Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!! Let’s see what’s in the news today.

Mitt Romney has been whining about the “liberal media” giving him a hard time, but a new Pew survey has found that the “liberal media” are friendlier to Mitt Romney than President Obama. Adam Serwer at Mother Jones:

The Liberal Media has consistently given more positive coverage to likely Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney compared to President Barack Obama, according to a new survey of media coverage from the Pew Research Center’s Excellence in Journalism Project.

During the early weeks of 2012, Romney’s media coverage was slightly negative—between January 2 and February 26, 33 percent of the stories about the ex-Massachusetts governor were positive and 37 percent were negative, according to Pew’s analysis. But Romney has received mostly positive coverage since then (47 percent positive to 24 percent negative). By contrast, according to the report, President Barack Obama “did not have a single week in 2012 when positive coverage exceeded negative coverage.”

Check out the full report at the Pew link.

Florida Rep. Allen West was booted from an NAACP fund-raiser because of his claim that around 80 Democrats in the House of Representatives are card-carrying members of the Communist Party.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) was supposed to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for his district chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) this past Saturday. But days before the event, the group canceled the gathering and asked West not to come back when they rescheduled. Why?

“There’s a certain statement he made about Communists,” Jerry Gore, president of the Martin County NAACP, told Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. “That statement alone … we do not represent that type of atmosphere.”

But that didn’t keep West from making more ludicrous remarks. Yesterday, he claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood is “being allowed to influence strategy.”

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) criticized the FBI on Monday for removing nearly 900 pages of training material it deemed to be offensive, saying it showed extremist Muslim groups were influencing national strategy.

The FBI made the move after Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) complained about some passages, including one that advised agents to “never attempt to shake hands with an Asian” and another that said agents should expect “outbursts” from Arab minds.

West said that by removing such passages, the FBI was committing “cultural suicide” and allowing groups like the Muslim Brotherhood to influence U.S. policy.

“We have to understand that when tolerance becomes a one-way street it leads to cultural suicide,” West told “Fox and Friends” on Monday. “We should not allow the Muslim Brotherhood or associated groups to be influencing our national strategy.”

When asked if he believed those groups were influencing U.S. strategy, West responded, “Oh, absolutely,” and cited the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting report that didn’t mention the suspect’s Muslim faith as a potential motive for the killings.

In another throwback to the McCarthy era, a few days ago Bill O’Reilly accused Robert Reich of being a communist.

Yesterday, Reich responded: Communist Accusations Matter.

For the record, I’m not a communist and I don’t secretly adore Karl Marx.

Ordinarily I don’t bother repeating anything Bill O’Reilly says. But this particular whopper is significant because it represents what O’Reilly and Fox News, among others, are doing to the national dialogue….

O’Reilly based his claim on an interview I did last week with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, in which I argued that because America’s big corporations were now global we could no longer rely on them to make necessary investments in human capital or to lobby for public investments in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D. So, logically, government has to step in.

Since when does an argument for public investment in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D make someone a communist or a secret adorer of Karl Marx?

Since the Tea Party crazies crawled out from under their rocks and took over the Republican Party, I guess. I sure wish they’d crawl back where they came from.

Now this is refreshing. Sen. Tom Harken defended Social Security in the Huffington Post yesterday, and proposed some solutions to future problems:

To strengthen America’s retirement system, my proposal would increase Social Security benefits and greatly improve the financial stability of the program. It does so by:

• Increasing the amount of earnings covered by higher replacement rates in order to increase benefits by approximately $60-70 per month
• Changing the way the COLA is calculated so that it better corresponds to the typical expenses of seniors
• Removing the cap, currently $110,100, that unfairly protects the highest earning Americans from paying into Social Security like the majority of hardworking Americans.

All told, according to the Social Security Actuary, this proposal would extend the life of the Social Security Trust Fund to 2052 while cutting the long term funding deficit in half.

I’m sure Mitt Romney will explain to Senator Harkin why it would be wrong to try to raise payroll taxes on high income “job creators.”

Speaking of Willard, the LA Times had an interesting story on Romney’s health care plan–they call it “revolutionary,” and not in a good way.

In public, Romney has only sketched the outlines of a plan, and aides have declined to answer questions about the details. But his public statements and interviews with advisors make clear that Romney has embraced a strategy that in crucial ways is more revolutionary — and potentially more disruptive — than the law Obama signed two years ago.

The centerpiece of Romney’s plan would overhaul the way most Americans get their health coverage: at work. He would do so by giving Americans a tax break to buy their own health plans. That would give consumers more choices, but also more risk.

Critics and independent analysts say the impact would probably leave a larger number of Americans without insurance.

In addition,

While offering consumers more choices, Romney’s plan would give companies strong incentives to stop providing insurance to workers. It also would overhaul the 46-year-old Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly, poor and disabled.

The plan could swell the federal deficit; a similar plan backed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 presidential campaign would have cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years, on par with the price tag for the Obama healthcare law.

Romney keeps claiming he’s going to cut the deficit. Somehow I don’t think privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will do that. Maybe he thinks he can end those programs completely.

Democracy Now has been running a series on NSA spying. A good starting point is this article at Alternet: Whistleblower: The NSA is Lying — The U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails

National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney reveals he believes domestic surveillance has become more expansive under President Obama than President George W. Bush. He estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion “transactions” — phone calls, emails and other forms of data — from Americans. This likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States.

