Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 28, 2006

WB: The Enemies of Truth

Billmon:

You could say: To hell with old media, they're just a bunch of senile dinosaurs anyway, who cares who they pander to? But old media, for better or worse, still set the news agenda, and still dominate the political process. And they're doing an energetic, if not yet totally successful, job of sucking up new media and sticking them in the same corporate straight jacket. If they decide, as matter of cold capitalist calculation, that one-party Republican rule is the smart way to bet, that could also be come a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Maybe I'm wrong -- I hope I am. But if I'm right, then there may come a time when progressives look back and sigh for the good old days when journalistic "objectivity" still encouraged the corporate media to give the truth and conservative propaganda equal weight, instead of simply repeating the latter.

The Enemies of Truth

Posted by b on October 28, 2006 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

Comments

The CEO of Westinghouse, owner of CBS TV and the largest group of radio stations in the world, stated in 1997: "We're here to serve advertisers. That's our raison d'etre."

Posted by: b | Oct 28, 2006 12:57:47 AM | 1

More and more I get the feeling that the Rove tactic of utter smear will be successful. There are another 10 ten days with saturation smear ads coming into any tube and it will have its effects. The effect independent and Dem voters will stay home, Republican voters will be turn out to "punish" the smeared candidates.

The dems may get a nominal thin lead in the house, but that will be challenged in court immediately.

After the Foley scandal hit, Rove decided, like usual, to attack his "enemy" at its strongest position - which was the "moral case for change". Just like Kerry was "unfit for command", dem candidates are now pictured "morally unfit".

The Dems are unwilling or more probably, just to lame to counterattack this. Instead they come up with "facts" nobody understands and cares about. Add the media "balance" and their commercial interest Billmon describes, and you end up not with the landslide victory some project, but a small shift to the center right.

Posted by: b | Oct 28, 2006 1:34:09 AM | 2

When was it ever otherwise?

The press as we know it is 250 years old--as young as "democracy" itself. It's never been free of wage-slavery, and it's never had the latitude to be an "honest" (let alone an "honorable") institution. it serves up whatever information travels most conveniently in that form--stock quotes, weather reports, sports stories--and spends the rest of its time doing as its owners decide.

Reporters don't decide. Or they decide to go along, and tend, like anyone else, to put the blame for that decision on the usual suspects (parents, children, spouses, assorted dependents--not to mention their own dependency on the varieties of consolatory experience).

What, then, is a reporter? A writer. Someone who writes for a living. Not a very good one, usually. Someone who has to sell out to the ownership. But I don't mind this. What I do mind is the sheer bad faith, the moral posturing, of a press that got so high on the high grounds of Watergate. Woodward being the paragon of such wasters and spenders in our time.

I like the reporting in the Wall Street Journal. I always have. It's often boring, usually wrong, and occasionally unfair, but at least it has the burden of an evil editorial page to keep it from floating off into the thin air of its own moral delusion.

Unless you're ready to live like Baruch Spinoza, you're damned, as a writer, to live by pleasing other people. You become the ghost of their own desires. Conversely--and this is where it gets weird--other people, even very rich people, simply don't know how to write, so they depend on those ghosts to express their desires for them. A strange fate: I'll give you, dear Patron, what you want (words that make you real), if you'll give me the funds that make me real. On the side--in my notebooks, or on my blog--I'll try to reckon up the cost of this little transaction. And what's the sum total of that cost? The time and energy lost that might have been invested in "being true to the dreams of one's youth" (Melville's mighty phrase).

Posted by: alabama | Oct 28, 2006 1:43:42 AM | 3

When/if they come for us,I only hope the media is first.

Posted by: R.L. | Oct 28, 2006 1:45:08 AM | 4

More and more I get the feeling that the Rove tactic of utter smear will be successful

Maybe, but this will be the fourth go-around. I know the third time is the charm, but Americans are slow... Maybe the collective 'we' will wake up this time.

But than again, the NYTimes is running an article about how the corporate lobbyists are hedging their bets at the last minute by dumping cash on Democrats. The quoted dems treat the concept as a 'good thing.'

