Posts from — September 2011
So you don’t believe me. You think I crossed the line when I pointed to the Post Office “crisis” as just another example of a massive raid on government assets. That’s why, I suppose, nobody commented on my last blog. And that’s why the predators get away with their looting. People just can’t believe anyone would be so outrageous, so brazen, so successful.
You might even buy the predators’ propaganda. You might believe that government is inherently inefficient and wasteful, and that private companies will always do a better job of running things – from “the war on terror” to public parks and prisons.
They’re privatizing prisons all over the developed world. And that’s why there’s so much pressure on politicians to “crack down.”
Crack down on crime (but not on white-collar crime, of course; that’s protected). Crack down on illegal immigration.
You might think the politicians and their backers are pursuing draconian policies to protect us citizens. And if it comforts you to think that way, who am I to burst your bubble?
But, just in case you have the stomach for the truth, here it is:
A handful of multinational security companies have been turning crackdowns on immigration into a growing global industry.
That isn’t some wild-eyed Hippie sharing a visionary trip. This is the venerable New York Times News Service. In an article circulated today by Truthout, Nina Bernstein reports:
Especially in Britain, the United States and Australia, governments of different stripes have increasingly looked to such companies to expand detention and show voters they are enforcing tougher immigration laws.
Some of the companies are huge — one is among the largest private employers in the world — and they say they are meeting demand faster and less expensively than the public sector could.
But the ballooning of privatized detention has been accompanied by scathing inspection reports, lawsuits and the documentation of widespread abuse and neglect, sometimes lethal. Human rights groups say detention has neither worked as a deterrent nor speeded deportation, as governments contend, and some worry about the creation of a “detention-industrial complex” with a momentum of its own.
It’s all part of a vast “free-market” initiative that will further enrich a small sliver of the population at the expense of the general public. And it will be accompanied by unimaginable horrors as the predators seek to enhance their profits by degrading the quality of the service they provide.
While voters are distracted by such issues as when “life” begins in the womb and concocted threats like “Shariah law” and “Socialism,” the predators and their political hacks are sneakily promoting policies that fill their pockets.
Forget about ideology. Forget about “the common good.” Forget about the BS that fills the airwaves and the press. To find the truth, follow the money.
September 30, 2011 2 Comments
If you’re wondering what the Republicans and their pals are really up to, you might want to read about the crusade being waged to dismantle and privatize the United States Postal Service.
You’ve watched political predators go after Social Security and Medicare. You’ve seen them sabotage attempts to curb the ghoulish profiteering in the “health care” industry.
Now, watch as they try to tear the postal service apart and sell it off to their billionaire friends.
Here’s an excerpt from a Truthout article by Rose Aguilar, discussing rallies being held across the country by the postal workers union:
The USPS says radical changes must be implemented in order to save the organization up to $3 billion a year. The plan is to eliminate 220,000 full-time jobs and shut down 3,700 post offices and 300 processing centers by 2015, scale back services and cut retirement benefits. Since 2007, the USPS has cut 110,000 jobs. Since January, 280 post offices have closed.
Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents 220,000 employees in the clerk, maintenance and motor vehicle crafts, called the changes a “reckless assault on the Postal Service and its employees. Crushing postal workers and slashing services will not solve the Postal Service’s financial crisis.”
Guffey says the plan “ignores the fact that the USPS has massive surpluses in its pension accounts. The overpayments could and should be used to resolve the Postal Service’s cash crisis”….
Gray Brechin, project scholar of the Living New Deal Project at UC Berkeley’s Department of Geography who has written extensively about the history of the USPS, says … it’s a manufactured crisis. “This is about dismantling the Postal Service, getting rid of unions, privatization, and selling post office buildings to developers.”
This “manufactured crisis” is typical of the way these predators operate. The underlying strategy is based on the “Shock Doctrine.” And it calls for destruction as a prelude to a takeover by predators.
Now you know why Republicans are undermining every effort the president makes to rescue America’s economy. They want the economy to fail. It’s not just because economic failure would help them defeat Barack Obama and the Democrats next year. They also see it as opportunity to dismantle the federal government so their billionaire pals can scavenge the pieces and grow even richer.
