Saturday, March 31, 2012

George Zimmerman appears to be a liar who thinks the people are fools

by Claude Chaney



           The travesty of justice evidenced by the Trayvon Martin case is astounding. Alleged murderer George Zimmerman's defenders must think the public is stupid. Zimmerman claims he feared for his life when 1) He has the gun Trayvon Martin doesn't. 2) He is a 250lb adult male. Trayvon Martin was a 140lb adolescent. 3) During Trayvon Martin's last telephone call to his girfriend he stated someone was following him. 4) George Zimmerman claims his nose was bloodied and he wrestled with Martin in the grass, but when a video was taken of Zimmerman when he entered the police station there were no grass stains and no sign of a bloody nose. 5) Prior to the incident the police specifically told Zimmerman NOT to follow Trayvon Martin, yet he did so anyway. In spite of these facts George Zimmerman is a free man under the "Hold Your Ground" law that Florida and at least ten other states have. This case has the potential to damage the already fragile race relations in the United States at a time when a Black man is in the White House. The inaction of the police is encouraging other George Zimmermans to do similar heinous acts without fear of retribution. It is also setting the stage for vigilanteism. The black community of the United States has had to endure the decapitation of a black man in Texas, racist stop and frisk policies in New York City, where an innocent man Sean Bell was killed by the police just prior to his wedding day and Oscar Grant was shot to death by a white policeman when he was handcuffed. As if these incidents aren't humiliating enough John White, an African American father from Long Island had three white men demand that his son go outside for a possible physical confrontation. White in defense of his family was forced to kill one of the three trespassers with an unlicensed gun. He was immediately arrested and given a two to three year jail sentence. The governor at the time was another African-American, David Paterson who pardoned White. Because of the frequency of these incidents it is unreasonable to think that the Black community will not react. If the justice system continues to give the impression that their safety is somehow deemed insignificant. It is already alleged that the Black Panther Party has a bounty on George Zimmerman. The Attorney General Eric Holder has been slow to react on issues relevant to the black community but is very quick to rise to the defense of big corporations. Thirty states have passed
legislation that disenfranchises minorities, the elderly and college students and Holder has paid only lip-service but no concrete action.
     The tragedies of Travon Martin, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Troy Davis, Clifford Glover and others going all the way back to Emmet Till will be remembered with vitriol and with each new obimination there will be new vigilanteism. Every effort must be made to assure all U.S. citizens regardless of race, religion or sexual preference that the laws of this country are applied equally to all.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's a long way from Bunker Hill


By Michael Moore

Last night, on the 3rd anniversary of the start of the Wall Street Heist of 2008, I spoke at Bunker Hill Community College in the Charlestown section of Boston. It is not, to say the least, a wealthy neighborhood. It is roughscrabble and working class, a place where there are few magic doors that open to the Promised Land. (If you saw Ben Affleck's movie, "The Town," or the exceptional Broadway play this year, "Good People," then you have an idea of what the area is like.)

The college is, of course, named after one of the first battles of the American Revolution. And Charlestown looks like it could use a new Revolution these days. They, like so many millions in so many towns, have been sealed into a lockout of the American Dream. It is sad and scary to wander through it.

As I waited backstage for the college administrator to introduce me, he launched into something I, in all my years of speaking at hundreds of American colleges, have never witnessed. He began begging the crowd for money. Money for their student body's "Emergency Fund." The student body consists of many who are single parents and live below the poverty line. He didn't ask for tuition money or money for books. He begged the crowd for gas money. Babysitting money. Money to fix a car that's broken down, or for electricity that's been turned off. He listed all the things that cause a student to miss a class -- or drop out. Students (79% of them) who work near-minimum wage jobs AND try to be full time students at the same time. Community college is the only escape hatch they have, and even that is a crap shoot in this 21st century kleptocracy we live in.

He then told the crowd that he would hand out some envelopes and he asked them to put whatever they could in them.

Welcome to America! Where schools are turned into beggars as the rich on the other side of town post record profits and bonuses and the top corporations get away with paying no tax at all. I took the stage and began a 20 minute howl rejecting the America I just witnessed. A country that puts the education of its young dead last. DEAD LAST. A country that has purposefully abandoned the human right to an education in favor of sending millions of ignorant, uneducated, lost young people out into this world. This is no accident. Those in power cannot stay in power UNLESS the population they rule over are stupid and ignorant. To be smart is dangerous -- and they know that. If the ignorant were to know anything about civics (no longer taught in most schools), that could be nothing short of explosive. Because, if you are taught how to have a say, how to fight city hall, how to run for office and WIN -- well, look out, 'cause you will then have democratic change. The people who would make up a smart, educated majority would then start calling the shots. And we certainly don't want that because you know what those people from south Boston, from Toledo, from Pittsburgh, from Raleigh, from Flint are going to do? They're going to stop the wars. They're going to spend the money on their kids' schools, on their parents' health care, on laying down some railroad tracks so they can get from Chicago to Milwaukee in a half hour. That and dozens of other things that benefit the many, not the few.

