For all the talk from the various corporate media sources expressing puzzlement at exactly what the mission of the Occupy Wall Street and its sister protests around the world, you'd think that we haven't had massive income inequality, exponentially rising costs of living with stagnant wages, high unemployment, huge multi-national corporations outsourcing and paying no taxes and all the associated symptoms of economic injustice. But just in case the rest of the media needs a refresher course, Keith Olbermann reads the first collective statement from the Occupy Wall Street participants:
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
And therein lies the cognitive dissonance that fails the GOP and their tea party extremists. It's easy to say that you're for "smaller government," but when push comes to shove, what does that mean in reality?
We can cut funding to the National Weather Service, and the Tsunami Warning System, but what do you tell Americans who face the devastation of losing everything in a natural disaster? How much more does it cost us to not act preventatively? Ask the people of the Gulf Coast.
We can cut funding for the Department of Education...but are you willing to fork over the money personally for your kid's education? No, I don't mean private school. I had to registered my two kids this week for school. In addition to getting their classroom assignments, I got a supply list from each teacher. Not just what my kids needed, but what the classroom needed: Kleenex boxes, hand sanitizers, lined paper, etc. And they asked for donations to keep the music program at my eldest's middle school. All in all, I forked over $800 before I bought a lunch box or backpack that my kid will personally use. Why? Because of funding cuts. And on top of that, there are already eight scheduled furlough days with the option of more to make up for budget shortfalls.
OLBERMANN: Read that phrase again: “we will reclaim the civil rights moment. We will take that movement, because we were the people that did it in the first place.” To your knowledge, who‘s this we he‘s talking about?
SHARPTON: I have no idea. From my study of history, those that claim to be the Tea Partiers and the followers and supporters of Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin were the ones that today advocate the things that that march was against.
First of all, that march was to appeal to government to intervene and protect the rights of people. They are against big government. I mean, you don't have to get to race. Their idea of government and the idea that Dr. King and Roy Wilkins of—and others espoused is the exact opposite of what they're calling for. Dr. King met with Caesar Chavez and talked about how we protect people, no matter who they are, that come into the borders, and have a sound policy. They're the ones that are rallying against that. So I think that they are absolutely, unequivocally—I don't even have to get to the race side of this. They are against the concept of what the march was about in '63. And for them to now talk about we're going to reclaim or we're going to take back a movement, that they are the philosophical children of the Barry Goldwaters, who opposed it—I think it would be laughable if it wasn't so arrogant.
OLBERMANN: Yeah. What do you think—is there an attempt in here to desecrate Dr. King's memory and what everybody stood for then? Or is this just a publicity stunt by some sort of a megalomaniac?
SHARPTON: Well, whether it's an attempt to do the desecration or whether it's a publicity stunt, it can desecrate. The fact of the matter is the march was 47 years ago. So people that are middle-aged and younger would not understand what it was about if we did not do our rally that we do every year. And Urban League, Marc Morial and others that have inherited those organizations, as I came out as a kid in the aftermath of Dr. King's death from his movement—that's not what the movement is about.
The movement is about what they talked about them. Martin Luther King talked about America giving blacks and poor people a bad check. These people are the ones that don‘t want to even give you an unemployment check today. He talked about us having a judicial system that was fair. These are the people that defend brutality.
So I think that it will be a classic case of they're trying to hijack something. But there will be some of us in Washington, at another location. We're not going to confront them. We're going to do what we always do, affirm the dream to try to complete it, because we're not there yet.
Sharpton says the way to counter Beck's rally is for thousands to turn out for his "Reclaiming Rally" in New York the same weekend. And he said he's not alone in being offended:
SHARPTON: It's going—certainly it's energized by this distortion. I've talked to Martin Luther King III. He's coming and others. A lot of us are offended by it. But we're not going to play into that. We're going to put a clean glass next to whatever they do, wherever they do it.
OLBERMANN: It's a fascinating point that you can subtract the entire element of race out of this, and they've still gotten it wrong, from what Martin Luther King said in 1963.
SHARPTON: And if we had another hour, I could bring the race part up. If you just use government and what Martin Luther King said—read the whole speech. It is the exact antithesis of what they represent and what they‘re saying in the Tea Party.
