Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Save "Journalism?"

John Nichols and Robert McChesney are circuiting the country to promote their new book, The Death and Life of American Journalism.

Their thesis is that we have returned to the era when pro-democracy forces in American society require large government subsidies--especially in the form of postal credits--to journalism.

Without government subsidies, the free-market model will kill investigative reporting and the wide spectrum of viewpoints necessary in print media to sustain a vibrant democracy.

The essential component for the immediate stimulus should be an exponential expansion of funding for public and community broadcasting, with the requirement that most of the funds be used for journalism, especially at the local level, and that all programming be available for free online. Other democracies outspend the United States by whopping margins per capita on public media: Canada sixteen times more; Germany twenty times more; Japan forty-three times more; Britain sixty times more; Finland and Denmark seventy-five times more. These investments have produced dramatically more detailed and incisive international reporting, as well as programming to serve young people, women, linguistic and ethnic minorities and regions that might otherwise be neglected by for-profit media.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Connecting The Telecom Dots Behind 'Net Neutrality' (Hint: It's About The Money) | Public Knowledge

Connecting The Telecom Dots Behind 'Net Neutrality' (Hint: It's About The Money) | Public Knowledge

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Our Oppressed Billionaires | Mother Jones

Our Oppressed Billionaires | Mother Jones

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NYPost: ObamaCare: Will mean massive tax hike

My response to Geoff Earle comes at the suggestion of Firedoglake, hoping to gain criticism for the weakness of Obama's proposal.

I, however, praised the tax increase on capital gains in protest to Geoff Earle's slanted article.

Geoff Earle tries to shed the harshest possible criticism on President Obama's proposed Health Care Reform Bill.

In fairness to Earle, he does mention that the tax would primarily effect wealthy earners' interest, dividend, annuity, and other investment income. Yet Earle doesn't then connect this factoid with his concluding mention that, "[L]ower-earning salaried employers currently pay a Medicare hospital-insurance tax, but people with large investment income don't."

What Earle leaves out altogether is the fact that capital gains are only taxed at 15%, unlike other income very rich have to pay an already-modest 35% tax on.

(By the way, under Eisenhower, the highest income earners paid upwards of 75% income tax.)

Earle also fails to mention that the "double whammy" of the expiring Bush tax cuts (that are expiring because they were passed with 53 Senate votes through reconciliation) has been one of the major culprits in shrinking Federal revenues and driving up the deficit since 2001.

Let's face it, the Senate health bill on which Obama's proposal is based, is deeply flawed: the individual mandate, the state (not federal) exchanges, no public option, ban on generic pharmaceuticals, etc.

But don't complain about rich people paying taxes, Geoff. While the average household income for 80% of Americans has declined over the last 15 years, the top quintile has gotten richer, and the top one percent have made out like bandits.

Without the laws and protections of government, and our subsidy of the commons, the wealthiest could not make their money at all, so their debt to society is obviously much greater than those who earn much less.

The problem with Obama's health proposal is that it doesn't go nearly far enough in correcting the economic imbalances in our health care system and our economy that are necessary to restore fairness and health to our society.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gerbner was Right

Ben McGrath, winding up his article, The Movement, talks about a new video game apparently designed to appeal to male tea baggers. This sounds like it would be a huge hit with the 1/4 day televiewers who need an endless virtual massacre to feel engaged in the political process
Back in New York City, you can feel the tremors in the social bedrock, if not in the earth’s crust, as T. J. Randall would have it. An online video game, designed recently by libertarians in Brooklyn, called “2011: Obama’s Coup Fails” imagines a scenario in which the Democrats lose seventeen of nineteen seats in the Senate and a hundred and seventy-eight in the House during the midterm elections, prompting the President to dissolve the Constitution and implement an emergency North American People’s Union, with help from Mexico’s Felipe Calderón, Canada’s Stephen Harper, and various civilian defense troops with names like the Black Tigers, the International Service Union Empire, and CORNY, or the Congress of Rejected and Neglected Youth. Lou Dobbs has gone missing, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh turn up dead at a FEMA concentration camp, and you, a lone militiaman in a police state where private gun ownership has been outlawed, are charged with defeating the enemies of patriotism, one county at a time.

The sun is setting rapidly on American democracy, and if daylight savings time doesn't come quickly, it will be night before anyone is prepared for such darkness.

