Thursday, August 13, 2009

GOP STILL Plans to Steal Your Social Security

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The ascension (apotheosis?) of every GOP 'President' is inevitably accompanied by much GOP salivating over the prospects of getting their greedy, crooked mitts on your Social Security. Thus it was just over eight years ago when George W. Bush assumed (and I do mean 'assumed') the highest office in the land. Rest assured, despite the financial implosions of late, the GOP still plots to rob you blind, screw you silly and leave you a worthless slug on the night stand!

The GOP licked its greedy chops as the stupidest man, the grossest idiot since Warren Harding raised his hand and dared to swear on a holy book! The same gang of mendacious robber barons who made fortunes short-selling stocks on 911, profited from mass murder, and, later, plunged this nation into a new 'Great Depression' saw in the rise of George W. Bush another opportunity to steal your Social Security and buy Baltic Avenue with it!

Unlike GOP's 'trickle down' theory --pie in the sky but only if you are already very, very wealthy --Social Security did precisely what it was intended to do! It lived up to its billing, perhaps exceeded it! It is endangered not because it failed but because it succeeded! It is targeted now because the upper one percent of the population which owns more that about 95 percent of the rest of us combined is eager to seize control of ALL of the nation's wealth. Keep in mind --these are the arrogant bankers and snot nosed whiz kids who short sold stocks on 911!
Social Security is the bright spot. It has maybe some mild financial problems, several decades out, and here we are—he [Bush] wants a crisis there, partly to distract from the very real crises in other places, and there you go.

AMY GOODMAN: Paul Krugman, can you explain how Social Security works? Because it’s not just President Bush. If he was raising questions about it with a little megaphone on the steps of the White House, it would not have the kind of effect it was having without all of the media, it seems, amplifying the idea that Social Security is broken. It’s bankrupt.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Right. And of course, that’s really a question about the media, not about Social Security. Social Security is a program which has been traditionally run. It looks like a retirement fund, and it is not exactly. What it really is is a government program with a dedicated tax. We take the payroll tax and it’s used to pay benefits to retirees. And 20-plus years ago, the commission led by Alan Greenspan said, you know, we are going to have this problem as the baby boomers reach retirement age. We will have a higher ratio of retirees to workers, and we better get ready for it. Social Security, the payroll tax was increased. There were some other things, a small rise in the retirement age set in motion. So that Social Security would run a surplus, which would be used to accumulate a trust fund, and this would tithe us over, some ways into the aging of the population. And that on its own accounting is working just fine. I mean, one of the things that we need to know is that the estimates of the day at which the trust fund runs out, just keep on receding further into the future, because the program is doing so well at running surpluses.

--Paul Krugman, Economist, Published Comments on Democxracy Now
It was not sufficient that GOP policies had enriched only the very, very rich. As a result, just one percent of the nation now owns more than some 95 percent of the rest of us combined! But the greedy bastards wanted to own all of it! They wanted your retirement! They wanted the monies you paid into Social Security over the course of your lifetime! Joe the Plumber recently called Social Security a joke --not because he understands why it is coveted by the GOP. He is merely the recipient of the 'memo'. Stealing your Social Security is still very high on the GOPs list of great things it wants to fuck up permanently! We should take Joe and Palin seriously. The world is endangered by its idiots.

Joe the Plumber may be the GOP 'plug in' du jour! They act in consort like the Borg. They are set up in 'cells' like the 'terrorists' they would have us believe they hate so much. The GOP is not loyal to the principles of our founding; GOP attack dogs attack 'liberals', progressives, and the just plain ornery folk--like ME! And for all the wrong reasons! Because of this 'backward thinking', these misplaced values and priorities we keep losing unwinnable wars of naked aggression, wars that should never have begun in the first place. Because of it, we are now financially and morally bankrupt! Now --the GOP wants a bailout: YOUR Social Security!

Now --what if the GOP had succeeded already? Simply --the Social Security trust fund would be collapsed and millions of seniors would be lucky to find a place to set up a tent!

Let's put the GOP's fraudulent scheme to steal Social Security into perspective.

