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By Julien Sharp

BuzzFlash is now on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/buzzflash.  Here, courtesy of Julien Sharp are some pointers about using Twitter. 

Getting followers on Twitter (http://twitter.com) is relatively easy, but what is really important in making Twitter a worthwhile experience is the type of followers you get - and the type of "Twitterers" you yourself follow. In the 3rd quarter of 2008, I was resting solidly at 70 followers, and had grown to that level after several months (I joined in January 08).


By Bill Berkowitz

A number of Religious Right groups, including Our Country Deserves Better PAC, preparing to take on the Obama Administration
The California-based PAC that failed to derail the presidential candidacy of Obama, intends to serve as ‘the loyal opposition’

In politics, commerce, and fundraising, timing is essential. The upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama is providing all sorts of opportunities for conservative organizations to market their messages and peddle some goods at the same time.
On January 8, the Christian Defense Coalition (CDC), an organization headed by Reverend Patrick J. Mahoney, announced that they had received permission to display what it calls a pro life vigil -- 25 large signs showing the development of life from conception to birth -- along the parade route during the Presidential Inauguration. Claiming that President-elect Obama is on the "wrong side of history and human rights by embracing the most radical abortion policies of any President in American history," Mahoney says that "While millions will be celebrating along the Inaugural Parade route, we will be speaking ‘truth to power’ and calling justice and equality for all Americans."
Repent America, another Christian conservative group, is planning “a massive evangelism effort in Washington, DC. [where] church groups and individuals [will] … hand out tracts and engage in one-on-one witnessing efforts during” Inauguration Day activities, according to a report by OneNewsNow, the America Family Association-sponsored news service. "We know ... president-elect Barack Obama [to be] a very aggressive, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual political figure -- and now he's going to be our president," Michael Marcavage, president of Repent America, told OneNewsNow. "So it's only expected that these particular things are going to be pushed in our nation even more."
Over at the PatriotShop.US, a division of the Tennessee-based online publication, The Patriot Post, commerce is the main word during the lead-up to Obama’s Inauguration. According to its website, you can “celebrate the Obamanation Inauguration” with a host of products including “Bitterly Clinging to Guns and Religion” posters, tee shirts and bumper stickers; an “O-Bummer” sticker; a Che Obama tee shirt and bumper sticker; “Politically Incorrect Guides” to American History, Capitalism, Global Warming, Islam, the Middle East, the Constitution, Hunting; and other assorted sundries from mugs to coin holders to even a Holy Cross.  
According to its website, The Patriot Post is “America's most widely read Internet-based publication … [and] is a highly acclaimed journal advocating individual liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values.” The online publication, headed by Mark Alexander aims to be “a hard-hitting rebuttal to contemporary political, social and mainstream media protagonists on the Left, … written for those who seek a brief, informative and entertaining analysis of the week's most significant news, policy and opinion.”
While the Christian Defense Committee is holding its vigil, Repent America is passing out flyers and looking for converts, and The Patriot Post is flogging its merchandise, another group, Our Country Deserves Better PAC, is seeking cash.   
Having failed to defeat Obama, despite spending thousands of dollars on anti-Obama television advertisements in several swing states, and launching its “Stop Obama Tour,” which drew few anti-Obama enthusiasts as it lumbered around the country, the California-based Our Country Deserves Better PAC is asking for financial support for a long term campaign against Obama. In a new ad run by HumanEvents.com, Our Country is looking to “serve as one of the leading conservative organizations that will help prepare for a conservative resurgence in 2009 and 2010.”
As Inauguration Day approaches, Our Country is warning conservatives that “Obama is perhaps the most liberal person ever to be elected to serve as Commander in Chief of these United States of America, and it is now the responsibility for conservatives to serve as the ‘loyal opposition’ to Obama's liberal policies - just as MoveOn.org, Code Pink and all the liberal organizations stood up to the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress.”
Our Country’s HumanEvents.com ad is more like Election 2008 Redux: The two videos it “showcase(s)” have been used before: one features Howard Kaloogian, the chairman of the PAC who served as Assistant Republican Leader in the California State Assembly during his six-year term in office and who, in 2003, helped lead the drive to recall California Governor Gray Davis, warning Americans about the impact on the country Obama will have if he is elected (“Obama’s Liberal Policies are Wrong”);  the other is a gushing tribute to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (“Sarah’s a Fighter”).
It is imperative that we both champion our conservative values and articulate to the American people why these policies are not only right and moral, but also best for America -- and that we stand up for and celebrate the best conservative leaders who champion these ideals.
That is what the Our Country Deserves Better PAC has done to date, and that is what we will continue to do with your financial support.
It's time for conservatives to fight back!!  It's time for us to stop licking our wounds and to fight for our conservative beliefs and the future of America.
At Our Country’s website, the featured story is headlined “Rahm Emanuel Must Resign.” a campaign that asks supporters to “Sign the petition demanding that Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, resign for his inappropriate conduct in the Obama Senate Seat corruption scandal.”
Our Country’s fundraising efforts is being organized by Complete Campaigns.com, which, according to its website, “provides outstanding web-based services to help campaigns effectively track supporters, voters, fundraising, and volunteers.”

