Saturday, July 9, 2016

How the GOP Continues to Exist

This is a DailyKOS article which MeanMesa would like for all blog visitors to read. Although it was written several months ago, it has everything to do with the 2016 election outcome. Enjoy.

The Most Important Article
 You'll Read Today About The Democratic Party.

Saturday Nov 21, 2015
[All links remain enabled. Visit the original article  here The Democratic Party/DailyKOS]
Where can we find enough Republicans to keep the government crippled?
The old Confederacy now has a "Western" and a Northern" Branch.

Ever wonder why all those folks in rural, “red” America still vote in droves for the same Republicans who brag about gutting the very social programs keeping them alive? How someone like Matt Bevin can run a winning campaign in Kentucky based on cutting people’s access to affordable health care? How Republican governors can get away with refusing free Medicaid for their own citizens? Every election it seems that Democrats end up shaking their heads in dismay as yet another mean-spirited red-state Republican manages to defeat the Democrat by essentially promising to make his own constituents’ lives more miserable. Afterwards we all intone the familiar refrain which boils down to “these people don’t know any better.” If only the Democrats had a more effective “message” on the issues, we could surely reach those people who by all strands of logic ought to vote blue, and convince them that Republicans don’t have their interests at heart.

In one of the more insightful articles ever written about what motivates the rural poor to vote Republican, Alec MacGillis, who covers politics for ProPublica, took a tour through deep red America, asking the same questions. In an Op-Ed for today’s New York Times, MacGillis explains that it’s not all about guns and abortion that drives people in economically-depressed areas to vote Republican. In fact it’s something very basic to human nature, which the GOP exploits at every turn. And Democrats ignore it at their peril.

MacGillis’ first observation is that many people living in the nations’ more downtrodden areas—and specifically, the ones who benefit the most from programs such as Medicaid and Social Security Disability— are completely disconnected from the political process. They simply choose not to vote. Visiting a free medical clinic in Tennessee, MacGillis asked the people lined up how they felt about Obama. Contrary to his expectations he didn’t encounter hostility, Many people expressed support for the President. But practically none of them had bothered to vote:

[T]he people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.

West Virginia, for example, ranked 50th out of all the states in voter turnout in 2012. Other states near the bottom in terms of turnout include Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee, largely rural states that have significant populations of poor people, including large percentages of working-class whites.

Of course, the resulting vacuum left by huge swaths of Americans who don’t vote at all ensures that elections in these downtrodden areas will be won by those who do. Why, then, are the folks who choose to vote in these locales so overwhelmingly predisposed to vote Republican? MacGillis finds that the operative motivation is a strong sense of resentment among those who are just getting by towards those who have completely fallen off the economic grid:

The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.

In his article MacGillis cites many specific examples of how this resentment operates in practice:

[T]hese voters are consciously opting against a Democratic economic agenda that they see as bad for them and good for other people — specifically, those undeserving benefit-recipients who live nearby.

I’ve heard variations on this theme all over the country: people railing against the guy across the street who is collecting disability payments but is well enough to go fishing, the families using their food assistance to indulge in steaks. In Pineville, W.Va., in the state’s deeply depressed southern end, I watched in 2013 as a discussion with Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, quickly turned from gun control to the area’s reliance on government benefits, its high rate of opiate addiction, and whether people on assistance should be tested for drugs. Playing to the room, Senator Manchin declared, “If you’re on a public check, you should be subjected to a random check.”

The belief that those who receive government assistance are somehow “undeserving” and “getting a free ride” is not only a phenomenon of rural areas, but is borne out in surveys nationwide.

