Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Funnies: Herman Cain and Occupy Wall Street Edition

   So the Republican Party’s token black man ( Herman Cain ) is on top in the Republican race for the nomination to do battle with President Obama for the White House in 2012.

Conan O'Brien: "Herman Cain is out there, he says a lot of provocative things. He said America should build its own Great Wall of China. Cain says it's a great idea because if there's one thing you don't see in China, it's Mexicans."

"Earlier this week, a protester at Occupy Wall Street proposed to his girlfriend. His exact words were, 'Will you occupy my parents' basement with me until I get a job?'"

Yesterday, President Obama's teleprompter was stolen. Police are on the lookout for a thief that's eloquent and spreading a message of hope."

Stephen Colbert: ‎"Herman Cain is ahead with 27%, as opposed to Newt Gingrich, who is 27% head."






Republican Herman Cain: Godfather of Bulls*^t

   As if we have come to expect anything less from those Republican candidates running for the GOP nomination.

   Herman Cain is another one of those GOP hypocrites claiming that he’s for the small business owner and for the normal American. Cutting taxes for the wealthy is his ultimate goal, make no mistake about it.

   As it turns out, Mr. Clean ain’t so clean after all. He is close friends with groups who would like to do away with workers rights and fair wages. Can you say the Koch brothers? Americans for Prosperity? ALEC? He is cahoots with all of the right-wing masters.

                        Koch raising Cain

By jamess     Sun Oct 16, 2011          Original

The News-feeds are all a twitter ... someone has been doing some digging ...

Long Ties to Koch Brothers Key to Cain's Campaign
by Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press -- IOWA CITY, Iowa October 16, 2011 (AP)

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation's capital. But Cain's economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.

Cain's campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his "9-9-9" plan to rewrite the nation's tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans.

Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state's AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.

Block and Cain sometimes traveled together as they built up AFP: Cain was the charismatic speaker preaching the ills of big government; Block was the operative helping with nuts and bolts.

[Mark] Block is now Cain's campaign manager.

It's nice to have friends in high places, right Herb?

Herman Cain and the Koch Brothers - political bedmates?
by Nancy Houser, digitaljournal -- Oct 11, 2011

Herman Cain's new political allies

Nobody speaks more loudly in support of the loyalty of the Koch brothers toward America than the 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, an Atlanta radio host and past chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza, who has topped Republican polls in Virginia and South Carolina while winning the Florida GOP straw poll.

And obviously, candidate Cain supports and trusts the Koch brothers. But why do the wealthy and powerful Koch brothers want Herman Cain? Watch the video:

Herman Cain calls the Koch Brothers "True Patroits"

Herman Cain:

I think David Koch is a Patriot. Because David Koch cares about the future of this Country. His brother Charles Koch is also a Patriot. They care about the future of this Country.

On MTP this morning, Cain gives a "shout out" to Clarence Thomas (another Koch alumni);  and in the above clip, we also find out Cain has been a longtime paid speaker at AFP events -- including speaking out against the Science of Climate Change.  Anything for a buck, right Herb?

intro link

And Cain has credited Rich Lowrie, a Cleveland businessman who served on AFP's board of advisors from 2005 to 2008, with being a key economic adviser and with helping to develop his plan to cut the corporate tax rate to 9 percent, impose a national sales tax of 9 percent and set a flat income tax rate of 9 percent.

Rich Who? No wonder mum was the 9-9-9 word, regarding the geniuses behind this regressive tax plan.  Touting a Koch funded-plan could hurt Cain's astro-turf cred.

Debate shout-out brings national attention to Cleveland's Rich Lowrie, economic adviser to Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain
by Henry J. Gomez, The Plain Dealer,  October 12, 2011

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Overnight, Cleveland-area moneyman Richard Lowrie became America's most famous financial planner.

"One of my experts that helped me to develop this is a gentleman by the name of Rich Lowrie out of Cleveland, Ohio," Cain said in response to a question about his economic advisers. "He is an economist, and he has worked in the business of wealth creation most of his career."

So who is Rich Lowrie? The Gates Mills resident has a bachelor's degree in accountancy from Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University. He is a wealth-management consultant and a managing director at a Wells Fargo branch in Pepper Pike. He is a licensed stockbroker.

Even in Cleveland, Lowrie's name rang few bells among industry insiders, one of whom thought Cain was name-checking Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review.

Been surprised by Cain's meteoric rise in the polls in recent weeks?

Don't be.  Given enough money, you can buy almost anything

-- maybe even a very regressive Tax Planmaybe even the U.S. Presidency ???

If all else fails, you're kind of set for life, working for Americans for Prosperity, isn't that right Herb? ... just ask Sarah-Lee.

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 4 years. on Sun Oct 16, 2011
Also republished by Earthship Koch.

No Religion In Politics

  As a Christian, I find it rather offensive that one of our political parties ( Republican ) and their election candidates ( Perry, Bachmann,etc. )  has been attempting to co-op their brand of Christianity onto the rest of America when they have no idea what true Christians are.  In fact, as a Christian, I would rather see an Atheist in the White House over anyone from either party, as these so-called Christians have not exactly been living up to standards. That would be those “ conservative “ Christians in particular.Let’s face it. This country could do no worse than it is at the present time if we had an Atheist government running the show. In fact, this country might even do better. At least an Atheist won’t make the claim of being a Christian when they are nothing near being one.

   That being said.

It's 2011 -- Why Is God Still Involved In American Politics?

Amanda Marcotte

The Mormon-bashing directed at Mitt Romney should concern everyone for what it reveals about the undue influence of religion in American elections.       October 12, 2011

As an atheist and a liberal, it’s been tempting for me to simply laugh at Republicans fighting each other over the issue of whether or not Mitt Romney, a Mormon, gets to consider himself a Christian. From the non-believer point of view, it’s like watching a bunch of grown adults work themselves into a frenzy over the differences between leprechauns and fairies. But watching the debate unfold, I’ve become concerned about what it means to make someone’s religious beliefs such a big campaign issue, because it’s indicative of a larger eroding of the separation of church and state, which concerns not just atheists but all people who understand the importance of maintaining a secular government. 

