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#900525 May 10, 2013
Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Next Saturday morning, many of us will mark the 45th anniversary of the Poor Peoples Campaign that Martin Luther King inspired, but did not live long enough to lead, by marching from Baltimore to Washington, D.C.
On May 11, the families of young Black and Brown people who have been killed by police will link arms with poor people, immigrant workers fighting for their rights, students, Walmart workers, union members, unemployed people and Occupy Wall Street activists, and walk 40 miles south down the highway to Washington, D.C.
We will occupy Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks away from the White House and down the road from the Capitol. There we will erect a big tent and convene a Peoples Power Assembly.
We are doing this to bear witness to the truth, and to help spark the social revolution that Dr. King prescribed in the months before his death.
Dr. King often said that truth crushed to earth will rise again. The brutal truth is that the powers that be are waging a war against virtually everything that Dr. King fought and died for.
Fifty years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Monument, King shared his dream with the world. Today more and more of us are living in a nightmare.
Anyone who thought that having an African-American family or a Democrat in the White House would negate the urgent necessity for a social revolution has long awoken from that dream.
Our young people are more likely to be in prison than in a job.
Poverty, unemployment and desperation are more widespread today than they were when King was alive. The pauperization of the population is the biggest crisis today.
The banks got bailed out after the 2008 global financial crash, and the stock market has soared through the roof. But for the rest of us the people that Occupy Wall Street calls the 99% theres nothing but economic terrorism in the form of unemployment, evictions, foreclosures, low wages and cutbacks.
The 1% have never been richer, greedier and more determined to eliminate, privatize or otherwise destroy every program that is helpful to the poor.
#900526 May 10, 2013
Looks like Lincoln stuck it to you pretty good babe__are you going to apologize? Or change the subject.
I wonder how many CIA bases were attacked while shrub was POTUS? You do know that Woods and Doherty died defending the CIA base and not the consulate right?
That sort of stuff is usually kept secret, having the names of the operatives and contractors made public kinda ruins their gig.
#900527 May 10, 2013
Hold the Front Page! We Need Free Media, Not an Order of Mates
The other day, I stood outside the strangely silent building where I began life as a journalist. It is no longer the human warren that was Consolidated Press in Sydney, though ghosts still drink at the Kings Head pub nearby. As a cadet reporter, I might have walked on to the set of Lewis Milestones The Front Page. Men in red braces did shout,Hold the front page, and tilt back their felt hats and talk rapidly with a roll-your-own attached indefinitely to their lower lip. You could feel the presses rumbling beneath and smell the ink.
This was the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, where I learned to report crime, courts, sport, killer bees, Rotary meetings and the arrival of almost famous people from that mysterious land,overseas. The proprietor was a former boxer, Frank Packer, immortalised in Cyril Pearls Wild Men of Sydney, and knighted for his vendettas against anyone to the political left of Pontius Pilate.
Sir Frank was seen on the editorial floor on Saturday nights after the races. If his horse had lost, fear and loathing were a presence. Once, he cancelled all the late editions and exiled the production staff to the Kings Head, where their necessary return was negotiated from a phone on the public bar.
My only encounter with Sir Frank was when I foolishly boarded a geriatric lift precariously filled with the corpulent proprietor and his two gargantuan sons, Clyde and Kerry.Who the fuck are you? said Kerry, later to find distinction as the money bags behind World Series cricket.
The training was superb. A style developed by a highly literate editor, Brian Penton, who had published poetry in the Telegraph, instilled a respect for English grammar and the value and informed simplicity. Words like during were banned; in was quite enough. The passive voice was considered lazy and banned, along with most clichés and adjectives except those in the splenetic editorials demanding all Reds went to hell. When I boarded a rust-streaked Greek ship for Europe, I was sorry to leave; I had begun to learn about the craft of journalism and about those who controlled it and used it and why.
A lesson that endures is that when the rich and powerful own the means of popular enlightenment and dress it up as a free press, bestowing a false respectability called the mainstream, the opposite is usually true. Sir Frank turned out to be a minnow compared compared with Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch bought the Packer newspapers in 1972 and today controls 70 per cent of Australias capital city press, along with dozens of local and regional newspapers. In Adelaide and Brisbane he owns almost everything. Two conglomerates dedicated to a doctrinaire, often extreme world view Murdochs News Limited and Fairfax Media control 86 per cent of the Australian press.
