Why 2012 Will Be a “Close” Election

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I so wish I could tell you that the upcoming general election will be close, and that it will be due to the life-and-death seriousness of the issues as they relate to our economy, the environment and our foreign policy — but I cannot honestly say this.  I do believe that the 2012 election will be close, but for the wrong reasons; one being that it is how media conglomerates generate large sums for themselves during an election year.  So when the media crows again how this will not only be close, but the most expensive ever, don’t think they aren’t at the same time counting on the millions they will earn throughout.

We must understand that the protracted Obama-Hillary primary wars of 2008 were a boon to media coffers!  Couple that with the birth of the limitless Super PACs (thanks to our Republican-dominated SCOTUS), and you can easily see what I see: media mavens relying on  their potential earnings after facing lean advertising years. If you hadn’t thought about it before, think about it now, while closely observing how desperately reporters are handling the Republican primaries. It may seem quite entertaining at the moment (to some of us), but I would respectfully suggest that we ought to be preparing for what is to come in the general.

Speaking of the current sorry-ass Republican primaries, it is mighty strange that although there is only one halfway electable Republican left standing, we are now witnessing a media-termed “horse race” as we head toward Super PAC-spending Tuesday. It’s not because the alternative candidates to Romney are actually worth anything (because they aren’t); it is because the faster the Republican Primaries end, the less money the Super PAC will spend, and that would greatly reduce the media’s anticipated advertising windfall.

Look, it’s no accident that the media has been all over candidate Romney since his big win in New Hampshire.  At the exact time the announcement was made that Mitt held an insurmountable double-digit lead in South Carolina polls, the corporate media got hella serious!   To add to the media’s trouble, GOP candidates were dropping like flies, Mitt Romney reeked of the inevitable stench, and the primary season was ending before it had started.  But by golly, all was not lost, as we witnessed the re-resurrection of the twice-fallen Newt in just 7 days!  I will add that this wasn’t an easy get by any means. Just ask Ginger Chuckie on MSNBC; he seemed quite exhausted with that renewed Newt surge!

Yes, truth be told, our poor corporate media has had the hardest time coming up with a plausible scenario to get that primary GOP Super PAC money bomb coming their way, considering what they were given to work with! It isn’t typical of our media to get so resourceful as to report on the manner in which a GOP millionaire candidate built his fortune, or to just allow GOP candidates to be dumb enough to literally destroy each other, after all that St. Reagan preached on that subject!  The media corporations, after all, are not left-leaning, nor have they been for quite some time.  No, the media corporations lean green with greed, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to forget that.

As for the general election of 2012, we have already been repeatedly warned that it will be close due to the economy, and it has been left at that. It is a mantra that too many of us sheepishly agree with. But, come to think of it, wasn’t it the Republican Party who brought upon this nation the worst recession since the Great Depression? Wasn’t it largely Republicans who deregulated our financial institutions, which brought us to our knees? And aren’t they now promising us more of that, and calling it “restoring America”?

Wasn’t it the Republican Party who started an unjustified war via lies trumpeted by our media, and kept the war’s spending off the books for all the years they could, while still to this day proclaiming “cowboy diplomacy” as the only way to go?

Wasn’t it the Republican Party who brought us the tax cuts for the rich, and yet is still proposing tax cuts for the rich as the remedy to the original fiasco? And what about the Medicare drug programs that wasn’t paid for, meant to destroy Medicare by not allowing government drug price negotiations in their legislation?

Wasn’t it Republicans who recently claimed that deficits were their priority concern, deficits that they themselves expanded widely during their eight years of power?

Isn’t it the Republican Party which now vilifies American victims of the great GOP recession, using unemployment benefits as a bludgeon against the jobless, shaming those in need of food stamps, and using outright racial stereotypical slurs in so doing?

