IBI Watch 12/4/11

4 12 2011


Liars’ Party  //

Picking a favorite right-wing economic lie is no small task.  There are so many to choose from.  Let’s see.  Trickle-down economics.  ‘Too big to fail.’  The ‘death tax.’  Those are all worthy contenders, but my money is on this one – ‘We just can’t raise taxes on the job creators.’

Give credit where it is due.  Though they are more bought than ever, votes in this country still matter, and when your underlying agenda is to put more money and unregulated power in the hands of the oligarchs, the plutocrats, the one percent at the top, you need an elaborate strategy.  A strategy to hook enough ‘low-information’ voters to support your platform so you can win elections, outright or with the help of dirty tricks.

So where does the strategy come from?  We all know about Karl Rove and his evil games.  But here are some pieces shining a light on two other tools – that guru of the rich and powerful – Frank Luntz – and those insidious Fox News commentators.  You know, the ones who purport to speak for the American public, all the while pushing lies and half-truths as fact.  Also – a look at a wrecker who is finally gaining some of the notoriety he has richly deserved for so many years.

First – this piece from the Ed Show covers a lot of ground.  Ed Schultz takes the smug spinmeister Luntz to the cleaners for his ‘99% for Dummies.’  Schultz methodically skewers each of Luntz’s slimy talking points, to great effect. The video also includes a brief interview with former (and maybe future) Congressman Alan Grayson, a truthteller if there ever was one.  Grayson correctly defines Luntz’ s current gambit – create new lies to replace the old ones that don’t seem to be working anymore.  He also recommends a familiar strategy that sadly never seems to work – ‘Vote out the scoundrels.’  Yes, but our system too often forces us to choose between two scoundrels.  Oh and Luntz wants progressives to buy his book – linked here.  You see, he says, we can use his tools as well.  Such a kind, magnanimous fellow, don’t you think?



Next – a few looks at the prince of the pledge, Grover Norquist.  You know him – the bathtub drowning guy who has blackmailed most Republican members of Congress into supporting this pignorant idea – never raise any taxes, for any reason, under any circumstance.  Recently, we may be seeing some chinks in Norquist’s armor.  First – Norquist wriggled out of the Jack Abramoff scandal several years ago – Abramoff went to prison while Norquist remained free to continue wrecking the country.  But some other unsavory contacts have made some Republicans start to question their allegiance to this guy.  It’s about time.  And next – it looks like Norquist now wants to have his ‘no new taxes’ edict revised.  You won’t believe this.



Norquist corrals the legislators, Luntz spins the message, Rove plays the dirty electoral tricks.  But you really need a mass medium to get the message inside those voters’ heads.  This is a job for Fox News!  Check the first link for a point-by-point analysis of the most frequently used thought weapons in the Fox arsenal.  Doubleplus ungood, if you ask me!  At the second – a favorite weapon, frequently used, and rather subtle.  That is, putting BS into the minds of the masses with a catchy little phrase – “Some would say . . .”  Ed Schultz calls this gem out in a short, entertaining video.




Worked Pretty Well Up to Now

The current battle over extending the payroll tax cut is important, and not just because it seems to be the only economic stimulus that has any chance of being enacted.  Democrats want to pay for it with restoring (my term) some of the income tax on high earners.  Republicans are standing firm, true to form, on their notion of ‘raising’ no taxes.  And as you will hear in the NPR story, they trot out that ‘job creator’ business to support their position.  But independent analysis catches them in this lie.  At the second link – just how well has this current era (post-1980) of dedicated deregulation served oligarchs such as the Koch Brothers?  The answer is, you won’t believe it.  And the caution is – if Republicans take the White House and the Senate, we can expect policies that give us more of the same – lots more.  Next, some perspective.  A Buzzflash piece asks – what would a sum equivalent to a great hedge fund manager salary and bonus buy in public services?  Fourth link – an article that I think gets it wrong but nevertheless makes some good points.  Reagan the worst president of our era? No way.  Decision to the Decider, hands down.





National Defense Authorization Act Contains Trojan Horse

The Senate approved the act 93-7.  How often does that happen these days?  But indefinite detention for US citizens?  We may yet have a chance to influence this issue – on the House side.  Or – take a sterner stance right now and sign the linked petition.  At the last link, activist Coleen Rowley wrote a terrific piece for Common Dreams on the implications of this creeping police state.






Health Benefits

In all the fire and fury about ‘Obamacare,’ one change has been little discussed.  It’s now taking effect, and it could make a positive difference.  Radical idea, that – force these companies to actually spend the money on care provision.  News item and sadly relevant satire on the issue from the Austin Lounge Lizards.  Aargh, a scurvy crew indeed!




Support for the Occupy Spirit – from Today and Long Ago

A poem from Willie Nelson, a great new song from Ry Cooder, and a segment from a beloved holiday movie.  One thing that hasn’t changed.  The ‘rabble’ still does most of the work.





Permafrost May Need Name Change

Climatologists and the few meteorologists who comment on the big picture have been using a term more frequently of late.  That is, the ‘new normal.’  It’s used mostly in relation to the increasing volatility of weather patterns – floods, droughts, torrential rains, blizzards, and especially heat waves.  But nowhere does it apply more than the Arctic.  Pieces here cover two big issues – the obvious melting of the ice, and the somewhat less obvious but hugely risky thawing of permafrost.  Be sure to watch the video of scientist Katey Walter Anthony and associates lighting up methane bubbling from the bottom of Arctic lakes, where it is being set free by our manmade warming of the planet.  Read more on the methane threat at the sixth link.  Then, catch up with James Hansen and Bill McKibben – two who are among those doing the most to raise awareness and influence policy around this crucial area.











“Try to realize it’s all within yourself, no one else can make you change, and to see you’re only very small and life flows on within you and without you.”

-George Harrison


Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson, Mark Goldberg, Allyson Harper




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