In Maryland and especially Baltimore the media is completely captured as reporters simply write what the people in power say and edit out the rest of us. Even public media is controlled by corporate interests. We watch as the Baltimore Sun goes on the bankruptcy block and know that the consolidation of US media to just a few of the wealthiest and corporations has to be reversed.
We elected Obama because he ran on the issue of combating corporate mergers and growing anti-trust violations with global corporations. He stated the problem when media is consolidated and captured.....
AND THEN HE WORKED TO CONSOLIDATE AND MAKE MEDIA LESS FREE!
He did that because he is a neo-liberal working for wealth and profit and not for you and me.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF PRESS
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, says that "Congress shall make no law....abridging (limiting) the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Freedom of speech is the liberty to speak openly without fear of government restraint. It is closely linked to freedom of the press because this freedom includes both the right to speak and the right to be heard. In the United States, both the freedom of speech and freedom of press are commonly called freedom of expression.
E. B. White on the Free Press and the Evils of Corporate Interests in Media
by Maria Popova “Sponsorship in the press is an invitation to corruption and abuse.”
In 1923, a prominent journalist bemoaned the death of the editor and the rise of the circulation manager as newspapers began grubbing for ever-more advertising revenue tailored their content around that goal, rather than around readers’ best interests. More than a half-century later, in the fall of 1975, Esquire magazine announced a forthcoming 23-page article by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Harrison Salisbury, to be published in their February 1976 issue and sponsored by Xerox — an arrangement in which Salisbury would receive no payment from Esquire, but would be paid $40,000, plus another $15,000 in expenses, by the Xerox Corporation. The announcement spurred profound consternation in E. B. White, which he articulated with equal parts eloquence and rigor in his letters to the editor of the Ellsworth American to to Xerox’s Director of Communications, culled from the fantastic The Letters of E.B. White.
At the heart of the exchange is an infinitely important, at once timeless and incredibly timely discussion of what it means to have free press.
In the first letter, White writes:
This, it would seem to me, is not only a new idea in publishing, it charts a clear course for the erosion of the free press in America. Mr. Salisbury is a former associate editor of the New York Times and should know better. Esquire is a reputable sheet and should know better. But here we go—the Xerox-Salisbury-Esquire axis in full cry!
Apparently Mr. Salisbury had a momentary qualm about taking on the Xerox job. The Times reports him as saying, “At first I thought, gee whiz, should I do this?” But he quickly compared his annoying doubts and remembered that big corporations had in the past been known to sponsor “cultural enterprises,” such as opera. The emergence of a magazine reporter as a cultural enterprise is as stunning a sight as the emergence of a butterfly from a cocoon. Mr. Salisbury must have felt great, escaping from his confinement.
Well, it doesn’t take a giant intellect to detect in all this the shadow of disaster. If magazines decide to farm out their writers to advertisers and accept the advertiser’s payment to the writer and to the magazine, then the periodicals of this country will be far down the drain and will become so fuzzy as to be indistinguishable from the controlled press in other parts of the world.
E. B. White
The points White raises reflect some of my own profound concerns about journalism, media, and the free press today. On the one hand, a large part of me — the part that has been publishing an ad-free curiosity catalog supported by reader donations for the past seven years — believes that whenever corporate interests and advertising revenue become necessary for the production of content, both the spirit of journalism and the reader’s best interests suffer, and we get atrocities like HuffPostified SEO-optimized sensationalist headlines, vacant linkbait infographics, and endless click-click-click slideshows. On the other hand, I remain keenly aware that quality journalism — especially ambitious endeavors like investigative pieces and longform features — is resource-intensive and requires funding, and the idea that readers would be willing to fund this kind of work directly is at best utopian and at worst highly unrealistic in a fragmented media landscape of commodified content.
It’s the same ambivalence one might feel at seeing a Fortune 100 CEO on the TED stage, as was the case with Bill Ford and PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi at last year’s TED Long Beach. On the one hand, TED’s entire media brand is based on “ideas worth spreading” for the public good, which requires a certain amount of bravery. There can be no bravery when one is accountable to a board of trustees or investors, because the “users,” “consumers,” or whatever dehumanized placeholder we choose for the audience of a product, service, or piece of information should be its sole appropriate stakeholders. On the other hand, in a capitalist society, large corporations may be the only ones with the fiscal power to effect tangible change beyond the mere talk of idealism.
