Archive for the ‘US Media’ Category

Thoughts on US Third Parties.

This comes from watching the French election, which is a similar legislative-executive system to the US.  I will also admit to voting Green from a disgust with the US duopoly (i.e., the Democrats and Republicans) and its stranglehold on the system.

In a way Dan Savage is correct, the third parties should be running candidates lower down the ticket, in particular for the legislature. That is because a third party would be more effective in pushing its agenda there, or at least in blocking other parties from pushing theirs. It is more effective to be a spoiler/fixer in the legislature than in an election.  Third parties will become a force to be reckoned with once they demonstrate they have power, but they need to be the force to do what the obstructionists in congress have been doing. Or to thwart the obstruction.

One of the Clintonista/Democrat talking points was that the party is a coalition of various political views, but the duopoly parties are failed coalitions.  In some ways, they have become titular left-right parties, although I would argue any difference is more in appearance and relation to hot button issues (e.g. abortion and gun control [1]).  The past election showed how detrimental relying upon hot button issues is to real issues (e.g., the environment).

Third parties are good for keeping politics real. Case in point are the presidential debates which are no longer run by the League of Women Voters.  The president of the LWV, Nancy M. Neuman, denounced this action when the LWV ceased having any real control over the debates:

“It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions,” Neuman said. “The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

Neuman said that the campaigns presented the League with their debate agreement on
September 28, two weeks before the scheduled debate. The campaigns’ agreement was negotiated “behind closed doors” and vas presented to the League as “a done deal,” she said, its 16 pages of conditions not subject to negotiation.

Most objectionable to the League, Neuman said, were conditions in the agreement that gave the campaigns unprecedented control over the proceedings. Neuman called “outrageous” the campaigns’ demands that they control the selection of questioners, the composition of the audience, hall access for the press and other issues.

“The campaigns’ agreement is a closed-door masterpiece,” Neuman said. “Never in the history of the League of Women Voters have two candidates’ organizations come to us with such stringent, unyielding and self-serving demands.”

Neuman said she and the League regretted that the American people have had no real opportunities to judge the presidential nominees outside of campaign-controlled environments.

lwv.org/press-releases/league-refuses-help-perpetrate-fraud
I would that change is drastically needed in US politics, particularly its system of elections, but that will not come as long as the duopoly holds power.

I have pointed out that the Electoral College needs to be abolished, yet the fact that Clinton’s “loss” was due to her failing to secure enough votes in the Electoral College is again overlooked and substituted for blame on everything except the existence of that body (as was the case in 1990).  Both times the “losers” won the popular vote.

Of course, abolition of the Electoral College is only one thing in what is probably a long wish list of electoral reforms needed in the US:

open debates run by an impartial body like the League of Women Voters, shorter election cycles, open primaries, ranked choice voting, return of the fairness doctrine and equal time rule (Trump used the lack of it to get shitloads of free publicity), campaign finance reform–if not publicly funded campaigns, easier access to the ballot for parties, reform or abolish the electoral college, end gerrymandering, handcounted paper ballots or receipts, and I am sure that is only the beginning.

While one can dream that there will be internal change, it doesn’t seem likely since the parties still seem entrenched in the same behaviours which have led to the US political system being the disaster it is.

OK, we also need to add in media consolidation here since it is one way the “state” can get away with  form of censorship, but only allowing one message to get out.  Also controlling any opposing voices.

Any real change has to come through the system since violence will backfire and result in the wrong type of change.  Thus any dissenting parties best chance has to be to try and thwart the duopoly and use the duopoly’s power against it.

Change has to come, but it must come by using the system to gain power and then force change.

[1] This is not to say gun control is not important (or abortion), but these issues have been used to get people to vote against their interests.  Neither is one of left and right, but of public welfare and safety.

The Crappy State of the US Media

First it starts with a set of subway ads for shows like Married to a Mime and Bayou Eskimos:


Of course, I have to admit a disgust with how US Media has been consolidated into 6 Corporations controlling 90% of the media in the US, from 50 companies back in 1983.