Social Security routinely runs a surplus, call it a profit if you will! It is this 'surplus' that is coveted by Wall Street! They want to plunder your monies as Bush plunder the taxes you pay every year as a good citizen! The GOP and Wall Street barons want to 'speculate' with the only retirement that millions will ever have! They want to enrich themselves on the interest and/or returns! Do you really think these greedy, latter-day Gordan Gecko's have your interests at heart? Not a frickin' chance!

During George W. Bush's first term I wrote and posted the following on NPR's infamous 'How's Bush Doing' board:
The crisis in 2015 -2018 won't be Social Security! It will be, rather, the utter bankruptcy of the United States and the profligate, incompetent policies of George Bush!
Now --if you are under 20 and still believe yourself immortal, my remarks will mean little to you. But here they are: knowing what we now now about the crookedness, the utter incompetence of an administration that I believe betrayed the people and their Constitution, aren't you glad we did NOT entrust those bastards with farming out the only retirement that millions might ever see to the greedy, shallow, mendacious liars that run Wall Street with their fascist buddies in DC?

You Give Me Real Money and I Will Give You a Worthless Piece of Paper!

It was said at the time that the Wall Street experts would actually turn a profit on YOUR money. Oh! I get it! I give you my money and you give me a worthless piece of paper! Uh Huh! I would have liked to write that time and events proved me correct but, in fact, the crash happened even sooner than I expected or predicted. Anyway --aren't you glad Bush did not steal your money?

It was said that the experts on Wall Street could 'invest' your monies. Sure! So can I Send me a check? I have lots of places I could put YOUR money! Fact is, you don't need no steenkin experts! Everyone can set up private accounts while you still have a job, that is before the GOP economy crashed and burned. My advice at the time was: can still have Social Security to fall back on should GOP policies utterly destroy the stock market.

Keep in mind that I wrote that italicized sentence in 2003. I saw what the GOP had in mind and what has, in fact, come to pass. Given the global financial debacle, what logical rationale is there for incurring an additional debt of some 4.5 trillion dollars? Would it have anything to do with the fact that the truly elite (just one percent of the US population) are currently picking up the bargains and lickin' their greedy chops. They are as we write feasting upon the carcasses!

The Cure'll Kill Ya!

Right wing assaults on Social Security are of the 'stealth' kind, advertised as efforts to 'save' Social Security! As we would say in Texas: "Wah hale! The cure'll kill ya''! The assumption that the GOP wants to save Social Security or the retirement of this nation's elderly in ANY form is naive. As much was admitted by smarmy Dick Armey who admitted to Wall Street Week that he had been trying to abolish Social Security for the last thirty years.

There are several things wrong with "Privatization" in other words "corporatization":
  • Why 'corporatize Social Security when it is, in fact, working just fine as it is'? If I should want a 'provate account' what is preventing me from doing so? When millions have recently lost every penny in 'private accounts', what --please tell me --is the attraction they hold? What raison d'etre exists but to further enrich the cronies on Wall Street?
  • All government need do to fix Social Security is to rescind the profligate tax cuts since Ronald Reagan, tax cuts which failed to create a single new job, failed to increase tax revenues, failed to increase capital expenditures and expansions as promised by "supply side" bullshit!
  • "Privatization", in fact, 'corporatization', is just GOPSPEAK for you give me real money which will enrich ONLY Wall Street insiders and I will give you a worthless piece of paper!
  • Besides --Social Security may very well be the only government program that is currently turning a "profit"!
There is NO crisis!

Social Security was an easy target of conservative demagogues. (I know --that's redundant) Slimy ilk like Rush Limbaugh are not merely liars, they attack reason itself, the very processes by which fact and truth are determined. Latter day "conservatives" think differently and, therefore, arrive at false conclusions for the wrong reasons. Listening to Limbaugh, one is tempted to believe that "two" versions of the human brain have evolved. But take heart --when "God" passed out brains, "we" got the version that works. Limbaugh and his adoring ilk got the one that will be recalled, version 13.666!

Those who would make a bargain with Satan will have to live --and die --with a really, really bad deal!

During the so-called "Republican Revolution", when the GOP staged a budget stand-off with Clinton, it was clear that this new breed of so-called "conservatives", in truth, subversive radicals, viewed the long practiced art of compromise as synonymous with defeat. Their inflexibility backfired! Clinton won, leading to the eventual and much deserved disgrace and downfall of Newt Gringrich. Would that he had taken the GOP with him into hell!Someone forgot to place a convenient revolver on his nightstand! But Newt would not have done the right thing.