Shortly after his letter, White received a response from W. B. Jones, Xerox’s Director of Communications, featuring the following rationalization:
It seemed to us that the sponsorship was not subject to question provided: 1. Both the magazine and the writer had earned reputations for absolute integrity; 2. Our sponsorship was open and identified to readers; 3. The writer was paid ‘up front,’ so that his fee did not depend in any way on our reaction to the piece; 4. The writer understood that this was a one-shot assignment and he’d get no other from Xerox, no matter what we thought of the piece; 5. The magazine retained full editorial control of the project.
White’s response to Jones gets to the heart of democracy and free press with astounding precision:
The press in our free country is reliable and useful not because of its good character but because of its great diversity. As long as there are many owners, each pursuing his own brand of truth, we the people have the opportunity to arrive at the truth and to dwell in the light. The multiplicity of ownership is crucial. It’s only when there are a few owners, or, as in a government-controlled press, one owner, that the truth becomes elusive and the light fails. For a citizen in our free society, it is an enormous privilege and a wonderful protection to have access to hundreds of periodicals, each peddling its own belief. There is safety in numbers: the papers expose each other’s follies and peccadillos, correct each other’s mistakes, and cancel out each other’s biases. The reader is free to range around in the whole editorial bouillabaisse and explore it for the one clam that matters—the truth.
White goes on to argue that when the ownership of media lies in the hands of a single entity, be that a government or a media mogul, the direction of editorial accountability shift dangerously in a direction other than the reader’s. The multiplicity and sovereignty of media, he argues, is essential to ensuring we don’t live in a filter bubble of information.
Whenever money changes hands, something goes along with it — an intangible something that varies with the circumstances. It would be hard to resist the suspicion that Esquire feels indebted to Xerox, that Mr. Salisbury feels indebted to both, and that the ownership, or sovereignty, of Esquire has been nibbled all around the edges.
Sponsorship in the press is an invitation to corruption and abuse. The temptations are great, and there is an opportunist behind every bush. A funded article is a tempting morsel for any publication—particularly for one that is having a hard time making ends meet. A funded assignment is a tempting dish for a writer, who may pocket a much larger fee than he is accustomed to getting. And sponsorship is attractive to the sponsor himself, who, for one reason or another, feels an urge to penetrate the editorial columns after being so long pent up in the advertising pages. These temptations are real, and if the barriers were to be let down I believe corruption and abuse would soon follow. Not all corporations would approach subsidy in the immaculate way Xerox did or in the same spirit of benefaction. There are a thousand reasons for someone’s wishing to buy his way into print, many of them unpalatable, all of them to some degree self-serving. Buying and selling space in news columns could become a serious disease of the press. If it reached epidemic proportions, it could destroy the press. I don’t want IBM or the National Rifle Association providing me with a funded spectacular when I open my paper. I want to read what the editor and the publisher have managed to dig up on their own—and paid for out of the till.
White drives the point home with his signature style of the deeply personal conveying the broadly relevant:
My affection for the free press in a democracy goes back a long way. My love for it was my first and greatest love. If I felt a shock at the news of the Salisbury-Xerox-Esquire arrangement, it was because the sponsorship principle seemed to challenge and threaten everything I believe in: that the press must not only be free, it must be fiercely independent — to survive and to serve. Not all papers are fiercely independent, God knows, but there are always enough of them around to provide a core of integrity and an example that others feel obliged to steer by. The funded article is not in itself evil, but it is the beginning of evil, and it is an invitation to evil. I hope the invitation will not again be extended, and, if extended, I hope it will be declined.
Nearly another half-century later, “the funded article” describes, directly or indirectly, the vast majority of today’s information landscape. The basic ad-supported monetization model of media today, online and off, is a legacy model that only further commodifies content, erodes editorial integrity, and does the audience — who should be, to reiterate because this can’t be emphasized enough, the only appropriate stakeholder — a tragic disservice. Whoever figures out an intelligent alternative will save journalism from itself and rekindle the hope for a truly free press.
