Friday, April 13, 2018

PINK ELEPHANTS PODCAST #10 - DR. SHARAT LIN: NORTH KOREAN MYTHS VS. REALITIES

A day in the life in North Korea. (PHOTO: Michael Huniewicz)



Dr. Sharat Lin (PHOTO: Project Censored)
Our world has lived under the threat of nuclear war for so long that for some time now, it’s been easy to pretend that the threat didn’t exist. But with the resumption of hostilities between the United States and North Korea under Donald Trump’s presidency, that threat seems very real again.

In the hope of hosting a joint summit in next month to bring about an end to hostilities, both the US and North Korea have recently been on good behavior, starting with February’s “Olympic Truce” during the Winter Games in Pyongyang. This courtesy also extends to South Korea, with whom the North’s relationship has improved considerably as of late.

To find out more about what’s happening behind the scenes in the buildup to the US/North Korea summit, I spoke with Dr. Sharat Lin, a research fellow and past president of San Jose's Peace and Justice Center, who also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Initiative for Equality.

MUSIC:
Mystery Hangup – Forever A Prisoner
Relapse – Cut Me Up
My Monster – Don’t Be Mean About It
Billy Sheen – Billy’s Back

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

SINCLAIR MEDIA'S MINISTRY OF TRUTH (AND PROFIT)


As far as descriptors for our world's creeping dystopia are concerned, the term "Orwellian" is both the most overused and the least understood by people across the political spectrum. But there's no better word that might be used to describe this video put together by Timothy Burke at Deadspin last week of thirty-six Sinclair-owned local media outlets (out of two hundred, mind you) recite the same piece of Central Command propaganda in unison through strained, plastic smiles:

"The net result of the company’s current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos, trying their hardest to spit out words attacking the industry they’d chosen as a life vocation." - Deadspin
No matter who you vote for, no matter what you believe in, we all want to think that we're independent, free thinkers capable of reaching our own, sensible conclusions despite the ever-deepening sea of bullshit that surrounds us. That there aren't powerful forces spending billions to sell you on things - reverse mortgages, dick pills, even bona fide ideological positions - or that if there are, we're impervious to their influence. It's a comforting thought, to believe one's self to be immune to suggestion.

But it's a lie. And videos like this let you see that lie for what it is. These are not national network or cable news reporters; these are your local nightly news people, the ones who talk about the bank robbery that happened the other night across the township, or the new community center that's about to open up between the elementary school and the shopping center. Boring stuff. Stuff where there's no reason not to trust the people telling you about it.

Requiring these same newscasters to inject national propaganda into mundane news programming in order to shape public opinion on a wider level isn't exactly a new low for conservative media, but it is a pretty reckless one. Clearly, it was pretty easy for them to get caught, and while I don't think what they're doing is technically illegal, it's certainly unethical enough that, in a sane and/or just world, they'd have been raked over the coals half a dozen times or more by now.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg as to the insane shit Sinclair Media has pushed on their affiliate networks, much of which is inserted into their programming so as to feel like a part of it. During the the 2016 election, On The Media's Bob Garfield spoke with journalist Felix Gilette about his then-recent profile on Sinclair Media for Bloomberg News, the results of which are the closest thing to "Orwellian" that I've ever heard.



There's only one thing keeping this sort of propagandizing alive, and the people responsible for it out of prison: a select group of powerful conservative politicians and businessmen from the president* on down collectively looking the other way so Sinclair's Ministry Of Truth can work to their advantage. 

It's also the only reason what they're doing is continuing to become more and more effective; propaganda takes both time and repetition to take root, and the longer Sinclair Media can prop open the gaping hole they've ripped in the integrity of newsgathering, the bigger and faster become the lies they can shove through it.

Shutting Sinclair down is not on the table, nor will it ever be. They're too big, and they're on the verge of becoming even bigger. It's time for liberals to realize that we're not fighting a war over policies, we're fighting a war over ideas, which is why we keep losing. The only way to fight ideas is with better, stronger ideas, and bigger and louder platforms. 

In short, the left needs it's own Ministry Of Truth, as paradoxical as it may seem. It's a dangerous proposition, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And once I get that Soros check in the mail, you bet your britches I'm gonna make it happen. Ain't that right, George?

George?

Hello...?

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

PINK ELEPHANTS PODCAST EXTRA #04 - LEGALIZE IT! WITH THE COUNCILMAN

A couple of weeks back, I interviewed former San Jose City council candidate-turned host of the new podcast “Downballot” from Echoplex Media Peter Allen about that council run, and what it took to make it happen.

While we were getting warmed up, the conversation turned to California’s recent marijuana legalization victory, and what it means for the rest of the country.

For many, the view is an optimistic one: holistic medicines, easier access, no more social stigma. But as with so many things, the truth is a lot more complicated.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

PINK ELEPHANTS PODCAST #09 - NEHAL ABUELATA: MUSIC IS MY ISLAND

Sweet HayaH opening for funk legend Brenton Wood during
San Jose's 2017 Music In The Park series. (PHOTO: Ryan Keenan)



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Nehal Abuelata. (PHOTO: Adam Brioza)
“Travel is the death of prejudice” it’s often been said, usually to those who could benefit from a healthy dose of the remedy. But the saying holds no less true for those whom travel has been an integral part of their life experience: America’s nearly fifty million immigrant peoples, many of whom crossed multiple countries to arrive here.

Nehal Abuelata is the singer and keyboardist for the band Sweet HayaH, and one of those fifty million immigrants for whom the United States is home only in name. Born in Egypt and raised in France, Nehal moved to the US in high school, as her parents sought better life opportunities for the family. A lifelong, albeit tenuous relationship with the piano provided her a gateway to community here where none had previously existed, and she’s been working it to the hilt ever since.

I recently sat down with Nehal to talk about her globe-trotted upbringing, how it has influenced her life and music, and what it means to be American when the definition is never said the same way twice.

MUSIC:
Sweet HayaH – Te Tu Matas
Sweet HayaH – No Voice
Sweet HayaH – Yourself

Check out Sweet HayaH's first official music video
for their hit single "Backwards!"



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Pink Elephants is produced by Randle Aubrey with with additional support from Echoplex Media. Subscribe to the show on Stitcher Radio, iTunes, or Google Play by clicking the buttons below.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

PE PODCAST EXTRA #03 - "WHAT'S YOUR PLAN FOR THE WASTELAND?" LIVE AT THE PE STUDIO


Remember that interview I had with Patrick Kaufmann from San Jose punk rock band The Roughies a few weeks ago? After our conversation, he stuck around for a bit to record this great, drunken rendition of their hit single "What's Your Plan For The Wasteland?" that you're really going to love. And for as little as a dollar a month in our Patreon account, this song -- along with a ton more bonus content -- can be all yours. Don't miss it!

Patty K of The Roughies. (PHOTO: Randle Aubrey)

Pink Elephants is produced by Randle Aubrey with with additional support from Echoplex Media. Subscribe to the show on Stitcher Radio, iTunes, or Google Play by clicking the buttons below. 

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