The GOP Whack-A-Mole Game Continues In Corporate Media World

http://www.washingtonpost.com/rweb/politics/a-breakout-moment-for-cruz-and-rubio-but-will-gop-voters-respond/2015/10/29/66bfde0c-7da3-11e5-afce-2afd1d3eb896_story.html

So, the corporate media is going ga-ga over Marco Rubio’s candidacy based on last night’s “debate” performance. As if regurgitating carefully-scripted and rehearsed one-liners and comments makes one fit to be president. Ted Cruz is in the #2 spot based on this one performance, too.

In the real world both are political jokes, of course, but in Corporate Media World they’re suddenly they’re the new favorites over Donald Trump and Ben Carson. That’s based on ONE performance. But to the Washington Post’s credit, it does question whether these latest moles will be able to keep their heads above ground when the voters whack with their ballot mallets next year.

But the GOP presidential clown car has always been more like a game of whack-a-mole,hasn’t it? One head rises, is knocked down, another takes its place until it too is knocked down, etc.

Just goes to show how painfully low the presidential candidate bar is for the GOP and its partisan propagandists in Corporate Media World, NPR included. They love the men wearing the big cowboy hats but totally lacking in cattle.

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2014 Midterm Elections: Where Do We Go From Here? It Doesn’t Look Good

Like many other Democrats, I was angered by the GOP’s near-sweep of national and state races. There were pockets of Democratic victories but by and large the United States will be much redder starting January 2015.

I said I was angered, but I wasn’t surprised. In fact, none of us should have been surprised. All the signs were there and this GOP victory had been predicted months in advance. Besides, this has been years in the making. Young Republican college students like Grover Norquist hooked up with the Koch Brothers back in the 70s and formulated the basics of this plan, revising and expanding it over the years. The Kochs had enough money and enough time to take the long view for achieving their goal of total dominance over the American political system. And, based on last Tuesday’s elections, it looks like the plan is working. Karl Rove has been quoted as saying his plan to lead and to keep the GOP in political dominance extends to 2020, which happens to be the year in which it is predicted that Hispanics will make up the majority of the populace in Texas and perhaps in other areas.

Look at what Koch and other wealthy right wing powerhouses have wrought: they virtually control the corporate media, they control the US Supreme Court, many state governments, most of the US District and Courts of Appeal, and now Congress. Under normal conditions, I would agree with some liberal columnists who claim that with the GOP in control of Congress, they will fail dismally as they always do, angering voters to the point where the pendulum will again swing leftward in 2016.

I’m not so sure that prediction will be borne out this time. As I said, for the first time people like the Kochs now control almost all political, legislative, judicial processes and the media in this country. So, they not only control what their minions see, hear, and read, I believe they just about control the election process as well which has given them control of everything else that I’ve mentioned.

This didn’t happen in a vacuum. Check the voting records of many Democrats over the years. How do you think the five Koch employees on the US Supreme Court were appointed? And all of the right wing judges in the US District Court and Court of Appeals systems? I don’t remember any Democratic filibusters against any of these nominations. The Democrats also supported all the takeovers and mergers which allowed just a few media companies to monopolize control of all communications in this country.

The Democrats have proven to be wimps, unorganized without the capability of creating and instituting a Liberal plan along the lines of the GOP plan which would wrest control of the political, legislative and judicial processes from the hands of the Kochs, et al. A successful, 50-state plan was created and managed by ex-Gov. Howard Dean after he became the Democratic National Committee chair in 2005. In return for this great plan and his successful fundraising work has been totally snubbed and discarded by the Obama administration and by the DNC. Under Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC has mismanaged Democratic campaigns and getting the Democratic message out to voters to such an extent that we now have a Republican-controlled Congress in fact. Since 2010, the GOP has had de facto control of Congress.

President Obama deserves his fair share of blame for the right wing takeover of corporate media. He has been no different from his Republican (and some Democratic) predecessors in appointing industry hacks to run and sit on the board of the FCC. The most egregious example of this is current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Consequently, control of printed, broadcast, and telecast media along with cable systems are concentrated in very few but extremely powerful corporate hands, all of them run by CEOs and boards who lean very far to the Right. As I write this, the FCC is poised to introduce a proposal that ignores the will of 3.7 million protestors as it will virtually eliminate net neutrality, placing the internet under the control of those same very few but extremely powerful corporate hands. And there’s not one thing any of us can do about it. If the President ignores our protests, and the new Congress will certainly ignore them, what peaceful options are left to us?

