Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fox & Friends Enlists Viewers In Its Battle Against The Phony War On Christmas

by Eric Schroeck/Media Matters

In yet another War on Christmas segment, Fox & Friends attacked Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee this morning for calling the annual tree at the Statehouse a "holiday tree" instead of a "Christmas tree." Fox then ratcheted things up by airing Chafee's office phone number and urging viewers to call in and complain about the "holiday tree."
After airing Chafee's phone number, co-host Steve Doocy prompted viewers to "give him a little surprise" and even noted that there was "just an hour and three minutes until the governor's office opens."
A spokeswoman for Chafee's office told Media Matters that they have received "quite a few phone calls" about the tree, with several callers noting that they had seen the story on Fox. She added that office staff thanked callers for their opinions and directed them to a website listing volunteer opportunities -- echoing Chafee's statement that that those upset with the decision "should focus their energy on feeding the poor," as The Associated Press reported.
The AP further noted that Chafee "isn't the first Rhode Island governor to refer to the annual Statehouse tree as a holiday tree":
Chafee isn't the first Rhode Island governor to refer to the annual Statehouse tree as a holiday tree. His predecessor, Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri, used both holiday tree and Christmas tree in his correspondence. Other governors have made no specific reference to Christmas at all with invitations to "holiday celebrations" featuring a "tree lighting."
The Fox & Friends segment even caught the attention of CNN, which cited the segment in its report on the Rhode Island tree and noted that "Fox News, as it does every year, went crazy" over the War on Christmas.
Strangely, though, despite Fox & Friends' freakout over the Rhode Island holiday tree, later during the show, they declared that there was "no more 'War on Christmas.' "

GOP continues to protect the rich

Cops, movers refuse to foreclose on 103-year-old woman

By Andrew Jones/Raw Story

In a heart warming story just in time for the holiday season, a 103-year-old woman in Atlanta avoided foreclosure of her home Tuesday afternoon, thanks entirely to the kindness of strangers.
According to WSBTV Atlanta, movers hired by Deutsche Bank AG and police were ready to go through with the bank’s request to remove Vita Lee and her 83-year old daughter from their home.
However, when they first got sight of Lee, they had a change of heart and declined to go through with it.
“I saw the sheriffs who came to put them out, take off and leave,” community activist Michael Langford said to WSBTV. ”I gave all glory to God.”
Lee, whose daughter was rushed to the hospital to the hospital from the stress of possibly facing an eviction, was relieved that the movers and police had compassion for their condition.
“I know God said when things go wrong, he’ll make it right,” she said.
And Lee decided to give Deutsche Bank a message if they pondered to still go through on the foreclosure.
“Please don’t come in and disturb me no more,” she reportedly said. “When I’m gone you all can come back and do whatever they want to.”
The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank this past May for $1 billion. The bank is being sued for “repeatedly lying” to the Federal Housing Administration about mortgages issued by a company called Mortgage IT Inc, which it purchased in 2007. The bank assurred regulators that the loans met federal standards, but taxpayers ended up paying out hundreds of millions in insurance claims when the majority of the company’s borrowers defaulted.
WATCH: Video from WBSTV, which was broadcast on November 29, 2011.

As His Poll Numbers Tank, Perry Adopts Populist Rhetoric: Calls For Jailing Bankers

By Pat Garofalo/Think Progress

2012 GOP presidential contender and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been plummeting in the polls recently, with the latest numbers showing him at 8 percent in South Carolina and just 2 percent in Florida. In an apparent attempt to revive his campaign, Perry has decided that espousing anti-bank populism is the right approach. Perry said in a speech in New Hampshire today that the bankers who wrecked the economy should be thrown in jail and that he opposes executives at bailed out banks receiving bonuses.
However, his solution to the problem of banks’ undue influence in the economy is to simply promise “no more bailouts” and then have Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution:
Not the large banks that were overleveraged. Not the insurance company that took on too much risk. Not even executives who continued to get these huge bonuses even after the walls had crumbled down. No, the people that are paying the price are average Americans. Main Street businesses. It’s our children who stand to inherit the worst fiscal mess in the history of this country. It is wrong, it is unfair, it is unjust. We shouldn’t be awarding taxpayer funded bonuses to Wall Street executives who defrauded those very same taxpayers. We ought to be locking ‘em up.
Mr. Speaker, when I’m the President of the United States, we will clean up corruption from K Street to Wall Street so that they can not gamble with our childrens’ future again. And it starts with a simple promise. No more bailouts, whether we’re talking about bailing out bankers in America or we’re talking about bankers in Europe. No more bailouts. It continues with my pledge to end wasteful earmarks. And I won’t stop until Congress and the American people pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Watch it:
It’s entirely unclear how Perry thinks that a BBA — one of the worst ideas in Washingtonfor a whole host of reasons — would help rein in the biggest banks. Perhaps he thinks it will prevent the government from spending money in a TARP-like fashion? And for someone professing such a concern for the power of Wall Street, Perry is on record calling for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. “This president does not understand how to free up the small businessmen and women or, for that matter, Wall Street,” Perry has said.
This isn’t the first time that Perry has gone populist when it comes to Wall Street, saying in 2008 that the banking industry “has too often been run on greed.” But when it comes to solutions, Perry suggests a favorite GOP budget gimmick that has nothing to do with the problem at hand.


