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Maybe this is the debate you REALLY want to see…

 

 

 

The event will run 90 minutes and will be live streamed online on moderated by CNN’s E.D. Hill.  This is going to be good!

Huffington Post is now reporting the debate will be on October 6 at 8 pm ET. There will be a fee ($4.95) for the livestream, with half the proceeds going to charity. HuffPo has a video of O’Reilly announcing the debate, and Stewart has also made an announcement.

 

When Does Journalism on the Net change a disturbing image into very poor humor?

 

I’d like to thank Mashable for posting this article which defines communication symbolism on both the left and the right. What are we…Tasteless, stupid, apathetic? Is that what the editors at HuffPo and Newsweek think in their campaigns to promote readership?

Here’s part of the proof:

Both The Huffington Post and Newsweek are battling backlash for their use of coat-hanger symbols to protest a call for a Constitutional ban on abortions without exceptions for victims of rape and incest. The call for the ban appears in a draft of the GOP’s official 2012 platform, according to CNN.

The front page of The Huffington Post was taken up by a large image of a coat hanger late Tuesday morning to illustrate two stories — first this, then this one — related to the proposed ban.

We thought it was powerful,” founding editor Roy Sekoff said of the decision to use the stock image. “It’s saying that this is the inevitable consequence of this kind of policy.” “We knew it went right up to the line of offensiveness,” he added.

 

Not long after, Newsweek posted a screenshot of The Huffington Post‘s front page with the caption, “Whoa there, Huffington Post!” The post attracted more than 700 notes, most of them supportive of HuffPo. Some, including comedian Rob Delaney, interpreted Newsweek‘s caption as critical.

An hour after the initial post, Newsweek changed the cursor image on its Tumblr page to a coat hanger. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative.

“I hope this guy gets fired,” one follower wrote. “Tasteless,” wrote another. “Congratulations: you’ve insulted, offended, and devalued half the human population with your pathetic attempt to be clever,” chimed a third.

What it looks like the problem lies in Newsweek‘s attempt to transform the coat-hanger from a disturbing image (HuffPo‘s use) to a humorous one (Newsweek‘s). Do they succeed with readers? Gee, I hope not.

Good journalism used to be reporting without preferred point of view… or at least without making that point of view funny in a serious context. Then again, with a cover article entitled ‘Obama’s Gotta Go,’ Newsweek has officially removed itself from good journalism.

 

Tonight is Obama’s State of the Union Address…

President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union speech tonight at 9 p.m. EST. It is expected to last at least an hour, after which Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana will deliver the Republican response (there will be a Tea Party response from Herman Cain… don’t miss it. All speeches like this should end with humor.)

Obama is expected to use the State of the Union to pitch new initiatives on jobs, taxes and housing, in what will be billed as his opening salvo in a long 2012 election race. He will probably push tax breaks for bringing manufacturing jobs home from overseas, give ideas to help the troubled home-mortgage market and create incentives for alternative energy development. Expect him to call again for higher taxes on the wealthy – despite consistent Republican opposition – and to speak of further pressure on China over currency and trade practices.

There are a number of ways you can watch and follow the speech online. The official White House website, which will not only be streaming the speech live, but will be accompany it with charts, stats, and data that reinforce the address. On television, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC will all air the speech live. The Huffington Post will also run liveblog coverage of the event, accompanied by an embedded live video feed.

Some items based on recent Obama remarks leading up to the address:

“Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.”

The President has promised to let the Bush tax cuts for millionaires expire at the end of 2012.

_____

“[The Affordable Care Act] is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage.”

At least 2.5 million young Americans now have health insurance through their parents’ health care plans until 26 years of age. As of November, more than 2.2 million people with Medicare had saved more than $1.2 billion on prescriptions (I’m one of them. I support this whole heartedly. - Bill)

_____

Expect the Republicans to make it clear that they will continue to oppose Obama’s positions… but also expect Obama to say that he will be seeking bi-partisan progress even though it is an election year.

It should be noted, however, that State of the Union messages have historically not effected increases in a President’s poll ratings (an exception being Bill Clinton’s 2nd address which increased his numbers by 3%.)

