Friday, November 05, 2010

Keith Olbermann: Suspended from MSNBC

Keith Olbermann was suspended from MSNBC on Friday for making campaign donations to three Democratic congressional candidates, violating NBC’s News ethics policy.

MSNBC TV President Phil Griffin announced in a statement: “I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

The donations were first reported by the Politico website earlier in the day. Olbermann acknowledged the donations in a statement to Politico, saying he gave the maximum legal donation of $2,400 to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who waged an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate against Tea Party candidate Rand Paul.

The charismatic, debonair and dramatically verbose host of MSNBC’s highly rated TV show “Countdown” - Olbermann is the sort of “on air” personality that you either love or just cannot stand.

With Fox ownership and TV hosts contributing millions to Republicans and allowing Tea Party candidates to openly solicit contributions on air - free of charge, it would seem a direct correlation between media bias and the almighty dollar (giving money to campaigns) has undoubtedly been proven true by FOX after all - who has only one policy about journalistic ethics: NOT ALLOWED.

Still I cannot excuse MSNBC for their lame handling of this seemingly harmless deviation on Olbermann’s part of the MSNBC employee policy.

Already, the FaceBook groups are promoting the boycott of MSNBC until Olberman is allowed to return. Keith’s absence will only hurt MSNBC’s ratings in the short and long term. I suppose rules are rules, but it will be difficult for millions of loyal viewers to fill the void until Keith Olbermann is once again allowed to freely bash the "right wing-nuts" as only he truly can.

Olbermann’s usually prolific Twitter feed was noticeably silent on the entire issue.

Jean Quan | Oakland Mayor's Race Update: Quan News Outrages Oakland Cops

The news that Oakland Councilmember Jean Quan may be the next Mayor of Oakland has outraged Oakland Police Officers. This blogger just got a call this evening from a long time friend who's name I will not reveal and who's working "out in the field" on the streets of Oakland after the Mehserle verdict, who said "Hey. It's busy out here, people on the street, but we've got it really well contained. We're way over-prepared for this, this time."  (Which explains why he was able to take time to call this blogger.)

Then his tone changed. This is someone who doesn't get that upset a lot; not this time. He said "You know me. I generally don't pay attention to politics, but whoa! This shit out here is nothing compared to what I was told. You're politically in the know, so I call on you. Is it true, we're going to have Jean Quan as our Mayor!? If that's the case, I'm outta Oakland, and I'm taking as many people as I can with me." (He didn't mean that the way you might think.)

"This shit's ridiculous," he said."What was the count?" (I explained it was 51.9 for Quan to 48.9 for Perata.) "Man. It was that voting system (referring to Ranked Choice Voting). That shit. That. The people I talked to were so confused by that. They didn't know who they were voting for."

So we continued to talk about the ballot design and how a person may be tripped up by it, then he said "That's shit's wrong.  Someone can't.  We can't have her as our Mayor."  So I asked him what he had against Councilmember Quan.  Boy, I got an ear full:  "Well, of course there's the issue of the 80 police officers.  But she's been hostile to police and our needs....And when she was at (Oakland City) Council, she was reading The New York Times while the discussion around the 80 or 85 cops was going on.  She was indifferent.  I hope this doesn't happen."

My friends view doesn't reflect my own, and I can't confirm or deny the New York Times claim, but it's really important to record what's being said out there in public, and a call from an Oakland Police Officer is a valuable look into how Oakland's rank-and-file feel about what happens in Oakland politics.   One thing is clear, the Oakland Police don't like Quan.

Moreover, they totally hated what they saw as a "political grandstanding effort" by Quan and Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan when the pair got in a line with the Oakland Police in an effort to clear the streets of people after the last Oscar Grant /  Mehserle protest.  As one cop told me at Perata's event "I'm almost 300 pounds. Do you think I need protection and help from Quan."

Like this blog post or not, it's an honest view of the road ahead for Mayor-Elect Jean Quan, should the numbers hold up.

For it's part, the Perata Campaign had this to say via email:

It appears that there might be a reversal of fortune.
We're unclear about Alameda County’s processes and await a final and accurate count.
The mystery of Ranked Choice Voting continues.
Stay tuned.

Unemployment News: Tax Cuts for Rich or 12 Million New Jobs

Washington has a clear choice: tax cuts for the richest Americans or create 12 million new jobs in this country, according to Heather McGee, director of Washington DC’s office of Demos (a nonpartisan public policy group). Demos will be releasing the results of a study on this very subject within weeks.

Republicans know how bad the unemployment news is in America, they caused most of the problems which led to massive outsourcing and rewarded those corporations with tax cuts to boot.

Now the Republicans are insisting that the election results last Tuesday means that Americans want tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, when nothing could be farther from the truth.

In an interview tonight on MSNBC’s Countdown (minus Keith Olbermann), McGee went on to disclose:

“I think it's a really strong move obviously for President Obama and the democrats to continue to push for the middle class tax cuts that were really their signature achievement in tax policy since Obama became President. Not that many people know this, actually President Obama gave the middle class the single largest tax cut in American history, during the recovery act.

