sit down in front of a group of reporters, along with a hippie freak who hates America and thinks we were to blame for 9/11, and a neoNazi that wants us to kill all middle-easterners including US citizens. The debate begins -

I say I think we should fight terror but that the invasion of Iraq hurt the war on terror for many reasons (no 9/11 link, ruined our standing in the world, supercharged recruiting for terrorists, tied down the Army and billions in an avoidable war, etc.).

You disagree and say the war in Iraq was central to the war on terror because a declared enemy of the US would sooner or later have cooperated with Al Queda, even if he hadn't yet, and because if we succeed in installing a democracy in Iraq the entire middle east will stabilize.

The hippie says that we should get rid of the Army and greet the terrorists with hugs and apologies for our existence because we are to blame.

The NeoNazi suggests nuking everybody that doesn't look like us for Jesus, starting with them Frenchies.

Fox News headlines: "Dems call for us to surrender to Al Queda - Republicans bravely fight back." (Fox then attacks CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN for biased left-wing reporting).

CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN: "Dems suggest surrender, Republicans call for nukes."

Mother Jones/Air America/other left-wing outlets: "Republicans want to destroy the world." (They then attack CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN for biased right-wing reporting).

So where did our informed, logical, honest argument about national policy go? And how can voters make intelligent decisions when this is the way we learn about the world around us? Don't buy into it. The democrats are not the enemy, but the loyal opposition. The republicans are not the enemy, but the loyal opposition. Anybody that thinks otherwise IS THE ENEMY.

leftyjones said...

TWD....You're singing my tune! This is echoing some of my thoughts from yesterday on my own site but they seem to like your "phraseology" better. Perhaps being more cerebral intstead of being a smart ass would help my cause...but then that just wouldn't be me. In any case, its nice to have you around to help reinforce the fact that everyone on the left is not the way the far right would portray us to be. We might even be likeable....(hint to Jen)

ALa said...

TWD:
A progressive income tax system means that you do want to punish the rich --this doesn't effect the richest people (like Theresa H. Kerry who got their money through an inheritance) it effects the WORKING rich--that are already paying up to 60% of their income on taxes (meaning they are working more than half the year to pay taxes) The rich (1-5%) of this country carry 70% of the tax load --how is that fair and how is that not punishing the rich? Would you even bother to go to work if you were only going to be given 40 cents on each dollar?
I think that just as you have said that history has proven that capitalism works --it has also proven that government programs don't. Did you know that up to 73 cents on EVERY welfare dollar goes to administration cost? What business would be allowed to run that way --what charity wouldn't be criticized and scrutinized were this the case? When I give to charities, the first thing I do is look up what actually goes to the charity (Freedom Alliance 100% =Women for Women International 96%) This is why I believe in small government and private contribution. I can pick where I want MY money to go and I can ensure that the charities stay honest in competition for my dollars.
As for education the Teachers Union (NEA) has gotten more money than any time in history =average dollars per student $9,354, more teachers (one staffer for every 8.2 students), higher pay for teachers (average $44,642 for 9 months) --and has education gotten better? Average reading scores: (on a scale of 1-500) 1971= 285.2 / 2001=287.8
Average Math: 1971 = 300.4 2001=308.2
Illiteracy rates 2000 (4th grade): 63% blacks, 58% Hispanics, 60% children in poverty
That is why I believe in School vouchers -pro-choice!
Obviously I cringe at the thought of 'free health care'. Not only did I live in England for a year and experience socialized medicine first hand, but when I was young we had to go to the Police & Fire clinic (as all Police and Fire families did then -now they have Personal Choice) and sit in a jammed waiting room for HOURS waiting for them to call you into the 'big bird room'. You went with a stomach ache and ended up with every ailment known to man after spending HOURS in that germ-infested non-ventilated waiting room.
You said:'spend poorly and it is a waste"...as I think I have illustrated --the government always spends poorly. It is inherent and too systemic to fix.
As for the DNC schedule...yes (obviously) it is a joke...meant as a slight departure from the stress of the 9/11 report, the election, the war and life in general -BUT it is also a satire of the direction that the Democratic Party is heading.
Do I think that the far left hates American and really burns flags, you ask? Absolutely! If you don't please visit www.protestwarrior.com and watch 'operation wolverine'. I am TERRIFIED of the far left. What's in the video: burning American flags with Palestinian and Communist flags flying high, people dressed as homicide bombers, blood stained Israeli flags...SCARY. I hope you watch the video. It's not 10 or 50 people -thousands. Groups like ANSWER/ NARAL / NOW (all lobbyists and contributors to the Democratic Party). So do I think you (no I am sure not you) burn flags...YES. Or that you (once again, I would bet my life not you) want to appease terrorists...YES. So I am not giving you the humor excuse, I am giving you the "I have seen it with my own eyes and I hope you will too" excuse. This is why I said that you must be a Democrat and not a 'left liberal' (big difference). If you have not seen these 'protest' and heard all the anti-American statements made abroad by the likes of Michael Moore and others in the far left --you should before you align yourself with them. As I do not put myself in the same category as the rev. Jerry Falwell and others of that ilk.
So I say don't go to the media. Watch real life. Watch the video, watch the politicians, check the statistics and then decide. I don't hate anyone (well maybe Michael Moore -but I believe in free speech -not libel and slander). I think that most of us have the same goals -just very different methods of achieving them.
The informed, logical, honest argument about national policy is right here -right now...that is in fact why most of us are here right?

http://www.protestwarrior.com/videos/operation_wolverines.php

leftyjones said...

