Friday, September 30, 2011

The Moderate Crazies

Moderate strategies in the past had moderate results ~ Marc Johnson, state appeals court judge, Kenner LA.

They turn Liberals into the "far left" and label them "the crazies". They turn themselves into "Liberals", even though they supported the illegal war with Afghanistan, eliminating the corporate income tax*, and call themselves "free traders".

When I first starting blogging five (and change) years ago, I firmly considered myself a Liberal. I was an anti-war, for the middle class, in favor of increasing taxes on the wealthy, opposed to unfettered free trade, anti-Fox Nooz Liberal. Now, though, I'd probably have to say that I'm more Liberal.

But I've not really changed all that much. Just shifted a little further to the Left. I think the real question here is, seeing as a certain Independent Moderate Blue Dog Democrat Libertarian (and others) consider me to be on the "far left", instead of simply a normal Progressive, how is is that the Moderate crazies think they can hijack the term "Progressive", move the goalposts, and get away with it? I'm positive it's because that's the MO of the Right and their accomplices in the so-called Middle.

The Right has been so successful at moving the goalposts that they shifted a large portion of the Democratic Party to the Right. That's how we got Bill Clinton and the Third Way Democrats! I actually argued with a Conservative/Libertarian on a blog recently about whether or not Bill Clinton was a Liberal. This Con/Libertarian insisted that Clinton was Leftist/Liberal and that "a large number of Liberals embraced the Third Way"! Un-freaking believable, huh?

Note: This post is a rebuttal to a commentary on the Contra O'Reilly blog. Above I state that the proprietor of this other blog is in favor of eliminating the corporate income tax. This is true, but he also wants to increase the top personal income tax rate to be set at 40 percent 39.6 percent 37-38 percent 25 percent and tax capital gains at the same rate as regular income. According to him this will result in more taxes being collected.

I bring this up because I was accused of being a partisan liar for "leaving out" this information. But this post wasn't meant to be a rebuttal of Willis Hart's position on the elimination of the corporate income tax, and I included a link that anyone could read themselves. Perhaps I'm just not that good of a deceiver? Anyway, I've added this note to eliminate any confusion. No "deception" was intended with this post.

SWTD #98, wDel #9.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Republican Hacks Responsible for Manufactured Solyndra Scandal

I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks ~ Darrell Issa (dob 11/1/1953) Representative from California's 49th congressional district and head of the House Oversight Committee, announcing his plans to go on a witch hunt against the Obama Administration ("Darrell Issa plans hundreds of hearings", Politico 11/8/2010).

The following report is an excerpt from the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, 9/19/2011, which I edited for brevity and clarity. This report from the "news" segment of the program concerns Republican attempts to use the Solyndra scandal to paint the Obama Administration as incompetent.

Thom Hartmann: Last week the media jumped on the Obama Administration over a loan to solar company Solyndra that went bust, in what was dubbed Solyndra-gate. It was suggested that the loan was granted for political reasons and that the whole deal reeked of crony capitalism. But, as we are getting used to these days, the media dropped the ball.

Not only does Solyndra represent just 1.3 percent of the department of energy's entire loan portfolio and is the only company receiving loans to fail, but former president George W bush has more prints on the Solyndra loan then does President Obama. It was bush who created the program and spent two years urging the department of energy to approve the Solyndra loan, which it finally did only two months into President Obama's term.

Not only that, but regarding the accusation that the Obama Administration granted the loan in return for campaign contributions... one of Solyndra's top investors gets their money from the Walton family, a notorious contributor to the Republican Party... not exactly fans of the Obama presidency.

So here we have another scandal manufactured by Republican hacks for the media, when the media should be looking into the greatest crime of all, which is the destruction of the American Middle Class at the hands of the Republicans and the oligarchs who own them.

My Commentary: A 9/23/2011 New York Times article, titled "The Phony Solyndra Scandal" says, "The company's recent bankruptcy... was largely brought on by a stunning collapse in the price of solar panels over the past year or so". I was actually duped into believing there might be something to this scandal by an Obama-hating Conservative commenter on the blog of Willis Hart. According to the doofus Rusty Shackelford, the Solyndra "scandal" is going to cause BIG problems for Barack Obama, because it's going to prove to people just how incompetent and in over his head "Obie" the community organizer is.

For the record, I thought that the owners of the company may have done something untoward, not the President or his administration. But it turns out I was way wrong. The reason for Solyndra's failure is due to the fact that "the Chinese government is investing in solar production [and that] has led to a burst in production that has boosted supplies and forced down product prices worldwide". Turns out there is absolutely no scandal here what-so-ever, just a failure to accurately predict future market conditions.

