Monday, January 30, 2012

Right-Wing Media Have Been Beating The Drums Of "Class Warfare" For Years

From Media Matters

Despite a long history of scapegoating lower-income families and those in need, media conservatives continuously attack President Obama's proposals by shouting "class warfare." In fact, the majority of Americans support reforms that would address systematic inequality.

Right-Wing Media Drum Beat: Obama Engages In "Class Warfare"

Limbaugh: "Fairness" Is "A Code Word For Class Warfare." Reacting to President Obama's State of the Union address, Rush Limbaugh criticized Obama for discussing "fairness" during the State of the Union address, saying: "That's a code word for class warfare." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/26/2012]
Fox Blasted Obama's Speech On Inequality By Accusing Him Of "Class Warfare." Fox News figures responded to Obama's December 6, 2011, speech on inequality in American by accusing him of engaging in class warfare. [Media Matters12/6/11]

But It's Media Conservatives Who Regularly Attack Lower-Income Americans And Those In Need

Fox & Friends Called For Tax Hike On The Poor. During the January 25 edition of Fox & Friends, co-hosts Gretchen Carlson, Brian Kilmeade, and Steve Doocy advocated for raising income taxes on the poor:
CARLSON: I think, so when the president says "fair share" there's a couple points here, and earlier last hour I said maybe there should be a disclaimer underneath, which is the reason that we're putting up this graphic for you. Because if in fact you're paying tax on ordinary income, and you're in the highest tax bracket, then you're paying 30-some percent. But then if you take that money that you've already paid taxes on, and you go and invest and you make a profit, a long-term profit, more than a year of investment, then you pay another 15% on top of that. And by the way, with the "fair share" argument, 47% of Americans don't pay federal income tax.
KILMEADE: That didn't get into the State of the Union.
CARLSON: But that didn't get into it, but that is also part of the fair share. So if we are going to be fair to everyone, should those people then starting paying at least something?
DOOCY: Kick in a buck, kick in something!
KILMEADE: And in many cases some are getting refunds on money they haven't earned, They go beyond the money they earned for the year come April, so that's where a lot of that tax money's going. [Fox News, Fox & Friends1/25/12]
Fox Business Pitted The "Takers" Of "Government Handouts" Against The "Makers." After a National Bureau of Economic Research study concluded that social safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, were highly effective at keeping people out of poverty, Fox Business launched a week-long series pitting the "takers" of "government handouts" against the "makers" in the economy. [Media Matters,5/24/11]
Fox Business Scolded Poor People For Not Being Ashamed Of Their Poverty. During the May 19 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney attacked anti-poverty programs as evidence that the U.S. now has an "entitlement mentality." Fox commentator Charles Payne then scolded people in poverty for not being "embarrassed" about needing public assistance:
PAYNE: Krystal [Ball], there's no doubt that these are good programs. I think the real narrative here, though, is that people aren't embarrassed by it. People aren't ashamed by it. In other words, the there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on food stamps; there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on unemployment for six months, let alone demanding to be on it for more than two years.
I think that's what Stu is trying to say, is that, when the president says Wall Street is at fault, so, you are entitled to get anything that you want from the government, because it's not really your fault. No longer is the man being told to look in the mirror and cast down a judgment on himself; it's someone else's fault. So food stamps, unemployment, all of this stuff, is something that they probably earned in some indirect way. [Fox Business, Varney & Co.5/19/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's Stuart Varney On Low-Income Americans: "Many Of Them Have Things -- What They Lack Is The Richness Of Spirit." During the August 25 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co. at Night, host Stuart Varney hyped a Heritage Foundation study showing that many Americans in poverty own appliances, saying: "The image we have of poor people as starving and living in squalor really is not accurate. Many of them have things -- what they lack is the richness of spirit. That's my opinion." [Fox Business, Varney & Co. at Night8/25/11, via Media Matters]
Right-Wing Media Routinely Attack Low-Income Americans As "Lazy" Or "Having Poor Work Habits." In a July 2010 post at The American Spectator, conservative pundit and frequent Fox News guest Ben Stein wrote: "The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities." A month later, Stein repeated his attack, writing:
[A]s I noted before, in my small circle of friends, anyone who has good work skills and a decent personality can get a job. I am not talking about the national scene. Just my little world. The chronic complainers and the malcontents and the unrealistic are the ones who cannot find work they want. The people who really want to work can get work. It might not be great work, but it's work. [The American Spectator7/19/108/27/10, via Media Matters]
Fox Nation And Wash. Times On Occupy Wall Street And Its Demands: "Don't Feed The Lazy."A November 18, 2011, op-ed in The Washington Times, titled, "Don't feed the lazy," which was hyped by Fox Nation, claimed that "Occupy Wall Street's demands undermine real compassion." The op-ed stated:
It is interesting to note that according to the Bible, one of the criteria for receiving aid was a willingness to work. Entitlement was not an option. The Apostle Paul wrote, "For even when we were with youwe would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to worklet him not eat."
Paul is not being cruel or heartless in this passage. He is expressing a truth that those who are able but unwilling to work should be disqualified from receiving charitable help, thereby allowing their natural need for food to drive their effort to work. This is a profound and often overlooked financial principle.
Attitudes toward poverty, debt and entitlement make reaching common ground with those in the Occupy Wall Street movement difficult. Compared to many around the world, they live in relative comfort, with access to food, shelter and liberty. But rather than embracing equal opportunity, they seem to clamor for equal outcomes.
Perhaps it is time for the Occupy Wall Street movement to reflect on the words of Paul: "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." [The Washington Times11/18/11; Fox Nation, 11/21/11]