Robert Jeffress, an influential pastor who is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, went on "Focal Point" with Bryan Fischer and declared that one shouldn’t support Mitt Romney for president because Romney, a Mormon, isn’t a real Christian. This created a media dustup that was silly even by the usual standards of ever-sillier mainstream media campaign coverage. John King of CNN interviewed Jeffress, focusing strictly on the question of who Jeffress believes deserves to be called a Christian, and how firmly he believes that only people he calls Christians should hold public office. Candy Crowley of CNN dogged both Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann on the question of whether or not they believe Romney is a Christian, and then she got irate with the candidates when they refused to answer the question, claiming that it’s irrelevant. 

These interviews are remarkable for what the CNN anchors didn’t discuss, which was the most important question of all: the separation of church and state. Even though our nation has a tradition of pastors staying out of partisan politics -- in fact, it is illegal for ministers to endorse candidates from the pulpit -- it seemingly never occurred to King to challenge Jeffress for overstepping his bounds by telling people that God wants an evangelical Christian who is a Republican for president. By making the story about whether or not Mormons are Christians, CNN left the viewer with the impression that only Christians deserve to hold public office, and that the only thing left to debate is whether or not someone “counts” as a Christian, making him or her eligible for office. 

We’re a long way from the days when John Kennedy assured the public that he respected the separation of church and state and would keep his faith separate from his policy-making decisions. Now, even mainstream reporters take it as a given that politicians will let religion govern their actions, and the only thing left to debate on theology is how many angels any single politician believes dance on the head of a pin. Things that used to be considered beyond the pale in politics, such as religious intolerance or ministers blatantly claiming they know who God supports in an election, have become normalized to the point where someone like Mitt Romney, who is odious in most respects but has never really made much of a fuss over his faith, is seeing religious tests becoming a major issue in his campaign.

The ramifications for this shift affect more than conservative Mormons trying to win as Republicans. By not challenging the assertion that only Christians should hold office, mainstream journalists encourage bigotry against all religious minorities, including atheists. Atheists already face discrimination when it comes to running for public office. A number of states ban atheists from holding public office, even though the U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids religious tests for office. Of course, it’s difficult for an atheist to win enough votes to get office, so this conflict hasn’t been tested much, although one atheist city council member found himself under fire by religious bigots who wanted to use North Carolina’s ban on atheists holding office to push him out for not swearing his oath of office on the Bible. 

There’s a reason the Founding Fathers wrote a national constitution that forbade religious tests for office and required the separation of church and state. It’s not just protection against the escalating religious bigotry we're seeing lately, but also because religion should have no place in politics in the first place. Neither atheists nor believers benefit when leaders are guided more by religious dogma than by rationality. Angels and demons might be a fine thing to worry about when you’re in church on Sunday, but when you’re trying to govern real people in the real world, it’s far better to rely on evidence and empirical facts, interpreted through reason and not through the guesswork of faith. This is why Kennedy defended himself against questions about his faith by saying, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote.” 

People like Robert Jeffress, when they propose religious tests for office--even ones held privately by voters--should face more challenges than reporters simply asking if they consider Mormons “real” Christians. They should be confronted with Kennedy’s words and asked directly why they disagree with our former president about the separation of church and state. They should be asked why they believe only a certain breed of Christians should hold office, and asked why they think it’s appropriate to demand that politicians put religious dogma before evidence-based and rational approaches to policy. Anything less than that is aiding the religious right in its mission to remake our secular democracy into a theocracy. It shouldn’t be tolerated.

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the blog Pandagon. She is the author of It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bank of America Corp. Has No Shame and Obama's Moment of Truth

By barry s        Tue Oct 18, 2011

The venal incompetents at Bank of America are shamelessly attempting to foist but literally tens of trillions in derivatives exposure onto the back of the taxpayer.

Like A Thief in the Night

Bank of America Corp. (BAC), hit by a credit downgrade last month, has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The FDIC is opposing the move while the FED favors the move. The brain trust at BAC simply says that we don't need no stinkin' approval.

No doubt Erin Burnett, Rush Limbaugh will claim this a boon for the taxpayers. Cain, Mitts, Bachman will say this is bad and blame Jimmy Carter for not anticipating this in in 1979.

This is President Obama's Inchon, his Battle of Britain, his Emancipation Proclamation, his Louisiana Purchase.

The President should order his Secretary of Treasury to announce that the FDIC will seize control of BAC forthwith if the derivatives are moved to the backs of the taxpayer from the bank holding company. Further, the  FDIC will use all resources of the United States of America to recoup any loss to the taxpayer from the assets of any officer with rank of Senior Vice President or above or any director or board member. And to protect the interests of the USA, the assets of all board members and executive officers of BAC are hereby frozen pending further review.

BAC can avoid these steps by immediately certifying to the FDIC that no derivatives positions have been transferred from the bank holding company to the bank.

This one action will send a signal that were are a nation of laws and forever eliminate the shameful 'too big to fail' that has hung like a sword of damocles over the taxpayer.

Originally posted to barry s on Tue Oct 18, 2011
Also republished by Class Warfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS the Working Class Occupy movement..

Dictator Gadhafi Dead

  Major party going on in Libya as word has spread that Moammar Gadhafi was killed in a major battle.

Yahoo News

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the most wanted man in the world, has been killed, Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said today.

The flamboyant tyrant who terrorized his country and much of the world during his 42 years of despotic rule was reportedly cornered by insurgents in the town of Sirte, where Gadhafi had been born and a stronghold of his supporters.

