The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

O'Reilly worse than Fr. Coughlin: Indiana U.

(Via Romanesko.)

Indiana University's Journalism School has released a paper demonstrating that Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly uses significantly more propaganda than the infamous 1930s radio commentator Fr. Charles Coughlin:

O’Reilly is a heavier and less nuanced user of the seven devices developed by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in the late 1930s than the notorious radio commentator of that time, Father Charles Coughlin. O’Reilly also employs other propaganda techniques, identified by Lasswell, Berelson and Janowitz. This includes ample use of fear appeals and the construction of the battle between good and evil. The most evil villains in O’Reilly’s world are illegal aliens, terrorists, and foreigners because they are apparently a physical and moral threat to the United States. Slightly less evil—but unambiguously bad—are groups (media, organizations, politicians) who share a political leaning to the left. On the other side, the virtuous flank emerged as an all-American crew made up of the military, criminal justice system, Bush administration, and ordinary US citizens.

In other words, as all patriotic Americans know, O'Reilly is a reactionary, imbicilic blowhard, who beats up on the innocent in his ongoing campaign to take away your freedoms. Of course, we on the left are usually too polite to point this out.

Link roundup

Share and enjoy:

And also from reader MB, some bumper stickers we'd like to see:

  • Even Nixon Resigned
  • We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
  • The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

But how many would vote for Lennon?

John Lennon once remarked that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus," explaining later that more people had bought Beatles albums than went to church.

It turns out, we atheists are less popular than the GEICO Cave Man. At least, more people would vote for the GEICO Cave Man, than would vote for an atheist.

The sad fact is, most of the first U.S. presidents—including Jefferson and Washington—were, famously, as close to atheists as the 18th Century allowed.

Who said voters were irrational?

Lest I forget where I am...

...the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 today to ban plastic bags at grocery stores:

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 this afternoon to make the city the first in the nation to prohibit petroleum-based plastic checkout bags in large markets and pharmacies.
On the first of two votes needed for final passage, supervisors approved legislation sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mikarimi that would mandate the use of biodegradable plastic bags or recyclable paper bags. The legislation would take effect in about six months for some 50 large markets in San Francisco and would apply in about 12 months to large drugstore chains such as Walgreen's and Rite-Aid.

Gov. Blagojevich's gross-receipts tax proposal

My accountant, Linda Forman, sent me this note on the Illinois Gross Receipts Tax proposed by Gov. Blagojevich. Now, I voted for the man twice, and I voted for my state senator (who also supports the proposal) twice, but if they go ahead with this proposal I'm not sure I will continue to support them:

The Gross Receipts Tax Proposal
There are thoughtful people in the political arena mulling over the proposal of a gross receipts tax and the prospect of health care coverage for the uninsured employees in Illinois.
While debate goes on, I would like you to visit with a company or two that could be a composite of many small business clients.
The Service Company
Currently, a service company employs 40 people and provides health care and life insurance, fringe benefits and a generous profit sharing plan.
It funds the fringe benefits and profit sharing with some of the $300,000 in profits it realizes on its $6,000,000 in service sales.
Oh, did I mention that the business owners would like some income each year from their capital investment in the company. That usually is a 9% return, or $90,000.
So the $300,000 in yearly profits is put to good use – excellent employee benefits and a reasonable rate of return on capital invested. This is a growing company. It pays taxes on its net income, pays various business taxes to the state and community and keeps 40 people on the tax rolls. It also uses the services of other Illinois businesses, contributing to a vital economy.
Under the gross receipts tax proposal, the $6,000,000 gross income will be taxed to the tune of $300,000. So there goes the profit that funded employee retirement plans and kept investors happy. BUT now, other businesses that provide service to this company have also raised their rates to cover the gross receipts tax, so this company is now operating at a LOSS. And it has lost its competitive pricing edge.
When companies operate at a loss, their usual options are:
  • Lay off employees
  • Cut benefits
  • Move to a more business friendly area
And this helps Illinois’s economy HOW??
  • More unemployment compensation payments.
  • More uninsured workers? Loss of tax revenue from income taxes.
  • Loss of a productive business if it moves out of state.
Raising “prices” may work for government, but in this global economy, it is often NOT an option.
The Widget Company
The Widget Company competes with other widget makers, striving to make a good quality product at a competitive price. It has made a commitment to stay in Illinois, even though the state has hiked fees in the past. The corporate income tax is 7.3% of net income, certainly a significant tax but bearable, since net profit is only 4% of gross receipts of $6,000,000; the tax is approximately $17,000.
The company’s margins on its product lines cover the administrative and sales overhead. If it had to raise prices 5% to cover the gross receipts tax, it would lose business in a market where customers are swayed by even the slightest rise in price.
If the company has to pay a gross receipts tax of 5%, it would have to pay $300,000!! But its net profit is only $240,000 so it would be $60,000 in the hole. This is a company that is going to MOVE out of Illinois to a warmer climate in a state where business is appreciated. What other choice does it have – it can’t pass along the costs to consumers while dealing in a global marketplace.
My thoughts
The gross receipts tax idea is just that - GROSS. It will repel new business and seriously impede current business growth. There has to be an analysis of WHY some large corporations are not paying tax, since the formula for paying Illinois taxes is based on a factor of Illinois sales to total sales. And there has to be a corollary analysis of what other taxes big business is paying to Illinois, since other fees on businesses have risen sharply in this administration.
I have clients who will be severely impacted by a gross income tax - and attempts to remain in Illinois and deal with the tax will only result in loss of jobs and benefits for their employees.
There has to be an intelligent game plan - and we need more information from the governor before we can assess where the issues are.
AND, with regards to an expanded Illinois health care plan, I think a good health plan needs to be national in scope and administered like Medicare - and that the state of Illinois, in its precarious financial position, can't take on health care while it has to correct huge pension and other funding deficits. And given the historically poor reimbursement payment rate and lateness of payment, where will Illinois find the health care providers to accept families covered by the proposed health insurance plan?
Linda Forman, CPA
Evanston, Ill.

By the way, no, Inner Drive Technology is not the service company she mentioned, as much as I might wish for $6 million in revenues.

Update, 8:49 am: Linda adds the following:

The gross receipts tax rate may have lowered in discussions since this was first written, but the concept is still there, along with the health insurance issue. Actually many companies are toying with the idea of dropping their coverage and only paying the state's 3% rate, which will cause a larger population to be in the state's insurance fund - another negative result of this proposal.

Unhappy anniversary

Four years. We weren't even in World War II for this long. I can't add anything really profound to the debate, but I will repeat something Garry Trudeau had on today's Doonesbury Daily Dose:

"America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn't make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment."
—Gen. Tony McPeak (retired), member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War

I would also like to point out that the recent spate of confessions from people our government has tortured might carry more weight if the men hadn't also confessed to assassinating the Archduke Ferdinand.

Finally, not that this should surprise anything, the New York Times is reporting today the White House watered down government reports to influence the debate on climate change:

In a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the official, Philip A. Cooney, who left government in 2005, defended the changes he had made in government reports over several years. Mr. Cooney said the editing was part of the normal White House review process and reflected findings in a climate report written for President Bush by the National Academy of Sciences in 2001.

No more than 672 days, 2 hours, and 44 minutes remain in the Bush Administration.