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Friday, October 14, 2011

What the 99% of us need

To every smug "pundit" who wants to know what Occupy Wall Street wants, here is a working list:

1. Raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.00 per hour. At 40 hours-per-week straight pay this would be $20,800 annually. Not a lot to be sure, but a reasonable minimum If anyone claims some businesses can't afford this, ask them why they can't produce a business model that doesn't rely on slave wages.

2. Reinforce the 40-hour work week and overtime. Nobody should be considered on "salary" until they make at least 100K per year. If the business doesn't want to pay overtime to people working more than 40 hours, they should allow you to stop working after 40 hours and hire more employees.

3. Reinstate the 90% tax rate. Every dollar paid over $2 million per year should be taxed at this rate.

4. Make the first 30K each year free from income tax.

5. Provide government-paid, national health care for all U.S. citizens. Even the worst criminal deserves an attorney, so why doesn't a law-abiding citizen deserve a doctor?

6. Make public colleges and universities tuition-free to qualified students. Think how great it would be to graduate from college without crippling student loans.

7. Prosecute the Cheney-Bush Oil Junta for war crimes and violations of 4th Amendment rights.

8. Set up a South-African style truth and reconciliation commission for Bush voters to come clean. And consider a Constitutional Amendment stating that no descendant of Prescott Bush can ever be president again.

9. Re-institute the fairness doctrine and educational-programming requirements for broadcasters.

10. Require TV and radio stations to provide free air-time to all major political candidates, and make private campaign contributions illegal.

11. Fully-fund Public radio and TV news so that they will be free from corporate funding and pledge drives.

12. Do not allow banks to charge usury over 15% on credit cards, and require interest rates on savings to be a minimum of 3%.

13. Repeal the 2006-bankruptcy revisions; further, allow student loans to be declared as wall.

14. Strictly enforce zoning laws on all empty, foreclosed homes; and cap home interest rates at 8%.

15. Institute stock transaction taxes, inheritance taxes, and tariffs as needed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Time to put anger back in its rightful place

You know what's the only thing more than ridiculous than Medicare recipients attending town halls to speak out against health care reform? Working class, poor, and unemployed people who lack health care insurance and do the same. Yet Kathleen Parker finds it important to tell us "Even if protests are staged, the town-hall anger is real":
The town-hall protests may be orchestrated, but nobody had to manufacture the anger on display. With unemployment at 9.4 percent, the dog days are beginning to feel like the dogs of war. Congress and Obama might want to take note.
So according to this professional writer and pundit, it's genuine for the unemployed and those fearful of unemployment to protest the possibility of getting or keeping health care. Hello--When you're unemployed you will no longer have employer-based healthcare and won't be able to afford to maintain your healthcare payments for long on your own. Turn on the left side of your brain before you write next time, will you Ms. Parker? And I'm just getting started on the dumbf---ery of those she defends in her article.

If the United States were a sophisticated nation, we would have had national health care already by now. It seemed to me that with a Democratic President, a Democratic majority in the House, and 59 votes in the Senate (not 60, Lieberman is a anti-Democrat in sheep's clothing), health care would be a slam dunk. But as H.L. Mencken said, and Rush Limbaugh ($400 million contract), Sean Hannity (approx $40 million a year combined), and Glenn Beck (if it's more than minimum wage it's way too much) put into practice, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." The health insurance propagandists also know "there's a sucker born every minute," and the anti-healthcare fanatics who take their marching orders from millionaires telling them what billionaires want them to think make Linda Lovelace look like she suffered from dysphagia. Anti-healthcare fanatics need to turn off the AM radio and Fox noise and give their brains some fresh air. Who knows, maybe a Limbaughtomy is reversible.