Rush and his ilk have popularized fallacy, celebrated anti-intellectualism, and sought to make it 'cool' to be stupid! Limbaugh wallows in sloppy thinking and appeals to our most ignoble motives. He personifies demagoguery, oozes duplicity! He is smarm itself. Hearing Limbaugh, one does one's best to suppress the urge to puke or walk on all-fours!
Stupidity is the devil. Look in the eye of a chicken and you'll know. It's the most horrifying, cannibalistic, and nightmarish creature in this world.

--Werner Herzog
Herzog has not yet looked into the eyes of a gopper, more terrifying than chickens! It may sound oxymoronic to speak of 'intelligent conservatives', neither intelligent nor truly conservative. Real conservatives would never have tolerated the astronomical deficits run up by Mssrs Reagan and Bush Jr. There must surely be some conservatives still smart enough to understand that the demagogic demonization of 'liberals, liberals' leads inexorably to a one-party, fascist, totalitarian state. Therefore, we must conclude that that is, in fact, the hidden agenda. They only pretend to be stupid and, admittedly, they do a good job of it.

Conservatives prefer a one party, fascist state in which the office of President is replaced with 'Der Fuhrer'! Will they be so enthusiastic 'when the last law [is] was down' and Der Fuhrer turns 'round on them? A fanatic GOP 'fuhrer' need only cite Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes who said "Three generations of imbeciles are enough" to justify the round up, encampment and wholesale disposal of people they don't like!

Save the children

Throughout the conservative movement and the ranks of Limbaugh's mis-informed minions there is an appalling ignorance of history that betrays this nation's utter failure to educate its young. Texas is the best example and most notable. Under Bush Jr and his successor, Rick Perry, Texas now beats out Mississippi for DEAD LAST in 'high school graduations'.

Find the Cockroach

Failing to graduate high school is a guarantee that you will lead a life of poverty or crime or both! It is not coincidental that Texas --thanks to the GOP --is called the 'gulag state of Texas for the growth of its corporate run prison system, in truth a fascist gulag that is paid handsomely from the public trough to warehouse the millions of children who were --in fact --left behind to starve, fail and be warehoused by the fascists in Texas. To save these children, I urge that Texas be invaded and occupied until a responsible and competent government can lock up the current fascist regime and restore the 'rule of law' there.

There is an outrageous lack of outrage about this corporate take-over and occupation of Texas. What can be said of a population so addled, misinformed, uniformed and soporific that it doesn't even notice when it has been screwed without so much as a tip on the table? Does anyone in Texas care that their state has been stolen and is now run by Nazis? Clue for Texans: the corporate fat cats in skyscrapers in New York and Houston do not give a shit about you nor Hank Williams nor Larry Gatlin! You've been had! Wake the fuck up!

The American psychologist tasked with preventing Nazi war criminals from offing themselves before they could be duly hanged, said that "evil" was the utter lack of empathy! You find precisely that throughout the GOP rank and file --Rush Limbaugh's adoring throng. These 'people' defended torture and and state-sponsored murder at Abu Ghraib! They are short-sighted. They will not understand that if anyone can be victimized by unrestrained state power, so too, can they! No one is safe as long as a fascist holds so much as the office of dog catcher!

Tomorrow Belongs to Me!

People have an unrealistic idea of "evil"! Apparently, evil is a cartoon caricature --gleaming eyes, horns, pitchfork, snarls, drooling, and incantations to Satan, Bush Jr, or the Skull and Bones. No! Evil is Reinhard Heydrich conducting a gourmet luncheon meeting of Reich bureaucrats about how best to make legal the mass murder of European jews! Evil is Dick Cheney having a meeting with this 'Energy Task Force' and carving up the oil fields of Iraq before Bush's 911 would give them the pretext to invade! On both occasions, I believe, a quite civilized lunch and coffee were served amid veddy, veddy witty conversation! As Hannah Arendt said, evil is banal!

