Saturday, January 22, 2011

And now a Special Comment on MSNBC ending the show "Countdown"

The new, extremely conservative owner of MSNBC, Comcast, has done a great disservice by ending Keith Olbermann's contract - not to Olbermann, but to the ability of the nation to hear another side of the story uniquely presented within the tenets of journalism. Countdown is by its own admission full of commentary and subjectivity to be sure, but it also uses sources, attribution, and the historical record to back up and document its arguments logically, factually, and sincerely.

Countdown was the highest-rated show on MSNBC and wasn't even matched in the ratings by any show at any time on rival CNN, either. Comcast obviously wanted to quiet the most-popular voice that opposed their right-wing political philosophy.

One doesn't have to agree with the progressive side of the story to recognize its place in journalism, which is much in opposition (and NOT a mirror image) to another network that operates outside professional parameters by promoting faux-journalistic fiction, gossip, and abominable inaccuracies in order to persuade the gullible and weak-minded.

MSNBC's level of trustworthiness and respectability has taken a huge hit as will, I'm sure, the ratings and financial rewards of the network. It is their loss, the viewers' loss, and the loss of another piece of honest discourse in our society.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Only One Side Has Been Perpetrating and Promoting Violence

For anyone who's thinking, "Well, I'm sure violence comes from both sides of the political spectrum," here's a brief reminder.

No, it hasn't. It has virtually all been coming from conservatives and to an abominable degree.

From Sarah Palin's gunsights on Representatives including the just-shot Gabby Giffords in Arizona with her calls to "take aim" and "open a salvo", to Sharron Angle's calling for 2nd Amendment remedies to "take out" Harry Reid, to completely taking out of context a quote from Thomas Jefferson as if he were promoting violence (he wasn't) in pursuit of liberty, the radical right as promoted through their media outlets have done everything short of arming their disciples and given them location addresses for their public appearances.

No, strike that. They DID give out the locations for Democrats' public appearances while not revealing Republicans' meetings during the Health Care debate, if you can use that word when the one purpose promoted was to disrupt any discussion or actual debate.

In case you don't remember:

A conservative who followed right-wing media killed a guard at the Holocaust museum.

A conservative who followed right-wing media killed West Memphis cops.

A conservative who followed right-wing media killed Dr. George Tiller while he was in church.

A conservative who followed right-wing media killed two people at a Unitarian church in Tennessee.

Unknown arsonists set fire to a planned Tennessee Mosque and cultural center at the time right-wing media denounced a planned Manhattan mosque and cultural center.

Unknown terrorists targeted Democratic officials and non-conservative media figures with anthrax in the past decade.

Democratic Congressman James Clyburn was spit on while being called racial slurs by conservatives in May 2010.

Numerous Democratic Party headquarters around the country were vandalized with bricks by conservatives who attached pro-conservative rhetoric to the weapons after being directed to do so by their conservative lords.

The headquarters for several Democratic Representatives such as Louise Slaughter and Gabby Giffords were attacked similarly by conservatives.

Nine conservative members of the Hutaree militia planned attacks last year on government officials and those who would attend the subsequent funerals.

A conservative who followed conservative anti-tax rhetoric flew a plane into a Texas IRS building.

A Tennessee conservative was arrested after walking into his local county courthouse to try to effect a citizen's arrest of a grand jury foreman who had refused to investigate President Obama's legitimacy to serve as promoted by right-wing media.

A self-proclaimed Glenn Beck fan was arrested for scouting out and trespassing on Air National Guard Base at Gabreski Airport in New York. She had an XM-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and 500 rounds of ammunition in her car when police found her.

A conservative supporter knocked down to the ground and then stomped on a liberal protester's head as she lay by the curb outside a Republican campaign stop.

There are so many more I can cite, but the pattern is obvious here. Violent acts are not protected First Amendment speech and cannot be tolerated by a civilized society. The promoters in the conservative media are just as guilty as the perpetrators and should stop promoting violence immediately.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Republicans, The First Week

After just two days, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has shown themselves to be a hypocritical embarrassment to anyone who voted for them as well as the rest of America.

They promised to employ a stringent interpretation of the Constitution without acknowledging that it is not written in stone to set up permanent rules, but rather to set guidelines that need to be interpreted or even changed with the evolution (oh dear, that word!) of our society. Our forefathers have made plenty of egregious errors along the way. How do the Republicans address that? By changing historical truths to suit their needs. In the reading of the Constitution, they simply ignored such facts as Native Americans weren’t considered people, that Blacks were considered just three-fifths of a person, that escaped slaves were to be returned to their owners no matter where in the country they were found, and that conservatives made alcohol consumption and commerce constitutionally illegal.

Well, isn’t that special!

Two Republican Congressmen – Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick – didn’t even bother to honor the rules of the Constitution when they didn't show up to be sworn in with the rest of the House. Where were they instead? They were attending a fundraiser that would help line their pockets with all of those really wealthy dollars that helped buy their way into office so they may attend to their further bidding.

Breaking the rules of Constitution on the day Congress is reading parts of the Constitution so you can be paid by really wealthy people is certainly very special!

Republicans pledged to cut 100 Billion dollars in federal spending. Now they say that written pledge was just hypothetical so they’re revised that to 50 Billion and some experts are saying it will be much more like 30 Billion. Meanwhile, they raised the deficit by 133 Billion with bonus tax cuts for wealthy beyond the regular tax cuts they would have gotten as proposed by the Democrats. Republicans say they were already in place, but, in fact, they were put in place at a time of economic surplus without wars and were set by Republicans to expire.

Republicans are trying to explode the deficit by another 230 Billion dollars by repealing health care reform. It’s part of their new “cut-as-you-go” promise – to not just pay for, but cut spending by whatever has to be paid for additionally. What will be cut to pay for this 230 Billion dollar blow up of the deficit? Nothing because they decided arbitrarily they don’t need to follow this promise when they don’t want to! And 230 Billion dollars is the amount computed by the independent Congressional Budget Office – the official accountants working on behalf of the government. The Republican Speaker says that’s just their opinion, which is tantamount to saying he thinks 2+2=7, and those who tell him it’s 4 are simply of the wrong opinion as well.

Well, isn’t that special!

Another broken Republican pledge is their stated commitment to reporting public attendance of Congressional committee meetings, which is where nearly all of their work takes place. But they decided to do away with that provision in a closed-door meeting Tuesday night.

Apparently, their promise of transparency wasn’t that special, either.

Another one of Republicans’ pledges was their promise to allow Democrats to offer amendments to legislation. On their first bill introduced since taking over, Republicans are not going to allow any amendments. Take it or leave it, suckers!

Another often-repeated promise was a “triumphant” return to open rules in the House. But after one day we see reporting that not a single one of the bills that will be brought to the floor this week will be brought under open rules.

Isn’t that triumphantly special!

Finally, in their Pledge to America, Republicans also promised to require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified. After all, these Republicans are strict constitutionalists (not counting the parts of the Constitution they don't believe in or want to acknowledge were ever there). However, none of the three bills that Republicans plan to introduce this week have any constitutional citation.

None of this hypocritical, dishonest, or simply bungling behavior is the result of an opposition party trying to destroy any accomplishment of government or childishly just saying “No” to obstruct everything proposed. Republicans have done this totally on their own to themselves and the American people, and they’ve done it in just two days.