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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
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Journal Archives

WaPo - "Disconnected Obama" Meme An Example of the Lying Corporate Media

President Obama has taken far less vacation time than either Dubya or Reagan. This fact should put an end to the idea that President Obama is playing hooky and ignoring the demands of office. Yet, here is the Washington Post pushing this false meme with no mention of the fact that both Dubya and Reagan took far more vacation time than President Obama. Indeed, if you were to use vacation time as the measuring stick of greatness, than Carter who took only 79 vacation days would be seen as superior to Reagan who took a whopping 335 days of vacation. Nonetheless, WaPo happily pushes this propaganda without any context of facts that would allow its readers to make an informed judgment.


For the record, here are the totals:

President Barack Obama as of Friday has spent all or part of 138 days on vacation, less time away from the White House than his predecessors. Here’s a look at how they compare. The totals exclude trips to the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland mountains.

GEORGE W. BUSH: During eight years in the White House, spent all or part of 490 days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
BILL CLINTON: During two terms in office, used all or part of 174 days for vacation. Of those, 100 days were summers either in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, or Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
RONALD REAGAN: During two terms, spent all or part of 349 days at his ranch in Santa Barbara, California.


CNN's Don Lemon: National Guardsman Used N-Word to Describe Ferguson Protestors

Source: Yahoo

CNN's Don Lemon, back in the network's studio after several nights of covering the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., said a member of the National Guard overseeing the demonstrations there used the N-word while speaking with one of his producers.

Lemon said Tuesday that a member of the National Guard — whom he did not identify — was urging the white producer to get out of the area so that the producer would be safe.

“I'm just going to be honest with you,” Lemon said. “Last night, one of my producers said that they — I won't say if it's a he or she, because I don't want to give anyone away — said that they came in contact with one of the members of the National Guard and that they said, ‘You want to get out of here because you're white, because these n-words, you never know what they're going to do.’ True story. I kid you not. 2014, a member of the National Guard. And my producer doesn't lie. It is a true story.”

Lemon and CNN's Jake Tapper were both pushed by police and had to flee tear gas while covering the protests in Ferguson. Demonstrators are demanding justice for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black man who was shot on August 9 by a Ferguson police officer.

Read more: https://tv.yahoo.com/news/don-lemon-national-guardsman-used-n-word-describe-154400985.html

Republicans are calling efforts to get people to register to vote, rather than riot,"disgusting." Police are roughing up journalists. National guardsmen are openly using racial epithets. Yet, the media continues to let Republicans express faux outrage that race is being brought into the discussion.

Voter Registration Drives in Ferguson Are "Disgusting," Says Missouri GOP Leader

Source: Mother Jones

Over the last couple days, voter registration booths have been popping up in Ferguson. There was one by the ruined site of the recently burned-down QuikTrip convenience store, which has become a central gathering site of the protests, and another near the site where Michael Brown was shot.

Voter turnout was just 12 percent in Ferguson's last municipal election, and in a city that's 60 percent black, virtually all city officials are white. In December, the black superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant school district was fired by the then all-white school board, and the longtime St. Louis county executive, who is black, recently lost his seat to a white opponent in a race seen as "racially charged." "Five thousand new voters will transform the city from top to bottom," said Jesse Jackson Sr., who told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday that he was meeting with local clergy to organize a door-to-door voter registration drive.

But the prospect of more registered black voters has greatly perturbed the executive director of Missouri's Republican Party, Matt Wills, who expressed outrage at the new registration booths to Breitbart News Monday:

"If that's not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is," Wills said. "I think it's not only disgusting but completely inappropriate…Injecting race into this conversation and into this tragedy, not only is not helpful, but it doesn't help a continued conversation of justice and peace."

Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/head-missouri-gop-calls-voter-registration-drives-ferguson-disgusting

I guess it is better to riot and brandish guns, rather than to peacefully vote.

People Who Don't Think Race Matters In Ferguson Think Obama's Remarks Are Racist

The right wing is once again accusing the President of being racist for discussing the significance of race in connection with civil unrest in Missouri.


Few people were surprised when conservative commentators started criticizing President Obama for commenting on the Michael Brown shooting and aftermath in Ferguson, Missouri, and a new Pew poll shows why: white and Republican Americans are more likely to think race is getting too much attention in Ferguson. Conservative commentators calling the president racist are just the most prominent and extreme examples of people who think Obama is addressing race issues that don't exist.