By Judd Legum/Think Progress

Tonight on the O’Reilly Factor, Fox News anchor Bret Baier revealed that Mitt Romney complained to him repeatedly about his interview yesterday afternoon. After the interview concluded, Romney told Baier he was “overly aggressive.” According to Baier, Romney then returned to his green room, but sought Baier out again to complain some more. Watch it:
Last night, ThinkProgress covered Romney’s difficulty during the interview on the topics of immigrationand other topics.
Motor City Liberal Comment: You know it's bad to be Mitt when he's complaining about  the treatment he's getting from all places Fox News.

VIDEO: GOP Leaders Voice Support For Big Tax Increase On Working People

By Jeff Spross/Think Progressr

The latest evidence of the salutary effect the 99 Percent Movement and Democrats’ newfound populist aggression is having on the nation’s politics emerged yesterday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walked back the GOP’s opposition to an extension of the payroll tax holiday passed last December.
Despite the party’s stated opposition to taxes, up until that point, prominent Republicans had derided an extension of the holiday as “sugar high” economics, and a “bandaid” solution unworthy of the effort or of the cost in revenue to the budget. Not surprisingly, an offer by the Democrats to pay for an extension with a small surtax on millionaires did nothing to reverse the GOP’s aversion.
Given Republicans’ rabid and absolute opposition to tax increases in all other instances — and that the one distinguishing feature of the payroll tax holiday is that it provides relief heavily weighted towards the poor and the middle class — this particular stance was unusually reprehensible, even by Republicans’ standards. ThinkProgress has compiled a video report on the issue. Watch it:
Whether Republicans’ motivation in staking out their initial opposition was genuine disbelief that aiding the poor or the middle class is a necessary part of economic recovery, or if it was purely partisan opposition to a policy favored by President Obama, the GOP apparently feltsufficient pressure to back off. That pressure must be maintained, however, especially since the next crucial piece of economic policy Congress will consider is the extension of unemployment benefits for another year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GOP says ‘no’ to payroll tax cut

Fox: Student Indoctrination Is OK, But Only If The Teacher's Conservative

by Chelsea Rudman/Media Matters

Regular viewers of Fox News know that Fox is no fan of public education, which they often claim is "indoctrinating" children to liberal viewpointsFox & Friends, in fact, regularly runs segments about education alongside a graphic reading, "The Trouble With Schools."
Today, Fox & Friends began their show by hosting a conservative author to claim public schools "subvert American exceptionalism" and promote liberal "propaganda," then ended the show by gleefully hosting a college professor who teaches his students how the government "plunder[s] people." In other words, Fox is saying that "liberal" viewpoints  being taught in the classroom is "propaganda" ... but conservative viewpoints in the classroom are important.
In the first half of the show, co-host Gretchen Carlson interviewed Kyle Olson, author of a book calledIndoctrination: How "Useful Idiots" Are Using Our Schools to Subvert American Exceptionalism. Olson is also a regular contributor to Andrew Breitbart's Big Government blog and the conservative, although Carlson didn't mention that. Olson claimed to have found a "real agenda" to get "teachers' personal philosophy into the classroom." He and Carlson found it sinister that students would be learning about the words "strike" and "collective bargaining" in class (emphasis added):
CARLSON: Preschool teachers using words like "strike" and "collective bargaining" in vocabulary lessons? Our next guest says this is just the tip of the iceberg. He studied dozens of lessons plans [sic], and he found thousands of examples of teachers using the curriculum to promote their own liberal political agenda.
OLSON: I'm the father of a kindergartener, and so this -- looking at what was going on in schools is very important to me. And so I started looking at the curriculum, lesson plans, textbooks, videos that are being pushed in public schools, and what I found is a real agenda to get the teachers' personal philosophy into the classroom.

