Thursday, November 23, 2006

This Thanksgiving, Remember The Millions Who Go Hungry In Bush's America


From time to time, I like to browse the right-wing nutcase sites that populate the Web. It's always interesting to see what the Kool Aid-drinking wackos are up to these days, especially in the aftermath of their crushing Nov. 7 election defeat.

Earlier today, I visited to see what the drug-addled Fat One was up to these days.

Imagine my surprise when I spotted the following headline on Rush's welcome page:

"There Are No More "Hungry" in America (But the Media Will Still Cover Homeless on Thanksgiving to Make Us Feel Guilty)."

I expected this headline to be linked to a page containing yet another rambling "screw the poor" screed by Limbaugh.

But instead, the link goes to a story by Australia's The Age newspaper.

The story talks about a recent change in terminology by the U.S. government. For whatever reason, U.S. bureaucrats have begun referring to Americans who are hungry as people with "very low food security."

The article mentions that "the change in terminology has angered groups that fight hunger who say it is aimed at hiding a stark reality."

Terminology aside, what caught my eye in this article is the fact that it mentions that nearly 11 million Americans face a "constant struggle with hunger." This information, by the way, is in the opening sentence of the article.

And yet, astonishingly, Rush points to this article (in a high-profile link at the top of his site's welcome page) as evidence that there are there are no more "hungry" in America.

I don't get it. Is this some sort of sick joke on Rush's part? (like in 1992, when he referred to then-13-year-old Chelsea Clinton as "a dog." Or did the Rush Web site team just neglect to actually read The Age story that they linked to? Or maybe they just didn't understand the story.

Who knows?

Limbaugh isn't the only right-wing nutcase who likes to make jokes about the millions of Americans who are homeless and hungry. Take (please) Michael Savage, for example.

In September 2000, Savage was discussing a program in which students volunteer to distribute sandwiches to the homeless in San Francisco, when he let loose this tirade, (which is creepy on so many different levels, you could write a book about it):

"The girls from Branson can go in and maybe get raped ... because they seem to like the excitement of it. There's always the thrill and possibility they'll be raped in a Dumpster while giving out a turkey sandwich."

Anyway, when you sit down to enjoy today's Thanksgiving meal, remember that there are millions of Americans who still go hungry every day in George W. Bush's America. While Bush and his cronies have been fighting for more tax cuts for the mega-wealthy (like Limbaugh) he's completely neglected the millions of Americans who, (unlike the likes of Bush and Paris Hilton) weren't born into wealth and luxury.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Get Ready For The Mother of All GOP Propaganda Blitzes


Life is good if you're a Democrat these days. And if you've listened in lately on the Fox News/talk radio propaganda network, it seems like the stunned GOP has been at a rare loss for words (relatively speaking) since Tuesday's elections.

The Republicans are clearly down at the moment. But make no mistake: they're not out of the game yet.

I believe the Great Republican Slime Machine is gearing up for what will be the mother of all GOP propaganda blitzes.

The GOP noise machine's ultimate goal: to get as much dirt on this incoming Congress as possible and make Nancy Pelosi and the Dems radioactive to the voters in 2008.

I know what you're thinking right now: what if there ISN'T any dirt to be had on the incoming Democrats? What if they're all squeaky clean? What if they're scandal-free?

Actually, it doesn't matter.

The Great Republican Slime Machine doesn't actually need a real scandal to damage its opponents. Its main effective weapons of choice are rumors, innuendo, and just flat-out lies. Its preferred method of operation is simple brute force and endless repetition in the GOP noise machine's echo chamber. After all, if you hammer away and keep repeating a lie long enough, sooner or later, you'll start to plant seeds of doubt about any politician's reputation.

Don't underestimate the Great Republican Slime Machine. This is a lethal, finely tuned apparatus that is capable of doing mortal damage to anyone that it sets its sights on.

To me, it's not surprising that the GOP slime machine had the gall to go after a decorated war hero like John Kerry. What's frightening to me is that, by the time the GOP attack dogs were through with him, even some reasonably educated voters were starting to harbor doubts about Kerry's distinguished war record.

And make no mistake: the GOP attack dogs are gearing up to go on the offensive, even as we speak. Clearly, they will do their best to Swift Boat as many Democrats as they possibly can between now and Election Day 2008.

You've gotta give the Repukes credit for one thing: they know how to dish out the slime better than anyone else. And they have remarkable success in getting the mainstream media to go along with their attacks.

Hence, in the 90s, we saw 18 months of around-the-clock coverage of Clinton's lie about a blowjob from the "liberal" media. What's amazing is that this is the same media that has snoozed through the past six years of what is clearly the most corrupt White House in U.S. history.

