Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Wars Slipping: Healthcare And Afghanistan, Hate Monger Called Back Into Action, Lieberman More Dangerous Than Reported Yet.

Two Wars Slipping: Healthcare And Afghanistan, Hate Monger Called Back Into Action, Lieberman More Dangerous Than Reported Yet.

Three Former Top CIA Agents Say War In Afghanistan Making World More Dangerous (VIDEO)

In a powerful new documentary, "Security" from the Rethink Afghanistan project, three former high-ranking CIA agents explain why the war in Afghanistan is making the world more dangerous, rather than safer, for Americans.

Robert Baer, former CIA field operative in the Middle East and the author of "See No Evil," says: "The notion that we are in Afghanistan to make our country safer is complete bullshit."

And Graham Fuller, former CIA station chief in Kabul, emphasizes: "Both wars have made the world much more dangerous for Americans and for any American presence overseas."

Watch The Video:


Mullen: Afghanistan "Deterioriating"

Judas Joe Lieberman Strikes Again” “Your Healthcare Can Wait, And Wait And…

Any moment now the pundits and media will figure it all out; the fact is that Joe Lieberman can totally derail Healthcare Reform and hand the White House Back to the Republicans in 2012.


by James Surowiecki AUGUST 31, 2009

Health-Care Reform;

(Pres.) Barack Obama;

Endowment Effect;


Status Quo Bias;

Ziv Carmon;

Dan Ariely

There are times when Americans’ attitude toward health-care reform seems a bit like St. Augustine’s take on chastity: Give it to us, Lord, but not yet. In theory, the public overwhelmingly supports reform—earlier this year, polls showed big majorities in favor of fundamental change. But, when it comes to actually making fundamental change, people go all wobbly. Just about half of all Americans now disapprove of the way the Obama Administration is handling health care.

In part, of course, this is because of the non-stop demonization of the Obama plan. But the public’s skittishness about overhauling the system also reflects something else: the deep-seated psychological biases that make people resistant to change. Most of us, for instance, are prey to the so-called “endowment effect”: the mere fact that you own something leads you to overvalue it. A simple demonstration of this was an experiment in which some students in a class were given coffee mugs emblazoned with their school’s logo and asked how much they would demand to sell them, while others in the class were asked how much they would pay to buy them. Instead of valuing the mugs similarly, the new owners of the mugs demanded more than twice as much as the buyers were willing to pay.

The academics Ziv Carmon and Dan Ariely showed the same thing in a real-world experiment: posing as ticket scalpers, they phoned people who had entered a raffle to win tickets to a Duke basketball game. People who hadn’t won tickets were willing to pay, on average, a hundred and seventy dollars to get into the game. But those who had won tickets wanted twenty-four hundred dollars to part with them. In other words, those who had, by pure luck, won the tickets thought the ducats were fourteen times as valuable as those who hadn’t.

What this suggests about health care is that, if people have insurance, most will value it highly, no matter how flawed the current system. And, in fact, more than seventy per cent of Americans say they’re satisfied with their current coverage. More strikingly, talk of changing the system may actually accentuate the endowment effect. Last year, a Rasmussen poll found that only twenty-nine percent of likely voters rated the U.S. health-care system good or excellent. Yet when Americans were asked the very same question last month, forty-eight per cent rated it that highly. The American health-care system didn’t suddenly improve over the past eleven months. People just feel it’s working better because they’re being asked to contemplate changing it.

Compounding the endowment effect is what economists dub the “status quo bias.” Myriad studies have shown that, even if you set ownership aside, most people are inclined to keep things as they are: when it comes to things like 401(k)s, for instance, people tend to adopt whatever their company’s default option is, and with things like asset allocation or insurance plans people tend to stick with whatever they start with. Just designating an option as the status quo makes people rate it more highly. Some of this may be the result of simple inertia, but our hesitancy to change is also driven by our aversion to loss. Behavioral economists have established that we feel the pain of losses more than we enjoy the pleasure of gains. So when we think about change we focus more on what we might lose rather than on what we might get. Even people who aren’t all that happy with the current system, then, are still likely to feel anxious about whatever will replace it.

Such anxieties have certainly been stoked by the reams of disinformation that have been spread about the Obama plan. They may also have been exacerbated by the Obama Administration’s initial emphasis on the way the plan would help hold down health-care costs. This approach was understandable: most people think health care is too expensive, so the ability to hold down costs seems like a selling point for the plan. The problem is that once you start talking about cost-cutting you make people think about what they might have to give up. And that makes them value what they have more highly.