In the last week, right-wing blog WND published a column by Larry Klayman arguing that the president was the "Racist in chief" for siding with his "black brothers" against "'whitey.'" Fox News' Todd Starnes wondered why the president offered condolences to Michael Brown's family, but didn't offer his condolences to the cop who shot him. Daniel Greenfield at FrontPage magazine wrote that the president "tends to avoid explicitly racist rhetoric. Instead he empowers those who do."

The essays are the extreme example of what Pew shows is a common trend: 47 percent of white people think race is getting too much attention, as opposed to only 18 percent of blacks and 25 percent of Hispanics. Sixty-one percent of Republicans think race is receiving too much focus, compared to 46 percent of Independents and 21 percent of Democrats. The divide is more extreme now than when Trayvon Martin was killed, but still in both cases there was a divide between whites and blacks.

With that in mind, it makes sense that white conservatives would see the president's remarks as race baiting.

The growing pay gap between journalism and public relations

This just goes to show that modern media has moved away from actual journalism and more toward PR and propaganda. False equivalency has replaced objective reporting. The California Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United certainly did not help matters in clearing the way for more money to be funneled into corporate propaganda.


After years of grim news for the news industry marked by seemingly endless rounds of staff cutbacks, it’s not unusual for those thinking about a career in journalism or veterans trying to find a new job to look at options in related fields. One field outpacing journalism both in sheer numbers and in salary growth is public relations.

The salary gap between public relations specialists and news reporters has widened over the past decade – to almost $20,000 a year, according to 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. At the same time, the public relations field has expanded to a degree that these specialists now outnumber reporters by nearly 5 to 1 (BLS data include part-time and full-time employees, but not self-employed.)

In 2013, according to BLS data, public relations specialists earned a median annual income of $54,940 compared with $35,600 for reporters. In other words, journalists on average earn just 65% of what those in public relations earn. That is a greater income gap than in 2004 when journalists were paid 71 cents of every dollar earned by those in public relations ($43,830 versus $31,320).

* * *
As the salary gap has grown, so too has the gap between the number of employees working in each field. There were 4.6 public relations specialists for every reporter in 2013, according to the BLS data. That is down slightly from the 5.3 to 1 ratio in 2009 but is considerably higher than the 3.2 to 1 margin that existed a decade ago, in 2004.

Three Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law (Updated)

Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about "Obama spending" and "Obama deficits" and how the "stimulus" just made things worse.

Solution: Here are three "reality-based" charts to send to him. These charts show what actually happened.


Government spending increased dramatically under President Bush. It has not increased much under President Obama. This is just a fact.


The Stimulus and Jobs

Patterson Tackles Our Dumb News Culture in ‘Informing the News’

This is great book that highlights the role that our modern media plays in helping create the dysfunctional political system that we have. You have a media that has dropped any pretense of objectivity in favor of promoting a false equivalency between the extreme right, on the one hand, and moderates and left of center types, on the other. You need only glance on the front page of Yahoo to see how even internet gateways are being subverted to push a right wing agenda.


This summer The Onion ran a satirical piece purporting to be an op-ed by CNN’s managing editor, Meredith Artley, titled, “Let Me Explain Why Miley Cyrus’ VMA Performance Was Our Top Story This Morning.” Her explanation for why CNN filled the top news slot with the story “Miley Cyrus Did What???” (this was the actual headline; no need to satirize it) instead of reporting on Syria or the unrest in Egypt: “It was an attempt to get you to click on CNN.com so that we could drive up our web traffic, which in turn would allow us to increase our advertising revenue.”

According to Thomas E. Patterson’s new book “Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism” (Vintage, 233 pages, $15), this kind of thinking is alas, not fiction, but the sort of logic that drives much of mainstream journalism today.

* * *

It’s not just the content, Patterson writes, but the style of reporting that can give the audience the wrong impression of the world as it actually exists. It’s cheaper for news organizations to produce op-eds and opinion-based stories than it is to pursue thoughtful investigative reporting. This matters, Patterson writes, because studies have shown that “exposure to one-sided arguments can lead people to adopt extreme political views. It can also give them a warped sense of what the opposing side believes.”

The other standard journalism technique that Patterson takes to task is the “objective reporting model,” the type of stories in which a journalist interviews one person on one side of the issue and a different person on the other side of the issue, and plays the statements off each other without pointing out whether there’s more scientific evidence supporting one side, for example. In this type of story, the journalist often makes no effort to try to uncover the truth. “The objective reporting model,” Patterson writes, “absolves journalists of their part in the deception.”