"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Moammar Gadhafi has been killed," Jibril said at a news conference in Tripoli.

He added that the rebel government will wait until later today or Friday to officially declare what it calls a state of liberation.

The National Transition Council earlier today said that its fighters found and shot Gadhafi in Sirte, which finally fell to the rebels today after weeks of tough fighting. Rebels now control the entire country.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A 1%er That’s Human



     Original Article

I am the 1%. I'm with the 99%. If the boat sinks, we all drown.

By plf515              Tue Oct 18, 2011

By any rational standard, I am the 1%.

I'm with the 99%.

But there's a rhetoric out there, among some. There's a rhetoric saying that it's the rich versus the poor. Or the 1% vs. the 99%.  It's not. Not everyone who is rich is a jerk; and some people who are poor are jerks. I'm guessing that the guy holding up the sign "keep government out of my medicare!" was not part of any elite.

But the 1%. Well, I'm not close to the top of that 1%. Alan Grayson is a lot closer. He's worth tens of millions, and he's a BIG OccupyWallStreet supporter. 

Ever hear of Mohammed El-Erian? He's Wall Street if anyone is. He's CEO of an asset management company called PIMCO. He wrote an Op-Ed for Huffington post in support of OWS.

Because some of us 1% are smart enough to realize that if the boat sinks, we all drown. 

And some of us are decent enough to know that people everywhere deserve a certain standard of living, that no one should be hungry and no one should be homeless and no one should die because they don't have health insurance and you shouldn't be able to deny someone water because they don't have the right papers.

Some of us know that the class warfare was started by the conservatives, and that they are mad because we're demanding a ceasefire.

It's not the 99% vs. the 1%.  It's the 99% vs. the portion of the 1% that are shmucks.

India Losing Call-Centers Due To High Wages?

     Laura Clawson for Daily Kos Labor     Tue Oct 18, 2011

Call centers leave India as American companies look for cheaper labor

Congratulations to India, where labor and business costs have risen enough that American companies are transferring their call-center work elsewhere:

Some Indian companies have tried to adjust by hiring less-expensive workers from small Indian towns or switching to high-end back-office work, including paralegal services, accounting and education.

But in the past three years, 13 Indian call-center companies have set up large offices in the Philippines and have trained and hired local workers, according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies.

“The growth in the Philippines is also being driven, to a large extent, by Indian outsourcing companies that are setting up operations there,” said Sangeeta Gupta, the association’s senior vice president.

Call-center work for Indian companies, like that "high-end back-office work," is still located in India. At least until the never-ending race to the bottom sends much of that to the Philippines, too. But when that happens, India should take heart in the fact that the U.S., after losing so many jobs to cheaper labor elsewhere, eventually itself became a source of cheap labor and got some jobs back.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Oct 18, 2011
Also republished by Class Warfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS the Working Class Occupy movement. and Daily Kos.

“We the People Are Here”

  I get a real kick out of reading the various reporting that is done by the journalist from across the ocean, because they don’t make their stories up, they go to them.

Resourced From Watching America

die Tageszeitung, Germany
“Oh, Sh*t. We the People Are Here”

By Dorothea Hahn
Translated By Ron Argentati
16 October 2011

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Germany - die Tageszeitung - Original Article (German)
It is day 27 of the occupation, and thousands again demonstrate in New York. To stay within the law, they stay on the sidewalks, but the police arrest 80 of them anyway.
The skies are a brilliant blue, the banners beyond imagination. The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators play by the rules and stay on the sidewalk, never venturing into the street. They stop for red lights, but the New York police can't leave well enough alone: On the day of international solidarity, they arrest over 80 demonstrators, including 24 of them at CitiBank. At noon, they had protested against CitiBank's evictions and other fraudulent practices.
Most of the other protesters end up that evening at Times Square, sitting in police vehicles with their hands cuffed behind their backs. Outside, others shout “Who does the park belong to?” and “The whole world is watching.” Meanwhile, more and more police in uniform arrive on horses and motorcycles. More shouts of “Who are you protecting, anyway?” Late that night, new tensions between police and the demonstrators develop.
According to the Occupy Wall Street movement's calendar, it is day 27. The protesters moved from their campgrounds to Liberty Plaza in the financial sector earlier that morning. They stopped at several banks, then moved on to Washington Square to join with thousands of students from the nearby university for a mass demonstration in the open.
“I'm Lorraine and I'm glad to be here,” says one young woman to the “human microphone” — her words are repeated from one demonstrator to the next until they reach the farthest edges of the crowd. Then Lorraine continues, “I've waited 20 years for this. Since Reagan.” Again, her words flow like an acoustic wave through the crowd.
A few meters further on, physicians and nurses from New York clinics assemble in their white uniforms. Using the human microphone, Doctor Steve Auerbach says that 45,000 people die each year “in the world's richest country” from lack of health insurance and that Obama's attempts moving healthcare away from a profit-based system and the Western world's most expensive medicines haven't improved the situation.
These medical personnel have been advocating for a basic reform of healthcare based on their motto, “Everybody In. Nobody Out.” They demand a unified public insurance program for all modeled on the systems in Canada and Taiwan. They have steadily gained an audience in the midst of occasional interruptions and noise from a diminishing tea party movement on the right.
In the late afternoon, several demonstration parades course through Manhattan. The goal is Times Square, a location with theaters and military recruiting offices, home of the bright neon lights. No parade route has been announced, but true to the letter of the law, the demonstrators stay on the sidewalks. The police form an impenetrable human chain separating the marchers from the street traffic. The dense crowds of marchers on both sides of the street raise their battle cry: “We are the 99 percent.” It's occasionally interspersed with shouts of "The banks got bailed out and we got sold out.”
In the midst of all the tumult, a guitar teacher protesting for the first time with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators says that this is a slogan competition. Walking along, one sees further signs: “Stop socialism for the rich.” A man in his underpants carries a sign saying, “Unemployed naked cowboy.” Then someone holds a new sign aloft saying, “Welcome to reality.” How does that make him feel? “Happy,” the young man, a student from New Jersey, replies.