Moreover, Warren Buffett Has Admitted That It's "The Rich Class That's Making War"

Warren Buffett On CNN: "There Has Been Class Warfare For The Last 20 Years, And My Class Has Won." From CNN Correspondent Alison Kosik's September 30, 2011, interview with investor Warren Buffett:
KOSIK: Mr. Buffett, let's talk taxes for a moment. You know, you have been very outspoken about millionaires, about the uber-rich paying their fair share of taxes. But since, you know, since the portion of their taxes really isn't going to make a huge dent in the deficit, are you happy seeing your suggestion, this new Buffet rule, becoming more of a basis of a political battle that really -- that really has turned into class warfare?
BUFFETT: Well, no, actually, there has been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won. We are the ones that got our tax rates reduced dramatically. [CNN,9/30/11]
Buffett: "There Has Been Class Warfare Waged, And My Class Has Won." In a November 2011 interview with Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz, Buffett again said, "Through the tax code, there has been class warfare waged, and my class has won," adding, "It's been a rout." Huffington Postreported:
The billionaire investor, cited as the third-richest person in the world by Forbes, said in an interview with the CEO of BusinessWire -- a unit of Buffett's own conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway that publishes press releases -- that while there have been improvements in some areas of the economy, many others haven't fared so well.
Winners, Buffett says, include corporations, who have seen good equity returns, as well as the wealthiest American citizens. The losers? The housing market and average American worker.
"Through the tax code, there has been class warfare waged, and my class has won," Buffett told Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz at a luncheon in honor of the company's 50th anniversary. "It's been a rout." [Huffington Post, 11/15/11]
Gates: "People Like Myself" Aren't "Paying As Much As They Should." In a January 25 interview with the BBC, Bill Gates said, "Right now, I don't feel like people like myself are paying as much as they should":
GATES: Well the United States has a huge budget deficit, so taxes are going to have to go up. And I certainly agree that they should go up more on the rich than everyone else. That's just justice.
BBC HOST: Is that a message you think that works with other people as wealthy as yourself, or is it just a small circle of friends -- yourself, Warren Buffet, a few others.
GATES: Well, I hope we can solve that deficit problem with a sense of shared sacrifice -- where everybody would feel like they're doing their part. And right now, I don't feel like people like myself are paying as much as we should. [Think Progress, 1/25/12]

