Posts tagged ‘Public Broadcasting’

04/26/2012

Romney is Threat to Public Broadcasting

In the era of Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who terminated public employee collective bargaining rights as soon as he took office, the public must now take seriously every aspect of political party platforms, (routinely ignored in the past), and must actually listen to passing campaign comments, since successful candidates now appear willing to carry them out.

ROMNEY’S PLEDGE: In this new era of extremism, be advised that at a Republican Debate held on Dec. 8, 2011, Gov. Romney promised to eliminate the Public Broadcasting Corporation. His pledge poses a serious threat to democracy, as it would terminate one of our only remaining sources of reliable information.

PBS VALUE: Some of us, who have never received a penny from tax dollars, view Public Broadcasting as the only thing of value ever appropriated by the federal government. While Washington continues to waste billions on military operations overseas, Public TV and Public Radio are continually forced to run bake sales (so to speak), to maintain their relatively modest operations.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO? We have to take seriously the right-wing agenda. If like me, you listen to Wisconsin Public Radio, and watch the News Hour, and the BBC, both on Public Broadcasting (PBS), what will you do, and where will you go for reliable information, if a Republican-controlled Congress teams up with Romney to defund the Public Broadcasting Corporation?

RADIO: First of all, radios would go silent, not only in my house and car, but in yours as well. No intelligent person would spend their time listening to right-wing rants from Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus, or other wing nuts on AM radio. Are there any moderates or left-wingers on radio? If they exist, I am sorry I missed them.

NETWORK NEWS: Where would people go on TV for the Evening News, without PBS? I have not tuned into the Nightly News on CBS, NBC, or ABC for over 30 years. Does anyone still watch entertainment news? I know Katie Couric exists, because I heard the empty-headed Sarah Palin complain about her, but I wouldn’t be able to say which network she works for.

When Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer founded the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour on PBS over 30 years ago, they did so because the corporate networks were broadcasting nothing but superficial entertainment, based almost entirely on film clips. “If it bleeds, it leads,” they would say. Never mind the absence of national or international importance. Burning buildings and action scenes always trumped talking intelligent heads. But we learned nothing from emotional scenes of people expressing anger or sadness. We just wanted plain old Walter Cronkite style talking heads to give us news and information. We wanted people like Ray Suarez, currently on PBS, who is as sharp as a tack.

SUNDAY MORNING: While NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning is a hard-hitting objective news report hosted by David Gregory, the ABC alternative anchored by George Stephanophoulos, appears more interested in the Sunday funnies, than serious international coverage of the sort Christiane Amanpour previously provided. I nevertheless watch, even though ABC has long been dominated by the conservative George Will.

FOX: If Romney thinks removing public broadcasting will cause us to turn to the Fox Propaganda Network (FPN), he needs his head examined. Any network with pinheads like Bill O’Reilly, right-wingers like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, and certifiable nut jobs like Glen Beck, cannot be serious. The truth is Fox is a partisan network, where the news is not reported accurately. If PBS went away, it would be no alternative for intelligent viewers.

CNN: While CNN is a choice on election nights when political junkies scan back and forth looking for different stories, no one knows for sure if they will be reporting serious news, or fluffy stuff of the sort carried on the networks.  While Fareed Zakaria may host an excellent discussion, as soon as caustic characters like Lou Dobbs appear to just blabber about this or that, the station has to be changed.

AM-MSNBC: I cannot watch “Morning Joe” on MSNBC since it is hosted by Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman, whose daily opinions go unchallenged by his co-host.

PM-MSNBC: While the evening lineup at MSNBC carries quality programming hosted by Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell, they are not news, but rather editorial.

C-SPAN occasionally provides live coverage of current events.

HBO: While Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, and Bill Press would be excellent alternatives for opinion, most viewers never see them, as their shows are apparently on HBO or other premium stations, and not part of the already overpriced ordinary cable.

SOME CONSERVATIVES ARE OK: Responsible media conservatives are fine. The problem is there are not enough of them.  Pat Buchanan has usually been an interesting and respectful guest. The Friday analysis on PBS by conservative columnist David Brooks, pitted against Mark Shields, has always been worth watching. Paul Gigot and George Will also know how to disagree without becoming disagreeable.

President Obama said in a speech on May 19, 2011 legitimate democracy needs an informed citizenry. He was correct. Democracy is not worth much if the public has no reliable source of information. PBS radio and television do a fairly good job and we need more of this sort of broadcasting, not less.

Romney’s pledge to end the Public Broadcasting Corporation is a bad idea, and I am afraid that if the Republicans take over the Senate in 2012, and gain control of both houses, Romney as President would be obligated to his right-wing to carry out his campaign promise and the people will lose an important source of information.

12/08/2011

Romney’s Economy: For Rich Insiders

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, often called a Republican front-runner, should not, on issues regarding the economy, receive the vote of most Americans, because: 1) his tax policies would favor rich individuals and corporations; 2) his Free Trade policies would kill more manufacturing and U.S. jobs; 3) his promise to eliminate Public Broadcasting would reduce the flow of reliable and objective information; 4) his financial policies would save only the big banks and Wall Street; 5) his housing policies would do nothing for underwater homeowners; 6) his energy plans would ignore wind and solar, but would promote oil, gas, and nuclear special interests; and 7) his health insurance mandate idea will yield private insurance windfalls at the expense of taxpayers.