The world will be what we make it.”
    For many, this global participation day marks their first experience with the movement. 57-year-old John Bird, who had watched it on television over the past few weeks, believes it's an opportunity for change and has written a banner stating “Native Americans for economic, social and ecological justice.” He quotes a Mayan calendar that extends only as far as the year 2012. In it, he sees an obligation. “The world that follows this one,” he says, “will be what we ourselves make it.”
Everyone believes that the Occupy Wall Street movement, threatened with eviction from the financial district yesterday, is something new for the U.S. and that it will continue to grow and develop new goals with each passing day. Paralegal Nathan Riedy from Pennsylvania says, “It's not about handouts, it's about fundamental issues.” He voted for Obama and says he will vote for him again. He won't protest against his president but says he's “part of the system.”
Cameron Kelly, a fitness studio owner from upstate New York, has spent several nights camped out in the park. She took part in anti-Vietnam War protests as a student, later demonstrating against other wars and for environmental issues. But the Occupy Wall Street movement is the first she feels is no longer about single issues nor trying to “educate” members of Congress. This, she says, is about “all or nothing.”
“These people understand something that we didn't realize. This is aimed directly at those who see war as a source of income and profit,” she says. She sees an example in a small, hostile neighboring country. She says Cuba is a poor country, yet education is free and its citizens pay nothing for their health care.

"Oh Sh*t. We the people are here."
    What will become of the Occupy Wall Street movement remains an open question. Four weeks after its inception, it is still in the process of taking stock and organizing its list of concerns and expectations. Becky Herman, a 24-year-old New Yorker, says she doesn't talk of a “lasting success.” Her banner demands a halt to military assistance to Israel and taxpayer funding for education and healthcare instead. Not many address that subject.
In front of the Times Square Chase Bank, a young man waves a banner reading “Banks Steal Homes.” Tourists take snapshots of the demonstrators from the upper levels of double-decker buses. A police officer shouts into a megaphone, “Clear the square!” Postal worker Eric Fernandez, 31, waits. For what? “I want everyone to see that I'm against laissez-faire capitalism,” he answers.
In the hubbub around him, Charlotte Souza watches the advancing line of policemen. The 23-year-old has been living in Liberty Plaza for two weeks. She quit her $5.80 per hour job as a kitchen helper. Her black leather jacket bears the slogan “Eat the rich” as well as a large U.S. flag. She says, “I can't understand how we allowed the gap between rich and poor to grow so ridiculously large.”
The police pushed the Occupy Everything crowd away from Times Square. When the square was again totally in the hands of the usual Saturday night visitors, all that was left was a sign lying on the ground. Its message: “Oh, Sh*t. We the people are here.”
   *Note: The quotes in this article, while accurately translated, could not be verified.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Michelle Malkin: Right-Wing Idiot At Large…

…. has been up to her usual right-wing propaganda, only as of late it has been the usual attack on the Occupy Wall Street protesters. So what’s new, right?

   While browsing the Internet early on Monday morning, I came across a website which had a featured article submitted by Malkin in which she was blasting the  “ protesters “  over the cost to the New York taxpayers for the cleanup of Zuccotti Park.

    According to Michelle, the NYC government officials estimate the cost of the one month visit to the park  to be in the area of $3.2 million in overtime to the police. She also makes it a habit to refer to the  “ protesters “ as “ aimless occupiers.”

   Later on down the line, Malkin makes a comparison between the  “ protesters “ and her favorite wing-nut group, the frauds of the Tea Party, making the claim that at least the Tea Baggers had filed for all of the permits required to be in the areas in which they held their meetings, and that the Tea Baggers paid for their own power.

  First off, Michelle, the Tea Baggers may have paid for their power usage, but do we really consider that as a big deal. Paying a power bill is fairly easy when your Tea Party is created and financed by folks such as the Koch brothers and their subsidiary groups. That would be right-wing groups like the fine politicians, lobbyist , and CEO’s who make up membership in American Legislative Exchange Council  ( ALEC ). Remember them? The ones who wish to take away all worker rights, benefits, and pay if they can make an extra dollar from doing so? You know, that top 1% that the  “ protesters “ are meeting about?

  Michelle Malkin on the protesters:

Their T-shirts and speeches glorify Marxist radicals Che Guevara, Emiliano Zapata and Chairman Mao. They lionize convicted death row cop killer Troy Davis and WikiLeaks collaborator Bradley Manning. They condemn "Nazi Bankers," Jews, Fox News, the American Legislative Exchange Council, Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, the Koch family and the New York Police Department ("Pigs!"). They promote the illegal alien DREAM Act and 9/11 Trutherism.

They spout bumper-sticker profanities and inanities: "F**k banks." "Unf**k the world." "Fuuuuu*k." "Free education." "Smash nationalism." "People not profits."

They flash peace signs while celebrity supporter Roseanne Barr calls for beheading financial industry workers and fellow marchers call explicitly for "violent revolution" or for Obama to "Send SEAL Team 6" to Wall Street.

Then they huff and puff (preferably in a creepy uniform chant they call the "human microphone") that we just haven't taken the time to understand what they're all about -- as they hawk $20 "Eat the Rich" polo shirts and license their protest photos to Getty Images.

Viva la revolucion! Up with people! Stop the greed! (Cha-ching. Cha-ching.)