And a Quote for The Evening…

… from Jason Linkins in the Huffington Post, commenting on Face The Nation this morning:

“Today we’ll have Paul Ryan, thin-skinned creator of a plan to eliminate affordable care for old people, undermine the social safety net, raise taxes on most Americans and give money away to banks. You have to call this “courageous” or Ryan will weep on teevee and complain how everyone is mean to him. Hopefully, Mark Warner will find a way to make Ryan feel like a special snowflake, even if he has mild disagreements with Ryan.

“Remember: the people who say things like “everything should be on the table,” are the first to get shirty when you put something on the table that they don’t like. This whole idea that people are willing to have an “adult conversation” is basically bunk.

Curious? The rest of the article is HERE.

Walker screws the Democratic Senators… and the People of Wisconsin…at the last minute…

…screws the Union workers, too. Screws Wisconsin actually.

He’s using a “nuclear option” to just bring up the anti-Union section of the bill to a vote, which will not require a quorum )since they now claim it is NOT budget related.)

It was also a 180-degree reversal by Walker and state Senate Republicans, who have insisted for the past three weeks that the collective bargaining provision was designed to help alleviate the state’s budget problems. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) had previously said he would not attempt to pass any portions of the bill without Democrats present.

Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate voted 18-1 to strip Union rights and no Democrats were present.

These are outrageous bullying tactics, done without saying anything to the press or public (even though there is a Wisconsin law saying such a maneuver would require a 24 hour public announcement.

From HuffPo:

University of Madison-Wisconsin student journalist Talya Minsberg, who is at the Capitol, told The Huffington Post that there are vastly more people stuck outside than inside due to “airport-style” security measures. Those outside crowded around a window near where the vote was taking place, to shout and protest Republican lawmakers: “You lied! You lied! You lied to Wisconsin!” went one chant. “Shame!” went another.

A mockery has been made of the rule of law and Scott Walker will pay a huge political price for this.

As the world unravels before us, we have decisions to make…

Chris Hedges has posted quite a long article in Truthdig called This Time We’re Taking The Whole Planet With Us. It is devastating… not because it makes up a fantasy of destruction, but because it deals directly with the truth. Here are 2 excerpts, but I urge you to go HERE and read it all… then tell your friends and even casual aquaintences to read it… then look at what is being done in Wisconsin and Ohio and Indiana and other places dominated by Tea Party attackers and decide to join the rest of us in doing something…anything…about it (I recommend listening to Michael Moore’s speech from Saturday which I posted earlier this morning.

These from Chris Hedges:

Civilizations rise, decay and die. Time, as the ancient Greeks argued, for individuals and for states is cyclical. As societies become more complex they become inevitably more precarious. They become increasingly vulnerable. And as they begin to break down there is a strange retreat by a terrified and confused population from reality, an inability to acknowledge the self-evident fragility and impending collapse. The elites at the end speak in phrases and jargon that do not correlate to reality. They retreat into isolated compounds, whether at the court at Versailles, the Forbidden City or modern palatial estates. The elites indulge in unchecked hedonism, the accumulation of vaster wealth and extravagant consumption. They are deaf to the suffering of the masses who are repressed with greater and greater ferocity. Resources are more ruthlessly depleted until they are exhausted. And then the hollowed-out edifice collapses. The Roman and Sumerian empires fell this way. The Mayan elites, after clearing their forests and polluting their streams with silt and acids, retreated backward into primitivism.

As food and water shortages expand across the globe, as mounting poverty and misery trigger street protests in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, the elites do what all elites do. They launch more wars, build grander monuments to themselves, plunge their nations deeper into debt, and as it all unravels they take it out on the backs of workers and the poor. The collapse of the global economy, which wiped out a staggering $40 trillion in wealth, was caused when our elites, after destroying our manufacturing base, sold massive quantities of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities to pension funds, small investors, banks, universities, state and foreign governments and shareholders. The elites, to cover the losses, then looted the public treasury to begin the speculation over again. They also, in the name of austerity, began dismantling basic social services, set out to break the last vestiges of unions, slashed jobs, froze wages, threw millions of people out of their homes, and stood by idly as we created a permanent underclass of unemployed and underemployed.