Aren’t those Republicans, who, with one hand on their bible, refuse to even consider lending the other hand to their brothers and sisters who happen to be “the lesser” among us? Continue reading Why 2012 Will Be a “Close” Election

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Projecting Wishes and Dreams onto the Occupy Wall Street Movement

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Initially, the Occupy Wall Street movement was ignored by the corporate media. The networks and cable outfits figured that perhaps after a few days, the movement would simply go away. But it didn’t, and in fact, the movement gained more sympathy than scorn from various factions for different reasons.

It’s been almost humorous watching the media insist that OWS needs to “define” itself in order to “achieve” their (unstated) goals. They need to have a list of clear demands, news anchors on the six o’clock news bellowed. But once again, the corporate media misses the obvious mark. For one, “Occupy Wall Street” is a moniker that speaks for itself. No explanation is needed, if one reflects on the current turmoil that our nation is experiencing. In a Twitter-oriented society, it helps, not hinders, to label a movement with a general descriptive tag that is short and inclusive.

It is not a mystery that there is a general consensus that Wall Street’s gains have not alleviated the misery of those on Main Street. “The 99%”, which is a self-conferred name, has also provided a connective link to the general public. What could be so wrong about a movement that calls itself the overwhelming majority? After all, most folks know doggone well that they aren’t part of the 1%. So both the name of the movement as well as that of its participants have allowed a visceral kinship to ordinary Americans without even trying, something the media doesn’t quite yet comprehended. The OWS’s truth in labeling is its connective strength that could be key to its eventual success, however that success materializes.

Also, the recorded acts of police brutality perpetuated upon the young, peaceful protestors certainly helped foster public sympathy early in the movement’s plight. As YouTube provided visual footage of inexplicable police action against peaceful protestors, that pitiful sight allowed a large segment of the public to side with the defenseless. This has always been the case in prior successful movements. Americans who might have otherwise paid no attention realized that the young women being pepper sprayed could be their own daughter or granddaughter who showed up to protest their lack of finding a job after graduating from college. These events had an impact.

Simply put, the Occupy Wall Street Movement is Americans’  individual calls of shame on corporate greed, but done collectively. It represents the frustrations of millions of Americans who did everything right, but have been forced to realize that their hard work no longer brings with it the promised spoils of the American Dream. It is the father whose job was shipped to China while he watched a padlock put on his castle, now only one among millions of foreclosed houses. It is the teacher who dreamed of working on his long-yearned-for though ill-paid passion, only to be demonized and given a pink slip. It is the tale of a young college graduate who sacrificed to attain a degree and, saddled with massive student loans, is unable to find work in her chosen field, or perhaps any work at all. It is the young war veterans coming back to barely nothing. Or the owners of small businesses whose efforts were nullified for not being able to secure credit to weather the current business downturn.  These and others scenarios are the diverse tales of 99% of us, those who aspire to achieve and yet have been let down at every crossroads. Continue reading Projecting Wishes and Dreams onto the Occupy Wall Street Movement

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What The Media is doing to the Wall St. Protest is What They are Paid to Do!

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The Wall Street protest, which started on September 17, 2011, had been planned for months. What started as a peaceful march onto Wall Street by 2,000+ protestors last week then morphed into a sit-in, as planned. Those passionate and dedicated in their efforts to send an important populist message to Americans, as well as to Wall Street, showed up determined and prepared. However, the protest  has now been turned into a violent circus by those so good at doing such things, the American corporate media.

The Wall Street protest’s message was straightforward and could be boiled down to a calling-out of  Wall Street as a symbol of  corporations and the rich, who (with the help of politicians) protect themselves no matter what, while displaying a shocking lack of concern over the hardship faced by millions of regular people. One of the protestors on September 17th, there at the site, clearly stated,  “You need a scorecard to keep track of all the things that corporations have done that are bad for this country,” notwithstanding the fact that American corporations hold 2 trillion dollars in cash, waiting for the next election while the country suffers massive unemployment, actions that are not merely unpatriotic, but treasonous.