And Most Americans Support Policies That Would Increase Taxes On Millionaires

Study: Millionaires Support Raising Taxes On The Rich. The Wall Street Journal reported on a Spectrem Group survey which found that 68 percent of millionaires support raising taxes on those who earn $1 million or more per year:
Warren Buffett isn't the only rich guy who wants to higher taxes on the rich.
A new survey from Spectrem Group found that 68% of millionaires (those with investments of $1 million or more)  support raising taxes on those with $1 million or more in income. Fully 61% of those with net worths of $5 million or more support the tax on million-plus earners. [The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/11]
CBS/NY Times Poll: Most Americans Say Investment Income Should Be Taxed At Same Rate As Earned Income. A CBS/New York Times poll found that a majority of Americans support taxing capital gains and dividends at the same rate as work income. From the article headlined: "Most Americans agree with 'Buffett rule' Concept":
The government taxes income earned through investments at a lower tax rate income earned from working, but half of Americans think that should change, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.
[Fifty-two] percent of Americans say that capital gains and dividends should be taxed at the same rate as income earned from work because the current policy increases the federal deficit and is unfair to people who don't have money to invest, according to the poll. Thirty-six percent approve of the current policy of taxing capital gains at a lower rate because it encourages investment and helps the economy.
[CBS News, 1/24/12]
National Journal Poll: Most Americans Supported Democratic Surtax Proposal. In its October 2011 poll, National Journal found that "a whopping 68 percent of adults support the Democratic surtax" on those earning more than $1 million annually:
Those surveyed were asked about a possible 5 percent surtax on those earning more than $1 million annually. The idea got considerable discussion earlier this fall when Congress considered President Obama's jobs package. Senate Republicans united against the bill and were joined by some Democrats, making it impossible for the measure to pass in a chamber where 60-vote majorities have become the norm because of filibustering. Still, a whopping 68 percent of adults support the Democratic surtax to pay for the cost of their jobs plan. [National Journal, 10/19/11]
SEIU Poll: Nearly Three Quarters Of Americans Support Tax Increases On Wealthy. In September, 2011, Talking Points Memo reported on a Daily Kos/SEIU poll which found that an overwhelming majority of respondents support the "Buffett Rule":
In the first public polling available on the so-called "Buffett Rule" specifically -- the proposal to raise taxes on millionaires advocated by billionaire investor Warren Buffett -- Daily Kos/SEIU's weekly "State of the Nation" survey asked the following: Do you support or oppose ensuring that people who make over a million dollars a year pay the same percentage of taxes or more on their total income as those who make less than a million dollars a year?
The answer wasn't close. 73 percent supported the idea, versus 16 percent who did not, and 11 percent who were unsure. The poll was of 1,000 registered voters. [Talking Points Memo,9/27/11]

Gingrich claims college students don't work hard enough

'Closing the Lid' on Right-Wing Lies

In perhaps the most memorable line of his State of the State address, Gov. Snyder played off typical right-wing distaste for so-called “job-killing government regulations” by citing an obscure Department of Environmental Quality rule requiring that outhouse users close the seat while not in use. The only problem? There is no such regulation.
The governor's spokesperson told the Free Press it makes no difference whether the governor “misstated” the regulation, saying it perfectly illustrated “the types of regulations that are outdated and need review.”
This is actually a perfect illustration for the conservative movement’s overwhelming focus on rhetoric and anecdote, at the expense of the truth. 
Conservatives love creating their own parallel reality, like by claiming only certain jobs matter, so they can point to the numbers that make them look good. Gov. Snyder simply made up an anecdote in order to support his argument that government regulations are standing in the way of job creation, when in reality businesses tell us that government regulation has almost nothing to do with small-business job creation.Economists tell us the same thing:
In 2010, 0.3 percent of the people who lost their jobs in layoffs were let go because of “government regulations/intervention.” By comparison, 25 percent were laid off because of a drop in business demand.
Gov. Snyder constructed a falsehood within a falsehood, simply to fit a cheap joke into his narrative on how the economy works and how businesses create jobs. I think we can all agree that if there’s one thing that needs to stay closed, it’s the lexicon of lies and dishonesty that far-right extremists promote in order to preach their discredited theories.

Michigan news round up

Chris Savage AKA electablog details what the EMs are doing

3 state house races you should be paying attention to

Miss Piggy: Attack on Muppets movie ‘as laughable as Fox being news’

