Friday, July 30, 2010

Example: Differences Between Republicans and Democrats

Don't give me that same old bullshit about how all politicians are the same.

Here's Anthony Weiner from NY throwing some well deserved heat, 96 MPH fastballs high and inside, to some deserving Republicans who were hiding behind "procedure" to keep from passing a bill to help 9/11 workers and their families. We need more of this please.

UPDATE: Round II Here: Peter King And Anthony Weiner Shout Their Way Through A Fox News Interview (VIDEO)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Evidence That the Corporate Media Has Way Too Much Influence in This Country

Why Does Fox News Have More Power Than Any Progressive in the Country?


...Van Jones, ACORN, Dawn Johnsen, Shirley Sherrod. First sign of trouble, throw someone overboard. When they fired Van Jones, I said they were only encouraging Fox. But that wasn't some genius prediction; it was only the most obvious thing in the world. Do you think the bully won't take your lunch money tomorrow if you give it to him today?

Since this seems so obvious, why can't the supposedly brilliant guys in the Obama administration figure it out? Why can't they see it's such a bad idea to keep giving in to Fox and bowing their heads? It's so bad now, they're bragging about their efficiency in genuflecting. Jim Messina, Deputy Chief of Staff, congratulated everyone the day after Sherrod was fired about the speed and agility with which they serviced Fox News. So, what's the strategy behind what appears to be pathetic cowardice to the rest of us? Read the rest here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's Talk About Voter Suppression - Hey Megyn, Ever Heard of 'Voter Caging'?

Thanks to Tim for this post idea - makes the New Black Panthers look like rank amateurs.

Friday 05 September 2008
by: David Rosenfeld Miller-McCune Via TruthDig

Excerpt: How many voter-registration mass mailers are "returned to sender" in the run-up to Election Day may determine how many Ohio residents are eligible to vote.

Ohio election officials are sending out a mass mailer stamped "do not forward" to all registered voters today (Sept. 5) with an absentee ballot application and other important notices for Nov. 4.

What's important here is not so much what's going out as what's being returned to sender.
Unbeknownst to the would-be recipients, the same mailer - just 60 days before the election - has the potential to determine their eligibility to vote, challenged not by election officials but by partisan opposition.

A similar mailer in March netted nondeliverable mail from almost 600,000 registered voters in just five Ohio counties who could now have their ballots thrown out for voting under the wrong address.

The National Voter Registration Act prohibits any state from purging names from the voting rolls within 90 days of an election.

The law doesn't, however, preclude mass partisan challenges on or shortly before Election Day - known as voter caging - based on the same returned envelopes from state-sponsored mailers like the ones in Ohio and others going out across the country.

In 2004, the year the national election hinged on results from Ohio, the Ohio Republican Party challenged 35,000 voters based on returned mail from the GOP's own friendly reminder notices. From 2004 to 2006, Republicans challenged 77,000 voters this way nationwide. A consent decree issued in 1982 and amended in 1987 enjoins the GOP from instituting "ballot security programs" that focus on minority voters.

No evidence so far suggests Republicans - for whom vote caging is essentially a GOP sport - have mounted a caging campaign this year. Yet, in July, Franklin County Election Director and County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse told reporters he didn't rule out challenges before November, particularly because of increased home foreclosures, which would make failures to change address on voter registration records more common.

A challenged voter will likely cast a provisional ballot, which often requires voters to return to election divisions to prove their identity and address. Nearly a third of all 1.6 million provisional ballots cast in 2004 were thrown out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fox News - Still the Enemy of Democracy

After a recent "incident" with an old classmate who loves to post "Impeach Obama" and other really over-the-line anti-Obama cartoons on Facebook - I decided to speak up.

Always a risk on the homongenous societal "look at my grandkids" version of the Facebook friends of an old fart like me tend to post - neutral and unassuming. But, my old classmate trends to the Beckian radicalism and even gets luke-warm support from time to time but never a challenge.

I was reamed with every winger epithet and derisive term Limbaugh knows along with "I want to put Muslims at Ground Zero" and just a littany of projection worthy of Michelle Malkin on a bad day. The terms were right off the front page of the Fox News playbook - get loud, intimidate and facts don't matter.