That pattern is right in line with surveys, which show a decades-long decline in support for redistributive policies and an increase in conservatism in the electorate even as inequality worsens. There has been aparticularly sharp drop in support for redistribution among older Americans, who perhaps see it as a threat to their own Social Security and Medicare. Meanwhile, researchers such as Kathryn Edin, of Johns Hopkins University, found a tendency by many Americans in the second lowest quintile of the income ladder — the working or lower-middle class — to dissociate themselves from those at the bottom, where many once resided. “There’s this virulent social distancing — suddenly, you’re a worker and anyone who is not a worker is a bad person,” said Professor Edin. “They’re playing to the middle fifth and saying, ‘I’m not those people.’ ”

The unfortunate human tendency to think yourself as better than your ”undeserving” neighbor is what drives these people, even as their own lives are diminished by the very policies they vote to impose on others. To call this a vicious circle would be an understatement. Republican politicians thrive on and exploit these very real resentments, which are not by any means limited to “red” states. That’s how people like Paul Le Page can be elected governor on an anti-welfare platform in relatively “liberal” states like Maine, where reliance on social programs, particular in rural areas, has increased. Meanwhile, those at the top of the economic ladder become more and more aggressive in securing all of the wealth for themselves, while the poor are played off against one another. Democrats can call it out for the ugliness that it surely is, but it is a reality seized upon in every Republican pronouncement from immigration to taxes. If you can get people to think they’re somehow being taken advantage of by an undeserving “other” (especially if that “other” is a different color than they are), you can motivate them to vote any way you want.

There are no easy answers for Democrats to deal with and change these attitudes. The most obvious solution—getting people to actually vote-- has become more difficult, particularly with the decline of unions, Democrats’ traditional mechanism for mobilizing voters. There is also an obvious and intractable racial component driving this “politics of envy” that MacGillis, somewhat surprisingly, never addresses. He might also have mentioned that the tendency of the national party apparatus to discount and effectively cede these rural voters doesn’t help matters, but instead exacerbates the problem. People aren’t going to respond enthusiastically to a party that apparently doesn’t even want to acknowledge their existence.

MacGillis also suggests that the resentment people feel towards others they consider “dependent” can be addressed head-on if the Democratic Party decides to make the effort:

One way to do this is to make sure the programs are as tightly administered as possible. Instances of fraud and abuse are far rarer than welfare opponents would have one believe, but it only takes a few glaring instances to create a lasting impression. Ms. Edin, the Hopkins researcher, suggests going further and making it easier for those collecting disability to do part-time work over the table, not just to make them seem less shiftless in the eyes of their neighbors, but to reduce the recipients’ own sense of social isolation.

Ultimately, however, the answer lies in investing the people who live in these areas with an economic future:

The best way to reduce resentment, though, would be to bring about true economic growthin the areas where the use of government benefits is on the rise, the sort of improvementthat is now belatedly being discussed for coal country, including on the presidential campaign trail. If fewer people need the safety net to get by, the stigma will fade, and low-income citizens will be more likely to re-engage in their communities — not least by turning out to vote.

Note: All links in quoted segments are MacGillis’s. Emphasis from the original article..

The GOP's Newest Creation: US Poverty

It's Politically Dangerous to Talk About Poverty
It's even more dangerous to try to do something about it.
Ask LBJ.

President Johnson had "a way" with his Congress. This Texan was famous for corralling a recalcitrant Senator up against the wall in the Oval Office and "reading him the riot act." Aside from being able to endlessly extend the Central Asian war in Vietnam, Johnson accomplished an astonishing number of other rather impressive, rather progressive, objectives during his administration -- but still, many of the techniques he employed to this end were unquestionably "meat handed" in a way that only a towering Texas politician could muster.
Lyndon Johnson left office in 1969. [image WP]

It must be noted that during this period many of the Republicans in Congress were still somewhat stable; FOX hate radio had not yet been invented; and, over 20% of the US population was in the throes of dire, more or less permanent, poverty. Although it took a prolonged, agonizing, political bloodbath to put Johnson's "Great Society" anti-poverty programs into law, we can see the effect in the chart [right]. 

By 1970, ten years after Johnson left office, the national poverty rate had declined from over 20% to less than 12%. It remained at this lower level until the "poverty creating" policies of the Reagan era policy of upward wealth redistribution boosted it back up to over 15% -- roughly where it is now. [2016]

Washington Post
The Great Society at 50
LBJ's unprecedented and ambitious domestic vision changed the nation.
Half a century later it continues to define politics and power in America
By Karen Tumulty
May 17, 2014
[Excerpted. Read the entire article  here The Great Society at 50/Washington Post]

One day shortly after starting his new job as presidential adviser and speechwriter, Richard N. Goodwin was summoned to see the boss. Not to the Oval Office, but to the White House swimming pool, where Lyndon B. Johnson often went to ruminate.