This absence of choice and real dissent, let alone balance, extends to the national broadcaster, the ABC, a progeny of the BBC run as a corporate hierarchy. There are honourable exceptions, of course, among them Philip Dorling, Kate McClymont and Quentin Dempster. Unlike the US and Britain, independent online journalism is rare. The result is a sameness that seems remarkable and demeaning in a first world, educated society.
Since: Apr 13
#900528 May 10, 2013
The Treasury Department should have been in "Sixth Sense". They see dead people all the time and even send them a SS check every single month. Millions of dollars worth too. Wonder who's picking up those checks in the mailboxes?
Since: Apr 13
#900529 May 10, 2013
It's not going to go away.
Obama just thinks we're all as stupid as his blind followers.
#900530 May 10, 2013
illegalalienlowlifebottomfeedi ngwelfareleechobamaworshipping moronforsure say what? LOL
#900531 May 10, 2013
The Deep Politics of Hollywood
In the Parents` Best Interests
Tom Cruise the worlds most powerful celebrity according to Forbes Magazine was unceremoniously sacked in 2006. His dismissal was particularly shocking for the fact that it was carried out not by his immediate employer, Paramount Studios, but rather by Paramounts parent company, Viacom. Viacoms notoriously irascible CEO Sumner Redstone who owns a long list of media companies including CBS, Nickelodeon, MTV, and VH1 said that Cruise had committed creative suicide following a spate of manic public activity. It was a sacking worthy of an episode of The Apprentice.[i]
The Cruise case points to the overlooked notion that the internal mechanisms of Hollywood are not determined entirely by audience desires, as one might expect, nor are they geared to respond solely to the decisions of studio creatives, or even those of the studio heads themselves. In 2000, The Hollywood Reporter released a top 100 list of the most powerful figures in the industry over the past 70 years. Rupert Murdoch, chief of News Corporation, which owns Twentieth Century Fox, was the most powerful living figure. With the exception of director Steven Spielberg (no. 3), no artists appeared in the top 10.
Each of the dominant Hollywood studios (the majors) is now a subsidiary of a much larger corporation, and therefore is not so much a separate or independent business, but rather just one of a great many sources of revenue in its parent companys wider financial empire. The majors and their parents are: Twentieth Century Fox (News Corp), Paramount Pictures (Viacom), Universal (General Electric/Vivendi), Disney (The Walt Disney Company), Columbia TriStar (Sony), and Warner Brothers (Time Warner). These parent companies are amongst the largest and most powerful in the world, typically run by lawyers and investment bankers.[ii] Their economic interests are also sometimes closely tied to politicised areas such as the armaments industry, and they are frequently inclined to cozy-up to the government of the day because it decides on financial regulation.
As Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Professor Ben Bagdikian puts it, whereas once the men and women who owned the media could fit in a modest hotel ballroom, the same owners (all male) could now fit into a generous phone booth. He could have added that, whilst a phone box may not exactly be the chosen venue for the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone, these individuals do indeed meet at plush venues such as Idahos Sun Valley to identify and forge their collective interests.
Of course, the content of a studios films is not, as a rule, determined entirely by the political and economic interests of its parent company. Studio CEOs typically have considerable leeway to make the pictures they want to make without direct interference from their ultimate masters. At the very least, however, the content of Hollywood studios broadly reflects their wider corporate interests, and, at times, the parent companies behind the studios take a conscious and deliberate interest in certain movies. There is a battle between top down and bottom up forces, but mainstream media and academia have traditionally focused on the latter, rather than the former.
#900532 May 10, 2013
Consider last years blockbuster Australia, the epic from Baz Luhrmann. Two of the films most salient aspects were that, firstly, it glossed-over the history of Aboriginal people, and, secondly, it made Australia look like a fantastic place to go on holiday. This should come as no surprise Twentieth Century Foxs parent company (Rupert Murdochs News Corp) worked hand-in-hand with the Australian government throughout the films production for mutual interests. The government benefited from Luhrmanns huge tourist campaign, which included not just the feature film itself but also a series of extravagant tie-in advertisements (all in apparent support of its ham-fisted Aborigine reconciliation programme). In turn, the government gave its favourite son tens of millions of dollars in tax rebates. The West Australian newspaper even alleged that Murdoch had his journalistic foot soldiers ensure that every aspect of his media empire awarded Australia glowing reviews, an assessment nicely illustrated by The Sun, which enjoyed the rare piece of good old fashioned entertainment so much that its reviewer was tempted to nip down to the travel agent.