Don't tell the Republicans this, however. Expect them to make as much hay as possible over this non-scandal. The corrupt Representative from California, sleazeball Darrell Issa, announced that he's launching an investigation. Regarding the function of the Oversight Committee under Issa, a 11/8/2010 Politico article says Issa enlisted "Patrick McHenry of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio... to chair some of his subcommittees". Politico refers to these two representatives as "aggressive partisans". I think it's clear what Issa's agenda is.

I'm with Thom Hartmann on this one, the Republican Party is totally owned by the wealthy elites and this bogus scandal is nothing more than a distraction while they continue their destruction of the middle class. And they're also miffed because George bush was SO incredibly incompetent and corrupt... and now they're desperate to get the same labels attached to Obama... but nothing is sticking. Hint: It's because Obama is an extremely intelligent, competent and honest man, not to mention an substantially superior POTUS when compared to the previous doofus who held the office.

SWTD #97, wDel #8.

Friday, September 23, 2011

They Made an Exceedingly Bad Decision, As I'm Sure Everyone Who Isn't an Idiot Agrees

The very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague ~ Stuart Chase (3/8/1888 to 11/16/1985) an American economist (MIT), social theorist and writer.

They made an exceedingly bad decision, as I'm sure anyone with an ounce of common sense will agree. Clearly these chaps didn't take the long-range ramifications into account, because, if they had, they would have made a decision that was the exact opposite of the decision they made. Now I ask you, is it any surprise that a recent Gallup poll showed that a majority of the American people are outraged?

For the record, I'm in agreement with the vast majority of Americans who believe repealing the law was a bad idea. Obviously the solution (and I'm positive you'll agree with me) is to change the law back to what it was. Perhaps we should even make the law stricter. One thing is crystal clear though, and that is that this never should have been permitted in the first place!

So, the question I'm posing to you is, are you one of the majority of Americans who think this was not a good idea, or an idiot in the minority who thinks it was just what we needed? Even after the fallout of that bad decision and the subsequent attempt to make things right with new legislation, some people seem to still not get it. They think the new legislation should be repealed! They think it's bad for the economy! They think the reason for the bad things that happened was that the original law went too far!

I say these people are blaming the wrong parties; they blame one group when they should actually be blaming another. Can you believe it? I certainly cannot. Obviously these people have only the interests of the other group in mind when making their absurd accusations. Obviously the citizens should align ourselves with first group. Why? Because this group is us; that is, we are all part of this group. Our objectives are, or should at least, be harmonious. But that has not been the case as of late. Actually, it hasn't been the case for quite some time, but the disharmony became a LOT more pronounced following the last election.

What do we do about it? I don't know. The subgroup of the group of people that should be on our side has been aligning itself with the second group to an increasing extent over the years. Personally, I think only a sub-sub group of the first group is our only hope. If only an individual of this group could get him or herself elected to a particular office. You know which one I mean. Personally I think they all suck, but, more on that in a later post. Stay tuned. In the meantime, why not let me know what you think?

Note: Do you have any idea what the hell I'm talking about? This post was purposefully written using a style (that is decidedly NOT "delighful") employed by a certain Moderate-Libertarian blogger I've mentioned here before. When this guy writes something incredibly vague and you say you don't know what he's talking about... he'll blame YOU for not knowing what the hell he's talking about! The latest charge was that I didn't know what he was referring to because I watch too much of a certain Left-leaning news channel. No, I don't think that was what was at issue. The issue was that his post included too few fricking details!

SWTD #96, wDel #7.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

President Obama's Jobs Bill Failure Would be a Success For Republicans

This plan is the plan that dare not speak it's name. It's real name is stimulus, but that word has been banned from politics in Washington ~ Lawrence O'Donnell (b. 11/7/1951) on the 9/8/2011 broadcast of his MSNBC program "The Last Word".

Note: The following discussion is an excerpt from the The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 9/8/2011, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Lawrence asks Representative Barney Frank of MA if the President's proposed American Jobs Act has a chance of passing the House.

Lawrence O'Donnell: What are the prospects in the House of Representatives for this bill?

Rep Barney Frank: I'm afraid they're not very good. As I'm standing here I'm hearing one of the younger Republicans proclaim loudly that government can't do anything. These are people who believe we have no capacity to come together to do anything. I am afraid that the [radical] Right-wing that has the Republican Party by the throat is going to block anything. I think the president did a very good job of making it clear that he was compromising. This isn't everything I would like him to do. It isn't everything he would like to do.

