Democratic Ezine March 17,2011
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Japan’s Devastating Earthquake: How You Can Help
2. CNN Poll: Most say govt. shutdown bad; Tea Party disagrees
3. WI Repub state senator lives outside district with mistress
4. Sen. Bernie Sanders Introduces Emergency Deficit Reduction Act
5. From the DAILY GRILL
6. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart:
7. Wisconsin recalls: Where local and national politics converge
8. From MEDIA MATTERS
9. Every Single GOPer On House Energy Cmte Won’t Say Climate Change Is Real
10. Congressional Approval Back Below 20%
11. Fact Checking The Sunday Shows – March 13, 2011
12. Late Night Jokes for Dems
13. Alaska Militia Members Arrested for Plot to Kidnap or Kill Police
14. GOP Cuts: A “Guillotine Job” on the Special Olympics
15. Elements Of NPR Gotcha Video Taken Out Of Context
16. “Newt’s Fishy Excuses,” a limerick by Madeleine Begun Kane
17. Texans Most Likely to Be Uninsured, Mass. Residents Least
18. Trend in Jobless Rate May Matter More Than The Level of Joblessness
19. Nuke industry spin: Be “reassured” by Japan
1. William Rivers Pitt: Then They Came for the Trade Unionists
1. William Rivers Pitt: Then They Came for the Trade Unionists
“First they came for the communists,” he wrote, “and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
I am a trade unionist, and yesterday in Wisconsin, they came for me. They came for you. They came for every working person in America, and their intent could not be more clear. Governor Scott Walker, along with the Koch Brothers and the right-wing radicals of the Republican Party, moved in darkness and with shameless deceit to gut the ability of dedicated laborers to bargain on an equal footing for the right to earn a living wage and to have access to decent health care.
Among other things, the bill as passed allows the state to fire anyone who participates in a strike. The story of the 20th century was written by workers who dared to face the truncheon in order to fight for their basic rights, and the strike was integral to that struggle. Any Wisconsin worker who dares to stand in defiance of The Bosses now faces personal annihilation, not just for themselves, but for their family. America was made in the struggle of union workers standing shoulder to shoulder in defiance of the idea that being rich means being right. That struggle is now in mortal peril, and the outcome affects all of us. 3.10.11 Read more at http://www.truth-out.org/then-they-came-trade-unionists68363
2. BILL MOYERS AND MICHAEL WINSHIP: In defense of NPR
Ron Schiller’s a fundraiser, not a news director. NPR keeps a high, thick firewall between its successful development office and its superb news division. The “separation of church and state” — the classic division of editorial and finance — has been one of the glories of public radio as it has won a large and respectful audience as the place on the radio spectrum that is free of commercials and commercial values.
If you would see how this integrity is upheld, go to the NPR website and pull up any of its reporting since 2009 on the Tea Party movement. Read the transcripts or listen to its coverage — you will find it impartial and professional, a full representation of various points of view, pro and con. Further, examine how over the past few days NPR has covered the O’Keefe/Schiller contretemps and made no attempt to cover up or ignore its own failings and responsibilities.
Then reverse the situation and contemplate how, say, Fox News would handle a similar incident if they were the target of a sting. Would their coverage be as “fair and balanced” as NPR’s? Would they apologize or punish their outspoken employee if he or she demeaned liberals? Don’t kid yourself. A raise and promotion would be more likely. Think of the fortune Glenn Beck has made on Fox, spewing bile and lies about progressives and their “conspiracies.”
And oh, yes, something else: Remember what Fox News chief Roger Ailes said about NPR executives after they fired Fox contributor Juan Williams? “They are, of course, Nazis,” Ailes told an interviewer. “They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view.” When the Anti-Defamation League objected to the characterization, Ailes apologized but then described NPR as “nasty, inflexible” bigots.
Double standard? You bet. A fundraiser for NPR is axed for his own personal bias and unprofessionalism but Ailes gets away scot free, still running a news division that is constantly pumping arsenic into democracy’s drinking water while he slanders public radio as equal to the monsters and murderers of the Third Reich. 3.10.11 Read more at http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/03/10/bill_moyers_npr/index.html
3. Robert Reich: Governor Walker’s Coup D’Etat
That’s no surprise to most people who have watched this conflict from the start, but like any coup its ultimate outcome will depend on the public. If most citizens of Wisconsin are now convinced that Walker and his cohorts are extremists willing to go to any lengths for their big-business patrons (including the billionaire Koch brothers), those citizens will recall enough Republican senators to right this wrong.
