Category Archives: media

Look, Up in the Sky! A Play in One Farcical Act.

Up, Up and Away

Up, Up and Away

THE SCENE: A swank TV studio, with all the zoomy, whizzy lights, giant flashing screens, deep-pile royal blue carpeting, poreless, lacquered newsbots, and hysterical black-clad assistants one could ever desire. We are in the back of the studio, in the glass-enclosed center of all the action. EDITORS 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all sitting in their leather chairs, directing the action by talking to each other, pointing at their MacBooks, and shouting into their wireless headsets. They are all in their 20’s and have just been promoted after their more experienced bosses “aged out of the business.”

EDITOR 1 (swigging a Red Bull): What’s new on Twitter? We’ve gotta have something for the next segment.

EDITOR 2 (nervously): Let’s see…Demi and Ashton just tweeted…

EDITOR 3 (yawning): Oh please. They tweet when they pee!

EDITOR 4 (pushing in excitedly): Guys, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard just got bombed! A bunch of people died and that DinnerJacket guy is blaming us and the Brits! This could be the start of a huge international incident!

(A brief silence, then:)

EDITORS 1-3 (bursting into laughter): HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

EDITOR 3 (wiping tears from her eyes): Oh, that was a good one! Like anyone cares about that crap these days.

(EDITOR 4 subsides into a humiliated silence.)

EDITOR 2 (eagerly): What about Sarah Palin? Sometimes we can just say her name and people think it’s news!

EDITOR 1 (dismissively): Nahhhh, we tried that two days ago. It bombed.

EDITOR 2 (peevishly): FINE. Uh, uh…Oooooh! (points at his MacBook) Check this out!

(All the EDITORS gather around the screen.)

EDITOR 3 (finally interested): Holy shit! A kid jumped in a balloon in a back yard and it got loose?

EDITOR 2 (proud): Huh? Huh? Is this good or what?

EDITOR 1 (shouting into his headset): Listen up, people! We’ve got something. Get ready to roll in five!

EDITOR 4: This story is unbelievable! Wow, it’s…hmmm.

EDITOR 3 (dismissively): What is it NOW?

EDITOR 4: Well, just shooting it out there, but…what if the kid was never in the balloon to begin with? Or what if he was, but he’s not now? Or what if these parents are making the whole thing up?

EDITOR 1 (after a brief pause): What are you, 25?

EDITOR 4 (nervously): Uh…26.

EDITOR 1 (smugly): I figured. God, you old people just don’t understand the business any more! (gets up and starts pacing) The story’s a win-win. If it’s a hoax, we do a story about the hoax and we milk that for a week. If it’s true, boo-hoo, the kid’s dead – we milk that for a week. If the kid arrives in the balloon safely, we milk his heroic and incredible escape for a week. (suddenly shouting) DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!

(EDITOR 4 looks cowed and ashamed. EDITORS 2 and 3 look happy and superior.)

EDITOR 1 (with chilling finality): You’re fired. (sitting down, shouting into his headset) Hey! You in the black!

(ALL the assistants whirl around at the same time, with hopeful smiles on their faces.)

EDITOR 1 (annoyed): NOT YOU! The guy with the cool hair and soulpatch. Get up here, man.

(The New Guy pumps the air with his fist, then starts making his way to the glass booth as EDITOR #4 exits ignominiously. Suddenly, EDITOR #4 stops his exit, and stands in the middle of the newsroom. He exudes a quiet and desperate dignity which is compelling enough to cause a pause in all the furious activity.)

EDITOR 4: You are all a disgrace to journalism. Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow are ROLLING IN THEIR GRAVES!

(He swoops out dramatically. With a shrug, the buzzing and rushing resume.)

EDITOR 3 (yawning again): What the hell was he talking about?

THE NEW GUY: Should I Google ’em?

EDITOR 2 (completely uninterested): Whatever. (looks at his MacBook, brightens) Oooh, video!

EDITOR 1 (excitedly): Send it through!

EDITOR 3 (happily): News for a week no matter what happens. We are AWESOME!

(All the EDITORS high-five as:)

(LIGHTS OUT.)

Never To Blame, Never Accountable: The True Legacy of The Bush Administration

It’s very tough to accept this fact, but yes, George W. Bush is still our President. Apparently, someone still cares enough to interview Teh Deciderer about his eight-year reign of error. Surprisingly, he actually admitted a mistake. But as usual, it was all someone else’s fault.

Dubya’s greatest regret was the “intelligence failure” in Iraq. (I always say that the intelligence that failed was his.)

“The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq,” Bush said 50 days before president-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration. “I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess.”