Goodwin found the leader of the free world naked, doing a languorous sidestroke. Johnson invited him and top aide Bill Moyers to doff their own clothes: “Come on in, boys. It’ll do you good.”

It was an un­or­tho­dox manner of conducting official business. As they bobbed in the tepid water, the president “began to talk as if he were addressing some larger, imagined audience of the mind,” Goodwin later wrote in his memoir.

The 32-year-old speechwriter forgot his chagrin as he was drawn by “the powerful flow of Johnson’s will, exhorting, explaining, trying to tell me something about himself, seeking not agreement — he knew he had that — but belief.”

This happened in early April 1964, just a little more than four months after a tragedy in Dallas had made Johnson the 36th president of the United States.

“I never thought I’d have the power,” Johnson told Goodwin and Moyers. “I wanted power to use it. And I’m going to use it.”

“We’ve got to use the Kennedy program as a springboard to take on the Congress, summon the states to new heights, create a Johnson program, different in tone, fighting and aggressive,” he said. “Hell, we’ve barely begun to solve our problems. And we can do it all.”

Johnson’s vision would come to be known as the Great Society — the most ambitious effort ever to test what American government is capable of achieving. And in doing so, to discover what it is not.

In laying it out, LBJ even set out a specific time frame for it to come to fruition — 50 years, a mark that will be reached on Thursday. Johnson launched his program with a University of Michigan commencement address, delivered on the clear, humid morning of May 22, 1964, in Ann Arbor.

Today, the laws enacted between 1964 and 1968 are woven into the fabric of American life, in ways big and small. They have knocked down racial barriers, provided health care for the elderly and food for the poor, sustained orchestras and museums in cities across the country, put seat belts and padded dashboards in every automobile, garnished Connecticut Avenue in Northwest Washington with red oaks.

We are living in Lyndon Johnson’s America,” said Joseph A. Califano Jr., who was LBJ’s top domestic policy adviser from 1965 through the end of his presidency. “This country is more the country of Lyndon Johnson than any other president.”

MeanMesa encourages visitors to read this entire article. It is fascinating on its own merit, but in the context of today's desperate politics, Johnson's energetic risk taking approach makes it an almost esoteric encounter. Even though it may appear to a remnant of the distant past, it isn't.

Getting Used to Perpetual Poverty
Welcome to the oligarchy. Borrow some money to regain your standard of living.
The Banksters need your business.

No one is any longer looking to the Congressional millionaires currently in control of the government for any relief from the gnawing factors sustaining these high levels of poverty. Sooner or later, even Republican voters may finally realize that these politicians are not working for anyone who isn't financing their re-election campaigns.

"Fleshing Out" Republican "Leadership"
  1. They hate science and education. Both represents threats to their political careers.
  2. They hate infrastructure. If tax money is spent for any project which might be used by the "non-contributing class," they consider it theft.
  3. They love tax cuts. They have no concern for the long term damage they cause as the hollow out the economy. They have given no thought to the collapse of their "export to low wage workers then import to the domestic market" business plan. Soon enough, none of us will even be able to afford the after market Chinese goods.
  4. They consider poverty an acceptable price to pay for the creation of their oligarchy.
  5. They have no concern about the inevitable rise in violence as more and more Americans careen below the poverty line. For them law enforcement and corporate prisons are nothing more than "minor issues" associated with establishing the oligarchy.

MeanMesa sees no evidence that the current unacceptable level of suffering will relent any time soon -- or, perhaps, ever. There is now an eerie silence on the topic from the Democrats.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Is Bill Clinton the "Brain" Behind Donald Trump?

Everything is actually PERFECTLY OKAY. [image]
Why do you keep doing this to yourself?
Relentlessly Disturbing,
Conspiracy Theory Based,
Agonizing, Unsettling,
Apparently Unavoidable,
Probably Inescapable,
2016 Election
Oh, just relax. It's probably nothing.

What's the problem? The 2016 Presidential campaign certainly SEEMS to be rolling along, "roses, simply roses," right? The entire free world is transfixed with the vibrant beauty and power of the American democracy in action, right?