But right on cue, even before the march had begun the city had closed  down many sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. This undertaking wasn’t going to be made easy by the powers-that-be.

Initially our corporate media placed small news stories about the peaceful protest here and there, miniscule in breadth of  coverage and misleading when they did occur. The media worked slowly but surely to portray people trying to make a difference as wild-eyed incoherents who were aimless and unorganized. As of this week, what was  found reported in the media was, overall, negative, dismissive and superficial, and then – BINGO – came the arrests.

With those arrests came a sigh of relief from media offices around the nation, as the media had finally found its “hook”.  They would now be committed to turning the public against the Wall Street protest, rather than ignoring it or simply talking the whole project down. Believe you me, they will not be letting go of this tantalizing overall theme any time soon, and it will work.

To understand media math, one only has to sum up  that it takes 2,000 “Occupy Wall Street” participants  to equal a tiny fraction of discontented Tea Party members at a townhall event.   In fact, the bias of the reporting of the Wall St. protests, when compared to the Tea Party advertising campaign underwritten by the majority of the corporate media owners, should give anyone an additional clue that the media has, for years now, not been our friends, nor will they ever be. More important to note, what is reported is seldom by accident, but by design.

The Tea Party phenomenon, in stark contrast to the Wall Street protest, was brazenly built-up and slickly marketed by the corporate media itself.   It’s debut starred Wall Street media figure Rick Santelli, who initiated a rant on the corporate media channel he worked for, CNBC. The rant he became famous for encouraged a protest centered around the fact that the Obama Administration had dared propose measures offering a lifeline to help ordinary citizens on Main Street, who were losing their homes due to the mortgage financial meltdown.  Although some mistook the Tea Party rant as a call to protest the bank bailouts (which occurred in 2008), that was never its intent, and Santelli made that clear at time. Continue reading What The Media is Doing to the Wall St. Protest is What They are Paid to Do!

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How We Got Here, and What Liberals Could Do Now

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Americans are now at a place where our credit worthiness as a nation has been downgraded, and more economic hard times are looming. Republicans succeeded beyond their expectations in putting the nation at risk, holding our economy hostage via their one-sided debt ceiling demands. After taking debt negotiations all the way to the wire, Speaker Boehner proudly proclaimed that his party had won as much as 98% of what Republicans wanted. For most Americans and the economy, however, the deal represented about 100% of what they hadn’t asked for.

S&P’s Research Update explains the agency’s downgrading of America:

“The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year’s wide-ranging debate, in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options.” 

The Tea Party’s original raison d’etre was protesting the government’s Wall Street bailouts, an event that had been initiated by the Bush Administration after eight years of George Bush’s disastrous economic policies. The Tea Party didn’t actually show up until after Pres. Obama had been inaugurated, although no one ever bothered to ask these so-called activists why they arrived so late to their own party.

In the summer of 2009, at the onset of the health care debate, the “Teabaggers” focused on opposing Pres. Obama in every way, shape and form, which included a confused mix of “government is bad/health care is bad/righting the economy is bad/socialism is bad/Obama is as bad as Hitler” and whatever else was anti-Democratic Party. They were the “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore” corporate-funded brigade, an older, richer, whiter America’s version of civil rights activism, protesting the new Democratic administration and its attempts at utilizing government spending, a la Keynes, to spur a failing economy.

The corporate media, for varied reasons, began immediately showering these newly minted faux-Howard Beales with wall-to-wall television coverage. If there was one protester at one town hall meeting, he got as much media coverage as the President. The same three video clips of an angry white person, or two or three, shouting down Democratic congresspersons in purple districts were shown on the tube repeatedly. As the networks and cable outfits cheered in excitement at the tantalizing possibility of a death match between proponents of health care reform and those who insist that government should keep their hands off of their government-run health care, the Tea Party grew shrill and loud.

