Has Faux News Far Right-Wing Fear Mongering Paid Off?
Has over a year of Faux News right-wing fear mongering and Calling President Obama a socialist finally paid off? According to one new poll from the Democracy Corps, a majority at 55 percent of likely voters believe that the word "socialist" describes the president either "well" or "very well," Perhaps this is why The White House is starting a coordinated campaign to push back against the perception that President Barack Obama has an anti-business agenda. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told Politico, “rather than recoiling against Obama, business leaders should be grateful for his support on at least a half-dozen counts.” This puts Obama in a curious position. In order to get elected in America, both candidates and a political party have to cozy up to the money sources. Since Reagan's successful war on organized labor, taking the percentage of American workers represented by a union from 25% when Reagan came into office in 1981 down to around 7% of the private workforce today, there isn't the traditional labor money for Democrats to rely on. And because Obama has chosen to go the DLC conserva-Dem route with many of his legislative initiatives, not pushing for single-payer health care, not breaking up too-bit-to-fail banks, and so on, his ability to raise money from an activated and excited base has waned significantly. That leaves the big corporate monopolies, from Wall Street to Wal-Mart to drug companies to defense contractors to the big tech companies that manufacture in China and sell here. It's too late for the 2010 elections for Obama to move to the left, and thus bring in his progressive base for fundraising, but there are many good progressive candidates this year for the House and a few for the Senate, so maybe it won't be so important what the President has done. It will be huge, though, in 2012, particularly now that the Supreme Court has made transnational and foreign corporate monopolies "persons" with Bill of Rights protections such as the ability to carpet bomb TV viewers with political campaign ads. We live, as the old Chinese curse goes, in interesting times. A curse that's particularly appropriate as China is poised to become the second largest and most powerful nation in the world economically because, in part, of Clinton/Obama so-called "free trade" policies. Keep an eye on this election - it's going to tell us a lot about both the future of the Democratic Party and the future of democracy itself.
Good morning Thom,
You are a beakon in the fog. I agee that our democracy is on the brink and is in danger of being lost to corporate overlords. Faux News and talk redio shows are not helping the matter. Most of the folks I know, including my family, get all of the current events information they spew from Faux News. As we know, Faux is editiorial and opinion being pushed in support of the multi-national monopolies. Is there a solution? Although it was disolved because it was in conflict with the 1st Amendment, would the re-establishement of the Fairness Doctrine help? Why isn't there some sort of rule that require facts must be verified before they are broadcast?
How about the "lefties" pointing out that the greatest antagonizers of the "socialist party" was the (right-wing) Hitler and his Nazi Party...do those who think President Obama is a Socialist know that the person who blamed all the woes in Germany as "the fault of the socialist party" was Hitler and the his Nazi party, Nazi party did all manner of underhanded and illegal acts and then put the blame on the "socialist party"...(that turned out well for Germany, didn't it?)...revising history does not change the facts....perhaps it's time the "lefties" pointed out that fact (as much and as often as the right scream about Socialism...) in my book, the Nazi were far more evil than the socialists
Thom & Louise:
FYI, I'm a lifelong Republican who voted for Obama in 2008. Not only did I not get what I (audaciously) hoped for, I believe we have elected a President who constitutes a clear and present danger to the future of this country, by his pursuit of fiscal policies intended to precipitate a second more serious crisis, one which he and his Chief of Staff can fully exploit.
Over the last two weeks, I decided to listen to the "Progressive Talk Radio Station" here in Portland, Oregon, KPOJ 620. I wanted to hear what 'Liberals/Progressives' (don't know the distinction) have to say about our President, now that he's had 18 months to bring about the change we were supposed to believe in. I've been listening to your show nearly every day, but apparently, until today, you (Thom) have been on vacation.
Apropos the commentaries I heard until today, I found them generally repellant: short on facts, self-serving, self-justified, and betraying an abscence of critical thinking and intellectual honesty. However, I heard a couple of canned trailers for your show (most while listening to your show with guest hosts), in which you very precisely described the scam which has been perpetrated on "Main Street" by the Financial Moguls who live and work on Wall Street. In the trailer, you describe a group of highly sophisticated racketeers who control our capital markets, enabled and protected by a corrupt cabal of Republican and Democratic elected officials and appointees who have orchestrated the plunder of $Trillions in government funds over a period of years. (You suggest 8 years, I suggest 18.)
