Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Media's Anti-Obama Bias

Anyone reading the press over the past few years with the slightest interest in discerning the way in which the events and outcomes are framed cannot help but notice the hostility towards the current President of the United States. We can argue about the reasons why this may be the case, but that it's the case is beyond dispute.

An analysis focused on the tone of news coverage of the GOP primary for president examined the treatment of the different candidates, finding that Rick Perry received the most favorable treatment of the candidates, while Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty received the least favorable. (The study took place while Perry was the front runner.) For comparative purposes, the analysis included Barack Obama, and surprise, surprise:

One man running for president has suffered the most unrelentingly negative
treatment of all, the study found: Barack Obama. Though covered largely as president rather than a candidate, negative assessments of Obama have outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-1. Those assessments of the president have also been substantially more negative than positive every one of the 23 weeks studied. And in no week during these five months was more than 10% of the coverage about the president positive in tone.

At least someone noticed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who's Funding Whom?


The New York Times notes the following in its coverage of the latest FEC reports for the 2012 presidential election.

Mitt Romney's $18.4 million dwarfs all of his primary challengers, with the next closest candidates (Paul and Pawlenty) at $4.5 M. All fall short of Obama's $46 M war chest, but more far more interesting than the total funds raised are the nature of the contributions themselves.


We've been treated to ample assertions about class warfare, which is probably a good thing, since most metrics (take your pick) show it's been happening since the 1980s and started in earnest with Bush's election in 2000.

Half of the contributions for President Obama are less than $200. For those contributing to Mitt Romney, 70% are the maximum legal limit.

The reader does realize that this is small change compared to the now unregulated billions in PAC electioneering unleashed by the Supreme Court, but it's enough to make it all too clear who is behind whom.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Occupy Why?

It's Personal: Corporate profits are at an all-time high, but corporations are paying lower taxes than ever before. Some aren't paying any at all...Executive pay is now about five times higher than it was in 1980, adjusted for inflation. The average salary for the rank-and-file American worker, however, is about the same as it was in 1980.

Increased Support: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told CBS News, "They are basically sending us a message that says, 'Don't create a society where one percent basically has all the wealth.'"

Occupy Wall St Quiz: Who said each of the following? (Answers at the link.)

1. I for one am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country.
2. I think it expresses the frustration the American people feel.
3. They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess, and they’re dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington. And at some level, I can’t blame them.
4. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!
5. We are the 1 percent.
6. God bless them for their spontaneity. It’s young, it’s spontaneous, it’s focused and it’s going to be effective.
7. This is like the Tea Party — only it’s real. By the time this is over, it will make the Tea Party look like … a tea party.
8. I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare.
9. What they’re trying to do is take away the jobs of people working in the city, take away the tax base that we have.
10. I’m very, very understanding of where they’re coming from.

By the way, care to venture a guess as to the income and net worth of those voicing criticisms of this "mob"?

Consider that this is just beginning and will get interesting.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Fox News Distorts Occupy Wall St. Information

Fox News and others have jumped on an individual's Proposed List of Demands posted at the Occupy Wall Street Website as if it were the finalized, official document of an organization. It is not.

They are ideas submitted by a single individual, Lloyd J Hart, whose name and phone number appear at the bottom of his list. Another individual has also posted a Demand and Action List for Congress to be considered by others associating themselves with the movement.

Of course the corporate controlled media will subtly or not so subtly place its slant on the events as they unfold. We can anticipate that Fox News, which has no problem doctoring photographs and editing videos to mislead its viewers, will present the most glaring distortions.

I have already encountered individuals who think Occupy Wall St. is calling for completely open borders, a mandatory minimum wage of $20, and the forgiveness of all debt.

This is going to get ugly.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

99 and 1

The 99% and 1% distinction currently deployed by the escalating Occupy Wall Street demonstrations offers a compelling and easily understood concept that has the makings to gain considerable traction.

First, let's note that the 99% and the 1% can refer to two separate financial measures, wealth and income. One could argue that the two are so closely related that either measure points to the same realities.

Starting with income distribution, to get straight with some of the figures, the Wealth and Want Website has sound statistics regarding the facts of income distribution in the United States including links to additional references allowing one to dive as deep as desired into the data.

As they list there, summarizing for the key 8 groups:

P0-89 (bottom 90%)
9/10 households — income below $104,696

P90-100 (top 10%)
1/10 households — income above $104,696

P90-95 (next 5%)
1/20 households — income between $104,696 and $148,423

P95-99 (next 4%)
4/100 households — income between $148,423 and $382,593

P99-100 (top 1%)
1/100 households — income above $382,593

P99.5-100 (top 0.5%)
1/200 households — income above $597,584

P99.9-100 (top 0.1%)
1/1,000 households — income above $1,898,200

P99.99-100 (top .01%)
1/10,000 households — income above $10,659,283

Putting the above into some simple sentences, you are in the 1% club for income if you gross over $382,593 per year in 2006 dollars, or $430,000 in 2011 dollars.

Make less than $430,000 / year, and you are in the 99% group.

When examining wealth, the inequality is far worse, with the richest 20% owning over 4/5 (84%) of EVERYTHING. The richest 1% own almost half the country, and we wonder why they control everything, including our media, and virtually run the country to serve their own interests.

One of the ways they do this is to dramatically understate and effectively obfuscate the reality of poverty and its existence in the United States. The national psyche simply does not get how poor we are. Andrew Price at Good Politics wrote Americans Are Horribly Misinformed About Who Has Money last month.

Helping illuminate the situation is an excellent paper, Building a Better America One Quintile at a Time [PDF], by Michael I. Norton (Harvard Business School) and Dan Ariely (Duke University).

Price in his post notes that the nation is becoming a a plutocracy.


We're already there.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

American Spring

This was unanimously voted on by all members of Occupy Wall Street last night, around 8pm, Sept 29. It is our first official document for release. We have three more underway, that will likely be released in the upcoming days: 1) A declaration of demands. 2) Principles of Solidarity 3) Documentation on how to form your own Direct Democracy Occupation Group. This is a living document. you can receive an official press copy of the latest version by emailing c2anycga@gmail.com.

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!