Category Archives: Media

Rep. Martha McSally supports Trump’s tax cuts for Plutocrats plan

Our Representative Martha McSally continues to stand by her man Donald Trump, and has adopted his socioparthy for lying about taxes.

The Arizona Daily Star published a report that is no doubt stenography from a McSally press release, wherein the only “news” made is that McSally supports Trump’s tax plan (which is actually an outline that has not yet been written into a bill). McSally: Trump’s tax proposal would help local businesses, middle class:

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally signaled her support Tuesday for President Trump’s tax proposal, saying it represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to simplify the country’s tax codes.

But … she stressed the proposal is still in the most nascent of stages as lawmakers wrestle with core concepts.

So once again McSally supports a bill not even knowing what is in it because the GOP leadership has only one issue that truly matters to it and to its campaign donors, massive tax cuts for their Plutocrat masters. “Let’s get thisfucking thing done!”

She outlined her goals for tax reform, saying she wants to help the middle class with tax cuts, help small businesses grow, simplify the entire tax code and reset the tax code so that the United States can compete globally for new and growing businesses.

Well, this may be her goals, but they are not the goals of the GOP leadership nor her man, Donald Trump. The tax proposals discussed to date would achieve none of McSally’s asserted goals. So by supporting this “nascent” bill that would not accomplish anything she claims to want, McSally’s actual goals must be something else, i.e., being a loyal servant to her Plutocrat masters who contribute big bucks to her campaign.

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The role of social media propaganda in the rise of the Oligarchy

Jonathan Taplin, Director Emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, writes at the Political Animal blog, Why The 1 Percent Needs Google and Facebook:

When Charles Koch founded the Cato Institute in 1974, his mission (in words from Cato’s journal) was “protecting capitalism from government.” That meant the end of public education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as cutting taxes on the rich and government regulations on business. It was a tall order—but now, for the first time in 44 years, Koch and his billionaire libertarian friends [now rivals] Robert Mercer and Peter Thiel are within sight of their goal of building a true oligarchy (Aristotle’s “rule by the rich”). The current Trump tax cut will deliver billions of dollars into the pockets of the Kochs, the Mercers, the Trumps, and their heirs. Creating a political economy in which the wealthy minority rule over the middle and lower class majority is a hard task. It requires mechanisms that suppress voting and mechanisms for propaganda that convince middle class voters that cultural divisions are more important than economic equality. In both these tasks, Google and Facebook have been a key to the success of the 1 percent.

The role of the internet in propaganda and voter suppression is a two-pronged attack. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World foresaw our current dilemma—Huxley’s assertion was that technology would lead to passivity. The ease with which we could consume mind-numbing entertainment and distractions would ultimately rot our democracy [as bread and circuses did to the Roman Empire]. And this is exactly what may be happening. In the 2016 presidential election, 94 million citizens who were eligible to vote declined to exercise that privilege (compared to the 136 million who voted), according to the United States Election Project. And a much larger percentage of millennials are nonvoters. As Kevin Drum reported in Mother Jones, “In 1967 there was very little difference between the youngest and oldest voters. By 1987 a gap had opened up, and by 2014 that gap had become a chasm.” Beyond the extreme apathy, Republican legislatures in many states have instituted far more restrictive voter ID laws, which have also contributed to lower voting rates. But Steve Bannon wasn’t content to leave voter suppression to chance. One of his brilliant moves was to circulate memes on Facebook targeting only African American voters with the text: “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators.” By all accounts it was a successful voter suppression strategy.

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Follow the money: Robert and Rebekah Mercer

There has been a substantial amount of reporting in the past week or so on Stephen Bannon, the white nationalist crypto-fascist editor of Breitbart News and Trump adviserand his war on the GOP establishment.  At the entirely misappropriately named Values Voter Summit, Bannon declares ‘war’ on GOP establishment. He told Fox News’ propagandist Sean Hannity earlier in the week that he was declaring “war” on the Republican establishment.

The media mythologizing Bannon as the alt-right Svengali to Donald Trump is misplaced. Bannon would be “Stephen who?,” a political nobody, but for the “wingnut welfare” (the lavishly-funded ecosystem of right-wing billionaire-financed think tanks and media outlets) financial backing of far-right extremist billionaires Robert and Rebekah Mercer. Some say Bannon is their Svengali.