Glenn Beck, of course, has no shame. It's about time someone called him out for his bizarre and hypocritical hijacking of Martin Luther King's legacy.
In a Friday surprise, MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford announced on his CQ Politics blog Trail Mix today that he is leaving the network.
"Three months short of my current contract," he wrote, "I sent the following to the boss, [MSNBC President] Phil Griffin: 'Phil, Just wanted to give you the heads up that my situation with MSNBC has become so unrewarding for me that I've decided to move on. — Craig'"
In an email, Crawford tells TVNewser, "This was a long time coming. I haven't felt like a good fit for MSNBC since the presidential campaign, and their hard turn toward point-of-view programming.
"So many of my booking calls lately have been for segments bashing Sarah Palin, for instance. I was boring myself, and surely the viewers.
"But no particular event brought this on, just my desire to try other outlets and have more fun. I have a fine and rewarding home with the great folks at CQ-Roll Call. I enjoy blogging for them and doing our web videos.
"Perhaps I'm not cut out to be a cable cowboy anymore, dunno. Prefer remaining independent and do my own thing for any channel, including MSNBC, that books me. After a dozen years with one channel, I'd rather play the field for a while."
In the interest of disclosure, I have spoken with Craig in the past--as we set up his book chat last year--and I've communicated with him via Facebook on this as well. I like Craig as a person, and I can certainly understand a level of frustration if the only subject for which he's invited is Palin. However, I don't know if that's the whole truth. In the comment section of his blog, he revealed some more:
i simply could not any longer endure being a cartoon player for lefty games, just gotta move on to higher ground even if there's no oxygen
Lefty games? Oh dear. I asked Craig to explain what that meant, but he refused. In fairness to Craig, since his appearances were basically with Countdown, I don't think that anyone will argue there isn't a lefty slant, but games? It's a troubling characterization. Craig commented again:
i have never and never will forgive Chris [Matthews] for calling me a racist after the West Virginia primary (the last time I will ever go on air with him). Probably should have resigned then and there, but better late than never.
I haven’t felt like a good fit for MSNBC since the presidential campaign, and the hard turn toward point-of-view programming. No particular event brought this on, just my desire to try other outlets and have more fun. As far as Chris is concerned, on Morning Joe after the West Virginia primary he accused me of always defending Clinton and what he claimed to be her racially motivated campaigning. That’s the problem. Trying to be fair became seen as bias in the new thinking over there. But I do wish my many pals at MSNBC nothing but good things.
The truth is, there were times that the anti-Hillary coverage got to me, and I wasn't a Hillary-supporter. But that was over a year ago, and claims of loyalty aside, leaving with bad blood three months shy of your contract ending seems to be a strong statement to make for transgressions more than a year old. Now, I'd like to think that Craig was taking a principled stand against "point of view" programming, but as Mediaite points out, Crawford announced he was going from the frying pan into the fire:
Crawford says on his blog he will be on Fox & Friends as a guest on Monday, although FNC says he won’t be. He also writes in the comments that he is a “free agent.”
Update: Crawford took down the F&F booking info shortly after publication.
Oy. F&F isn't point of view programming, Craig? C'mon now. Clearly the free agent thing had Crawford thinking, because later on Facebook and Twitter he asked what people thought of CNN's Rick Sanchez as a possible new "anchor buddy". I admit, I wasn't too complimentary.
I do think that collectively we're reaching a form of critical mass on being tired of opinion media masquerading as journalism. There will always be a certain percentage of the population that needs their pre-conceived notions reinforced, but by and large, Americans don't trust "journalists" any more, with reason. And this stand of Crawford's--as contradictory as it appears on its face--may be another crack in the dam.
Sarah Palin confirmed on Greta Van Susteren's show last night that she's very much planning to show up and speak at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, despite the distinct odor of Scam the whole affair is giving off.
Palin: Oh, you betcha I'm going to be there. I'm going to speak there because there are people traveling from many miles away to hear what that Tea Party movement is all about and what that message is that should be received by our politicians in Washington. I'm honored to get to be there.
