Thursday, May 01, 2008


Bill O'Reilly Continues To Lie About His "Humble" Roots


Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has long maintained that he came from humble, working-class roots.

In his interview Wednesday with Hillary Clinton, O'Reilly once again displayed his "I'm just a regular working stiff" persona and reminded viewers that he grew up in Levittown, a working-class suburb of New York City.

Indeed, O'Reilly's bio on the Fox News Web site continues to claim that O'Reilly came from "from humble beginnings" and that he "lived in a modest house with his father, mother and sister in the Westbury section of Levittown."

"You don't come from any lower than I came from on an economic scale," O'Reilly once claimed.

Indeed, in his interview with Clinton, O'Reilly regularly trotted out the phrase "the folks," as though he knows what's on the minds of ordinary working-class Americans. It's a gimmick often used by Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush, as well. Which is ironic, because all three men are immensely wealthy. For example, O'Reilly makes an eye-popping $9 million a year.

O'Reilly has previously pointed out that his father, who retired in 1978, never made more than $35,000 a year. It's a misleading and dishonest claim though that this made the O'Reilly family's circumstances "humble." As the media watch group FAIR has pointed out, O'Reilly's father's income is actually equivalent to over $90,000 today in inflation-adjusted dollars.

And as Media Matters has noted, the median income for a U.S. household today is $48,451. Which means O'Reilly's father earned almost double the nation's household median income. Hardly "working-class."

Of course, O'Reilly is hardly alone among millionaire media celebrities in being clueless about the lives of real ordinary working Americans these days. After all, during a Jan. 5 Democratic debate ABC's Charlie Gibson claimed that families making $200,000 a year are "middle-class."

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Iraq War Foes Should Take Heart: Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire Win Isn't End Of the World


In a shocker that all the highly paid political pundits missed by a mile, Hillary Clinton achieved a stunning upset in New Hampshire's Democratic primary Tuesday night.

To my fellow progressives: I'd like to remind everyone, Clinton's win is not the end of the world.

Don't get me wrong: Clinton is a sorry corporate sell-out and she did vote for the fiasco in Iraq. And if I had it my way, Michael Moore would be our next president (with Al Franken as vice president).

But let's be real, people: after eight horrifying years of George W. Bush in the White House, ANYONE new will be an improvement by a trillion light years. Hell, I'd even welcome back Dick Nixon with open arms, if it meant getting Bush out of the White House.

To the anti-war base on the Left, I say this: take heart. Sure, it'd be nice to have a strongly outspoken anti-war candidate in the White House, like John Edwards.

But look at it this way: the Iraq fiasco simply can't drag on much longer, no matter what our corrupt politicians in Washington want. The fact is, America is a bankrupt nation, with the biggest deficits of any country in history.

America can only "afford" the Iraq War's eye-popping $12 billion/month cost because China and Japan are loaning us the money. But it's unsustainable. History has shown time and again that bankrupt empires must eventually stop their wars of conquest.

Let's look at the bright side of things, people. One of the things I would enjoy the most about having Hillary Clinton in the White House is that it would drive the nutcase right-wing absolutely batshit.

Can you imagine the likes of Rush OxyMoron and that crazy Nazi nutcase Mark Levin in the aftermath of a Clinton victory? That alone would make a Clinton victory a pure pleasure.

I've heard some pundits argue that the GOP would really secretly prefer Hillary, if they had to have a Dem in the White House, simply because she's so pro-corporate and business-friendly. But these pundits are over-estimating the wisdom and depth of the Republicans. Talk to a wingnut sometime: these people really do despise Hillary with every fiber of their being.

And let's face it, we're not really ever going to get significant change in our rotten-to-the-core, corrupt political system, outside of armed revolt. When the People's Revolution comes, I'll be waiting on the barricades, ready to fight, along with millions of other fed-up working-class people. Until then, though, at least I can enjoy the spectacle of seeing the wingnuts have a heart attack over having Hillary in the White House.

At the end of the day, what's the most important lesson Dems can take from New Hampshire? It's this: nothing is set in stone in the 2008 election. I see too many Democrats who seem smug about re-taking the White House in 2008, simply because Bush has been such a disaster for America. But New Hampshire ought to show all of us that anything can happen and that nothing should be taken for granted in 2008.

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Friday, January 04, 2008


Iowa Shows How Iraq War Support Remains Toxic For Candidates


To hear George W. Bush and the right-wing noise machine tell it, one might be under the impression that the Iraq War has turned from a disaster to a major success story in the past few months.