So, in 2016 we will be entering a media and political environment totally hostile to Liberal and Democratic politics. The one and only goal of people like the Kochs will be to embed in cement GOP and right wing control of virtually all aspects of life in this country for their own personal political and financial enrichment. Expect more voter ID laws to pass in states controlled by the GOP since SCOTUS has placed its imprimatur on it; more GOP gerrymandering of state and congressional voting districts, and more control of the voting and vote counting processes. And, of course, SCOTUS effectively gave control of political campaign contributions to the GOP via Citizens United.

This is why I believe that approval of Congress could sink to 0% by 2016 and almost all Republican incumbents along with Republican challengers will still be elected. Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic and paranoid here, but the creeping grasp of the GOP hand over most of everything that happens in this country. What’s the answer? That’s for Liberals and Democrats to organize and figure out. The answer might be a totally new coalition of voters disgusted with both Democratic and Republican parties. That could result in candidates and voters in large enough numbers to offset the GOP control of our elective process. Or maybe not.

Rand Paul: Tea Party Head Mad Hatter

Rassmussen Reports just released one of its famously pro-Republican polls

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/co/colorado_senate_gardner_vs_udall-3845.html

showing a virtual tie in the Colorado U.S. Senate Race between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and Republican challenger Corey Gardner and, coincidentally (?), NPR News runs a  tory primarily to make Republican challenger Corey Gardner a national name in pursuit of the NPR News campaign to convince the American voter that this is the year of the Republicans.

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/13/289750656/republican-candidate-heats-up-colorado-s-u-s-senate-race

After all, NPR trashes Obamacare at least weekly, and now almost daily (and several times daily) mentioning Rand Paul’s name and frequently accompanying it with a sound bite. There are 45 Republicans in the U.S. Senate but from NPR News you’d think that Paul is the only saying or thinking anything important because he’s about the only one in heavy radio rotation.  So Ted Cruz is now SO last year’s chopped liver for wrapping himself around and making himself the voice and voice of the GOP/Tea Party’s federal government shutdown. And Marco Rubio? He’s got the charisma of any fresh-faced little boy who looks like he’s wearing his father’s U.S. Senator’s clothes.

It’s been decided somewhere that Rand Paul needs to be pushed into the psyche of the American public and as frequently as possible. For what purpose, I don’t know—yet.  He’s not up for reelection until 2016 and two years from how he’s got as much chance of getting the Republican nomination for president as he has getting elected president this year.  To show how little chance the guy has to send out bids on a new design for the Oval Office rug, his GOP buddies in the Kentucky state senate are pushing a bill that would allow him to be on the 2016 state ballot as candidate for both president and reelection to the US Senate (much like Wisconsin state law enabled Paul Ryan to lose his VP bid and still keep his day job in Congress in 2012).  The state House of Representatives doesn’t like that idea so much and will most likely shoot it down if it passes the state senate.

It’s perfectly plausible that Paul has been positioned to be the once and future Head Mad Hatter of the Tea Party at a time when the Karl Roves of the GOP are attempting to separate and isolate it from the mainstream party because frankly, my dear, most Republican voters don’t give a damn about the Tea Party (except when it shuts down the federal government and then the word “damn” is heard a lot preceding the words “tea party”) except in the smallest and poorest Southern states with the highest numbers of uneducated people in America.  Rove once had pull in the GOP until his meal ticket ran out of presidential terms and he had to settle for a new career as PAC Man.  The meal ticket’s brother, Jeb, is undoubtedly planned by Rove to be his entrée to eight more years of White House entrées in 2016.

So, with Jeb in the top ticket slot, who would be the chosen one to slide into the number two spot? Hmmm, the name is on the tip of my psyche…Rand Paul.  It now all makes sense.  In front of closed doors guys like Rove decry how the Tea Party is destroying the GOP.  But behind closed doors perhaps Paul’s name was bandied about as a sure way to bring the Tea Party—and its voter base—back  into the fold and under control of the mainstream Republican Party.  The GOPowers-that-be may be willing to risk a Rand Paul presidency if it gets them a Jeb Bush presidency first.

So in the pursuit of that end, the orders went out to the subsidiary media outlets like Fox, CNN and NPR to put Rand Paul in heavy rotation and to keep his erstwhile rivals out of the limelight.  Too many choices make tea partiers nervous.  They like to keep things simple, you know.