This info-graphic details what that means to the average person in the US, which is why people might think these shows are real.

They aren’t, they are part of an ad campaign by New York Public Broadcasting, WNET.

media-infographic

Interesting quote of the day:

From the FAIR blog:

Where media define the “center” or the “middle” tells you a lot about the worldview they are promoting. The “center” doesn’t usually indicate where most of the public is, but rather where elites have determined an appropriate middle between opposing arguments. Confusing the two concepts is common (and not an accident).

The Article in question is about the economic advice from two of the most prominent economists who have worked at the highest levels of government and academia.  On the other hand, this is a fairly telling comment as I have been seeing a lot of political terms being misused, such as “socialism” and “conservative”.  The last term being the most thoroughly brutalised of all of them.

“Conservatism”, from the Latin: conservare–“to retain”, is defined as a political and social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional social institutions. A person who follows the philosophies of conservatism is referred to as a traditionalist or conservative. Conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity. According to the 2nd Viscount Hailsham, a former chairman of the British Conservative Party, “Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself.”

To me to be a “Conservative” one must be strongly for social order and institutions while not accepting change to that order without good reason.

Of course, the definition is used about has this caveat:

There is no single set of policies that are universally regarded as conservative, because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Thus, conservatives from different parts of the world – each upholding their respective traditions – may disagree on a wide range of issues.

I am of the opinion that the precedent set in the US by its use of force to obtain independence from Britain (a decidedly non-conservative act) has left its mark on US politics to bring about what I call the “reality challenged right”.  Although, one could also add that other factors are also afoot to create the “reality challenged right”.

The main characteristic of this is the belief in the use of force in politics, which is not found in most civilised nations.  In fact, that is probably the most obvious characteristic of this movement.

Another characteristic is being fact adverse, with the most frightening aspect being the failure to address climate change as news comes that the atmospheric level of a carbon dioxide has reached a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.  Scientists believe the rise in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.

“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

I have to admit that I find this movement quite frightening and am not sure how it could have been allowed to arise, but the fact that such a disastrous political faction could be given any level of credibility, let alone called “Conservative”, boggles my mind.

The rightward trend in US politics.

Sure it’s a cartoon, but Ted Rall hits the nail on the head:

Who Spent the Social Security Trust Fund Money?

Cross posted from http://penigma.blogspot.com/2011/03/who-spent-social-security-trust-fund.html with permission:

Social Security should have a surplus. Republicans and Tea Partiers, like Rand Paul, tell us the money was spent, and they want to change benefits and the retirement age. They hate what they like to call ‘entitlements’; they never liked them. Like unions, they have been looking for pretexts to get rid of it.

So……….where is the money, and who spent it? Having spent it, why the hell do they think it is acceptable to simply say, so sad, too bad, and for the government not to pay it back?

Lets take a look at when the money started being spent. That would take us back to George H.W. Bush. It continued under the next president, Bill Clinton; but to his credit, Clinton presided over a booming economy, and handed over a surplus to the Shrub, George ‘Dubya’ Bush. And that appears to be where the spending went nuts, blowing the balance of the Social Security money with his wars and most of all, with his ill-conceived tax cuts —- the ones that benefit the wealthy very few, so very, very much more than anyone else.
Let me remind you how much the Democrats had a different taxation program than do the Republicans – and Tea Partiers:

So lets take a look at the money, the missing money, and who paid in that money. Because the people who paid in that money to Social Security have every right to be angry, and to demand that the money be repaid rather than be told they are out of luck.

That would be……..the baby boomers. There are quite a lot of baby boomers, they are no small demographic. They are aging, and as they do, they are a force to be reckoned with at the ballot box.

To reprise the history:

“The baby boomers have contributed more to Social Security than any other generation,” says economist Allen W. Smith. “They have prepaid the cost of their own retirement, in addition to paying the cost of the generation that preceded them.”