Oh yes, I’m sure he did wish it had been different; that the WMD threat had been real! That would be why he ordered the weapons inspectors to leave Iraq when they did not find WMD, despite the extravagant claims of his Vice President, Dick Cheney (“no doubt, nuclear weapons!”) and Secretary of State, Colin Powell (“look at this vial and cartoon, OMG Scaaarryyyy!”) and National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice (“we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud!”).

But Bush refused to say whether he would have ordered the March 2003 invasion if he had known that late dictator Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, calling it “an interesting question.”

“That is a do-over that I can’t do. It’s hard for me to speculate,” said Bush, who declared as recently as last week that Saddam’s ouster was “the right decision then — and it is the right decision today.”

First of all, this is very sloppy journalism. There is no evidence whatsoever that Bush did not know that Saddam Hussein had no WMD. In fact, there is quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.

Months before the Iraq invasion, President Bush apparently ignored a 2002 Oval Office briefing in which CIA director George Tenet provided the president with intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction, according to former Clinton advisor and Salon columnist Sidney Blumenthal.[snip]

Blumenthal also adds that the intelligence from that day was left out of the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which definitively stated that had WMD.

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Leedurshipp: Ur Doing It Rong

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

I tell you, it’s a good thing nothing important is going on in America right now, because otherwise, this news would bother me just a tad.

CHICAGO (Reuters) – President-elect Barack Obama said on Thursday he would resign his U.S. Senate seat effective Sunday, which means he will not participate in next week’s post-election session that could address the ailing economy and struggling auto industry.

(snip)

Obama, who will be sworn in as president on January 20, said he would step down from his Senate seat to focus on the transition to the White House.

This would explain Team Obama’s coyness when reporters repeatedly asked whether more economic legislation would be passed by the Congress before the inauguration. For example, during the press conference which caused me to dub him “President-Elect Treebeard,” this exchange occurred:

Q Sir, there’s been some suggestion from House Democrats that the stimulus package may be in trouble, that it’s going to be a hard time getting it out of a lame-duck session.

Are you still confident that you would be able to get something done before you actually take office?

PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: I want to see a stimulus package sooner rather than later. If it does not get done in the lame-duck session, it will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States.

Obviously, the President-Elect never planned on using his power as the new head of the Democratic Party in the Senate during this incredibly crucial time.  Economy, ecshmonomy! Obama’s going to be busy picking his new Cabinet and staffing all the departments that Bush filled with underqualified graduates of Liberty University. While this is, admittedly, a big job, one would think that with 450 people working on it. Obama could afford to spend a few days helping push his economic vision through Congress.

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A Tale of Two Parties: Myths, Realities and Strategies in the General Election

What Happened?
What Happened?

Now that the shock and disbelief of Election Night have passed (and I must admit, I feel no small relief to finally have the matter decided), I find myself more able to analyze what happened on Tuesday. And unsurprisingly, it isn’t the tale the media told us.

We are all supposed to believe that the Democratic turnout was enormous and unprecedented. The youths and the AA’s came out in droves. It was an outpouring never seen before for the most Unifying and Post-Partisan Candidate Ever! We are also supposed to believe that Obama’s electoral strategy of expanding the map into the South and West through that turnout was successful, and that his Holy Awesomeness was recognized throughout the land. Yea, verily, he is the President of All The People! (Yes, I heard a pundit on MSNObama actually say words to that effect on Election Night.)

Yet, in fact, none of these things are actually true. All the assumptions above are based on nothing but pretty stories – indeed, I might say, with a hat tip to Bill Clinton, “fairy tales.”

Commenter Cognitive Dissonance mentioned this yesterday, but I had already seen bloggers State of Disbelief and Edgeoforever mentioning it on PUMA sites during the day. From EOF’s site, let’s take a look at the actual turnout numbers this year, compared to the numbers in 2004, the election between the Worst President Ever and Senator John Kerry, a man for whom I gladly voted.

2004
62,040,606-Bush
59,028,109-Kerry
411,304 Nader

2008
63,507,800 – Obama
56,151,859 – McCain

Youth voters only ^ 1%
AA voters ^ 2%

So, this enormous and unprecedented turnout for Obama was only unprecedented for a Democrat. It amounted to 4.5 million more votes than John Kerry, and only 1.5 million more than Bush. The PUMA factor is being estimated at between 2.7 million and 2.9 million, and we must not forget the role of the much-investigated ACORN in registering all those new voters, some as many as 72 times each. As usual, stories of election fraud will be suppressed by the corporate media, since their favored candidate has won once again; but I suspect that ACORN contributed greatly to those surprising numbers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. In any case, the PUMA numbers were very close to matching the “massive turnout” numbers for Obama.