By Stephen C. Webster/Raw Story
In a staged press conference following the debut of their new film, two of puppeteer Jim Henson‘s most famous characters, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, took questions from reporters about recent criticism lodged by commentators on the conservative Fox News Channel.
“It’s a funny thing, they were concerned about us having some prejudice against oil companies, and I can tell you that’s categorically not true,” Kermit explained. “And besides, if we have problems with oil companies, why would we have spent the entire film driving around a gas-guzzling Rolls-Royce?”
Miss Piggy added: “It’s almost as laughable as accusing Fox News of being, uh, you know, being news.”
Boy, that’s going to be all over the Internet,” Kermit sighed.
“Yeah, if they take what I say seriously, they’ve got a real big problem,” she replied.
In addition to suggesting that “The Muppets” are trying to brainwash children, the Fox News Channel’s Republican opinion host Sean Hannity in recent months attacked the PBS children’s show “Sesame Street” for allegedly attempting to coddle children into an authoritarian dictatorship that comes to power after the destruction of the American family.
A Fox News panel also recently took issue with “Lily,” a new character on “Sesame Street” who’s impoverished and hungry, calling her addition “liberal bull” even though one in five American children live in poverty.
This video was published to YouTube on Jan. 28, 2012.

WSJ Publishes Op-Ed From 16 Climate Deniers, Refused Letter From 255 Top Scientists

By Brad Johnson/Think Progress

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, sixteen prominent global warming deniers with scientific backgrounds — such as tobacco apologist Richard Lindzen of MIT and ExxonMobil executive Roger Cohen — concede that manmade carbon dioxide emissions have a warming effect on the planet, but argue that the effect is “small” and nothing to “panic” about. All the other scientists in the world who believe the science are part of a conspiracy to intimidate people like themselves, they write, just as Soviet biologists who believed in genes were “sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.”
As climate scientist Peter Gleick reports at his blog, those other scientists include 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences who wrote a letter about the scientific threat of climate change for the Wall Street Journal — but were turned down:
The most amazing and telling evidence of the bias of the Wall Street Journal with respect to manmade climate change is the fact that 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a scientifically accurate essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered it to the Wall Street Journal, and were turned down. The National Academy of Sciences is the nation’s pre-eminent independent scientific organizations. Its members are among the most respected in the world in their fields. Yet the Journal wouldn’t publish this letter. Instead they chose to publish an error-filled and misleading piece on climate because 16 so-called experts aligned with their bias signed it. This may be good politics for them, but it is bad science and it is bad for the nation.
The NAS letter was eventually published by Science magazine.
Even though the first decade of the 2000s was warmer than the 1990s, and 2005 and 2010 were the warmest years on record, the denier op-ed asserts “the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.”
This op-ed was promoted on Fox NewsReal Clear PoliticsAlex Jones’ Infowars, and other right-wing political and conspiracy sites.


 By Igor Volsky/Think Progress

A restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee refused to serve state Sen. Stacey Campfield, the man who sponsored the state’s “don’t say gay” bill, compared homosexuality to bestiality, and most recently told Michelangelo Signorile that it’s virtually impossible to spread HIV/AIDS through heterosexual sex. “I hope that Stacy Campfield now knows what if feels like to be unfairly discriminated against,” the Bistro at the Bijou wrote on its Facebook wall on Sunday. The restaurant has received an overwhelmingly positive response. (HT: Michelangelo Signorile)
In a brief interview, Campfield confirmed to BuzzFeed that the restaurant’s hostess called him homophobic and said that he “hates homosexuals,” refusing to serve him. He argued that it couldn’t be true because he rents to gay people through his business. (HT: Towleroad.)

Allen West To Liberals, President Obama: ‘Get The Hell Out Of The United States Of America’

By Fatima Najiy/Think Progress

Just days after President Obama reiteratedhis call for an end to partisan gridlock in Washington, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) delivered an incendiary speech at the Palm Beach County GOP Party Lincoln Day Dinner in West Palm Beach calling on prominent Democrats to “get the hell out” of America:
This is a battlefield that we must stand upon and we need to let president Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, the chairman of the Democrat National Committee [Debbie Wasserman-Schultz], we need to let them know that Florida is not on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, and take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.
Watch it:
West went on to say further that he “will not allow President Obama to take the United States of America and destroy it.”
At a time when a rising number of Americans see a major conflict between the rich and the poor and feel that too much power lies in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations, nearly two-thirds of the country (66 percent) would be obliged to follow President Obama out of the door.
This 10-minute speech in West Palm Beach is only the latest controversy in a string of rhetorical hiccups for West. Most recently, he slammed critics who condemned the actions of a group of U.S. Marines who urinated on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters, referred curiously to undocumented immigration as an “invasion,” and marked the repeal of DADT as the harbinger of America’s military decline. Just a month ago, West chided President Obama for his use of “divisive rhetoric” when speaking about “equality and fairness” as he felt such words were contrary to “liberty and [the] pursuit of happiness.”