_________________________

Jared Diamond in his essay “The Last Americans” notes that by the time Hernan Cortés reached the Yucatán, millions of Mayan subjects had vanished.

“Why,” Diamond writes, “did the kings and nobles not recognize and solve these problems? A major reason was that their attention was evidently focused on the short-term concerns of enriching themselves, waging wars, erecting monuments, competing with one another, and extracting enough food from the peasants to support all these activities.”

“Pumping that oil, cutting down those trees, and catching those fish may benefit the elite by bringing them money or prestige and yet be bad for society as a whole (including the children of the elite) in the long run,” Diamond went on. “Maya kings were consumed by immediate concerns for their prestige (requiring more and bigger temples) and their success in the next war (requiring more followers), rather than for the happiness of commoners or of the next generation. Those people with the greatest power to make decisions in our own society today regularly make money from activities that may be bad for society as a whole and for their own children; those decision-makers include Enron executives, many land developers, and advocates of tax cuts for the rich.”

__________________________

We have allowed the complete and utter greed of the Koch Brothers, huge corporations like Dow Chemical and GM and GE and Exxon Mobil and A T & T… we can go on and add in all the Banks and Wall Street Investment Firms (especially the ones Obama seems to fish in to catch Administration officials instead of looking for the ones who are screwing the folks who voted for him), but it is more frightening the deeper into it we look.

I would never have said this a year ago… or even six months ago… but I am seeing the advantage in being a Socialist and convincing everyone I can to become one, too. It means that we are all economically responsible for each other… and those who decide to suck the marrow from our fettered bones need to be stopped.

If we don’t learn from history, then we deserve to have our news programs filled with coverage of Charlie Sheen and the Royal Wedding and opposition to gay marriage. If we truly believe that teachers salaries bring down the economy while tax cuts are given to the top 1% of our wealthy…people for whom Billions of Dollars are not enough… or that politicians have our best interests at heart when the support more and more military activity instead of spending the money… or even a fraction of it… on solving the economic crisis, then there is little or no hope for us.

Join in. Help. Be aware of what is happening to you as the people YOU elect take away YOUR FREEDOM AND DIGNITY.

Sorry to get so carried away, but I am truly pissed off.

Related Articles

Keith Olbermann Lands on his Feet!

Cropped headshot of Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann

Keith will be coming back to television and I can’t wait!

This from Huffington Post (You can go in and read more…):

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Keith Olbermann To Current TV: Hosting New Show, Becoming Chief News Officer

Keith Olbermann announced on Tuesday that he will host a one-hour, nightly primetime show on Current TV starting in late spring. He will also become the “chief news officer” for Current. Olbermann had been without a television home since he abruptly left MSNBC, where he had hosted “Countdown” for eight years, in January.

For Olbermann, his move to Current gives him a chance to wield large influence over a a relatively tiny network. Current averages about 23,000 viewers in primetime every night–a far cry from the million or so viewers who watched “Countdown.”

Olbermann said that “nothing is more vital to a free America than a free media, and nothing is more vital to my concept of a free media than news that is produced independently of corporate interference.” He called Current “the model truth seeking entity” in television, and said that his new show was “the most exciting event in my career.”
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The Anti-Regulators Are the “Job Killers”

Bill Black is my new Hero. This article is published intact from this morning’s Huffington Post, and is worth your reading (the Republicans should read it, too):

 

William K. Black

William K. Black

Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City; Sr. regulator during S&L debacle

Posted: January 14, 2011

The new mantra of the Republican Party is the old mantra — regulation is a “job killer.” It is certainly possible to have regulations kill jobs, and when I was a financial regulator I was a leader in cutting away many dumb requirements. But we have just experienced the epic ability of the anti-regulators to kill well over ten million jobs. Why then is there not a single word from the new House leadership about investigations to determine how the anti-regulators did their damage? Why is there no plan to investigate the fields in which inadequate regulation most endangers jobs? While we’re at it, why not investigate the areas in which inadequate regulation allows firms to maim and kill. This column addresses only financial regulation.

Deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization (the three “des”) created the criminogenic environment that drove the modern U.S. financial crises. The three “des” were essential to create the epidemics of accounting control fraud that hyper-inflated the bubble that triggered the Great Recession. “Job killing” is a combination of two factors — increased job losses and decreased job creation. I’ll focus solely on private sector jobs — but the recession has also been devastating in terms of the loss of state and local governmental jobs.