But make no mistake: the American people aren't buying this spin---and support for the Iraq War remains toxic for any candidate seeking the White House.

Barack Obama, one of the few candidates who has opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, rolled to victory in the Iowa caucuses. (Note that polls show that Iowa Democrats still consider the war in Iraq the top issue facing the country).

Obama's success shows that the American public simply isn't buying the White House's recent desperate spin of the Iraq War as a "success story." And it shows that candidates who don't distance themselves from the Iraq fiasco severely diminish their hopes for the White House.

It's this toxic association with the war which continues to haunt former Dem front-runner Hillary Clinton, who voted to authorize the invasion and has never apologized for doing so.

In recent months, the mainstream media, including The New York Times, has worked overtime, trying to depict a turn-around in the Iraq War.

But the American people clearly aren't buying it. Bush's approval ratings remain in the toilet. And although one can find plenty of fault with Obama's anti-war credentials, they were clearly enough to power his victory in Iowa over Clinton's mighty, well-funded campaign machine.

On the GOP side, the public's weariness with the Iraq fiasco is apparent as well. Ron Paul is clearly picking up steam and his campaign earnings this quarter amounted to an incredible $19.5 million, possibly the largest haul among GOP candidates. It's quite remarkable for for a candidate who is more sharply critical of the Iraq War than any other White House hopeful.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Hillary Has Returned Hsu Money; When Will Bush Return Enron Cash?


So Hillary Clinton has decided to return donations linked to disgraced fundraiser Norman Hsu.

OK, good: that was the right thing to do.

And while we're on the topic of campaign donations, I have a question for the Republicans.

When will George W. Bush return the $1.14 million that his campaign received from Enron?

You remember Enron, don't you? It was only the most evil corporation in the history of American capitalism (and that's really saying something).

And while it's unclear exactly what Hsu ever got for his efforts to raise money for Clinton, it's quite clear what Enron got in return for the cash it gave Bush.

For a start, Enron got a seat at the table to meet in secret with Dick Cheney to help plan the country's energy policies. Bush also went to bat for Enron and fought against federal price caps that allowed Enron to price-gouge millions of energy customers in California, a fiasco that nearly bankrupted that state. As a result, Enron reported increased revenues of almost $70 billion from the previous year.

As Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) put it, "senior Enron executives were enriching themselves at the same time that Enron was lavishing large campaign contributions on President Bush and the Republican Party and apparently influencing the administration's energy policies."

The whole sordid Bush/Enron saga is way too sweeping and complex to go into detail here. But suffice it to say, the entire rotten mess towers over the nickel-dime, chump-change Norman Hsu affair.

And, unlike the Hsu case (which was quite limited in its impact), the Enron affair ultimately was very costly to millions of ordinary Americans. These ranged from shell-shocked California energy customers to thousands of screwed Enron employees, who were forced to invest their retirement plans in company stock that plunged in value even as top executives were raking in millions by cashing in their shares when Enron stock was at its peak.

The MSM held Clinton's feet to the fire until she decided to return the Hsu donations. Now, will the pundits demand that Bush return the $1.14 million that his campaign got from Enron?

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Friday, June 22, 2007


Violent Rhetoric About The Clintons Falls On Deaf Ears At Secret Service---But Watch What You Say About Bush


Right-wing nutcase Michael Graham's latest controversy---in which he said he wanted to see someone "whack" the Clintons in a Sopranos spoof isn't the first time he's used violent rhetoric when discussing the Clintons. In 2003, Graham said of Hillary Clinton: "I wanted to bludgeon her with a tire iron."

Such inflammatory language is nothing new for the right-wing. Recall how Ann Coulter once wrote that the debate over Bill Clinton should be about "whether to impeach or assassinate."

Recall also the comment by Jesse Helms in 1994: "Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He'd better have a bodyguard."

Or G. Gordon Liddy's comment in 1995, when discussing how he'd used stick figures of the Clintons for target practice. "Thought it might improve my aim," he said.

I guess the right-wing nutcases excuse the above inflammatory comments as "humor."

The problem is, the Secret Service isn't an organization known for its sense of humor.

What's baffling is that right-wing nutcases can continue to use violent inflammatory language when discussing the Clintons and face no repercussions.

But when you talk about George W. Bush these days, you really need to watch what you say. Or else, you're going to get a visit from the Secret Service.

Case in point:

In September 2005, a North Carolina high school teacher assigned her senior civics and economics class "to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights."