Those of us who should be especially angry are the temporary workers. We do full-time work at reduced pay and get no benefits. We neither receive, nor can afford to buy, health insurance. The anti-healthcare fanatics disrupting healthcare at townhall meetings are trying to kill us. If they don't have health care they are also bent on killing themselves. The difference between them and psycho-killers such as Seung-Hui Cho and George Sodini is that the anti-healthcare fanatics are not using guns. At least not yet.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

President Obama has a choice with two options: prosecute or pardon the Bush administration

The Bush administration tortured.

Torture is a crime.

President Obama took an oath to "faithfully execute the office of President of the United States," and to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Criminals must be prosecuted or pardoned in order to uphold the rule of law.

President Obama must prosecute the Bush administration or pardon them. Failure to address the violations of U.S. law would be a violation of his Presidential oath of office.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crossfire: the mother of harlots and abominations of the media

MOYERS: Which is funnier? CROSSFIRE or HARDBALL?

STEWART: CROSSFIRE or HARDBALL? Which is funnier? Which is more soul-crushing, do you mean? Both are equally dispiriting in their… you know, the whole idea that political discourse has degenerated into shows that have to be entitled CROSSFIRE and HARDBALL. And you know, "I'm Gonna Beat Your Ass" or whatever they're calling them these days is mind-boggling.

CROSSFIRE, especially, is completely an apropos name. It's what innocent bystanders are caught in when gangs are fighting. And it just boggles my mind that that's given a half hour, an hour a day to… I don't understand how issues can be dissected from the left and from the right as though… even cartoon characters have more than left and right. They have up and down.

I mean, how... it's so two-dimensional to think that any analysis can come from, "It's the left and it's the right and well, we've had that discussion and that's done."

PBS NOW w/Bill Moyers
Transcript: Bill Moyers Interviews Jon Stewart
July 11, 2003

Everything about the format of Crossfire and the political chat shows established thereafter was tailored to right-wing demagoguery. The demagogues were elevated, given a platform equal to that of their opponents, who were often nonpartisan journalists sullied by the association. Every issue, observation, point, and fact suddenly had "another side": the right-wing side. That side was held up not by solid reportage, scholarship, and analysis but by bald ideological assertion, pseudoresearch, and raw partisanship. Under the Crossfire formula, if 99 percent of scientists agreed the earth was round, while 1 percent said it was flat, the two views were given equal time and, thus, equal validity in the minds of viewers.

David Brock
The Republican Noise Machine
Crown Publishing Group 2004

Now in their voting [the Spartans] usually decide by shout and not by ballot....

English translation by Charles Forster Smith
G.P. Putnam's Sons 1921

When it comes to the bastardization of TV news, Crossfire and The McLaughlin Group were THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE media. Both shows were founded by Republicans. TV host John McLaughlin was a speechwriter and adviser to President Nixon. Ted Turner was a member of the Young Republicans in 1963 and spoke to Reagan-era National Conservative Foundation in 1984. Both shows featured the bellicose Republican partisan Pat Buchanan. Both shows were precursors to the scream-fests on Fox "News."

After Ted Turner failed to take over CBS, supposedly desiring to change it to a "pro-family, pro-America type" network, he bought himself a 24-hour news network. With so many programming time slots to fill, Turner hired a lot of movement conservatives for CNN. Thus many shows began to feature "From the right, Buchanan or Novak" and "From the left, the facts." The facts were brought to the viewer by a typically milquetoast journalist and labeled "liberal." Hence, facts came to be thought of as having a liberal bias, and all political discussion were skewed right.

Thus, CNN moved the center of poltical discussion to the right while lending credence to the Republicans' bullsh*t "liberal media" mantra at the same time. After Fox outfoxed them at this game, they have refocused their efforts on being a legitimate news network. But they still gave rise to likes of Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Frost is to Nixon as _____ is to Bush?

It took interviewer David Frost to get President Richard Nixon to admit as much wrongdoing as he did. America needs George W. Bush to admit to the following Nixonesque mea culpa:
  1. There was probably more than mistakes--there was wrongdoing.
  2. I did abuse the power I had as president.
  3. I put the American people through eight years of needless agony and I apologize for that.
Who do you think would be the best person to get George W. Bush do this?

