The Right Wing Propaganda Machine.

Since the end of the FCC Fairness Doctrine, we have been subjected to a massive propaganda campaign led by Fox News Channel and the loudmouths on hate radio. But that’s just the propaganda that’s most noticeable.

Billionaire plutocrats have funded a less noisy, much more sinister effort. It involves the use of so-called “think tanks” – conservative organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and Americans For Prosperity that generate research studies to “prove” the worth of conservative ideas.

These studies are then shopped to the media, to Congress and anyone else who might be willing to listen. Too often, those who listen include the mainstream media looking to fill airtime in our 24/7 culture.

As a result, viewers and listeners are convinced (with the help of media pundits and commentators) that cutting taxes for the wealthy will create jobs; that providing tax subsidies for multinational corporations are a panacea for fixing our struggling economy; that privatization of schools, prisons and other institutions are more efficient and cost-effective; that shipping manufacturing jobs oversees actually benefits our economy; that “entitlements” such as Social Security and Medicare are no longer affordable; that private retirement accounts are better than pensions; etc., etc., etc.

Most of these studies are phony science – intended to benefit only the plutocrats who funded them.

Of course, there is even more to the propaganda machine. There are the lobbyists who have the ears of Congress. There are the plutocrats who contribute to political campaigns in order to gain influence after the candidates are elected. And most sinister of all, there are corporate-sponsored organizations such as ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) that write legislation to benefit their sponsors then push legislative members to vote it into law.

The only way to combat such highly-organized and well-funded propaganda is to be very skeptical. Seek out information from a large variety of sources. Look at the origin of the studies. Follow the money. And be particularly wary of anything that benefits the well-connected and the well-heeled. Then get involved. Let your representatives know that you are paying attention. Ask them difficult questions. And hold them accountable.

The Party Of Lincoln?

Republicans are fond of calling themselves the “party of Lincoln.”

Of course, it is true. At least it used to be.

But if you watch the Steven Spielberg movie, Lincoln, you discover how far the party has strayed from the principles of its most revered member.

Lincoln saved the Union. Today’s Republicans are trying to tear it apart. Lincoln abolished slavery. Today’s Republicans are trying to abolish the right of the slaves’ descendants to vote. Lincoln was a liberal. Today’s Republicans hate liberals. And Lincoln was horrified by war. Today’s Republicans glorify it.

But there still could be hope for the party. If today’s Republicans attend the movie this holiday season, they just might realize how far they’ve strayed from the past. They might realize that President Obama has more in common with Lincoln than their home state of Illinois.

Of course that would require that they are willing to be open-minded and to check their hatred at the theater door. Oh, never mind.

The Real Makers And Takers.

Teapublican rhetoric aside, the real makers are in the bluest of states and the vast majority of takers are in the reddest of states.

Washington DC, Delaware, Connecticut, Minnesota and New Jersey contribute the most per capita in income taxes to the federal government.  On the other hand, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Montana pay the least.

Overall, the states that contribute the most total revenue are California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois.

So if the government-hating red states of the old Confederacy really want to follow through with their threats to secede after President Obama’s re-election, they may want to consider how they’re going to pay for the federally-financed benefits they now enjoy.  Without subsidies from the blue states, they can expect their benefits to plummet and their taxes to skyrocket.

As for the Union, the blue states will be just fine.  In fact, by eliminating most of the “taker” states, taxpayers in the blue states will likely enjoy lower tax rates while rebuilding their infrastructure, improving education and strengthening safety nets.

My message is this:  All of you so-called “patriots” should do a little research to determine who’s really paying for your military, your border patrol, your prisons, your welfare, food stamps, healthcare, schools, highways, etc.  If afterwards, you still want to secede, go for it.  Don’t trip over your racist anti-Obama signs, your “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, your Federalist papers, Bibles and assault weapons on the way out.

He’s Not Known As McNasty For Nothing.

Senator John McCain is often referred to as an independent-minded maverick and national hero.

The reality is that he’s a self-centered plutocrat who has a very distant relationship with the truth.  Indeed, when you see McNasty up close as one of his constituents, you realize the man will say and do anything to be elected and to gain power.  The most recent example is his unwarranted attack on UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Ignoring the facts, he belittled her, saying that she’s not very bright.  He unfairly blamed her for misleading Americans on the cause of the attack on the US consulate in Libya.  And he threatened to filibuster if she is nominated for the position of Secretary of State.

Why would he make such unwarranted statements about someone who has loyally and capably served her nation?  Two words:  Personal gain.