Read more:

Broadband carriers speak out against FCC regulation -

Broadband carriers speak out against FCC regulation -

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Misinformation at Tea-Time

One of the misunderstandings fueling the so-called tea party movement is the "fact" that rural states in the internal areas of the country are paying extraordinarily high taxes to fund the wasteful spending and profligacy of the socialist coastal states with the biggest cities (and minority populations).

As Ben McGrath records in The Movement, a retired Kentucky engineer cum tea party organizer explained at a rally rally in horse country,
The district’s congressional representative, Geoff Davis, brought up the proposed cap-and-trade legislation favored by Democrats, and called it an “economic colonization of the hardworking states that produce the energy, the food, and the manufactured goods of the heartland, to take that and pay for social programs in the large coastal states.

This is just another of the many convenient untruths fueling the frothing imaginations of the conservative televiewers.

Read more:

The End of the Big Idea for the Jobs Bill? - The Gaggle Blog -

The End of the Big Idea for the Jobs Bill? - The Gaggle Blog -

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Scoop Review Of Books » Greenspan wins Dynamite Prize

Scoop Review Of Books » Greenspan wins Dynamite Prize

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Right-wing flips out over due process

My question is: Are these blockheads actually saying they think the guarantee of due process, a fair trial, and the presumption of innocence are undemocratic, unamerican, or unjust?

at-Largely: Right-wing flips out because lawyers represented defendants...

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right -

Tea Party Lights Fuse

We're talking about ignorance undermining engagement in the democratic process of self-rule. If Americans turned off the television and got off their butts to work for something positive, together with their neighbors, they might be a little more hopeful. But sitting around listening to paid actors lie and derogate anything that could unite the people against the money power is not enlightening. These people are completely disengaged from self-government in their communities, their states, and in Washington.

The tv they consume (average 4 hours / day) is cashing in on them.

They are being sold to sponsors by media conglomerates who profit, along with the sponsoring corporations, from selling the biggest, most receptive audiences they can.

People are more willing, he said, to imagine a government that would lock up political opponents, or ration health care with “death panels,” or fake global warming. And if global warming is a fraud, is it so crazy to wonder about a president’s birth certificate?

“People just do not trust any of this,” Mr. Mack said. “It’s not just the fringe people anymore. These are just ordinary people — teachers, bankers, housewives.”

When your idea of a "political meeting" is brandishing firearms and listening to raving demagogues, who could you trust? Certainly not somebody engaged in deliberative reasoning, or constructive dialogue.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daily Kos: NYT soils itself, AGAIN!

It's incredible to read this piece and realize the lengths the NYT goes to soil itself, AGAIN!

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Maybe the New Owner Is "Mooning" the Old One

Should we give the Washington Times another look?



42They were (A)continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to (B)the breaking of bread and (C)to prayer.

43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many (D)wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

44And all those who had believed [a]were together and (E)had all things in common;

45and they (F)began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

46(G)Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and (H)breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

47praising God and (I)having favor with all the people And the Lord (J)was adding to their number day by day (K)those who were being saved.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

77% ?!

Only 42 percent of Republicans polled actually believe the President of the U.S. is a citizen of the U.S. Compare that to the 77 percent of Americans overall who think the president is actually an American.

I find the 77% of all Americans figure to be just as, if not more disturbing than, the 58% of Republicans over the issue of whether or not they believe the President is an American citizen. Republicans are known to adhere to unreasonable positions for partisan and/or racial loyalty, but they should total far less than 1/4 of Americans for my comfort zone.

It sort of goes to what Mike Molly was saying last night, that if Fox is the number one most trusted news source in the country, there's no point in trying to work with the American population on the basis of reason for progress. We just aren't capable of it. Forget it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bankrupt Trib Co. Awards Execs Big Bonuses

The judge handling the bankruptcy filing of the newsroom-job-slashing Tribune Company has approved a reorganization plan involving the removal of thousands of jobs and the downsizing of news sections, along with a total of $45,000,000 in executive bonuses.

Mutilating a Corpse

NPR added invective by a neo-con to Howard Zinn's obituary.

1. Horowitz's mortual attack on Zinn only underscores the frailty and self-perceived vulnerability of Horowitz's own phony, illusionist politics.

For a pundit of the diminutive stature of Horowitz to call Zinn "fringe" -- in spite of "millions of" readers -- is pathetic.

2. What's even more pathetic is that Non-Public Radio had to kiss their sponsors' "ring" and "balance" Zinn's merits with mendacious, corporatist propaganda just in order to be allowed to run a deservedly laudatory obituary of the visionary and progressive Zinn.