The Americans are preparing to "do their thing." The domestic media air waves are bustling. Everyone with a microphone is busily attempting to re-frame this "2016 thing" as something reassuringly similar to its predecessors.

Yet, there are some very visible, very awkward incongruities which...hmmm..."just don't seem to sit well" with an old geezer like MeanMesa. There really seem to be a more than a few, troubling "loose ends" which don't really fit into any particularly happy picture of might be considered a "sensible outcome" for the process.

These "loose ends" pose a few questions. Relax, this isn't going to become another one of those crazy, page after page, MeanMesa geriatric ranting and raving sessions. We can settle on "just a few" of these questions, and once they've been posed, we can get right to the point of this post -- which will be all about one of them -- the last one.

The 2016 Presidential Election:
The "Loose Ends" and a "Few Questions"
We may have to just wait patiently to glimpse the "sensible outcome."

At some earlier point there were probably discussions about candidates and issues, but -- as usual -- with only a few months separating us from the "big day" when "power will be peacefully passed on to the next chosen leader," the entire narrative has metamorphosed into its more traditional form of raw sports casting. Now, at least for the next few months, we will be living day to day with the constant grinding of the unrelenting stream of latest polling results gnawing patiently at our collective raison d'etre.

Now for some REAL entertainment!
However, even amid all this somewhat reassuring athletic blather of the domestic media coverage, there doesn't seem to be any particular political interest is answering these damned, gnawing questions. Let's have a look at what still seems to be firmly in the air during the 2016 election "plate juggling contest."

The Seven Awkward Questions: 
Why does the 2016 election look so creepy?
[There are plenty more...]

MeanMesa has "taken the liberty" of inserting a "surprisingly powerfulpatented, easy to usehighly scientific, proprietary" VOMIT-ometer to help visitors have a feel for the respective "creepiness" associated with each question and answer. This device was invented right here in the SHORT CURRENT ESSAYS New Mexico research facility. [Don't worry, it is NOT powered by atomic energy. It runs on "tar and coal." Our marketing team finally settled on the vomit tone dial color.]

1. What ever happened to the $900 Mn the Koch brothers threatened to throw into the GOP  "Citizen United" campaign coffers?

Pretty much normal
The "hard working, freedom loving," billionaire brothers don't like Donald Trump. When they were bandying about the idea that they would jump in to inundate the election with Koch millions, the lead candidates were all much more "purchasable" than Trump. In any event the billionaires had been doing much better with the purchase of state level politicians since they didn't seem to be able to buy the Presidency.

Now, those creepy billionaires are "just fuming," sitting on a "whole bunch of money with nowhere to go," that is, "no where to go shopping" for more control over our government. Not a problem -- there's still always Hillary.

2. Will anyone ever actually investigate the infuriatingly suspicious  primary elections that delivered the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton?

Mildly Creepy
Quite beyond the "sore loser" moaning of the Sanders supporters, the primary election process which netted Mrs. Clinton the nomination really did stink. Looking back at the state by state mess while attempting to penetrate the conveniently dense fog raised by the obviously twisted, media reporting, the state level primaries had "the stain" of Bill Clinton and plenty of 1920's style Democratic "back room political bosses" mischief all over them.

3. Did the GOP heavyweights really completely miss Donald Trump's terrible prospects for losing the election in a landslide?

Really Uncomfortable
There are plenty of Republican elite types -- bankers and billionaires whose raw greed serves as the GOP's driving force -- who consider a national election to be much more of a business opportunity than anything that has to do with working of democracy. This bunch takes the visible politics of such an event very seriously -- they are seeking out "profit opportunities" which have nothing to do with the future course of the nation. Yet, the domestic media has successfully portrayed Trump's rise as a totally unexpected "phenomenon," a prelude to insinuating all sorts of the media version of "political conclusions" about "what it means." Not even the limpid trust fund babies of the oligarchy dreamers are this naive.

There simply isn't "enough lipstick" to make any part of this look legitimate.

4. Will anyone be held to account after Trump managed to scour out $1 Bn dollars worth of free "unearned" media coverage from the domestic networks?