Still, just because you can’t change human nature doesn’t mean you can’t change health care. The key may be to work with, rather than against, people’s desire for security. That’s surely one reason that Obama has consistently promised people that if they like the health insurance they currently have they can keep it. This promise will make whatever reform we get more inefficient and less comprehensive, but it also assuages people’s anxieties. It might even be possible to use the endowment effect and the status-quo bias in the argument for change.

After all, although people tend to feel that they own their health insurance, their entitlement is distinctly tenuous. Because it’s hard for individuals to get affordable health insurance, and most people are insured through work, keeping your insurance means keeping your job. But in today’s economy there’s obviously no guarantee that you can do that. On top of that, even if you have insurance there’s a small but meaningful chance that when you actually get sick you’ll find out that your insurance doesn’t cover what you thought it did (in the case of what’s called “rescission”). In other words, the endowment that insured people want to hold on to is much shakier than it appears. Changing the system so that individuals can get affordable health care, while banning bad behavior on the part of insurance companies, will actually make it more likely, not less, that people will get to preserve their current level of coverage. The message, in other words, should be: if we want to protect the status quo, we need to reform it.

In The Mean Time we have an argument surfacing to repeal all Gun Laws In America. Strap-em-on, practice leather slapping and let’s go back to the future in Dodge City 2009!

“But there is more to freedom that waiting for government to chase away thugs. Superb data works both ways: Lynch v. NC DOJ remarked that "Police have no duty to protect individuals from the criminal acts of others." Lynch went on to say that their duties lie elsewhere in keeping the peace, in enforcement of the law. This means after-the-fact, friends. Dependency is a terrible thing.”

As If Limbaugh and Beck Weren't Bad Enough, the Granddaddy of Hate Radio Is Back on the Air

By Alexander Zaitchik, AlterNet. Posted August 24, 2009.

Bob Grant taught a generation of conservative talkers how to channel white rage, until a listener boycott helped push him off the air. Now he's back.

(I Digress)


Over the years, Grant has made a number of statements on his shows that critics have described as racist. For example, he was quoted in the Newsday on June 2, 1992, as saying "Minorities are the Big Apple's majority, you don't need the papers to tell you that, walk around and you know it. To me, that's a bad thing. I'm a white person." In his book, Grant defended this statement by writing that he did not intend to put down other races, but only intended to express that "no one likes to be in the minority," and that America can only survive by retaining its "humane, west European culture."

Thus, he supports ending bilingualism and multiculturalism, two policies of which Grant has been highly critical. According to the website for the left-leaning media watchdog organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Grant has repeatedly advocated "eugenics" by promoting the "Bob Grant Mandatory Sterilization Program," which he describes as temporary sterilizations for women of childbearing age who wish to receive welfare payments.

Grant's controversial statements about "welfare mothers" are often called racist. FAIR also quotes Grant as saying, on January 6, 1992, that the U.S. has "millions of sub-humanoids, savages, who really would feel more at home careening along the sands of the Kalahari or the dry deserts of eastern Kenya — people who, for whatever reason, have not become civilized." It is not clear from the preceding quote in what context Grant made that statement. The issues of crime and immigration into the United States were popular topics for Grant's show.

It is not attainable from the quote if Grant was referring to citizens in general of that heritage who were committing crime, or immigrants who he saw as not assimilating into the American culture. Grant has repeatedly come under attack for calling blacks "savages," but claims that he is only referring to rioters. FAIR claims that a reference to black churchgoers as "screaming savages" refutes his defense, but Grant has explained that that comment was in reference to the congregation of a black church in Los Angeles in which the reverend was promoting violence in the midst of the riots over the beating of Rodney King by police officers.

He once publicly complained that Magic Johnson's HIV hadn't yet turned into AIDS, resulting in outrage from Grant's critics.

However, Howard Stern wished AIDS on Arsenio Hall that same year, and received few if any charges of racism.[9] Grant has professed admiration for several black Americans, including Thomas Sowell, Colin Powell, Juan Williams, and Muhammad Ali.


Here's a talk radio riddle: What do Glenn Beck's recent radio meltdown and the ongoing boycott against his television show have in common?

Answer: Both find echo and inspiration in the career of Bob Grant, the granddaddy of conservative hate radio who this week announced his return to New York's 77 WABC for one last go-around. Starting September 13, the frail octogenarian will host a Sunday show between noon and 2 p.m.

It's hard not to wonder if Grant is returning to terrestrial radio in an effort to reclaim his identity. Not only has Glenn Beck borrowed Grant's two trademark catch phrases—"Get off my phone!" and "Sick, twisted freak"—this month Beck even reprised Grant's former role as the tallest whipping post for organized liberal outrage.