Smith points out that the baby boomers have kept their end of the bargain, which was proposed by the Greenspan Commission and enacted into law in 1983. “The higher taxes that were part of the 1983 ‘solution’ to the baby boomer problem have generated the annual Social Security surpluses anticipated so far, and they will continue to do so until 2018,” Smith said.

According to Smith, by 2018, the baby boomers will have paid enough extra taxes to have generated a $3.7 trillion reserve in the trust fund, which would be sufficient to pay full benefits until 2042 when the youngest of the boomers would be 78 years old.

“Despite these promises, President Bush has been raiding the trust fund since he took office,” Smith said, “and he no longer tries to conceal what he has done. In an effort to muster support for his privatization proposal, he has been openly admitting to the raiding of the fund.”

“There may be ‘no trust’ when it comes to Bush’s handling of Social Security money,” Smith argued, “but there most certainly is a trust fund. That fund is empty today because President Bush has used the money to pay for tax cuts, the war in Iraq, and many other programs. So, instead of trying to blame the baby boomers for Social Security’s current problems, Bush should stop spending Social Security money on other programs and repay the money he has already spent.”

As one of those who has been contributing those higher tax contributions into that trust fund, I want that money. I will not accept being told “too bad we spent it, you are S O L” by Republicans and Tea Partiers like Rand Paul. Pay it back, pay it back NOW, and if that means you have to end the damnable Bush Tax Cuts to the wealthy to do that, I don’t care. The wealthy may try to keep you on a short leash, Rand Paul, but that is your problem, and your cronies problem.

Don’t even think about making it my problem. I vote. I write. I am willing along with the baby boomers to go boom on your behind.

Let that spending of the Social Security Trust Fund become part of the George W. Bush failed presidential legacy. Let the Boomers take the lead in condemning him to history; I’m sure we won’t be the last, or the only ones to do so. And Tea Partiers, like Rand Paul? Be on notice, about that missing money? Better start coming up with ways to pay it back, not change the goal posts on us.

Six versus Seventy!

The US media is full of talk about a budget being proposed by The US Sentate’s “Gang of Six”, yet the media tends to neglect that there is a gang of Seventy–The US Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). These are the Democrats in the House who have already vowed to oppose any deal which cuts benefits in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Congressman Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of CPC has pointed out that:

“Our Gang of Seventy-plus has the Gang of Six completely outnumbered, and with Republicans not voting for any package, period, because of their opposition to a functional economy. The House Democrats hold the key to whatever plan can pass Congress.”

Grijalva and his allies point to the CPC People’s Budget as an alternative more in sync with what people want and the economy needs—a budget that calls for shared sacrifice. For example, 66 percent of Americans favor raising income tax rates on those making more than $250,000 and 67 percent support raising the wage cap for Social Security taxes. Both of these measures are included in the CPC budget. It’s a budget that also offers sensible cuts to military spending run amok, new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, and an investment of $1.45 trillion in job creation, education, clean energy, broadband infrastructure, housing, and R&D. And it does all of this while achieving a lower debt-to-GDP ration in 2020 than the widely praised—praised by the elite, that is— budget proposal from Republican Congressman Paul Ryan.

In contrast, the Gang of Six proposal shafts those who have already borne so much of the burden of the financial crisis and its fallout—lost pensions, lost homes, lost wealth—while the very people who brought the economy to its knees through their recklessness make out like banksters and bandits. In fact, at a time of inequality akin to that of the Gilded Age, the top marginal tax rate would be lowered—lowered!—to 23 to 29 percent, while there would be massive cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), notes that JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein would save approximately $2 million to $3 million on their tax bills. But in twenty years, a 90-year-old living on a Social Security income of $15,000 would lose more than $1,200 a year in benefits.

How’s that a “bargain” for this nation and who exactly finds it “grand”?

All along, the alternatives that reflect the popular idea of shared sacrifice have been marginalized—by the political establishment (and, tragically, the Democratic leadership) and the corporate media. That’s one reason we are where we are in terms of the shape of this budget deal, where a ludicrous moral equivalence is being drawn between an increase in capital gains or carried interest tax and cuts in the very programs that have brought security and dignity to millions of Americans when they need it the most.