Fact is, since Mitch McConnell and the other Senate Republicans settled upon their scorched earth policy of blocking and filibustering virtually every Democratic initiative, McCain has become irrelevant.  There have been no opportunities to be the maverick and cast the decisive vote.  Indeed, few people now pay attention to him.  Not even his Arizona constituents.  He simply has little to offer.

Moreover, McCain is about to be term-limited out of his leadership role on the important Senate Armed Services Committee, a move that will make him even less important.

What to do?  What to do?

In true McNasty style, the senator decided to throw Rice under the bus in order to offer himself up as the leader of a Watergate-style select committee that would allow him to conduct a wide-ranging witch hunt into every nook and cranny of the Obama administration.  Of course, it would also allow him to, once again, sit in the limelight.

Instead of being given such power, McCain should be shown the door.

Another “Scandal” Blows Up In GOP Faces.

Determined to find a scandal worthy of impeachment (or at the very least, a scandal that would cause great embarrassment to the Obama administration), GOP leaders first seized on Solyndra only to discover that the process for the government-backed loan first began during the Bush administration.

Frustrated, they then turned to Fast and Furious only to find that responsibility for the operation focused on the Phoenix office of the ATF.

Now GOP hopes revolve around the deaths of four diplomats in Benghazi.

Because Susan Rice stated on several talk shows that the deaths were likely due to a spontaneous attack by Muslims angry over a despicable video, the GOP sensed an opportunity.  They used Rice’s statements to “prove” that the administration lied and is now in full cover-up mode.  Senator John McNasty even has called for a full Watergate-style commission to investigate the “cover-up.”

There’s just one fly in the ointment.

Former CIA director, General David Petraeus testified before Congress that there was no attempt by the White House to mislead.  He stated that the report on which Rice based her statements, was drafted through an interagency process, not a political process.  According to Rep. Adam Schiff who sat in on the hearings, “The general was adamant there was no politicization of the process, no White House interference or political agenda; that Rice’s comments in television interviews “reflected the best intelligence at the time that could be released publicly.”

Oops!  Instead of a scandal it would seem that GOP leaders only have another layer of egg on their faces.

Can We Finally Flush The Trickle Down Theory?

The notion that cutting taxes for the wealthy somehow creates jobs has never been proven to work.  Not once.  Never.  Ever.

In fact, there is much evidence to the contrary.

Many economists and non-partisan academic studies have pronounced it a fraud.  Not even the Reagan-era budget directors who resurrected the idea from the dust bin of history believe in it anymore.

Indeed, one need only compare job creation during the Clinton administration with that of the George W. Bush administration to see the fallacy of tax cuts as a job creating stimulus.  When Clinton raised the top marginal rate to more than 39 percent, the economy grew dramatically.  When Bush cut the top marginal rate to 35 percent, the economy began its slide over the cliff.

There’s more.

The idea failed in the early 1900s when it was known as Horse and Sparrow economics.  And contrary to the the notion that low taxes create jobs, the Eisenhower administration grew the economy when the top marginal rate was 91 percent!

Despite all of this evidence, Republicans continue to claim that tax cuts create jobs.  Why?  Because Republicans sold the soul of their party to the very wealthy and to large, multinational corporations.  They have to find some way to sell this lame idea to the poor and middle class voters.  So, like a sleazy carnival barker, they loudly proclaim that it is the miracle cure for every struggling economy.

What they fail to mention is that the real miracle will be if it ever works.

GOP Racing Toward Oblivion.

According to Fox News Channel and conservative hate radio, President Obama only won a second term because the majority of Americans wanted free stuff and they believe Democrats will give it to them.

(In other words, they’re assigning blame to the 47 percent as described by Mitt Romney.)

In a remarkable show of cluelessness, Teapublican pundits ignore the fact that their party did everything in its power to deny minorities the right to vote; that they want to deny millions access to healthcare; that they want to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class; that they want to eliminate safety nets such as Medicare and Social Security; that they want to eliminate taxes for the rich; that they want to impose their religious values on everyone; and that they want to deny civil rights to minorities, women, gays and lesbians.

It’s a surefire winning strategy…for Democrats.

Let’s hope Teapublicans continue to pursue this strategy. Wouldn’t it be great if all future political contests were between Democrats and the Green Party?

A Victory For Truth And Fairness!

President Obama’s re-election should give us all hope.

Yesterday, a significant majority of the American people rejected the hate and lies spewed by Teapublicans for the past two years.  Americans rejected a presidential candidate who made many promises with no specifics to back them up.  They rejected a presidential candidate who made a fortune in the US by dismantling American companies then outsourced his profits to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.  They rejected a vice-presidential candidate who sold a plan to the House of Representatives that would balance the budget by taking money from the poor, the middle-class and the retired and giving it to the wealthy.

