Nel's New Day

April 27, 2013

What’s Missing from Main-Stream Media, April 2013

While the main-stream media concentrates on the Boston bombing, here are a few items that they missed or slighted:

Mark Sanford: The former governor from South Carolina running for representative who said that he was hiking the Appalachian trail for five days while he visited his mistress in Argentina and trespassed in his ex-wife’s home after he was ordered not to do so had arrived at a new low. After the trespass was made public, he ran a full-page ad in the Charleston Post & Currier with his personal cell phone number, asking people to call him “if you have further questions.” A Democratic-aligned super PAC, House Majority PAC, included the number in a fundraising email. In retribution, Sanford published an unredacted list of all his callers’ phone numbers.

The candidate has become increasingly peculiar in his actions. Although he’s running against Elizabeth Colbert Busch, he had a debate with a full-size cardboard poster of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in Charleston. The image brings back the memories of Clint Eastwood and an empty chair at the GOP convention last summer.

Sanford debates poster

Colorado Voting Bill Mailer: Images caused problems for other conservatives, this time a group connected to Colorado’s Secretary of of State. The House has passed a voting bill to improve the state’s laws. It would allow people to register on Election Day, automatically send mail ballots to all voters, and stop fraud through a real-time voter database. Republican county clerks and Secretary of State Scott Gessler oppose the bill. Using the address of Gessler’s former firm, the “Citizens for Free and Fair Elections” have sent out political mailers using a purchased image.

Colorado mailer light skin

There is a change in the image, however, from the original. The dark-skinned face of a woman in the original photo by Mark Wilson (Getty Images) to show long voting lines in Montgomery County (VA) were in 2012 has been digitally replaced in the mailer with the photo of another woman who is much lighter skinned.

Getty dark skinn

Fox Latino friendlyFox News: In an attempt to appear “Latino friendly,” Fox News used a positive photograph featuring a Latina to illustrate its article headlined “‘Illegal Immigrant’ Dropped from Associated Press Stylebook.” Including quotes from racial justice organization The Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines.org, the article discussed the controversy referred to the term “illegal immigrant” as “controversial.”

But that was in Fox News Latino; FoxNews.com highlighted the story on its front page with a different photo and headline. The headline was switched to “AP Rules: Don’t Call Him an… ‘ILLEGAL?'”

fox Latino unfriendly

Later the headline was changed to “What’s in a Name? AP under Criticism for Nixing ‘Illegal Immigrant,'” but the photo stayed—just a bit smaller.

Mark Zuckerberg: Worth $13.1 billion following his creation of Facebook, Zuckerberg has agreed with the importance of changing from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. Now his new political group, which bills itself as a bipartisan entity dedicated to passing immigration reform, is spending big bucks on ads advocating anti-environmental causes including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and constructing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. It’s all in the name of business.

John-Mica_2-e1366991056439Washington, D.C.: The best piece of authoritarian patriarchy came last week from Rep. John Mica (R-FL). The topic was Washington, D.C., always at the mercy of Congressional whim, and its budget autonomy. Recently the city voted in favor of this by 85 percent. Unless both chambers of Congress pass a disapproval resolution which would then have to be signed by the president, the over 600,000 people in this city can decide how they spend the money that they pay into the city’s coffers.

Mica, a committee member who oversees the city’s budget, laughed at the vote and said:

“Well, when my kids were young teenagers, they always wanted budget autonomy too. But we always, you know, you allow them to go their own way, and if they get out of line, according to the Constitution, the Congress has the right to step in…As long as they are minding their P’s and Q’s, so to say, I think the government can back off. But we must remain vigilant.”

Pedro Ribeiro, Mayor Vincent Gray’s spokesman, responded to Mica, “Last time I checked, children don’t have a $6 billion local budget.”

Before he made this comment, Mica admitted the city’s finance management has vastly improved since the dissolution of a Congressional control board. After they took control of the House in 2010, the GOP tried to force the progressive district to outlaw abortion, reduce contraception access, sell more guns, block union membership, cut public transportation funds, and pay for private schools.

Washington, D.C., with almost the same population as North Dakota, has no representation in the Senate. Their one delegate in the House cannot vote on the floor. Its economy is larger than those of 14 states, and its residents pay $1.6 billion a year in federal taxes, more per capita than any state. Washington, D.C. is a prime example of taxation without representation that people fought to overturn almost 250 years ago.

Bangladesh Factory:  The most disastrous event of last week was the crumbling of the Rana Plaza building, housing a major Bangladeshi garment factory. Over 350 people have died, hundreds more are injured, and as many as 900 are still missing. This tragedy, the third in five months, is even worse than the fire at the Tazreen Fashion Factory last November that killed 112 garment workers.

The second-largest exporter of garments in the world, this country relies on garments for 80 percent of its exports. Duty free access offered by Western countries and low wages turned Bangladesh’s garment exports into a $19 billion a year industry. Sixty percent of the clothes go to Europe, 23 percent to the United States takes 23 percent, and another 5 percent to Canada. Gap, Walmart, and other retailers of cheap clothing have fought any reforms that could stop such disasters.

Bank employees in the building escaped the danger after a crack developed in the building because they were told to stay home the next day, but garment workers were ordered to return.

