Tag Archives: CNN

Fire Jim Dean

Fire-Lou-Dobbs-NoYesterday, I received an email from Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy For America. Frankly, it was a shockingly anti-democracy appeal asking me to contact CNN and demand Lou Dobbs be taken off the air. No. I will, however, contact CNN and demand they protect journalists (in the broadest sense of the word) and free speech.

Quoting the email (links added), “Yesterday, our friends at Media Matters for America, who are dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media, caught Lou Dobbs promoting hate and inciting violence towards Governor Howard Dean.

With violence from right-wing extremist groups on the rise and Republican backed mobs hanging cardboard versions of members of congress in effigy, Lou Dobbs’ statement is dangerous. Enough is enough.

It’s time for CNN and the United Stations Radio Network to fire Lou Dobbs.”

The email supplied this link to justify its point. In the audio clip while Dobbs was rambling about the resurgence and resilience of the former Vermont Governor, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, and former family practitioner, Dr. Howard Dean, he said, “He’s a bloodsucking leftist – I mean, he’s a, you gotta put a stake through his heart to stop this guy.” While I disagree with Dobbs’ political stance and his remarks, Dobbs was obviously making a vampire reference. Not a call for violence.

Jim, as you might know, is Howard Dean’s brother and runs the fundraising mailing list that remains from Howard’s unsuccessful presidential campaign. I think it is a wonderful thing for Dr. Dean to help out his brother by creating a job for him. But Jim is doing damage to the cause and maybe it is time for him to go. If he had asked in his email for me to call CNN and tell them what I think about Dobbs’ remarks, that would have been fine. He didn’t.

Time was, and still is, that ratings rule the network decisions on anchors and commentators. Boycott Dobbs and CNN will trade him to Fox where he might fit in better. Ask for him to be fired and you put everyone speaking publicly at risk. Sure, Dobbs long ago crossed the line from a popular, if not respectable, business anchor to promoting his own political agenda. He didn’t just cross the line, among other things, he is a blatant immigration-reform and public option-healthcare opponent. Sure, Dobbs’ “relentless promotion of debunked, racially charged conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birth certificate have already seriously damaged CNN’s credibility” – again, quoting the email. But Jim Dean is advocating a mob-style action to shut down free speech – a similar type of mob-style action that many have accused conservatives for using in the recent town hall meetings – it is reprehensible. It is anti-democratic for America.

Please don’t call or write DemocracyForAmerica.com asking for him to be fired. That, too, would be anti-free speech. But do tell them what you think. Oh, yeah, and boycott Dobbs.

Tell Congress to Go to Hell

fuck-youWednesday’s Democrat victory / compromise / cave-in is a harbinger. A public option won’t be able to negotiate for lower costs. Hmmm. Who benefits. Hospitals? Check. Big pharma? Check. Insurance companies? Check. People, sick or otherwise? Wonnnnnk. The smart money on Wall Street has been betting we’d be screwed and they’d get richer. Enough to make me hope nothing passes.

Not. Can’t go there. This is the most important thing this Congress and this President can do for about a hundred million of us who duck doctors and hospital bill collectors while we wince in pain. Not the most important thing this year … they’ve already shafted us on that — the stimulus (aka: bailout for the gloriously happy rich). No, this is life and death and they have chosen profits and to pretend (CNN wants you to believe that, too) that Wall Street mirrors America.

All to save a hundred billion over ten years? Sure. There is not a human being on the planet that believes any of it. Many trillions to make sure Ben Bernanke’s friends stay super-wealthy and the US government needs to screw me and my hundred million peers? F-them..

As God is my witness (oops, God left on the last train to the coast and is now on a slow-boat to China where they bailed-out people instead of banks), I will spend every moment I can afford (Hah! When this is passed, I won’t afford anything) working to defeat every single-sniveling-cowardly-corrupt-lobby-sucking-dickhead-congress-person I can find. I’ll march. I’ll picket. I’ll write. Email. You-tube. Twitter those [expletive deleted by editor] assholes the rest of my life. (Note to the Secret Service: strictly metaphorical threats.)

Folks, this ain’t over, but it will be soon.

I know. I know. I know. We just need to pass health care reform and will fix it in post (a video and audio production term that allows you to record something really badly and use various computer techniques — like Photoshop —  to make it seem better when people see it). Not this time. We’ll be dead broke and mostly dead before they take the power out of the cold live hands of the lobbyists.

I don’t have any power except to write you. If you can reach out and touch one, just one of the cretins we called leaders, please do it for me — or for one of the hundred million others who are more likeable.

Looking Back WIthout Hurting Your Neck

Anti-WEF demonstators take part in a protest against the ongoing World Economic Forum with a slogan saying
I don’t know about you, but I really love this time of year. Sure, you say, who doesn’t love the parties, the drinking, being with family, the drinking, watching bowl games, the drinking, and so on? But wait. There’s more. This is the time, a season really, when we get to appreciate all the important moments of 2008. This will be a banner year. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and project that the important moments of 2008 will break last year’s record breaking important moments total.