As with all the candidates for Maryland State Attorney and City Attorney....I see the NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW but I do not hear one case of white collar crime and systemic corruption that permeates Baltimore and Maryland political and business sectors. THIS IS THE RULE OF LAW CITIZENS WILL BE VOTING FOR THESE ELECTIONS.
As someone downsized from the States Attorney office decades ago as white collar crime and public justice agencies were eliminated....you should be able to equate the effects of losing billions of dollars of government revenue each year in Maryland to fraud and corruption and the outbreak of crime and violence in communities starved of resources because that money is stolen.
IF WE DO NOT HEAR THIS AS A CAMPAIGN MANTRA...WE WILL ASSUME YOU WILL BECOME CAPTURED JUST AS MOSBY AND BERNSTEIN ARE!
TGR: WHO IS Russell A. Neverdon, Sr.,Candidate for Baltimore City State's Attorney?
:: BIO Russell A. Neverdon, Sr. Candidate State's Attorney of Baltimore City By Doni Glover, www.bmorenews.com
(BALTIMORE - September 12, 2013) - Well, as of a week ago, the race for Baltimore City State's Attorney got officially interesting. Incumbent Gregg Bernstein and challenger Marilyn Mosby - wife of Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby have now been joined by Russell A. Neverdon, Sr., a Baltimore defense attorney.
Who is Attorney Neverdon? We asked his campaign for his bio, and the following is what we received:
Born, raised and currently residing in Baltimore City, Russell A. Neverdon, Sr. was raised by his paternal grandparents in the Ashburton Community in Northwest Baltimore since the age of 3 with two siblings. Despite parental difficulties, his grandparents and a host of aunts and uncles stepped in to ensure that he and his siblings had an opportunity to succeed in life with an emphasis on education. He attended Ashburton Elementary and then went on to Saint Charles Borremeo School in Pikesville. He then proceeded to Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and then entered the United States Army National Guard as a Military Police Officer.
Understanding the significance of the family’s foundation, core values and beliefs, he attended Morgan State University and received a degree in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice. Russell always kept in mind the tradition and history of his heritage that his work was “never done” and continued his educational dreams of attending and graduating from The District of Columbia School of Law. While there he excelled in Clinic and understood early on in his legal career that giving back was essential. He was a “Jack Oleander Foundation” winner for Outstanding Clinic during law school for HIV Entitlement and Education Law.
During his attendance at Morgan State University, he worked at the Charles H. Hickey School and Woodbourne Center for troubled youth as a counselor and youth supervisor. He would later return to the Woodbourne Center as a Facility Supervisor whereby he was responsible for overseeing the operation and functions of the facility of 15-20 direct staff, security, food staff, educational support and specialized support staff while attending law school full-time.
Understanding his commitment to Baltimore for having given so much to him and wanting to give back, he decided to apply for a Law Clerk position at the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore City during the summer months from May through August for two consecutive years with hopes of joining the ranks and eventually becoming the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City. However, fate would have it that he would be needed to effectuate justice from a different perspective, criminal defense as a result of a hiring freeze experienced by Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. Remaining as a law clerk was simply not feasible given he had a family to support and so his career as a criminal defense attorney began.
He has tried numerous cases over the last 14 years including murder, robbery, assaults, rape; he has also tried drug offenses and other types of white collar crimes on both the local state and federal levels. He understands the law and has advocated for justice by ensuring the United States Constitution (specifically the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment) was upheld and each defendant had an opportunity to have his or her day in court and to challenge the allegations brought against them.
His experience as a law clerk for the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City afforded him insight of the state’s burden and the trial strategies. He has successfully defended persons accused of crimes and negotiated fair plea bargains keeping in mind public safety and the possibility of re-entry (ensuring and requesting drug treatment behind the walls, follow-up after care, that acquisition of GED’s, participation in job readiness programs and mental health treatment where necessary) in an attempt to reduce recidivism and create a greater likelihood of success and productivity once the individual paid their debt to society.
He has performed countless hours of pro-bono work for the indigent to include land lord tenant matters, contract review and negotiations for churches, lectured on elder law and appeared as a guest panelist for many non-profit events involving our youth of Baltimore. With education at heart, he taught at Coppin State University as an Adjunct Professor where he taught World History I and II. Throughout his career, he has always emphasized educating his client base and presenting alternative options in life choices. His concept of the four E’s continues in many facets of his life, especially in the criminal justice arena: ‘Education and enlightenment equals empowerment.’
