Friday, March 29, 2013

Progress...And The Opposite

"It's ridiculous (this) is something we're having a conversation about in this day and age....I've known straight and gay people all my life. I can't tell the difference...But I'd never marry a guy I didn't like." – Willie Nelson

Like it or not, same sex marriage is winning over the public’s support.

It’s either a sign of significant social progress, with less intolerance and bigotry...or it’s a sure sign of the end times. 

For the extreme Right, I’m guessing they hope for the latter. But for a society that values equal rights and civility for all, the former seems to be indicated.

In 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a 57% to 35% margin.

Today, there is slightly more support for same-sex marriage than opposition to it, with 49% in favor and 44% opposed.

This is encouraging. Maybe the next national trend will be reversing the demonization, bigotry and prejudice against liberals, non-whites, immigrants, atheists and Muslims.

What’s that? Obama was re-elected? I’m not sure that means much more than the nation is fed up with Republican presidents. Well, that’s somewhat heartening, but he too is one of the corporate friendly politicians who only recently discovered his “evolving” stance on same-sex marriage.

A moderate is the best we can get for now.

The problem is Obama's all too willing to cut safety nets as a concession to the radical Right, while being far too unwilling to demand a small tax on stock market transactions. When will his stance “evolve” on corporate welfare, warrantless surveillance, drones over America, targeted executions without trial, the war on drugs and the military empire occupying the globe?

Who knows, maybe some day we might actually have a liberal president and congress...

Naww.. Who am I kidding? Ain’t happing soon.

Not with corporations being “persons” controlling the national media, and wielding billions of dollars in “free speech” and lobbying money.

Not with millions of Americans indoctrinated into believing corporate media is “liberal media”.

Not with millions of Americans indoctrinated into believing liberals are godless America-hating commies who have no “family values”.

Not with millions of Americans indoctrinated into believing suppressing voter registration rights and restricting poll access is needed to stop "Mickey Mouse" from committing voter fraud.

The other biggest problem for liberals is they have a disproportionately small voice in public policy and representation.

The House is controlled by Republicans through gerrymandering, despite the fact more Americans voted for Democratic representation in the House.

The Senate is even more unbalanced. The conservative voters of less populated states also have more representation per capita in the Senate than the liberals of large states and the rest of the country.

Couple these factors with the filtering of information by corporate media and the dominance of lobbying and "free speech" cash by Big Money interests, and we are left with a Right Wing government for a left leaning population.

The only hope for liberals is for them to be as motivated, united, and funded as the Right in mid-term elections.

But I don't think most liberals get it. Unlike the Right, they don't have their own corporate saturated radio and TV media. We don't have mega-media conglomerates urging the public to vote for the public good against the exclusive interests of the economic elites.

We don’t have national media that broadcasts and prints the basic fact that one party is largely, while the other is exclusively, in service to the interests of Big Money.

I wonder why...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ten Years and Nothing Learned

Ten years ago today the US went to war.

War with Iraq had been on their minds since before the 2000 election. Bush spoke of being a “war president” in order to have “political capital”.

All the chickenhawk warmongering talk had done its job. Half of America believed Saddam had something to do with 9-11, that he had a nuclear weapons program, (complete with “nukular aluminum tubes) and vast stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

The corporate media had dutifully parroted, without question, every line from Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and all the other wrong-headed Neocons.

Time for the Fearless Chidkenhawk Decider to lead America to glory.

The corporate media quickly and cowardly fell in line. Here's a snapshot of what the corporate media had to say ten years ago this week.

March 18, 2003:

Bill O'Reilly makes a promise on ABC's Good Morning America:

“If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again, all right?

March 19, 2003:

War based on lies is launched.

John Burns of the New York Times writes: "The striking thing was that for many Iraqis, the first American strike could not come too soon."

NBC's Tom Brokaw: "We don't want to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, because in a few days we're gonna own that country."

