Monday, October 31, 2011

Fox's "Straight News" Desperately Attempts To Label OWS Protesters As Top 1 Percent

 by Andy Newbold/Media Matters

On today's edition of Special Report -- billed as one of Fox's "straight news" programs -- host Bret Baier highlighted an article by the investment site The Motley Fool in an attempt to place Occupy Wall Street protesters in the top one percent of earners. The article, titled "Attention, Protesters: You're Probably Part of the 1%," explains that a person making $34,000 annually is among the top one percent of income earners worldwide. Baier quoted the article as saying, "Americans we consider poor are among some of the world's most well-off.... Many of those protesting the one percent are, ironically, the top one percent."
But in mocking the Occupy Wall Street protesters, Fox ignored that the very same article notes that "[i]n America, the top 1% earn more than $380,000 per year."
Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office showed in a recent report that the top one percent of income earners in the United States more than doubled their share of after-tax household income between 1979 and 2007, while those in the lowest and middle three income quintiles saw "their shares of after-tax income decline" during that period. From the report:
The share of after-tax household income for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income more than doubled, climbing from nearly 8 percent in 1979 to 17 percent in 2007.
The population in the lowest income quintile received about 7 percent of after-tax income in 1979; by 2007, their share of after-tax income had fallen to about 5 percent. The middle three income quintiles all saw their shares of after-tax income decline by 2 to 3 percentage points between 1979 and 2007.
The report included the following graph showing increased disparity in income (after transfers and federal taxes) between the top one percent and the rest of the population between 1979 and 2007:
This is nothing more than Fox's latest attempt to mocksmear, and deflate the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.  

It’s all about the politics for Rick Snyder

/Blogging for Michigan

It’s not that I’m surprised that Rick Snyder is a hack. I just never get used to how easy it is to point it out.
Friday’s Gongwer (10/28/11) reports that Rick Snyder is out campaigning for Paul Scott, trying to prevent the little anti-education, anti-worker, lying sack-o-crap from losing his seat in the upcoming recall election.
Mr. Snyder said the focus for now should be keeping Mr. Scott (R-Grand Blanc) in office. Then the Legislature should take up recall reform. … he said he has concerns about how lawmakers might react should voters oust Mr. Scott.”
In short, Rick Snyder wants to “send the message that this isn’t a good exercise.”
It’s nice to see Rick Snyder expressing his opinion on something, isn’t it? It just doesn’t happen often enough. For example, when he was asked his position on auto insurance reform, he refused to answer. “I want to respect the legislative process.” (Gongwer, 10/18/11)
It’s nice to see that he “respects” the legislative process. He surely doesn’t respect the election process or the will of the voters. “Mr. Scott” might lose his seat, and the legislators might react to that.
Oh, and don’t forget that Snyder tried to interfere with the State Supreme Court decision on this recall too. So it looks like Snyder doesn’t respect our legal system either.

Virginia GOP emails zombie collage featuring Obama shot in head

By Stephen C. Webster/Raw Story

Virginia Republicans spent Monday in damage control after the state party was forced to condemn an email sent around to some of its supporters featuring a zombie collage that depicted President Barack Obama shot in the head.
In what’s clearly a Halloween-themed mailer, an image of a zombie hoard from The Walking Deadcomic books, several other pieces of zombie art including a photo of Obama supporters and a jack-o-lantern are spaced apart by the defaced portraits of President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Obama’s render, a modification of his campaign’s famous “Hope” poster by artist Shepard Fairey, is seen zombified, making him appear severely wounded. There’s a bullet hole in his forehead, and his brain is exposed.
Pelosi does not appear zombified, but her facial features are inexplicably deformed.
Both bizarre portraits were part of a mass email sent out by the Loudoun County GOP, which immediately became the subject of a post by the Republican blog Too Conservative.
“I am no fan of Barack Obama, but putting up a photo of him as a zombie with a bullet hole in his head????????????” the poster wrote. “Like him or not he is the legitimately elected the President of the United States and Commander in Chief of our armed services in a time of war. THIS IS DISGUSTING AND SHAMEFUL. Someone should send this to the US Secret Service.”
The email was intended to solicit attendance at a local fair. “We are going to vanquish the zombies with clear thinking conservative principles and a truckload of Republican candy,” it reads.
The Loudoun Republicans did not create either image, they simply pulled them off the Internet.
Responding to the controversy, the statewide GOP condemned Loudoun County’s actions in no uncertain terms.
“The disgusting image used today on a mass e-mail has no place in our politics. Ever,” Pat Mullins, chairman of Virginia’s Republican Party, told The Washington Post. “The Republican Party of Virginia condemns the image and its use in the strongest possible terms.”
Now, if only they could find some braaaaains.