There are historical precedents for such interference. In 1969 Haskell Wexler cinematographer on One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest had considerable trouble releasing his classic Medium Cool, which riffed on the anti-war protests at the Democrat Convention the previous year. Wexler claims he has Freedom of Information documents revealing that on the eve of the films release, Chicagos Mayor Richard J. Daley and high sources in the Democratic Party let it be known to Gulf and Western (then the parent company of Paramount) that if Medium Cool was released, certain tax benefits and other perks in Gulf and Westerns favor wouldnt happen.A stiff prick has no conscience, Wexler told us angrily, referring to Hollywoods business leaders,and they have no conscience.
Wexler explained how this corporate plot was enacted so as to minimize attention:Paramount called me and said I needed releases from all the [protestors] in the park, which was impossible to provide. They said if people went to see that movie and left the theatre and did a violent act, then the offices of Paramount could be prosecuted. Although Paramount was obliged to release the film they successfully pushed for an X rating, advertised it feebly, and forbade Wexler from taking it to film festivals. Hardly the way to make a profit on a movie, but certainly an effective way to protect the broader interests of the parent.
Then theres the more famous case of Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), the Michael Moore blockbuster which the Walt Disney Company tried to scupper despite it testing through the roof with sample audiences. Disneys subsidiary Miramax insisted that its parent had no right to block it from releasing the film since its budget was well below the level requiring Disneys approval. Disney representatives retorted that they could veto any Miramax film if it appeared that its distribution would be counterproductive to their interests. Moores agent Ari Emanuel alleged that Disneys boss Michael Eisner had told him he wanted to back out of the deal due to concerns about political fallout from conservative politicians, especially regarding tax breaks given to Disney properties in Florida like Walt Disney World (where the governor was the then US Presidents brother, Jeb Bush). Disney also had ties to the Saudi Royal family, which was unfavourably represented in the film: a powerful member of the family, Al-Walid bin Talal, owns a major stake in Eurodisney and had been instrumental in bailing out the financially troubled amusement park. Disney denied any such high political ball game, explaining they were worried about being dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle, which it said would alienate customers.
#900533 May 10, 2013
You are right he shound't use my money, you money every bodies money for his family malfunctions.
#900534 May 10, 2013
Disney has consistently spread pro-establishment messages in its films, particularly under subsidiary banners such as Hollywood Pictures and Touchstone Pictures (although Oliver Stones 1995 Nixon biopic is a notable exception). Several received generous assistance from the US government: the Pentagon-backed In the Army Now (1994), Crimson Tide (1995), and Armageddon (1998), as well as the CIA-vetted Bad Company (2002) and The Recruit (2003). In 2006, Disney released the TV movie The Path to 9/11, which was heavily skewed to exonerate the Bush administration and blame the Clinton administration for the terrorist attacks, provoking outraged letters of complaint from former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.
The nature of Disneys output makes sense when we consider the interests of the higher echelons of the corporation. Historically, Disney has had close ties with the US defense department, and Walt himself was a virulent anti-communist (though reports about him being a secret FBI informant or even a fascist are rather more speculative). In the 1950s, corporate and government sponsors helped Disney make films promoting President Eisenhowers Atoms for Peace policy as well as the infamous Duck and Cover documentary that suggested to schoolchildren that they could survive an atomic attack by hiding under their desks. Even now, a longtime Directors Board member of Disney is John E. Bryson who is also a director of The Boeing Company, one of the worlds largest aerospace and defence contractors. Boeing received $16.6bn in Pentagon contracts in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan[iii]. This would have been no small incentive for Disney to avoid commissioning films critical of Bushs foreign policy, such as Fahrenheit 9/11.
It is hardly surprising that when Disney released Pearl Harbor (2001) a simplistic mega-budget movie made with full cooperation from the Pentagon, and which celebrated the American nationalist resurgence following that day of infamy it was widely received with cynicism. Yet, despite lamentable reviews, Disney unexpectedly decided in August 2001 to extend the films nationwide release window from the standard two-to-four months to a staggering seven months, meaning that this summer blockbuster would now be screening until December. In addition, Disney expanded the number of theatres in which the film was showing, from 116 to 1,036. For the corporations due to profit from the aftermath of 9/11, Pearl Harbor provided grimly convenient mood music.
#900535 May 10, 2013
In case anyone out there is gullible enough to believe that Fox News' interest in Benghazi is about dead Americans, check out how Fox host Eric Bolling came up with an anti-Hillary Clinton ad, aired it as news on The Five and then offered it up to Republicans. In a thinly veiled attempt to pretend he wasn't being partisan, he threw Joe Biden's name into the mix.