Strangely Irritating
If not much else of value has emerged from this electoral fiasco, we can still take comfort in the degree to which the craven executives of the industrial media have exposed themselves -- CBS CEO Moonves even went so far as to publicly say so: Trump Not Good For America, But Damn Good For Business/HUFFPOST. The US domestic media works feverishly to maintain the "bubble" that its "business model" still has something to do with fulfilling the Constitutional responsibilities of the Fourth Estate.

It doesn't. It should be embarrassing to see the "free press" fighting with itself over the contents of the nearest "political dumpster."

5. Is there any plan to eliminate the exaggerated influence of the GOP's "religious right" 20% from skewing every primary election -- forever?

Gastric Distress
During every primary, the GOP's self-proclaimed, "right thinking," hyper pious. "old rugged cross" crowd reduces what might have otherwise been an actual "political discussion of issues" to a moribund repetition of a Dark Ages Bible study. The arrogant Dominionists, dour sin-searching Deuteronomists, bitter "end timers" and the other biblical lunatics divert any possible "political discourse" to laughably breathless, endlessly frantic issues of ancient biblical sin.

We've already seen plenty of this scam. The billionaires' think tanks twist every possible question [... and more than a few "impossible" questions, too] into another incendiary "trigger" to juice up their small minority of pet GOP evangelical, primary voters to gain political control.

For the billionaires this is the perennial equivalent of a "bargain basementpolitical demographic where the votes are cheap. If it is "election time," we really need to be talking about governance and policy decisions -- not endlessly repeating desolate Old Testament chest pounding.

6. What happened to the "autopsy" the GOP performed on itself after losing the 2012 to Obama?

Completely Unsettling
We remember the "autopsy." The GOP leadership's momentary mea culpa was focused on attracting women and minority voters. Four years later the "mouth" of the GOP is deeming Mexican immigrants "rapists and murderers" while asserting that any woman getting an abortion "has to be punished." The reasonable conclusion is that the banksters and hedgies in charge of the Republican Party will say anything and blame anybody to survive the next news cycle unscathed.

The GOP Party managers AND the GOP base voters have become even worse now than they were then.

Finally, we arrive at the main topic of this post:

7. Was Donald Trump a "creation" of political mastermind, Bill Clinton, designed to  get his wife elected?

Donald Trump endorsing Hillary Clinton during her New York Senate campaign.
More than "momentary" birds of a feather? Everyone looks so happy.
Very, Very, Pepto-Bismol
Trump was already an "impossible dream" before he even began campaigning. His irritating record of half-hearted threats to run for President through the years should have tipped off everyone paying attention six months ago.

Nonetheless, MeanMesa cannot "relieve himself" of the rather banal news reporting that Bill and Donald had a long talk "about politics" during one of their conversations earlier this year.

If we allow ourselves to indulge in the wild conspiracy theory, the first aspects of it to "firm up" are the obvious possibilities. Hillary Clinton was going to be hard to get nominated. She had a steady 60%-70% "unfavorable rating," [statistically close to Trump's "unfavorable rating"] and the press found it effortless to locate a "man on the street" -- practically any street -- and hear the same opinion: "I can't trust her."

The campaign "fact checkers" have been brutal with Donald Trump, but the nature of the current GOP base voter is such that his campaign has suffered no particular "credibility problems" as a result. Mrs. Clinton, it turns out, is also far from a "high school virgin" with respect to telling voters the truth, although she suffers more and offends far less than The Donald. [Fact Checking Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump/POLITIFACT_TAMPA]

Granted, a good portion of this has arisen from the millions of dollars and thousands of broadcast hours spent by the right wing media to discredit the woman. But...what's unfolding now is simply too creepy to qualify as "just one of those things." NOTHING in modern times flies together as well as this very suspicious "sudden discovery" that we have loved Hillary Clinton all along.

If someone had sat quietly organizing what would become an "almost fool proof" scheme to place Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office, every one of the "unusual" political facets would have been central to such a plan. If there were no other particular reason to ever vote for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump would solve the problem handily. The role to be played by Trump would be littered with embarrassing outrage -- pretty much what his role has, in fact, been.