March 20, 2003:

Oregonian editorial: "In our view, President Bush has built a strong case for the invasion of Iraq, a case that will be overwhelming with the inevitable discovery of the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein is hiding."

March 21, 2003:

The New York Post reports that talk radio is solidly behind the war: "And if you were looking for a debate on 'Operation Iraqi Freedom,' fuhgeddaboudit." The paper reports Don Imus saying, "We got stabbed in the back by those assholes in France and the rest of them. Enough of Tom Daschle, who is disgraceful, and all the rest—enough of that."

The Post also quotes Rush Limbaugh proclaiming on his show: "I'm not messing with people who want to say this attack is illegal, it's not warranted, it's not justified--I'm not going to argue with you people anymore. Take your propaganda to somebody else who might believe it." And adds: “It's beyond me how anybody can look at these protestors and call them anything other than what they are: anti-American, anticapitalist, pro-Marxist communists.”

March 23, 2003:

Fox News Channel posts a headline that reads, "HUGE CHEMICAL WEAPONS FACTORY FOUND IN SO IRAQ.... REPORTS: 30 IRAQIS SURRENDER AT CHEM WEAPONS PLANT.... COAL TROOPS HOLDING IRAQI IN CHARGE OF CHEM WEAPONS." ABC's John McWethy promotes "one important new discovery: U.S. officials say, up the road from Nasarijah, in a town called Najaf, they believe that they have captured a chemical weapons plant and perhaps more important, the commanding general of that facility. One U.S. official said he is a potential 'gold mine' about the weapons Saddam Hussein says he doesn't have."

NBC's Tom Brokaw described the story thusly: "Word tonight that U.S. forces may have found what UN inspectors spent months searching for, a facility suspected to be a chemical weapons plant, uncovered by ground troops on the way north to Baghdad."

The next day, a Fox correspondent in Qatar quietly issues an update to the chemical weapons story: The "chemical weapons facility discovered by coalition forces did not appear to be an active chemical weapons facility." U.S. officials admit that morning that the site contains no chemicals at all and had been abandoned long ago

The Associated Press runs a story on war protests, the title of which sets up a dubious dichotomy: "Protesters Rally Against War; Others Support Troops."

March 28, 2003:

The Washington Post reported that broadcast news consultants are "advising news and talk stations across the nation to wave the flag and downplay protest against the war." Advice includes patriotic music, avoiding "polarizing discussions" and ignoring protests, which "may be harmful to a station's bottom line," according to tests conducted by one firm. The same firm "advised clients to find experts in some 30 categories --including 'veterans of Desert Storm,' 'Former G Men,' 'Military Recruiting Offices' -- most of whom would be unlikely to offer harsh criticism of the war."

- Thanks to FAIR:

Wow. That's some "liberal media" we had there.

Since there was zero accountability for the politicians, officials, and pundits for being wrong, let along punished for treasonous lying to congress and taking us to war on falsehoods, this scenario will in all likelihood be repeated.

Iran will likely be the target.

Why? Because Bush called Iran a part of the “Axis of Evil”. They are surrounded by the US military, and the Israeli Right is rattling its sabres. For wanting nuclear weapons as a deterrent against the US and Israel, Iran will be demonized as a threat to us.

Never mind that no other country has been as threatened as Iran for developing such weapons. The USSR did it. China did it. Pakistan did it. But for Iran to do the same? Hell No! This means war!

And who cares whether they have a weapon or not? Since when does reality matter in our wars? 



So how did the Iraqis celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Neocon Crusade?

By midafternoon, the numbers had stacked up: 57 dead and nearly 190 wounded in separate attacks that included 17 car bombs, 2 adhesive bombs stuck to cars, and a killing with a silenced gun.

We can only wonder, when are they going to erect that statue of their "liberator" on George W. Bush Boulevard?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

CPAC Lunacy Alert:

Yes, it's that crazy Conned-servative CPAC time of year again. The wild-eyed hate club of the radical Right is once again gathered for our entertainment. 