Every list will surely include the election Barack Obama, the Beijing Olympics, Britney’s comeback, the Intergallactic financial meltdown, and our successful surges around the world. Many will focus on Sarah’s clothes or Blagojevech’s hair or Elliot’s new focus on his family. Some will chronicle Phelps or Tiger or Eli or OJ. The rise and fall of Alaskan influence on politics. The earthquakes, cyclones, hurricanes, floods and fires. The deaths, the murders, the suicides. The crises, scandals, spins and parsing. We have a lot to remember. The best movies. The best music. The best award shows. The breakthroughs. The breakdowns. The break-ins.

It is an exciting time. I have chills just thinking about seeing all those CNN breaking stories run again. Hearing the best news speculation team in the business speculate on what speculation was closest to what actually happened, how we should leave that for historians to speculate on. Remembering the personal tragedies. Chronicling the corruption. Counting the incredible amounts of money spent or lost. Seeing the graphic footage of total strangers describing events and recall how they felt as they just happened to be walking down the street when the reporters arrived and couldn’t find anyone else to talk to.

And surely the looking back season won’t be complete without looking back at previous years of looking forward as part of looking back. Culminating, as is only proper, in looking back on Bush’s legacy, his great moments, triumphs and influence on the late night comedy.

Yes, try as you might to forget this miserable, underachieving, failure of year, you won’t be allowed to. For it is the season to remember way back when yesterday was today.

Photo: REUTERS – Anti-WEF demonstators take part in a protest against the ongoing World Economic Forum with a slogan saying “The WEF for the ass” in Davos, January 26, 2008

Be thankful we aren’t governed by majority opinion

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey found that 61% of those polled are against the auto bailout – far from “everyone” has drunk the bailout Kool-Aid. But let us all be thankful that we aren’t governed by majority opinion. Our elected leaders have the important job of doing what is best for all of us.

I agree the corporations don’t deserve a bailout. They have used their powerful lobbies to protect them from having to be good marketers for far too long. They deserve to live and/or perish from their past decisions. This did not happen just because loans weren’t being made. It happened because they chose to make large cars and trucks which were profitable so they didn’t have to find a way to make money on smaller cars. Postponing hard choices on assembly line retooling investments and energy efficient car strategies contrary to lobbying efforts.

The auto industry talking points of job losses also do us a great disservice. They employee 250,000 directly, but nowhere near the 4 million they talk about. Bailout or not, they all will make cuts, as will their suppliers and dealers. This will cost more precious jobs that are so desperately needed and the loss of which will have a dire impact on Federal, State and local tax revenues, unemployment benefits, healthcare costs, compound the banking crisis and bring the almost unmentioned looming pension liabilities. Much of the stockholder investment has already been wiped out with dire effect on pensions and individual, corporate and government investors. Without the financing, Chrysler will be gone or forced to merge for pennies. With the financing, Chrysler will likely just postpone the inevitable. Without the financing, GM will likely go through bankruptcy, but will likely come out diminished, but viable. Ford will probably make it with, or without, for a while. All of their dealers, on the other hand, will suffer greatly along with their employees and communities. And letting them fail or continue to flounder is the opposite of the stimulus we need – the cost to counter, I suspect, would be much greater than the cost of the bailout.

The auto industry must first survive in order to produce cars people would buy. But what then? A $5,000 new car purchase incentive would help greatly by forcing demand. But leaving it there would be a shame at this historic moment. I suggest we ask for more: let’s require the industry to quit lobbying and accept new CAFE standards – go to 40 MPG in 2009; 50 in 2010 and 80 by 2014 and only allow the incentive on cars or trucks that meet these new standards (buy American anyone?). This would be consistent with our President Elect’s promise to invest in greener, cleaner technologies. They wouldn’t want to, but they could do it if we help them.

But why stop there? We all recognize that employee healthcare costs are a tremendous burden on the competitiveness of all industry. Why not take this moment to remove that burden from all business with universal healthcare? Surely the unions have more reasons to negotiate now than ever before. GM says it costs $1,525 per car just to provide healthcare for its employees – that amount alone, may well make the industry profitable. But universal healthcare would impact every business and every American. Taking the burden off our states would go a long way toward solving their budget woes. It would stabilize the finances of our hospitals and providers. And as an economic stimulus, no single initiative could have greater impact. Let’s face it: all a government should really do for us, is make us the most productive (as in, safe, healthy, wealthy and happy) taxpayers we can be.

I’ve read suggestions of a 5% tax rebate on home values of a new home purchase. I’d like to hate it because it so dramatically and unfairly gives advantage to those who buy more expensive homes (though if it were capped at $200,000, it might be fair enough) and doesn’t help anyone in foreclosure, but it would help some people get in new homes and would help stabilize values and create some jobs. Plus, it quits putting money into banks and Wall Street. There is, however, the argument about the bottom line benefit: while a tax rebate would create a bubble, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com, investments by government in infrastructure programs that create jobs would generate an increase in one-year GNP of $1.59 for every $1 spent whereas tax rebates generate $1.02 for $1.00 spent. All to say, we can’t cut taxes our way out of this problem (the wealthy will have enough losses from Wall Street this year) and creating jobs is the only way to get enough money in people’s pockets to buy cars or homes. Or for that matter, Christmas presents.