While you’re at Alternet, here’s another article you should read: How Obama Became a Civil Libertarian’s Nightmare

When Barack Obama took office, he was the civil liberties communities’ great hope. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, pledged to shutter the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and run a transparent and open government. But he has become a civil libertarian’s nightmare: a supposedly liberal president who instead has expanded and fortified many of the Bush administration’s worst policies, lending bipartisan support for a more intrusive and authoritarian federal government.

Please go read the whole thing and then check out Glenn Greenwald’s take on the story.

As I’m sure everyone here knows, we don’t live in a democracy anymore.

So what are you reading and blogging about today?


16 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Couldn’t agree more that we no longer live in a democracy.

    The policies being implemented or proposed validate that theory.

    The inmates are in charge and you need look no further than Alan West to conclude as much.

    America is on the decline, no more so than listening to what the GOP has up its sleeve. Leave the poor, the elderly, the disabled, women and children to fend for themselves with the introduction of measures that would force them to live in poverty while protecting the super rich from paying a fair share.

    Deregulation on behalf of corporations is a sure way to polluting an ever more fragile atmosphere while eliminating safety measures for the food, air and water supplies that are already infected by industries whose practices in some areas are already in dispute.

    Forcing employees to dismantle collective bargaining, reducing the minimum wage, and denying healthcare benefits will lower the standard of living that will be nothing more than a return to the 1930s. The nation will begin to look more and more like Appalacia when this mob is done.

    The GOP philosophy is insane. Stripping people of their human rights as workers and individuals is going to throw this nation to the wolves and it makes no sense. Education and research are on the chopping block.

    I’m not so sure we have the capability any longer of pulling ourselves out of the clutches of these special interests with the people who currently hold office. There are more in congress who follow West’s twisted form of reasoning than there are those who have the backbone to stand up and fight back.

    Unless I am missing something here, America is going to look much different in 20 years if this tsunami continues to roil.

  2. RalphB says:

    Oh those tea party deficit hawks. Why anyone believes these bullshit artists is simply beyond me.

    Talk is cheap, GOP Bullshit is expensive

    Hypocrisy alert: House Republican freshmen are begging their leaders to bring back a certain type of earmark so that they can help companies back home in an election year.
    In a letter to Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, 65 House Republican freshmen — or roughly three-quarters of the class — asked that the House consider a miscellaneous tariff bill jam-packed with special provisions to suspend duties on various foreign goods, even though it runs counter to the earmark ban Republicans campaigned on in 2010 and instituted when they took power.

    The push is a sign that freshmen who arrived in Washington talking up their anti-pork principles are now worried about what — if anything — they’ll have to show constituents when they hit the campaign trail. And, in typical Washington fashion, they think they’ve found a loophole that will get them past the ban.

  3. Woman Voter says:

    CNN just reported that Social Security Trust Fund & Medicare is no longer stable, leading to Obama’s Simpson Committee get together again. I knew it, the tax holiday paid with worker’s OWN money and their employees while keeping the Bush Tax Cuts for the 1% millionaires and billionaires has worked to kill Social Security and Medicare.

    So, for 40 bucks, people will loose the to programs that made this country great and they will do it by telling us that granmother will keep her benefits barely and people like me well we are screwed. So, Obama has done what no Republican has been able to do, and we clapped missing the point that Obama continued the Bush policies of taking care of the RICH at the expense of the working folk.

    As for the Obama care, well my premiums went up by 82.% and then 11% and I now have a fifty dollar deductable and 500 if I think of ever going to the ER. Obama care was/is an insurance give away, and I can only hope some day a true progressive shows up and understand the connection between affordable health care and business (keeping business in America).

  4. RalphB says:

    Charles Pierce hits another one out of the park.

    Two Americas, and What to Do About Them

    We have to look beyond simply putting one foot in front of the other to get through the day and start thinking about why that effort is getting harder and harder. We are all we have left.

  5. dakinikat says:

    I’m really trying to figure out why all these old guys are dragging the red menance out from under the bed again? I thought their hero Saint Ronnie of the Peacekeeper Missile destroyed the Evil Empire and made all right with the world. Are they just paranoid or are they suffering froms some right wing dementia?

    • RalphB says:

      Everything is just going back to the ’50s. Birth control and/or McCarthyism it’s all the same.

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    I’m beginning to think that Repugnants, evangelicals, Tea Partiers have been infected with a Borg virus – all sharing a single brain and walking in lock step. Nothing else seems to make much sense any longer.

  7. NW Luna says:

    While reading about Obama as the Great Civil Liberties Hope, I couldn’t help myself remembering Hillary voting “No” on FISA in ’08.

    Then I read Greenwald:

    None of this should be surprising: Obama — in direct violation of his primary campaign pledge — infamously voted for the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 that not only immunized lawbreaking telecoms, but also legalized much of the NSA domestic spying program Bush had ordered in the aftermath of 9/11. At the time, he and his acolytes insisted that Obama was doing so only so that he could win the election and then use his power to fix these spying abuses, yet another Obama-glorifying claim that has turned out to be laughable in its unreliability.

    Hahahaha. We are so f’d.