One myth down.

The second myth is that Obama could win without PUMAs because he was going to “expand the electoral map.” He felt he even had a chance in deep red states like Kansas, but counted on states like North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado and Virginia to make up for his possible losses in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Obama’s map held up, and even improved in the General Election (although many of the red states Obama thought he would win stayed red).

However, in the primaries Hillary Clinton disputed that map, and so did we. The numbers were simply not there for Obama. But we didn’t realize that he would have a lot of help – not just from ACORN, but from…Republicans.

As we know, Barack Obama is the most scandal-ridden Democratic Party nominee in recent memory. He is our Rudy Giuliani, whose mob ties, failures of judgment on 9/11 (putting the emergency response center in the World Trade Center so he could see it from his bachelor pad) and inveterate and classless womanizing caused him to self-destruct in the primaries. Yet where were the 527 ads against Barack Obama this year? They wouldn’t even have had to lie this time, the way they shamefully did in 2004 about John Kerry’s military service.  Obama repeatedly insulted working-class voters, cementing his elitist creds in a way Al Gore and John Kerry never did or could. Obama really DOES hang out with domestic terrorists. Obama’s pastor, mentor and friend of 20 years is an unrepentant, America-hating misogynist and racist, who is close friends with renowned anti-Semite and whackjob Louis Farrakhan. Obama’s associates in Illinois are being investigated and indicted. His birth, his education and most of his life are shrouded in mystery. The slightest bit of investigation uncovers a mountain of dirt and doubt. In addition, his choice for Vice President made Dubya look well-spoken. So why did the Republicans not do what they do best, and destroy the opposition?

There is nothing else to conclude other than this: the Party hung McCain and Palin out to dry. They threw the election. Influential conservative commentators pulled their punches, and some even backed Obama openly. KKKarl Rove was on the teevee saying that an Obama win was inevitable. The media leaked stories of chaos within the campaign regarding McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. The Republican Party allowed Governor Palin to be savaged in the press (and it is still happening), despite the brave statements of a few Republican women when she was first introduced to the public. Senior Republicans snarled that she was not ready, inexperienced, an embarrassment. Key Bush figures like Colin Powell and Scott McClellan endorsed Obama. The evangelical base never supported McCain, despite the addition of a Christian conservative to the ticket. This behavior was a shocking departure from the Party of the past, which had always followed Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment.

The effect of all of this undermining was undeniable: 56 million voters came out for McCain, and 62 million voters came out for Bush.

We don’t know what the PUMA factor was, since a lot of PUMAs voted third party, left the top of the ticket blank, or wrote in Hillary. Some even stayed home in protest. Those PUMA votes would neither have gone to McCain nor Obama. However, if we assume for theoretical purposes that about a third of PUMAs voted McCain, that means that at least 7 million fewer Republicans voted for McCain than Bush.

The short-sightedness of these voters astonishes me, for John McCain and Sarah Palin were the only shot the Party had at redemption. They were rebranding the Party as the Party of feminism, tolerance, government oversight and responsible spending. That brand is now lost to the Republicans. The Democrats will never regain that brand either, because they trashed the person who exemplified it, Bill Clinton, in order to gain Barack Obama. The Republican Party Leaders found themselves a Democratic George Bush, and they did everything in their power to help him win.

Some well-meaning Republicans think they can rebuild the Party by going “back” to conservative principles. Sorry, but wow! Get a clue, guys: Republicans never govern the way they say they will. George W. Bush was beloved by the base, and he was completely anti-conservative. The government grew huge under his Administration; spending was out of control; and he all but destroyed the Constitution with his faith-based initiatives and unprecedented seizing of executive power in the name of “National Security.” Of course, he “kept us safe” too; that is, if you forget that 9/11 happened on his watch and so did the anthrax attacks, and that he created thousands of NEW terrorists by instigating two invasions and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Well, if Bush is what you love, oh Republican voters, have no fear: Barack Obama seems poised to continue smoothly in the tracks laid so deeply by George W. Bush. There will be no oversight of anything, with a one-Party government in power; out-of-control spending will certainly continue; and faith-based initiatives and warrantless wiretapping are both enthusiastically supported by the Senator from Illinois. Oh, and Joe Biden promises us death and destruction within six months, so you may get your terrorist attack too. Well-done, folks! And I feel so lucky, living in New York! Golly gee, I sure hope I live through Obama’s first term, unlike 3,000 of my compatriots in Bush’s first term, and so many, many thousands more in his second. But hey, what does it matter as long as you all get what you want?

