Listen up. Today, the daddy is thinking about Republican lies and how the corporate media fails to back-check them, fails to ask follow-up questions or call them on their lies. But there's more.
The daddy is thinking of how, first and foremost, the corporate media fails to provide us pertinent information and knowledge in depth, so we can make up our own mind. What they do is tease us with just tit bit of information and then turn it over to two or more political pundits (not journalists) to fight it out like clumsy pro wrestlers. Note that the idea is not to provide us the most accurate information or to help us gain deeper knowledge. The idea is to see which pundit is most adept at political spin, which pundit has the greatest memory for Republican or Democratic talking points until it's time to break for commercial.
Take President Obama's far-reaching and exceedingly different stimulus package. Before Republican and Democratic pundits began, did the news producers take time to explain what's in the stimulus package? Did they let us know if they had even read it?
How was it different from, say, Bush's last budget and, what does it mean for us today and the next generation tomorrow? What are some of the main features? Some additional features that differ significantly from previous budgets? Because President Obama's budget does make such an ideological shift from the previous Republican administration, even Ray Charles could see the wisdom of taking the time to spell out what's in the stimulus package before any "discussions." But not the corporate, electronic media. No, let's bring on the party heavy hitters and let them go at it. That'll keep the viewers watching until the next commercial break. Yes, they know this is the equivalent of professional wrestling. And, yes, they think we're idiots with small attention spans; and they treat us accordingly.
But guess what? The daddy just came across an article from Ruth Conniff (http://www.progressive.org/), managing editor at Progressive Magazine (Not too much that's corporate about them!) and one of the best commentators around. And, fortunately for us, she actually read the stimulus package and-- surprise, surprise-- came up with a different conclusion from Republicans. Moreover, she talks about things in the package that the arrogant pundits on cable programs seem not to care much about: families. Check her out:
Obama's Budget Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is
by Ruth Conniff, March 4, 2009
The ambitious scale of President Obama's budget is exciting for a lot of reasons.
First of all, the President used his first budget proposal to announce a return to the principle of progressive taxation. By rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthiest, and paying for his ambitious proposals by increasing taxes only on people earning more than $250,000 a year, Obama reverses eight years of government aid to the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. Closing tax loopholes for hedge fund managers and canceling lucrative subsidies for insurance companies and drug manufacturers are part of the same program.
At the same time, the budget takes on our most serious domestic problems with more than a token effort: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a cap and trade program and an ambitious effort to expand access to health care are among the President's most ambitious plans. (How the health care plan will come out is still unclear, with Congress asked to come up with cuts to Medicare and Medicaid's private insurance contracts to pay for the plan.) Significant increases for everything from the Department of Health and Human Services to federally funded science programs also represent a major turn-around in our national priorities.
If Obama seemed to echo some the bipartisan "Third Way" rhetoric progressives grew allergic to during the Clinton Administration in last week's address to a joint session of Congress, his budget proposal is a welcome relief: bold, progressive, and an ideological brush-back to the Republicans.
Nowhere is this more evident than in how the government treats children. Among the most important investments the President makes in his budget is in the area of early childhood education.
During debate on the stimulus package that finally passed both houses of Congress, it looked as though the President's proposed increase for Head Start funding would be cut from over $2 billion to about $1 billion. Instead, the President has restored $1.2 billion in Head Start funding for Early Head Start. Likewise, between the stimulus bill and the budget plan, the Administration increased funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $2 billion, and came up with a $600 million increases in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which helps children with disabilities and their families.
The Obama budget plan also makes permanent at $2,500 tax credit to help pay for college, increases food aid and affordable housing for families who are hit hardest in the down economy, and expands children's health care.
"The sun is rising and we feel its warmth," says Sheila Skiffington of the Center for Children & Families--http://ccf.edc.org/aboutus/default.asp-- in Boston, Massachusetts. "On the federal level, the staff we interface with are excited. They want to see these programs succeed." Citing the Administration's commitment to quality early childhood education, and particularly the significant increases for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start, Skiffington says she is very encouraged. Obama gets it that quality early childhood education is crucial, "and that is reflected in his budget," she says.
The investment in child care couldn't come at a more important time, as many states have cut back subsidies for quality child care, even as parents are feeling more squeezed and centers are closing down as families withdraw when they lose jobs and can't afford preschool.
Along with renouncing torture and reopening diplomatic relations with the rest of the world, Obama has scored another moral victory for our country by striving to improve the treatment of our struggling families, and particularly children.
Restoring funding for Head Start, increase in child care and block grants, tax credit to go to college, increases in funding for disabled children-- the daddy knows: these features of the budget haven't been talked about. But they are changes that families, progressives, and the daddy can believe in.Managing editor at The Progressive since 1997, Ruth Conniff appears frequently on television shows like CNN's Sunday Capital Gang and PBS's To The Contrary. May of her op-d commentaries have appeared in The Washington Post, New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.and is a voice of The Progressive on many TV and radio programs.