American voters also rejected a church-backed agenda that would deny equal rights to gays and lesbians; that would further victimize women who have been raped; that would allow employers to deny healthcare coverage for contraceptives while providing coverage for boner pills.

And American voters re-elected a president who righted our economy, signed a bill demanding equal pay for equal work, passed a bill providing healthcare insurance for tens of millions, ended the war in Iraq, ordered the capture or death of Osama bin Laden, nominated two women to the Supreme Court including the first Latina, and ended the government-sanctioned discrimination of a portion of our population by the military.

A president who is winding down the war in Afghanistan, who has emphasized alternative fuels and higher fuel efficiency standards to increase our energy independence.  A president who has prioritized the environment over the profits of multinational corporations.  A president who has done more good for the people of our nation than I have room to detail.

Despite all this, President Obama was vilified by the reckless and highly partisan Fox News Channel, attacked daily by the loudmouths on conservative hate radio, dismissed by the Republican leaders of Congress, and disrespected by millions of racist teabaggers.

President Obama has deserved far better and the majority of American voters agree.

GOP Strategy: Lie, Cheat, Steal, Suppress And Spend.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Consider this:  For months, we’ve been bombarded with commercials from Republicans and their SuperPACS based on pants-on-fire lies, such as Romney’s latest gem that Chrysler is planning on moving the production of Jeeps to China.  Never mind that the Chrysler CEO immediately denounced the commercial as a blatant lie.  Mitt the Twit has continued to air it.

Mitt has also continued to air commercials stating that President Obama has cut $716 billion from Medicare (he hasn’t); that President Obama began his first term with an “apology tour” of the the Middle East (he didn’t); and that Mitt recommended the same steps to save the US auto industry as President Obama (he didn’t).

In the primaries, Mitt ran as a “severe conservative,” stating that he would sign a bill to end legal abortion; that he believed all abortions should be outlawed even if the pregnancies were the result of rape or incest; that he would dismantle the EPA and the Dept. of Education; that he would cut taxes for everyone, including the wealthy; and that he would spend billions on our military that the Pentagon hasn’t even requested.  Despite all of this, he claimed that he would somehow pay down the national debt.

But when it came to the first debate, he denied almost all of those statements.  He has now portrayed himself as a centrist.  As a result, we don’t know where he stands on any issue.  We don’t know his economic plan, assuming he actually has one.  What we do know is that he is a serial liar.  And despite his slogan “Believe in America,” we know that, instead of investing his millions in the US, Mitt has dodged taxes by stashing his money offshore in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Luxembourg.

As for Mitt’s party, we know that it has spent the past four years blocking virtually every bill and presidential nomination.  Republicans have used the filibuster hundreds of times – not just for big items, but for ordinary business, in hopes of making President Obama a one-term president.

Instead of trying to sell their plutocratic vision of America, Republicans and their billionaire supporters have spent billions attacking President Obama and other Democratic opponents.  They have also looked for new ways to suppress the vote of those who might disagree with them.  We’ve already seen the impact of their efforts in Ohio and Florida where early voting has been limited forcing people to stand in line for hours.  Of course, this has been especially true in counties with large minority populations.

Election day is almost certain to be worse.

Let’s hope that a majority of the electorate has recognized the Republican strategy and makes them pay.

Proof That Tax Breaks For The Rich Do Not Create Jobs.

For years, economists have scoffed at the notion that tax breaks for the wealthy benefit the rest of society.  The policy failed in the early 1900s when it was known as Horse and Sparrow economics.  And it failed in the 1980s when it was called Trickle Down economics. Indeed, even the architects of Reagan’s economic policy now admit the policy is a failure.

The notion was further debunked in the 1990s when President Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy resulting in millions of new jobs.

But evidence has never stopped Teapublicans from claiming that the only way to create jobs is to cut taxes for the wealthy and multi-national corporations.  They continue to claim that tax cuts are the only incentives for the so-called “job creators.”  Of course, this year’s crop of Teapublican candidates is pursuing the same policy.  They’re counting on voters who are frustrated by the slow recovery from the enormous economic crisis they created to buy into the same old malarkey again.

Teapublicans deny that they are responsible for the crisis and that their obstructionism is responsible for the slow recovery.  They say, “Trust us.  Tax cuts will work this time.” 

Unfortunately for Teapublicans, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service created a report that, once again, found that lower marginal tax rates for the wealthy have no effect on economic growth and job creation.   So what did the Teapublican leadership do with this information?  Did it sway their opinions?  Did they modify their policy?

Certainly not.

According to a story in The New York Times, Senate Teapublicans led by Mitch McConnell persuaded the Congressional Research Service to withdraw the report.  After all, they wouldn’t want the voting public to know the truth!