From 1996-2000, for example, annual private sector gross job increases rose from roughly 14 million to 16 million while annual private sector gross job losses increased from 12 to 13 million. The annual net job increases in those years, therefore, rose from two million to three million. Over that five year period, the net increase in private sector jobs was over 10 million. One common rule of thumb is that the economy needs to produce an annual net increase of about 1.5 million jobs to employ new entrants to our workforce, so the growth rate in this era was large enough to make the unemployment and poverty rates fall significantly.

The Great Recession (which officially began in the third quarter of 2007) shows why the anti-regulators are the premier job killers in America. Annual private sector gross job losses rose from roughly 12.5 to a peak of 16 million and gross private sector job gains fell from approximately 13 to 10 million. As late as March 2010, after the official end of the Great Recession, the annualized net job loss in the private sector was approximately three million (that job loss has now turned around, but the increases are far too small).

Again, we need net gains of roughly 1.5 million jobs to accommodate new workers, so the total net job losses plus the loss of essential job growth was well over 10 million during the Great Recession. These numbers, again, do not include the large job losses of state and local government workers, the dramatic rise in underemployment, the sharp rise in far longer-term unemployment, and the salary/wage (and job satisfaction) losses that many workers had to take to find a new, typically inferior, job after they lost their job. It also ignores the rise in poverty, particularly the scandalous increase in children living in poverty.

2011-01-14-chart.jpg

The Great Recession was triggered by the collapse of the real estate bubble epidemic of mortgage fraud by lenders that hyper-inflated that bubble. That epidemic could not have happened without the appointment of anti-regulators to key leadership positions. The epidemic of mortgage fraud was centered on loans that the lending industry (behind closed doors) referred to as “liar’s” loans — so any regulatory leader who was not an anti-regulatory ideologue would (as we did in the early 1990s during the first wave of liar’s loans in California) have ordered banks not to make these pervasively fraudulent loans.

One of the problems was the existence of a “regulatory black hole” — most of the nonprime loans were made by lenders not regulated by the federal government. That black hole, however, conceals two broader federal anti-regulatory problems. The federal regulators actively made the black hole more severe by preempting state efforts to protect the public from predatory and fraudulent loans. Greenspan and Bernanke are particularly culpable. In addition to joining the jihad state regulation, the Fed had unique federal regulatory authority under HOEPA (enacted in 1994) to fill the black hole and regulate any housing lender (authority that Bernanke finally used, after liar’s loans had ended, in response to Congressional criticism). The Fed also had direct evidence of the frauds and abuses in nonprime lending because Congress mandated that the Fed hold hearings on predatory lending.

The S&L debacle, the Enron era frauds, and the current crisis were all driven by accounting control fraud. The three “des” are critical factors in creating the criminogenic environments that drive these epidemics of accounting control fraud. The regulators are the “cops on the beat” when it comes to stopping accounting control fraud. If they are made ineffective by the three “des” then cheaters gain a competitive advantage over honest firms. This makes markets perverse and causes recurrent crises.

From roughly 1999 to the present, three administrations have displayed hostility to vigorous regulation and have appointed regulatory leaders largely on the basis of their opposition to vigorous regulation. When these administrations occasionally blundered and appointed, or inherited, regulatory leaders that believed in regulating the administration attacked the regulators. In the financial regulatory sphere, recent examples include Arthur Levitt and William Donaldson (SEC), Brooksley Born (CFTC), and Sheila Bair (FDIC).

Similarly, the bankers used Congress to extort the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) into trashing the accounting rules so that the banks no longer had to recognize their losses. The twin purposes of that bit of successful thuggery were to evade the mandate of the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) law and to allow banks to pretend that they were solvent and profitable so that they could continue to pay enormous bonuses to their senior officials based on the fictional “income” and “net worth” produced by the scam accounting. (Not recognizing one’s losses increases dollar-for-dollar reported, but fictional, net worth and gross income.)