Friday, 09 January 2009 04:10

Larry Beinhart: Time For Tax Hikes

by Larry Beinhart

U.S. economic growth has been strongest when our taxes have been high. During World War II, then under Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy, our upper marginal tax rates were between 88%-92%. Read those numbers again. They are astonishingly high. Those were our strongest growth years.
I never expected to say this. Pelosi's right, Obama's wrong.

Do keep in mind that we are talking about higher taxes on the richest members of society, the very richest. So unless you're among that elite group, don't panic for personal reasons. Keep in mind, also, that we are speaking only of income taxes.
You have certainly heard, several thousand times, that tax cuts lead to economic growth. That's not true. Moderate tax cuts lead to a flat economy. (The Johnson tax cuts, usually misnamed the Kennedy tax cuts, lead to 16 years of virtually no growth.)

Large tax cuts are followed by a boom in the financial sector, a bubble, and a crash. Then a recession or depression with massive bank failures. This has happened three times, in the 1920s, under Reagan, and under George W. Bush.

by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

As 2008 ends and this New Year begins, with all its fledgling promise despite turmoil and crisis, it's also that time when the media offers its lists of ten best or worst this and that of the previous year, an exercise that simultaneously entertains and infuriates.

Forced at knifepoint to make such lists, at least ours would be a little different. One would be favorite headlines of the year from The Onion, the hilarious weekly that doesn't bill itself as "America's finest news source" for nothing. If you can read it without laughing, you probably have been paying too much attention to your 401K.

Some of those we liked best:







Of course, the problem The Onion's editors have is that reality too often resembles parody. Take the story of Chip Saltsman, the guy campaigning to be chairman of the Republican National Committee by promoting himself with a CD featuring a song called, "Barack, the Magic Negro." That ditty, you'll recall, was made famous on Rush Limbaugh's minstrel show, as sung by an Al Sharpton impersonator. Even The Onion couldn't come up with that one.

by Bill Berkowitz  
Bill Berkowitz, a frequent contributor to BuzzFlash, has come up with "A 2008 Berkowitz Baker's Dozen," a selection of articles from the nearly 100 news stories, op-ed pieces, and columns he wrote in 2008. The "Baker's Dozen" contains stories that were published by BuzzFlash, Media Transparency, Religion Dispatches, Inter Press Service, Right Web, Z Magazine, Dissident Voice, Smirking Chimp, Alternet, Talk2Action, and some venues too strange to even mention and puts the year's events in perspective, and are arranged chronologically.
Some stories were ahead of the reporting curve (an April piece about the early vicious attacks from the Right on Obama); some were about issues that are rarely reported (a January piece about how Philip Anschutz, a conservative Christian theater and film mogul who is aiming to transform Hollywood); some provided historical analyses of the conservative movement (a March piece about the Heritage Foundation's 35th Anniversary & a recent piece on the death of Paul Weyrich); and others monitored the ongoing activities of the Christian Right (early work on the same-sex marriage battle in California and one on Bush's attempt to use his faith-based initiative as a legacy builder).

1. Transforming Culture One Blockbuster At A Time -- Z Magazine, January 2008

Named the nation's "greediest executive" by Fortune magazine in 1999 and recently identified by Beliefnet as the 10th most powerful Christian in Hollywood, Philip Anschutz is bringing faith-based movies to the nation's cineplexes.
2. Israel and Iran, After the NIE -- RightWeb, February 15, 2008 
"Iran is today the world's leading state-sponsor of terror," declared President George W. Bush in a speech given in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates during his January trip to the Middle East. "Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. So the United States is strengthening our long-standing security commitments with our friends in the Gulf -- and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late."

