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Message Sam Hamod

Keith Olbermann is gone from TV; his truthful comments snuffed out by another of the oligarchs -- the new wedding of NBC and Comcast. We all knew if this wedding took place, it would be bad for America, but none of us knew that the right wing would act so fast and so blatantly against the highest rated show on MSNBC.

We are under the control of the four oligarchs in America, and democracy be damned as far as they are concerned. They are: media moguls, corporations and their lobbyists, Congress and the President. The axing of Keith Olbermann -- while the madmen of Fox  (Faux) TV and News, radio's Rush Limburger and NBC's donations to political campaigns and feigned unfair punishment for a few days of Olbermann until the public squawked loudly -- make clear that the right-wing fiasco has taken over America. The dumb will be dumbed down even more; the herd of sheeple will continue to grow until whatever is left of debate and freedom of dissent in America's faux "democracy" will be destroyed (once again, that enchanting word that lulls so many Americans to sleep and is used to conquer the world for the American empire).

This loss of Olbermann cannot be measured in mere numbers, but will be felt in many dimensions not only now, but in time to come. There has been no voice like speaking truth to power like his; Rachel Maddow is but a hollow copy, Chris Matthews does not speak out as directly, although his show is one of the best on TV after Olbermann and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. As some have said to me, "I guess he stepped on some toes."  But what of it, doesn't a real democracy allow for dissent and differences of opinion? Have we all become small replicas of George W. Bush and the devil Dick Cheney, who put us into two "valued" logic (or illogic) claims -- "you're either with us or you're against us," and "if you dissent from our right-wing policies, you are obviously a traitor."

Have we forgotten the rhetoric that Bush and Cheney used in their lies in the run-up to the attack of Iraq in the name of "freedom" and "democracy"? Lie after blatant lie that Saddam Hussein had "atomic weapons," and "weapons of mass destruction" although, after 10 years of American satellite and air surveillance, nothing had moved an inch in Iraq without American knowledge or acquiescence.

But we had the right-wing media moguls helping to aid the illegal war, with the TV networks, our major newspapers -- especially the New York Times with its dear Judith Miller, and the Washington Post regularly running columns by Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney; and the takeover of the independent Los Angeles Times by friends of the NY Times -- so it was all set for a right-wing oligarchical coup. And now, with the wedding of Comcast and NBC, the oligarchy is complete and there is no more critical commentary left on TV.

Those on the right were quick to jump into the fray. Matt Drudge, with his usual misleading headline, announced that it was mere "Drama"; that Keith just "Wanted More $$." This shake-up MSNBC's fault? Comcast's fault?  No way. Nikke and Nellie, a couple of gals writing for Deadline/Hollywood, maintained an unnamed source told them...

"This was all Keith's choice. He has several times over the years said that he wants out of his contract. He never meant it until this year. He started lawyers negotiating twice this year. He stopped them in the spring. Then, about a month ago with the guidance of his new ICM team and a new LA manager (who were making zero $ on his current deal), he once again said he wanted to leave and this time they negotiated the full package. 

"Because of all the false threats in the past, it was impossible for the network to know if he was really going to sign the final document yesterday. That's why promos for his show were still running after he quit on the air. The network couldn't really believe it or act on it until he said it on TV. They couldn't tell the promo people to pull Keith's show out of the cycle until they were sure. His staff learned he was quitting when they heard him say it on TV. 

"Comcast has had no impact at all on MSNBC [yet]. Phil Griffin has complete authority. He makes deals without having to consult with anyone. He has made proposals over the years on the fly and in high-speed contexts where he is acting alone and with full authority. MSNBC is Phil Griffin's network and no one at NBC thinks they have a better idea than Phil about what to do next."

So, what do we have left, a mild and repetitious Maddow, a careful Chris Matthews, a blustery Ed Shultz? Saturday on MSNBC, a set of broadcasters spent a lot of time talking about a missing child, yet didn't even mention their most famous and most popular commentator, Keith Olbermann, being fired. When asked, they responded tersely -- "We have no comments." And there it was, all done overnight -- no warning, no mercy, no concern about the citizenry or the balance that used to be required in the FCC rules before the Clintonites and Bushites gutted the FCC with people like Michael Powell.

The FCC-destroying Powell is the lying Colin Powell's son. Yes, I no longer regard Colin as anything but a lying tool of the oligarchs, no matter how much he pleads "mea culpa" about Iraq. I remember the Colin Powell, who we hoped would run for president, when he came to Howard University to speak at the graduation commencement, and afterwards at lunch, he and his wife explained he wouldn't run for president because they were afraid he'd be assassinated. So, Colin assassinated his own reputation by lying for Bush and Cheney to take us into war.

I suggest that we all buy at least one or two shares of the new Comcast stock, and then raise hell at a stockholders meeting. And, we should also ask the SEC to investigate on behalf of our rights as stockholders against the oligarchical behavior. We should all write to the sponsors of whatever show is placed in Olbermann's place and tell them we are going to boycott their products, and even have demonstrations outside our local stores letting it be known that we are boycotting their products because of what Comcast did on taking over MSNBC; with letters to MSNBC letting them know that the boycotts will continue until Olbermann is returned to the air.

We should get some good civil rights organizations or the ACLU (of which I am a member), to try to reverse the takeover of NBC by Comcast because it was not in the public interest to allow this merger. But of course, the FCC is as corrupt as Attorney General Eric Holder and his faux "justice department" behavior, and his boss, the weak-kneed Obama, who are guided each day by marching orders from above, and now that Rahm Emanuel is gone, Bill Daley is conveying the orders of the oligarchs to our gutless president.

We may lose, but this fight is worth it for whatever we believe our long lost "democracy" to have been -- not that we ever really had a democracy, but the teeth of the oligarchs were not as visible as they are now. Robert Bly warned us way back during the VietNam War in his fine book, "THE TEETH MOTHER, AT LAST." Yes, we were warned; we thought we'd learned a lesson in VietNam, but we have the same lying, defeated officers from that war chanting the same mantras of lies who are now the generals following Westmoreland's lies. They insist they can "win the hearts and minds of the people," as they brutalize them with drones, cluster bombs, phosphorous bombs, numerous missiles, air strikes and black-op missions where civilians are killed by the dozens. And, the poisonous Depleted Uranium we used to kill people in Iraq, in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, will remain in the blood of those poor people for generations, and will also kill many of our veterans over time just as "agent orange," killed thousands of VietNamese and later killed many of our veterans after they had returned home.

The loss of Keith Olbermann is a bad omen for America.  We should be aware of this loss, and do what we can to let others know its impact -- how much of democracy we have lost.  I'm sure if George Orwell were alive today, he would weep at this atrocity. Just as we should, but we must also stand strong against these oligarchs. We must realize that they are in control; we must support our alternative media sites so long as we can -- because soon they will be taking our websites down by raising prices and by other underhanded means to silence all dissent -- even on the Internet.

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Sam Hamod, Ph.D. is a graduate professor; he has taught courses in creative writing, politics, religion, mass media and intercultural relations. He has one of the very few PhDs awarded by The Writers Workshop of The Univ. of Iowa, has published 12 (more...)
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