But it’s critically important at this stage that Walker’s opponents maintain the self-discipline they have shown until this critical point. Walker would like nothing better than disorder to break out in Madison. Like the leader of any coup d’etat, he wants to show the public his strong-arm methods are made necessary by adversaries whose behavior can be characterized on the media as even more extreme.
Be measured. Stay cool. Know that we are a nation of laws, and those laws will prevail. The People’s Party is growing across America — and the actions of Scott Walker and his Republican colleagues are giving it even greater momentum. So are the actions of congressional Republicans who are using the threat of a government shutdown to strong-arm their way in Washington.
The American public may be divided over many things but we stand united behind our democratic process and the rule of law. And we reject coups in whatever form they occur. 3.10.11 Read more at http://robertreich.org/post/3760147381
Some of King’s previous dealings with the IRA have been reported, but the depth of his embrace is best documented by Ed Moloney, author of A Secret History of the IRA and former Northern Ireland editor of the Irish Times and the Sunday Tribune, whose reportage on the IRA’s operations is second to none. Moloney now writes a blog, The Broken Elbow, in which he recently recapped what he knows about King—including his links to none other than Col. Muammar Qaddafi, long known as an arms supplier to international terrorists:
Peter King is the last person in the world to be preaching about terrorism, including Muslim terrorism. The very idea that the U.S. Congress would put on such an odious display, led by this consummate hypocrite, humiliates the country at large. 3.11.11 Read more at http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/03/peter-king-qaddafi-ira
5. NY Times Editorial: It’s Not Over in Wisconsin
The vote, pushed by Gov. Scott Walker, would have happened weeks ago if Democratic state senators had not fled to Illinois to deprive the Senate of the supermajority it needs to pass bills that are considered fiscal matters. Republicans then moved the bargaining rights from a larger budget bill to a separate bill that they could pass by proclaiming that the rights were not a fiscal issue.
And, in doing so, they reluctantly exposed the real truth behind the maneuver: stripping the unions of their rights was never about the budget, especially once the unions had agreed to significant concessions on pensions and health care. It was always about politics. Governor Walker had hoped to hide behind a cooked-up budget crisis, but the fleeing Democrats at least succeeded in pulling away that facade.
More broadly, the overreach by Mr. Walker and Republicans elsewhere has finally revealed their true agenda to blue-collar voters who either voted for them last year or who stayed home. These voters are not going to benefit from a crippled union movement; they live next door to the teachers and nurses and D.M.V. clerks who are about to lose what little clout they had in the state capital. Many have suffered during the recession and have watched in pain as private-sector unions have been battered to the point of ineffectiveness.
They understand the power play that took place this week. The place to exercise some power of their own is at the voting booth.
6. MICHAEL D. SHEAR: Walker Hands a Victory to … Obama?
After a three-week stalemate, Republicans in the state found a procedural way to force Mr. Walker’s signature measure through the legislature despite the absence of the Democrats in the state senate. Mr. Walker has vowed to sign the bill over the objections of the unions and the Democrats.
But in the process Mr. Walker has done for Mr. Obama an unintended favor. He has energized labor unions, a major part of the president’s political base and one that will play a big role in whether or not Mr. Obama is re-elected.
The danger for Mr. Obama was not that labor unions would fail to support him in 2012; the danger was that they would not support him enthusiastically, that their passions for him from four years ago would fade. That could translate into difficulty for Mr. Obama, especially in crucial states where union membership is high and presidential politics is competitive.
Were it not for the battle in Wisconsin, Mr. Obama would have faced a difficult task: how to fire up the union voters without alienating the independents he is clearly trying to court; how to win back the left in general while embracing a more centrist, pragmatic agenda and seeking a more cooperative relationship with Republicans in Washington.
But Mr. Walker, by sparking the Wisconsin fight over collective bargaining, may have awoken a sleeping giant, not only in his state but also across the nation. 3.11.11 Read more at http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/walker-hands-a-victory-to-obama/
7. Steve Benen: Cornyn Wants To Play With Fire; Will We All Get Burned?
It’s hard to overstate how irresponsible this is, especially for a leading U.S. senator.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently warned congressional Republicans not to “play around with” a coming vote to raise the government’s legal borrowing limit, adding that lawmakers shouldn’t view the debt ceiling as a “bargaining chip.” Austan Goolsbee, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, recently explained, “If we get to the point where you’ve damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.”
And yet, there’s John Cornyn, not just saying crazy things in private, but taking his strategy public. “Do what I want,” he’s effectively telling Democrats, “or I’ll cause a catastrophe on purpose.”