He is a husband, father, grandfather and mentor to many. He adamantly believes that he is a product of community involvement and despite difficult circumstances early on in life, he holds true that he was not a victim of circumstance, but has instead attained victory over his circumstances that started with love from his grandparents, aunts and uncles and the concern and community input from neighbors and educators.
His love for Baltimore continues as he has walked, lived and experienced all that Baltimore has to offer and feels with great certainty that with a collective and cohesive sense of extended family (Community), he as your next State’s Attorney can better address the ails of Baltimore City by:
*Rebuilding the public trust in the criminal justice system, our police department and our community organizations;
*By holding all those who would violate the law accountable (NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW);
*By thinking creatively and outside-the-box to combat crime on the front and back end with not just aggressive prosecution of violent crimes and serious property and theft crimes against our merchants, but ensuring that the hard work of the police does not go in vain by rushing to judgment and allowing cases to fall by the wayside;
*By ensuring that justice is administered equitably and that a review of each case will be done and pursued to the fullest while ensuring a reasonable likelihood of a successful conviction;
*By restoring the public trust and leading by example in holding the very few who would deviate from their position of public trust as police officers and hold them accountable and seeking independent review of officer involved crimes, while restoring an ongoing and active relationship with the many Baltimore City Police Officers (one of, if not the lowest paid law enforcement agencies in the state who are out resourced, over worked and stretched, but fighting crime with integrity and professionalism and ensuring solid convictions);
*By strategically addressing gang and organized crime organizations with realistic approaches;
*By keeping the office visible and available to the public-transparency and reaching out to the communities, families, churches, merchants and other governmental agencies not just at election time, but during the term in office to ensure that your concerns are heard and are inclusive in strategies to fight crime pro-actively and preventative and no longer reactive;
*By not making promises that are unreal and can’t be kept, but keeping the community and citizens of Baltimore abreast of what we are doing, how things are progressing and a constant reminder of the need for community involvement; and
*By reaching out to our legislature and grant writers and non-profit organizations to work with the office and create creative solutions from a holistic approach to establishing safe zones for our school age children, actual and working witness protection programs and ultimately to take our city out of a state of fear and lead us to a state of fearlessness.
Did you know Mikulski has a Super Nova named for her because she has moved more than a trillion dollars to Johns Hopkins over a few decades just to be used to expand their operations globally..now making them a corporation all while the residents in her district are dying 20-30 years early because of lack of access to health care?
Do you know that if she had directed most of that funding to the VA Administration in Baltimore that Maryland would have a state of the art VA that made veterans feel honored while allowing Hopkins to limp along as a small private university?
We see charities on TV hawking for Veterans since the Federal governent has emptied its coffers to corporate fraud and corporate welfare and neo-liberals led the way as they worked for wealth and profit in global markets. We are disgusted by these false shows of concern as the Affordable Care Act moves to privatize public health and throw veterans, seniors, and the poor into markets rather than the protection of Federal programs. It is no coincidence that all of this movement of wealth to health institutions comes as the Baltimore VA is sighted as being the worst in the nation.
We want voters to remember that the democratic party has been taken by neo-liberals who work against the people's interests. That is why we have the state of the state. We need labor and justice running candidates against all incumbents!
THIS IS WHAT MARYLAND PRESS TELL YOU:
Mikulski demands Baltimore VA improve 'lackluster' performance on key program Senator says she wants action plan for improvement within 10 days
In a letter sent Monday to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Maryland's senior senator called on the VA's Baltimore office to develop an action plan within 10 days to improve its "lackluster" approach to an initiative designed to speed up the time it takes to process disability claims.
Democrat Barbara A. Mikulski asked Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to provide a schedule for additional training between the Baltimore office leadership and service organizations, such as the American Legion, that work to expedite fully developed claims. The Baltimore office is among the slowest in the nation at processing claims and has the highest error rate, according to VA data.
Mikulski said she was "deeply disappointed and frustrated on behalf of Maryland veterans" after testimony that Verna Jones, director of the Legion's Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division, gave to Congress last week.