I wish I could articulate it as well as you did. What you described matches up quite well with the results of my own research, which goes back to 1992, when Wendy Gramm (wife of Senator Phil), persuaded George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton to approve a rule change at the CFTC which enabled Enron to get into the energy futures trading business. If I recall the trailer, you did not specifically reference President Obama's role in this tag-team scheme where Bush & Paulson passed the baton to Obama & Geithner, but you clearly referenced the nearly $2-Trillion in faux US Dollars which were created by the Federal Reserve (on March 19th, 2009), and subsequently used to relieve the major banks which comprise "Too Big To Fail, Inc." of their toxic assets (via TALF & PPIP), thereby enabling them to cleanse their balance sheets and raise capital sufficient to pay off their TARP obligations. (Not to mention the fact that these banks who created the toxic assets, retained their authority as servicers of the mortgages, which enabled them to receive servicing fees from the government for managing them.)
Furthermore, your trailer managed to cram in a reference to the 1% of GDP skim that the Wall Street racketeers take for themselves every year in the form of bonuses ($145-Billion in 2007, if I remember correctly), most of which end up lining the pockets of a few hundred individuals (many of whom can be found in the Forbes 400 annual "polo suit edition").
At this point, I kept wondering: how can this guy Thom Hartman know all this, and still be an advocate & defender of Barrack Obama? How can he take seriously Obama's posturing as a President seeking to impose regulations on these crooks, while in actuality, orchestrating a so-called "financial regulation reform package" which actually consolidates and entrenches TBTF, Inc. with it's government maintained monopoly over major capital markets, and the obscene and completely unjustified levels of compensation they receive every year?
This morning, Friday July 9th, I realized I was actually listening to Thom Hartman (yourself), and a caller happened to be raising yet another issue important to me, which may ultimately prove to be the ultimate example of criminal negligence on the part of our President: his grotesque incompetence and pathological disregard for his responsibilities as Commander in Chief with respect to the massive "dirty bomb" which was detonated off our southern shores on April 20th of this year.
I was prepared to hear you parrot all the other "Progressive Talk Show Hosts" who act as shills for the Obama administration by perpetuating the notion that everything that has gone wrong, is being done wrong, and everything that should have been done but has not been done, is the fault of BP, while failing to recognize the concentric interests of both 'BP' and 'BO', and failing to hold 'BO' accountable for a major share of all of it. Instead, you proceeded to articulate in clear measured language, the obscene symbiotic relationship between a reckless, greed-driven private corporation, and a President with extremely limited management skills, and a willingness to exploit the magnitude of the disaster to advance his political agenda. And I would add (in my opinion only): a President with a clinically obvious personality disorder, (according to the DSM IV: The Narcissistic Personality -- aka NPD), which prevents him from delegating critical responsibilities in times of crisis to those who's abilities to act decisively, might somehow eclipse or compromise his fantasy self-image.
I repeat: I'm a Republican who vehemently opposes the Politically Correct fascism which permeates the rhetoric and sophistry of the Democratic party line, and regard the strategic core of liberal dogma: "wage and benefit entitlement" to be the single greatest threat to the survival of this country in my lifetime (57 years). On the other hand, I am equally opposed to the obscenity of "Trickle Down Economics", which I regard as a euphemism for a more appropriate term: "Predatory Capitalism", which has provided the excuse for the Democratic party counter-argument, and perpetuated what amounts to an interchangeable, "Good-Cop, Bad-Cop" scam, fine-tuned by both the Republicans and the Democrats to keep more or less the same people in power for as long as possible, and guaranteeing their ability to plunder the assets of this country as long as there are any assets left to plunder.
So my question is simple: How can you know all you know, which demonstrates that you do indeed have the critical thinking skills and intellectual honesty to arrive at the conclusions you articulate so well, and still adopt the "Progressive/Liberal" label, and still be willing to allow the corrupt operators on the "left" to get away with their grotesque abuse of the public trust?
I believe there are indeed "Truths which are self-evident..." and that with thoughtful, honest discourse, the vast majority of us who are the object of exploitation by a corrupt few, should be able to form a consensus as to appropriate governance which prevents perpetual corruption from ruling this country. Unfortunately, partisan antipathy always seems to trump honest introspection, and a willingness to listen to those who's views (and entrenched interests) conflict with our own.
If this post gets your attention, I'd surely like to hear what you have to say about it.
Ted in Portland
The answer we all can agree on is real change.How do we effect this?We need more candidates like Alan Grayson,Al Franken, who do have a moral compass,and do know the Constitution.The primaries over, the focus is on this Fall's election, and working to force change thrru embarassing those who continue to be representatives of the crony capitalists, and phony patriots.That said, planning for the 2012 election should start now, with a serious effort to organize, find serious candidates that will represent the people.Stop the wars which bankrupt this country morally and financially.It can be done,it must be done, the future of us all depend on it, or the jerks will take this Republic down.They have shown they don't care.Both parties don't care.There are a few who do care, we must support them and find more like them.The people must get involved. focus their attention on the Republic, instead of sports, entertainment, or other distractions.Which is most important?
The previous commenters have made some telling points. I'm the same age as Cosmotopper (Ted) (though I live in Australia), and I feel that, like me, he would remember the natural sense of 'being in good hands' that arose from having Ike as the U.S. President. The quotes from Karl go to that point. Of course, Ike was human and fallible, as are all Presidents.
It's a little strange after all these years for the western world to have lost its light-on-the-hill leadership. I'm not going to interfere too much as someone from 'offshore' except to say that, as a long-time Americanophile, I followed the 2008 election closely and breathed a sigh of relief at the result. I can remember commentators saying things like 'The Republicans will be out of power for a generation', after the obvious disastrous failure of the neocon-led domestic and foreign policy agenda. I found an article at The Guardian from the time along those lines, when Colin Powell gave his endorsement to candidate Obama. It's here:
I can only say that the shambles that Pres. Obama inherited would likely take more than a few years to address (notwithstanding setbacks like the spill, the Afghan war situation, as well as the filibuster syndrome), and since it's clear that there is no change in the policies of the 'right' (indeed they seem to have doubled down on their strategies), what benefit would it be to reward them at the same time as punishing those who tried to clean up the mess?
A case of the least-worst option till a new generation comes through maybe?
Corporate America scares the Crap out of me.. Every single independent ,functioning entity that this country had ,has been bought out in a giant Corporate merger.. (Including our news media) It's clear as crystal for some of us but unfortunately most people get their information from "The Corporate Media Cartel".. The Sunday morning advertisements give it away.. The Media is owned by B.P., G.E., Exxon, Bank of America, Boeing, Monsanto, Pfizer, Ect Ect.. You know the culprits..It would be great to pass some meaningful legislation that banned the Corporate Drug Pushers and the Futile Militaristic Blood Lords that find it necessary to advertise to the American public... What are they trying to sell to me anyways?? An oil rig?? An F-15 fighter jet?? A "Clean Coal" generator?? A factory farmed grocery store?? or just some REALLY GOOD pill that makes me take my mind off of this Crap???
What should we do instead? Support a Republican like Bush? He and his administration did everything they could to destroy the middle class and help the wealthy. I think we had such high hopes for Barack Obama, and such low expectations for Bush, that we tend to be super critical of Obama. He obviously feels that he needs to cozy up to rightwingers and conservatives and corporations, since they are the ones in charge. And they can destroy him.
You think it's frustrating for you; imagine being a liberal.
Letter to the Editor: ‘Conservative’ voice of Ike’s worth hearing
Published: Wednesday, March 3, 2010
By KARL KOFOED
As a child I remember America’s romance with the our 34th president — “the man who beat Hitler” and staunchly led America and her allies to victory in World War II, ushering in the greatest age of prosperity known to man. His campaign buttons read, “I Like Ike.”
I still like Ike, who gave us, among many other things, the interstate highway system. He, too, was a president for “change.”
No president knew more about war and peace or held our Constitution and our founder’s dreams more dear. As an homage to Dwight David Eisenhower, let’s let his classically “conservative” voice speak:
* “Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible, and they are stupid.” - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nov. 8, 1954.
* “All of us have heard this term ‘preventive war’ since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time ... I don’t believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn’t even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.” — Dwight Eisenhower, in 1953, after being shown plans to launch a preventive war against the Soviet Union, as quoted by Jonathan Schell, in the Nation (March 3, 2003).
* “Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower.
* “I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower.
* “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite. It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Is it conservative to send American jobs to other nations, even to “communist” China, and to make America a debtor nation to them?
Is it conservative to let the voices of moneyed corporations speak louder than the needs of our people?
Is it conservative to choose war over diplomacy?
Can we be secure if we don’t have a manufacturing base or even make our own steel? How secure can a nation be if it relies on imports?
Today we can’t even make a cruise missile or a jet plane without Chinese parts.
Boy, do I feel secure thanks to our free market patriotic conservatives; who want profiteers to be middlemen between you and your health care but not a government of we the people.
Now that’s “change I can believe in” because it happened right before my eyes. Today I’m a Democrat because most of them still work for we the people and not corporate lobbyists who want to privatize everything and destroy our government.
Karl Kofoed is a resident of Drexel Hill, PA
(and a long time fan of the Thom Hartmann show which inspired this column) _KK