Amy Goodman

She is the fierce, independent journalist who anchors Democracy Now. With writings such as Exceptions to the Rulers, she could go uncompromisingly toe-to-toe with anyone.

Bill Maher

He was fired by ABC during the Bush administration, but went on to comedically peak while lambasting him on HBO. No question would be off-limits to Maher, and he wouldn't hesitate to call "bullshit" if Bush tried to hide behind religion.

Bill Moyers

Accomplished journalist loathed by the right for his speaking truth to power. His kind nature and demeanor might appeal to the last vestiges of Bush's soul and perhaps get him to fess up.

David Letterman

Extremely talented interviewer. He had the best McCain interview during '08 campaign. Could sneak up on Bush to get to the truth.

Keith Olbermann

His "Bushed" and "Still Bushed" segments have tireless kept track of the myriads of Bush scandals. His special comments regarding Bush were spot-on (Regrettably, he later extended this vitriol to Hillary Clinton and John McCain who are not in the same corrupt-league as Bush.) Olbermann would bring information and determination to the table, but he does not have a proven track record as an interviewer.

Rachel Maddow

Brainy with a pleasant demeanor, she would slice-and-dice Bush's record while killing him with kindness.

Steven Colbert

Faux-conservative Colbert exposed Bush's criminality to his face at The White House correspondents' dinner in 2006. Could he do the same thing in an interview?

Terry Gross

Simply the best at giving interviews. Her only weakness is that she is strictly a radio news person. Towering Bill O'Reilly ran away from the diminutive Gross in October 2003.

Two others I thought of but did not include are Jon Stewart and Howard Stern. Both are outstanding interviewers. Jon Stewart absolutely exposed the neo-con "Bush kept us safe" lies of Bill Kristol in a 2006 interview, but has said that he would probably respect the office of the president too much to properly interview Bush. Howard Stern is great at getting people to admit things, but there are deeper issues than whether or not George and Laura do anal. Besides, Howard Stern has too much of a fascist streak in him to do Bush justice.

Please fill out the poll on the side of my blog. I get pissed off. You decide.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Murdoch Street Journal Caters to Limbaughtomized Dittoheads

Today the Murdoch Street Journal is running an opinion column by Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh is a college dropout who has admitted to not taking an economics class. He wouldn't be able to give the formula for calculating gross domestic product if you spotted him the "C" and the "I". Shame on Murdoch for featuring this simpleton, and shame on business people who read such claptrap. With complete and utter bullshit like Limbaugh passing for information, it's no wonder investors have led the U.S. and the world into economic ruin.

A Limbaughtomy is a figurative straw that transmits over the public airwaves. Those who tune into Limbaugh's "Excrement in Broadcasting" allow this straw to pierce there skulls, remove large portions of the brain's grey and white matter, and replace it with sawdust. This procedure has been observed to lead people to say "ditto Rush," think that a multi-millionaire spouting a message chiefly benefiting billionaires is a populist, and--in it's most extreme cases--vote for Bush twice. Spotting Limbaugh's lies in print is as easy as spotting a crazed kook at a Republican rally, all you need to do is open your eyes.

Limbaugh begins by downplaying the Great Bush Recession, "The average recession will last five to 11 months." The NBER has indicated that the current recession began in December 2007. Thus, Limbaugh misleads his readers from the start by not acknowledging the Great Bush Recession is way above average, and implying that inaction is an option.

Then it gets galling. Limbaugh lumps President John F. Kennedy together with Reagan and Bush and dares to make the now thoroughly discredited claim, "We know that when tax rates are cut in a recession, it brings an economy back." Kennedy was instrumental in cutting the top marginal rate from 91 to 70 per cent. But that is a far different from Reagan and Bush cutting it down to its current 35%. Not to mention the fact that Kennedy was a not a supply sider, and he raised government revenue by cutting loopholes the super-wealthy were using to avoid paying the top rate. If we learned nothing else from the failed Bush policies we learned this: tax cuts do not stimulate the economy. Bush cut taxes on the wealthy three times and the economy is busted. How dare Limbaugh, or any other Republican for that matter, continue to pedal this tried-and-failed non-remedy?