TWD....You're singing my tune!
Some of your thoughts really echo the sentiment I was trying to share on my blog yesterday but I think the group here may respond to your "phraseology" better. I suppose I could try being more cerebral and less smart ass.....but that just wouldn't be my style. Anyway, nice to have you around to help deflect the notion that everyone on the left is anti-American and evil. Hell, we may even be a bit likeable!
(hint to Jen...wink,wink)

this we'll defend said...

Ala71:

You are right that confiscatory income tax rates are counter-productive. That is taking a logical argument out to illogical ends however. Our nation has one of the lowest tax rates in the industrialized world, and experience has shown that confiscatory rates lower govt revenue intake because rich people take their money elsewhere. I don't want confiscatory income tax rates but progressive rates that are good for all. Read about the "veil of ignorance" and why income tax rates are progressive. As Oliver Wendell Holmes (a notable Republican) said, "taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society."

Your stats on 70% of the tax load carried by 5% of the population is a little off - well, a lot off actually. The middle class carries the load. Still if 5% of the population owns 70% of the property shouldn't they pay 70% of the taxes? I just made that statistic up, but it is true that a small percentage of the population owns a huge percentage of the national wealth.

Ever hear somebody complain that they moved into a higher tax bracket? That means they don't understand tax brackets. Bill Gates and you and I and everybody pay the same tax on our first $10K of income. Everybody does. We pay the same on the next $10K, but slightly more. Eventually you and I run out of additional taxable income as the rate creeps up on each additional dollar, but he keeps going and each additional $10K is taxed at a slightly higher rate up to the 40% you speak of. The 40% doesn't get applied to the whole. So moving into a higher tax bracket does not mean your entire income is taxed at the higher rate but only the additional income - you are always better off than somebody in a lower tax bracket. If you earn $50K after taxes and I earn twice as much as you, only my dollars above that first $50K are taxed at a higher rate than you. I have the same $50K left over as you before the top half of my income is taxed. Why is that fair you ask? Because people with more disposable income have more income to dispose of, while people without disposable income (defined as necessities like shelter, food, etc.) will be harmed to a greater degree.

Your anger at misspent govt dollars is well-placed. Limiting the anger ony at govt programs you disagree with is a little selective though. Misspent dollars are misspent, whether the program is welfare, education, defense, or the Lawrence Welk Museum. Regardless of the tax rates the money should not be wasted.

Your support of smaller govt is interesting given that misspent education dollars that so incite you (and should incite you) don't come from the federal govt but from state and local govts. The federal govt spends a very tiny % on education. Still, your basic argument is valid. Govt works better the closer it is to the people because it is more accountable. So if the govt always spends poorly, as you say, then why do you support a president that is spending more than his predecessor, increasing the size of the federal govt to unprecedented proportions, and paying for it all with IOUs that the next generation will have to make good?

Poor national health care is, as you portray, a bad thing. So is NO health care, by the way. The US spends a higher proportion of its GDP on health care than any nation but a huge percentage of the population does without. This results in costs for all of us, even the insured and the healthy. I don't think the way to fix this is to adopt systems that have been shown not to work. But I don't think ignoring the issue fixes it any better either. This week's Economist has a survey on health care that might shed a little light on the subject, but if I were you I wouldn't be so eager to defend a system that doesn't work any better for the average American than the PHS system in Britian that you despise. You can get great health care in America - if you have insurance or are rich. If you don't you get dead. Is that good enough for you?

Your fear of the far left is justified. I question why you aren't just as afraid of the far right, or why you insist that being a Democrat and a liberal means I have adopted the positions of the far left or aligned myself with the likes of flag-burners or those who hate America.

You've "watched the videos." If I provided a link to KKK rallies and Neonazis and, yes, Jerry Falwell saying American deserved 9/11 as punishment from God for homosexuals, would that prove to anybody that this was the position of the Republican party? So why suggest people check out protestwarrior to learn about Democrats?

Bottom line is that you and I disagree on tax rates, health care, and many other issues, but I don't think that means you are a Nazi or a fascist or a racist. You shouldn't believe that the democratic party (which more of your fellow citizens belong to than your party) is filled with subsersive traitors and fools. That is itself disloyal and unAmerican. It is easy to demonize those that disagree with you, to convince yourself that they are foolish and wrong. That way you don't need to bother with their arguments or do any critical thinking at all. Whether that is an effective way to make good decisions about complex, nuanced problems is a little problematic.