      I spent 3 days at Occupy Wall Street and not once did I hear anyone complaining about the Jews, and the only complaints concerning the NYPD were over their illegal tactics in trying to control the protesters. You remember the pepper spray incidents? Now, there may have been a few rowdy people who got carried away with their rhetoric, but those were the few. As for Fox News,Koch brothers, and Scott Walker, they picked the right people/groups to raise hell about.

   #OWS is selling t-shirts to help pay for the Wall Street visit. So what? At least the group has found ways to support their visit to the titans of fraud and corruption, which you cannot say about Michelle’s beloved Tea Party. #OWS solicits donations of cash and goods on Twitter? They are getting the things which they need by the truck load, so it would seem that they have plenty of support from around the country.

   I’d like to see the Tea Party groups try that tactic without the help of the Koch hoods, and the criminal corporations who pay their bills. The out-come would not be close. The Tea Party would be less than nothing within a week.

  Michelle Malkin, maybe you should try visiting the protesters for a few days at least, in order to get your story straight, if they can stand the smell of you for that long.

   The fact that you posted your article on Glenn Beck’s website ( The Blaze ) tells all that you prefer to live in the universe of the factually challenged right-wingnut commune.

CNN Becoming The Next Fox News Channel

The Foxification Of CNN: New Management Pushes The Network Into Crazy Territory


In the fiercely competitive world of cable news, the players have been jockeying for position as they battle for viewers and advertisers. Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN, each with their own models of programming, seek to gain scale and influence.

Fox News, we know, has established its place as the leader in right-wing advocacy and Republican PR. MSNBC, while not a full-fledged counter to Fox, has allotted a fair portion of its programming to more liberally leaning fare. But CNN, the innovator and one-time leader in cable news, has wavered between those poles emerging as somewhat of a journalistic mutant - neither left nor right nor neutral.

The past year, however, CNN has been attempting to fashion a more recognizable persona. The shift coincides with the promotion of Ken Jautz, formerly the president of CNN's sister network, HLN. At HLN Jautz successed in raising both ratings and revenue by turning the channel into a trashy TV tabloid reliant on celebrity gossip and characters like Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck (yes, Jautz gave Beck his first job on television).

Now presiding over CNN, Jautz has brought his brash and distinctively commercial style to the network that once aspired to be a model of journalistic integrity. He is employing the same sensationalist philosophy at CNN that brought him success at HLN, along with a decidedly conservative bent. In an interview he gave after his promotion was announced Jautz delivered a tribute to Fox News and a preview of what to expect from his tenure saying that he does not believe that "facts-only" programming will work. True to his word he has endeavored to give CNN a shiny Fox-like hue and assembled a team that shares his aversion to facts.

Here are some examples of the lowlights of the Jautz era at CNN:

First and foremost, Jautz brought Glenn Beck into the CNN family saying that "Glenn's style is self-deprecating, cordial...not confrontational." That sort of delusional analysis ought to have been a red flag that disqualified Jautz from running a news network.
2) Erick Erickson, the RedState blogger who once called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a Goat-f**king child molester, became a CNN political commentator. Since his hiring he has cheered the S&P's downgrading of the U.S. credit rating and agreed with Rick Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.
3) CNN signed Dana Loesch, the editor of Andrew Breitbart's BigJournalism, to be a contributor. Loesch has alleged that President Obama "sided with terrorists," and she embraced the overt bigotry of notorious Islamaphobe Pamela Geller. Breitbart, of course is famous for promoting deceptively edited videos that smeared ACORN, NPR, Shirley Sherrod and even CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau. Loesch was hired by CNN after these events were widely known.
4) Jautz brought Erin Burnett over from CNBC. In her debut she broadcast a story that portrayed the protesters on Wall Street as unfocused neo-hippies that didn't understand the issues they were protesting. Burnett would have fit in well on the curvy couch of Fox & Friends where they routinely disparage the movement without ever addressing the substance of it.
5) CNN had the distinction of being the only network to air Michele Bachmann's Tea Party response to the State of the Union Address. Even Fox didn't think it was worthy of live coverage. The result is that CNN had two opposing viewpoints to the President's address, one from the GOP and one from the Tea Party which, of course, is just an affiliate of the GOP. We're still waiting for CNN to air a response from the Progressive Caucus or
6) Another new CNN political analyst is Will Cain, who CNN acquired from the ultra-conservative National Review. And if that credential isn't far enough out in right field, Cain just announced that he is joining Glenn Beck's web site, The Blaze.
7) CNN locked arms with the Tea Party to co-host a Republican presidential primary debate. By choosing Tea Party Express as their partner they embraced a dubious organization that was booted out of the Tea Party Federation due to the racist commentaries of a spokesman. It was also revealed that most of the funds raised from donations wound up in the coffers of Russo, Marsh, the Republican PR firm that founded Tea Party Express.
8) Former Fox News anchor and Bill O'Reilly fill-in, E.D. Hill, is now a CNN contributor. Hill was dumped by Fox after a segment that showed President Obama giving the First Lady a friendly fist bump and Hill called it a "terrorist fist jab."

So CNN is now employing Fox News rejects, Andrew Breitbart lieutenants, and Glenn Beck associates. They've entered into covenants with unscrupulous Tea Partyers. On the flip side, former CNN reporters Ed Henry and John Roberts are now comfortably ensconced at Fox News. The lines between CNN and Fox News are blurring to the point where the networks are becoming indistinguishable. And most of this occurred since Ken Jautz assumed the helm of CNN.

If there is one thing that American media doesn't need, it's another Fox News. The first one is already doing a stellar job of misinforming the public and advancing the agenda of the Republican Party. What's more, emulating Fox has done nothing for CNN's ratings. Why should it? Viewers who are in the market for dumbed-down histrionics, Democrat bashing, and a steady diet of right-wing falsehoods, already have a proven provider. Fox's audience has shown that they are not the least bit interested in looking for the remote that slipped under the sofa years ago. They don't even change the channel when their heroes are just a click down the dial.

