Colbert Super PAC, a Slippery Slope?

Everyone loves Stephen Colbert. He is hilarious in an intelligent way that exposes the absurdity in politics, especially from Republicans. Now that the FEC has granted Colbert the ability to promote his Super PAC during his show, I am excited for the ensuing comedy, but concerned for the ensuing reality.

The FECs ruling opens the floodgates for news anchors across the spectrum to form Super PACs and used their bully pulpits to raise money. There is no limit to the amount of money an individual can contribute to a Super PAC. We are now faced with a situation where Bill O’Reilly can form a Super PAC, solicit donations during the O’Reilly Factor, and then run advertisements saying whatever he wants against whatever candidates he wants, on whatever station he wants.

Over the past two decades, the line between journalism and political activism has become increasingly blurred. Now, it may have just been erased.

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Top 10 Right-Wing Media Manipulations Since 2008 #1: Obama

In the history of the right-wing media, there has been no other topic which has produced more lies, manipulations, untruths, half truths, fabrications, and misinformation than coverage of President Obama. From the time that Obama became a viable candidate for President, until practically the present day, you could not watch Fox News for an hour without hearing something false about Barack.

Indeed, only the right-wing media could conceivable portray the same person as a radical christian, a radical muslim, and a radical liberal at the same time. At times, he was too black. Other times, he was not really black. From terrorist fist jabs, to paling around with terrorists, to just being a terrorist, the fear mongering was absurd. Sometimes, his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia made him less American than most of us. Other times, he was not American at all. Heck, even going to the top law school in the world and then taking a job organizing low income communities was spun to be a bad thing by the right.

Whatever the claim was, they would all be laughable in hindsight, if it weren’t for the fact that many people still believe them. If there is one thing that right-wing media does well, it’s brainwash low information voters. I’m talking about the folks who live in front of a TV with Fox News on it, or spend their 90 minute commute each way listening to the Beckster and the Rushster. Ask one of those people about Obama, and you will hear more falsehoods than you can imagine.

Really, that is why we started PACmen. We were just sick of standing by while a large percentage of our nation is fed lies and misinformation on a daily basis. It has created parallel truths in this nation. One truth that is based on history and scientific facts, and another that is based on misinformation.


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Friend of the Devil: Meredith Baker Leaves FCC to Lobby for Comcast

You know you’ve done something wrong when a suspected con-man and arsonist is questioning your decisions.

Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that questioned the hiring of commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker by Comcast. Baker, one of two Republican appointed by President Obama in 2009, accepted a position as “senior vice president of governmental affairs for NBC Universal” earlier this month. In other words, Baker is now a Comcast lobbyist.

All of this comes, of course, after Baker’s vote in favor of the Comcast-NBC merger. And the switch from the public sector to the private apparently couldn’t come soon enough for Baker, who commented on March 2nd that merger “took too long”, thus revealing her true intentions.

While Baker’s disregard for the public interest is self evident, what is even more worrisome is the blatancy of Baker’s move. The audacity of Baker to vote for the merger, resign from her position, and join the ranks of Comcast in a matter of weeks proves that Washington deal-makers feel such moves are either unimportant to the public or ethically sound.

This revolving door policy happens all too frequently, and simple science says that sooner or later that door should come back around and hit someone in the ass.

Help give it a push. If you have had enough, please take a moment to ensure that justice is served and this matter is investigated properly by signing this petition.

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Top 10 Right-Wing Media Manipulations Since 2008 #2

#2: Chairman Obama’s healthcare plan is a deficit exploding socialist plot to implement government run healthcare that will take away your freedom and put your grandma on a death panel.

Unless you had been living in a cave in Tora Bora from 2008-2010, you heard and saw a ton of misinformation on Healthcare Reform. You know the story. Chairman Obama’s healthcare plan is a deficit exploding socialist plot to implement government run healthcare that will take away your freedom and put your grandma on a death panel.

Back to the real world: Healthcare reform reduces the long term deficit, gives 32 million more Americans health insurance, and is not run by the government at all. In fact, it delivers 32 million more customers to private health insurance companies. This, perhaps, would have been something to report on, (considering the millions of dollars insurance companies poured into advertisements on this debate) but you didn’t hear much of that on Fox News. Also, I have yet to see a death panel anywhere, and I don’t feel that I’m less free at all. How about you?
Although healthcare reform passed anyway, the right-wing media successfully scared the living crap out of low-information voters by spreading dozens of vicious lies about what healthcare reform was. And, really, that is the danger of the right-wing media. Low information voters, particularly elderly people who are more or less home-ridden, get the crap scared out of them all day long by Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Fox News anchors. When it comes to issues that matter to the elderly, health care is at the top of the list. For this reason, lies about healthcare reform rank #2 on our top 10 right-wing media manipulations since 2008 list.

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The NY-26 special election is important for so many reasons. An otherwise conservative district is in play for Democrats thanks to a shirtless congressman and a far-right entitlement agenda. This election can do for Democrats in 2012 what the Scott Brown election did for Republicans in 2010. Winning this election is a sign that momentum has shifted to the left.