So last night, I just couldn't take it, folks. I turned away from this Dickensian "alms for the poor" scene and screamed "Enough!" I asked how many in the audience had come from the "other" sections of Boston to be here tonight. About half the crowd raised its hand. I then asked them to please put as much as they could afford into those envelopes and I would match it, dollar for dollar. By the end of the night I think we raised about ten grand for the Bunker Hill Community College Student Emergency fund (and with my match, it became a total of $20,000).

And then I asked all who were in the arena to make a pledge with me to reject this vision of America that has been thrust upon us. Reject it, fight it, fix it -- and to fix it, it will require a rumble. But hey, I was in south Boston, and if there's anyone who knows how to rumble ...! What I asked for was a nonviolent rumble of citizen participation.

The crowd spontaneously got up and clapped and shouted. I asked them if they would raise a ruckus in the months to come. The crowd shouted yes. And I believe they will. Here comes trouble? Ha! The kleptocracy had better brace themselves. It won't be long before they wish that had been just a cute title on an overpriced book.

(Speaking of ruckus, tomorrow on Wall Street, many brave souls have declared their intention to occupy it with a tent city and turn it into an American Tahir Square. They will be crushed within minutes. But they won't be the last ones to rise up. You can only foreclose on so many millions of homes, bankrupt just so many millions of the former middle class, and deny just so many millions access to health care (59 million now go without insurance at least part of year and Harvard Medical School researchers estimate that 44,000 died this year because they couldn't afford to go to the doctor or hospital.))


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Demand Limbaugh advertisers to stop supporting misogyny

Since we started our campaign, several major advertisers have pulled their support from the Rush Limbaugh Show,1 the most popular commercial radio show in the country and a key piece of the rightwing message machine. The backlash has been so great that even after doubling down in defense of his reprehensible comments, Limbaugh was forced to issue a rare -- and totally insufficient -- apology stating "my choice of words was not the best."2

Rush Limbaugh is clearly feeling the pressure of our activism. But his so-called apology isn't nearly enough. After his long history of being supported by advertisers while making offensive and irresponsible statements, he shouldn't get yet another chance. This should be the last straw.

He still retains major national advertisers who continue to fund his misogynistic rants. We need your help to build on our momentum and deal Republicans a major setback in their war against women.

Tell Rush Limbaugh's advertisers: Stop Supporting Rush Limbaugh's attacks on women.



When Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown Law School student, testified before Congress to protest rightwing attacks to limit women's access to birth control, Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut" and a "prostitute."

Here's what Limbaugh actually said:



"What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute... She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception."3


Unfortunately, what Rush Limbaugh says matters. He has a bigger audience than any other commercial radio host in the country, and what he talks about on air has the power to drive the Republican agenda -- an agenda that is already obsessed with radical backslides of womens' ability to protect their own health.4

Tell Rush Limbaugh's advertisers: Stop Supporting Rush Limbaugh's attacks on women.

Sandra Fluke testimony before Congress included important points about why access to affordable birth control is so crucial, including the story of a friend who had lost an ovary because she couldn't afford the birth control needed to manage her ovarian cysts.

Rush's unforgivable translation of that was "slut" and "prostitute." Sandra Fluke rightly has called Rush Limbaugh's comments "an attack on all women."5 We agree.

Every American enjoys the right to free speech, but that doesn't mean that advertisers who are accountable to their customers should pay people like Rush Limbaugh who make such appallingly hateful and sexist comments.

Rush's remaining advertisers need to hear from us loud and clear -- if you advertise on Rush Limbaugh, you are supporting his reprehensible attacks on women.

Tell Rush Limbaugh's advertisers: Stop Supporting Rush Limbaugh's attacks on women

In the fight against the Susan G. Komen Foundation we proved that when women and the men who support them fight back against those who would restrict women's access to healthcare, we can win. And MSNBC's recent firing of commentator Pat Buchanan after a campaign protesting his white supremacist rhetoric shows that there will be consequences when certain lines are crossed.