When members of Congress (mostly Democrats) sought to intimidate us into not taking enforcement actions against the fraudulent S&Ls we blew the whistle. Congress investigated Speaker Wright and the “Keating Five” in response. I testified in both investigations. Why is the new House leadership announcing its intent to give a free pass to the accounting control frauds, their political patrons, and the anti-regulators that created the criminogenic environment that hyper-inflated the financial bubble that triggered the Great Recession and caused such a loss of integrity?

The anti-regulators subverted the rule of law and allowed elite frauds to loot with impunity. Why isn’t the new House leadership investigating that disgrace as one of their top priorities? Why is the new House leadership so eager to repeat the job killing mistakes of taking the regulatory cops off their beat?

Bill Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is also a white-collar criminologist, a former senior financial regulator, a serial whistleblower, and the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Being Civil… Why not take incivility out of naming Bills in the House?

After the Giffords shooting touched off a heated debate over the use of violent political rhetoric, the schedule and name of the health care repeal bill fell into doubt. 

An exerpt from TPM:

clipped from tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com
In the wake of the shooting spree in Arizona, Democrats pressed Republicans to change the name of their health care repeal bill — the bluntly titled “Repealing the Job Killing Health Health Care Law Act.”
No luck. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says they’re sticking with that name. 

As first reported by Greg Sargent, that vote is scheduled for next week. In a statement sent my way, Cantor spox Brad Dayspring confirms, “As the White House noted, it is important for Congress to get back to work, and to that end we will resume thoughtful consideration of the health care bill next week.”

“A good place to start a more civil dialog would be for my Republican colleagues in the House to change the name of the bill they have introduced to repeal health care reform,” wrote Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) in the Huffington Post.
Changing the name of the bill would require another act of Congress, according to the new Rules of the House.
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Bernie Sanders Plans to Vote Against Economic Wimp…

This turned up in HuffPo today. Read the clip then go in for the rest of the post:
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
A liberal senator plans to vote against confirming President Barack Obama‘s nominee for a top White House economic position.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont who works closely with Democrats, said in a statement obtained by The Huffington Post that he won’t vote to confirm Jacob “Jack” Lew, Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget because, after meeting with Lew, the senator “found too many echoes of the failed policies of the past in his responses to my questions on trade policy, Social Security, deregulation of banks and other issues.”

“It is my strong belief that President Obama needs an OMB director who is willing to stand up to corporate America and the wealthy, say enough is enough, and fight for policies that protect the working class in this country,” Sanders said in a statement. “Unfortunately, I do not believe Mr. Lew is the right man at this time for this important job.”

Sanders
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NY Times Announces a Big Mistake:

This from HuffPo:

The New York Times Wednesday confirmed reports that it would introduce a “metered model” to its website, formally announcing plans to introduce “a paid model for NYTimes.com at the beginning of 2011.”

Under the metered model, the newspaper’s website “will offer users free access to a set number of articles per month and then charge users once they exceed that number.”

“This will enable NYTimes.com to create a second revenue stream and preserve its robust advertising business,” the announcement said. “It will also provide the necessary flexibility to keep an appropriate ratio between free and paid content and stay connected to a search-driven Web.”

Looks like my referrals to the NY Times, and reading them every morning, is about to end. I don’t think they have

Around the Web… Morning Summary

Lots of stuff this morning… more than I’m going to have time to write about today, so here’s a quick tour of the web to see what’s going on. Pull up with a cup of coffee and read away while I look for a job. – BT

On NYTimes.com:

Tensions Mount in Devastated Capital as Aid Starts to Reach Haiti

Taxing Banks for the Bailout

On HuffPo:

Haiti Earthquake: Breaking News, Updates

Jeff Zucker Threatens Conan: ‘I’ll Keep You Off The Air For 3.5 Years’: Nikki Finke

Geithner: Bailed Out AIG ‘Absolutely’ Right To Pay Banks Top Dollar
(I agree with one person who posted a response here: “Geithner = Obama’s Rumsfeld”)

On TPM:

With Health Care On The Line, Campaign Workers Swarm MA-Sen Race


Democrats Push Reluctant Obama To End Antitrust Exemption For Insurance Companies

On Yahoo News:

UN: Looters break into UN warehouses in Haiti

Scientists warned Haiti officials of quake in ’08

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