Well - here is a little reminder of why facts don't matter to Fox News or the people who follow them. From a February, 2003 court ruling:

Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie. By Mike Gaddy.
Published Feb. 28, 2003

On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast. On August 18, 2000, a six-person jury was unanimous in its conclusion that Akre was indeed fired for threatening to report the station's pressure to broadcast what jurors decided was "a false, distorted, or slanted" story about the widespread use of growth hormone in dairy cows. The court did not dispute the heart of Akre's claim, that Fox pressured her to broadcast a false story to protect the broadcaster from having to defend the truth in court, as well as suffer the ire of irate advertisers. Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news. The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves. In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a "policy," not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation. Fox aired a report after the ruling saying it was "totally vindicated" by the verdict.

FACT - friends don't let friends watch Fox News.
Update: More from my projecting friend: "Ha, Ha I always knew you'd end up sucking a dick. It say's your single on your profile. Because the law hasn't passed?? Fuck'n loser, haven't changed. Remember suck don't blow LOOOOOOOL !! "
He seemed to have left out the liberal gay epithet in the last rant so he tried to squeeze it in here. Unfortunatley, I don't have a gay bone in my body. Why is it that 'baggers think all libs are gay?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When aggressive right wingers try to adopt the pose of innocent victims it's called "Frame Flipping".

"Frame Flipping"
by: Ted Frier

(I just printed the whole thing - important it is, yes.)

Yellow Dog has a good get in flagging T-Nehisi Coates' thoughts on the NAACP challenge to Tea Party Nation to repudiate the obvious racists who are attracted to the Tea Party's rebellion against a legitimate national governing majority that contains too few white Southern Christians for the right wing's taste.

But what jumped out at me is that Coates gave a name for a phenomenon I know we've all noticed many times before when aggressive right wingers try to adopt the pose of innocent victims instead: "Frame flipping."

And we need to start using that phrase more often.

Said Coates:
But like all bigotry, the most potent component of racism is frame-flipping--positioning the bigot as the actual victim. So the gay do not simply want to marry, they want to convert our children into sin. The Jews do not merely want to be left in peace, they actually are plotting world take-over. And the blacks are not actually victims of American power, but beneficiaries of the war against hard-working whites. This is a respectable, more sensible, bigotry, one that does not seek to name-call, preferring instead change the subject and strawman. Thus segregation wasn't necessary to keep the niggers in line, it was necessary to protect the honor of white women.

Frame flipping is what occurs when the KKK accuses the Southern Poverty Law Center of "fomenting race hatred" when it publishes reports documenting the KKK's verbal and physical attacks on minorities.

Frame flipping is what occurs when Southern reactionaries like Senator Jeffrey Beaureguard Sessions III attack people like Justice Sotomayor for their "empathy" in looking at laws, made by the ruling white class to protect their place and privileges, through the lens of those minority groups who might be disadvantaged by those very same laws.

Frame flipping is what occurs when Christian fundamentalists claim that liberals are "attacking people of faith" and engaging in "anti-Christian bigotry" when liberals object to having their alternative life-styles degraded as crimes against nature or sins against God.

I ran across another example of Coate's "Frame Flipping" yesterday in a published debate in the libertarian Cato Institute's Reason magazine between Cato vice president Brink Lindsey and the National Review's Jonah Goldberg that I was going to comment on later. But one piece of it applies here.

Lindsey was arguing that the time has now come for small government libertarians to de-couple themselves from the conservative movement and strike out on their own (perhaps forming an alliance with liberals) because it is now clear that conservatism has been completely overtaken by a dangerous strain of far right, totalitarian extremism -- an extremism that its adherents cannot see because right wing propagandists like Beck and Limbaugh have very skillfully recast the aggressive right wing as society's victims.

In the essay Lindsey wrote:
A clear eyed look at conservatism as a whole reveals a political movement with no realistic potential for advancing individual freedom. The contemporary right is so deeply under the sway of its most illiberal impulses that they now define what it means to be a conservative.
What are those impulses?