Democrats really need to be pushing the Republicans to justify tax cuts for wealthiest Americans at a time of massive unemployment.”

The republicans keep saying they're willing to borrow $700 billion (this fiscal year alone) to lower taxes for the top 3% because it will create jobs. Once you're willing to borrow $700 billion aren't there more effective ways to use it to create jobs?

Demos and McGee seem to think so.
“Absolutely. We know, in fact, tax cuts cost the U.S. more than they create in economic activity. We're going to be issuing a report in a few weeks (Demos is) that talks about what it would cost to directly put the American people, out of a job through no fault of their own, back to work. You can get 12 million people back to work in this country for the $700 billion a year that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would cost. I mean, if you frame it that way, I don't see how that's not a winning solution for the President and Democrats."

See the entire interview below.

It is really a no-brainer even thick headed Mitch McConnell and Mr. Boehner could figure out - should they abandon their unjustified dedication toward the RICH and actually do the right thing for America. What do you think?

Oakland Mayor's Race Shocker - Jean Quan Is Unofficially Mayor Of Oakland

The unthinkable just happened. Oakland District 4 Councilmember Jean Quan outpaced Former California State Senator Don Perata 51 percent to 48 percent and unofficially won the Oakland Mayor's Race.  If the results hold, Quan becomes Oakland's first female mayor and its first Asian mayor.

This news is according to the Alameda County Registrar's Office. Congratulations to Mayor-Elect Jean Quan, if these results hold up. The numbers are really, really close.

The results, the product of the new Ranked Choice Voting system, went through 10 computerized rounds. Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and Councilmember Kaplan transferred the largest number of votes, so it must be surmised that their strategy of supporting each other actually worked. If you think about it, and look at the numbers, that means three-fourths of the second choice results were for Jean Quan. That's amazing.

This is really funny, in a good way. It means the system worked, even if some may not be happy about it.

"That means I'll have to leave Oakland," one City Hall insider said to this blogger. Indeed, Councilmember Quan wasn't the favorite of some insiders because she's frankly perceived as a rather indifferent at times. And I will not shy away from my public statement that were it not for that, Jean would be the best candidate.

So, in a weird kind of way, the best candidate won. The reason I'm happy is because we had a really democratic system that did work. It gave a level of much needed unpredictability to a race that seemed predictable.


Now, it's a sad day for Don Perata, who was already announcing his first action, that of reinstating the 80 Oakland Police Officers. But now, that's probably going to be off the table.

A Note To Mayor-Elect Quan

Mayor Elect Quan is blessed to be in this position. But this blogger hopes she remembers to just be nice to everyone and greet Oaklanders with a smile and a hand shake. We need that now. God has given you an amazing blessing. I know you have it within you to be a great mayor, all you have to do is be a great mayor. Good luck.

Keith Olbermann Suspended By MSNBC

The Associated Press has reported that prime-time host Keith Olbermann has been suspended by MSNBC because he contributed to three Democratic candidates' campaigns during this election season.

In general, it is always a very scary situation that brings up a lot of ethical questions when a journalist wants to take an active part in politics - due to the hope that journalists would be objective without publicly portraying their own personal biases while apart of a news outlet - news outlets such as MSNBC have their own specifics within the contract.

The AP article explains what NBC News contract entails:

"NBC News prohibits its employees from working on, or donating to, political campaigns unless a special exception is granted by the news division president — effectively a ban. Olbermann's bosses did not find out about the donations until after they were made. The website Politico first reported the donations."

Olbermann has made NBC aware that he donated $2,400 to the campaigns of Jack Conway, Raul Grivalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

It is interesting to note that Fox News is all for letting their hosts donate to politics - Sean Hannity is very open with his donations & News Corp (Fox's parent company) donated $1 million last summer to the Republican Governor's Association (Fox still claims not to have any conservative bias).

Jon Stewart says it best when he interviewed Fox's Chris Wallace and called MSNBC a "double-A ball" in comparison to Fox:

"You can't defeat Fox by becoming what they say you are. The only way you can defeat them is by an earned credibility, not an earned partisanship. They're making a mistake by becoming an equivalent to Fox rather than a brand new journalistic organization."

This is a quite controversial matter that will definitely be reported on more in depth in posts to come.

Drunk Giants Fan Blows Horn In BART Passenger's Face

This is one of those "what would you do if" situations. On Monday, after the Giants World Series win and the City of San Francisco's period of total celebration insanity, some guy with a horn called a vuvuzela (made famous during the World Cup Soccer matches of this year), decided to blow it right in the face of an unexpecting BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) passenger with a totally dour expression on his face.

The dude got up to him and just fired it off in his face. The quick expectation was that BART Passenger would get up and fight the Drunk Giants fan, but fortunately that didn't happen.

The Drunk Giants fan took pitty on the BART Passenger and gave him a hug.