This, even as some of her fellow wingnuts are catching the same whiff -- namely, Reps. Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn, who have pulled out of the event:
In separate statements, released by their congressional offices, the lawmakers said that appearing at the convention might conflict with House ethics rules. But they also said they are concerned about how money raised from the event will be spent.
Palin last night had no such concerns -- and said no one should be concerned about that big wad of cash the convention organizers are paying her:
Palin: The speaker's fee will go right back into the cause. I'll be able to donate it to people and those events, those things that I believe in, that will help perpetuate the message, the message being: Government, you have constitutional limits. You better start abiding by them.
Hmmmmm. It sounds like we're going to have to rely on Sarah's say-so when it comes to how she actually spends the money. Smells even more like Scam, doesn't it?
She has now chose to align herself with several bad actors. What should this be called, the Rinoization of Sarah Palin. [...]
She is certainly entitled to write a book and make money for her and her family, but other than what has she has done to support Republican and patriotic candidates. … Perhaps, Sarah was too busy talking to her agent about her Fox deal. Where the hell was Sarah?
This is what you get when you build a movement around paranoid right-wingers. There is probably no faction more historically famous for viciously turning on each other in struggles over money and power than right-wing populists.
Keith Olbermann delivers another Special Comment on the eve of President Obama's planned speech at West Point Military Academy calling for an increase of troops to Afghanistan.
As the hawks circle around Obama, drowning out any pacifist voice, Keith wonders why someone like Gen. McChrystal is given so much credence, a question that the Obama administration should have spent some of that "dithering" time contemplating.
General McChrystal has doubtless served his country bravely and honorably and at great risk, but to date his lasting legacy will be as the great facilitator of the obscenity that was transmuting the greatest symbol of this nation's true patriotism, of its actual willingness to sacrifice, into a distorted circus fun-house mirror version of such selflessness.
Friendly fire killed Pat Tillman.
Mr. McChrystal killed the truth about Pat Tillman.
And that willingness to stand truth on its head on behalf of "selling" a war -- or the generic idea of America being at war -- to turn a dead hero into a meaningless recruiting poster, should ring essentially relevant right now.
From the very center of a part of our nation that could lie to the public, could lie to his mother, about what really happened to Pat Tillman - from the very man who was at the operational center of that plan - comes the entire series of plans to help us supposedly find the way out of Afghanistan?
We are supposed to believe General McChrystal isn't lying about Afghanistan?
Didn't he blow his credibility by lying, so obviously and so painfully, about Pat Tillman?
Why are we believing the McChrystals?
It's frustrating to me, as someone who sees no shame nor weakness in embracing pacifism and peace as a goal to continually run up against Democrats who are so frightened about being portrayed as weak on defense to be swayed by something so patently nonsensical.
What is our mission now? When can we know we've achieved it? There are less than 100 al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. How is this the "good fight"? We have allowed the Taliban inroads into the government, so we cannot fight them without taking on Afghanistan as a state player, which changes our strategy entirely.
Please, President Obama, do not be beholden to campaign promises made a year ago. There is no "winning" in Afghanistan. Ask the Russians. There is no good fight. There is nothing there worth American blood and treasure.
Every time we run a Glenn Beck post, someone trolls into the comments and asks, "Why bother with this guy? We should just ignore him! Post more videos on [insert name of preferred progressive figure here]!"
OLBERMANN: It would be nice to think of Glenn Beck just as a joke, as fodder for this show and the “Daily Show” and others that point out how stupid some of this stuff is. But this report, you know, suggests something else, this is—fearmonger-in-chief term is frightening.
HUFFINGTON: It is frightening. Well, I would say the fearmonger-in-chief title should still be reserved for Dick Cheney, even in retirement. But barring that, there is something that we need to really pay attention to with Glenn Beck. We cannot just dismiss him. Because the truth of the matter is that there is a good reason why we have an exemption to the free speech protection by the first amendment when we say you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater.
And he's doing that every night. He's basically using images of violence to bring together with all that he's accusing the Obama administration of, which varies from racism to communism, Nazism and everything else in between. So, all that has definitely an impact. I believe words matter, language matters and he's using it in incredibly irresponsible ways night after night.