Rush Limbaugh has a long history of hateful rhetoric. But with his comments this week, Rush Limbaugh has crossed the line at a moment when women, and the men who believe in equal rights for women, are more organized than ever and are ready to fight back.

Tell Rush Limbaugh's advertisers: Stop Supporting Rush Limbaugh's attacks on women.

We will not let the rightwing take away women's access to birth control. We will not let Republicans brand women who assert their right to health care as "sluts" and "prostitutes."

Thank you for joining CREDO in taking action to stop the escalating attacks on women and hold Rush Limbaugh and the Republican message machine accountable.

1According to ABC, LegalZoom, Quicken Loans and Sleep Number along with West Coast ad buyer The Sleep Train have pulled ads from the Rush Limbaugh Show. Some Sponsors Rush Away From Limbaugh's Show, ABC News, March 3, 2012
2Limbaugh Sorry for Attack on Student in Birth Control Furor, New York Times, March 3, 2012
3Rush Limbaugh calls law student a 'slut' for wanting contraception to be covered by health insurance at religious institutions, New York Daily News, March 1, 2012
4"List of most-listened-to radio programs," Wikipedia.
5Rush Limbaugh calls law student a 'slut' for wanting contraception to be covered by health insurance at religious institutions, New York Daily News, March 1, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Oppresor Only Understands Green

In these crucial times it is important that we realize that many corporations get a huge part of their business from minorities, specifically blacks and hispanics, yet seldom do they advocate in behalf of their most loyal customers. This is something that has to change. The Montgomery bus boycott proved that the best way to soften the heart of a bigot is through his (or her) wallet. What would happen if blacks decided not to go to Florida's Disney World as a reaction to the murder of Trayvon Martin? Blacks do not realize their collective economic strength, which could be used to bring about a substantial change...a sleeping giant may one day awaken.
Eye opening info

A dear friend took the time to forward this information to me. Regardless of your political affiliation, as a community of consumers this should be a part of our purchasing decisions. Please share with others. THANKS

Political Donations and where to spend your money?
Political DONATIONS This gives us something to think about...

Shopping

Price Club/Costco donated $225K, 99% went to Democrats

Rite Aid donated $517K, 60% went to Democrats

Magla Products (Stanley tools, Mr. Clean) donated $22K, 100% went to Democrats

Warnaco (undergarments) donated $55K, 73% went to Democrats

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia donated $153K, 99% went to Democrats

Estee Lauder donated $448K, 95% went to Democrats

Guess, Inc. donated $145K, 98% went to Democrats

Calvin Klein donated $78K, 100% went to Democrats

Liz Claiborne, Inc. donated $34K, 97% went to Democrats

Levi Straus donated $26K, 97% went to Democrats

Olan Mills donated $175K, 99% went to Democrats

WalMart donated $467K, 97% went to Republicans

K-Mart donated $524K, 86% went to Republicans

Home Depot donated $298K, 89% went to Republicans

Target donated $226K, 70% went to Republicans

Circuit City Stores donated $261K, 95% went to Republicans

3M Co. donated $281K, 87% went to Republicans

Hallmark Cards donated $319K, 92% went to Republicans

Amway donated $391K, 100% Republicans

Kohler Co. (plumbing fixtures) donated $283K, 100% Republicans

B.F. Goodrich (tires) donated $215K, 97% went to Republicans

Proctor & Gamble donated $243K, 79% went to Republicans


Spirits

Southern Wine & Spirits donated $213K, 73% went to Democrats

Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons (incl. beverage business + considerable media interests) donated $2M+, 67% went to Democrats

Gallo Winery donated $337K, 95% went to Democrats

Coors & Budweiser donated $174K, 92% went to Republicans

Brown-Forman Corp. (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Korbel wines - as well as Lenox China, Dansk, Gorham Silver)donated $644 K -- 80% went to Republicans


Hungry?

Sonic Corporation donated $83K, 98% went to Democrats

Triarc Companies (Arby's, T.J. Cinnamon's, Pasta Connections)donated $112K, 96% went to Democrats

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. (chicken) donated $366K, 100% went to Republicans

Outback Steakhouse donated $641K, 95% went to Republicans

Tricon Global Restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) donated $133K, 87% went to Republicans
Brinker International (Maggiano's, Brinker Cafe, Chili's, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, Crazymel's, Corner Baker, EatZis) donated $242K, 83% went to Republicans

Waffle House donated $279K, 100% went to Republicans

McDonald's Corp. donated $197K, 86% went to Republicans

Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Bahama Breeze) donated $121K, 89% went to Republicans

Heinz Republicans $64,000 Democrats $21,300 !!!!! John Kerry's wife's company!!!