Tea Party members were always relatively small in numbers, which makes one wonder if intense media coverage of their existence was ever justified. I don’t believe the media ever explained adequately their fascination with this crew. What we did learn is that the size of a protest group never really matters, because the numbers can be made to multiply and grow. The media assigned itself that duty, and there is evidence that they worked hard to get the job done. Continue reading How We Got Here, and What Liberals Could Do Now

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About Those Incredibly Loud and Usually Wrong Media Pundits

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If you’ve been watching cable news lately, you have been listening to a multitude of pundits pontificating to no end on all sorts of issues as shit happens in our world. Witnessing their sideshow recently, I have been amazed at just how little they know, and  how unwilling they are to concede to all of the facts, instead of just some.

For the past few days, the big story has been concerning Libya and the United Nations’ actions implementing the No-Fly Zone. I believe that pundits were caught off-guard on this one, and were somewhat surprised that the UN has acted so forcefully and so quickly. In fact, instead of calling it what it is, an intervention, pundits have declared that a legally sanctioned UN action is an act of war. No matter that the real war is between a dictator’s imported army of rented mercenaries and thousands of Libyans whose only crime was publicly and peacefully gathering to voice their justified frustrations with their government.

Most of these pundits won’t bother reminding us that it is precisely the 8,000 Libyans already dead at the hands of Colonel/Dictator Muammar/Moammar Gaddafi/Qhadaffi/Qaddafi which prompted the United Nations to act as they did in the first place. In addition, they forget to own up to their own words of a few weeks ago, telling us that the United Nations was bureaucratically ineffective and downright good for nothing, and would never, ever act, period.

Yesterday, the pundits were suggesting over and over again that perhaps the United Nations took too long to act. Many of the pundits have included the US President in their accusations of dithering. Of course, if the United Nations had acted three weeks earlier (which seems to be the pundit-approved timeline in this case) the death toll may not have been high enough to get the countries needed to ratify a resolution for a No-Fly Zone on board, but never mind that. If only, “as some say,” the United States had simply acted alone three weeks before, all would have been just perfect. Except of course, had it happened, the pundits would have simply lost their marbles then, which some are now doing anyway. Continue reading About Those Incredibly Arrogant and usually wrong Media Pundits

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**Breaking** CNN proves Not all Protest Movements are Reported Equally

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So here we all were, waiting for massive news coverage on the protests that took place around the country in support of Wisconsin union members. I imagine some were convinced that since the corporate media had breathlessly covered any and every gathering held by the Tea Party for the past two years, that when Wisconsin union protesters showed up in large numbers for days, joined by all-American firefighters and police, that this spontaneous people-powered movement would get the same kind of play.

Turns out… only in our wildest dreams!

Not only were the protests barely covered, but the two-year anniversary of the Tea Party was covered at length by CNN.  Of course, the Wisconsin protests were allotted a few subdued minutes of reportage here and there, wherein the so-called “liberal media” made sure to provide both sides of the argument, tilted favorably toward the anti-union message.

Wisconsin union protest

Tea Party protest

I’m not sure why we expected something different this time. Had we forgotten the massive 2003 Iraq War protests that were barely shown on those same networks? Didn’t we witness a media which systematically enlisted the American public wholesale to support going into a war that didn’t have to be fought? Did we forget that when Candidate Obama gathered a hundred thousand in Oregon, and then in Missouri, and on and on, it was only truly hailed on the Internet, with corporate news dismissively estimating  “several thousand”? Did we not remember that 70,000 progressives equals one tri-cornered hat-wearing Teabagger standing on a corner with a misspelled sign? Haven’t we yet noticed that former half-term Governor Palin’s Tweets are more eagerly covered than a presidential speech on the topic of the economy? Don’t we yet realize that the corporate media is not interested in covering real issues as much as they are Republican talking points? And if we don’t know or remember these things, why don’t we? But a better question would be: what are we going to do about it? Continue reading **Breaking** CNN proves not all protest movements are reported equally

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Keith Olbermann - Perhaps not our 21st Century Edward R. Murrow, but so what?