Had Heydrich and his Nazis succeeded, they would have gloated, patted each other on the back! What jolly good fellows they all were! They would have shared a few brews and toasted the 'Final Solution'. Heil Mein Fuhrer! They might have sang: Deutschland Uber Alles, The Nazi National Anthem or Tomorrow Belongs to Me! They were, after all, just good ol' boys ridding the world of 'vermin'. Or --they were all just good ol' boys hoping to get the terrorists from between them and 'all that oil!"

The GOP celebration of shortsighted, pyrrhic victories will in the longer term destroy America if it has not does so already. Certainly --the America that I knew is already destroyed. The Bill of Rights means very little even now with Obama's victory. I have yet to hear a resounding denunciation from this administration with regard to Bush's assault upon the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. America without the Bill of Rights is nothing! Without the Bill of Rights, the US is just another huge, unfeeling, corporate dominated bureaucracy!

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it!

--Georges Santayana, American Philosopher
We are, thus, condemned! Humankind has been at war since our evolution beyond the "hunter/gatherer" stage. Since someone decided that the land upon which he grew a crop was his, war has been incessant. Because "winners" procreate, the "war" gene is reinforced over generations. That explains why history repeats itself and 'facts' mean very little or nothing at all! DNA will trump reason and facts every time. Those most enthralled by inherited and irrational war mongering are of the same demographic segment who would discount evolution on religious or superstitious grounds.

The 'conservative' hostility towards intellectuals is blind to obvious parallels with other fascist states past and present.
Demagogue: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.

--H. L. Mencken
And Voltaire said:
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities!


Voltaire's statement is not just a well-phrased aphorism chosen because it sounds 'literary'. It could be stated as a mathematical formula when 'atrocities' are actually counted and made a 'statistic', when popular myths and/or outright lies and falsehoods are identified and correlated demographically! Think of it! With such a formula, an enlightened state could identify those states and territories most likely to nurture a state-sponsored mass murder, a state sponsored torture, a state sponsored war of naked aggression as we have most recently witnessed by the United States of America. My country! May God help us all!

At last, I recommend one read Voltaire. When Voltaire learned of Catholic atrocities in Toulouse, he literally papered Europe with his polemics --so outraged was he! Voltaire was no effete 'scholoar'. Today, he would be a kick ass blogger, an activist, a gonzo, counter-culture journalist like Hunter Thompson, or, more likely, an acerbic latter-day H. L. Mencken pooh-poohing fundies down in Dayton! He would be a thorn in the GOP's sorry hide. He would skewer the liars on K-Street and Wall Street! He would laugh at the devil himself and wither him with a phrase!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How Big Media Subverted US Democracy with Lies, Smears and Gross Propaganda

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Rush Limbaugh---as loathsome as he is --is a tool, a media whore! The real power still resides in the media boardrooms and they just don't give a shit if every media outlet in America is run by a muzak machine or a raving lunatic like Limbaugh. They're in it for the big bucks and power.

Limbaugh's lies and misrepresentations would have been seen to be those of just another run-o-the-mill fringe nut job if the right wing had not succeeded in stealing what had been the publicly owned air waves! They did seize the media as the textbook first step preceding the takeover of legitimate government. The GOP and the complicit Rush Limbaugh conspired to benefit the very, very few --the ever shrinking 1 percent --which as a result now owns more than 95 percent of the rest of us combined. For the shrinking number of huge corporate media conglomerates 'public service' is just a quaint sop that over some twenty years, they've done away with completely.

Whenever Rush heard his masters' voices, he served them well. He rationalized and excused the new age of robber barons; he sugar coated 'greed is good'; he elevated Scrooge to sainthood: "Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons...then let them die and decrease the surplus population."

Tragically --much of Rush's power comes from cowardly, so-called 'Blue Dog Democrats' easily spooked by liars like Limbaugh and Hannity.
In conservative states, right-wing talk show hosts are spreading lies about reform. No wonder Blue Dog Dems are blocking health care overhaul.


The Blue Dog Seven are spooked by pressure from their constituents and recent polls that show American's approval of Obama's health care initiative has dropped below 50 percent for the first time.

Drive across the seven states they represent: Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and Utah, turn on your car radio, and you'll know why public opinion has changed. According to Pew research, 22 percent of Americans get their news from talk radio. And conservative talkers have been lying to their listeners about what's in the health care bill.