Jones told a House subcommittee in written testimony that the Legion encountered an "obstructionist attitude" during a March visit to the Baltimore office. She also told the House members that the local staff was "aggressively excluding" Maryland veterans from the fully developed claims program.
Mikulski said her staff has heard from veterans' service organizations — which partner with the VA to prepare the claims for the program — that the Baltimore office has shown a "reluctance to work in cooperation" with the organizations. That, in turn, affects the organization's ability to provide a fully developed claim, Mikulski said.
"We cannot continue to allow the Baltimore office to perform at a level that puts our commitment to veterans in jeopardy," said Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. She is also a member of the Senate Military Family Caucus and Veterans Jobs Caucus.
The VA did not immediately respond to the senator's letter.
Mikulski also requested that the Baltimore office receive regular training from the Indianapolis office, which Jones highlighted in her testimony for its success with implementing the accelerated claims program.
"While offices such as Indianapolis have embraced the [fully developed claims] program as a means to expedite processing times and reduce errors, the leadership in the Baltimore office doesn't appear to be making the implementation of this tool a high priority," the senator wrote. "This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately."
Jones said Monday in an interview that when the VA's regional offices show "buy in," the fully developed claims program works. She said in the months since the Legion conducted its performance review in Baltimore, the local office has made significant improvement toward the agencywide goal of processing all claims in 125 days with a 98 accuracy rate.
"The American Legion stands ready to assist them in any that we can," Jones said.
The error rate in Baltimore is 23.5 percent, according to the most recent data. More than 77 percent of cases are backlogged.
The VA's Baltimore office acknowledged that some cases were disqualified from the fully developed claims program, but said the cases in question were excluded due to missing documentation, the veteran's refusal or an administrative issue.
This law that neo-liberals are writing and moving through Congress seeks to define free press as one that has a corporate structure. Now, as we know, it is corporate structure that is killing free press.
These laws as with NDAA that define the right of government to indefinitely detain US citizens without charge all ignore US Constitutional Rights ------BUT WHEN YOU ARE RE-WRITING THE CONSTITUTION AS THESE NEO-LIBERALS ARE WITH TPP----THAT'S NO PROBLEM!
Feds move to limit who is a “covered journalist” deserving constitutional protection So-called "Media Shield Law" limits 1st amendment protection for independent journalists, establishing a state-sanctioned press. Posted on September 15, 2013 by O.D. in Uncategorized
Share this post on: “Is any blogger out there saying anything — do they deserve First Amendment protection?
– Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
(Source: Seattle Weekly)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, a Senate panel formed by Chuck Schumer (D-NY) voted 13-5 to move forward with legislation aimed at codifying the definition of a “covered journalist,” effectively establishing which Americans deserve protection to exercise the freedom of the press under the First Amendment — and which don’t.
Cloaked under the guise of “protecting” selected journalists from having to divulge the identities of their confidential sources, the so-called “media shield” law has the support of both high-ranking government officials as well as many members of the established media. Those in power in Washington agree that journalists deserve legal protection, but only if they get to decide who is a real reporter. While lawmakers decide who should and should not be considered a “real” journalist, one thing appears certain – bloggers and online media outlets are not held in high regard.
The committee vote allows a bill to be brought to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.
The supposed need for a bill of this nature arose from controversies earlier this year involving President Obama’s Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder. In May, we learned of the DOJ’s secretly obtaining two months of telephone records for the Associated Press without notifying the news organization, as well as naming Fox News journalist, James Rozen, a co-conspirator in a case involving leaks from the State Department. Public backlash and criticism of the administration’s actions led to a review of the department by the same department accused of the inappropriate actions. The bill would likely include many proposals from Holder himself, such as notifying the news media of a subpoena in advance. In a letter to Sen. Leahy (D-VT), Holder stated that the new legislation “strikes a careful balance between safeguarding the freedom of the press and ensuring our nation’s security.”
Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX), rebuked the Obama administration, calling the measure a diversion. “A new law is not what we need,” Cornyn said. “We find ourselves here because of the abuses of the attorney general.”
Chuck Schumer D-N.Y.