Next Limbaugh quotes a flawed Rasmussen poll stating that 59% Fear Too Much Government Spending Is Coming and "Only 17% have the opposite concern and are more worried that Congress and the president will cut taxes too much." No, the opposite of too much government spending would be too little government spending. Consumer spending and Investment are declining. The U.S. net-exports are in the negative. The only way left to grow the economy under these circumstances is to increase government spending (GNP = C + I + G + NX, economics 101). So the solution must be spending. The real economic question should be is the government spending enough or too little?

Limbaugh finishes by being ridiculous. Though he previously admitted that he wants Obama to fail, he feigns bipartisanship and asks to put away the acrimony. The acrimony is clearly Limbaugh's fault, not President Barack Obama's.

Limbaugh is wrong. Now is not the time to try supply-side and Keynesian economics side-by-side. Eight-years of unmitigated supply-side was tried and demonstrated to fail during the George W. Bush administration. Now is the time to do what works. Keynesian economics brought the U.S. out of the first Republican Great Depression, it's the best tool in the toolbox to bring us out of the second Republican Recession/Depression too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Florida's corruption underrated by the national media

Yesterday FBI Special Agent Robert Grant was repeatedly quoted as saying, "If [Illinois] isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor." Florida is feeling ignored.

First of all, no one can top former governor Jeb Bush stealing Florida's electoral votes and the 2000 election for his brother. Urban legend claims that Mayor Richard J. Daley stole the 1960 election for Kennedy. Yet even if Daley delivered Illinois' then-27 electoral votes for Kennedy, Kennedy's 303-219 victory was greater than 54. So even if Illinois had gone to Nixon, Kennedy still would have won 276-246. By contrast, if Gore would have received the 25 votes he won in Florida, the result would have been Gore 291, Bush 246.

Second, it must be acknowledged that Illinois has displayed bi-partisan, continuous corruption by following Republican Governor George Ryan with Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. Florida nearly matched that, however, by having Democrat Tim Mahoney succeed Republican Mark Foley in its 16th congressional district.

In addition to Tim Mahoney and Mark Foley, who can forget the Bob Allen sex scandal? Getting beyond the gay-sex prostitution part, this was fiscally irresponsible. I mean, who offers to pay $20 to perform oral sex? That's ass backwards (small pun intended), in my humble opinion.

But if you want major-league, quid pro quo corruption from Florida, you need look no further than Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom. He awarded a $25.5 million building to Northwest Florida State College while being put on their payroll for $110K/year. As Scott Maxwell reported Sansom was the most egregious offense among many in Tallahassee:
The trouble is: Floridians have gotten so used to Tallahassee shenanigans, they don't know when to get outraged anymore.

Sansom, after all, is at least the third legislator to win a high-paying job in higher education. And that's just this year.

It gets tiring to be outraged so often.

There was Mike Haridopolos, the Republican senator from Indialantic, who snagged a $75,000 job at UF -- for part-time work.

And Evelyn Lynn, the Republican senator from Ormond Beach who has overseen university budgets and got a $100,000-plus job with FSU.

It used to be politicians at least left office before they started parlaying their public service into paychecks.

Lynn at least had the decency to back away from her deal, even going so far as to volunteer to do the work for free.

No such offer from Sansom. And his is the most egregious, both because of the timing and because of his position.

Sansom's actions actually embarrassed the legislature, which I didn't think was possible anymore.

That's why Sansom's fellow Republicans should ask him to leave if he won't go himself.
Maxwell followed up Sunday's column with details about Governor Charlie Crist's $430,000 taxpayer-expensed trip to Europe.

So never underrate Florida when it comes to corruption. Florida is definitely an offensive juggernaut. This is why we need a corruption playoff.