This is not about left and right. This is about right and wrong. And that’s something the political and media establishment just don’t seem to get.

See:
Congressional Progressive Caucus : FY2012 Progressive Budget

LUV News–GET IT!!!

Each morning we get up to scan the Internet for news and opinion censored by the US corporate media and put out what we call LUV News. We never ask for money at LUV News for anything we do and ask people who want to contribute to instead help the web sites that are putting out public interest stories each day, like Intrepid Report, or to help other worthy causes. To join and get the daily email one need only go here.

We have long stated our goal at LUV News is to go out of business, and that will be possible when a mass media source opens which allows important censored facts to get to the public. About 500 people currently help get LUV News out to friends, family, work colleagues and Internet groups.

There is currently no public interest network existing. PBS and NPR are a joke, taking the corporate money and doing their bidding. I have a standing offer to PBS NewsHour and NPR Morning Edition to take on their big news programs any day of the year and show them their bias going against the public interest . They have so far refused to take me up on it, because I have asked for an hour of time should I prove my point, while bringing them a hundred new or renewed members should I not be able to find such bias any day of the year. I am convinced they know they would lose the bet.

Told ya that Murdoch was slime!

As a Brit, the name Rupert Murdoch has always made me cringe. Now, if we add in the fact that US Media is being controlled by smaller group of people, in particular Rupert Murdoch, that should make any American cringe. The News of the World Scandal was nothing new, or surprising, to me.

So, it is no surprise when I see John Nichols’ piece in the Nation, Rupert Murdoch Has Gamed American Politics Every Bit as Thoroughly as Britain’s, where he starts out:

Rupert Murdoch has manipulated not just the news but the news landscape of the United States for decades. He has done so by pressuring the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to alter the laws of the land and regulatory standards in order to give his media conglomerate an unfair advantage in “competition” with more locally focused, more engaged and more responsible media.

It’s an old story: while Murdoch’s Fox News hosts prattle on and on about their enthusiasm for the free market, they work for a firm that seeks to game the system so Murdoch’s “properties” are best positioned to monopolize the discourse.

I have been mentioning that Murdoch was on the board of the Cato Institute and News Corp is a big supporter of that “think tank”. But for all the talk of free markets, the real upshot is that the “Libertarians” want to dismantle government so that they can monopolise its services and pass the cost on to the consumer. Little surprise that the rich are getting richer as the rest of us see our standard of living decline.

Disobey Rupert Murdoch every chance you can!

Nichols sets it straight that the whole point of Fox, according to Murdoch, was to “dethrone” more traditional media outlets—outlets that did actual news reporting and that were not expressly ideological. Instread, Fox is dominated by talking-head commentators and places itself at the service of the corporate-dominated and militarist wing of the GOP.

Ultimately, Rupert Murdoch is a case study of how libertarian policies will end up shafting the American public. Murdoch has cozied up to the regulators and tamed them such that they are toothless. He has the legislators in his pocket so that they propose the laws that groups such as The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) want to see passed. And the “Tea Party” astroturf group is passed off as the will of the people.

There needs to be an inquiry into how far Murdoch has corrupted the American Political system.  The most critical focus of any inquiry into Murdoch’s influence over US political and regulatory players should include  those American politicians and regulators—Republicans and Democrats—who remain in positions where they can do the mogul’s bidding.  Murdoch’s misdeeds deserve to be examined—thoroughly, and aggressively, but the actions of those in government who appear to have been every bit as obedient to Rupert Murdoch as their British counterparts should be scrutinised as well.  This does not bode well for the US government.