Here’s a little quote not heard on the one and only season of realty TV show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”.

“Remember no drama Obama? Now we have all drama Obama. We don’t have leadership coming out of Washington. We have reality television.”

Yeah, that was a funny one alright. 

The irrelevant and oblivious Quitter in Lipstick continues the shameless projection that the radical Right has been so famously spewing for years now.

One thing we'll never hear of is a "No Drama Palin".

I highly recommend the excellent movie “Game Change” starring Julianne Moore, Learn why her handler Nicole Wallace couldn't bring herself to vote for Palin. 

Spoiler alert: Drama from you-know-who. 

And I really must add this little gem of conned-servatism.

A panel at the Conservative Political Action Committee on Republican minority outreach exploded into controversy on Friday afternoon, after an audience member defended slavery as good for African-Americans.

The exchange occurred after an audience member from North Carolina, 30-year-old Scott Terry, asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.

The regressive conned-servatives of CPAC want "their country" back. Back to the 19th century.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Both Sides Do It"

“Both sides do it” sums up the corporate media punditry assessment of the Democrats and Republicans. Equivocation, meet false equivalence.  

It is certainly true that corruption and dishonesty can be found within both of our corporatist parties.

But one party is 100% in the pocket of Big Money while the other is somewhat less.

Both sides do it, but one side does it exclusively.

Don’t expect corporate media to ever discuss this difference.

And there are plenty of other examples of false equivalence from corporate media.

One party is actively working to suppress voter turnout. One party is actively working to rig their states electoral system to give the presidential election to Republicans by overruling the majority of Democratic voters.

One party controls the House of Representatives even though more Americans voted for the other party.

One party is openly antagonistic towards democracy and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment:

“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Racial profiling, gerrymandering, voter registration restrictions, ID restrictions, limiting access to polls, and let's add Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s personal assault on the Voting Rights Act as "racial entitlements", are a but a few of the weapons used by the Right in its war on democracy.

So, do both sides do that?

I suppose so, if you believe limiting large high fructose beverages in New York is oppression. But that’s not an issue now. The ridiculous ban has been blocked by a judge. I’ve never seen that as one of the foundations of liberalism anyway.

The corporate media’s false equivalence is addressed most eloquently by David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

Atkins wrote:

“But, the critics say, doesn't the left do the same thing?

Well, no. There are two big differences.

First, the progressive left doesn't even begin to have the same influence or funding that the far right does. Even if we wanted to play the Club for Growth's game, we have neither the power nor the reach to do it. And the media barely notices.

But the second and more important difference is that the far right is advocating deeply unpopular and objectively crazy and immoral policies. The left simply isn't doing that.

Cutting Social Security is unpopular. It's also bad public policy. Cutting Medicare is unpopular. It's also bad public policy. Giving the ultra-wealthy more tax breaks is unpopular. It's also bad public policy. Invading Iran is unpopular. It's also bad public policy. Refusing gun background checks is unpopular. It's also bad public policy. Perpetuating breaks for the fossil fuel industry is unpopular. It's also bad public policy. The list is endless.

This is why journalism that prioritizes balance over truth is so harmful. If the press isn't able to stand up and tell the public who is right and who is wrong, all that's left is a tug-of-war among seemingly bickering infants. If the press isn't able to say that one side is utterly bought off by corporate interests, and the other side is mostly bought off by corporate interests but less so, then apathy reigns supreme.

If the press were as interested in bipartisanship as they claim to be, the first step would be to start telling the truth about public policy.”

I couldn't have said it better.

A side note, that’s definitely related, is a comment from former Republican senator Alan Simpson.

“In an interview with The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty, former senator Alan Simpson(R-Wyo.) gives his thoughts on the state of conservatism ahead of CPAC this week.

 Alan Simpson on the state of conservatism: It's 'goofy,' 'rigid'.

Goofy, rigid... and hostile towards democracy.

Perhaps that's because Republican Right Wing Conservatism is not really conservative. It's more conned-servative.