The understandable reluctance of the the voters among the Democratic majority to vote for such a "questionable package" would literally slide out of the way if the alternative were to be casting a vote for Trump. The dynamics of the fundamental Constitutional system may have attempted -- no matter how feebly -- to correct itself with the populist candidacy of Sanders, but the contest simply didn't take that turn.

Progressives such as MeanMesa were concerned that we might lose this election to the Republicans. It turns out that, instead, we lost this election to the Democrats. It went across "party lines" without a moment's hesitation. The 2016 election was a contest between the duties and responsibilities required for the preservation of the democracy and the grotesque ambitions of the oligarchs. The oligarchs won.

It looks like Bill is finally going back home.

Additional Links:

Trump Endorsing Hillary/USAToday

Trump Abandons Fund Raising - Puts House in Play/DailyKOS

Elizabeth Warren Wipes the Floor With Paul Ryan's Poverty Plan/DailyKOS

Friday, July 1, 2016

Will the Democrats Finally De-Fang FOX?

Suffering as a US Domestic Media Consumer:
 It's Been a Long, Hard Road
It's somewhat reassuring to see the first hint 
that we are approaching the end of the nonsense.

Just as the case with most -- rational --- American media consumers, MeanMesa has watched the dismal "death march" of NEWSCORP's FOX for more than three decades now -- far too long. All along the way the same question hounded these old progressive brains: "Does this ever end?"

For all those painful decades the answer to this question has been a depressing "apparently not."

Here's a brief account of FOX and NEWSCORP's early history:

====================== From WIKI [Wiki article]===========================
Fox News Channel (FNC), also known as Fox News, is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. As of February 2015, approximately 94,700,000 American households (81.4% of cable, satellite & telco customers) receive the Fox News Channel. The channel broadcasts primarily from studios at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, New York.

Which way to the trailer parks?
The channel was created by Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who hired former Republican Party media consultant and NBC executive Roger Ailes as its founding CEO. It launched on October 7, 1996, to 17 million cable subscribers. It grew during the late 1990s and 2000s to become the dominant cable news network in the United States.

Fox News Channel has been accused of biased reporting and promoting the Republican Party. Critics have cited the channel as detrimental to the integrity of news overall. Fox News Channel employees have responded that news reporting operates independently of its opinion and entertainment, and have denied bias in news reporting.

Numerous commentators have noted that the avid among the FOX audience actually know even less about "current events" than people who consume no media whatsoever. [HuffPost_FOX News Less Informed] MeanMesa's favorite example of this claim occurred on the eve of the 2012 election. Mitt Romney had been consuming the equivalent of a "straight FOX diet." He arrived at the post election rally so convinced that he had won the Presidency that he brought no concession speech. [Romney Shell Shocked by Election Loss - No Concession Speech/ibtimes]

FOX - An Odorous Legacy of Brazen Misinformation
The billionaires finance the fixing of every embarrassment.

The evening was just as embarrassing for Romney's creepy surrogate, Karl Rove, who was also suffering from soaking in the same bottomless pit of FOX misinformation. [Watch it: YouTube] It was an Obama landslide.

So, we've painted a fairly complete picture. All the way through the Presidential campaign FOX and the relentless drivel of Murdoch's paid off "political harpies" never relented for even a minute -- only to reveal the network's effort as completely incompetent once the contest had ended. The same paint brush must still include one last feature on this grotesque artwork. The millions in the FOX audience attributed precisely the same credibility to the network after this disaster.

With FOX and the FOX audience "facts mean nothing." This was the case in 2012, but this was also the case thirty years earlier and four years later. Facts mean nothing.

[Happily, we can already see that things are not "roses, simply roses" for Murdoch's hate machine: FOX Suffers the Worst Ratings in Thirteen Years and That's Not Their Biggest Problem/DailyKOS and FOX News Benghazi Misinformation/mediamatters]

Stepping Into the Fray:
The Democrats Finally Wake Up To the Prospect
 of Creating FOX New's Progressive Competitor
Maybe...just maybe...FOX's death grip can be uprooted,
but chopping the stump into kindling will require imagination and work.

Many of us have entertained the rather "cloudy concept" question of what it might take to replace FOX. Clearly, the creation of an "alternate FOX" with precisely the same toxic demeanor which might present progressive ideas in the same hateful, toxic manner might be appealing, but the new "competing network" will really need to be much more than just that.