(Source: williamsburgobserver.org )
Indeed, this administration constantly diverts attention away from its most recent abuse of freedom by pointing to an even greater abuse of freedom it hasn’t committed yet. It was the Obama administration’s initial pursuit of leakers, in 2009, which led to the White House cosponsoring the second attempt by Congress to pass media shield legislation. Obama backed the reintroduced bill, a revised version of the Free Flow of Information Act, only to demand deep revisions from the Oval Office in 2009—including the exemption for leaks affecting national security. It was the White House’s opposition to the very legislation it sponsored which led to its demise in the Senate.
This bill, Congress’ third attempt at crafting a media shield law for journalists, was again reintroduced by Schumer at Obama’s request just days after the AP scandal became public. Now past committee and headed to the Senate Floor, the media shield law appears to have been revived in an attempt to distract from the Obama administration’s heavy-handed efforts to crackdown on the kind national security leaks revealed by Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning over the summer. Sen. Cornyn of Texas went so far as to say, “This bill was called for because of abuses by the Justice Department,” adding that the current administration has “been the most abusive to the press in modern times, but a new law is not what we need.”
Dianne Feinstein D-CA
(Source: thedailydigest.org )
The sticking point of this particular legislation, and indeed the problem with crafting any law such as this, is determining who is covered under its protection. The original bill sought to protect any person who investigates events and obtains material to disseminate news and information to the public. But Sen. Feinstein, (D-CA) sought limit the law’s protection to “real reporters,” and specifically excluded bloggers and others engaged in alternative media. Her amendment included the definition of a real reporter as one who: obtains the information sought while working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, an entity--. In other words, someone who works directly or indirectly with mainstream media corporations and not those who practice non-salaried, independent journalism.
“The definition does not, however, include a person or entity who posts information or opinion on the Internet in blogs, chat rooms or social networking sites, such as YouTube, Facebook, or MySpace, unless that person or entity falls within the definition of a member of the media or a news organization under the other provisions within this section (e.g., a national news reporter who posts on his/her personal blog).”- emptywheel.net
A compromise was reached this week, The Nation reported: “defining a “covered journalist” as someone who has worked for at least one full year in the last twenty, or for a continuous three-month period within the last five years; has contributed to a “significant number” of published works within the past five years; or is a journalism student.” This narrow definition of a journalist now allows the Senate to limit who is protected by the First Amendment.
In one telling interview, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) expressed his apparent dilemma to Chris Wallace, “What is a journalist today, in 2013? We know its someone who works for Fox or AP, but does it include a blogger? Does it include someone tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection?” Durbin not only labels freedom of the press as an entitlement, he goes on to suggest that the Bill of Rights is outdated, saying, “We need to ask 21st century questions about a provision in our constitution that was written over 200 years ago.”
As the Congress and Justice Department attempt to define what a “journalist” is, they miss the point about protecting the free flow of information. Any shield law should be designed to protect acts of journalism, rather than journalists, and that is the main distinction between providing a defense for journalists and attempting to create an official state approved press. Freedom of speech cannot be defined by a journalist’s paycheck, résumé, or affiliation with a mainstream media outlet.
If you are reading this article, ask yourself, Is this journalism? Does writing this article make me a journalist? While I am not a journalist by profession, I am engaging in an act of journalism with the intent to “disseminate news and information to the public.” And that is the point; it is journalism itself, if anything, which requires protection from government. As stated in a fantastic article by emptywheel.net, “If the ultimate idea is to protect newsgathering activities, then why not establish what those activities are and then actually protect them, regardless of whether they are tied to a certain kind of institution?”
Lindsey Graham R-KY
(Source: gawker.com )
It seems that the government will go to any length to protect its privacy as far as national security leaks are concerned, while routinely violating our Fourth Amendment rights. And in its present form, the media shield legislation awaiting the Senate vote is nothing but an attempt to limit our freedoms of both speech and press by defining as narrowly as possible who is protected by the First Amendment. The fact that the big news media companies are complicit in the federal government’s attempt to license journalists and create an official press is evidence of their continued slide toward irrelevancy. It is in their best interest to discredit bloggers, free-lancers, and social media sources while begging the government to change the rules to favor their increasingly outdated and financially troubled model.
