Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Is the Corporate Media Rigging Elections?

The media no longer just "endorses" a political candidate that they prefer; or just sees to it that they get a lot of media exposure; or that they only report favorable things about their preferred candidate. These days the major media actively attacks those they oppose and outright LIES about political opponents. They also tend to belittle and demean them too (sometimes subtly, sometimes not), to depict them as less than serious or creditable (and maybe even radical).

The media doesn't just report the news, they influence the news — and our elections. And both the "left-wing" and the "right-wing" media is guilty of this.

Yesterday in the Huffington Post's newsletter they wrote: "Bernie Sanders' second campaign announcement is a reminder that the official campaign launch is the dumbest political development since the prebuttal" (a response formulated in anticipation of a criticism). Then the HuffPo newsletter linked to a Nation article which says: "Political and media elites do tend to count presidential candidates like him out."

I get the feeling the Huffington Post endorses Hillary Clinton, and wants to count out Bernie Sanders.

Earlier this year the Huffington Post was spun off as part of Verizon's $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL. Ok, I see, Version and Hillary — now it all makes perfect sense. Verizon is on the list of those who support the TPP trade agreement, something Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are both adamantly against.

And speaking of the media — via the Associated Press: Media CEOs Dominate Ranks Of Highest Paid Executives: "Six of the 10 highest-paid CEOs last year worked in the media industry." The six corporations that collectively control [90%] of U.S. media today are AOL/Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (Fox News, etc.), CBS Corporation and NBC Universal.

It was recently reported that the Clintons had a shell company:

Bill Clinton's lucrative speeches during his wife's four-year term as secretary of state have provided them with as much as $50 million. The Clinton's had a limited liability "shell company" called "WJC LLC" that was set up in Delaware in 2008 (and again in 2013) and in New York in 2009. The entity was a "pass-through" company designed to channel payments to the former president. The identities of several U.S and foreign-based companies and foundations that Bill Clinton worked for have been disclosed in Hillary Clinton's recent financial report. A limited liability company is a commonly used business structure that provides tax advantages and limited legal protection for the assets of company owners and partners.

And sometimes a "limited liability" company is helpful to avoid criminal and civil liabilities for the company's owners/executives. It is well-known that auto and bank execs have personally avoided prosecutions for numerous offenses, even when their personal actions resulted in the destruction of people and the economy. They get slapped on the wrist with a small fine, and then the offenders go about their business as usual — that is, until the next time they're caught. And Congress allows for this.

But it appears that NBC (via Chuck Todd) and MSNBC (quoting Chuck Todd) is playing down the Clinton's shell company as no big deal, maybe because they are also endorsing Hillary Clinton:

"By itself, making money shouldn't be an issue for Bill and Hillary Clinton; after all, so many of our past presidents have been wealthy. By itself, Bill Clinton having a shell LLC wouldn't be an issue either. But when you add the two together, you see that the Clintons have a Mitt Romney problem on their hands -- wealth and "otherness" that voters might not be able to relate to, especially when the likes of Bernie Sanders are campaigning against wealth."

Is Senator Sanders really campaigning against wealth per se, or is Chuck Todd just a lying dirt bag? He goes on to write:

"Of course, there's one BIG difference between Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney: Romney wanted to cut taxes for the wealthy, while Hillary likely [my italics] wants to raise them and eliminate tax loopholes benefiting the well-off. As the Clintons have said before, people like them should be paying more in taxes. And you probably won't hear that rhetoric from the eventual GOP nominee."

If this were really true, and if Hillary REALLY wanted to raise taxes on the rich and close loopholes, show me ONE SINGLE BILL that she sponsored where she proposed doing any of these things. The last I heard, her husband lowered taxes on the very rich by lowering the capital gains tax rate from 28% to 20%. And why the shell company if Hillary thinks they should pay more in taxes? Chuck Todd then writes:

"Still, Hillary Clinton could arguably be the wealthiest (or close to it) candidate in the 2016 field. And this shell LLC story is going to sound the drumbeats for her to release her taxes."

So any legitimate suspicions, concerns or criticisms is a full-fledged "drumbeat" — and that we are somehow hysterical if we should question the integrity, credibility and honesty of our political candidates? And why is it "wrong" to want to see Hillary's taxes? We asked see Mitt Romney's. Chuck Todd's article goes on to criticize Senator Bernie Sanders in other ways:

"There were a few things missing in [Sanders'] speech -- references to immigration, civil rights, Ferguson, and Baltimore. And those omissions (maybe not surprising for a politician from Vermont) point to Sanders' weakness if he somehow catches fire: His appeal is with upscale, affluent Democratic whites, but not the Latinos and African Americans who also make up the Democratic coalition. Sanders is filling your classic Gary Hart/Bill Bradley/Howard Dean position. But as we've learned, a Democratic presidential candidate can't beat the establishment if you don't have minorities on your side."

Is Chuck Todd really trying to convince us that most of Bernie Sanders' appeal is with upscale and affluent Democratic whites — and not for average American workers of all color? Is Chuck Todd just a lying dirt bag?