From Think Progress

After canceling a speech on income inequality last week at the University of Pennsylvania after learning it would be open to the public, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) spoke today at the University of Michigan. It was clear why he had avoided the public previously, as 99 Percent Movement protesters stood silently during the speech while other audience members responded vocally to Cantor’s statements. Some photos via Steve Friess:
Video of today’s protest, via Elias Schewel, one of the organizers:

Cantor Rakes In Wall Street Donations While Calling Occupy Protesters A ‘Mob’

By Pat Garofalo/Think Progress

When the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations first gained some national prominence, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) derided the protesters as a “mob,” saying, “Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.”
Cantor eventually softened his rhetoric, and even scheduled a talk about income inequality (that heproceeded to cancel when he realized that the public would be allowed to attend). But Cantor has plenty of reasons to bash the protests because, as Roll Call noted today, Cantor’s top contributor this year is Wall Street:
Cantor’s personal political action committee has collected close to $2 million so far this year, placing it well ahead of any other leadership PAC in the House or Senate. In all of his fundraising efforts, top executives at banks, hedge funds and securities and investment firms play a starring role. Securities and investment industry donors have given close to $350,000 to both Cantor’s campaign and his leadership PAC this year, making them his top source of donations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
But Cantor has raised millions more than that for a lucrative operation known as the Cantor Victory Fund 2012…Ten major donors, many of them top executives with finance industry firms, have given $50,000 or more this year to the Cantor Victory Fund, which has collected $2.4 million, according to the most recent public disclosures.
Cantor has pushed several policies near and dear to Wall Street’s heart, including protecting tax loopholes for hedge fund managers, while managing to come up with no ideas for addressing income inequality. In fact, he believes we should just depend on the wealthy to bring down inequality through the goodness of their hearts. And so far, Wall Street has certainly shown its appreciation for Cantor’s positions.

Perry’s Tax Plan Would Cost More Than $500 Billion A Year While Increasing Taxes On Most Of The Middle-Class

By Pat Garofalo/Think Progress

2012 GOP presidential hopeful and Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a tax plan last week that would institute a 20 percent “flat tax,” while giving taxpayers the option of continuing to use the current tax code and all of its deductions and credits. Perry claims that he will be able to balance the budget while making the tax codesimpler and fairer.
We already knew that Perry’s plan is the epitome of complicated and unfair, as it layers a new tax code on top of the old, and makes the new code incredibly advantageous to the wealthy by entirely exempting investment income from any taxation at all. And according to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center, Perry’s plan would blow a gigantic hole in the deficit, while increasing taxes for those at the lowest end of the income scale.
In fact, compared to a current policy baseline (where tax revenue is already at historic lows), Perry’s plan would cost $570 billion in one single year. That’s more than half a trillion dollars in revenue, or more than 25 percent of the total revenue that will be collected this year.
At the same time, compared to current policy, 40 percent of Americans would pay higher taxes under Perry’s plan (due to many provisions of the current tax code that are set to expire in 2012, which the Perry campaign has not said would be extended). Meanwhile, millionaires would receive an average tax cut under Perry’s plan of nearly $500,000 every year. The richest 0.1 percent of Americans would receive a tax cut of $1.5 million apiece. Meanwhile, a family making $10,000-$20,000 would pay $215 more under Perry’s plan, while a family making $20,000-$30,000 would pay nearly $500 more.
Perry’s plan would, quite literally, cut a Medicare-sized hole in federal revenue (Medicare costs $523 billion in 2010), while asking those at the lowest end of the income scale to pay more in taxes. The plan is almost shocking in the amount of money it would hand out via tax breaks to the rich, which would then necessitate obliterating the social safety net as we know it in order to balance the budget.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Friday:True Story of The Ghost in Montevallo University