OLBERMANN: What do you say to the argument that this country has always self corrected, that whether Father Coughlin on the radio in the ‘30s or Bo Carter (ph) who was a newscaster who presented literally stuff that was made up on the hour in CBS News in the ‘30s or the columnist Westbook Pegler or Senator Joe McCarthy? All these people a finale in which they exited the stage and suddenly. What is to say that that‘s not going to happen here?
HUFFINGTON: Well, I hope it's going to happen, but it's not going to happen without people pointing out what Glenn Beck is doing.
We put together a compendium of Beck's finest fearmongering of just the past year on Fox, inspired largely by the instances cited by the ADL -- with a few of our own favorite moments thrown in for good measure.
As Arianna says, confronting the Becks is vital to keeping our discourse healthy -- because he is polluting it daily with the toxic garbage of disinformation, paranoia, and scapegoating.
New Orleans, La. — - It happened as I watched a 50-something woman walk out, after spending several hours being attended to by volunteer doctors. "She's decided against treatment. A reasonable decision under the circumstances," the doctor tells us as she heads for the next patient. The president of the board of the National Association of Free Health Clinics tells me why: "It's stage four breast cancer, her body is filled with tumors." I don't know when that woman last saw a doctor. But I do know that if she had health insurance, the odds she would have seen a doctor long ago are much higher, and her chances for an earlier diagnosis and treatment would have been far greater.
After watching for hours as the patients moved through the clinic, it was hard to believe that I was in America.
Eighty-three percent of the patients they see are employed, they are not accepting other government help on a large scale, not "welfare queens" as some would like to have us believe. They are tax-paying, good, upstanding citizens who are trying to make it and give their kids a better life just like you and me.
Ninety percent of the patients who came through Saturday's clinic had two or more diagnoses.
Eighty-two percent had a life-threatening condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or hypertension. They are victims of a system built with corporate profits at its center, which long ago forgot the moral imperative that should drive us to show compassion to our fellow men and women.
Health reform is not about Democrats or Republicans or who can score political points for the next election, it's about people. It's about fairness and justice in a system that knows none. I'd defy even the most hardened capitalist-loving-conservative to do what I did on Saturday and continue to pretend that the system in place right now is working.
Countdown chose to highlight and raise money for the Association of Free Clinics because we knew the work they do is so vitally important and we wanted to show in real terms how great the need is. We invited several politicians to attend so they could see first hand how critical the situation is. All declined. Some explained that they talk with constituents all the time and know very well of the need for reform.
I have news for them, these people didn't need to speak. Their actions spoke far louder than any words. Having to get a check up and diagnosis at a free clinic because they have no other option tells you all you need to know. There are no words that can accurately describe the quiet desperation on the faces of the patients. Every single one I spoke to, and every one I heard talking with doctors, expressed their gratitude for the event and wished that they were held more often.
OLBERMANN: When anti-government protesters targeted President Obama and other Democratic leaders on April 15, the party took a hit. When town halls raged and the Tea Bag crowd hit Washington, the party staggered further. Now, the Tea Bag guys are on the move again. But in our third story tonight, signs that the party getting hurt by the anti-government Tea Bag people is the Republican party.
This week's "Washington Post"/ABC poll found 51 percent of Americans say that in next year's Congressional vote, faced with the generic Democrat versus the generic Republican, they'll vote for the Democrat; 39 percent will vote for the Republican. Only 19 percent have at least a good amount of confidence in Congressional Republicans to make the right decisions, far lower than Democrats or the president, for that matter.
And the number of Americans calling themselves Republicans has fallen to 20 percent -- 20, the lowest since 1983. A closer look shows that number has fallen from 25 percent just since mid-August. That's not a five percent loss for Republicans. Dropping from 25 percent to 20 percent is a loss of a fifth. Meaning since the height of town hall, Palin, Beck, death panel palooza, one out of five Republicans has stopped being Republican.
Republicans stopped at 25 percent back in March too, nine days after Tea Bag nations. Republicans were down to 21 percent. Naturally, Republicans are trying again. That's right, Tea Party Express II launches this weekend, coming to 38 cities, according to its press release, 37 on their website. Oh, well.