The assault on the people’s assets comes close to the level of a civil war. The American taxpayer is under attack as privatization initiatives proliferate – from education and child care to the operation of public parks and mass transit. (And in the Third World, the predators are even trying to privatize water supply systems.)
Master thieves masquerading as politicians and businessmen are systematically targeting government institutions under the pretense of “free-market” reform.
I suspect some of the shady characters who were massively enriched by America’s 2008 financial collapse and subsequent bank bailout might be among the ones seeking to fill their pockets again through “privatization” of America’s public services.
It’s no wonder people are taking to the streets in protest. Their country is under attack.
September 29, 2011 2 Comments
Sitting here in my den, looking out at the sunlit trees and the sliver of lake that I can glimpse through the oak trees, the world seems like a quiet place. But open the email in-basket and things change in a hurry. It’s getting pretty wild out there.
All over the world, turmoil reigns.
It’s hard to tell who is fighting whom and why, but the fighting rages on. One thing seems clear: the global status quo has become unsustainable. Change is coming. And it’s coming to America.
This from Reader Supported News today:
With the Occupation of Wall Street in its second week, solidarity actions are popping up around the country and the world. Cities currently supporting Occupy Wall Street are: Madrid, Spain; San Francisco, California; Los Angeles, California; Toronto, Canada; London, England; Athens, Greece; Sydney, Australia; Stuttgart, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; Milan, Italy; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Algiers, Algeria; Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel; Portland, Oregon; and Chicago, Illinois.
Cities in the process of joining Occupy Wall Street are: Phoenix, Arizona; Montreal, Canada; Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Kansas City, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; and Orlando, Florida.
All of those actions were directly inspired by Occupy Wall Street. Another occupation will begin next week in Washington, DC.
A press release from the October2011 coalition announced that “… the People’s Uprisings seen around the world and in the United States will come to Washington, DC beginning on Thursday, October 6 when thousands will converge to begin a prolonged people’s occupation of Freedom Plaza.” The release claimed they were building on Arab Spring, European Summer, Madison and the Occupation of Wall Street.
The Freedom Plaza Occupation will demand that the government represent the people, not just the top 1 percent. The pledge, signed by thousands, calls for using our resources on human needs and environmental protection, not for war and exploitation. The October 2011 coalition stands with the American people on seven key issues:
- Tax the rich and corporations;
- End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending;
- Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improve Medicare for all;
- End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests;
- Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation;
- Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages;
- Get money out of politics…
It sounds like an overly ambitious agenda, especially in view of the entrenched special interests opposing it. You might be tempted to think this is nothing more than the latest eruption by perennial troublemakers, the harebrained kids and “aging hippies” (as the New York Times described them) who cause riots at World Trade Organization meetings from time to time. (Click here to refresh your memory.) But this time I think the movement is broader than that.
On MSNBC yesterday, Dylan Ratigan interviewed a guy who is promoting a Constitutional amendment that would outlaw political contributions in federal elections. He was no wild-eyed revolutionary, just an American citizen who is fed up with the corruption in Washington.
Nobody is happy with the way things are in America. Nobody is happy with the way things are in the world.
I am reminded of the French Revolution. The ruling class had it pretty good in France but they kept on wanting more. One abuse followed another until the oppressed masses could take it no longer and savagery erupted.
Heads rolled – literally.
God protect America from a revolution like that. Pray that the powers that be will have enough sense to see what’s ahead if they relentlessly pursue their greedy self interest.
Pray that the president and the politicians will recognize what’s happening and that voters will wake up to the danger ahead.
September 28, 2011 4 Comments
As a reporter for many, many years, I have had to decide over and over and over again whether to “clean up” quotes. I nearly always did. I would reproduce a quote phonetically only if there was some point to be made by doing so. My reason? Nobody – not you, not I, not the Queen of England, always speaks the Queen’s English as decreed in the grammar books.
And in my opinion, Americans are among the worst “offenders.”
I’m not saying some Americans don’t “talk pretty.” When I was 18, working at Tower Isle Hotel in Jamaica, I fell in love with an airline stewardess from Memphis, Tennessee because I was absolutely beguiled by her “Southern drawl.”