Halloween Friday: Haunted Mudhouse Mansion

Questions In Fox News Polls Echo Fox News Narrative

by Zachary Pleat/Media Matters

This morning, Fox News promoted its latest poll, which includes this gem of a question: "Recently President Obama's teleprompter was stolen. What do you think he should do -- replace it with another teleprompter, use note cards instead, speak off-the-cuff, or stop giving speeches?" That question, like many others in this poll, is just the latest evidence that Fox News is neither "fair" nor "balanced."
As we've repeatedly documented, Fox, and the larger conservative media, have relied on teleprompter jokes to mock Obama ever since he was elected president. Fox News host Sean Hannity once said: "The guy sleeps with his teleprompter. ... Is the teleprompter between him and his wife, or is it on the outside, one on each side?"
The poll, conducted jointly by Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research, is full of similar questions that echo Fox News' attacks on Obama, the federal government, and the Occupy Wall Street movement, among other things. One question reads: "Which of the following comes closer to your view?  The addition of more government regulation ... " Optional answers include:
  • Helps me and my family by providing order and protecting us from potential harm
  • Hurts me and my family by raising taxes and taking away our freedoms
  • (Depends)
  • (Don't know)
A Fox News poll question framing government regulation as harmful to "me and my family by raising taxes and taking away our freedoms" is taken straight from the Fox News narrative. Indeed, Fox spent aweek attacking government regulations.
The October 27 poll also asks respondents, "How concerned are you that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations will eventually turn into street riots?" and "Do you think the Occupy Wall Street movement is anti-capitalist, or not?" Of course, Fox News has strained to paint the protests as "Marxist" and "increasingly violent." The poll also asked respondents whether they thought the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party were good for the country; of course, Fox heavily promotedand lauded the Tea Party protests while it demonized the Occupy protesters.
Fox's previous poll from September also featured problematic framing. Here's a question on raising taxes on the wealthy from its September 30 poll: "Do you think asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes is a good idea because it will help grow the economy and reduce the deficit, or a bad idea because it reduces the incentive for people to invest and punishes hard work and success?" The poll also included this one: "Do you believe Barack Obama's economic policies encourage class warfare -- that is, do his policies encourage resentment toward wealthy people?" This of course echoes Fox'scharges that raising taxes on the wealthy is engaging in "class warfare" against high-income earners.
The poll also presented this baffling question: "If Congress passes the tax increases recently proposed by President Obama, do you think those tax dollars will be used primarily to decrease the deficit or will they be used primarily to fund more government spending?"

Do Republicans like their candidates?

Doctors: Scott Olsen suffered brain damage and is unable to speak

By Stephen C. Webster/Raw Story

The Iraq veteran seriously wounded Tuesday night at “Occupy Oakland” sustained minor brain damage and has been rendered unable to speak, doctors said Friday, adding that he will likely be able to make a full recovery in time.
Scott Olsen, 24, was said to be otherwise lucid and able to communicate with his family by writing notes, but his ability to spell is also damaged, according to sources who spoke with The Guardian. He is, however, able to understand what’s being communicated to him.
Keith Shannon, Olsen’s roommate who served with him in Iraq, explained that “He cannot talk right now, and that is because the fracture is right on the speech center of his brain,” the paper added. “However, they are expecting he will get that back.”
Olsen is believed to have been struck in the forehead by a police projectile, and many speculate it was either a tear gas canister or a beanbag full of lead fired from a shotgun. Both can be lethal at close range, although many police departments use them as “non-lethal” weapons. Video from the scene seems to show him being struck by a tear gas canister fired from just a few feet away, but the image is not clear.
The blow was so severe that doctors were forced to place Olsen in a medically-induced coma to help fight swelling on his brain.
The two-tour Iraq veteran has since become a flashpoint for the 99 Percent movement, who’ve seemingly been targeted for police harassment in most major cities.
In response to Tuesday’s events, the general assembly at “Occupy Oakland” has called for a city-wide general strike on Nov. 2, aimed at shutting down city services for one day to protest police violence.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quon, who authorized the eviction, has since distanced herself from the police chief, saying on Friday “I only asked the chief to do one thing: to do it when it was the safest for both the police and the demonstrators.” Current TV’s Keith Olbermann has called on her to go further than pass the blame: he wants Mayor Quon to fire the police chief or resign. There’s no indication that she plans to do either.
Since the violence she’s also claimed to support the 99 Percent movement and withdrawn much of the police presence near the park where protesters had been camping.
Olsen may still face brain surgery, but doctors haven’t determined whether that’s necessary just yet.