Previous Tea Parties so successful, they now have to hold them in such venues as Wichita's Lawrence Piedmont Stadium (ph) parking lot, Fallon (ph) Nevada's old Walmart's parking lot, a high school auditorium in Tri-Cities in Washington, Bozeman, Montana's Heritage Christian School gymnasium, and in Amarillo, Texas, John Stiff Memorial Park, picnic area number four. Seriously, picnic area number four. Don't interrupt the outing in area number three, please.
A dozen cities have no venue listed at all. According to the tour's Facebook page, "192 people are planning to attend these rallies."
In its own press release, a spokesman says about its new video, the web video promoting the tour, quote, "the tone of the ad is upbeat and positive." The name of the upbeat, positive ad is, "Countdown to Judgment Day."
And here's what upbeat and positive sounds like to these people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you had enough of the out-of-control spending, bailouts, higher taxes, a spiraling national debt and big-government liberalism, then we invite you to join the Tea Party Express rally nearest you. We'll send a message to the politicians. Come election day, we're going to hand you a pink slip and take our country back.
Of course, it was simpler for Sean Hannity to just be in denial, since the poll made a liar out of him the day before when he tried to claim all the polls showed the public hated the public option. So he went on his show last night and said this:
Hannity: The business of this White House is division. And the White House's war against Fox News Channel is the latest evidence that it will throw its principles by the wayside to ensure that everybody falls in line with their agenda. And with the exception of Fox News, the other networks, they're receiving gold stars on their White House report cards.
And the latest case in point is the Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows that 57 percent of Americans support a government health-care takeover, and only 40 percent oppose it.
Now, a closer look at that poll explains why. Now, get this: They polled 13 percent more Democrats than Republicans! That explains a few things!
Of course, if Sean Hannity worked for a real news organization, he would likely know -- or have somebody around to explain to him before committing idiocies like this -- that polls use what they call "sampling" to get accurate results. In this case, they sampled more Democrats than Republicans for a very simple reason: The latest party-identification polling shows a 13-percent difference between Americans who call themselves Democrats and those who (shudderingly) admit to being Republican.
But then, Hannity doesn't work for a real news organization. So of course this kind of propagandistic crap is what we get polluting our teevees. Which, anymore, is the only thing the shrinking ranks of the rabid right have going for them still.
Continuing his Anita Dunn jihad -- in fact, he devoted nearly his entire hour yesterday to attacking Dunn speciously -- Glenn Beck featured a segment with an anonymous "Concerned Parent" who actually attended the high-school commencement ceremony at which Dunn delivered her now-notorious "Mao" remarks. To protect his identity from the evil White House thugs who no doubt would brutalize the poor fellow, they altered his voice and showed him only in silhouette.
Well, today America's favorite sociopath had a super duper double secret "anonymous" parent on to complain about a graduation speech that Ms. Dunn gave a while back. The thing is, when you look at the alleged parent, who was speaking from FOX's Washington, DC bureau, he sure looks an awful lot like FOX's own Chris Wallace. Check out the screen capture above from the TV. I posted a normal photo of Wallace to the left, and one in which I scrunched his head to the right (since the anonymous parent looks like they scrunched the video of his head, to further disguise him). Is it just me, or are those trademark ears and helmet-head hair just a little too similar to Chris Wallace's?
That's always fun speculation. But then Richard Wolffe of Newsweek went on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night and pointed out that there was more than just a resemblance:
Wolffe: Look at how this video has just popped up about Anita Dunn and her graduation ceremony of her own son. You know, this video, which was not available for public record, happened to pop up on the Glenn Beck show. And it's the same school where Chris Wallace spoke the year before because his kids also went there.
Was that coincidence, or is Fox determined to take this to another level? That's not about news, it's about personal attacks. Look, they may enjoy it for all sorts of commercial reasons. But it goes way beyond the commercial aspect here. There is an unholy jihad going on.
Someone needs to ask Chris Wallace if he is Beck's "Concerned Parent." Just, you know, to clear things up.