Bolling began by announcing, "I made a political ad that Joe Biden, Chris Christie, Rand Paul or Marco Rubio are free to use in 2016." Then he played it. It's essentially a re-air of Hillary Clinton's "3am telephone call" ad from the 2008 campaign, with some additional anti-Clinton footage, topped off with the photos of the four Americans who died in Benghazi - you know, just to prove that's whom Bolling and Fox News really cares about.
Too bad he never cared about any of the thousands of Americans who died after George W. Bush led us into a war under false pretenses.
#900536 May 10, 2013
movies like Australia and Pearl Harbor receive preferential treatment, challenging and incendiary films are frequently cast into the cinematic memory hole. Oliver Stones Salvador (1986) was a graphic expose of the Salvadorian civil war; its narrative was broadly sympathetic towards the left wing peasant revolutionaries and explicitly critical of U.S. foreign policy, condemning the United States support of Salvadors right wing military and infamous death squads. Stones film was turned down by every major Hollywood studio with one describing it as a hateful piece of work though it received excellent reviews from many critics. The film was eventually financed by British and Mexican investors and achieved limited distribution. More recently controversial documentaries such as Loose Change (2006/2007), which argued that 9/11 was an inside job, and Zeitgeist (2007), which presents a frightening picture of global economics, have been viewed by millions through the Internet when corporate media wouldnt touch them.[iv]
Universal studios contemporary output has been less rigidly supportive of US power, as films like Children of Men (2006), Jarhead (2005), and The Good Shepherd (2006) indicate. Still, with movies like U-571 (2000) and Charlie Wilsons War (2007), it makes sense that Universals parent company is General Electric, whose most lucrative interests relate to weapons manufacturing and producing crucial components for high-tech war planes, advanced surveillance technology, and essential hardware for the global oil and gas industries, notably in post Saddam Iraq. GEs board of directors has strong ties to large liberal organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation. Whilst liberal may sound like a positive term after the unpopularity of Bushs brand of conservatism, liberal organizations are cemented firmly in the bedrock of US elites and have frequently been architects of American interventionist foreign policy, including against Vietnam. They are prepared to ally themselves with conservatives over certain issues, particularly national security, so it should come as no shock to find that GE was close to the Bush Administration through both its former and current CEOs. Jack Welch (CEO from 1981-2001) openly declares disdain for protocol, diplomacy and regulators and was even accused by California Congressman Henry Waxman of pressuring his NBC network to declare Bush the winner prematurely in the 2000 stolen election when he turned up unannounced in the newsroom during the poll count. Welchs successor, the current GE CEO Jeff Immelt, is a neoconservative and was a generous financial contributor to the Bush re-election campaign.
#900537 May 10, 2013
Perhaps GE/Universals most eyebrow-raising release was United 93 (2006), billed as the true account of how heroic passengers on 9/11 foiled the terrorist plot by forcing the plane to crash prematurely in rural Pennsylvania. Although the film made a return on its relatively low investment, it was greeted with a good deal of public apathy and hostility prior to its nation-wide release. At the time, Bushs official 9/11 story was being seriously interrogated by Americas independent news media: according to the results of a 2004 Zogby poll, half of New Yorkers believed US leaders had foreknowledge of impending 9/11 attacks and consciously failed to act, and, just one month prior to the release of United 93, 83% of CNN viewers recorded their belief that the US government covered up the real events of the 9/11 attacks. With the official narrative under heavy fire, the Bush Administration welcomed the release of United 93 with open arms: the film was a faithful audio-visual translation of the 9/11 Commission Report, with special thanks to the Pentagons Hollywood liaison Phil Strub tucked away discreetly in the end credits. Soon after the films nationwide release date, in what might be interpreted as a cynical PR move and as gesture of official approval, President Bush sat down with some of the victims family members for a private screening at the White House.[v]
GE/Universals Munich (2005) Steven Spielbergs exploration of Israeli vengeance following the Palestinian terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics raises similar suspicions. Although the Zionist Organisation of American called for a boycott of the film because they felt it equated Israel with terrorists, such a reading is less than convincing. Indeed, by the time Munichs credits begin to roll its overriding messages have been stamped indelibly into the brain by the films Israeli Special Forces characters:Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values,We kill for our future, we kill for peace, and Dont f*ck with the Jews. Predictably, Israel is one of GEs most loyal customers, buying Hellfire II laser missiles as well as propulsion systems for the F-16 Falcon fighter, the F-4 Phantom fighter, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, and the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. In Munichs 167 minute running time the voice of the Palestinian cause is restricted to two and a half minutes of simplistic dialogue. Rather than being an evenhanded cry for peace, as the Los Angeles Times hailed it, General Electrics Munich is more easily interpreted as a subtle corporate endorsement of the policies of a loyal customer.
On the most liberal end of the spectrum for movies in recent years has been Warner Bros. JFK (1991), The Iron Giant (1999), South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999), Good Night and Good Luck (2005), V for Vendetta (2005), A Scanner Darkly (2006), Rendition (2007), and In the Valley of Elah (2007). It is indicative that following complaints about racial stereotyping in Warner Bros. Pentagon-sponsored action adventure, Executive Decision (1996), the studio took the unusual step of hiring the services of Jack Shaheen, an on-set adviser on racial politics, resulting in what was critically received as one of the best films of its genre in a generation, Three Kings (1999).[vi] It may be no coincidence that Warner Brothers parent company, Time Warner, is less intimately tied to the arms industry or the neoconservative clique.
#900538 May 10, 2013
But to have an idea of what happens to movies when you remove multinational interests from the industry, consider the independent distributor Lions Gate Films, which is still very much a part of the capitalist system (formed in Canada by an investment banker) but not beholden to a multibillion dollar parent corporation with multifarious interests. Although Lions Gate has generated a good deal of politically vague and blood n guts products, it has also been behind some of the most daring and original popular political cinema of the past ten years, criticizing corporatism in American Psycho (2000), US foreign policy in Hotel Rwanda (2004), the arms trade in Lord of War (2005), the U.S. healthcare system in Michael Moores Sicko (2007), and the U.S. establishment in general in The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006).
It hardly needs re-stating that Hollywood is driven by the desire for dollars rather than artistic integrity. As such, cinema is open to product placement in a variety of forms, from toys, to cars, to cigarettes, and even state-of-the art weaponry (hence the special thanks to Boeing in the credits of Iron Man (2008)). Less obvious though and less well investigated is how the interests of the studios parent companies themselves impact on cinema at both systemic and individual levels. We hope to see critical attention shifted onto the ultimate producers of these films to help explain their deradicalised content, and ultimately to assist audiences in making informed decisions about what they consume. As we peer up from our popcorn it is as well to remember that behind the magic of the movies are the wizards of corporate PR.
Since: May 10
#900539 May 10, 2013
Lose Lose Lose again. Repeat.
#900540 May 10, 2013
Matthew Alford is author of the forthcoming book Projecting Power: American Foreign Policy and the Hollywood Propaganda System. Robbie Graham is Associate Lecturer in Film at Stafford College. References available on request.
[i] Most memorably, Cruise declared his love for Katie Holmes whilst bouncing up and down on Oprah (the chat show, not the woman).
[ii] The 2008 Fortune Global 500 list placed General Electric at no. 12 with revenue of $176bn. Sony was at 75, Time Warner at no. 150, The Walt Disney Company at no. 207, and News Corp at no. 280. By way of comparison, Coca Cola is at no. 403.
[iii] Interestingly, Disneys CEO Michael Eisner was personally involved when it pulled Bill Mahers Politically Incorrect show after the host committed the cardinal sin of saying that the US use of cruise missiles was more cowardly than the 9/11 attacks, with Eisner summoning Maher into his office for a hiding according to Mark Crispin Miller in the Nation.
[iv] A less convincing but nevertheless intriguing case can be made for high political/economic influence over the distribution of John Carpenters satirical sci-fi They Live (1988), which depicted the world as being run by an invading force of evil space aliens, allied with the US establishment. The film was well received by critics (with the notable exceptions of the NYT and Washington Post) and opened at number one in the box office. It easily made its $4m investment back over the weekend, and although by the second weekend it had dropped to fourth place, it still made $2.7m. The distributing studio, Universal Pictures, published an advertisement during its run that showed a skeletal alien standing behind a podium in suit and tie, with a mop of hair similar to that of Dan Quayle, the new US Vice-President-elect. The Presidential election had been just a few days previous, on November 8th. Co-star Keith David observed:Not that anybodys being paranoid but suddenly you couldnt see it [They Live] anywhere it was, like, snatched.
[v] We stated elsewhere that representatives from Universal attended the screening. This was erroneous.