Behold, the Republican Party of the 21st century. Read more at http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028426.php
8. MAUREEN DOWD: In Search of Monsters
Of course, they never thought Iraq would be Iraq, either.
It’s a cakewalk.
Didn’t we arm the rebels in Afghanistan in the ’80s? And didn’t many become Taliban and end up turning our own weapons on us? And didn’t one mujahadeen from Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden, go on to lead Al Qaeda?
So that worked out well.
Even now, with our deficit and military groaning from two wars in Muslim countries, interventionists on the left and the right insist it’s our duty to join the battle in a third Muslim country.
“It is both morally right and in America’s strategic interest to enable the Libyans to fight for themselves,” Wolfowitz wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.
You would think that a major architect of the disastrous wars and interminable occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq would have the good manners to shut up and take up horticulture. But the neo-con naif has no shame. 3.12.11 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/opinion/13dowd.html
9. Steve Rendall: O’Reilly’s Amnesia on Right-Wing Terror
In reality, acts of political violence connected to the far right are a regular occurrence. To make his claim, O’Reilly even had to overlook at least two domestic terror acts apparently inspired by his Fox News colleague Glenn Beck.
In July 2010 Beck devotee Byron Williams shot two California Highway Patrol officers when they stopped him on his way, as he later told police, to kill people at the Oakland California offices of the progressive Tides Foundation and the ACLU. Byron cited Beck, who journalist John Hamilton pointed out had aired anti-Tides commentaries on 29 separate editions of his Fox News show, as an inspiration.
Furthermore, the ADL reported that Pittsburgh’s Richard Poplawski–who was arrested after a shootout with police that left three officers dead–was so inspired by Beck’s anti-government conspiracy theories he posted to a neo-Nazi website tape of Beck suggesting the government was building concentration camps for dissidents.
And how could O’Reilly forget Jim Adkisson, who shot and killed two people at a progressive Tennessee church in 2008? In his “manifesto,” Adkisson wrote that he “wanted to kill…every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book.” (These days, Adkisson inspiration Bernard Goldberg is best known for his regular appearances on the O’Reilly Factor.) 3/11/2011 Read more at http://www.fair.org/blog/#post-17577
10. PAUL KRUGMAN: Another Inside Job
What the film didn’t point out, however, is that the crisis has spawned a whole new set of abuses, many of them illegal as well as immoral. And leading political figures are, at long last, showing some outrage. Unfortunately, this outrage is directed, not at banking abuses, but at those trying to hold banks accountable for these abuses.
In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll see pro-banker politicians denounce the proposed settlement [ of the complaintf iled by Nevada’s attorney general against Bank of America that charges the bank with luring families into its loan-modification program0, asserting that it’s all about defending the rule of law. But what they’re actually defending is the exact opposite — a system in which only the little people have to obey the law, while the rich, and bankers especially, can cheat and defraud without consequences.3/14/11 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/opinion/14krugman.html
11. E.J. Dionne Jr.: What if we’re not broke?
You can practically break a search engine if you start looking around the Internet for those words. They’re used repeatedly with reference to our local, state and federal governments, almost always to make a case for slashing programs — and, lately, to go after public-employee unions. The phrase is designed to create a sense of crisis that justifies rapid and radical actions before citizens have a chance to debate the consequences.
Just one problem: We’re not broke. Yes, nearly all levels of government face fiscal problems because of the economic downturn. But there is no crisis. There are many different paths open to fixing public budgets. And we will come up with wiser and more sustainable solutions if we approach fiscal problems calmly, realizing that we’re still a very rich country and that the wealthiest among us are doing exceptionally well.
Consider two of the most prominent we’re-brokers, House Speaker John Boehner and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
“We’re broke, broke going on bankrupt,” Boehner said in a Feb. 28 Nashville speech. For Boehner, this “fact” justifies the $61 billion in domestic spending cuts House Republicans passed (cuts that would have a negligible impact on the long-term deficit). Boehner’s GOP colleagues want reductions in Head Start, student loans and scores of other programs voters like, and the only way to sell them is to cry catastrophe.
Walker, of course, used the “we’re broke” rationale to justify his attack on public-worker collective bargaining rights. Yet the state’s supposedly “broke” status did not stop him from approving tax cuts before he began his war on unions and proposed all manner of budget cuts, including deep reductions in aid to public schools.
In both cases, the fiscal issues are just an excuse for ideologically driven policies to lower taxes on well-off people and business while reducing government programs. Yet only occasionally do journalists step back to ask: Are these guys telling the truth? 3/11/11 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-if-were-not-broke/2011/03/11/ABhFE6T_story.html