Further, the fundamental nature of this "new competitor network" has been somewhat confused by the existing networks' "business practises." Once the corporate domestic media officially embraced Rupert Murdoch's "famous explanation" that FOX's success was a result of a vast majority of Americans holding similar, reactionary political attitudes, the "conceptual mischief" began. NBC, perhaps led the charge with the creation of its violently hybridized subsidiary, the grotesque MSNBC. [Visit FOX - Rupert Murdoch's Seven Wonderful Miracles/MeanMesa]

MSNBC was supposed to become "something," but NBC's executive greed served to abandon the thing to its current nameless, homeless, "waif status" by demanding that the strange new network was to be everything. Absent any sort of network identity, MSNBC has just thrashed about brainlessly, permanently injuring its already wavering credibility in the process.

All this may be interesting, but the question remains: "If the new network is not to be 'created in FOX's image,' what, exactly, will it look like?" 

The First Ideas about the Democrats' New
Progressive News Network
MeanMesa is convinced that they are actually going to do this,
and that they intend to do this pretty quickly.

The new network should, of course, anticipate the FOX's -- and to a lesser degree, also the other domestic networks' -- response to the prospect of facing actual, material competition. However violent that might be at the outset, MeanMesa expects the most vitriolic part of Murdoch's response will be based on the new network's factual justification for its new narrative. Point by point, the denizens of FOX's "free range" hate clan will be slowly resigned back to their cage -- a shabby holding pen inhabited only by what's left of the network's dwindling geriatric faithful, a few immovable political hacks and its other, wandering, "true believers."

MeanMesa doubts that Rupert, already in an unstable state from being continuously inebriated by his own talking points, will find this company of hill billies and bigots particularly social.

Of course, the "essence qualities" of the new network will be dictated by the Democratic Party elite and the project's "financing friends," but MeanMesa can offer a speculative list of goals likely to be incorporated in its design. [It would be an attractive alternative to finance the thing with individual contributions, but timing is critical.] The new network needs to be established, adjusted, inhabited by attractive commentators and functioning as a successful business model in time to enjoy its own large population audience well before the 2018 mid-term elections.

"Fleshing Out" the New Network's Priorities
  • Counter the endless attacks on liberals and the Democratic Party
  • Publicize blatantly unacceptable Republican political antics [also at state level]
  • Dispute right wing misinformation schemes
  • Serve as a public forum to present Democratic Party policy and ideas
  • Break FOX's carefully engineered control of the political narrative
  • Counter the "presumed authority" of the political religious right
  • Offer an avenue of media exposure for Democratic politicians
Here is a transcript of Senator Bernie Sanders outlining this idea -- courtesy of CROOKS and LIARS.

Bernie Sanders: 
Democrats Should 'Start Funding The Equivalent Of Fox News'
By John Amato
[All links remain enabled. Visit the original site - to see the video - here:


Bernie Sanders joined Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and in a long interview touched on a very sore subject for most lefties. The right wing in this country funds and supports outlets like Fox News and the Breitbarts of the internet and Sen. Sanders believes we should fight fire with fire.

He also believes that the corporate media should start covering real policy issues and forgo the pageantry of political campaigns - the he said/she said type of controversies.

[Full transcript via MSNBC]

MADDOW: What's the solution to corporate media?

SANDERS: Uh, I think we have got to, uh, think about ways that the Democratic Party, for a start, starts funding the equivalent of Fox television.

Number two, uh, I think that pressure has got to be put on media to say that you know what, maybe as a nation, the American people are entitled to hear real discussions on real issues. You tell me, you're in the media, what percentage of the media discussions in this campaign is about process?

Who's going to win in West Virginia?

How many delegates does Hillary Clinton have?

What dumb thing did Donald Trump say yesterday?

Rather than why are we the only country in the industrialized world not to guarantee health care to all people?

How much discussion have you heard on TV about the fact that the top 1/10 of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent?

That's the kind of discussion we need and the American people need to be engaged in that. So we have got to demand of corporate media, and that's going to be hard, because this is against their own best interests.

NBC is owned by who?


