Saturday, March 26, 2011

Taxing America's Patience

Boss Hogg can't help himself.  He has to lie about Obama and taxes.  It's ingrained into Republicans.

Speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, to a crowd of conservative activists, the potential 2012 GOP presidential contender said, "When the government sucks all the money out of the economy, how is the private sector supposed to create jobs?"

Barbour slammed the Obama administration's tax policies for placing an extra burden on taxpayers and inhibiting job growth.

"The president from the beginning has been calling for the largest tax increase in American history," Barbour said, adding "the policies of this administration in every case have made it harder to create jobs."

Barbour also struck out at taxes placed on the oil industry, saying they would be passed on to consumers.
"Who’s he think is going to pay that? Exxon?" Barbour said, "That's going to be paid by the people who are pumping gas and diesel fuel into their cars & trucks."

Citing the need to jumpstart the economy, Barbour told the crowd that reducing spending would be key.

"I urge you to remember the most important thing, cutting spending is the means to an end, the end is to continue to grow our economy,” he said.

Obama lowered taxes for a vast majority of Americans.  He also kept the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  He even instituted additional tax breaks for businesses.  Hell, General Electric paid a grand total of ZERO taxes in 2010.  Can't get much less than zero, folks.

So where are the jobs these lower taxes are supposed to create?   Gosh, Republicans certainly can't explain it.  They want us to go into austerity next, like Britain and Greece and Ireland...countries that have seen sharp reductions in government spending and surprise... now they are seeing major increases in unemployment!

So in fact Obama is doing exactly what Republicans are wanting him to do.  He has lowered taxes, especially on businesses.  Democrats continue to talk about cutting spending and cutting programs.  But the jobs aren't being created!

They're not being created of course because cutting spending when the government is the buyer of last resort and corporate America continues to sit on trillions in cash rather than see there's no point in expanding production capacity and adding jobs in America when Americans don't have the money to buy more products and take on more these jobs are going overseas, along with expansion plans.

So the rich are getting an even larger slice of the country's growth.  The other 90% of the country is losing net worth as housing prices continue to fall, wages stagnate, and jobs are lost.  Right now some half a million people gathered in London for a massive protest against government program cuts.  Britain is right now where we would be if Republicans controlled everything:  rising unemployment, draconian social cuts, and unrest bordering on riots.

We're doing what Haley Barbour and the austerity hysterics want, and austerity is failing miserably worldwide.  OBAMA CUT TAXES ON TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS.  This is fact.

So where's the jobs?

How Dare They Say The Truth?

The right is soiling itself in victimization over this Politico (natch) article portraying the "war against FOX News" by the most evil supervillain organization ever conceived: the guys pointing out that FOX is full of crap over at David Brock's Media Matters.

In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters — which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget — is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics.

Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Media Matters last month also issued a report criticizing “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy’s criticism of this reporter’s blog.)

Brock said Media Matters also plans to run a broad campaign against Fox’s parent company, News Corp., an effort which most likely will involve opening a United Kingdom arm in London to attack the company’s interests there. The group hired an executive from to work on developing campaigns among News Corp. shareholders and also is looking for ways to turn regulators in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere against the network.

The group will “focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests — whether that be here or looking at what’s going on in London right now,” Brock said, referring to News Corp.’s — apparently successful — move to take a majority stake in the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Now, if you think that Media Matters is somehow vastly more powerful than FOX and News Corporation, well you're reading the wrong blog anyway.  What the right is truly terrified of is Media Matters using FOX's own tactics against it, and just the thought of that has the usual suspects dragging out the specter of promised revenge.

At least one conservative is taking the long view in the wake of the NPR stings and has a light bulb moment.

The media is tasked with watching the government and our politicians for us. But this begs the old question, who will watch the watchers? If you want to be upset about anything, perhaps you should be put off that there isn’t a better organized set of similar watchdogs digging in to MSNBC as well as the major network news shops, papers and radio.

This, I can guarantee you, is coming now.  Under the cry of "Well that's what Media Matters is doing to FOX so all's fair in love and war" the dismantling of every non right wing noise machine media outlet in the country is on the agenda, and anyone left standing will soon be playing the "Some say the earth is flat but other critics differ, let's hear why there's a growing debate on this issue" game.

The "Lamestream media" just became the top target for 2012.  You will see Republican politicians running on "reigning in the liberal media".  Count on it.

[UPDATE] Oliver Willis with the win:

You can also check out the numerous conservative blogs here explaining just how irrelevant Media Matters is. Think about it.

Yep.  Methinks the wingers doth protest too much...

The Juicebox Mafia Is Loose

Not sure what's more disturbing in this NY Times article on the new "young pundits" in DC: that the Times' Sridhar Pappu considers Dave Weigel, Ezra Klein, and Brian Beutler as wet-behind-the-ears kids (they're younger than I am by a good 6 years or so) defined primarily by their youth, that they are grudgingly recognized and then summarily dismissed as college kids from the Facebook generation, or that none of these hot young guns are women and that Pappu doesn't seem to think there are any under 30 who might be worth listening to in the DC area.

