Rush Limbaugh

Romney Says the American People Want Fewer Cops

Of all the greed-inspired plutocratic nonsense offered by the current Republican party, this particular strategy seems particularly shortsighted.

The behind the scenes puppet masters like the Kochs, Dick Armey and Sheldon Adelson are building a house of cards.

Mitt Romney isn’t as savvy as those guys. When Romney comes out and says things like “he (Obama) says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people” it is like sounding an alarm for the majority of Americans who can’t afford private school for their kids and body guards for themselves.

Eventually the American people are going to stop and say, “wait a second…firemen, policemen and teachers are a good idea. We need the services they provide.” Eventually the police are going to join the angry mob (possibly soon after they have been laid off and have joined the ranks of the unemployed).

Given that Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh are pretty fat and probably can’t run very fast, when the the angry pitchfork wielding mobs come for them, they might very well wish there were more policemen out there to protect them (and their assets).

Maybe as he watches has many houses being burned down it might occur to Mitt that encouraging his wealthy friends to pay a little more in taxes and preserve the stability of society wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

The Reality of U.S. Corporate Tax Rates: Not Actually the Highest in the World

If you listen to Rush Limbaugh or watch Fox News you are well-versed in the fact that the United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. On face value that is true. Rush and Fox News are correct that Ireland, Switzerland, and Bermuda have corporate tax rates of 12.5%, 8.5%, and 0%, respectively. Our corporate tax rate is 35%.

Rush and Fox News tell us this is bad for the corporate elite. They blame President Obama for creating a “hostile business environment” with these excessive corporate tax rates. They tell the average American his or her economic interests are aligned with the corporate elite. While at this time I am somewhat underwhelmed with President Obama’s overall job performance, neither of those things are true.

This is a screen shot from a discussion board on Sean Hannity's website. Maybe Mark Dido should read my blog.

What Rush and Fox News exclude from their analysis is the fact that the richest U.S. corporations employ a small army of lobbyists and lawyers who have successfully lobbied congress to create tax breaks, shelters, and loopholes that ensure they pay nothing close to 35%.

Apparently, like retail, paying the full corporate tax rate is for suckers. These companies can afford to hire ex-IRS employees and recruit former authors of congressional tax code. Think of it like Blackwater for accountants and tax attorneys.

Bill O'Reilly: Obama "wants to tax the rich" but not GE because former CEO is "Buddies" with Obama. (March 25, 2011)

Fox News is certainly aware of this practice. They  have repeatedly attacked General Electric, the parent company of their media rival MSNBC, for paying “no taxes” in 2010. Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and the brain trust on Fox and Friends have consistently framed this an attack on President Obama, insinuating GE is somehow exempt from Obama’s “shakedown” of the rich.

However, Fox News’ own parent company, News Corp, has a similar strategic approach to the corporate tax code. In fact, News Corp is one of many multi-national corporations that has made billions in profits while incurring no tax liability. Zero. And they are not alone. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Valero, Conoco Philips, Bank of America, Citicorp, Boeing, and Goldman Sachs are all on that list.

In the 1950s, 30% of federal revenue came from corporate taxes. In 2010, this was down to 9%. Yet corporate profits are at a record high. According to the Week, “When measured as a percentage of GDP, corporate taxes are lower in the U.S. (2.1%) than in most of the 33 other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.”

So in spite of what Rush Limbaugh and Fox News would have you believe, having a high “corporate tax rate” does not necessarily mean corporations pay high taxes. With tax burden at record lows and profits at record highs Obama’s hostility to business must be looking pretty good.

This isn’t about “left and right” or “Fox News vs. MSNBC.” This is about who can afford the Blackwater accountants and who can’t. Who can buy political influence and who can’t. In fact, here is an opinion piece on Fox with some suggestions for how to reform the tax code to make it fair and mutually beneficial.

(My next post will look at a second myth consistently propagated by Rush and Fox News; the repatriation holiday and its phantom benefits to average Americans).