Two years ago, labor groups tried to get the factories and buyers to sign onto a plan that would establish independent inspections to replace the infrequent and often corrupt government inspections. Unsafe facilities could be shut down as part of legally binding contract signed by suppliers, customers, and unions. Companies would provide up to $500,000 per year to pay for the inspections.  All the companies—including Walmart, Gap, and Swedish clothing giant H&M—turned it down.

Walmart’s representative said it was “not financially feasible … to make such investments. Gap, which owns the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, said the company refused because it did not want to be vulnerable to lawsuits and did not want to pay factories more money to help with safety upgrades. H&M wants factories and local government to take on the responsibility.

After last year’s Tazreen blaze, the labor group tried again to get the independent inspector plan adopted, but the factories and the big brands would not agree. Siddiqur Rahman, former vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, denied the factories are responsible for killing the plan and blamed the buyers.

Companies claim that they do private audits. Those don’t work, according to a lobbyist for garment workers, because of their confidentiality. If a company pulls its business after safety problems, it won’t tell competitors who will continue to place orders which keeps the unsafe factory open.  Thus we continue to buy cheap and be complicit in killing hundreds of garment workers, almost all of them women.

January 24, 2012

State of the Union Speech

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:15 PM
Tags: , ,

January brings the president’s State of the Union speech. As I listened to the one tonight, I felt like standing and cheering—the way that the far-right does when they contemplate people dying because they don’t have insurance and when they hear the appalling statistics on how many people are legally killed in Texas because of the death penalty.

The first thing that made me sit up, however, was when I heard him say that women deserved equal pay for equal work. The most jarring thing about my response, however, was how surprised I was to hear it: it’s been a long time since anyone in power suggested this that I’d forgotten that it might be a possibility.

Writing for The Hill before the speech, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) criticized the Democrats because they had not tried to build the country’s infrastructure. Florida is one of the states that turned down $2 billion and its jobs for high-speed rail. He wrote about Democrats’ failure to authorize long-term aviation measures, yet Mica led the charge to prevent any aviation measures until union workers lost their rights.

He also passes along the myth that “Democrats controlled Congress.” Any control that Democrats might have, disappeared when Republicans demanded a 60-percent approval on any measure because of the huge number of filibusters by Republicans. Republicans are committed to stopping Democrats doing anything positive that people in this country would like because of their fear that it lessens the possibility that conservatives will get elected. They are willing to sell out the people of this country in order to get their own way.

According to Mica, the Republicans call the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act as a “jobs proposal.” He failed to mention that this act would open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling while forcing the Interior Department to issue commercial leases for oil shale development on public lands. The Republicans are willing to extort a plan to destroy the planet by claiming that this will be a “jobs plan.”

Mica also complained that the Democrats “tried to sell the $787 billion stimulus as a jobs creator.” He neglected to mention that the Republicans forced Congress to give half the money in this plan away without the objective of creating jobs except for these people spending it. He is also wrong: the Congressional Budget Office reported that the stimulus plan increased employment by up to 3.3 million people.

In his response, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels gave the standard tired Republican response of how wrong President Obama is to describe the country as a place of haves and have nots. He ignored the fact that almost half the people in this country are classified as low-income or poor while the vast majority of the wealth resides with the top 1 percent.

Instead of facts, Daniels talks about the United States as a “land of opportunity,” as he tries to destroy the middle class in his own state through creating a “right to work” law. Economic Policy Institute says that workers tend to earn $1500/yr less as a result, and I’m guessing that it’s much more than that in Daniels’ home state while he removes union rights through—you guessed it—big government at the same time that he criticizes President Obama for government control.

When considering tonight’s State of the Union speech and the responses—not only the one from Daniels but also the Tea Party responder, Herman Cain–think about these facts:

• Since the last SOTU, the economy has created 1.9 million private sector jobs.

• The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from about 9 percent in 1976.

• Private sector job creation under Obama in 2011 was larger than seven out of the eight years Bush was president.

• The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent.

• Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance.

• For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work.

• Last year, China spent 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure. The U.S. spent 2.5 percent.

• 2.65 million seniors saved an average of $569 on prescriptions last year thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

• Union membership is at a 70-year low.

• Unemployment benefits have lifted 3.2 million people out of poverty.

• The United States used to have the world’s largest percentage of college graduates. It is now #14.

• One quarter of all contributions to federal campaigns come from 0.01 percent of Americans.

• 47.8 percent of households that receive food stamps are working, because having a job is not enough to keep them out of poverty.

• In the last three years, 30 major corporations spent more on lobbying than they paid in taxes.

• 50 percent of U.S. workers make less than $26,364 per year.

• More than one in 70 faced home foreclosure last year.

• Since 1985, the federal tax rate for the 400 wealthiest Americans dropped from 29 percent to 18 percent.

Jen Bendery of Huffington Post writes: “Obama used Tuesday’s State of the Union address to lay out a vision of America in which everybody gets a fair shot at economic success and everybody–including “the wealthy”–plays by the same rules as the average citizen. Obama’s address, which comes in the midst of a rapidly escalating presidential campaign season, delivered a strong message about the need for social and economic equality and put forward a handful of new policy ideas targeting tax reform, college affordability and clean energy. But by and large, Obama’s third State of the Union was focused on proposals for boosting the economy and ensuring protections for the middle class.”

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily 60 Second News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

GLBT News

Official news outlet for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: