Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CNN propagandists

By Nance Greggs
Being as I am addressing the folks over to the CNN, I am going to talk … very … very ... slowly, and avoid the use of multi-syllabic words as much as is humanly possible.

You see, guys, out here in this series of tubes known as the internetz, there are certain rules and procedures one adheres to – the most important being that if someone challenges a position you’re taking, or a statement you’ve made, you will be asked to provide a “link” that will take the reader to something that factually supports your argument, or demonstrates the consistency of your stance.

Got it? Good … now let’s proceed.

Following President Obama’s press conference tonight, I had my intellect yet again assaulted by The Best Political Team on Television, aka the usual hacks who lounge around in front of the camera, occasionally opining on the actual news during those sad and lonely times when a white female teenager hasn’t gone missing on vacation, thereby freeing you from the humdrum duty of discussing something of real importance.

Now, I’m sure you would agree that it would seem totally unfair and unbalanced were you CNN folk to have just taken up this “Keeping Them Honest” meme during the tenure of President Barack Obama (D) – that’s D as in Democrat – and I just know you wouldn’t do that.

The problem I’m having here is that I don’t seem to remember you being all over Bush’s ass during the Worst.Presidency.In.History.

But I just know I must be wrong.

So I’m wondering if your crack research department could provide some links to the following footage of the “Best Political Team on Television discussing the following:

Bush wages two outrageously expensive wars while giving tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans – how can we afford this?

Bush administration plunges nation deeper into debt – how will this affect our future economic picture?

Bush team turns blind eye to lack of regulation of financial institutions – is it remotely possible that something could go very, very wrong here?

Bush continues vacation while NOLA drowns – is this pResident out of touch with reality?

Bush’s approval ratings continue to plummet – are we seeing the first signs of a “one termer” here?

Bush WH operates shrouded in secrecy – doesn’t the citizenry have a right to know what’s going on?

Bush clears brush in Crawford and hosts barbecue for insiders – is this pResident trying to accomplish too much at once?

Bush speaks at presser without knowing what he’s talking about – or was he just trying to “duck” the questions?

Bush talks about “putting food on your family” – is he misreading the teleprompter, or do we have a fuckin’ idiot running the country?

Bush’s approval ratings tank again – is the “honeymoon” over?

Bush says “we don’t torture”, all readily available evidence to the contrary – good thing we, CNN, are investigating and presenting the facts to the American people.

Bush admin deletes WH emails, imprisons enemy combatants without charge or trial, “outs” covert CIA operative, delivers no-bid contracts to companies with ties to admin insiders, fails to question billings of war-profiteering corporations, ignores Geneva Conventions, hands out taxpayer funds to compliant/supportive religious organizations who delivered votes from the “Christian Right”, kow-tows to Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Business with tax breaks and subsidies, and touts “keeping the nation safe” after allowing the worst attack on American soil in history to actually happen, having ignored the intelligence that warned of its imminence – thank God we, the “Best Political Team on Television” are keeping ‘em honest.

Links, please?

Thanks in advance – oh, and once you provide the links to this coverage, which I just know was dogged and relentless (despite the fact that I can’t remember it), I’ll have a few thousand more “link” requests. Hope you don’t mind.

And, hey, while I’ve got your attention, just wanted to add a comment about the Word Cloud – nice touch. Glad to know your graphics department is still fully staffed and funded, and able to come up with the kind of informative “news” the nation is clamouring for.

Too bad you obviously had to let your “journalists” go – which, as I do seem to recall, you actually had once upon a time in the very distant past.

I guess it’s just a sign of these difficult economic times – which, by the way, are all President Obama’s fault.
Nance Rants

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reagan The Socialist

Reagan The Socialist


Ravi Batra comments that if Democratic President Barack Obama is a "small" socialist, then Reagan was the "Great American Socialist." (Photo: University of Texas)

    Socialism has been much in the news for some months. Recently, some GOP stalwarts charged President Obama with preaching the heresy. John Boehner, the House minority leader, characterized Obama's stimulus package as, "one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment."

    "Socialism" is a pejorative term in American politics and needs to be carefully examined. It usually refers to increased government control over the economy, or policies that promote the redistribution of wealth. There is no doubt that President Obama's economic measures, passed and proposed, will raise tax rates on the richest Americans to pay for increased government funding of health care, green energy and education. So the new president is indeed a redistributionist, but so was Ronald Reagan, except that Obama's plans will transfer wealth from the rich to the poor, whereas Reagan's bills transferred wealth from the poor and the middle class to the opulent. In fact, Obama's measures are puny, whereas Reagan's were massive. If the Democrat is a "small" socialist, Reagan was the Great American Socialist.

    Let's go back to the early 1980's. In 1981, Reagan signed a law that sharply reduced the income tax for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. The president asserted his program would create jobs, purge inflation and, get this, trim the budget deficit. However, following the tax cut, the deficit soared from 2.5 percent of GDP to over 6 percent, alarming financial markets, sending interest rates sky high, and culminating in the worst recession since the 1930's.

    Soon the president realized he needed new revenues to trim the deficit, bring down interest rates and improve his chances for reelection. He would not rescind the income tax cut, but other taxes were acceptable. In 1982, taxes were raised on gasoline and cigarettes, but the deficit hardly budged. In 1983, the president signed the biggest tax rise on payrolls, promising to create a surplus in the Social Security system, while knowing all along that the new revenue would be used to finance the deficit.

    The retirement system was looted from the first day the Social Security surplus came into being, because the legislation itself gave the president a free hand to spend the surplus in any way he liked. Thus began a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and the middle class, especially the self-employed small businessman, to the wealthy. The self-employment tax jumped as much as 66 percent.

    In 1986, Reagan slashed the top tax rate further. His redistributionist obsession led to a perversity in the law. The wealthiest faced a 28 percent tax rate, while those with lower incomes faced a 33 percent rate; in addition, the bottom rate climbed from 11 percent to 15 percent. For the first time in history, the top rate fell and the bottom rate rose simultaneously. Even unemployment compensation was not spared. The jobless had to pay income tax on their benefits. A year later, the man who would not spare unemployment compensation from taxation called for a cut in the capital gains tax. Thus, Reagan was a staunch socialist, totally committed to his cause of wealth redistribution towards the affluent.

    How much wealth transfer has occurred through Reagan's policies? At least $3 trillion.

    The Social Security hike generated over $2 trillion in surplus between 1984 and 2007, and if it had been properly invested, say, in AAA corporate bonds it could have earned another trillion by now. At present, the fund is empty, because it has been used up to finance the federal deficits resulting from frequent cuts in income tax rates. If this is not redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich, what else is?

    Thus, Reagan was the first Republican socialist - and a great one, because his wealth transfer occurred on a massive scale. His accomplishment dwarfs even FDR's, and if today the small businessman suffers a crippling tax burden, he must thank Reagan the redistributionist. However, FDR took pains to help the poor, while Reagan took pains to help the wealthiest like himself.

    Reagan's measures were similar to those that the Republicans adopted during the 1920's, which were followed by the catastrophic Depression. More recently, such policies were mimicked by President George W. Bush and they are about to plunge the world into a depression as well. Ironically, the Reagan-style socialism or wealth redistribution is about to destroy monopoly capitalism, the very system that he wanted to preserve and enrich.

    Wake up America and elect leaders with a heart - not those who would tax your unemployment benefits and cut the capital gains tax.

Our enemy, the corporate media

For those of us who view corporate monopoly control of newspaper, television, and radio news as a major obstacle to democracy in the United States, there is some good news at hand. That good news could hold the key to the restoration of democracy in our country, and with that, the re-emergence of a progressive/liberal agenda could someday end the stranglehold that the wealthy and the powerful hold over ordinary Americans.

The problem – Corporate control over most of the news that Americans receive

Democracy is only as good as the information that we receive. Our right to vote means very little if we don’t have enough information on which to make an intelligent choice in the voting booth.