Poor John McCain and Sarah Palin. Poor Bill and Hillary Clinton. They are career politicians without a Party. Both Democratic and Republican Party Leaders teamed up with the media to elect Barack Obama this year. No one else ever had a chance.

I am sure that within a few months of Barack Obama’s inauguration, we will know a lot more about what he intends to do to, er, for, America. One thing we know for certain is that the media never, EVER likes the candidate that is good for our country. They liked Reagan. They liked Bush. How’d those guys work out for us?

As I said before, I understand the joy that so many Americans are feeling. But if you look at the reality of what happened on Tuesday, you will see that it was a very ominous sign. Yesterday, Russia felt emboldened to announce a very aggressive move that they had been threatening to make for months. The stock market fluctuated wildly yesterday, but ended up down 145.44 points – an extremely unusual event on the day after an election – and today, it is plummeting further. I fear that things are going to get worse for Americans before they get better.

I do have faith that our democracy will survive, however; but only if enough of us are willing to discard our party loyalty and work together to make it happen. I invite everyone of all political stripes to join us in the effort to become more than hopeless pawns of the corporations that run our media and our political parties. I will have an updated blogroll soon, which will provide more information about things you can do to help.

In the meantime, while we organize and focus, stay strong, my fellow Americans, and remember this quote:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead
US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 – 1978)

PUMA POWER!!!

Cross-posted at The Confluence

How Super Are The SuperDelegates?

A Hillary SuperDelegate

A Hillary SuperDelegate

Ever since February, we’ve known that the choice between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would not be officially made until the Convention was over. We knew the race was too close to call, and that neither candidate would win enough pledged delegates to get to the “magic number” and clinch the nomination.

Since the people were divided, the SuperDelegates would have to step in and save the day. Their job, their ONLY JOB, is to choose the candidate that is more likely to win in November. Any declarations the pledged delegates and superdelegates make until the Convention are meaningless until the actual vote in August. Since Hillary did not concede and has not released her delegates, all delegates are free to choose either her or Obama at the Convention. This is the way Democratic Conventions have been run for the last 100 years.

Despite what the media and the Obama/DNC Conglomerate tells you, these basic facts HAVE NOT CHANGED SINCE FEBRUARY.

Amazing, isn’t it?

If you talk to most Obamans, they will start screaming about how horrible McCain is before you even try to get a sentence out. Wiping spittle off their lips, induced no doubt by the thought of Satan – er, Hillary – occupying the White House instead of The One, they will demand, as David Shuster did yesterday, “Do you support abortion rights? If so, then how can you support McCain?”

This argument does not sway PUMAs, because we understand the facts and they do not. The choice is not between Obama and McCain. It’s between Obama and Hillary, and who is most likely to beat McCain in November. 

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PUMAs Roar, Obama Runs Away

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny;
when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

 

Hear Me Roar!

Hear Me Roar!

Like an octopus fleeing from danger, Barack Obama has run away to Hawaii to “spend more time with his family” after a week of sinking in the polls and ever-increasing media skepticism. In his wake, Obama’s two opponents in the primaries have been covered in ink.

First, John Edwards. Oy vey. And I thought this guy was more electable than Hillary at one point! Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. But how was I to know about his sleazy affair, since, as Anglachel says so eloquently, no one in the corporate media bothered to report on it? Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more!

What is odd is the timing of all of this. Obama is shown to be losing ground to John McCain on 9 out of 14 issues, even after his “I’m SMAAAAAHHHT! I’m SMAAAAAAAHHHT, America!” tour of all 57 countries in Old Yurp and the Middle East. He runs off to Hawaii. All of a sudden, the National Enquirer story is confirmed and John Edwards takes everyone’s mind off of SimoFish’s videotape of Hillary stating she wanted a roll call vote at the Convention. “Oooh, floor fight?” suddenly became “Oooh, naughty John!”

And then there’s Hillary. All through the primaries, we have heard accusations from the Obama side that if Hillary couldn’t run a campaign, she couldn’t be a good President. (Anyone remember how well Dubya campaigned? How’s that working out for us?) To further this meme, “someone” (cough cough Patti Solis Doyle cough cough) leaked 200 internal campaign emails to the Atlantic Monthly.  As Riverdaughter says, they probably had 200 emails in one day going back and forth; thus, to present those emails as a definitive “Ah HA! Hillary DOES suck!” moment is simply ludicrous.

And again, the timing is quite puzzling. Isn’t Hillary off right now campaigning for Obama in Florida? What is the point of pouring even more ink on her reputation at this point?