One of her students took a photo of Bush and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb's down sign with his own hand next to Bush's picture, which he photographed and pasted onto a poster.

The student took his film to a local Wal-Mart to be processed. The Wal-Mart promptly called the police, who turned the matter over to the Secret Service.

On Sept. 20, 2005, two Secret Service agents showed up at the high school and confiscated the poster and interrogated the teacher. At the end of the meeting, they told her the incident "would be interpreted by the U.S. attorney, who would decide whether the student could be indicted."

Although no further action was taken in this particular case by the Secret Service, I find it interesting how an innocent student project about the Bill of Rights could spur such a frightening and intimidating visit from the Secret Service.

And meanwhile, right-wing nutcases continue to use the nation's airwaves to spew violent rhetoric about the Clintons, which apparently falls on deaf ears at the Secret Service.

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Friday, December 29, 2006


The Real Reason Republicans Hate Hillary Clinton


Trying to fathom the various hatreds of the Republicans these days is always a tricky exercise.

After all, these are people who despise saintly figures like Jimmy Carter. How, exactly, does one go about hating someone like Carter? It's like hating Mother Teresa.

The wingnuts also despise decorated war heroes like John Kerry, John Murtha and Max Cleland. I've never understood how soldiers who fought and bled for their country could be the target of such venom from anyone, either on the Right or the Left.

But it's always been a complete mystery to me why the Republicans would hate someone like Hillary Clinton.

Surely it's clear to anyone outside of the Rush-listening, knuckle-dragging base of the GOP that Hillary is hardly an extreme liberal. In fact, she's quite moderate.

Despite what the likes of Fox News would have us believe, Hillary is a business-friendly politician who is hardly the champion of worker's rights. In short, she's not much of a progressive.

In fact, Hillary's 2002 vote in favor of using military force against Iraq and her pandering on the flag-burning issue have been enough to distance her from a number of progressives.

Liberal columnist Molly Ivins, for example, famously declared last January that she would not support Hillary for president.

The mainstream media hasn't helped things over the years when reporting on exactly what it is that Hillary stands for.

Indeed, the MSM continues to insist on calling Hillary a "divisive" figure.

Presumably, in giving her this label, the MSM is referring to the rabid GOP nutcases who are consumed with hatred for Hillary. What's interesting about all this is that the MSM hasn't stuck a similar label on George W. Bush---even though no president has ever done more to divide the country (and alienate the world from America).

Frankly, the mainstream media has done a lousy job of reporting on Hillary Clinton over the years. And nowhere is this more evident that the lies and misinformation that it spread about the 1993 Clinton health care plan.

The MSM went out of its way to try to scare the American public about Clinton's health care proposal. As a result of the media's misinformation, most Americans were under the impression that the plan called for some kind of scary, Communist-style government takeover of the entire U.S. health case system. This is a misconception that exists to this day.

In fact, the Task Force on National Health Care Reform (which Hillary headed) called for no such thing. It didn't even call for a Canadian-style single-payer plan. In fact, it left the nation's health care system firmly in the hands of the private sector.

The MSM's inability to convey even this basic, fundamental fact about Clinton's health care plan, of course, played right into the GOP's hands as they fought fiercely against the plan. I suspect we'll see a great deal more of this MSM misinformation about Hillary should she pursue the presidency.

Which brings me back to my original question: why, exactly does Hillary inspire such foaming-at-the-mouth hatred from the GOP these days? It sure as hell isn't because Hillary is some sort of FDR-style progressive.

It's clear that the real reason the Republicans hate Hillary is that they simply can't stand strong-willed women.

Let's face it: such "uppity" women frighten the Republicans. It's not that the GOP necessarily despise women in general---it's just that the right-wingers want women to stay in their place in society.

Republicans, of course, would strongly deny that this is the case. They'd protest that they're not hostile to women and, as "proof" would offer up examples like Bush's appointment of Condoleezza Rice, as well as the various female GOP politicians and leaders in America.

However, Republicans know damn well that a significant part of their base supports "traditional family values"---which is simply code for keeping women in their place as docile, cookie-baking homemakers.

It's important to remember that for all of the boasting that our nation does about being some sort of "beacon" of human rights, the fact is, today's America still harbors tens of millions of bigots, whose views on race and gender haven't changed much in the past 100 years.

And what party do you think these bigots vote for? It sure as hell ain't the Democrats.

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"Every generation needs a new revolution."
-----Thomas Jefferson