‘StudentsFirst’ Spending $70,000 To Support MI GOP Rep. Who Backed Huge Education Cuts

By Zaid Jilani/Think Progress

Earlier this week, Michigan’s Flint Journal reported that Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst has been supporting Michigan GOP Rep. Paul Scott against a potential recall election. Altogether, StudentsFirst has spent and owed $70,000 of political spending on behalf of Scott.
This came as a shock to many, who viewed Rhee’s StudentsFirst as primarily a nonpartisan group dedicated to education reform. By spending tens of thousands of dollars defending Scott, StudentsFirst is drawing a decidedly political line. What’s more, Scott has been a vocal defender of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) economic and education policies, which have lead to significant reductions in the state’s K-12 school aid.
Included among the budget that Snyder signed earlier this year was a whopping $300 million aid reduction to schools statewide. Additionally, there was a $100 million cut to aid to cities, which also serves to negatively impact schools.
It seems odd that an organization that says its goal is to “build a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform, so that America has the best education system in the world” would spend so much money to defend a right-wing Republican who loyally helped his right-wing Republican governor take an axe to the statewide school budet.

Romney Flips To Denial: ‘We Don’t Know What’s Causing Climate Change’

By Brad Johnson/Think Progress

Speaking at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reversed his earlier stance on climate change pollution and rejected man-made global warming. Because “we don’t know what’s causing climate change,” Romney said, the United States should not reduce carbon dioxide emissions:
My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.
Watch it:
“I think the EPA, acting in concert with the president, really doesn’t like oil, gas, coal, and nuclear,” Romney said in response to another question. “I really do believe that the EPA wants to get its hands on all of energy and be able to crush it to cause prices to go through the roof.” To applause, he concluded that “the EPA should not be regulating carbon dioxide.”
In June, Romney told a New Hampshire audience that he believed in man-made global warming, and that reducing greenhouse pollution is “important“:
I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney presided over plans to regulate carbon dioxide as a “pollutant,” and was advised by Dr. John Holdren, now President Obama’s scientific adviser.
Q: What is your position on man-made global warming and would you reject legislation, such as cap and trade, which is based on the idea of man-made global warming?
ROMNEY: Man-made global warming and cap and trade and so forth – I actually had in Massachusetts a consortium of states that came together with a cap and trade program. It was called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. And all the governors, Governor Pataki and so forth, signed it. I refused to sign.
I do not believe in a cap and trade program.
By the way, they do not call it America warming, they call it global warming. So the idea of America spending massive amounts, trillions of dollars to somehow stop global warming is not a great idea. It loses jobs for Americans and ultimately it won’t be successful, because industries that are energy intensive will just get up and go somewhere else. So it doesn’t make any sense at all.
My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.
My view with regards to energy policy is pretty straightforward. I want us to become energy secure and independent of the oil cartels. And that means let’s aggressively develop our oil, our gas, our coal, our nuclear power.
Look, Marcellus Shale is a huge godsend for the nation. Let’s develop it aggressively.
Oil has been discovered in North Dakota. I’m told that the discoveries in North Dakota suggest that we have oil there which will exceed what we found in Prudhoe Bay in Alaska.
So we have massive energy resources. Let’s grant the permits to let the drillers start drilling and provide those resources in America. We will create jobs here and make sure that we have the energy independence from the cartels that’s good for our foreign policy, for our national security, and for our economy