Friday, May 1, 2009

The Art of Telling Part of the Truth

Scott, CPR, PropagandaRick Scott, a man of many controversies, is looking out for personal choice in U.S. healthcare. Then again, to Scott, personal choice is a matter of personal profit -- his own. (Image: YouTube) Scott was a healthcare executive until 2001, when he was forced out during a scandal in which his company looted money from the Medicare system. Recently, Scott released several TV commercials promoting private healthcare -- I was compelled to write about a recent spot aired by his group.

Let's be clear, Rick Scott is very much associated with the Neo-Conservative movement. He owned the Texas Rangers during the early 1990s in partnership with George W. Bush. If that doesn't convince you of his alignment, take a look at this:

There is no choice in public healthcare? The government controls life and death?I guess I missed the memo when the government told me who my doctor was going to be. I don't know about you guys, but I feel safer with the government controlling life and death than an insurance company trying to squeeze a profit.

It's shocking that this type of advertisement will convince some people that the rest of the G8 is wrong and the U.S. is right. I found that some of his other commercials sound like good-old-fashion Red baiting. Someone needs to stand up to this stupidity and put an end to the lies.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flu Pandemic Preparedness Part of Budgeting Cuts

Stimulus, Flu, RepublicansPreparing for a flu pandemic was part of the original stimulus plan but was deemed "extravagant" spending by Republicans and was dropped during the efforts to gain votes. That sure could have come in handy, couldn't it have? (Image: CNN) So, clearly it's not as simple as the article featured on The Huffington Post makes it sound. Surely no one could have saw this outbreak coming. Why should it have been stimulus?

It's actually pretty simple, but for different reasons that the mindless right-bashing efforts of the article on The Huffington Post. The flu money shouldn't have been in the stimulus because it was the right thing to do, but because it actually was important stimulus.

How was this stimulus? It would have maintained demand for flu vaccines and in effect prevent a shortage in supply as well as a drop in production. Because there was no stimulus, production levels of the vaccines are low because of the lack of demand during the recession. If the department that handles this was adequately funded, through funding such as the stimulus, there would be both a stockpile to start the pandemic control efforts and the vaccine manufacturers could have ramped up production sooner.

I'll leave you with an amusing video included in the article on The Huffington Post:


Monday, April 27, 2009

Public Health Emergency, No Health and Human Services Secretary

HHS, Flu, AbortionWhy is it that President Obama hasn't filled the top spot of the government agency responsible for handling an outbreak such as the recent threat posed by swine flu? Well, it isn't because Obama hasn't nominated someone. (Image: The Huffington Post) The nomination of Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services Secretary -- following the failed nomination of Tom Daschle -- has been on hold. The Republicans in the Senate have been filibustering the nomination, refusing to allow the nomination to go to vote. Why?

Well, if you were expecting a fresh new reason, you'll be disappointed. The reason there is no Health and Human Services Secretary during the middle of a public health emergency is because she supports abortion. To be more specific, the Republicans believe she supports "late-term" abortion and takes money from abortion doctors.

Now, neither of these claims is more than a matter of talking points. Sebelius received donations to her campaigns totaling about $12,000 over 7 years and about double that to her political action committee later from said abortion doctors. This is not a very big number for a politician in America, especially over such a span of time. The late-term abortion claims enter muddy water over certain comments and different interpretations, but she is certainly a pro-choice politician.

Fortunately, several moderate GOP members are likely to vote to move forward with a vote on Tuesday in spite of hard-liners like Mitch McConnell who doesn't see how the flu outbreak factors in to the need for an HHS Secretary. Many expect Sebelius to be confirmed in spite of the "same old issues" causing partisan bickering and stone-walling by the GOP.

Assuming that this goes through, the HHS department has 14 other top spots vacant. Hopefully the same shenanigans don't continue to disrupt a time of genuine need.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fox "Investigations" Strike Again

O'Reilly, GE, DarknessThe last investigation by Fox News that I covered was the stalking of Think Progress reporter Amanda Terkel. O'Reilly summed up that stunt by placing the blame of MSNBC as the heart of evil -- naturally, this investigation went right into the heart of darkness. (Image: YouTube) The network O'Reilly hates with such a passion is a division of NBC, which is owned by General Electric (GE). At the recent GE shareholders' meeting was our good friend and stalker from the last investigation, Jesse Watters.

Here's a video from The O'Reilly Factor in which Bill introduced the work of Watters:

I want to just highlight one part of this clip (at the end):

"This is obviously a major story, when a powerful corporation, which controls a major part of the American media, may be using its power and the airwaves to influence politics in order to make money from government contracts. That kind of corruption would make Watergate look small."

