Nov 162010

Olbermann took on veteran TV newsman Ted Koppel on Monday, saying he and other journalists failed the country during the Iraq War because they were too worried about being objective.

Koppel had criticized the rise of opinionated cable news programming in an essay titled, “Olbermann, O’Reilly and the death of real news,” published Sunday in the Washington Post. Koppel, the former ABC “Nightline” host, said Fox and MSNBC show the world not as it is, but as partisans would like it to be.

David Bauder, AP

Cropped headshot of Keith Olbermann
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Ted Koppel is a pandering fool. He’s correct in asserting that journalists should strive for objectivity, but when such action results in willful acquiescence of known falsehood and deceit, the “journalist” becomes complicit in the wrongdoing. Keith Olbermann and his fellow hosts at MSNBC did not create their shows in a vacuum for the purpose of sensationalism; they were born of the need to balance the unmitigated rubbish that Fox packages as “news” and to refute the unrelenting stream of falsehood that spews from the Fox commentators.

To equate these two agencies and conclude their equivalence is beyond irresponsible. It’s true that both present one-sided commentary that is often exaggerated for effect, but the similarities end there. The premise that this commonality results in equivalence is utterly fallacious — the same reasoning would conclude that because they both used tanks, bombers and battleships, the Allies and the Axis were equivalent.

The fact of the matter is that MSNBC is not equivalent to Fox but rather its antithesis. They are the polar opposite, not only in terms of political position, but more importantly on the continuum of morality. Fox is a propaganda machine with little regard for the truth and a dedication to furthering the cause of corporate power and plutocracy. MSNBC is a countervailing voice with a commitment to the facts and a devotion to the ideals upon which our nation was founded — those silly notions of equality, general welfare, and unity.

Thank God (and Keith) for MSNBC!

Read the entire Article at Huffington Post

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Nov 122010
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This is a different type of blog post for me. It’s born of the frustration encountered at Huffington Post when trying to get a comment approved by their censors. When my posts are blocked, I typically scour the text in search of anything objectionable, make edits to anything that could possibly give cause to censorship, and repost. But in spite of this effort, I’ve had many times in the past when I could not for the life of me determine what their issue was with my post. Today is one such occurrence.

The topic of the article is the new Whitehouse position stated by David Axelrod yesterday regarding the extension of the Bush tax cuts. This was a very popular topic with a huge number of comments of which I posted several.  One particular comment was in response to an individual who posted asking the question, “Why do Democrats act as if the government is the owner of the citizens’ income and can hold a blank check on our earnings?” My response was to assert that we live in a democracy, that the government belongs to us all, and that it’s our only means to “address excesses and exploitation by the upper class.”

A response to my post was given by the person to whom I had commented. That response conveyed certain assertions with which I did not agree and, in my opinion, was based on assumptions that I find to be erroneous. The text of that comment is as follows:

The equality that will happen for ALL AMERICANS under the plan the left has is equal poverty and equal misery.

You cannot reward failure and punish success and increase innovation and the quality of life. It has never worked and will not work if you change the name to “progressive.”

Of course there are differences in intelligence, skills, knowledge, abilities, attitude, willingness to work and other factors. Each and every one of those creates differences in contribution.

In a fair society, you are compensated for your contribution. The liberal idea of equal wealth distribution ignores the differences in contributions and is doomed to fail.

The mistaken belief that government can create equal outcomes is foolish. The result of liberal’s attempts is to bring civilization down to the lowest common denominator. It happens every time you try and create social justice. The only way for liberals to succeed is to punish success and human nature then creates poverty and misery.

I attempted to respond in a respectful way, but even after a series of earnest attempts at editing was unable to get the Huffington censors to accept my post. The following is the text of my last attempt:

“reward failure and punish success” Success and failure at what? To make money? Now, there’s an appropriate metric with which to measure the worth of a person. It’s actually the core flaw in conservative thinking and the source of much suffering in the world.

“increase innovation” That’s just patent falsehood. Our ruling class system retards innovation in order to sustain the status quo. Just look at energy consumption and infrastructure in the U.S.. We’re still married to fossil fuels at the cost of the people and planet because it serves the needs of those stuffing their pockets with oil money. Innovation is in green technologies and alternatives, which are suppressed because of the threat of competition.

“In a fair society, you are compensated for your contribution” So CEOs really contribute 300 times more than average workers? By what measure? It’s the conservative idea of distribution of wealth that ignores all factors of contribution except monetary. Is that moral?

“The result of liberal’s attempts is to bring civilization down to the lowest common denominator.” Quite to the contrary – it’s the conservative ideals that are base, that focus on the worst characteristics of humanity.

For conservatives to succeed, the majority of people, as well as the planet itself must pay the price. John Kenneth Galbraith best summed up the conservative ethic: “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

I ask for your critique and honest feedback. Is this comment disrespectful? Is it inappropriate as a response to the comment that preceded it? Does it warrant being censored? Is it appropriate for Huffington Post to censor without feedback as to cause?

And on substance: what are your thoughts on the debate?

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Jul 162010

If the Republican campaign message for 2010 was something like, “Yes, we know that we caused all these problems in the Bush years, but we’ve learned our lesson, and now we are offering these new ideas to fix things in the future,” I would understand (if not agree with) the equating of the problems with Republican gains. But that’s not what the Republicans are offering. Rather, the GOP campaign message for 2010 is essentially the same message as the Bush years, only more militant (and more wacky, thanks to the Angle-Paul tea party influence). Their pitch is built around deregulation, lower taxes for the rich, and less government, the very things that got us into this mess in the first place.

Mitchell Bard, Huffington Post

Democratic Party logo
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The Republicans have blocked everything in the Senate; the only plan they ever have is tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, cuts to social programs and privatization of government. They follow their strategy of running up deficits when in power as if it was a natural law, and then they suddenly become fiscally responsible when in the minority — a simple yet effective Republican tactic to defund liberal programs. They support big business, not the people, and they aggressively exploit the middle class and the environment to forward the greedy agenda of their corporate overlords.

This is all indisputable fact. It’s readily apparent to the most casual observer, yet somehow the Republicans are actually able to get elected . . . why?

It’s either because the Democrats are complicit in hiding the truth from the American public, or because they’ve yet to figure out that elections aren’t about issues — they’re about perception.

Perception is reality, and the Republicans have mastered spin. They have no shame! They will say anything, twist anything, and run to devise a scheme to cover anything said. They’ve not a care about the facts. By contrast, Democrats try to win debates politely. They offer rational arguments. It’s the rare exception when somebody like Reid says the GOP is purposely trying to make things worse.

IT IS NO SECRET that the GOP represents government by sabotage. Their platform is “government is bad,” and they routinely do everything they can to make that true. Why isn’t this message a resounding battle cry for the Democrats? If it was, it might actually be newsworthy by media standards, and the people just might discover the truth.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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