That is why corporate monopoly control over much of our national news media, which was greatly facilitated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, has been so toxic to our democracy. With that Act, the wealthy and powerful were able to exert so much control over the news that the average American receives that they created a radically alternative reality for most Americans.
 much more here:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

big news on recall

Talk about consumer fraud. Hope you can get a refund.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The liberal media

Apr-29-06, Stephen Colbert addressing the White House Press Corpse
As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished.

Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!

Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

When fascism comes to America

Report: Slain US Nazi hated Obama, had parts for 'dirty bomb'

Stephen C. Webster
Published: Monday March 9, 2009

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Claim: Depleted uranium purchased over the Internet from an American company

Trust fund millionaire James G. Cummings, an American Nazi sympathizer from Maine who was slain by his wife Amber in December, allegedly had the radioactive components necessary to construct a "dirty bomb," a newly released threat analysis report states.

The man, allegedly furious over the election of President Obama, purchased depleted uranium over the Internet from an American company.

details here:

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Unopened claims letters hidden at VA offices

Unopened claims letters hidden at VA offices

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Mar 4, 2009 16:56:42 EST

A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money.

VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.

“Veterans have lost trust in VA,” Michael Walcoff, VA’s under secretary for benefits, said at a hearing Tuesday. “That loss of trust is understandable, and winning back that trust will not be easy.”

Unprocessed and unopened mail was just one problem in VA claims processing mentioned by Belinda Finn, VA’s assistant inspector general for auditing, in testimony before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Auditors also found that the dates recorded for receiving claims, which in many cases determine the effective date for benefits payments, are wrong in many cases because of intentional and unintentional errors, Finn said.

The worst case uncovered by auditors involved the New York regional office, where employees testified that managers told staff to put later dates on claims to make it appear claims were being processed faster. A review found that 56 percent of claims had incorrect dates, although no evidence was found of incorrect or delayed benefits payments. Finn said workers reported that this practice had been used for years.

The new report comes as VA is trying to resolve an earlier controversy involving documents essential to the claims process that were discovered in bins awaiting shredding at several regional offices, which raised questions about how many past claims had been delayed or denied because of intentional or unintentional destruction of documentation.

‘It is impossible not to be shocked’

Kathryn Witt of Gold Star Wives of America said survivors trying to receive VA benefits have long complained about problems getting accurate information and missing claims. “When they call to check on the status of the claim, they are often told that the VA has no record of their claim and that they should resubmit their paperwork,” she said.

In one case, a woman claimed she had to submit paperwork to VA three times to prove she was married and had three children, Witt said.

And having to resubmit the same claim, she added, does nothing to reduce the backlog that already forces survivors to wait six to nine months for simple claims to be approved.

“It is impossible not to be shocked by the numbers from Detroit,” said Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., who chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s oversight and investigations panel. “Shredding documents or burying them in the bottom drawer is a breach of trust. Whether that breach of trust comes as a consequence of inadequate training or negligent or deliberate behavior, Congress must not and will not tolerate it.”

It is unclear, however, whether there is any short-term fix.

A permanent solution is to have a fully electronic claims process to establish a record of when documents are received and their status as they move through the process. A fully electronic system will not be in place before 2011, VA officials said.

Kerry Baker of Disabled American Veterans said a short-term answer could be to scan all documents related to claims into computer systems. Baker, DAV’s assistant national legislative director, said this could be done at one or more large-scale imaging centers that would transform paper into electronic records.

“A large section of the veterans community and representatives of the community have long felt that the Veterans Benefits Administration operates in such a way that stalls the claims process until frustrated claimants either give up or die,” Baker said.

He said that although he doesn’t believe that is true, something must be done.

“Denying earned benefits by illegally destroying records should serve as the proverbial wake-up call that signals the urgency of this overdue transformation,” he said.

Geneva Moore, a senior veterans service representative from Winston-Salem, N.C., who testified on behalf of the American Federation of Government Employees, a union that counts about 160,000 VA workers among its members, said backdating claims and document shredding are signs of a claims system under stress.

“Clearly, if the disability claims process were already paperless, many of the problems being considered at this hearing today would no longer exist,” she said.