[vi] Shaheen also later assisted on Warner Bros. Syriana (2005).
Since: Apr 13
#900541 May 10, 2013
Thought a video that's out there and the next Republican presidential candidate using it as an ad in 2016 if Hillary actually gets that far was appropriate.
Remember Hillary's ad about who do you want answering the phone in the WH in the middle of the night?
Well, her entire ad is shown again but at the end a clip of Hillary is screaming "What difference, at this point, does it make??!!!"
#900542 May 10, 2013
In the aftermath of this Wednesday's hearings on Benghazi, which the right has been hyping for weeks, as Chris Hayes and his guests, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Media Matters' Eric Boehlert discussed, they turned out to be nothing more than a bust.
Surprise, surprise, right?
As Media Matters has documented, it was hard to keep track of all of the lies and myths being pushed by the right and by Fox News ahead of today's hearings, and but once they actually got started, there was very little to no new information, but plenty of attempts to lay the whole mess at Hillary Clinton's feet.
Maloney reiterated what she said during the hearing today about the Republicans and their motives:
I find it truly disturbing and very unfortunate that when Americans come under attack the first thing some did in this country was attack Americans, attack the military, attack the president, attack the State Department, attack the former senator from the great state of New York and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Maloney said, before going on to question the witnesses on the fact that the secretary of states signature is included on all sorts of documents he or she never actually sees.
Fox's coverage of the hearing was hardly what you'd call "fair and balanced" with them cutting away from the Democrats constantly during the hearing, including Rep. Maloney, which Hayes showed her a portion of during their discussion here.
As Maloney told Hayes during the segment as well, Republicans are entitled to their own opinions about the attacks and what went wrong, but they're not entitled to their own facts and even after being debunked, Chairman Issa is still refusing to take down their lies about Hillary Clinton on their web site.
As Hayes and Boehlert discussed, compared to other administrations, attacks on U.S. diplomatic targets are actually way down under the Obama administration. We all know that doesn't matter in Republican-land though, where their alternative reality refuses to acknowledge anything that happened prior to President Obama being elected.
#900544 May 10, 2013
IRS Apologizes For Targeting Conservative Groups In 2012 Election
no big deal. liberals who didn't agree with the Bush war push suffered much the same.
#900545 May 10, 2013
Obama in Plunderland: Down the Corporate Rabbit Hole,The presidents new choices for Commerce secretary and FCC chair underscore how far down the rabbit hole his populist conceits have tumbled. Yet the Obama rhetoric about standing up for working people against special interests is as profuse as ever. Would you care for a spot of Kool-Aid at the Mad Hatters tea party?
Of course the Republican economic program is worse, and President Romneys policies would have been even more corporate-driven. That doesnt in the slightest make acceptable what Obama is doing. His latest high-level appointments boosting corporate power and shafting the public are despicable.
To nominate Penny Pritzker for secretary of Commerce is to throw in the towel for any pretense of integrity that could pass a laugh test. Pritzker is a longtime political supporter and heavyweight fundraiser, the Chicago Tribune reported with notable understatement last week, adding:She is on the board of Hyatt Hotels Corp., which was founded by her family and has had rocky relations with labor unions, and she could face questions about the failure of a bank partly owned by her family. With a personal fortune estimated at $1.85 billion, Pritzker is listed by Forbes magazine among the 300 wealthiest Americans.
A more blunt assessment came from journalist Dennis Bernstein:Her pioneering sub-prime operations, out of Superior Bank in Chicago, specifically targeted poor and working class people of color across the country. She ended up crashing Superior for a billion-dollar cost to taxpayers, and creating a personal tragedy for the 1,400 people who lost their savings when the bank failed. Pritzker, whose family controls Hyatt Regency Hotels, has a vile anti-union record.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker? Whats next? Labor Secretary Donald Trump? SEC Chairman Bernie Madoff?
The choice of Penny Pritzker to run the Commerce Department is a matched set with the simultaneous pick of Tom Wheeler another mega-fundraiser for candidate Obama to chair the Federal Communications Commission.
With crucial decisions on the near horizon at the FCC, the presidents nomination of Wheeler has dire implications for the future of the Internet, digital communications and democracy. For analysis, my colleagues at the Institute for Public Accuracy turned to the progressive former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson, who called the choice bizarre.
There is no single independent regulatory commission that comes close to the impact of the FCC on every Americans life, Johnson said.Thats why Congress, in creating it, characterized its mission as serving the public interest an expression used throughout the Act.
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