CARLSON: So one of the things you found was union language to preschoolers, the talk of strike and collective bargaining?
OLSON: That's right.
CARLSON: I mean, even most seniors wouldn't understand what that is. 

OLSON: That's it. That's the perfect example. What happened in the city of Chicago was, there's a preschool teacher, preschooler. Again, I'm the father of a kindergartener, so I'm thinking, "Preschooler, you know, how could a preschooler relate to this?" But there's a teacher in the city of Chicago, she went up to Madison, Wisconsin to protest against Scott Walker  and collective bargaining reform and everything. She took pictures there. She took them back to her classroom. She read her students a book called Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type and then she taught them the vocabulary lesson that you mentioned, "strike," "collective bargaining," and "negotiate." And you just think, you know, these are examples that high schoolers should be learning about, if at all, but yet, they're being pushed at very early ages.
What's most troubling is that both Carlson and Olson seem to suggest unions and collective bargaining, integral parts of American labor history, shouldn't be taught in classrooms at all, even in high school. The pair went on to be equally appalled by the notion that other students learn about environmental protection, incarcerations rates, and the existence of AIDS, all of which Olson views as evidence of a subversive "agenda." They were particularly troubled by the fact that Maryland high school students are required to be "environmentally literate" in order to graduate, which Fox has freaked out about before.
The following text aired during the segment, alongside the trademark "The Trouble With Schools" logo:
And this text aired later:
Liberal propaganda
Fox's stance on education here is clear: "propaganda in the schools" is bad.
Yet a few hours later, co-host Steve Doocy cheerfully hosted economics professor Jack Chambless of Valencia College, leading off the interview by saying, "It's a lesson about the American Dream, and all you parents and kids out there cannot afford to miss this segment."
During the interview, Doocy asked Chambliss about a writing assignment he gives his students on the American Dream. Both Chambless and Doocy were viscerally appalled that in their responses, "over 80 percent" of Chambless's students said the government should pay for "health care" and "tuition."
Doocy asked Chambless where he thinks his students' "sense of entitlement" comes from, and Chambliss, seemingly unaware of the irony, said that "public schools are part of it." Then Doocy asked about an "experiment" Chambless conducts in his classes, in which he pretends to be a "pickpocket" to show students it's "wrong" for "the government to plunder people":
DOOCY: Before you go, you got to tell me about the experiment you do in your class where you have -- you're essentially a pickpocket.

CHAMBLESS: Well, yes. When I went back to class the next time to meet with them, I told them I read over their essays and I read some of the comments they had made. And then I sat them on a table, and I asked everybody to pull out their wallets and their purses. And I picked one student in each class, and when their wallet was in their hand, I grabbed their wallet out forcefully, and in one case, I grabbed a girl's purse, and I rifled through her purse, pulled out her wallet, pulled out all of her cash. And I said that part of my American Dream was to have a cabin in northern Minnesota someday so I could have a nice retirement, and that this money was now going to help fund that American Dream. And of course, that set in motion explanation [sic] on why using the government to plunder people to support our American Dream is fundamentally, morally wrong, constitutionally wrong, and leads to a lot of economic -- economically bad events if we let that idea gain ground.
Unlike a simple discussion of unions and collective bargaining, this is a pretty clear example of a teacher pushing his "own politics."
Yet Doocy laughed throughout his interview with Chambliss and concluded, "Jack, you better go back to class, because you've got lots of heads to fill."

Former Acting Mayor Michael Brown named Flint's emergency manager

By Kristin Longley/

FLINT, Michigan — Michael Brown, Flint's former temporary mayor, has been appointed by the governor as Flint's new emergency manager.

The appointment was announced this afternoon and is effective Thursday, according to Gov. Rick Snyder's office.
As emergency manager, Brown will have wide-ranging authority to make cuts, impose fees or make other changes to overhaul city government after a state review panel found the city in a financial emergency.

"Michael Brown has a strong track record of serving the Flint-area community,” Snyder said in a statement. “Given his experience in public, private, and non-profit settings, I’m confident he is well-equipped to take on this critical post."

Brown is currently president of the Prima Civitas Foundation and director of the Flint Area Reinvestment Office, which he established in 2009.

As emergency manager, Brown will make $170,000, according to his contract, which he signed Monday. (SEE ALSO: Facts about emergency managers salaries, powers, etc.)

Brown served as acting Flint mayor for six months after ex-Mayor Don Williamson resigned in February 2009. Brown served until Flint Mayor Dayne Walling was first elected in August of that year.