Traveling and/or dining

Hyatt Corporation donated $187K of which 80% went to Democrats

Marriott International $323K, 81% went to Republicans

Holiday Inns donated $38K, 71% went to Republicans

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Message From The Parents of Trayvon Martin

On February 26, our son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's home from a convenience store where he had just bought some candy. He was only 17 years-old.

Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman, admitted to police that he shot Trayvon in the chest. Zimmerman, the community's self appointed "neighborhood watch leader," called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Travyon, a young black man, walking from the store. But Zimmerman still hasn't been charged for murdering our son.

Trayvon was our hero. At the age 9, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life. He loved sports and horseback riding. At only 17 he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. Now that’s all gone.

When Zimmerman reported Trayvon to the police, they told him not to confront him. But he did anyway. All we know about what happened next is that our 17 year-old son, who was completely unarmed, was shot and killed.

It's been nearly two weeks and the Sanford Police have refused to arrest George Zimmerman. In their public statements, they even go so far as to stand up for the killer - saying he's "a college grad" who took a class in criminal justice.

Please join us in calling on Norman Wolfinger, Florida's 18th District State's Attorney, to investigate my son's murder and prosecute George Zimmerman for the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin.

Republican Majority: A Thing Of The Past in Wisconsin

Thanks to the unrelenting pressure of activists like you, Scott Walker has now lost the Republican majority in the Wisconsin state senate.

This morning it was announced that state Sen. Pam Galloway, one of the four Republican state senators facing recall, will resign her seat. Since Democrats had already winnowed the Republican majority to 17-16 with their two recall victories last summer, this now makes the Wisconsin state senate a 16-16 tie.

The recall election against Galloway will still move forward, although her name will not appear on the ballot. Republicans will nominate a different candidate, while state Rep. Donna Seidel, who was already challenging Galloway in the recall election, will be the Democratic candidate.

If we act fast, we can give Seidel a big head start in this election, and make sure Scott Walker never has a Republican majority to work with again.

Please, chip in $6 to Donna Seidel on Act Blue.

Keep fighting,
Chris Bowers
Campaign Director, Daily Kos

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Is Right-Wing Radio Dying?

Is Right-Wing Talk Dying?
Feb 9, 2011 5:39 AM EST
by John Avlon



Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh are losing fans in a key market. John Avlon on why listeners and station managers are sick of anti-Obama tirades—and who bucks the trend.

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Here’s another sign that the tide might be turning against the Wingnuts— Glenn Beck’s TV ratings are down 50 percent and major market radio stations are dropping him.

That’s not all—a look at radio ratings shows that hyper-partisan talk has been declining or flat-lining between ‘09 and ‘10, despite the intensity of the election year. There’s a demand for something different—smart, un-predictable, non-partisan news is gaining market share because it stands out from the pack. And leading industry analysts say there is a market for more independent voices.

“There are a lot of program directors whose radio ‘spider-sense’ is tingling,” says Randall Bloomquist, a long-time radio executive and president of Talk Frontier Media. “They're thinking ‘this conservative thing is kind of running its course. We're saying the same things from morning 'til night and yes, we've got a very loyal core audience—but if we ever want to grow, if we want to expand, we've got to be doing more than 18 hours a day of ‘Obama is a socialist.’”

A look at radio’s PPM ratings for the largest talk radio market in the nation bears this out. An apples-to-apples comparison of ratings between November ’09 and November ’10 in the New York area shows that Rush Limbaugh’s ratings on WABC declined from 5.4 to 5.0—despite the crescendo of a GOP election year landslide. Likewise, year-end to year-end comparisons of the crucial 24 to 55 demographic show that Rush declined from 3.7 to 2.6—while his packaged follow-up acts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin narrowly declined and flat-lined, respectively. And Hannity was dropped from his Philadelphia radio station along with Beck last month after being dropped from his syndicator in Salt Lake City (!) last year before finding a new home in the area.

PPM is the new method of gauging radio market share that registers actual radio waves instead of relying on the very analog process of filing out forms that allowed fans to essentially ‘vote’ for their favorite radio hosts rather than mark what they were actually listening to—what Randall Bloomquist refers to as ‘the emperor has no clothes’ impact of PPM.

Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images; AP Photo



• Conservatives Invade Washington

• CBS Wants More Katie Couric“I will tell you that a very senior talk radio executive, somebody with responsibility for a large number of talk radio stations, expressed to me just this week his concern that talk radio as we know it could be largely gone in five years and the reason for that is, just plain and simple, the aging demographics of the format,” explains Bloomquist. “Depending on who you talk to, the median age for talk radio is somewhere between 52 and, and, and 63, and it's just going up… for the most part political talk, particularly ideological political talk of any stripe, appeals to old people.”



Rush is an industry legend and the experts attest that despite his declining ratings in New York, he will continue to be a major, if irreplaceable, force in talk radio. But the larger trends are clear—backed up with both ratings and demographic data.

There is a striking contrast to this trend— The John Batchelor Show. Full, disclosure, I am a frequent guest on the show and co-host Monday nights—but the numbers are objective. Between Mark Levin’s early evening lead-in and Batchelor’s 9 p.m.-to-1 a.m. ET slot, the overall numbers double. In the 24 to 55 demographic they increase almost three-fold, from Levin’s 2.5 to Batchelor’s 8.3 at year-end—No. 1 in that demographic and timeslot. This is not a subtle shift—it is a decisive vote that elevates Batchelor ( a contributor to The Daily Beast) to first in his time-slot with content that offers not partisan talking points but professional insights from journalists posted around the world.

This seems to me analogous to the success of the Economist magazine at a time of generally declining magazine fortunes—people will seek out unique analysis and opinions that stand out from the pack. They will pay for the value-added of ahead-of-the-curve insight. Partisan news is the pack these days and its predictability provides no unique value to consumers. Batchelor’s show gives in-depth analysis that acknowledges the wider world from Afghanistan to China to India and Iraq. This is depth and breadth is unmatched in any other medium, even in the city never sleeps, and it is gaining pick-up stations in major markets across the nation.

“Personally, I think that there's a great vacuum out there for non-partisan objective political commentary,” said Michael Harrison of Talkers Magazine. “I think it'd be good for the industry and it has to be good for the country.”

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

An Open Letter To Republicans

Dear Republicans... and in particular those running for the GOP nomination, as well as congressmen and senators like Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Roy Blunt, Marco Rubio and countless others. I just want to say, in this era of unprecedented political invective and vitriol, that I appreciate and respect you. I also want you to know that I am extremely thankful for your existence, and feel blessed by your consistency and predictability. I say all that because you guys have literally handed the White House on a silver platter to President Obama for another four years. And maybe even control of the House again too.



Who would have thought, just a few short months ago, that Obama would be out measuring drapes again. The economy, while clearly in a solid recovery to those who obsess over leading economic indicators, still appears fragile to most Americans. We still have high unemployment, record high fuel prices, a depressed housing market, weak manufacturing and way too many foreclosures, defaults and bankruptcies. A perfect storm making this year's elections ripe for the GOP picking, you say? The table couldn't have been better for you guys if Martha Stewart had set it herself.


So how do you Republicans respond? The first thing you do is turn your presidential nomination process into a circus complete with unqualified clowns like Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich dominating the three rings. And then you let these bozos turn Mitt Romney, a generally decent, historically moderate guy, into a "severe conservative" in his rapacious hunger to win. What you did was say to voters, "We obviously don't take this election seriously, so why should you?"


Then, if that wasn't enough, while everyone wants to hear about what you'll do to fix the economy and create jobs, you guys go off on a non-stop tangent over religion, gay marriage, abortion and contraception. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you people!? You never learn. You simply can't help yourselves, can you? As your car is once again careening off a cliff you're still screaming about the evil of birth control and sex. This from a party with myriad mistresses and sensational sex scandals. I'm so confused. You guys clearly love sex. It just seems like you want to stop the rest of us from having it.



Lastly, just when it seems you could do no more to destroy your chances of winning in November you go ahead and let your spiritual leader Rush Limbaugh make outrageously misogynistic remarks -- comments that attack an entire gender and offend all thinking people -- with relative impunity. Not one of you running for president repudiates or condemns these despicable slurs or makes any attempt to distance yourself from this vile sexist pig. It's as if you're all happy that he's saying all the nasty crap you guys really wanna say yourself but can't.



So again I say, thank you. No, wait. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Because one mere thank you isn't enough. You guys and your radical extremist social views are the gift that keeps on giving. So keep it up! Keep all the God, gays and sex stuff coming. We love it.



Signed,
A Very Grateful Democrat