But I wouldn’t say English grammar is Americans’ strong suit. Not white Americans, not black Americans, not Hispanic Americans – not Americans of any ethnic or regional origin, or any social or economic class.
Down here in Central Florida, the past participle is virtually a thing of the past. “Should have gone” is very often replaced by “shoulda went.” Double negatives abound. The final “g” on those “ing” words gets no respect. And even on television, where the anchors are supposed to be educated, I frequently hear them violating conventional grammar with such quaint constructions as “between you and I.”
So I was amused when I read in Yahoo News this morning that the Associated Press is being accused of “racism” because a reporter left off the final “g” in quotes from the president’s address at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual awards dinner in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.
Here’s how AP quoted the president:
“Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,” he said, his voice rising as applause and cheers mounted. “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”
African-American author Karen Hunter complained on MSNBC the next day that the news service was racist to call attention to Obama’s dropped “g’s.”
I don’t know why the AP reporter decided to leave off the “g’s” in part of the president’s quote. He might have been trying to illustrate Obama’s facility with African-American dialect.
But if that was it, I have to smile.
Who in their right mind thinks African-Americans are unique in dropping those pesky “g’s”? Have they ever listened to Texas Governor Rick Perry?
Indisputably, there is a linguistic form known as Ebonics, which is favored by many African-Americans, especially when talking among themselves. But complainin’, “grumblin’” and “cryin”" ain’t it, brother.
If AP was trying to be racist, as Ms. Hunter claims, they did a mighty poor job of it.
September 27, 2011 6 Comments
The British parliamentary system, which has been adopted throughout the Commonwealth, requires the ruling party to resign and call a new election if the opposition defeats a major piece of its policy legislation. America’s “checks and balances” system allows for no such relief. Like a bad Catholic marriage, the major parties remain in unholy deadlock even when they can agree on nothing. The American Constitution does not allow for dissolution of Congress before the appointed time of the next election.
And so we must endure 14 more months of gridlock, recriminations and disastrous inefficiency as the Republicans who control the House of Representatives remain deadlocked with the Democrats who control the Senate and occupy the White House.
Meanwhile, the runaway American economy, which fuels the global financial system,careens wildly out of control, wiping out millions of jobs and sending investors cowering under their beds.
It does no good to point out that the Republicans are more at fault than the Democrats. Voters will surely punish both come next November.
Consider this excerpt from an AP news story that ran this weekend:
With Congress’ approval ratings already at an all-time low, a tit-for-tat over disaster aid left Republicans and Democrats – and the House and Senate – in a faceoff that’s all too familiar to millions of Americans. Deep partisan disputes pushed the government to the edge of a partial shutdown in April, and to the brink of a debt ceiling crisis in late July.
On Friday, the Democratic-controlled Senate blocked a Republican House bill that would provide stopgap federal spending, plus aid for people battered by hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. The legislation also calls for $1.6 billion in spending cuts to help defray the disaster costs.
Democrats say it’s unprecedented and unfair to require spending cuts to accompany badly needed emergency aid. They are especially unhappy that the GOP measure would tap clean-energy programs credited with creating jobs.
Republicans say that with a $14 trillion-plus national debt, business-as-usual spending is no longer acceptable.
It is obvious that the Republican strategy is to cause as much economic pain as possible in the expectation that voters will blame their distress on President Obama. And the strategy could be successful because most American voters seem to know little about their system of government.
They seem to think the president could have fixed things if he had tried harder. But the way things work, the president is virtually powerless without the cooperation of Congress – and sometimes the Supreme Court. With the standoff between Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate, the president has become nothing more than a gifted orator touring the country, providing sound bites for television.
We do not know if President Obama’s policies would have reversed the economic free fall the Bush years precipitated. The Republicans have made sure that his polices were blocked or derailed. Perhaps, if voters decide to give Obama another chance and provide him with the support he needs in Congress, we might find out.
Of course, there’s always that third branch of government – the judiciary – to contend with. And you can bet the Supreme Court, stacked as it is with radical right wingers, will do everything it can to prevent progress in America.