Additionally, corporations and the wealthy have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into this race to run manipulative ads against Kathy Hochul (D). Amongst these organizations is Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super-PAC. They have spent over $350,000.00 on ads & other forms of communications in the NY-26 race. A 2010 analysis of the organization determined that 91% of their funding comes from billionaires.

So, it is up to every day Americans to pool their resources to combat this kind of corporate manipulation. Even if it’s just in a small way, let’s do our part.

If you’d like to donate, even as little as $10, please visit the ActBlue page we set up for Kathy’s campaign at: (scroll down to see the donation box for Kathy.

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The Death of Osama Bin Laden

On September 11th, 2001, our nation suffered a devastating wound. Over time, this wound has resulted in a permanent scar. To say the least, no one in America who was of memorable age on that day will ever forget how they felt.

In the ensuing months and years, America was taken on a wild ride. First, a war in Afghanistan was launched in direct response to those responsible for the attack. After less than two years, a second war was launched in Iraq. The merits of these military campaigns were discussed, debated, and argued. Undisputable facts revealing misinformation about WMD’s, links to Al Queda, and links to 9/11 swayed the vast majority of Americans against the war in Iraq. The sheer length and loss of life caused even more to question our purpose in Afghanistan. As these long wars progressed, most Americans gave up hope of ever finding the man behind the attacks which led to both wars.

On May 1st, 2011, that man was killed by a bullet in the head from a United States Navy Seal. Much as I will always remember being in Ms. Bock’s English class on September 11th, I will always remember waking up to a phone call from my brother Michael asking me if I was watching the news. Excitement, disbelief, shock, pride, and a touch of reflective sadness all rushed through my mind. I imagine that mix of emotions is similar to what most others felt. 9/11 was such a shocking event that it created a common, collective American experience. It is only natural that almost all of us have similar feelings when we are brought back to that day.

Once the reality of Osama Bin Laden’s death sunk in, my mind began to swirl. Details of how it happened were quickly revealed, yet many circumstantial questions still remain. Despite what is still unknown, what we do know speaks volumes: The men and women involved in the operation to kill Bin Laden were meticulous with detail and professional with execution. From the initial lead one and a half years ago, to the subsequent intelligence gathering, to the combat execution, all participants deserve a nearly unparalleled amount of credit and gratitude. According to all accounts, President Obama was heavily involved in this operation from the beginning. He led five meetings with the National Security Council in regards to this mission. He waited patiently, allowing time for intelligence officials to vet the information until a preponderance of evidence pointed to Osama Bin Laden living in the compound in question. Once this reality was established, he and his team weighed the different avenues of attack, ultimately deciding on a military raid over a bombing.

In short, President Obama did what a Commander in Chief should. He displayed strong leadership in making an informed, calculated decision on the best course of action. From beginning to end, the entire process was the complete opposite of the sort of leadership and decision making that led the Bush administration to take their eye off the ball in Afghanistan, and move towards Iraq. Let the records show that the Bush administration was largely unwilling to pursue any military operations in Pakistan without the consent of the Pakistani government. That sentiment was echoed by John McCain during the 2008 presidential election. Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, disagreed. He declared emphatically, “If Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down Bin Laden and take him out, then we should.”

Despite this important accomplishment, a plethora of questions still remain about what will happen as a result of Bin Laden’s death. The future of Al Queda, Pakistan, international terrorism, and the war in Afghanistan are all difficult to predict. For the present, however, the death of Osama Bin Laden has given America an unexpected lift. For many Americans, it makes the scar of 9/11 less noticeable. For others, it is merely a stitch in an ever bleeding wound.

For all Americans, it is a positive source of common pride, the likes of which are few and far between.

Let’s all enjoy it.

– Scott Bloomberg, Co-Founder & Treasurer of PACmen

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#3: Taxes

Okay, okay. I Get it. No one likes paying their taxes, and everyone likes complaining about paying their taxes. Fact, not opinion. But, does that really justify the constant right-wing message that taxes are too high – for everyone? Despite the fact that Americans have paid less federal taxes under the Obama administration than any other since WWII, the right-wing media continuously insists that Obama is a tax raising socialist. Why? Because he wants to raise taxes on the rich. And what better way to make it socially acceptable for the rich to pay a minimal amount of taxes than to lump them into the same category with everyone else (ie “Everyone’s taxes are too high!”) and call whoever want’s to raise any taxes at all a Socialist!

Well, you won’t find me calling for raising taxes on middle class families, and ideally it’d be great for everyone to pay less taxes. But, we’re in a bit of a fiscal pickle, if you haven’t noticed, and we’re not going to get out of it without raising taxes on someone. So, I vote for raising them on those who can afford it: the uber-rich. Besides, according to THIS MSN/Bloomberg Business Week article, the rich really aren’t paying much taxes anyway (It’s a great, short, informative article!)

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