In the American struggle to remain informed in times of great deceit, it is the truth that matters, not the delivery system. It is not the government’s place to decide who may participate in freedom of the press and who may not. Anyone shall be a protected member of the press, beginning with their first attempt. The founders knew this and created the ever-relevant First Amendment to apply universally, plainly stating that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or the press.” As certain leaders attempt to paint the constitution as outdated, scrambling to “protect” us with their Orwellian-named “Media Shield Law,” anyone with an interest in free and independent media must speak loudly against the federal government’s attempt to establish a state-sanctioned media.
ONCE AGAIN WHEN JUSTICE IS MENTIONED IN BALTIMORE IT IS DIRECTED AT THE POOR AND NEVER MENTIONS THAT BRINGING BACK THE BILLIONS STOLEN THROUGH CORPORATE FRAUD AND GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
Whereas the mayor is right to state we need to boost the City Attorney's budget add investigators and prosecutors since we are returning to Rule of Law in Maryland and have massive fraud and corruption throughout the government and business sector that needs justice..... Starting with the Parks Department would be a start.....her intention is to use it on jailing the poor.
The citizens of MD and Baltimore know that with billions of dollars stolen from government coffers and individuals each year recovering all of that fraud would pay for itself. No funding needed. We encourage the buildup of all public justice agencies as this crime is systemic in both government and business and will take lots of work.
Once we rebuild these white collar criminal agencies we can get to work sending all those billions in recovered fraud into these communities where crime and violence exists because poverty has become third world. This mayor and city council has made dismantling underserved communities and all assets and resources that make healthy communities a priority rather than bringing home the fraud and ending corruption at the top end of the income ladder.
We can reverse this very simply....vote all neo-liberals out of office. All Maryland pols are neo-liberals who work for wealth and profit at our expense. That is why we have such wealth inequity in Maryland..the money is moved up through fraud. Don't think republicans are better!
Council blocks mayor's plan to use recreation and parks money to fund new prosecutors Mayor's office said $100,000 was sitting unused
The City Council has rejected the mayor's plan to take money from the Department of Recreation and Parks budget to pay for two new highly touted prosecutor positions.
Council members voted unanimously Monday to reject the mayor's proposal to use $100,000 earmarked for recreation centers to instead help fund the two prosecutors, who would work in the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore. The mayor's office argued that the transfer was appropriate because the money was sitting unused.
"There were some concerns that $100,000 was being taken away from recreation and parks," said City Councilwoman Helen Holton, who chairs the budget committee. "The committee members were not happy. ... This was not to say we don't support the need for state prosecutors. It was more about, 'Find some other pot of money other than recreation and parks with which to do that.'"
The two assistant state's attorneys positions together cost $160,000 annually.
Council members have long voiced concern about shrinking services for city youths, including the closure and privatization of some rec centers. Private groups took over most of the 20 recreation centers closed recently by the city, although a few — primarily in West Baltimore — have remained shuttered. The city plans to build 10 new rec centers over the next decade, and private groups are working to reopen others.
"If it would have been from any other agency, I would have been OK with it," said council member Brandon Scott. "But not from rec and parks."
In July, Rawlings-Blake joined Baltimore law enforcement leaders at a news conference to pledge "renewed energy" in cracking down on crime, highlighting an initiative to boost cooperation between state and federal prosecutors.
The new prosecutors were supposed to double the number who can try cases in federal court — where penalties are often stiffer for repeat offenders — and focus their efforts on violent crime in East and West Baltimore.
Kevin Harris, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, said Monday the administration proposed the transfer because it wouldn't amount to an actual cut of any city service.
"The funding came from a scholarship fund that was already fully funded and had not been used by rec and parks in recent years," he said. "Therefore the money could be moved to other programs without in any way harming rec center programs. Given how long the funds sat unused, it was identified as one source of funding for other pressing areas in need of funding."
The scholarships were supposed to pay for youths to attend summer programs. According to Harris, the agency has a track record of allowing grant money to go unused. Scott and others said the department should do more to develop and publicize the program so youths will apply.
Last fiscal year, recreation and parks received $200,000 for scholarships but didn't spend it, then got another $200,000 in this year's budget. Since the unspent money was carried forward, the agency now has $400,000 for a $200,000 activity, Harris said.
"That's why we recommended transferring funds," he said.
The two prosecutor positions remain vacant while the administration determines how to fund them from the city's $2.3 billion operating budget. Harris said the administration plans to transfer money from the General Services Department. That plan, too, will have to go to the council for approval.