Via Slate on April 21 2015:

"Police shootings in New York, Ohio, and Missouri sparked a national movement for police reform among young black Americans. More than once, [Hillary] Clinton has voiced support for the activists, declaring, “Yes, black lives matter,” at an event last December. But she hasn’t taken a position on the substantive questions of criminal justice reform, from drug policy to federal sentencing. We don’t know how she would respond if asked to answer for Bill Clinton’s punitive criminal justice policies, which expanded the war on drugs and contributed to mass incarceration. With that said, a promise to reject those policies—and to move back from the Clinton-era status quo — might appeal to black Americans whose communities have been harmed by mass incarceration. Indeed, it might even be the ingredient that helps Clinton energize black voters and engage a vital part of the Obama coalition. In which case, would she reject that part of her husband’s legacy?"

While he was the NBC White House correspondent in 2013, Chuck Todd‘s declaration that it’s not his job to inform viewers when politicians spread misinformation was noted by several progressive blogs. Via FAIR that year:

"It’s sad that NBC‘s White House correspondent thinks his job is merely to convey politicians pronouncements, with no care about whether they are true or false. In fact, scrutinizing claims, particularly those from powerful officials, is an essential part of journalism."

PoliticusUSA (February, 1st, 2015) Chuck Todd allowed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to lie and distort Obama's economic record and lie about taxes without even the slightest push back on Meet The Press:

"Paul Ryan told several lies that would have been easy for Todd to push him on with a follow-up question, but the Meet The Press host chose to do nothing. It is tough to take any “public affairs” program seriously that makes facts optional ... Todd has argued that if he doesn’t allow Republicans to lie, they won’t come on his show anymore ... but he does have a responsibility to not let blatant untruths go unchallenged ... The only way Ryan can justify his policies is to lie. It is up those who interview Ryan to correct basic facts. This interview was a perfect example of why many Americans no longer trust the media."

Now Chuck Todd is resorting to outright lies and innuendo. The media has gone far beyond what was once considered "journalism". Now (when they aren't reporting on trivial and meaningless drab like the Kardashians), they are in the propaganda business to benefit large multi-national corporations.

And shills like Chuck Todd are part of the problem. He's the one who sold his soul for a good gig in the media. He's the one who lacks integrity, credibility and honesty — characteristics that Senator Bernie Sanders has an abundance of.

Many in the "left-wing" media are becoming no better than those at Fox News when it comes to "fair and balanced" reporting. I can understand why they would want Hillary (who is more like Romney), because Bernie is more like FDR (rather than Hillary).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

As the Nation goes, so goes Sears

Sears -1940

  • Sears, Roebuck & Company (aka Sears) was founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1886 as a mail order catalog company.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Remembered (2015)

June 6, 1944: The total death count for Allied soldiers on D-Day (which included America, Britain, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland) was estimated to be at least 4,390 — of which 2,499 were Americans.

By contrast, a little over 4,493 U.S. soldiers were killed in combat during the entire war in Iraq.

Robert Reich: The "Free" Market is Rigged

(*From the blog of the former Secretary of Labor under Clinton: Whatever Happened to Antitrust? on May 24, 2015)

Last week’s settlement between the Justice Department and five giant banks reveals the appalling weakness of modern antitrust. The banks had engaged in the biggest price-fixing conspiracy in modern history.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

TPP makes Obama a Dino

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (a business lobbying group) claims they are "the world's largest business organization representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Our members range from mom-and-pop shops and local chambers to leading industry associations and large corporations. They all share one thing in common — they count on the Chamber to be their voice in Washington, D.C."

But in reality,

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Savings Glut (Hoarded Wealth), Wages and Productivity

CNBC (May 20,2015) Why the US economy can’t shake Great Recession:

Former Treasury Secretary and White House economic advisor Larry Summers, in late 2013, advanced the argument that the unspectacular recovery from the Great Recession in the U.S. is due to "secular stagnation" ...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Capital Gains, Income Inequality and Fast Food Wages

First, some excerpts from a post at Medium titled The Importance of Taxing Capital [Income]: A proposal to slow down the wealth accumulation of the super-rich (by James Kwak on May 19, 2015)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wages, Business and Taxes

The Revolt of Small Business Republicans (Robert Reich - May 18, 2015)

In case you hadn’t noticed, big corporations have extended their dominance over large swaths of the economy. They’ve expanded their intellectual property, merged with or acquired other companies, and gained control over networks and platforms that have become industry standards...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fast Food Workers Ain't Lovin It

Connie Bennett (a grandmother) has worked at McDonald’s for eight years. During that time she says she has received only one pay raise, and still makes just a nickel per hour over the minimum wage.

Over-Saturated job Market Depresses Wages

If humanity had as much access to oil as they do to all the seawater in the oceans, oil itself would be next to worthless. Whereas an extremely rare commodity or a work of art could be considered priceless by some measure. If we have an abundance of something that can't be used for any meaningful purpose, it's devalued.