MADDOW: Comcast, our overlords.

SANDERS: All right. Comcast is not one of the most popular corporations in America, right?


SANDERS: All right. Etc. Etc.

And I think the American people are going to have to say to NBC and ABC and CBS and CNN, you know what, forget the political gossip. Politics is not a soap opera. Talk about the real damn issues facing this country.

I was in McDowell County, Virginia, West Virginia, yesterday. People's life -- male life expectancy there is 18 years less than it is in Fairfax, Virginia. Eighteen years. People's male life expectancy is the equivalent of Guatemala.

Do you think this should be happening in America?

I don't think so. But we don't discuss those issues.

So I would hope that the corporate media understands they have a responsibility to our democracy, and without a serious discussion on serious issues, not looking at politics just as a horse race.

MADDOW: As -- as a candidate, you have raised those issues consistently...

SANDERS: Yes, I have.

MADDOW: -- over and over and over again.

SANDERS: Without much success, I must say.

MADDOW: Well, it's plenty of success. I mean you've raised a quarter of a billion dollars, right. You've -- you've driven the...

SANDERS: No, but I mean in terms of the corporate media, I have not...

MADDOW: Every time you get into the corporate media, the voice of (INAUDIBLE) that you (INAUDIBLE) say...

SANDERS: Well, I try to jump in.

[Visit NDN - the New Democratic Network NDN-WIKI]

Is It Crossing the Rubicon or Returning Fire?
Yes, it's new political ground,
 but it's not the first time we've been in this very same place.

Now, very reasonably, we are confronted with "something of a debacle." Are we really comfortable with the idea of creating of the Democratic Party news network -- financed with political money and conceived with a very definite political end goal -- with the stated purpose of confronting a "free market" entity such as Murdoch's NEWSCORP.

Before this idea was ever presented MeanMesa already had a very low regard for the opportunistic scheme of NEWSCORP. The corporation was clearly savagely manipulative, and it has been embedded in election campaigning from before it was even listed on the Dow Jones. The thing had no period of "innocence" at any point in its tortured, destructive, anti-democracy history. 

NEWSCORP had already exposed its hateful, destructive side in other countries before it deemed itself coherent enough for its run in the United States. Murdoch was well known as a fringey, Australian fascist long before he set up shop here. Murdoch's partner's background is also quite appropriate. The Wahabist Saudi Prince essentially belongs to a "billionaire death cult."

If conditions had been different with the players involved, this move might -- possibly -- qualify as a "crossing the Rubicon" moment. For example, this might possibly have been the case if NEWSCORP and its minions were not so brutally dedicated and so completely willing to invest absolutely anything necessary to establish an American oligarchy. However, given the damage that Murdoch and NEWSCORP have so gleefully inflicted on the very heart of the democracy, who cares if any part of this will resemble a "Rubicon moment?"

Are we ready to simply consign ourselves and our future to the miserable reality of life in an oligarchy under the likes of Murdoch and the Prince? That is their dream. It has always been their dream. Throughout both the history of this democracy and the history of the entire civilized world the billionaires have tried this over and over, but they have never been as close to fully accomplishing it as they are presently.


Is MeanMesa's treatment of Rupert, the Prince and the clutch of other ambitious billionaires unfair? Will the Democratic Party's new network really be the equivalent to an unexpected shiv in a dark alley -- A Stalinist scheme to pervert the "free press," undermine "free enterprise" and the sacred foundation of American "capitalism?" Or...does the plan enjoy the full heritage claim used for centuries of being self defense?

Murdoch and his gang devised NEWSCORP and FOX to attack the democracy in its most vulnerable point. The scheme was well designed. It's high time for it to end now.

Additional Reading:

Berni Sanders Wants Dems to Fund New News Network/frontpagemag

Excerpted. A sample of the right wing's hysteria over the possibility of creating FOX's competition. by Daniel Greenfield.

"This would be pretty redundant in general since every news network except Fox News is already a more liberal version of Fox News. It's doubly redundant on MSNBC whose whole premise is that it's a liberal news network. And considering how much Bernie Sanders complains about the Democratic Party, what makes him think that Debbie's DNC Network would be friendlier to his candidacy?"