TAXES: While Romney said he wants to repeal tax breaks, he would in fact give more of them to the rich, by eliminating taxes on dividends, interest, and capital gains. He also wants to lower the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 25%. He appeared willing to tax the poor, when he said everyone should pay, regardless of income, though he did oppose Cain’s 9% national sales tax, which would have hurt the poor the most. Although Romney favors an expanded military role abroad, he opposes raising revenue to pay for it, because he thinks more taxes would only kill jobs. While he has said he wants to cut spending, he would run up even more debt, by staying in our unfunded War in Afghanistan. Although he said we should not pass massive debt on to the next generation, he was not sincere, since he will not stop wasting money on foreign military entanglements.

TRADE: Although Romney promised to issue an Executive Order identifying China as a currency manipulator, because they let the prices of their goods fall below market levels, and he pledged to sue them in the Dispute Resolution Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization, to win the right to selectively impose tariffs, he has no intention of turning back the clock on Free Trade, or the WTO policies that have led to the death of many U.S. industries.

AUTO: Romney said the government should not have loaned money to GM or Chrysler, even though the act successfully saved thousands of American jobs. He would have let them go bankrupt.

JOBS: When Romney was asked to explain why people were laid off from the companies he acquired, he had little to say. He was however clear about his desire to fight unions, and his criticism of the National Labor Relations Board, for taking action against big business. He called corporate profits good, as he believes they trigger new hiring. He called Wall Street protesters people engaged in: “dangerous class warfare.”

FIRST AMENDMENT: While little harm would be done if Romney succeeded in abolishing the Endowment for the Arts, his desire to eliminate Public Broadcasting is a serious threat to the free flow of information, and an affront to those who respect the First Amendment. Those who routinely follow the PBS News Hour and BBC America, searching for reliable news from objective sources, find his desire a real threat to democracy, since we need PBS and the BBC to be informed citizens. As to faith, he correctly said the Founders appreciated the Freedom of Religion, and wrote a Constitution that respected all beliefs.

BANK CRISIS: While Romney said Fed chair Bernanke pumped too much money in the economy, he would not remove Fed power to do so, as he does not want Congress in charge of the currency. He defended President Bush for taking action to keep the banks open, adding we must prevent another contagion. When asked what he would do if the economies of the entire world were collapsing, he promised to take action.

HOUSING: Romney said the housing crisis was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as they gave loans to people who could not afford them. He said slowing down the foreclosure process, buying up troubled homes, or giving a couple thousand towards the purchase of a new home, won’t solve the problem. He predicted home prices will not return, until the free market works.

ENERGY: Romney suggested developing our own oil, gas, and nuclear energy, to achieve energy independence. He said little about putting a new emphasis on solar, wind, or clean energy.

HEALTH CARE: Romney has been the greatest lobbyist the health insurance industry has ever had. He said a problem arose in his state, where 8% of the people had no health insurance, and they sought emergency room care, which shifted costs to taxpayers. He argued everyone has a personal obligation to buy health insurance, an idea he said he got from Newt Gingrich. He enacted a personal mandate and forced everyone to purchase coverage from private carriers. Although subsidies were provided for those who could not afford it, the Mass. plan did not create a more efficient government-run health care plan, like the single-payer system used in Canada. As to the U.S., Romney said Americans were not and are not satisfied with the status quo, because premiums are out of control. Many of Romney’s critics called the new National Health Care law signed by Obama, basically the same as Romney’s state plan. Romney tried, but failed miserably to convince them they were different. He argued the Mass plan was for one state, while the President’s, one-size-fits-all plan was for the entire nation. He argued Obama’s plan raises taxes and spends trillions. He promised a repeal of what has been called Obamacare, claiming we could save 95 billion a year. In a contradictory statement, he offered only to give the states waivers, so they could opt out. He also took both sides of the individual mandate issue, by first saying everyone should buy insurance, but then by arguing mandates are unconstitutional. In the event Obama’s law is repealed, or declared unconstitutional, the question arose as to what to do next. He acknowledged health care costs are disconnected from patient awareness, and people need to have a stake in the cost of health care. He accused the government of having too heavy a role. He advocated co-insurance for patients, but sounded like he did not realize most Americans already had that. Romney said he would turn Medicaid and Medicare over to the states and let them run health care.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney called the Social Security retirement program essential, and said it must be saved, not abolished. He called the use of trust fund money for other purposes criminal, and agreed to make the system sound. As to the unfunded prescription drug program, started by President George W. Bush, Romney would not repeal it.

IMMIGRATION: Romney wants no amnesty for illegal immigrants, a fence with agents to secure it, and an elimination of the magnet caused by states that give tuition breaks, and employers who hire illegal aliens. He would implement the federal E-Verify program. He said 4.5 million want to come here legally. He would admit those with degrees in math or science.