I have to add this quote from White Rabbit:

The short answer is this: I am of course suffering terminal schadenfreude at Murdoch’s present difficulties and the more odium – and damage – heaped on his head the better. Essentially this is because he is the worst sort of bully – the sort that acts on the belief that they cannot be thwarted or checked in any way. They can do anything they like and there is no power on earth to stop them – they are above the law and above the constraints that make the rest of us more or less behave despite our own worst instincts. Anyone and anything that opposes them will be crushed – an individual expressing opposition will be browbeaten – usually by character assassination. A business opponent will be taken out by any means required. Political figures will be cowed and reduced to courtiers and supplicants. Public opinion will be bent to suit the Murdoch corporate interest – an interesting example is the rabid Europhobia of the Murdoch titles – a product of the fact that he plainly recognises the EU as too big and too unbiddable to bend to his will. The inevitable result – the endless torrent of abuse of the Murdoch titles.

Murdoch is a bit like Hitler in that he wanted the world–now his thousand year reich is crumbling and perhaps democracy will replace it.

Media self-censorship.

Luv News found two excellent articles on corporate media censorship and propaganda this morning that every American should see, to understand a bit about how their mass media work. First, Glenn Greenwald’s latest piece titled “How the U.S. government uses its media servants to attack real journalism.”

One “Conservative” critic likes to say that he doesn’t see very much criticism of Obama as he continues Bush’s policies, but there is good reason for that as Greewald’s article points out. The CIA uses and effectively controls a secret prison in Mogadishu, where foreign nationals who are rendered off the streets of their countries (at the direction of the U.S.) are taken (along with Somali nationals) to be imprisoned with no due process and interrogated (by U.S. agents). Although Somali government agents technically operate the facility, that is an obvious ruse: “US intelligence personnel pay the salaries of intelligence agents and also directly interrogate prisoners” and are “there full-time,” Scahill reported.

This arrangement is consistent with standard Obama administration practice: “they continue even the most controversial Bush terrorism policies by having some other government technically operate it so they can keep their fingerprints off it.” Scahill’s discovery of this secret prison in Mogadishu — this black site — calls into serious doubt the Obama administration’s claims to have ended such practices and establishes a serious human rights violation on its own. As Harper’s Scott Horton put it, the Nation article underscores how the CIA is “maintaining a series of ‘special relationships’ under which cooperating governments maintain proxy prisons for the CIA,” and “raises important questions” about “whether the CIA is using a proxy regime there to skirt Obama’s executive order” banning black sites and torture.

Despite the significance of this revelation — or, more accurately, because of it — the U.S. establishment media has almost entirely ignored this story. Scahill thus far has given a grand total of two television interviews: on Democracy Now and Al Jazeera. No major television news network — including MSNBC — has even mentioned his story. Generally speaking, Republicans don’t care that the worst abuses of the Bush era are continuing, and Democrats (who widely celebrated Dana Priest’s 2006 Pulitzer Prize winning story about Bush’s CIA black cites) don’t want to hear that it’s true.

In the other piece, Marquette professor of Moral Theology Daniel Maguire pens to Rachel Maddow, “On your show of July 14, you spoke of your complete freedom to say what you want on your show,” and then he goes on to prove that she doesn’t really have that freedom. High-profile U.S. journalists often like to boast that they are free to cover whatever they want, but that is often because they choose not to cross certain lines that would otherwise upset powerful people or interests.

In this case, the Israel lobby.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spoke of her complete freedom to say what she wants on herr show and Bill Moyers gently demurred, speaking of restricting forces that hover over journalists on her July 14 show. Bill Moyers was correct. I cannot believe she is free to address the political influence of the Israeli lobby (which is far broader than AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) on her show.

She is not free to invite John Mearsheimer or Stephen Walt, authors of The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. She is not free to talk of how their first article that preceded this book could not be published by The Atlantic even after the magazine commissioned it. The authors had to go to England to get it published.

AIPAC’s announced goal is to have “no daylight” between Israel’s needs and U.S. policy. Yet Ms. Maddow and other journalists cannot address their ongoing success.

Ms. Maddow is not free to invite Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor who was on the Gaza flotilla on “The Audacity of Hope” to hear her side of the Israeli illegal occupation and continuing expansion in Palestine and in Jerusalem. Or Ray McGovern, former CIA policy analyst who used to report in person to George H.W. Bush and other senior White House officials. McGovern was also on that ship.