Will the mainstream media go along with the GOP attack dogs this time around? You bet. In fact, Nancy Pelosi better make sure that she doesn't so much as double-park in Washington for the next couple of years. Of course, it doesn't matter how squeaky clean the newly elected Dems are. If the GOP attack dogs lack evidence to smear their foes, they just simply make up bullsh*t.

Is there any way the Dems can fight back against the GOP noise machine for a change? Yes, there is, actually. They need to revive the Fairness Doctrine, a policy that required broadcasters using the public airwaves to give equal coverage to all sides of major issues. The 1987 abolishment of the Fairness Doctrine by Ronald Reagan led directly to the rise of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the rest of today's mighty GOP propaganda noise machine.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What's The Best Way Democrats Can Drain The Swamp of Corruption in D.C.?


I'm still in a state of shock over the Democrats' stunning election success, which turned out far more promising than most of us had ever anticipated.

It's hard to believe that we now have a government that can tackle issues that many of us had given up for dead a long time ago. (Does anyone remember the Kyoto Protocol?).

Indeed, there's a long shopping list of items that now actually have a chance of passing. A minimum wage hike. Better access to affordable health care. A halt to the socialism-for-the-rich of Dick Cheney's Halliburton. An end to this insane Iraq War. And on and on.

Democrats are already looking the options for their agenda for the next couple of years.

Things are definitely going to change for the better in Washington in the coming months. But there's one profound way the Democrats could change America for the better that could last a lifetime and make our government infinitely more responsible to the people: publicly financed elections.

No doubt, this will be an enormously difficult challenge. But there isn't a politician alive who doesn't realize that the only way to true, lasting reform in America's political system is to drain the swamp of campaign contributions in Washington. The latter has not only corrupted our politicians---but our very political system itself.

Spending on political races is out of control these days, with billions of dollars flowing through each election cycle. By the time a political is elected these days, he or she is already bought and paid for by special interests.

The only way to end this merry-go-round of corruption is to introduce a system of publicly financed elections.

If the incoming Democratic Congress really wants to be remembered for changing America for the better forever, then introducing publicly financed elections is the way to do it. It's the one issue that profoundly impacts all other issues in Washington.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

As U.S. Slides Toward Corpo-Fascism, This Election May Be Our Most Crucial


"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

There's a new color of fascism out there -- it's the shade of a Brooks Brothers gray flannel suit.

This is not your grandfather's fascism. They don't need to put dissidents in camps. They can often accomplish the same thing with private blacklists or firings to economically marginalize or eliminate foes.

And next week, U.S. voters may decide in a midterm congressional election whether this is the future of the once great hope for democracy in the world.

Examples of how the new smiley-face fascists operate are plentiful, so for brevity's sake I will focus on a very recent one: NBC's refusal to air an ad promoting the Dixie Chicks' new documentary, Shut Up & Sing.

According to the Web site Think Progress, Variety reported that "NBC's commercial clearance department said in writing that it 'cannot accept these spots because they are disparaging to President Bush.' "

Imagine the international reaction if the TV network were in Venezuela and the leader in question were Hugo Chavez. Braying jackass though many people believe Chavez is, he was, for an example of hypocrisy, vehemently criticized when he had the audacity to fire a high-ranking government official who disagreed with him (like this has never happens in our own government).

But, back to the Chicks. Harvey Weinstein, who is distributing the movie issued the following statement, according to Think Progress:

"It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America. The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is profoundly un-American."

So, what's next for NBC (and parent company General Electric)? Will they stop accepting campaign ads from the Democrats? Kick Leno off the air the next time he tells a "disparaging" joke about Bush?

If the Republicans manage to win, or steal, next week's election, I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see such things coming to pass very soon.

It has been Republican policies that have built the foundation of the new fascism, as the main political arm of corporate America. It has long been the case that Americans are bought and sold in the marketplace, or discarded for the sake of profits -- but of course, they are theoretically free to change masters anytime. But now, suppression of free speech has become endemic in the corporate media, even when the speakers have the money to buy the air time. And, let me remind libertarians that this is an FCC-regulated concern, as it should be (unless you want to go back to pre-1934 broadcast anarchy). But regulation that is actually in the public interest seems a lost concept.

In the upcoming election, if a fix is in, my words here may be rather futile. But there's only one way, in the short term, that Americans can possibly stop the corpo-fascist octopus: Cut off its political arm (or should I say tentacle?).

If you value freedom, vote Democratic on Nov. 7. If nothing else, we can, as Greg Palast has put it, "make them steal it."