by Martha Rosenberg

It was another year of fighting black boxes, sweet talking juries, and burying incriminating clinical data for Big Pharma.
But before its reputation is completely gone (How many pharmaceutical salesmen does it take to change a light bulb? It doesn't need to be changed; it just needs a new name and formulation before the patent runs out), Big Pharma could make the following New Year's resolutions.
1. We will instruct our reps not to waltz into doctors' offices ahead of patients many of whom are -- hello! -- not feeling well and have been waiting a long time. We will admonish them to stop high fiving after a sale and using verbs such as "aced " and "got over big time." They will never call the doctor "dude."
2. We will stop pushing schizophrenic drugs such as Seroquel and Zyprexa to the depressed, anxious, moody, confused, aged, and people we can convince are bipolar through alarmist ad campaigns. ("Are you sure you don't have racing thoughts?") We will admit they are dangerous drugs with serious weight gain, hyperglycemia, and diabetes side effects that we tried to bury until The New York Times outed us.

by Jacqueline Marcus

Dear President-Elect Obama,

Here's how you can turn the recent TVA's Kingston toxic, coal-sludge disaster into a strong message that the 18th-19th century industrial polluting model represents an antiquated form of energy that belongs to the past and not the future. President Obama can point to the devastating toxic consequences of the Bush Republican "No Regulation policies." Without enforced regulations, companies will continue to reap profits with no health or environmental concerns whatsoever.

We've seen this happen time and time again. Big polluting oil and coal companies NEED to be severely regulated; and if they violate the laws, it will be committing serious crimes that could lead to big punitive damage fees and jail time.

The environmentalists and the Obama team should roll a LOT of film on the 400 acres of toxic sludge right now before the disaster is hidden from the surface. According to HuffingtonPost.com:

by Sen. Bernie Sanders

The next few months will be a pivotal period in the history of the United States and for much of the world. The Bush Administration, perhaps the most reactionary and incompetent that our country has ever seen, is leaving office after eight disastrous years. President Barack Obama and an increased Democratic majority take power amidst the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The decisions that are made early on will send an important signal as to whether Obama's campaign of "hope" and "change" will be seriously pursued and realized, or whether the power of the Big Money interests will persist -- regardless of which president is in office or which party has the majority. Will a new president and a new and more Democratic Congress finally respond to the needs of the middle class and working families of our country, or will Wall Street, insurance and drug companies, the military-industrial-complex, the oil and coal companies, big media, and the other powerful special interests continue to hold sway?

Here are just a few of the issues that President Obama, the Congress and all Americans must confront:

by Michael Winship

Just when you've finally gotten your mind around the enormous $700 billion financial bailout -- even if none of us are really sure where all that money's going -- there comes an even greater, breathtaking price tag.

The amount is $904 billion -- that's how much we've spent on American military operations, including Iraq and Afghanistan, since the 9/11 attacks; 50 percent more than what was spent in Vietnam, reports the non-partisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment. Their study does not include the inestimable toll in human life.

Of that money, nearly $200 billion has gone to Afghanistan, where 31,000 American troops are nearly 60 percent of the NATO peacekeeping force. When he becomes President, as promised during his campaign, Barack Obama will oversee the deployment of at least another 20,000 troops there.

This has been the deadliest year for American forces in Afghanistan since the war began. Our military faces a resurgent Taliban and al-Qaeda, better trained, better armed, supported from sanctuaries in Pakistan. But in an op-ed piece in last Sunday's The Washington Post, Sarah Chayes -- the former National Public Radio reporter who has lived in Kandahar province since shortly after 9/11 -- argued that America's and Afghanistan's biggest problem comes from within -- our continuing support of a corrupt and abusive Afghan government that is driving its people back into the arms of the fundamentalists.

by Michael Winship

With all the interviews President Bush has been giving out lately, you'd think he has a new movie coming out for Christmas.

ABC, NBC, National Review, Middle East Broadcasting, the Real Clear Politics Web site - even a talk with The Washington Post's NASCAR expert. For a fellow who's sometimes gone for months without a press conference, suddenly, the President's a regular chatterbox, spreading the word in these final days that his eight years in office really, really weren't all that bad. Honest.

Regrets, he's had a few. But only a few. Or so he told ABC's Charlie Gibson: "I think I was unprepared for war... In other words, I didn't anticipate war. Presidents -- one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen."

But of course he anticipated the war. He and Cheney and the neo-con biker gang had been gunning for an invasion of Iraq long before 9/11. Not that Gibson followed up and asked about that.

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