Ground Zero Imam: America an Accessory to 9/11?

This "concern" stems from the fear that all Muslims are secret terrorists.

Every time I turn on the TV or read the paper I see evidence of the rising tide of Islamophobia. The national discussion is being driven by the disinformation. I hope that in the end America is better than this–but combing through the demagoguery is no easy task–especially for those of us with jobs and responsibilities.

Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, are Sufi Muslims. Sufis are moderate. Women are modern and not required to cover their heads. has published a detailed report on Feisal Abdul Rauf and the Ground Zero mosque controversy. I highly recommend it to anyone who has not closely followed this story.

One of the cornerstones of the disinformation campaign is the now famous 60 Minutes interview, where Feisal Abdul Rauf said America was an accessory to 9/11. This quote is offered as evidence of Rauf’s deep- seated anti-American sentiments and thus as justification for opposition to his Park51 project.

In that same interview Rauf also said that “fanaticism and terrorism have no place in Islam,” and that “there is no justification” for the attacks of 9/11 from an Islamic perspective.

You won’t catch Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh or anyone on Fox News talking about that part of the interview. Of course there is a good chance they have never bothered to watch the whole thing.

But much like there is a difference between building a mosque and a cultural center and building it on Ground Zero and near Ground Zero, there is a difference between saying American foreign policy was an accessory to 9/11 and saying 9/11 was justified.

Besides he is right. American foreign policy was an accessory to 9/11.

Reagan's CIA used the Mujahideen to fight the Soviets in the 1980's.

In the 1980’s Osama Bin Laden and his supporters were recruited and paid nearly $4 billion by Ronald Reagan’s CIA and the Saudi Arabian government  to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Recently Hillary Clinton acknowledged that we funded the people we are now fighting; the people who are actually aligned with the perpetrators of 9/11.

Maybe you are only allowed to say that aloud if you are white–or at the very least not a Muslim.

Fox News and the right-wing blogosphere are attempting to revise history and offer an “alternate theory of the crime.” Without denying that we funded  Mujahideen–who then turned on us–they claim we funded “other” Afghan fighters, not necessarily Bin Laden. While it is nice to see they are capable of nuance when it suits them, this does seem a bit like splitting hairs.

Initiated by George W. Bush, the deal closed under President Obama sending $60 billion worth of advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia represents the largest foreign arms sale in U.S. history.

Whether you chose to buy their revisionist history or not, the fact is the U.S. has long been a strong supporter of the Saudi Royal Family–up to and including the $60 billion in high-tech weaponry we just sold them.

Bin Laden is a mortal enemy of the Saudi Royal Family, and has long sought to overthrow them.

A foreign policy that involved supporting the Saudi government made us a target of Al Qaeda, and thus American foreign policy was an accessory to 9/11.

Feisal Abdul Rauf published this editorial in response to Sarah Palin’s now famous tweet. Read it for yourself and decide whether this man is a secretly anti-America.

We believe that people of good faith can use the common core of their religions to find solutions to problems that will let them live together. The genius of America has been to overcome fear and bigotry against newcomers with different religions to welcome the energy of the immigrant. I am confident that will happen again.

Sadly I do not share Imam Rauf’s confidence, but I am not yet ready to cede America to the Sarah Palin’s of the world.

Arguing With Palin Supporters: The Quest for Intellectual Honesty

Does charisma create its own reality?

Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” But the loudest conservative voices in the current political landscape, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and their supporters are actively working to obliterate the concept of factual truth from our national discourse.

They seem to believe history can be rewritten and facts can be changed to support the “truth” they want when the truth that “is” does not suit their narrative.

The reaction to the Shirley Sherrod story has provided more evidence of the tendency by some Palin supporters to ignore or revise facts.  One Pro-Palin Facebook group has a thread about Sherrod. The initial post, written by a Palin detractor, described the manipulative manner in which Fox News reported the story. As the thread unfolded the Palin supporters attempted to revise the facts, and used these revised facts to defend their opinions about the reliability of the reporting on Fox News.