First and foremost, a raving, anti-intellectual populism as expressed by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Next, a brutish nationalism as expressed in anti-immigrant xenophobia (most recently on display in Arizona) and it's "always 1938 somewhere" jingoism. And always lurking in the background, a dogmatic religiosity, as expressed in homophobia, creationism, and extremism on beginning and end of life issues. The combined result is a right wing identity politics that feeds on the red meat of us versus them, "Real America" versus the liberal-dominated coasts, faith and gut instinct versus pointy-heded elitism.

This noxious stew of reaction and ressentiment is the antithesis of libertarianism. The spirit of freedom is cosmopolitan. It is committed to secularism in political discourse, whatever religious views people might hold privately. And it cooly upholds reason against the swirl of interests and passions.

Perhaps aware of the instantaneous backlash that met the NAACP when the nation's premier civil rights group suggested there might be racists imbedded within the larger Tea Party, Lindsey is careful not to shake a stick at the tiger by using the word "fascism" in his description of the conservative movement today. But a "noxious stew" of "anti-intellectual populism" combined with "brutish nationalism" is what experts who study political movements define as fascism.

More interesting was the response of Jonah Goldberg, a mercenary scribe of the radical right who's sacrificed his intellectual integrity for 30 pieces of silver to spend his time spinning utter nonsense in order to keep the conservative coalition together at all costs.
And what Goldberg says about Lindsey's concerns on religious intolerance creeping into our politics provides another example of Coate's Frame Flipping.

Said Goldberg:
Many of Lindsey's core aassumptions about conservatism's relationship with libertarianism are just wrong. For starters, why should libertarianism be so hostile to culturally conservative values? Isn't libertarianism about freedom, including the freedom to live conservatively if that's what people choose?

Secuarlism in politics is a perfectly admirable and libertarian value, but using the state to impose secularism on society is not. One gets the sense from Lindsey that the greater threat to freedom in this country comes from conservatives imposing their "benighted" religious outlook on the citizenry, rather than from the state scrubbing society of religion, while imposing narrow conceptions of "diversity" on every institution and hamlet.

Which worldview has more state and corporate power behind it in America today, Christianity or -- for want of a better term -- political correctness? Lindsey is supposed to be making the case for freedom, and yet so much of his uncharacteristically intemperate essay simply reads like he has chosen sides in the culture war and thinks that a host of political and policy questions should therefore be settled.

Now, the first thing to note about Goldberg's rant is that in order for the Religious Right to enjoy its "freedom to live conservatively," as Goldberg says, the Religious Right must make everyone else live conservatively too.

That is why the Religious Right is such a radical movement. It is undemocratic by nature -- and design. It needs to make the rest of us conform in order for it to enjoy what it calls "freedom." That's the whole point of the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, and why religious fundamentalists have organized a political movement to reform and "purify" a "liberal, secular, progressive" culture that the far right considers to be decadent.
Liberals are perfectly content with a live-and-let-live bargain with conservatives. Conservatives are not. They are offended every day by the things they see and hear in the larger culture and they find such (how did Goldberg put it?) "narrow conceptions of diversity" intolerable. So, they must change them by having America conform to a "biblical worldview," to Biblical law.

Now, propagandists like Goldberg are smart enough to recognize that the "freedom" to live as one chooses is not compatible with the "imposition" of a conservative worldview the radical right needs to prevail in order to live freely as conservatives. So the right needs to turn the tables by redefining the neutrality of the democratic nationstate in matters of faith and morals into an aggressive liberal/progressive assault on Christianity (and all religion) instead, "using the state to impose secularism on society."

The frame flip here is turning "secularism" -- meaning neutrality in morals and religion -- into one more competing "religion." And by doing this, the right wing scores a twofer: They can accuse liberals of violating the Constitution's First Amendment prohibition against the "establishment of religion." And they can claim that liberals are guilty of an unpardonable religious bigotry for refusing to permit Christian fundamentalists to convert them to the Religious Right's rigid orthodoxy.

The charges of Goldberg and the Religious Right make no sense, either logically or empirically. But this faux victimization resonates powerfully with a demographic that is already receptive to apocalyptic messages and visions of martyrdom. Hence the popularity of Glenn Beck, who some of my more unhinged relatives are now calling "a prophet."

Lindsey's essay thus represents the leading edge of what is perhaps an important turning point in our poltics if it signals a welcoming fracturing of a conservative movement that has dominated American politics for more than 30 years but which has always been a fragile, unstable and ultimately contradictory coalition between those who think "greed is good" and those who believe that virtually everything is bad.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sorry I've Been Gone

Here's some Warren Zevon with Jackson Browne from 1976 - "Mohammed's Radio" (must be a terrorist listening device!!) Absolutely beautiful. Miss you, Warren.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's the Corporations, Stupid

Exhibit A:

We're in a Recession Because the Rich Are Raking in an Absurd Portion of Wealth
By Robert Reich as per AlterNet and Susie

Excerpt: Our economy can't thrive when the richest 1% get an ever larger share of the nation's income and wealth, and everyone else's share shrinks.

The structural reason for the Great Recession still haunts America. That reason is America's surging [income] inequality.

Consider: in 1928 the richest 1 percent of Americans received 23.9 percent of the nation's total income. After that, the share going to the richest 1 percent steadily declined. New Deal reforms, followed by World War II, the GI Bill and the Great Society expanded the circle of prosperity [all progressive legislature]. By the late 1970s the top 1 percent raked in only 8 to 9 percent of America's total annual income. But after that, inequality began to widen again, and income reconcentrated at the top. By 2007 the richest 1 percent were back to where they were in 1928—with 23.5 percent of the total.

Each of America's two biggest economic crashes occurred in the year immediately following these twin peaks. When —in 1929 and 2008. This is no mere coincidence. When most of the gains from economic growth go to a small sliver of Americans at the top, the rest don't have enough purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing. America's median wage, adjusted for inflation, has barely budged for decades. Between 2000 and 2007 it actually dropped.

The problem isn't that typical Americans have spent beyond their means. It's that their means haven't kept up with what the growing economy could and should have been able to provide them.

None of us can thrive in a nation divided between a small number of people receiving an ever larger share of the nation's income and wealth, and everyone else receiving a declining share. The lopsidedness not only diminishes economic growth but also tears at the social fabric of our society.

Read the whole article here

Exhibit B: Myopic Corporate Greed
By Yves Smith via KOS

Excerpt: What it boils down to, IMHO, is when corporations are stripmining their near-record profits, as opposed to reinvesting them in times of economic downturns, the results for society are devastating.

Combine this reality with a legislative branch in complete corporatocratic rapture (i.e.: regulatory capture, deep capture), and you have the recipe for where we are with our economy, today.

...we need to set fiscal policy to the task of incentivizing the reinvestment of corporate profits in business operations rather than games at the casino.

Possible measures to achieve these aims include:

1) an aggressive tax on retained earnings that are not reinvested with a 24 month period after they have been booked (this provision needs to be designed carefully to defeat efforts to circumvent it through artful accounting);

2) a financial asset turnover tax that raises the cost to management (and others) of speculating rather than reinvesting profits in productive capital investment;

3) a reinvigorated public or public/private investment program that helps speed up the shift to new energy technologies (as scaling up usually induces a drop in unit costs of production).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Max Blumenthal goes deep inside Teabagger World-- exposing their manipulative leaders' extremism and the examining their bogus grassroots claims.

Thanks to Down With Tyranny

Max Blumenthal goes inside the Tea Party from Ram Bam on Vimeo.

Will Rogers - the Jon Stewart of the 20's and 30's

Thanks to Tim over at Scared Stiff for this idea.

Will Rogers was a progressive heroe of his time. He was an American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor and one of the best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was the top-paid movie star in Hollywood at the time. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed near Barrow, Alaska Territory.

Widely quoted, here are a couple of my favorites:

"I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat."

"I never met a man I didn't like"

"Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans."

And the present day Republican mantra:

"If stupidity got us in this mess, why can't it get us out?" Vote GOP in 2012

Born in the Oklahoma Territory in 1879, he taught himself how to rope and he was the best.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July! Take a Minute and Have a Listen - This Will Move You.

When the tears stop flowing - action plans need to be filed for the next declaration of independence - From Corporate Rule. Very similar to why the men in Philadelphia felt the need for the first one.

Thursday, July 1, 2010