But I think he correctly said, look, I want to get results. And the only chance of getting results is to say to Republicans, I'm giving you some of the things you want. I am afraid that it is not going to be helpful. I credit the president for trying. I don't know what more he could have done. You are dealing with people who... let's be very clear about the Tea Party and their patron Grover Norquist who's made them all sign these pledges... these are people who do not understand that government has an important role. That there are things that we can only do if we come together to do them. To build bridges... to provide for the elderly in their retirement if they aren't otherwise wealthy.

These are people who don't believe in that. Frankly, sadly I have to say, and I've had to conclude this... they don't want the economy to get better. Because if the economy gets better, Barack Obama's chances to win get better. These are people for whom the major goal is to defeat Barack Obama. Secondarily to discredit government. They don't want people to think there are things we can do. They are ideologically committed to the idea that there shouldn't be any government, so they are not trying for success. They don't want Obama to succeed and they don't want us to show that government can work in the public interest.

My Commentary: The Republicans won't agree to another 447 billion dollar stimulus bill regardless of whether or not it is "paid for". President Obama proposes paying for this bill by increasing the cuts the so-called "Super Congress" will be making. Does this mean that if no agreement can be reached and the automatic cuts are triggered... the jobs bill is dead? I agree with Barney Frank, I do not see this legislation going anywhere.

Further Reading
[1] Obama Jobs Plan: $447 Billion, More Than Half In Tax Cuts, To Be Paid For By Super Committee by Sam Stein, The Huffington Post 9/8/2011.
[2] Text: Obama's Jobs Speech: There are Steps We Can Take Right Now by National Journal staff, The National Journal 9/8/2011.

Video: Obama's 9/8/2011 Jobs Speech To Congress, Full Video (32:58).

SWTD #95

The News Wasn't Always Reported for Profit

With all the mass media concentrated in a few hands, the ancient faith in the competition of ideas in the free market seems like a hollow echo of a much simpler day ~ Kingman Brewster, Jr. (6/17/1919 to 11/8/1988) an educator, president of Yale University, and American diplomat.

The following monologue is an excerpt from the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, 8/11/2011, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Thom's rant concerns reporting the news for profit, the Fairness Doctrine and Republican attempts to distort what the consequences of it were...

Thom Hartmann: The fact of the matter is, in 1987 when Reagan stopped enforcing the Fairness Doctrine. The core of the Fairness Doctrine was not, if you put an hour of Rush Limbaugh on you've got to put an hour of Thom Hartmann on. It had nothing to do with that. There were talk shows, in fact Alan Berg's talk show was on the air back in the 70s out of Denver, and he was blowing a signal into 20-some-odd states. He was the most popular talk show host in America. He was a Liberal. He was gunned down by a couple of neo-Nazis. The next big talk radio guy to come along was Rush Limbaugh in 1987.

When Reagan stopped enforcing the Fairness Doctrine, the core piece of it was that, in order to own a broadcast license... in order to have the right to broadcast over the air (radio or television), you had to be broadcasting in the public interest. That was interpreted by the FCC as meaning you had to actually present news. The news had to be unbiased, and it had to be disconnected from any commercial interests of the station or the advertisers of the station.

Back in the 70s I worked in news for 7 years... and I could have gotten fired for hanging out with the sales people. You just didn't do it. The news divisions were separate. The news divisions of all the networks lost money. The fairness doctrine ceasing to be enforced in 1987 was the first chink in the armor, then in 1997, after Bill Clinton signed the telecommunications act... this really put the nail in the coffin.

I was driving down the street and I heard a news report that said that CBS news, the storied home of Walter Cronkite, had just put their news division under the control of the Vice President of Entertainment at CBS... which meant that the news division was now a profit center... which meant that instead of getting news, you were now going to be getting infotainment.

You were now going to get the stuff that was profitable to the network and the stuff that flattered the advertisers. You wouldn't get the stuff that was hurtful to the advertisers. If they had part ownership in a movie studio, suddenly we're going to see those movie stars on their news programs. If they have part ownership in a publishing company you're going to see those authors being profiled, you know, whatever. And I remember thinking; this is really a sad day for America. Not just for journalism but for America.

My Commentary: On 8/18/2011 a commenter on a Conservative blog I frequent said, "Even news has to be a profit center in today's world". The comment was in response to the Conservative blogger's post about women he finds attractive hosting news programs. Obviously the goal of these news programs is to draw men in to oggle the beauties. It obviously works for the Conservative blogger Willis Hart who watches Fox Nooz programs for this reason. This is an individual I've discussed before. He calls himself a moderate but is really a moderate to liberal Republican.

But the Conservative/Moderate blogger isn't the reason for this post. The reason for this post is because I wanted to respond to what a Conservative commenter said about the news being a profit center in today's world. In response to that comment an individual who calls himself dmarks said, "It's always been that way. Go back to the days of Uncle Walter, and beyond to Benjamin Franklin's original Saturday Evening Post".