Consequently, if CNN is gaining nothing from reshaping their editorial slant to mirror Fox, the only conclusion is that they are deliberately making a hard right turn because that is the direction they want to go. But this path has only resulted in their dropping to third place behind Fox and MSNBC. If CNN ever hopes to regain some of the luster of their glory days, they will need to differentiate themselves from Fox. They might want to take a stab at journalism. That would be novel in these days of advocacy tabloidism.

One more thing: This Friday News Corp is holding their annual shareholder's meeting in Los Angeles at the Fox Studios in West L.A. Rupert will be there. OccupyLA is planning on being there. It would be great if everyone else in L.A. plans to be there too.

By News Corpse | Sourced from DailyKos

Fox News Corp Annual Shareholder’s Meeting…

…. is scheduled for this Friday, October 21,at the  Fox Studios in West L.A

OccupyLA is planning on being there and it would great if you and your friends in the L.A. area would attend this meeting. Even if you are not in  the area and you are just looking for someplace to be, take a little trip and let your voice be heard. You are one of the 99%.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Those Bush/Obama Tax Cuts Cost Us $11.6 Million An Hour


A report from the National Priorities Project - slogan: Bringing the Federal Budget Home - finds that tax cuts to the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans continue to cost the U.S. Treasury - ie: us - $11.6 million every hour of every day. They've installed a rolling counter to see that the total is...well, it's gone up a few hundred thousand since you started reading this.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is This A System Worth Preserving?


Daily Kos

  By swellsman   on Sat Oct 15, 2011

It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.

                            --W. Somerset Maugham

One thing that the Occupy Movement has done magnificently is draw attention to the fact that the vast, vast majority of Americans have been ill-served by the top-oriented, trickle-down economic and political policies to which our country has pledged its allegiance for the past 30 years.  And no group within OWS has done that more eloquently, more movingly, than We Are the 99%.

If you click on that link and go to their tumblr you’ll read testimonial after testimonial from average people who have been left scrambling to fend for themselves as a result of these policies.  Testimonials from people who discovered when the final debt bubble burst that, in 21st century America, working hard and playing by the rules is no longer enough to ensure one’s survival.  Forget about the aphorism that says “a society’s greatness is measured by how it treats the least of its members,” these people are coming to grips with the fact that America’s top-oriented, trickle-down approach often doesn’t set a place at the table for even average Americans.

I suppose that the apologists for the current system recognize how compelling these stories are because one of them, Erick son of Erick, recently started a competing tumblr: We Are the 53%.  Its name derives from the fact that, in America, only 53 percent of the population earns even the minimum amount necessary to subject them to federal income taxes.  So these people are what passes for the lucky ones in today’s America.

The site itself contains testimonials from people describing how hard they’ve personally had to work, sometimes describing how poor they still are, and yet how little sympathy they have for anybody with the temerity to point out that 21st century America is a grossly unfair place in which to live.

Many of these testimonials are truly maddening – not in a These people make me so angry I can’t see straight kind of a way, but in an I can’t understand why you are fighting to preserve a system that clearly doesn’t care about you kind of way.

Some things should just be obvious.  Both We Are the 53% and We are the 99% define themselves in reference to the American population as a whole – so, pretty clearly, nearly everybody who is a member of the 53% is also and at the same time a member of the 99%.  The math alone means there’s almost perfect overlap between the two groups.

But, of course, this isn’t about math.  It’s about competing views of one’s place in society, of one’s obligation to society, and of society’s obligation to its members.

If one photo/testimonial has become the face of the We Are the 53% tumblr, it must be this one:
For anyone having a hard time reading this rather truculent looking young man’s statement, he describes himself as a former Marine who now works two jobs, doesn’t have health insurance, had to work 60 – 70 hours a week for 8 years to pay for college, and hasn’t had four consecutive days off in four years.  Sounds pretty horrible.  Yet he closes with this sentiment:  “But I don’t blame Wall Street.  Suck it up you whiners.  I am the 53%.  God Bless the USA!”

(You just know this guy has blared Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA all his life and not once has he ever actually listened to the lyrics.)

Staring at that photo just produces such cognitive dissonance in me that I almost don’t know where to begin.  But to start with, let me say that I do understand this man’s pride in what he has accomplished and had to overcome to get to where he is today.  Working the equivalent of 2 full-time jobs, for 8 years, to put oneself through college is beyond admirable and kudos to him for managing that.

But what I don’t understand is why it seems never to have occurred to him that he shouldn’t have had to do that.  Is getting a college degree in the United States really supposed to be so difficult?  Is an America in which someone has to work as hard as this young man did for 8 years in order to get that degree – which is rapidly becoming a requirement for employment in all but the more menial jobs – the type of society to which we should aspire?

And consider the circumstances in which this young man actually finds himself now; what has all that hard work and his service to his country as a Marine earned him?  Today he still has to work two jobs, is unable to take any vacation time, and doesn’t have health insurance.  After all that work and service he is absolutely slaving away and still is only one serious illness, one physical accident, one stroke of bad luck from complete and utter bankruptcy.

Is this, in fact, the way American society is supposed to work in the 21st century?  For all this young man already has contributed to our economy and to our country . . . is his reward supposed to be nothing more than a life spent working like a dog and hoping against hope that his luck holds out?  Or the luck of his wife, or of his children?

Is this a system worth preserving?

* * *

Some years ago I met and had a fairly long conversation with another young Marine, who had recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.  (I'm from a Marine Corps family, and my hometown is a Marine Corps town.)  At the time, America’s bloody Iraq misadventure already had been recognized for the gross debacle it was, but Bush II was still in office and nobody seemed to have a plan for extricating the United States from that catastrophe in a way that wouldn’t make it obvious just how badly the Dauphin had screwed up to begin with.

As I’ve mentioned before, policy makers generally find it easier to keep pursuing disastrous policies than to admit that they made a mistake in the first place.  This is the sunk cost phenomenon in which “policy makers tend to favor uncertain success over certain loss.  As long as the project is neither completed nor stopped, the dilemma will keep presenting itself.”

And this often results in some serious heartbreak.  That young Marine I met and spoke with years ago knew that Iraq was a failed experiment and he knew that it was almost certain he would be sent back there within less than a year for another tour of duty, but he didn’t know – he couldn’t know – if he’d ever make it back home that next time.

Of course, it’s not just policy makers who are subject to the sunk cost dilemma – everybody has to deal with it from time to time, and I’m staring at the face of the man in the picture above and I wonder if that is what he is doing.

Maybe the reason he seems so determined to preserve a system that clearly just does not care whether he lives or dies is because he’s spent years really believing all the people who told him the game is fair, and now if he acknowledges the game is actually rigged then he’ll also have to acknowledge that he’s been played for a fool.  Maybe, having worked and sweated as hard and as honorably as he has, he can’t bear to think that all of that work may have been for nothing, a down payment on a promise that almost certainly will never be kept.

Or maybe, like so many other people, he just can’t distinguish between needless sacrifice and noble sacrifice.  Maybe he confuses suffering with value.

Do you remember this exchange, from back when Bush the Lesser was traveling the country and trying to gin up support for his plan to abolish social security?

  Ms. Mornin:      Okay, I’m a divorced, single [57 year-old] mother with three grown, adult children.  I have one child, Robbie, who is
mentally challenged, and I have two daughters.

Pres. Bush:      Fantastic.  First of all, you’ve got the hardest job in America,being a single

mom . . . .

Ms. Mornin:      I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

Pres. Bush:      You work three jobs?

Ms. Mornin:      Three jobs, yes.

Pres. Bush:      Uniquely American, isn’t it?  I mean, that is fantastic that   you’re doing that.  (Applause.)  Get any sleep?  (Laughter.)

Ms. Mornin:      Not much.  Not much.

It is hard to conceive of someone more clearly missing the point here than did President Junior.  Ms. Mornin’s toiling away at three jobs to support herself and her handicapped son is admirable to be sure . . . but it’s not fantastic.  It’s not ‘fantastic’ that in 21st century America this woman has to work as hard as she does and go without sufficient sleep because that is the only way she can earn enough money to support herself and her handicapped son.

But that Ms. Mornin is in fact living a terrible life completely escaped Bush’s notice.  So far as he was concerned – this son of a president, this Ivy League legacy, this man whose fortune and career was handed to him every step of the way by people desperate to curry favor with his daddy – this woman’s life was no more relatable or real to him than a Lifetime Channel Made-For-TV Inspirational Movie . . . but it was just as entertaining.

So maybe that is what the young man in the picture is thinking.  Maybe he fancies that the degree to which his life has worth is measured by the degree to which he has to suffer.  Maybe his martyrdom on a broken system is what proves to him that his life is meaningful.  Maybe believing that the system ultimately is fair is what permits him to view his time spent on this planet as a period of noble sacrifice, and not one of pointless waste.

In the end I can’t know, will never know.  But I’d be willing to bet that, if this young man’s sacrifices never pay off, if he continues to get shafted year after year after year by a system that at best dismisses him and at worst despises him because he is not already one of the blessed few . . . his attitude will eventually change.  A lifetime of toil, disappointment and suffering ultimately will render him – as it renders almost everybody – petty and vindictive, just as Maugham suggests.

And that won’t be good for him, and it won’t be good for anybody else.

Originally posted at Casa Cognito.

Originally posted to swellsman on Sat Oct 15, 2011
Also republished by Occupy Wall Street and Community Spotlight.


What Is #OWS Upset About? Maybe Something Along The Lines Of This…

ALEC Politicians Spin Special "Interest" Bill to Protect Corporate Wrongdoers as "Job Creation"

            Published on Saturday, October 15, 2011 by PR Watch

by Lisa Graves

For years, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has been itching to protect big corporations from high interest rates charged in cases where corporations have killed or injured Americans. Now, Wisconsin politicians serving on key ALEC task forces are pushing a bill embracing this idea as part of ALEC alumnus Scott Walker's latest effort to force the ALEC agenda into law based on claims that doing so will help "job creators."

Citizens Pay 12% but Companies that Injure or Kill Pay 4.25%

The bill, introduced by Wisconsin State Senator Rich Zipperer of Pewaukee and Representative Paul Farrow, also of Pewaukee, would reduce the interest rate on court-ordered payments for Wisconsin residents who have convinced a jury and a judge that a corporation injured them, killed their loved ones, or violated consumer protections guaranteed by law. Under current law, in almost all types of civil lawsuits, Wisconsin requires the losing party to pay 12% interest on the judgment, until the amount owed is paid in full or unless overturned on appeal.

But ALEC politicians Zipperer and Farrow want to slash the interest rate charged (to about 4.25%) -- but only in cases involving personal injury and consumer claims. By definition these are cases in which virtually the only time there will be a financial judgment is when a Wisconsin resident proves in court that the defendant company violated his or her rights. But when a corporation, such as a bank or leasing company, sues a citizen and wins, the Wisconsin citizen still has to pay interest at 12% until the bill is paid in full.

How does this aid job creation?

"Lowering the price of breaking the law doesn't target job creation or economic development," says Laura Dresser an economist from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy. To put it less academically, "the only jobs it creates are for undertakers," said Democratic Rep. Brett Hulsey at a press conference about the so-called job creation bill package. To call legislation that rewards adjudicated corporate wrongdoers "job creation" is simply spin.

Anti-Consumer Bill Echoes ALEC "Model"

The Zipperer-Farrow bill serves very special interests with their own special interest rate. It looks like ALEC's Pewaukee Posse -- a former estate lawyer and a current home inspector -- has taken a page from ALEC's "Prejudgment and Post-Judgment Act." That so-called "model" bill, which the Center for Media and Democracy exposed this summer through our project, would reduce the interest charged to corporations that kill or maim Americans.

This ALEC wish list item is a piece of the ALEC corporations' so-called "tort reform" agenda, an unabashed effort to tilt the scales of justice in favor of corporations in nearly every imaginable way. But Zipperer and Farrow have one-upped ALEC by adding consumer cases into the mix, on top of the cases involving Americans who have lost their lives or livelihood to corporate neglect, malfeasance, or greed. The Pewaukee Posse also tweaked the interest rate calculation of ALEC from using the Treasury bill rate to the prime rate plus one percent. These are differences without distinction -- both slash the interest rate paid by corporations that kill or maim. The Zipperer-Farrow bill is the ALEC bill on steroids by sweeping in all consumer cases in the state as well.

Pewaukee Posse Pushes ALEC Agenda in State

It should come as no surprise that Zipperer sits on the ALEC Civil Justice Task Force. "Civil justice," in this case, is an Orwellian term for giving corporations whose products or policies happen to ruin people's lives more "justice" in the judicial system than corporations get under longstanding rules that protect people done wrong by corporate greed or negligence. The "private sector" head of that task force is none other than the so-called "King of Tort Reform," Victor Schwarz, who has long advanced the interests of tobacco and asbestos companies that for decades deep-sixed scientific proof that their products were literally killing Americans.

Zipperer is also one of the politicians who asked Wisconsin taxpayers to pay the $50 bucks a year ALEC charges for politicians to be members. And he's received financial compensation of over $1000 from ALEC for at least one trip, likely to an ALEC gathering known for schmoozing with corporate lobbyists -- lobbyists interested in legislation just like the one Zipperer and Farrow introduced. Like Zipperer, Farrow is no ordinary member of ALEC. He was chosen to sit on its Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force alongside lobbyists from AT&T and other companies that have been sued for policies and practices that take advantage of consumers.

Pfizer Lobbyist One of ALEC's Corporate Co-Chairs for Wisconsin

This is not the only bill being spun as job creation that has ALEC DNA and that would adversely affect injured Wisconsin residents. Another ALEC bill sponsored by Zipperer would limit the rights of Wisconsin residents to recover any damages in strict liability cases (the primary legal basis for cases involving injurious products) if they are injured by prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Like the special interest rate bill, the drug bill goes even further than the ALEC model -- adding in medical devices and barring lawsuits for drugs approved by the FDA, not just barring punitive damages for regulated drugs, ALEC policy since 1995.

Perhaps, it should come as no surprise that the latest corporate co-chair of ALEC assigned to the state of Wisconsin is none other than Pfizer through its lobbyist Bryon Wornson. The list of drugs Pfizer has gotten through the inadequate FDA review process only to recall them later is long. Last year, an intravenous drug it distributed was recalled because it "might kill" hospital patients. That's just the tip of the iceberg on unsafe products produced and recalled over the years by Pfizer, and Pfizer is just one of the many transnational corporations whose drugs or devices got through the FDA's process only to end up killing or causing life-threatening harm to American consumers.

"This proposal does nothing to help employ the people of Wisconsin and everything to help big-time, special interest drug company CEOs," says Phil Neuenfeldt of the state's AFL-CIO, speaking of the drug and device bill.

The interest rate bill and the drug and device bill are part of a package being considered under Governor Walker's "Special Session on Job Creation," but so far it's hard to spot the bills that actually focus on creating jobs.

Very Special Interest Bill Just One of the Posse's ALEC Echoes

The Pewaukee Posse has proven to be such eager sponsers of legislation with ALEC DNA that perhaps they will get gold stars, or "scholarships," from ALEC's new state co-chair Robyn Vos to attend coming ALEC conventions/vacations along with invitation-only parties hosted by global corps. Vos and his predecessor as ALEC state co-chair, Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald, have been charged under ALEC by-laws with a "duty" to get ALEC bills introduced in their home states. ALEC's politician co-chairs also are tasked with distributing the largess raised by state corporate co-chairs, like Pfizer, from corporate coffers to fund trips for loyal legislators.

Zipperer has put his name and effort behind: SB-1, which echoes several ALEC provisions to limit the rights of Pewaukee residents and other citizens of Wisconsin killed or injured by corporations, including negligent nursing homes (signed into law by ALEC alum Walker); AB-7, the so-called "Voter ID" bill that may block tens of thousands of students and others from voting in 2012, and which includes provisions consistent with ALEC's model bill (made law by Walker); SB-10, a tax give-away that benefits Wall Street speculators, similar to ALEC's "capital gains tax elimination act"; and AB-94, which expands taxpayer subsidies for private schools, echoing ALEC's privatization agenda in its "parental choice" bills.

Farrow has also pushed bills echoing the ALEC voter suppression agenda, capital gains, and school privatization efforts, and has introduced even more ALEC-like bills than his Pewaukee brother, including bills limiting the use of transportation taxes and embracing the NRA's shoot first bill known as the "Castle Doctrine," which shares core concepts with a parallel ALEC bill urged by the NRA, the former ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force Co-Chair.

These lists do not include all of the other bills similar to the cookie cutter legislation flowing out of the ALEC bill factory that the Pewaukee Posse voted for or that ALEC Alum Scott Walker signed into law this year.

But their latest foray into advancing the corporate wish list, through their very special interest bill, goes even further than ALEC has dared by targeting not just Wisconsinites physically injured by corporations but also consumers statewide.

                © 2011 Center for Media & Democracy

Lisa Graves is Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, the publisher of,, and She formerly served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice, as Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and as Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division of the U.S. Courts.