The Israel lobby is one of the most powerful lobbies in the US, and it works against the US interest. Still it is a sacred cow that one cannot address in USMSM.

One of the tricks of proagandising the population is the ability to control the message. US Media consolidation and power over the allegedly “public media” prevents some very serious messages being heard by the US public. The US media is owned by for-profit corporations and are funded by corporate advertising (read “underwriting” on “Public” Broadcasting), it is not surprising that they seldom provide a full range of debate. The right edge of discussion is usually represented by a committed supporter of right-wing causes, someone who calls for significantly changing the status quo in a conservative direction. The left edge, by contrast, is often represented by an establishment-oriented centrist who supports maintaining the status quo; very rarely is a critic of corporate power who identifies with progressive causes and movements with the same passion as their conservative counterparts allowed to take part in mass media debates.

While the right would have us worry about government censorship. And I will be the first to say that official censorship is something that must be constantly guarded against. In our society, however, large corporations are a more common source of censorship than governments: Media outlets killing stories because they undermine corporate interests; advertisers using their financial clout to squelch negative reports; powerful businesses using the threat of expensive lawsuits to discourage legitimate investigations. The most frequent form of censorship is self-censorship: Journalists deciding not to pursue certain stories that they know will be unpopular with the boss.

That is what is going on in these stories, self-censorship. Profit-driven news organizations are under great pressure to boost ratings by sensationalizing the news: focusing attention on lurid, highly emotional stories, often featuring a bizarre cast of characters and a gripping plot but devoid of significance to most people’s lives. But that isn’t the only reason for using sensational news stories, they also provide diversion from the real issues that are not being properly addressed.

It is a shame that the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression is being stifled by non-governmental forces over which there are no controls. This limits the debate and creates a poorly informed public that believes itself to be much better informed than it really is.

See:
FAIR’s What’s Wrong With the News?

Posted 16/07/2011 by lacithedog in media, propaganda, US Media, US Media Control

Media Malpractice on the Debt Debate

The convention in mainstream journalism is that the new stories give you the facts, and the columnists give you their opinions (hopefully backed by facts). But in the coverage over the debt ceiling and budget debates sometimes you’re better off heading straight to the columns. Today offers a good example. In the Washington Post (7/15/11), Ezra Klein lays out the political dynamic that is rarely explained. As Klein writes, the White House has decided to:

offer Republicans a deal that is not only much farther to the right than anyone had predicted, but also much farther to the right than most realize. In addition to the rise in the Medicare eligibility age and the cuts to Social Security and the minimal amount of revenue, it would cut discretionary spending by $1.2 trillion, which is an absolutely massive attack on that category of spending.

In the New York Times (7/15/11), Paul Krugman writes:

President Obama has made it clear that he’s willing to sign on to a deficit-reduction deal that consists overwhelmingly of spending cuts, and includes draconian cuts in key social programs, up to and including a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. These are extraordinary concessions. As the Times’s Nate Silver points out, the president has offered deals that are far to the right of what the average American voter prefers — in fact, if anything, they’re a bit to the right of what the average Republican voter prefers!

The conventional coverage–which pits Obama’s offer against Republican intransigence–tends to gloss over these facts. The front-page article in the Times today by Jackie Calmes explains the debate as being between Obama’s desire to raise taxes on the wealthy and cut the deficit, while Republicans prefer “smaller government” and lower taxes. It quotes Sen. John McCain saying that the “president keeps talking about spending more money”–with no explanation that Obama is actually proposing to reduce non-security domestic federal spending as a percentage of GDP to its lowest level in 50 years.

These are the limits in the media debate. The fact that the public would seem to prefer an entirely different type of budget deal is a non-factor. The fact that such plans exist–the People’s Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, for instance–is all but ignored by the corporate media. Senate Democrats have floated a similar plan. A competent press corps would cover these proposals, if only for the sake of telling citizens that such options are available–that reducing the long-term deficit is possible without slashing spending on programs that people support.

But the media would much prefer a budget debate that pits Obama’s Republican-leaning plan against the Republicans who oppose that plan. Unfortunately, there is another budget proposal coming from the left which get absolutely no play in the USMSM (includes “Public Broadcasting”). This People’s Budget is the exact antithesis of what is being mentioned in USMSM. The People’s Budget eliminates the deficit in 10 years, puts Americans back to work and restores our economic competitiveness. Additionally, this budget protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and responsibly eliminates the deficit by targeting its main drivers: the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars overseas, and the causes and effects of the recent recession.

Our Budget Puts America Back to Work & Restores America’s Competitiveness
• Trains teachers and restores schools; rebuilds roads and bridges and ensures that users help pay for them
• Invests in job creation, clean energy and broadband infrastructure, housing and R&D programs

Our Budget Creates a Fairer Tax System
• Ends the recently passed upper-income tax cuts and lets Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2012
• Extends tax credits for the middle class, families, and students
• Creates new tax brackets that range from 45% starting at $1 million to 49% for $1 billion or more
• Implements a progressive estate tax
• Eliminates corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies; closes loopholes for multinational corporations
• Enacts a financial crisis responsibility fee and a financial speculation tax on derivatives and foreign exchange

Our Budget Protects Health
• Enacts a health care public option and negotiates prescription payments with pharmaceutical companies
• Prevents any cuts to Medicare physician payments for a decade

Our Budget Safeguards Social Security for the Next 75 Years
• Eliminates the individual Social Security payroll cap to make sure upper income earners pay their fair share
• Increases benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side

Our Budget Brings Our Troops Home
• Responsibly ends our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to leave America more secure both home and abroad
• Cuts defense spending by reducing conventional forces, procurement, and costly R&D programs

Our Budget’s Bottom Line
• Deficit reduction of $5.6 trillion
• Spending cuts of $1.7 trillion
• Revenue increase of $3.9 trillion
• Public investment $1.7 trillion

But as the Economist pointed out: “Mr Ryan’s plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the 2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly. The Progressive Caucus’s plan would (by its own claims) balance the budget by 2021 by cutting defence spending and raising taxes, mainly on rich people.”

Naturally, the Koch Brothers and their ilk wouldn’t approve of such a budget, which is why it gets no air time. Obama is the perfect sell out who follows the line of his big donors.

But, the real problem is that the people who are screaming about the government will be screaming even louder when they see they have been sold out by their government.

see also:
Media Malpractice on the Debt Debate
Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Fiscal Year 2012
The courageous Progressive Caucus budget

Deficit games

Nothing like a little voodoo economics to scare the crap out of the ignorant US public. Let’s talk about the budget deficit and how large the national debt happens to be.

Guess what? The US deficit is mostly the fault of the Bush tax cuts, the Bush wars, and the financial collapse that happened during the Bush presidency. At this point, though, this is more in the nature of a religious debate than a factual one, and conservatives are going to keep repeating the same tired disinformation about the deficit regardless of any evidence one way or the other.

Of course, there is a shift of wealth with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and everybody else seeing their standard of living drop.

Personally, I wish these ideas would go away, they are a bad idea for the US and a worse idea for the rest of the world.

Sources:
Economic Downturn and Bush Policies Continue to Drive Large Projected Deficits
The Deficit Chart Republicans Hate

Censored 1998 Saturday Night Live Segment about Corporate Control of Media

One of the frequent gripes of this blog is that the US media has become consolidated into the hands of a few multinational corporations. They are attempting to place the public media in a position where it must take corporate funding to exist by defunding public broadcasting.

While the first Amendment provides for Freedom of the Press, those guarantees only apply to government action, not those of private industry. Private industry is not required to present other opinions and can engage in self-censorship to its heart’s content. Likewise, individuals can do what they will to drown out unpopular opinions though astroturf.