Lies from Sean Hannity like, "If you don't have private insurance the year that this bill is passed, you can't get that later on from your employer." Lies from Rush Limbaugh that the bill would "outlaw individual private coverage." Lies provided in talking points from the Republican National Committee like "Democrats are proposing a government controlled health insurance system, which will control care, treatments, medicines and even what doctors a patient may see."

Tell a lie often enough [Rush's motto and modus operandi], and people will believe it.

--Limbaugh's Lies Sabotage the Health Reform Debate
It is bad enough that folk like O'Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh betrayed the nation with a concerted, orchestrated campaign --a policy of lies! It is worse that Democrats have either rolled over or bent over to take it!

The public is likewise betrayed, stabbed in the back, by the FCC, the Federal agency that had been given the responsibility by law to represent the public interest but instead sides with the huge media moguls.
Despite overwhelming public opposition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted time after time in favor of relaxing media ownership limits.

housands of Americans have spoken out at public hearings and written to te FCC in opposition to media consolidation. In 2003, when Michael Powell's FCC voted --without any public input-- to allow one company to own up to three television stations, the local newspaper, the cable system and up to eight radio stations in one media market, more than 3 million Americans spoke out and the courts eventually overturned the rules. In December 2007, the Commission overturned a 30-year-old ban prohibiting a single company from owning both the local newspaper and a television station in the same community. The Senate subsequently passed a "Resolution of Disapproval," but further action stalled in the House.

--Common Cause, Media and Democracy
The result of FCC inaction or incompetence has been the de facto theft of the publicly owned 'airwaves', your airwaves, the 'airwaves' that the Communications Act of 1934 said belong to you --the people --as a principle of law. The use of the term 'de-regulation' to characterize the government theft and subsequent transfer of your airwaves is 'Orwellian', a tactic intended to hide the real intent. And we have let them get away with it! If you have checked the price of air time lately, you must surely know that this theft has been worth billions, possibly trillions!

The truth is the government of the US, dominated by the endemically corrupt right wing and the organized crime syndicate called the GOP, literally stole your airwaves and transferred ownership of them to right wing liars and demagogues like the Fox Network, Sinclair et al --big corporations where the likes of Bill O'Reilly and other right-wing shills had merely to wag an accusing finger while shouting "LIBERAL, LIBERAL" to sink a candidacy or --earlier --impeach the most competent President since FDR.
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

--Macbeth (IV, i, 14-15)

Reasonable, rational voices are simply drowned-out by the right wing noise machine consisting of the Religious Right and the K-Street advocates of big corporate financed fascism --a mind-numbing 'hell's broth' if ever there was one.
In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called "alarmist" for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote "in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media" -- controlling almost all of America's newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies.

This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market. More than 1 in 4 Internet users in the U.S. now log in with AOL Time-Warner, the world's largest media corporation.

In 2004, Bagdikian's revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations -- Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's NBC is a close sixth.

--Media Reform Information Center, Links and Resources on Media Reform
The following just in subsequent to Big Dan's comment [below] having to do with media consolidation.
WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.

The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. received a copy of the report "indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public," according to Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz.

--Media ownership study ordered destroyed, FCC draft suggested fewer owners would hurt local TV coverage
Why should Rush Limbaugh, for example, be paid millions for puking up lies and loathsome opinions on airwaves that by right and by law belong to YOU? So ---what, in fact, happened to the American media?
After Nixon's demise, the right wing of the Republican party decided that they could no longer afford to allow the free dissemination of information to the US public. The simple solution? Have their friends buy up the major networks, newspaper chains and magazines, so they could be controlled from the top on the corporate level. The Left's Media Miscalculation was to stand by and watch them do it.
"The American Fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist, the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."

-- Henry A. Wallace, Vice President to FDR, 1944 --The Danger of American Fascism
Having wrested control over the channels of public information, they went on to remove any impediment to their injecting their poisons into the public dialogue. The first step was to get rid of the fairness doctrine.
Under FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler the FCC began to repeal parts of the Fairness Doctrine, announcing in 1985 that the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated the First Amendment.