When launched a campaign on August 4 targeting Beck's sponsors after he called the president a "racist" who hates "the white culture," the organization followed a path first blazed by Bob Grant's opponents during the mid-90s. It was then, on the cusp of the Internet age, that Grant became the first conservative broadcaster to trigger a sustained campaign with incendiary racial rhetoric. That campaign contributed to the eventual firing of Grant from WABC in 1996. It also made him a martyr for an entire generation of conservative talkers.

Grant was not the first conservative broadcasting firebrand. That distinction falls to Grant's mentor, Joe Pyne, a tough-talking one-legged ex-Marine who built a radio and tv career during the 50s and 60s on screeds against liberals and hippies, famously telling many of them to "go gargle with razor blades." But the bluster was largely an act. "Pyne was all shtick, a total gimmick," Larry King, who knew Pyne, has said. "He'd make fun of his guests and then go to dinner with them."

Grant's politics were less gimmicky. He studied Pyne closely while the two worked together in Los Angeles during the 1960s. In 1970, the year of his mentor's death, Grant relocated to New York. It was a propitious cultural moment for Grant's snarling Nixonian worldview. He arrived on the heels of the infamous "hard hat riot" on Wall Street, where 200 construction workers injured dozens in an attack on a student antiwar protest. Upon hearing the news, Nixon famously exclaimed, "Thank God for the hard hats!"

And thank God for Bob Grant, Nixon might have added. Grant's show became New York's megaphone for blue-collar white rage. He railed against the welfare state and slammed liberal politicians, peppering his insults with earthy southern Italian slang. He called blacks "sub-humans" and "savages" and invoked an earlier New York that never existed, "where everyone spoke English."

During his first months in New York, Grant's anger at the world around him was compounded by the fact that he despised the city and yearned to return to California. He found New York loud, filthy, and too crowded with non-whites and immigrants. Grant would later write that he hated New York so much that he "subconsciously wanted to get fired." Toward that end, Grant cranked up the hate in every direction. "I was becoming irascible on the air. Argumentative. Feisty. Impatient with the callers… I didn't care what anybody thought of me or my manners… I was telling people off left and right."

By the time New York started to grow on Grant, he realized something: not only had his spitfire persona failed to get him canned, his ratings were through the roof. So he kept up the act. For the next three decades, Grant's vitriolic rants against liberals and immigrants, originally fueled by self-hatred and disgust with New York, would inspire the next (and currently dominant) generation of conservative talkers. This includes Sean Hannity, who listened to Grant in Long Island during the 1970s, to Glenn Beck, who listened to him in New Haven during the early 1990s.

Grant's power and influence peaked during a 12-year run on WABC that straddled the Reagan and Clinton eras. Between 1984 and 1996, The Bob Grant Show owned the city's afternoon-drive slot. More than just a local media celebrity, Grant emerged as something of a conservative kingmaker in regional politics. With a huge following among the tri-state area's white working class, he was sometimes credited with swinging close elections. Dozens of gracious politicians and candidates called Grant's show to kiss his ring. The list includes presidents, senators, governors, and mayors. Rudy Giuliani was a frequent guest, who chuckled along with Grant when the host referred to Giuliani's black predecessor, David Dinkins, as "the men's room attendant at the 21 Club."

Then, in 1994, Grant learned that the world had changed on him. His years of dumping on blacks and immigrants had generated quietly mounting opposition. Unbeknown to Grant, angry listeners had begun recording his shows and passing the most incriminating tapes to journalists and media watchdogs like the New York-based Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), founded by Jeff Cohen in 1986. Seemingly out of nowhere, Grant's vast archive of bile was thrown back in his face in the form of a coordinated campaign that he would later describe without irony as a "low-tech lynching."

The first salvo came in October, when New York magazine, under the editorship of Kurt Anderson, published a cover story by Philip Gourevitch. The cover showed Bob Grant wrapped in a WABC banner; below, the teaser read, "Why He Hates Blacks." The piece collected bits from Grant's regular rants and riffs, including those promoting eugenics and mandatory sterilization for women on welfare. Gourevitch not only quoted Grant's descriptions of blacks as "sub-humanoids" and "savages," he did so in so many contexts that there was no way Grant could claim he was being selectively or creatively quoted. "His show sounds like outtakes from the dialogue in a Spike Lee pastiche of Bensonhurst Neanderthals," wrote Gourevitch. New York's case against Grant was so comprehensive that even its subject conceded to his boss at WABC, "It's devastating."