Brown, who was born and raised in Flint, said he wants to return the city to local control as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"I believe we can work together to resolve Flint’s financial emergency," Brown said. "This is my hometown, so this is a personal task."

As emergency manager, Brown said he will also appoint an advisory committee to assist him, which will include an elected city official, a representative of the business community, a Flint resident and "up to two persons with relevant professional skills" to assist him.

Rick Perry forgets the U.S. voting age, election date

By David Edwards/Raw Story

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) wants to be president, but he just can’t remember when the election is or how old you have to be to vote.
At a campaign stop at St. Anselm College Institute of Politics Tuesday, Perry didn’t seem to know that Americans become eligible to vote at the age of 18, and that the 2012 presidential election will be held on Nov. 6, 2012.
“Those who are going to be over 21 on November 12th, I ask for your support,” the candidate told students. “Those of you that won’t be, just work hard. Because you’re… counting on us.”
Following the event, Perry spokesman Mark Miner dismissed the error, saying “the governor misspoke.”
But some are sure to see the slip as part of a pattern.
At a Republican presidential debate in early November, the Texas governor could not recall which three agencies of government he wanted to eliminate.
“The third agency of government — I would do away with Education, the, um, Commerce and let’s see…,” Perry said, glancing down at the podium. “I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
Watch this video from The Associated Press, broadcast Nov. 29, 2011.

In Stammering Interview, Romney Refuses To Say Whether He Will Deport Undocumented Immigrants

By Faiz Shakir/Think Progress

At the last GOP presidential debate, Newt Gingrich asserted his support for an immigration planthat would accord an undocumented immigrant “red card” status — that is, give them a legal right to be here without providing a path to citizenship. Mitt Romney then seized a political opportunity to engage in a false attack against Gingrich, slamming the former Speaker for embracing “amnesty.”
Earlier this week, Bloomberg news reported that, in 2006, Romney “took a nearly identical position” as Gingrich, arguing undocumented immigrants living in the United States should not be “rounded up and box-carred out,” and that they should “get in line” to apply for citizenship.
During his interview with Fox News tonight, Bret Baier asked Romney about this hypocritical stand. Romney affirmed that he does believe undocumented immigrants should indeed be given a pathway to citizenship by being placed “in the back of the line.” Baier astutely noted, “Isn’t that what Gingrich is saying?” Romney incorrectly responded that Gingrich’s plan allows them to “become citizens” and provides “amnesty.”
When Baier asked whether Romney was going to send undocumented immigrants home as they apply for legal status, Romney uncomfortably stammered for a few seconds. He then circled around the issue: “Whether they apply here, whether they apply by going home — I think I’ve said in the past I think it makes more sense for them to go home, if we set up a system for them to apply here…” Baier cut him off and asked again what Romney planned to do immediately with undocumented immigrants who are already here. Again, Romney had no response. Watch it:
In 2008, Romney took the view that every undocumented immigrant had to leave. “Under the ideal setting, at least in my view, you say to those who have just come in recently, we’re going to send you back home immediately, we’re not going to let you stay here,” Romney explained. “You just go back home. For those that have been here, let’s say, five years, and have kids in school, you allow kids to complete the school year, you allow people to make their arrangements, and allow them to return back home. Those that have been here a long time, with kids that have responsibilities here and so forth, you let stay enough time to organize their affairs and go home.”
In a recent interview, one Romney adviser explained that his boss’s current position is essentially to make an undocumented immigrant’s life so unbearable here in the United States that the individual decides to pick up and leave voluntarily.
For an understanding of all the GOP presidential candidates’ views on immigration, check out our compilation here.

Newt Gingrich: ‘I Call On The President To Repudiate The Concept Of The 99 And The 1′

By Pat Garofalo/Think Progress

2012 GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich today, during an event in South Carolina, said that he repudiates the very idea behind the Occupy Wall Street movement — that the economy should work for everyone, not just the richest 1 percent — and called on President Obama to do the same:
I repudiate, and I call on the President to repudiate, the concept of the 99 and the 1. It is un-American, it is divisive, it is historically false…You are not going to get job creation when you engage in class warfare because you have to attack the very people you hope will create jobs.
Watch it:
Gingrich may be spooked by the power of the narrative of the 99 percent, and is thus resorting to the tired charge of “class warfare” to deride anyone who points out the extent of income inequality in the U.S. But a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that “60 percent of respondents strongly agreed that America’s economic imbalance comes from policies that favor the rich over the rest of the country,” while 55 percent “said income inequality is a significant problem in the country.”