Then, there is the disinformation campaign about the delegate petition that the delegates themselves are circulating. They need to get 300 signatures by delegates in order to get Hillary’s name into nomination. This is not a PUMA movement at all, yet Howard Dean is trying to make it seem so.  Meanwhile, the Party Leaders are out in force stating that a roll call vote would be bad, bad, BAD! (No, it would be unheard of NOT to have a roll call vote and give Hillary a genuine shot at the nomination. As the Denver Group says, the Democratic Party may soon have another Boston Tea Party on their hands.)

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Conservative Lying Liars, Historical Revisionist Edition

So, yesterday I figured my blood pressure had slipped a little low. I wandered over to The New York Times to see what David “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader” Brooks had to say. I mean, I find myself agreeing with both Ed Koch AND Paul Krugman these days, so why not give Bobo a try?

Let’s just say, the man did not disappoint.

The first part of the editorial was actually quite well-written. I wondered if my Bizarro-World experiences lately had caused me to hallucinate.

We’re entering an era of epic legislation. There are at least five large problems that will compel the federal government to act in gigantic ways over the next few years.

First, there is the erosion of the social contract. Private sector firms are less likely to provide health benefits, producing a desperate need for health care reform. Second, there is the energy shortage. Rising Asian demand strains worldwide supply, threatening industry and consumers, and producing calls for a bold energy initiative. Third, there is the stagnation in human capital. During the 20th century, Americans were better educated than the citizens of any other power. Since 1970, that lead has been forfeited, producing inequality and wage stagnation. To compete, the U.S. will require a series of human capital initiatives.

Fourth, there’s financial market reform. In an intricately connected world, even Republican administrations cannot allow big institutions to fail. If government is going to guarantee against failure, then it is inevitably going to get more involved in regulating how businesses are run. Fifth, there’s infrastructure reform. The U.S. transportation system is in shambles and will require major new projects.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen anyone in the MCM lay out the massive problems that face the next administration so succinctly. My eyes were wide with astonishment and happiness. Was this a new era of substantive political discussion by the New York Times?

Of course not. Read on, if you dare.

All of this means that the next few years will be an age of government activism. You may think, therefore, that this situation is ripe for Democratic dominance. The Democrats are the natural party of federal vigor. Voters prefer Democratic approaches to issues like health care and education by as much as 25 percentage points.

Yet, historically, periods of great governmental change have often been periods of conservative rule. It’s as if voters understand that they need big changes, but they want those changes planned and enacted by leaders who will restrain the pace of change and prevent radical excess.

No, it’s as if David Brooks stopped reading history after 1929. But hey, he has to justify his McCain love somehow. Who cares if he completely ignores FDR’s four terms in office, during which the New Deal was created and successfully implemented? Or perhaps he is forgetting LBJ and the Civil Rights Amendment?

The only “conservative” American President he could find to justify his preposterous thesis was Theodore Roosevelt, who resembles John McCain about as much as Beverly Sills resembles Britney Spears. His other example was Benjamin Disraeli, because conservatism in England is exactly the same as conservatism in America. [snort] In any case, here is how McCain equals The Rough Rider in the fuzzy brain of Mr. Brooks.


“The true function of the state as it interferes in social life,” Roosevelt wrote, “should be to make the chances of competition more even, not to abolish them.”

John McCain’s challenge is to recreate this model. He will never get as many cheers in Germany as Barack Obama, but for a century his family has embodied American heroism.

Ah, there it is – that delightful soupçon of élitism without which a Brooks column just isn’t complete. You know you simply cannot implement change unless your family has been in America for at least 100 years being all heroic and stuff. Otherwise it’s just change for change’s sake! The White House will be painted in rainbow stripes, the Oval Office will smell like patchouli, and President Democrat will enact legislation forcing all Americans to wear their underwear on the outside. The Horror!

The column is a laughable effort by Brooks, to be sure, but to be fair, conservative propagandists are having a harder and harder time pushing their line these days. After all, Bush has proven that today’s conservatism (a toxic stew of X-treme Reagonomics wedded to a Christofascist domestic policy and a neo-conservative foreign policy) is a recipe for disaster – the results of which Brooks readily acknowledges in the first portion of his column. The problem is, how to keep Democrats from another four decades of legislative – and possibly executive – dominance?

Poor Bobo. It’s hard work being a Minister of Truthiness these days.

At least I know that in this world where every day seems to be Opposite Day, David Brooks can still be counted on to raise the blood pressure of almost everyone who reads his mind-blowingly crapulent bloviating.

Mission Accomplished, baby.