September 26, 2011 1 Comment
Sometimes I think I might know a little bit about what’s going on, and then I realize I really don’t know nuthin’ about nuthin’.
How can I make any sense of life when I am surrounded by an impenetrable fog of misinformation? I am not talking about the Republican debates that are infesting television lately. I know Republicans are fact free. So when the latest crop of presidential wannabes say the Obama stimulus package created no jobs and launched no projects, I know they’re just repeating the lies their base finds comforting. And if Michele Bachmann wants to agree with my crazy neighbor who thinks vaccines are a conspiracy to kill off and dumb down the population, that don’t bother me none. This is America and the Constitution guarantees everyone’s right to utter any BS they want – true or not.
If you doubt me, tune in to Fox News sometime.
They say ignorance is bliss, and it is – compared to the deluded nonsense with which the media and politicians fill our heads.
It’s not just that we don’t know the truth; we “know” the untruth.
We know that Islamic “terrorists” directed by the late Osama Bin Laden caused the Nine-Eleven horror. That’s why our leaders have been sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan for the past decade. That’s why we’re running up an almost unpayable national debt to buy bombs and bullets and bribe politicians and drug dealers in faraway lands.
We’re fightin’ ‘em over there so we don’t hafta fight ‘em over here – right?
At least you and I know that. Iran’s tough guy – what’shisname-a-bad – says it couldn’t possibly have happened the way we know it happened.
But what does he know? He’s just echoing the stuff my crazy neighbor gets from those looney web sites he frequents.
They’re nuts of course.
So how come Lloyd’s of London launched that $215 million lawsuit against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and some of its princes, blaming them for the disaster?
OK. Lloyds fell all over itself in its haste to withdraw the suit.
I guess they realized they were nuts to believe the Saudi princes – America’s traditional allies for so many years and the Bush family’s long-time business partners – would be behind the worst terrorist attack in American history. It just makes no sense. No sense at all. And yet…
What am I to make of similar “findings” being reported on the web and circulated by Reader Supported News today?
The story makes about as much sense to me as another of today’s news reports:
European researchers said they clocked an oddball type of subatomic particle called a neutrino going faster than the 186,282 miles per second that has long been considered the cosmic speed limit.
Of course you recognized immediately that 186,282 miles per second is the speed of light, and only The Flash goes faster than that.
Yeah, I know. I’m babbling.
That’s what happens when you’re being bombarded by “facts” that turn your accepted reality upside down.
September 24, 2011 1 Comment
If Bernie Sanders supports a cause, I probably will, too. The Vermont congressman is one of the few politicians I trust. I believe the guy is in politics for the country’s good, not for his own enrichment.
So when he asked Americans to get behind his bill to lift the Social Security Payroll tax cap, I signed on as a “citizen co-sponsor.”
You might not know how this tax cap thing works. Those of us who have never made more than $106,800 a year – and don’t expect to – don’t need to trouble our heads with such details. If we did we would probably be wondering why people who earn $106,800 or less will pay Social Security taxes on their entire income while those who earn more pay Social Security taxes only on the first $106,800.
I wouldn’t be able to tell you why. I guess rich people don’t need the government to put away as much of their income as we do. I guess they have other ways to fund their retirement – especially as their income from stocks and bonds is taxed at only 15 percent while wages and salaries get taxed at up to 33 percent. But what do I know about the way rich people think?
Personally, I would feel a lot safer knowing my retirement contributions are invested in government bonds -not in that crazy Wall Street carnival. If ever there was a sucker trap, today’s stock market is it.
So how come the Republicans are all so keen on ending the robustly successful current government program and replacing it with a scheme that would funnel middle-class nest eggs into the Wall Street shell game?
They claim it’s the only way to “save Social Security.” They say – incredibly – that the government program is bankrupt. They say their “children and grandchildren” will never get Social Security payouts because the program will run out of cash. Unless…
Unless you trust the millionaires in Congress to look after your retirement cash for you. They’ve got this win-win thing, see?You give their Wall Street buddies the retirement money the government now collects from your paycheck. The Wall Street carnival barkers take a cut of your profits and you take whatever losses you incur from their “investments.” That’s win-win, all right. For them.