When the media focuses on the vicious barking dog, they ignore the owner holding the dog’s leash to the peril of the country. When the media reports on Stephen Bannon, it has an obligation to also report on Robert and Rebekkah Mercer in the same breath, exposing them to the bright light of public scrutiny that they seek to avoid.

Jane Mayer of the New Yorker did a deep-dive investigative report into The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency back in March (excerpts):

People who know [Robert Mercer] say that he is painfully awkward socially, and rarely speaks. “He can barely look you in the eye when he talks,” an acquaintance said. “It’s probably helpful to be highly introverted when getting lost in code, but in politics you have to talk to people, in order to find out how the real world works.” In 2010, when the Wall Street Journal wrote about Mercer assuming a top role at Renaissance, he issued a terse statement: “I’m happy going through my life without saying anything to anybody.” According to the paper, he once told a colleague that he preferred the company of cats to humans.
Several people who have worked with Mercer believe that, despite his oddities, he has had surprising success in aligning the Republican Party, and consequently America, with his personal beliefs, and is now uniquely positioned to exert influence over the Trump Administration.

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The Plutocrat civil war for control of the GOP

There has been much reporting this past week about a GOP civil war. But this is really a civil war between the wealthy Plutocrat donors of the GOP over which one of them will control the party. It is a case study in how money — especially dark money — has corrupted our political system. This is what the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and its progeny have wrought.

Stephen Bannon of Breibart News,and two of his longtime benefactors, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, are putting together a political coalition designed to ensure that the victory of a Republican insurgent in the Alabama senate primary this past week was just the beginning of the surprises that await the party establishment. The New York Times reports,  Alabama Victory Provides Blueprint for New Bannon Alliance:

Mr. Bannon brings to the effort the political and promotional skills he showed as President Trump’s chief strategist and advocate for populist stances on issues like immigration and trade. His benefactors, the billionaire hedge fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, bring wealth and their own proven anti-establishment streak.

The obstacles Mr. Bannon and the Mercers face are formidable: the well-funded resistance of mainstream Republicans; a shortage of viable anti-establishment candidates like Roy Moore, the victor in Tuesday’s Alabama Republican Senate primary; an absence of political infrastructure for supporting them; and their own reputations for not always following through on big political plans.

But the Bannon-Mercer alliance is likely to be a potent factor in widening the divisions laid bare by the Alabama race and the intraparty battles that have crippled the Republican agenda in Congress. It could put Mr. Bannon and the Mercers on a collision course with not just the Republican establishment but with other donor-driven political organizations, including the one built by the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch — and potentially with Mr. Trump.

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Puerto Rico is Trump’s ‘Katrina’ moment

The great and powerful Oz “Dear Leader” is off the rails again this morning, pissed that everyone is not bowing down before his magnificence and greatness and praising him with superlative adulations.

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Talking Points Memo reports Trump Attacks Critics Of Puerto Rico Aid Effort: ‘Politically Motivated Ingrates’:

President Donald Trump on Sunday renewed his attacks on “politically motivated ingrates” he claimed failed to recognize the United States’ relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

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Trump on Saturday blasted San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, whom he accused of “poor leadership ability,” as well as “others in Puerto Rico” who Trump claimed “want everything to be done for them.”

“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” he tweeted.

On Saturday, she tweeted, “The goal is one: saving lives. This is the time to show our “true colors”. We cannot be distracted by anything else.”

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Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico begs for help: ‘We are dying here’ (Updated)

Our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief continues to focus on his administration’s “reviews” of its response to the humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, complaining that the press is insufficiently adulatory of “Dear Leader,”  while at the same time shifting blame for the inadequate relief response to the island citizens themselves.

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Dear Leader’s never-ending need for self-congratulation and adulation permeates his entire administration, including Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Secretary, who said Thursday the relief effort on the island is “a good news story” with necessary supplies being delivered and federal agencies working hard to distribute those goods.

Wow, was that ever tone-deaf and not at all reflective of the actual situation on the ground. Acting secretary Duke was forced to “clarify” and to walk back her misguided statement today. After criticism, acting homeland security chief admits humanitarian situation in Puerto Rico ‘is not satisfactory.

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulín Cruz, when told of Duke’s statement, was at first incredulous and then got angry. Video.

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