The initial post said: “A day after firing Shirley Sherrod for statements Fox News and Breitbart distorted and used to portray her as a racist, Tom Vilsack apologized and offered her a new job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

Palin Supporter #1 (Chris): Who on FOX ran the edited version of the story BEFORE Sherrod was fired ?

Response (with evidence): The better question is who didn’t?
See Fox News coverage of the Sherrod story here.

The original story has been removed. But in an article that is still up on Fox News, Fox stated that Sherrod’s resignation followed the original story.

But Chris stuck to his original false premise: FOX aired it AFTER Sherrod was fired. It was the Obama Administration that jumped the gun, not FOX.

Response: This is completely wrong. It is simply factually incorrect.

Breitbart posted the story on Big The linked to the “edited” video on and said, “ is seeking a response from both the NAACP and the USDA.

Chris was invited to visit a website that had a time line complete with screen shots and other photographic evidence.

At that point Chris disappeared, not to be heard from again in this thread. However, Palin Supporter #2, Kevin, chimed in to support Chris.

Kevin: Fox ran the video after Maobama had her fired. Then when the fecal matter hit the rotary cooling blades they had Vilsak fall on his sword for him. Nobody on the planet disputes that except Media Manipulators.

(Kevin is a regular poster to this group, and he adheres to the elementary school belief system that calling the other side stupid names lends weight to his argument.)

Palin Supporter #3 (Bill): Thanks, Kevin! I think Breitbart is a genius…although the discussion has shifted to Fox News practices, the fact remains that when the left handers don’t like something they attempt to shut you up by yelling “racist”. This is exactly why we need Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann active on our political scene.”

Bill later lamented the presence of intellectual dishonesty in politics today. Yet it is interesting that is exactly what he practiced when presented with evidence that disproved his assertion. Later in the thread he stated that Sarah Palin is our savior from intellectual dishonesty.

I think Bill is half right. Intellectual dishonesty is a problem. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne recently asked, “Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid?” And if we don’t all start paying attention we may very well end up living in a country where truth is determined by who shouts the loudest, Sarah Palin is President, and E.J. Dionne gets his answer.

Obama Takes Heat for Following Ronald Reagan’s NASA Outreach

Fox News and Rush Limbaugh took Obama to task for directing NASA to “reach out” to the Muslim world.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden said this in an interview with al-Jazeera:

“Before I became the NASA administrator he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math. He wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”

It seems that Rush and Fox News are banking on the fact their viewers will not have a working knowledge of how Ronald Reagan also understood the strategic value of using NASA to build relations with other countries. Or they have forgotten that they love Ronald Reagan.

Obama’s suggestion for NASA outreach in the Muslim world is not a new idea. Reagan used NASA to “reach out” to the Soviet Union in the 1980’s during the great Space Race. Not unlike many of their attacks on President Obama, this latest salvo from the right wing media requires a combination of selective memory and ignorance on the part of their audience. Has the audience forgotten that Reagan did the same thing? Do they not know?

Reagan effectively used NASA to reach out to the Soviets during the Cold War to improve diplomatic relations. In 1984 the Senate called for the renewal of U.S./Soviet cooperation in space exploration. Far from saying “Outreach is not NASA’s job,” Reagan signed the resolution saying, “We can find there are yet undiscovered avenues where American and Soviet citizens can cooperate fruitfully for the benefit of mankind in science and technology we can launch new joint space ventures.”

When Reagan and Gorbachev met in 1985 to discuss arms control, they also signed an agreement on scientific cooperation. This cooperation was symbolic of the improving relations that helped end the Cold War.

Rush and the scholars at Fox News have researchers, and no doubt willfully ignored the fact that Obama was following in Reagan’s footsteps because they saw an opening to criticize him.