Netflix Is Full Of Mitt

Yesterday I started seeing an online Netflix ad for a Mitt Romney documentary, “MITT”,  that it’s showing exclusively. It’s a chance to get to know the Mittens you never knew.  And boy– are they right! Mitt’s showing us—hey, I’m just like you—with mussed hair above a pair of tired,  faintly hopeful eyes looking at the camera as if saying, “Do you accept me now?”  Mittens allowed tousling of his perfectly coiffed and dyed hair? Wow, it’s the FIRST thing I now know that I never knew!

But once the afterglow of discovery fades away, a gnawing question replaces it: why this documentary showing the “human” side of Romney now? If he possesses any reason—as opposed to intelligence—he’ll never run for president again.  So, what could be behind this? Hmmm…Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is ending his term this year and has announced he won’t seek reelection.  Is Romney thinking that with the presidency forever out of his reach he just might try to return to the seat of his former glory? That would be very Mittens-like but since he hasn’t announced he’s running or set up an exploratory committee that I know of, it’s just conjecture on my part.

The Utah governor, Gary Herbert, just started his second term, but who wants to be the new governor of a state that officially refuses to recognize gay marriage and deprives little school kids of their unpaid lunches by throwing them in the garbage—right in front of them? That’s not the tousled-haired Mittens I know!

The House of Representatives is too small to hold a man of Romney’s wealth so that leaves the Senate.  No open seats in Utah and I think Massachusetts voters won’t be venturing back into the dark Right side any time soon. So, this leaves the Massachusetts governor’s office as his only possible target.  I mean, there had to be reason why Mitten’s guys paid Netflix all that money to run their vanity project.  And the director of this epic, inside look at the Mittens we preferred to stay far away from as opposed to wanting to get up close and personal? Greg Whiteley, with only two other credits to his name:  “New York Doll” which examined an ex-member of the New York Dolls who renounced his past when he became a Mormon, and “Resolved”, a documentary on high school debates that for some reason puts Koch Bros. employee SCOTUS Justice Sammy Alito front and center.  Either he was one of the high school debaters or that’s how he got his judging experience.

It took six years to make this documentary. Why did it take so long? It probably took that long for Whiteley to film enough footage to make Mitten’s life look interesting enough to fill 90 minutes.

Who Fact Checks The Fact Checkers?

http://news.msn.com/us/fact-check-did-obama-get-it-right

My question is:  who fact checks the Fact Checkers? The Associated Press has printed almost nothing but criticizing or out-and-out hit pieces on Obama for years.

The author, Calvin Woodward, cites a number of surveys and quotes people associated with think tanks.  First, if you read the article, many times the Woodward states some data is unknown.   This unknown data is crucial in determining if Obama was speaking factually or not.  So, if even Woodward admits he doesn’t know everything, how can he decide that what Obama said wasn’t true? He can’t.

One glaring example (out of many) of how a “fact checker” can omit information that might disprove or at least question his conclusion that Obama was not being factual is his contention that Obama is wrong about “upward mobility has stalled”.  Woodward responds that according to a study by Harvard University economist Raj Chetty, “The most recent evidence suggests that mobility hasn’t worsened.” And how did PBS News reporter Jeffrey Brown summarize it in his interview with Chetty? “The ability to move up the income ladder hasn’t worsened, but it also hasn’t improved.” I’m just a college graduate, but didn’t Brown just confirm what Obama said (before Obama said it) in this Jan. 24, 2014 broadcast, that upward mobility has stalled? Yes, he did.

And besides that, how was upward mobility back in the ‘70s—what percentage of children were able to move up the social mobility ladder? Hmmm, Woodward didn’t touch on that one—maybe more of his “unknowns” at work.  And note that Woodward restricts his argument to social mobility and NOT to both social AND financial mobility as we all damn well know is what Obama was talking about.  And Woodward claims standing still is not stalled, just like someone claiming that just because you’re no longer breathing and there’s the total absence of brain activity it doesn’t mean you’re dead.

And Chetty’s direct quote about social mobility? “Well, I think you shouldn’t interpret the lack of a decline in upward mobility as good news, in the sense that intergenerational mobility in the U.S., social mobility, is lower than virtually any other developed country for which we currently have data.”