While I disagree with everything said in this segment, I want to highlight those two points to address the larger issue. The first bolded segment speaks to the general hypocrisy of Fox News in this situation. Fox uses its power to influence politics in order to make money from a variety of sources. They draw a huge audience to sell to advertisers, and, of course, they all have a bit fatter of wallets when their guy wins and lowers taxes.

The second point I find more funny than anything else. I think true party-line conservatives associated with the Republican Party are still hung up on Nixon. Why? Because of this:

Nixon, 1972, win
This graphic comes by way of RealClearPolitics. The die-hard Republicans can't accept that their golden boy was caught in his web of lies. Discussing this "evil" at MSNBC is ridiculous -- especially to compare it to the term synonymous with political corruption. What's this all about? Was it supposed to link Obama to the heart of evil? Is Fox the only news organization allowed to have an open bias? Are the rich shareholders of GE that afraid of a left slant? Do they want another Fox News? Madness.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Texas Talking About Succession

Texas, Succession, TeaSince the extreme side of the Republican Party showed its face in the not-so-grassroots Tea Parties, Texas has been in the News. It started last weekend with the sirens on Drudge, and moved into the mainstream media during the week. (Image: Flickr) I honestly can't quite understand what's going on here. It seems to me that this tea party movement is causing some serious hysteria; but are the same forces behind succession talk?

Personally, I don't think corporate lobbyists that are funding the Tea Parties want Texas to leave the United States. There's no money to be had from that. Running these "grassroot protests" could potentially lower their taxes though. Then again, maybe working up a bunch of people into hysteria over tax in general after it was just cut isn't working out so well. Not the most friendly audience are forming.

The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, made these comments at one of the tax day Tea Parties:

That's quite interesting. Texas is managing its budget great. Oil demand will never fall. Despite these comments by Perry, Ron Paul insists that no one is talking about leaving the union seriously (he must have skipped that clip). He argues that succession is allowable and something we should support:

This type of insanity needs to stop. Or maybe not. Maybe a split of America would be better for everyone. The Bush family could continue to run Texas and any state that joins it and every voted to the north could continue to elect leaders like Obama. We'll see where this one goes...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Bit Of Background On The Handshake Controversy

Obama, Chavez, CNBCToday I was desperately avoiding studying, so I stumbled around the internet until I ended up on the Huffington Post. Huffington has a headline article discussing how a CNBC anchor viewed the situation. (Image: Media Matters) I should give some background on CNBC. Besides being destroyed by the comedy-news-media as of late, CNBC has a rich history of slant and bias that is a distant second to Fox News.

Being a financial news channel, CNBC would naturally have a slant to the Right because of fiscal policy. However, more and more often, CNBC hosts are becoming social commentators aligned with the Neo-Conservatve movement -- replacing traditional conservative fiscal ideals with domestic and international fear mongering.

I want to share with you two clips that will provide the media context to which I was replying in my last post. The first clip is from Fox News; it covers the original argument that shaking hands with seemingly-faux-democratically-elected "dictators" is blasphemous.

Did anyone else notice his complete incompetence in explaining the difference between shaking hands and discussing? Does he think Obama would have provoked better conversation if he refused to shake hands and be polite? Moving along to the CNBC clip that shows an equally conflicted point-of-view:

So, Obama shakes hands like a Boyz N the Hood gangster? Also, it's more effective foreign policy to talk to friends and ignore anyone who isn't a friend? I thought we just tried that. This is exactly what I was talking about last post, the controversy makes no sense at all.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama Too Nice To Chavez? Nope.

Obama, ChavezThe President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is infamous in American politics for referring to former President Bush as the devil during a speech to the United Nations. Earlier this week at the Summit of the Americas, Chavez shook President Obama's hand and gave him a book. (Image: The Huffington Post) Apparently, Obama's acceptance of the gift and willingness to shake Chavez's hand has caused a controversy. According to right-wing pundits, it is an endorsement of Chavez by Obama.

However, today a new video, discovered today by the LA Times originating from a Venezuelan news agency, depicts a different story. As described by the Times, Obama first moves to walk away from Chavez, but Chavez insists on talking. Obama proceeds to talk over Chavez and "point his finger several times at Chavez's chest."

Here's the video, by way of the LA Times:

So, is Obama still soft on Chavez? Looks to me like he was pretty direct and authoritative. But, being a liberal-minded blogger, I can't judge the quality of foreign relations efforts. I mean, it is after all the Democrats' fault that the world hates the U.S. ...