Healthcare debate lacks factual arguments against Obamacare

Nice article calling out how the RW continues to ignore facts and how the media continues to help perpetuate RW myths. The thing is that this can pretty much be applied to pretty much any substantive policy discussion.


Healthcare reporters and bloggers I queried in an informal poll confirmed that the ACA elicits unusual fervor among their readers. One who writes for a progressive website says that "Obamacare is only in second place when it comes to hate tweets. No. 1 is Benghazi."

What accounts for the pungent rancor? Here's a rundown:

•The Fox News effect. That's shorthand for the combined impact of the Republican assault on Obamacare and relentlessly negative coverage from the right-wing news media. "As divided as the GOP is, one thing they can agree on is that they hate the ACA," says Timothy S. Jost, an expert on healthcare law at Virginia's Washington and Lee University. "That's an important organizing principle for them."

The campaign involves ceaseless repetition of the mantra that Obamacare is bad, accompanied by almost no explanation why. It's a canny approach, because polls have shown consistently that Americans favor the individual elements of the ACA by a wide margin — the ban on exclusions for preexisting conditions, the closing of the Medicare prescription drug "doughnut hole," tax credits for small businesses to give their workers coverage, and expanding Medicaid all are favored by 65% or more. But "Obamacare," undefined, gets low marks.

David Koch, Donald Trump Lead Wealthy Donors Past Now-Dead Campaign Finance Limit

You can see why the Republican party is suing for the ability to sell out further to the wealthy and eliminate any restriction against unlimited campaign contributions. We are not too far away from realizing the Republican dream of only allowing the wealthy to vote or at least vote in proportion to their wealth.


WASHINGTON -- Some wealthy donors have already blown past limits on campaign contributions to political parties that were voided by the Supreme Court's McCutcheon decision last month.

The court's 5-4 ruling came on April 2, and by the end of that month, at least 41 donors had plowed past the old aggregate limits restricting how much one donor could give to political parties and political action committees. Prior to the court's ruling, donors could only give $74,600 to parties and PACs in one election cycle. Now, they're giving into the six-figures.

Among those taking advantage of the new rules were billionaire conservative funder David Koch, reality television star Donald Trump, two-time Republican Senate candidate and wrestling executive Linda McMahon, hedge fund executive and neoconservative Paul Singer, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and casino billionaire Steve Wynn. The donations were disclosed in reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

The Republican Party is the biggest beneficiary of the court ruling. The Republican National Committee, the party's central organ, joined the McCutcheon case against the FEC to challenge the aggregate limits to party committees. The majority of donors primed to go past the old limits after the ruling were Republicans. Just six of the donors passing the defunct limits gave primarily to Democrats. One -- John J. Megrue, Jr. -- mixed his contributions between the parties.

NYT Editorial - "The Koch Attack on Solar Energy"

In a way you can see why Koch industries is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into buying their handpicked GOP candidates while also spending millions in attack ads on Democrats. The fact of the matter is that they want Americans to be dependent on fossil fuels notwithstanding the fact that this hurts the environment and causes America to be dependent on foreign oil. It s borderline treasonous where these companies are actively working to increase the USA's dependency on fossil fuels in order to increase their profits.

At long last, the Koch brothers and their conservative allies in state government have found a new tax they can support. Naturally it’s a tax on something the country needs: solar energy panels.

For the last few months, the Kochs and other big polluters have been spending heavily to fight incentives for renewable energy, which have been adopted by most states. They particularly dislike state laws that allow homeowners with solar panels to sell power they don’t need back to electric utilities. So they’ve been pushing legislatures to impose a surtax on this increasingly popular practice, hoping to make installing solar panels on houses less attractive.

* * *

The coal producers’ motivation is clear: They see solar and wind energy as a long-term threat to their businesses. That might seem distant at the moment, when nearly 40 percent of the nation’s electricity is still generated by coal, and when less than 1 percent of power customers have solar arrays. (It is slightly higher in California and Hawaii.) But given new regulations on power-plant emissions of mercury and other pollutants, and the urgent need to reduce global warming emissions, the future clearly lies with renewable energy. In 2013, 29 percent of newly installed generation capacity came from solar, compared with 10 percent in 2012.

Renewables are good for economic as well as environmental reasons, as most states know. (More than 143,000 now work in the solar industry.) Currently, 43 states require utilities to buy excess power generated by consumers with solar arrays. This practice, known as net metering, essentially runs electric meters backward when power flows from rooftop solar panels into the grid, giving consumers a credit for the power they generate but don’t use.
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