Sanders is not buying that crap.
He knows that Social Security has a vault full of government IOUs. In fact, Social Security is the government’s biggest creditor. Uncle Sam owes American seniors more than he owes China. A lot more.
Here’s what Sanders said in yesterday’s Reader Supported News:
Republicans have spent years demonizing Social Security and spreading lies about its sustainability. They want to scare Americans and build support for making drastic cuts to the program or privatizing it entirely. Their long-term goal is to end Social Security as we know it, and convert it into a private account system which will enable Wall Street to make hundreds of billions in profits.
The truth is that, today, according to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years.
Further, because it is funded by the payroll tax and not the US Treasury, Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit.
So how can the Republicans look the public in the eye and lie the way they do? You tell me. They seem to have a talent for that kind of thing.
Sanders wants to make the program even more gilt-edged by lifting the payroll tax cap.
Along with nine co-sponsors, he has introduced the “Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.” Sanders explains it this way:
Right now, someone who earns $106,800 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as billionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. That is because today, all income above $106,800 is exempt from the Social Security tax. As a result, 94 percent of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6 percent do not.
That makes no sense.
The “Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act” will ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security without cutting benefits, raising the retirement age or raising taxes on the middle class.
What could be more reasonable than that?
September 23, 2011 1 Comment
Back in the Sixties and Seventies, before wealthy conservatives launched a massive crusade to reshape political thought in post-Vietnam America, the ongoing Wall Street protests would have been all over the news. Not today.
Today, you will read and hear ad nauseam about the “controversial” fate of convicted cop killer Troy Davis and the release of those two dumb-and-dumber guys who hiked across the Iraq border into Iran. But you won’t get any updates in the mainstream media from the ongoing Wall Street protests.
The pattern has become all too familiar.
Hundreds of thousands took to the streets a few months ago to protest the union busting policies of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker – and attracted scant attention from the corporate-owned press.
Thousands more have been massing to protest America’s endless wars – without drawing much more than a yawn from American “reporters.”
Back in March, Think Progress noted:
While the tea party demonstrations – which were estimated to have been attended by 1,500-2,000 people according to Capitol Hill police officers – received an enormous amount of press coverage, a larger demonstration took place. A crowd estimated to be 2,500-strongby Capitol Hill police officers marched through the streets of Washington to mark the seventh anniversary of the war in Iraq and to call on Obama to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and focus all of his efforts on domestic priorities like health care and education.
The news media did not find the second, larger march to be as newsworthy as the tea party demonstration. Using the media data-mining tool Critical Mention, a search by Think Progress of the keyword “protest” of the three major cable news networks – CNN, MSNBC, and Fox – found that the tea party protests were covered 31 times between March 19th and March 21st, and the antiwar demonstration was only covered twice.
Haven’t you wondered why the nutty Tea Party gets so much attention while “liberals” get so little?
I see it as a tactic of a war so pernicious that it is hardly believable yet so obvious it cannot be denied. For decades, super-rich conservatives have been founding “think tanks,” endowing university departments, buying up and bullying media outlets, and funding an army of right-wing bloggers in a coordinated crusade to dominate public opinion – and ensure their accumulation of ever-increasing wealth.
In “The Origins of the Overclass,” Steve Kangas describes the crusade this way:
The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.
The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine’s creators had CIA backgrounds.
During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA’s expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.
(Today, the richest 1 percent of Americans have hogged more than three-quarters of the nation’s wealth.)
This massive propaganda initiative has spread from traditional news media to the Internet. Hired flaks write blogs and anonymous “comments” to create the impression of popular support for Republican “talking points.” It has even spread to the email carriers. Recently, Yahoo admitted blocking emails urging support for the Wall Street occupation.
It’s no wonder the Republicans can get away with the atrocities they commit. The American public sees them through the prism of the media. And, by and large, they own the media.
The din of conservative chatter has permeated America’s collective consciousness with undeniably dire results, and the other side of the crusade – shutting out opposing views – could prove even more disastrous.
If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did it make a sound?
And if progressives take to the streets in protest but nobody knows, can the protests spread?
We shall have to wait and see.