A word from Michael Moore

by: Michael Moore  |  Visit article original @ MichaelMoore.Com

Michael Moore tells Republicans: "The days of using my name as a pejorative are now over." (Photo: Saed Hindash / The Star-Ledger)

    I have watched with mild amusement this week the self-immolation of the Republican Party as it bows before the altar of Rush Limbaugh, begging for mercy, pleading for forgiveness, breathlessly seeking guidance and wisdom from The Oracle.

    President Obama and the Democratic Party have wasted no time in pointing out to the American people this marriage from hell, tying Rush like a rock around the collective Republican neck and hoping for its quick descent to the netherworld of irrelevance.

    But some commentators (Richard Wolffe of Newsweek, Chuck Todd of NBC News, etc.) have likened this to "what Republicans tried to do to the Democrats with Michael Moore." Perhaps. But there is one central difference: What I have believed in, and what I have stood for in these past eight years - an end to the war, establishing universal health care, closing Guantanamo and banning torture, making the rich pay more taxes and aggressively going after the corporate chiefs on Wall Street - these are all things which the majority of Americans believe in too. That's why in November the majority voted for the guy I voted for. The majority of Americans rejected the ideology of Rush and embraced the same issues I have raised consistently in my movies and books.

    How did this happen? Considering how, for the past eight years, the Republican machine thought they could somehow smear and damage the Democrats if they said it was "the party of Michael Moore," it appears that the American public heard them loud and clear and decided that, "hey, if you say Michael Moore is connected to the Democrats, then the Democrats must be OK!"

    During this past election, a Democrat in Michigan, Mark Schauer, was running against the incumbent Republican congressman, Rep. Tim Walberg. Schauer asked me to endorse him and campaign for him, and I did. The Republicans were thrilled. They acted like they had been handed manna from heaven. They filled the airwaves with attack ads showing pictures of me and asking voters, 'is this the guy you want influencing your congressman?' The voters of western Michigan said "YES!" and threw the Republican out of office. The newly elected congressman told me his poll numbers had gone up once the Republicans started running ads likening him to me.

    There have been over a half-dozen attack documentaries on me ("Michael Moore Hates America," "Fahrenhype 9/11," etc.), plus a feature film starring Kelsey Grammer and James Woods that had me being slapped silly for 83 minutes. Several books have been written by the Right in a concerted attempt to denounce me. One book, "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America," had me listed at #1. The author was so sure people would know why, he didn't even bother to write a chapter on me like he did for the other 99. You just get to the end of the book and all it says is "#1" with nothing but a big picture of me that takes up a full page.

    What made the Republicans so sure that Americans would recoil upon the mere mention of my name, or by simply showing a photo of my face?

    The result of this was one colossal backfire. The more they attacked me, the more the public decided to check out who this "devil" was and what he was saying. And - oops! - more than a few people liked what they saw. Overnight I went from having a small, loyal following to having millions go to movie theaters to watch ... documentaries? Wow.

    Yes, the more the Right went after me, the more people got to hear what I was saying - and eventually the majority, for some strange reason, ended up agreeing with me - not Rush Limbaugh - and elected Barack Obama as president of the United States, a man who promised to end the war, bring about universal health care, close Guantanamo, stop torture, tax the rich, and rein in the abusive masters of Wall Street.

    Think about this road I've traveled. At the beginning of the Bush years, I was pretty much an outsider, referred to as being on the "far left." I usually found myself holding viewpoints that differed from the majority of the people in this country. When I spoke out against the war - before it even started - I was marginalized by the mainstream media and then booed off the Oscar stage in "liberal Hollywood" for commenting about a "fictitious" president. Seventy percent of the public back then supported the war and approved of the job George W. Bush was doing.