Still, it was too wild, and exemplary of the kind of post-World Series night it was in San Francisco.

President Obama Retained The Senate; President Clinton Did Not

Lost in the media analysis of the 2010 Midterm Elections is the fact that President Obama managed to maintain Democratic control of the Senate. Many, like CNN and even MSNBC analysts have talked as if President Obama, like Democratic President Clinton before him, lost both the House and the Senate. Not so.

In fact, given that the economic conditions of 2010 are far worse than they were in 1996, Obama really came out smelling like a rose. Then, the U.S. unemployment rate was 5.75 percent; now it's far larger at 9.6 percent. With that, the Republican gains such that the U.S. House of Representative is majority Republican, 235 to 196, but the Senate remains in Democratic hands, even with the Alaska election votes still being counted.

With this, President Obama has a better foundation from which to work with than Clinton did. Republicans should be careful not to overplay their hand, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did that already, stating his objective was to get Obama out of the White House. What Senator McConnell doesn't count on is the backlash that's already started against him.

McConnell's ability to grasp complex economic legislation has been questioned, and more blogger attacks will come. Republicans can't rest; Democrats are on the march. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough is totally wrong; Obama has more power than ever.

Mitch McConnell's Ability To Understand Economic Legislation Questioned

Kentucky Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said he's determined to make President Obama a one-term President, has demonstrated so poor a grasp of economic issues that one elected official observed he "either doesn't understand or chooses not to."   This was during deliberations in April of 2010 on what became the most extensive set of financial reforms in America.

A set of changes that seemed to be too much for Senator McConnell to grasp.

The person who said that was Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner.  In April, Senator Mitch McConnell said the Senate financial-regulation bill meant "endless taxpayer-funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks," according to Ezra Klein of The Washington Post. But Warner didn't stop there:

"It appears that the Republican leader either doesn't understand or chooses not to understand the basic underlying premise of what this bill puts in place. Resolution, will be so painful for any company. No rational management team would ever choose resolution. It means shareholders wiped out. Management wiped out. Your firm is going away. At least in bankruptcy, there was some chance that some of your equity would've been retained and you could come out in some form on the other side of the process. The resolution that Corker and I have tried to create means the death of the company. The institution is gone."

McConnell doesn't get that the Senate financial-regulation bill solved problem of banks that fell into a category of "large, interconnected non-bank financial firm." Before the law, such banks had only two options: obtain outside capital or funding from the US government or file for bankruptcy.

Now, the bill provides for the government to actually dissolve such banks in a way that avoids use of taxpayer funds. It's not that funds will not be provided, but only on a case by case basis; it's not a bailout program. If anything, it's a bad bank clearout program.

Mitch McConnell doesn't get that.  Instead he's worked to stop financial reform.  It's not that he doesn't agree with it, he's just not able to understand it.

Perhaps, then, Senator McConnell should step out of the decision-making process.   In the case of the passage of the Financial Reform Bill, McConnell led an attempted filibuster - it didn't work.  And all because he did not intellectually grasp what he was voting for.  

Sad way to represent the people of Kentucky.

Mitch McConnell: President Obama And Democrats Must Punch Him In The Mouth

Republican Kentucky Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (photo at left) is laying down a gauntlet and being disrespectful to the President of The United States, not to mention threatening to wreck Walgreens Health Care Reform-based business model, by stating not just that the GOP will work to block and ultimately repeal Health Care Reform, but work to make President Obama a one-term President, apparently at the expense of America.

Senator McConnell has went too far.

The only answer for Democrats and the President is to punch McConnell right in the mouth. To make him look so bad that his efforts are clouded. This is easy to do.

No, not actually hit Senator McConnell physically, but communicatively. Senator McConnell's not a perfect representative and Dems must reveal that. For example, try doing a Google search for "Mitch McConnell racist" and you'll find a treasure-trove of results.

For example, Senator McConnell refused to denounce Tea Party racism this year. According to Think Progress, McConnell was on CNN on July 18th, 2010, saying that he's "not interested in getting into that debate" in response to CNN’s State of the Union, host Candy Crowley asking the Senator about the NAACP’s resolution asking the Tea Party movement to condemn "racist elements" in its organization. Instead of saying the NAACP is right, McConnell backed off.

The result was what a number of observers called "the most racist election" in years.

What Democrats have to do is, every day, track all statements Mitch McConnell makes, and pounce on even the smallest statement.

 The Senator makes this easy to do.

For example, he says "we will stop the Liberal Onslaught" - how stupid. America had and has to increase spending because of the credit crunch, and we're not out of the woods at all. The money's not going to come from other places because the problem's Worldwide. The stimulus has been used in various countries, not just America. But Mitch McConnell's either too dense to see that or refuses to, and is willing to wreck the American economy.

Mitch McConnell must be stopped from doing that for the sake of this country.

Democratic forum managers, commenters, and bloggers, all unite.  The blog target: Senator Mitch McConnell.  The start date: now.