September 22, 2011 4 Comments
What on earth do they mean when Republicans accuse the president of “class warfare”? Do they really believe Barack Obama invented the war between the economic classes in America? Do they think he could stop it if he wished? Do they think there was a time when the classes were not at war? With each other, I mean, not with the Nazis or the Soviets or whomever. Those external wars – hot and cold – merely served to distract the country temporarily from the real conflict – the internal struggle for power and the wealth that comes with it.
If you have not recognized class warfare in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio and Michigan since the Republicans won control of state governments there in 2010, you weren’t paying attention to the union busting, vote suppressing and gerrymandering that’s been going on – all designed to muzzle minorities and cripple the Democrats going into the 2012 elections.
What do you think the firing of thousands of state workers – teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and so on – is all about? Why do you think American corporations are sitting on more than $2 trillion in unspent cash while 14 million are jobless and millions more underemployed? What do you call the Bush tax cuts that benefited the richest Americans?
How did a tiny elite come to control the vast majority of the wealth in America?
What do you call the censorship of Wall Street protest emails by Yahoo?
And what do you call the anti-Obama tirades by the millionaires who read us “the news”?
The war is in full force on all fronts. The right-wing propaganda resources are deployed with billions to back them up. Obama faces hostile fire from the “think tanks” and “media outlets,” the bloggers and search engines, the Tea Party groups and … His enemies are everywhere and they’re letting it all hang out.
And that’s not the worst of it. Look out for an infestation of Republican “dirty tricks” as they wage a desperate struggle to gain total control of the country.
Meanwhile – virtually ignored by the mainstream media - long-suffering Americans are awakening to the vast injustice inflicted on them and they are taking to the streets at last.
Click here for details. (Scroll down to read the comments, too.)
It looks as if America’s “Arab Spring” might be dawning.
This could be it, folks. The battle for our future.
I wonder what would happen if the Republicans stole the next election as they did in 2004?
Might that be the spark that sets the country ablaze?
September 21, 2011 1 Comment
Here it comes, folks, the avalanche of “negative publicity” targeting President Obama. You were expecting it, weren’t you? The Republicans have nothing to sell voters so they are resorting to their favorite strategy. In logic, it’s called ad hominem, and it’s a tactic as old as time. When your arguments fail, you launch a personal attack against your opponent.
In today’s America it’s called Swiftboating, from the atrocious campaign that smeared John Kerry and helped George W. Bush win the presidency.
And, right on cue, Swiftboat writer John Corsi has a new book out, repeating all the old – and debunked – lies about Obama. Not surprisingly, the book is edited by Republican strategist Mary Matalin.
Expect more of it in the coming election campaign. Much more, now that the Supreme Court has removed restraints on corporate contributions.
Scanning the headlines this morning, I see the knives being unsheathed – from stories about another toxic book, Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men, to an AP “fact check” that left me gasping in disbelief.
Here’s the Associated Press indictment of the president:
President Barack Obama makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries.
“Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires,” Obama said Monday. “That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that.”
The data tell a different story.
Really? And yet in the same article, by a man named Stephen Ohlimacher, we get this admission:
In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
That’s “a different story”?
For high-income families and individuals, investment income is often taxed at a lower rate than wages. The top tax rate for dividends and capital gains is 15 percent. The top marginal tax rate for wages is 35 percent, though that is reserved for taxable income above $379,150.
With tax rates that high, why do so many people pay at lower rates? Because the tax code is riddled with more than $1 trillion in deductions, exemptions and credits…
That’s what billionaire Warren Buffet is complaining about, and that’s what the president is referring to in his speeches. So when AP – supposedly an objective news service – accuses Obama of lying, I have to wonder what’s behind the attack.
I wonder, too, why Suskind’s vicious book is being released at this time. Suskind might be nothing more than an opportunist looking to make a buck. But the timing of his hatchet job certainly is suspect.
Many of the slurs in the book have been refuted by the people they’re attributed to, but that hasn’t stopped the media from repeating them.
Nothing builds audiences like a good fight, and nothing brings the sharks circling like the smell of blood in the water.
Brace yourself. The savagery is just beginning.
September 20, 2011 3 Comments