After decades of fawning and winking media coverage, the New York story put Grant on the ropes for the first time in his career. Former political allies began to backpedal from Grant as if he were carrying all of the diseases he had long accused immigrants of bringing to New York. Local black ministers, led by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, organized press conferences and call-in campaigns urging Grant's sponsors to drop the show.

As the boycott gathered steam, a January 1995 cover story in FAIR's bimonthly magazine published fresh quotes to ballast the case that ABC's flagship radio station was daily broadcasting a show that sounded like something produced by German state radio in 1939. The article, entitled "50,000 Watts of Hate," quoted Grant wishing Magic Johnson would develop full-blown AIDS—along with the entire population of Haiti. It quoted Grant denying a caller's charge of racism in 1993, saying, "If they did allow it, the thugs, the savages, the refugees from the Kalahari would tear the place apart. But I guess our group has evolved too far. I guess that's the price we pay for being a little higher up on the evolutionary scale."

Then there was the transcript of a call in which a listener asked, "What could I do as a citizen of this country, which I believe in and have seen fall apart as I've been growing up?" To which Grant calmly replied, "Get a gun and go do something then, OK?"

Grant survived the controversy following the New York and Extra! stories, but the pressure never let up. FAIR would continue its campaign against Grant, including an open letter to Disney CEO Michael Eisner printed in the Sunday New York Times. Finally, on April 3, 1996, Grant hanged himself when he expressed hope that Commerce Secretary Ron Brown had died in a just-announced plane crash. Two weeks later, following a renewed media campaign led by USA Today, Grant was fired from WABC. Grant's faithful media ally the New York Post dutifully marked the day of infamy with the full-page headline: "Grant's Tomb."

But the campaign's victory was Pyrrhic. Grant was immediately snapped up by WOR, the city's #2 talk station, which promptly plopped Grant into his old afternoon-drive slot. Still, the campaign had demonstrated that the scope for what is acceptable on public airwaves had narrowed. Grant mellowed somewhat after the demonstration of liberal power.

The campaign against Grant was a long time coming. For years his openly racist and incendiary calls for "action" had been a source of chuckles in conservative New York circles. On YouTube, there survives a clip from a September 15, 1991 Friar's Club roast in honor of Grant, years before his public unmasking and condemnation. Among those in attendance are Al D'Amato and Joe Piscapo. In the clip, Grant protégé Rush Limbaugh delivers the keynote, which includes some good-natured ribbing about Grant's well-known racial views. "To protest Apartheid, when he does his laundry, Bob Grant doesn't separate the colors from the whites," jokes Limbaugh. "I'm not saying Bob is a racist, but he wanted to go see Boyz in the Hoodbecause he thought it was a KKK training film."

Behind Limbaugh hangs a giant banner, on which are emblazoned the words revived this summer by Glenn Beck in his not-so-subtle homage to Grant: "Get off my phone!"

To which progressives have the right to respond, "Get off my public airwaves." As the encouraging early results of the campaign indicate, this needn't always be an idle threat.

(More..if you have the stomach for it.)

Grant was known for using a number of catchphrases on his show, such as "You're a fake, a phony, and a fraud!", "Straight ahead", "Get off my phone!", "Anything and everything is grist for our ever-grinding mill", and his closing line, "Your influence counts ... use it!" His opening line was used as the title of his 1996 book, Let's Be Heard, a title representing an abbreviated version of his original opener, "And let's be heard! Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to another hour of the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions in the belief that as American citizens you have the right to hear, and to be heard." Before his daily monologue, Grant would ask the rhetorical question, "And what's on your mind today, hmmm?", and would sometimes call women "chickie-poos". During his WMCA years, Grant often ended his show with a blustery "Get Khaddafi." On the WOR show, Grant often closed his show with the phrase, "Someone's got to say these things, it has to be me!"

Grant was known for assigning derogatory names to public officials he disliked. They included:

During the infamous Tawana Brawley rape debacle, Grant referred to Brawley's advisors Alton Maddox, C. Vernon Mason, and Al Sharpton as "Moe, Larry, and Fatso." As an Italian American, Grant also used several Italian quasi-obscene phrases for those he disliked, such as calling Mario Cuomo"the Sfachim" or "il Supremo". During the 1988 presidential campaign, he referred to Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis as "Du-cagasotto" (an Italian obscenity meaning a fearful or timid person).

About society, he would remark "It's sick out there, and getting sicker" or "We are sliding down a slippery slope, and there's no climbing back up." Callers he disliked were not spared either, as Grant would sometimes invite them to his studio, remarking, " I could punch your dumb nose right down your dumb throat!" He would dryly suggest to others, "Why don't you go gargle with a cup of razor blades?"

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