    But I stuck to what I believed in, kept churning out my movies, and never looked back. The Right and the White House spokespeople came after me time after time. President Bush 41 called me an "a**" on TV, and I became a favorite punching bag at both the 2004 and 2008 Republican National Conventions in speeches by John McCain and Joe Lieberman. On the front page of this morning's Washington Post, Mark McKinnon, a top adviser to George W. Bush, revealed - for the first time - the Bush White House strategy of singling me out in the hopes of turning the country against me and the Democratic Party. Here's what the Post said:

Mark McKinnon, a top adviser in President George W. Bush's campaigns, acknowledged the value of picking a divisive opponent. "We used a similar strategy by making Michael Moore the face of the Democratic Party," he said of the documentary filmmaker.

    In the end it all proved to be a big strategic mistake on their part. Thanks to the Republican attacks on me, average Joes and Janes started to listen to what I had to say. Contrary to Richard Wolffe's assessment that "there were no Democrats as far as I can remember who were saying they stood with Michael Moore," Democrats, in fact, have stood side by side with me during all of this. Here's the Congressional Black Caucus supporting me on Capitol Hill in 2004. Here's Terry McAuliffe, the head of the Democratic National Committee, enthusiastically attending the premiere of "Fahrenheit 9/11" with two dozen senators and members of Congress. Here's a group of Democratic congresspeople endorsing my film "Sicko" in the chambers of the House Judiciary Committee in 2007. And here's President Jimmy Carter inviting me to sit with him in his box at the Democratic National Convention. Far from making me into a pariah, the Republicans helped the Democratic leadership realize that to identify themselves publicly with me meant reaching the millions who followed and supported my work.

    Though John Kerry lost in 2004, my focus that year had been to get young voters registered and out to vote (I visited over 60 campuses). And so, just a few short months after the release of "Fahrenheit 9/11," America's young voters became the only age group that John Kerry won. They set a new record for the largest 18- to 24-year-old turnout since 1972, when 18-year-olds were given the right to vote, thus sending a signal about what would happen four years later with the youth revolution that ignited Obama's campaign.

    After Fahrenheit, I kept speaking out, the Republican machine kept attacking me, and two years later, in 2006, the American public sided with me - not Rush Limbaugh - and voted in the Democrats to take over both houses of Congress.

    And then, finally, two years after that, we won the White House.

    That's the difference - The American people agree with me, not Rush.

    The American public believes that health care is a right and not a commodity.

    They want tougher environmental laws and believe that global warming is real, not a myth.

    They believe that the rich should be taxed more.

    They want to go after the crooks on Wall Street who got us into this mess and the politicians who enabled them.

    They want more money invested in education, science, technology and infrastructure - not in more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

    They believe that, whether Democrats or Republicans have been in power, wealthy corporations have been calling the shots for the past few decades and the American people's voices have not been heard as their country has slowly been driven into the ground. Our politicians and our media have been bought and paid for by the highest bidders and we don't trust them anymore.

    Finally - they want us to get the hell out of Iraq and to investigate the criminals who sent us there for fictitious reasons.

    Obama and the Democrats going after Rush is a good thing and will not do for him what the Republican attack plan did for me - namely, the majority of Americans will never be sympathetic to Rush because they simply don't agree with him.

    The days of using my name as a pejorative are now over. The right wing turned me into an accidental spokesperson for the liberal, majority agenda. Thank you, Republican Party. You helped us elect one of the most liberal senators to the presidency of the United States. We couldn't have done it without you.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Republican propagandist cows Couric

Katie Couric was on Letterman discussing Rash Limbaugh. She couldn't muster up the nerve to characterize Republican failure for what it is.
The people who adhere to Limbaugh like an ass boil don't watch Katie or Letterman. She risks nothing by calling a bloated Nazi propagandist for what he is. Al Franken wrote a book deriding Rash, and he's about to be seated in the Senate. The big secret is that Limbaugh's audience is generally uneducated knuckle dragging dolts with thought disorders compounded by loose associations.
That Rash keeps them angry at a mythical enemy that's taking their money is why Republicans still get support from people voting against their own best interests. This is why Republicans hate spending money on education. The last thing corporate America wants is educated people without jobs.
It's our job to make Rash, Aryan Annie Coulter and others of their sick twisted treasonous ilk to be the faces and voices of the Republican Party.