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I like Keith Olbermann quite a bit, and will miss him as part of the MSNBC evening line-up. I admire his raw, channeled passion, and his “don’t give a damn” attitude as to what the Suits think is best. He appears to be a man of courage, in a business that seems inhabited by too many cowardly career climbers and mean-spirited blowhards willing to say and do anything to remain in good stead with the executive office.

Sure, I don’t always agree with all that Keith Olbermann has to say, but so what?  It would be odd for me to agree with any corporate television personality any more than some of the time.

What I won’t do is speak of him in the past tense (except when necessary), because of all of the media people I’d like to see go, he hasn’t been among them.

Take CNN’s Candy Crowley, for instance, as one that if I never saw again, I’d dance a jig.  360’s Anderson Cooper never fails to irk me, perhaps due to his apparent need to be lauded for his tragic disaster stories, the only thing he seems to do with any competence. Watching Wolf Blitzer sell me a bunch of Wolf Tickets makes me itchy. And take CNBC/MSNBC’s confused/confusing Dale Ratigan, pretty please? Of course, there’s not a news-reader employed by Fox News that intrigues me enough to watch, and if Roger Ailes cleared his odorous anchor stables tomorrow, I’d rejoice.

Of the MSNBC line-up, Big Ed does nothing but exhaust me (I used to like him on radio fine when I was hard up for anything  progressive), and I cannot tell you how bipolar I feel after watching Chris Matthews, or how smug Lawrence O’Donnell comes off. I will admit that Rachel Maddow is my star, while Keith has steadily held second place since her debut. I just prefer calm and smart news delivery, and if I had my druthers, I’d have a Rachel Maddow on every morning, noon and night.

I do not “do” daytime MSNBC programming, as I believe it cheaply rivals CNN/Fox in that beltway Georgetown cocktail party sort of bankrupt way. Which brings me back to what I like about Keith Olbermann, because Homey obviously doesn’t play that. Continue reading Keith Olbermann – Perhaps not our 21st Century Edward R. Murrow, but so what?

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A media that knows what it doesn’t know, and doesn’t know what it chooses

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Like millions of Americans, since the 1/08/11 tragedy that took place in Tucson, Arizona, I have been glued to my TV. I have cried tears of dismay and possibly even fear as events have unfolded, and I may not have yet stopped crying. I have been shaken by the horrific carnage as described by those who were there, as I listened to them being interviewed.

Through shock and sadness, as I watched our national media report and analyze this horror story in real time to date, I wondered, because of my skepticism of media, how they would interpret these events. What would they claim to know, and what would they claim not to know in reference to this huge national tragedy?

As a starting point, let us remember that from the onset, the media erroneously reported that Congressperson Giffords had been killed in the incident, and informed us of her death. As time passed, however, the media became not so sure of Rep. Giffords’ status, and then it turned out that she had survived the ordeal after all. Of course, we probably won’t hear an analysis about this inaccuracy, as it will be blamed on “confusion” based on “reports”. Without any help, we will have to assume that witnesses seeing Gabby Giffords shot in the head were the sources. That’s the classic “we thought we knew, but we really didn’t, but so what?” reporting that has become standard fare for our nation’s journalists.

Our media does know for sure that the Arizona Terrorist, Jared Loughner,  is mentally unstable. We understand this from the assortment of pundits and reporters analyzing that only a deranged individual could commit such a crime. Some folks on our television have dutifully followed up with the relevant question: How could such an unbalanced person  have the ability to purchase an automatic weapon, considering his mental state? Of course, without the media saying so, we can already deduce that only a disturbed person could commit Loughner’s crimes, but without being a thorn in the side of our “so careful” media, there has been scant evidence offered that this man was certifiably insane in clinical terms, which appears to be their diagnosis. Continue reading A media that knows what it doesn’t know, and doesn’t know what it chooses

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