There is precedent for such packs of smart, self-important young men in other capital cities. More than 50 years ago, Gay Talese wrote of “the witty, irreverent sons of a conquering nation,” led by George Plimpton, who once tromped through Paris.

Of course, Washington is not and never will be Paris. In a city where Ms. Haddad’s brunch is known simply as “Tammy’s” and where young Congressional staffers and reporters still cling to the bars on Capitol Hill, the scene these young men inhabit is as foreign as Mars. On Friday evenings it’s not uncommon to spot them at rock places like Black Cat or the 9:30 Club, or (juice boxes forsooth) drinking overpriced beer from cans — or even Mason jars — in grungy enclaves like the American Ice Company. But they’ve also rerouted the aspirations of young journalists here, for whom a job in print media was once the holy grail.

“This is the age of the individual voice, liberated by the new media,” the former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan — whose reinvention as a prodigious, immensely well-read blogger has inspired many to take to their laptops — said in an e-mail. “Anyone in the younger generation who yearns for a column on the Washington Post op-ed page is seeking oblivion.”

That hasn’t stopped traditional outlets from reaching out to them — with mixed results. In the years surrounding the 2008 presidential election, The Washington Post employed Mr. Weigel; and The American Prospect and then The Post made his peer Ezra Klein into a multiplatform superman of blogging-twittering-column writing. The Atlantic and then Think Progress — the online arm of the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund— transformed Matt Yglesias from a formerly bored Harvard kid who hated reporting into an Internet star.

They are cognizant of their evolution. 

Yeah, note how it's The Wise Media Mavens of Washington who picked these guys up by their bootstraps and thrust them into the spotlight.  They couldn't possibly have gotten there on talent or hard work, like these guys won the lottery or something and are really just a bunch of frat dudebros with netbooks, as a wistful Sully looks on.

Of course the fact that Pappu can't find a single woman to challenge this all-male boys club meme only makes it all the worse.  Ugh.

Epic Win: Girl Scouts Edition

PARMA, Ohio – The Girl Scouts were selling their cookies the old-fashioned way, pulling a creaky-wheeled red wagon laden with Thin Mints and Samoas down a suburban street. But the affair took a decidedly 21st-century twist when, with a polite smile, one of the girls pulled out a smartphone and inquired: "Would you like to pay with a credit card?"

The girls are among about 200 troops in northeast Ohio who are changing the way Girl Scouts do business. For the first time, the girls are accepting credit cards using a device called GoPayment, a free credit card reader that clips onto smart phones. Girl Scout leaders hope that allowing customers to pay with plastic will drive up cookie sales in a world where carrying cash is rapidly going the way of dial-up Internet. Keeping pace with changing technology is a priority lately for the historic Girl Scouts, an organization that's preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

Despite the coolness of this, I have to wonder just how safe it is going to be to have a credit card after this technology becomes widely available.  I'm just saying, if an adorable eight-year-old can swipe a credit card we need to establish some safety rules. Actually, the Girl Scouts are actually leading a charge (pun intended) to a new way of doing business.  While cash isn't going anywhere soon, businesses can and do refuse to accept cash payments.  That means plastic and ways to use it will be developing at rapid speed.  Here's hoping the safety risks are caught on the fly. 

Up In Smoke: Whoopi Style

Whoopi Goldberg has admitted she was nervous the night of the Academy Awards.  She also says it is her habit to smoke a little pot, and that night she was so nervous that she indulged.  When her name was called for her role in Ghost, she was so toasted she had to focus to get up to the stage.

More and more people are making sure pot is a non-issue.  I'm going to predict that by 2015 it's legal.

Land Of The Rising Core Temperature, Part 16

Japanese radiation monitoring has gone crowdsourced as seawater radioactivity from the Fukushima Daiichi plant is reaching disturbing levels.

Radioactivity levels are soaring in seawater near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japan's nuclear safety agency said on Saturday, two weeks after the nuclear power plant was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Even as engineers tried to pump puddles of radioactive water from the power plant 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, the nuclear safety agency said tests on Friday showed radioactive iodine had spiked 1,250 times higher than normal in the seawater just offshore the plant.

But everything is fine, despite nearly daily "spikes" in radiation levels for the last two weeks.  The reality of radiation in Japan looks like this:

Here's the reality.  The spin continues.

Officials said iodine 131 levels in seawater 30 km (19 miles) from the coastal nuclear complex were within acceptable limits established by regulations and the contamination posed little risk to aquatic life.

"Ocean currents will disperse radiation particles and so it will be very diluted by the time it gets consumed by fish and seaweed," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a senior official from Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Despite that reassurance, the disclosure may well heighten international concern over Japanese seafood exports. Several countries have already banned milk and produce from areas around the Fukushima Daiichi plant, while others have been monitoring Japanese seafood.

Yes, everything's fine in Japan.  Nothing to worry about in the seafood or the plants or the leafy vegetables or the milk or the rain.  So much not to worry about, the UN isn't reconsidering worldwide nuclear safely regs or anything.

The prolonged efforts to prevent a catastrophic meltdown at the plant have also intensified concerns around the world about nuclear power. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was time to reassess the international atomic safety regime.

You think?  Gives Earth Hour a whole new meaning today, doesn't it?
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