In 1986 the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a loose interpretation by the FCC of an aspect of the Fairness Doctrine, ruling that Congress had "never made the doctrine a binding requirement." In August 1987, the Commission abolished the doctrine by a 4-0 vote, in its Syracuse Peace Council decision. The FCC insisted that the doctrine had grown to inhibit rather than enhance debate and suggested that, due to the many media voices in the marketplace at the time, the doctrine was perceived to be unconstitutional.

In the spring of 1987 Congress attempted to contest the FCC vote and restore the Doctrine (S. 742, 100th Cong., 1st Sess. (1987)), but the legislation was vetoed by President Reagan. Another attempt to resurrect the doctrine in 1991 ran out of steam when President George H.W. Bush threatened another veto. (Wikipedia)
The next step was to further remove any requirement that a "news" show tell the truth. FOX and a number of other "news" organizations took it to court in an elaborate and complicated case that began in 1996 with an investigative report into the effects of a Monsanto product given to dairy cows called BGH. Jane Akre and her husband, Steve Wilson were reporters at FOX affiliate WTVT in Tampa Bay, Florida. They produced a story that, while true, was not exactly friendly to Monsanto.
"The station was initially very excited about the series. But within a week, Fox executives and their attorneys wanted the reporters to use statements from Monsanto representatives that the reporters knew were false and to make other revisions to the story that were in direct conflict with the facts. Fox editors then tried to force Akre and Wilson to continue to produce the distorted story. When they refused and threatened to report Fox's actions to the FCC, they were both fired."
A wrongful dismissal lawsuit was filed by Akre, which she won.The jury unanimously ruled that she was only doing her job as a journalist by refusing to air “a false, distorted or slanted story.”

FOX appealed, and the result was stunning. "During their appeal, FOX asserted that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves." On February 14, 2003 the Florida Second District Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the settlement awarded to Akre. The Court held that Akre’s threat to report the station’s actions to the FCC did not deserve protection under Florida’s whistle blower statute, because Florida’s whistle blower law states that an employer must violate an adopted “law, rule, or regulation." In a stunningly narrow interpretation of FCC rules, the Florida Appeals court claimed that the FCC policy against falsification of the news does not rise to the level of a "law, rule, or regulation," it was simply a "policy." Therefore, it is up to the station whether or not it wants to report honestly.

Well, not wanting to resort to such an obvious pun, I am unable to avoid it. 'It is up to the station' sounds to me way too much like putting the FOX in charge of the hen house. [insert groan here]

--SadButTrue, The Existentialist Cowboy
The Pew Research Center for People and the Press reports that the public is just as fed up with this evil system as am I. Seventy-seven percent against 17 percent want more coverage of issues and less punditry, bullshit and claptrap. All three epithets describe the swill puked up by the arch-demogogues Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly as well as a legion of lesser ass kissers and wannabes like Ann Coulter. Fifty-seven percent wanted real debates in the recent Presidential primaries and election. Only 42 percent wanted news about which candidate was leading who in the various polls. Some fifty five percent wanted more news about all the candidates --not just those deemed by big media to be "front-runners". Democrats generally got more coverage than Republicans, (49% of stories vs. 31%.) One reason was that major Democratic candidates began announcing their candidacies a month earlier than key Republicans, but that alone does not fully explain the discrepancy.

Overall, Democrats received more positive coverage than Republicans (35% of stories vs. 26%), while Republicans received more negative coverage than Democrats (35% vs. 26%). For both parties, a plurality of stories, 39%, were neutral or balanced. Talk radio was more negative about almost every candidate than any other outlet. Network television was more focused than other media on the personal backgrounds of candidates. For all sectors, however, strategy and horse race were front and center.

It was not so long ago that Democrats couldn't buy a good story. Still, media fixation with every aspect of politics but issues is evidence of insidious media cynicism, an entrenched belief that Americans will not read or understand a story unless is has star quality and celebrity in it.

Americans themselves are largely to blame. Americans have a choice: they can either behave intelligently or they can continue to be stupid, easily duped by the likes of Fox, Limbaugh and less successful liars! Americans have a choice! But if Americans simply will not behave responsibly or as if they had more than two working brain cells among the lot of them, then there is nothing on the Existentialist Cowboy that will help!