Maybe the word “virtually” is up for interpretation because Woodward pulls out another study that directly conflicts with Chetty, who he had just used to prove his point: “In a study of 22 countries, economist Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa found that the United States ranked 15th in social mobility. Only Italy and Britain among wealthy countries ranked lower. By some measures, children in the United States are as likely to inherit their parents’ economic status as their height.”  Italy is no longer a wealthy country; you can ask them, the WTO, and the World Bank.  Great Britain has long been a class-based society, or has Woodward conveniently forgotten about the Queen, the Royal Family, and all those dukes, lords, and knights mucking about?

Again, who factchecks the “Factcheckers”? Well, there’s me, for one.

The Republicanization Of The American Consumer

http://money.msn.com/how-to-budget/10-things-not-to-buy-in-2014-1

More typically elitist and wrong advice from MSN Money.  Wasting money on dying technologies?  How much does it cost in monthly smart phone data plans to access movies, TV shows, and music stored in online clouds?  How much are the monthly cloud charges for this stored data? What are the monthly membership fees for Hulu, Netflix Spotify, Pandora, gaming, etc. ON TOP of the monthly data package fees (minimum $30 a month) you pay your wireless service for downloading all these things to you smartphone? And the costs of apps to download to your smartphone?   Increase those costs if you also have an internet service that you connect to access and download entertainment stuff (and gaming for a separate monthly fee), including additional fees for increasing your allotted bandwidth.

Do you know why these technologies are dying? Because just like there are people dumb enough to vote Republican, there are people misguided enough to pay through the nose for the convenience of accessing data and entertainment on the run.  This article never tells you to add up all the monthly fees you pay for the “birthing” technologies (as opposed to dying) and that’s the point. Most people don’t even think about all those fees because they’ve been conditioned not to.  If I buy a DVD (or burn a copy of one FOR MY OWN USE ONLY), it’s a one-time cost and I own it for the life of the disc and I can still watch it on my home TV anytime I choose to take the disc off the family room DVD shelf.  If I buy a desktop computer with a DVD burner, that again is a one-time cost, and the cost of a pack of blank DVDs is negligible in the long run.  With my dumbphone, I have no data package costs at all. I have no cloud storage costs at all. With my desktop, I don’t have to worry about losing or stepping on my phone every day and then having to frantically replace it right away.  With my dumb HDTV not connected to the internet, I can watch all the channels (satellite TV, not cable) I choose to pay and not worry about anyone hacking into my home network through vulnerable internet ports in my TV or smartphone.

Disconnect my landline? Then what do I do during the 3-4 power outages we suffer through in my area annually which cuts off cell phone service? And cell phone reception in my area is spotty and inconsistent at best?

Smartphone cameras instead of a digital camera? If taking pics is important to you, you can buy a much better digital camera than you can a cell phone that happens to have a camera at the same price point. And it’s much easier to download photos from a digital camera to a computer than it is from a cell phone. MUCH easier.

Say no to hotel rooms and pay someone to stay in their apartment or home instead? That’s fine if you’re a single, 20-something college student who is OK with sofa surfing and such in a stranger’s home, but if you’re family with kids or if you’re in your more mature years (like me),  I’ll take a private room in a hotel or motel anytime.

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I didn’t care about the other wasted money stuff in the article it didn’t apply to me.  You are free to consider them as you will.

Again, MSN Money is joining in the con of convincing people that the hands picking their pockets are making deposits instead of withdrawals.  It’s the same successful con that has convinced Republican voters to vote for the politicians that intend to rob them of their cheaper health insurance, Social Security benefits, voting rights, middle class wages, jobs, freedom over their own bodies (for the ladies), clean environment and safe food, affordable education, the right not to be shot to death when at the movies while in a public school kindergarten class.  You pay the hidden costs either way.

The Annual “War On Christmas” Christmas Special—Brought To You By Fox

Well, sir, another Christmas come and gone and Fox’s Annual” War On Christmas” Christmas Special has been met with its annual defeat, ensuring it will be back next year for Fox’s Annual” War On Christmas” Christmas Special. You see, the only people waging war against Christmas are the ones on Fox ranting about a war on Christmas. They are, in fact, waging war against the way most of us celebrate Christmas, which is not the way THEY want us to celebrate it.  In the Fox world, nobody wants to see a nativity scene with the little baby Jesus anywhere outside of church or private property, which is true.  But that still leaves a ton of places to see the costumed doll replicas of the little baby Jesus but Fox apparently has never bothered to find out where any of them are, otherwise it wouldn’t be a “war”, would it?