I'm not positive what "Uncle Walter" dmarks is referring to, but Wikipedia says Uncle Walter is "a nickname for broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite". During Walter Cronkite's time the news was not reported for profit. The news wasn't reported for profit from 1949 when the Fairness doctrine was introduced until August of 1987, when the FCC abolished the doctrine by a 4-0 vote (38 years).

The above comments by Thom Hartmann reflect the world as it actually was, a reality I thought even a conservative would acknowledge, simply because nobody would believe a rewriting of history so severe. But clearly Conservatives left the reality based community long ago and have never looked back.

Note: If you are a subscriber to the Thom Hartmann program podcast, the location of the quoted segment of audio can be found at 31:10 to 33:58 of Hour 3 on Thursday 8/11/2011.

Further Reading
[1] Fairness Doctrine: Secret Republican Agenda Exposed! by Craig Aaron, The Huffington Post 1/8/2009.
[2] The Fairness Doctrine How We Lost it, and Why We Need it Back by Steve Rendall, FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) 2/12/2005.

Video: Thom Hartmann asks "should the Fairness Doctrine death be taken off the books?"

SWTD #94

Monday, September 05, 2011

Means Testing Is An Insidious Plan to Destroy Social Security & Medicare

The notion that the benefits are an earned right separates Social Security from means-tested income-support programs. ... Means testing is a feature of taxpayer-funded welfare programs designed to help the poor. A means test would inevitably erode the universal and contributory nature of Social Security and some of the popular support that has sustained it for nearly 75 years ~ John Rother; an excerpt from his 1/29/2010 article "Don't Means Test Social Security" from the "political opinion" section of US News & World Report.

The following discussion/rant is an excerpt from the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, 8/11/2011, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Thom answers a caller's question regarding means testing programs like Social Security and Medicare...

Caller: Wouldn't it make sense to put the people in the program that actually need the assistance, and leave the people who don't need to be in the program out of it? Putting everyone under one umbrella is going to be a lot more inefficient and a lot more expensive? Take care of the people who need taking care of and leave the rest of the people out.

Thom Hartmann: You just brought up my favorite Republican talking point. This is probably one of the most sick and twisted Republican talking points that's out there. This is the Republican plan to destroy Social Security and Medicare... through something called means testing. There are 132 thousand people in the United States who make over a million dollars a year. And so they're saying why are those people getting a social security check? Why does Warren Buffett who's 80 years old... why is he eligible for Medicare?

Well, here's why... it's very simple. When you start means testing a program, when you say that anyone who has "means", anyone who is rich shouldn't get that program, only the people who need the program, who don't have means should be in the program... then that programs becomes what's called Welfare. Now, when Bill Clinton came into office... of the people who lived below the poverty line - 57 percent were eligible for Welfare.

After Clinton's Welfare reform, which sold well to the American people, because we were in the middle of the dot-com bubble... everybody, Democrats and Republicans looked and said there aren't that many poor people anymore... so let's cut the Welfare programs. Let's make it harder for people to stay on Welfare for extended periods of time. Now it's down to 27 percent. Only 27 percent of people who are actually in poverty can get Welfare.

Because, in large part, because of the changes that were made during the Clinton administration. Although there were changes made before and after... this isn't a bash Bill Clinton screed. The point here is that when something is only available to poor people... poor people don't make campaign contributions. Poor people do not have lobbyists in Washington DC. And so the first thing that goes on the chopping block are programs only for poor people. If you want to destroy Social Security and Medicare, the first thing you do is get all the rich people out of it by means testing.

That way it's no longer an insurance program that covers everybody. Then, once you get them out of it in terms of it in terms of benefits. Then you can say why are they paying into it, because they're getting nothing out of it? Then you can cut even more money out of it, and now you've got a program that's really in a crisis.

This is the Republican strategy... to sound very reasonable... whether it's in an editorial that they're writing for the newspaper, or it's in a phone call to a radio show... This is one of the slickest, sneakiest, most slimy and disgusting strategy going. Saying we need to means test Social Security and Medicare and turn them into Welfare programs.

Note: If you are a subscriber to the Thom Hartmann program podcast, the location of this segment of audio can be found at 13:02 to 16:54 of Hour 3 on Wednesday August 24 of 2011.

See Also: [Contra O'Reilly, 4/24/2015] On the Fact that Means-Testing Social Security and Medicare Used to Be a Liberal Position (Jimmy Carter, to His Credit, Has Advocated it) but Because that Idiot, Thom Hartmann, Came Up with Some Paranoiac Theory that this Would Lead to the Program's Total Demise, it Isn't Any Longer.

SWTD #93