Friday, January 27, 2012

Random Friday:President Obama discusses College Affordability in Michigan

Motor City Liberal Comment: Harass the Republican trolls.

Fox Moderator Chris Wallace: Debates Are "Stupid," Shun Policy Issues

by Eric Hananoki/Media Matters

Though Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace has moderated four Republican debates, that doesn't mean he has a very high opinion of their value to voters. During an interview on today's The Mike Gallagher Show, Wallace denounced the nineteen debates as "stupid" and unnecessary.    
"Let's really get serious. It is ridiculous how many debates there have been," Wallace began. "This is the nineteenth debate. It is insane that there have been nineteen debates."
Wallace admitted that journalists gravitate toward questions about political horse racing at the expense of policy issues because policy questions "have been asked to death" and don't get as much headlines.
"I was a moderator on the panel of four of these debates, and they have been asked to death, 'What are you going -- What would you do to get the country working again? What would you do about Iran and the bomb? What would you do on immigration?" Wallace said.
"You're asked -- it's been asked, and answered, over and over again, so what you find yourself going to, because, one, it's new, and two, quite frankly, it'll make news, is, 'They've been saying terrible things about each other, their campaigns have been saying terrible things about each other on the trail, let's get them into a fight.'"
Wallace added: "Come on, if you were in that situation, would you really say, 'Well, tell me your tax policy?' I'm not saying it's a great moment in journalism, but on the other hand, they have been asked about almost everything a million times."
Wallace continued his criticism later, calling debates "stupid" and akin to "a car race. You really want to see if there's going to be a wreck or something like that." Wallace concluded, "They shouldn't be having these debates in the first place."
Wallace isn't alone in his feelings about the frequency of the debates. A former RNC chairman toldPolitico that the number of debates has gotten "out of hand" and Karl Rove recently wrote that "[d]ebates have nearly crippled campaigns." Conversely, The Huffington Post's Michael Calderonereported that CNN's Sam Feist and John King both "argue that numerous debates have been good for democracy."
Wallace's feelings aside, Fox News executives have used the debates as a way to highlight the purported difference between their "straight news" and opinion divisions. Fox News recently gave The New York Times -- a frequent recipient of the network's attacks -- access to its preparation for its last debate.

GOP hurting their own brand?

Michigan news round up

Electablog covers President Obama visit to Michigan

It seems the people of Troy want to get rid of Tea bag mayor

Sources say Ron Paul signed off on racist newsletters

By Muriel Kane/Raw Story

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul has consistently denied having written — or even read — the inflammatory racist and anti-gay remarks that went out under his name in newsletters he published in the early 1990s. Although numerous associates agree that Paul does not hold racist views, however, it appears that he may have known more about the racist articles than he has been willing to admit.
The Washington Post reported on Friday that three people with first-hand knowledge of Paul’s operations say “he was deeply involved in the company that produced the newsletters, Ron Paul & Associates, and closely monitored its operations, signing off on articles and speaking to staff members virtually every day.”
“It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product. … He would proof it,’’ former company secretary Renae Hathway told the Post.
According to these sources, the main author of the racist passages was Lew Rockwell, who was then the vice president of Paul’s company.
The Post also details how closely entangled Paul’s political career, his business ventures, and members of his own family were during those years. According to one source, who chose to remain anonymous, Paul and his associates made a deliberate choice in the late 1980s to increase sales of the newsletter by making it more provocative.
“It was playing on a growing racial tension, economic tension, fear of government,’’ the source stated “I’m not saying Ron believed this stuff. It was good copy. Ron Paul is a shrewd businessman.’’
Cato Institute President Ed Crane, who frequently lunched with Paul during this period, similarly told the paper that when the two of them discussed how to increase the circulation of Paul’s newsletters, they agreed that “people who have extreme views” were most likely to respond. Paul told Crane his best response had come when he used a mailing list from the racist and anti-Semitic newspaper, Spotlight.
If that was the strategy, it apparently worked. According to the Post, political disclosure forms show that between 1984 and 1995, Paul went from being up to $765,000 in debt to having a net worth of up to $3.3 million.
A Paul spokesperson contacted by the Post for comment expressed doubt about the assertions made by Crane and the other sources.