Yes, it may be company or school district policy for employees to wish “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” but off-work these same employees can wish whatever they want to whoever they want.  So what it comes down to is that Fox and the Far Right are the only ones waging a War on Christmas and you know what?  Fox always starts the war at Christmas not just because it IS Christmas time, but because TV viewership is down across the board as people are out or online shopping for gifts or groceries for holiday meals, making holiday gifts, and just doing what many people do during the holidays.  This is why all the major TV shows have what is now called their mid-season finales (that would be a whole other column) BEFORE Thanksgiving and stay in reruns into after the first of the year or until Spring. Fox still has hungry, high-paid celebrity mouths to feed during the holiday season so they have to draw in the viewers to watch their TV commercials and so we get the annual War on Christmas, brought to by these fine sponsors who I would personally boycott if I knew who they were but I never watch Fox so I don’t.  A state of bliss can be achieved through ignorance.

My point is, I guarantee that despite the phony but ratings-based Fox War on Christmas everyone who wanted to celebrate Christmas in their own way—did.  Crèches were in abundance,  “Merry Christmas” was uttered on 100s of millions of lips, and no one was arrested by the Secret Police for violating the United States secular holiday celebratory protocols. In fact, President and Michelle Obama in their Christmas Day radio address wished all Americans both “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas”, thereby covering all religious—and non–bases.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/12/25/weekly-address-president-and-first-lady-wish-everyone-happy-holiday-seas

Seems to me that if Fox wants to pick the attackers in the War on Christmas, why don’t they take on all the retail stores and restaurants who force their employees to work on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Nothing says War on Christmas like depriving your employees of actually celebrating the holiday with their family and friends.  The War on Christmas is being pursued by so many of these companies because, to them, the War on Thanksgiving was an unqualified success.  But the problem here is, too many of the employers waging a War on Christmas also advertise on Fox and so, well, it can’t really be considered a war even though those companies make their employees wish customers “Happy Holidays” and there’s not a little baby Jesus in sight, because the business of war is business and Fox never met a corporate business which exploits its employees that it didn’t like—a lot. To Fox, if they perceive the Left doing it, it’s a war. If corporations do it, it’s business.

Of course, if Fox wanted to report on a real war, there are several to choose from: the war on women, the war on voting rights, the war on minorities, the war on gays, the war on the poor, the war on workers, the war on public schools, wars all and all being waged by the…GOP, who are among the fine but unnamed sponsors of Fox.  So, you’ll never hear of any of those wars on Fox, actual wars in which lives have been lost by women denied legal abortions, by people denied health care, by people denied federal cash, food, and medical assistance, by people being denied protection under the law and harassed or even murdered by racists and bigots; lives being destroyed by denying people their Constitutional right to vote and have a say in how their government affects them, by denying workers a living wage and shipping their careers overseas and replacing them with minimum wage jobs with no benefits, and by denying decent education to children so that US test scores for school children rank among the lowest in the world, and by allowing corporations to rob people of their investments and life savings while failing to punish a single CEO or high-ranking executive who allowed it all to happen and made billions off of other people’s financial losses.

But all those wars make Fox viewers uneasy because they don’t or can’t understand what’s going on and how they’re personally being victimized.  But they can all understand a Gretchen Carlson claiming she and her little children can’t see the little baby Jesus from her car in the Florida state capitol rotunda  because of a Festivus pole made from beer cans standing in its way, despite the facts that Carlson couldn’t see that little baby Jesus from her car since it was an indoors display, and because Carlson lives in Connecticut and works in New York.

So, the Fox War On Christmas (hope Fox didn’t trademark that phrase) is actually a War On Logic. If there were actually an annual war on Christmas, the drones would be filling the skies as they set off for their target Crèches and Christmas tree lots, and uniformed soldiers would be breaking into houses with Merry Christmas written on windows or in lights and employees would be handcuffed and frog marched off to secret prisons where they water board “Merry Christmas” wishers and force them to watch “Life Of Brian” 24/7 with their eyes kept perpetually open with clamps and steel hooks…things.

But Fox and the Far Right know that there’s no war on Christmas so they fill their viewers with fear and in effect imprison them in their own homes watching Fox 24/7 causing some of them to, perhaps, miss Christmas.  Wonder if Gretchen Carlson would ever drive her kids around to see THAT?