Posted by: misc. | Oct 28, 2006 2:11:26 AM | 5

Interesting.

If I'm getting Billmon's point correctly does this mean that a hundred MediaMatters and a thousand Krugmans and a milion Olbermanns will never be able to crank the tilt-a-whirlitzer like the Screamers because they, and their POV's can't possibly fit within that triple C thing?.

I hadn't thought of it that way. Here I've been thinking that righteous pushback, especially if it is packaged well (ie. the jump cuts to the lower side shot of Olbermann coming back to the camera a la Morrow) could, ultimately, become the flipside of that two-headed objectivity coin, instead of the mousy bleatings of DemPols and their flacks....

Sheesh.

.

Posted by: RossK | Oct 28, 2006 2:24:13 AM | 6

We're going to have to see about that, RossK. Billmon's point is that the MSM will squash such folks, regardless of whether they've being watched or profitable. They don't fit the strategic plan.

(Of course, the strategic plan is insane. A million New Yorkers have far more disposable cash than a million Mississippians. Why would you turn down the former for the latter, especially when you won't get them anyway because of the hypnagogic mistrust of you that your political branch has been implanting for decades?)

Someone's already tried to warn Keith Olbermann off once, and I don't think they'll be as subtle next time. Avoid small planes, Keith.

Posted by: Brian J. | Oct 28, 2006 2:35:35 AM | 7

link to NYTimes

So now we know why Lieberman's going to win, and win well. It's not the work of Democrats or Republicans; it's the work of Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg and Lieberman have formed a new party--a neo-con, Likudite party that helps Israel keep its own senator in Washington. He won't represent any known party in Connecticut, that's for sure....and indeed there's really no reason for him to maintain a residence in Connecticut--Manhattan would do just fine.

The priorities of the rich carry the day (over the priorities, indeed, of the rich): for though the Lamonts may want us out of Iraq, Bloomberg and Lieberman want us to stay, and Bloomberg and Lieberman will surely prevail. And what becomes of Connecticut's hope for a senator who wouldn't whore for big pharma, big insurance, and various defense contractors? Its hope for the candidate they chose in their primary? Well, it's a matter of first things first; Israel puts everything else in the shade. New York agrees with that, and no doubt the rest of the country finds itself doing so as well.

Big pharma owes one to Likud.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 28, 2006 2:52:40 AM | 8

Individual republican candidates, whether running for reelection or are campaigning for a first seat are portraying themselves as one of the 'good conservatives' not like many others ( who are not 'real' conservatives ) who go along with whatever Bush wants.

Like yeah, sure.

Posted by: pb | Oct 28, 2006 3:45:57 AM | 9

Well what else do you expect? When parties are campaigning against each other agree on all the issues apart from a few tired old canards like 'stem cell research which is full of emotion but the outcome won't effect most voters one jot of course they are going to to campaign on character assassination.

Character assassination sell papers as well as any scandal, so of course the media are going to love it.

For the parties, it means the voters may not notice that a vote for either party won't make a jot of difference to the alienation of ordinary people from the political process, stop the oppression of four percentage points of amerika's population (the so called 'illegal aliens') or cease the rape and plunder of other nations who are unlucky enough to be richer than amerika but lack the equivalent standing army of compliant cannon-fodder.

Putting aside billmon and other bloggers claim that somehow the demopublicans are 'purer in heart' than the republocrats but all media owners are blackguards who always side with Dick Dastardly and co it is worth examining the situation and trying to work out what a socially responsible but profit driven media owner should do in an election where the only meaningful difference is the animal cartoon for the illiterate. (Incidentally that amerika still needs that sort of pictorial diferentiation in 2006 speaks heaps to the woeful job either party have done of governing over the last 100 years.)

But if a person was truly objectively weighing up the rethugs and the dems which one should he/she get his organisation to support?

It seems to me that going for the incumbent could save billions of taxpayer dollars since a new force in Congress is going to necessitate that just about every federal program currently being funded will require the huge amounts of money spent on it that politicians love to do when making the sort of bullshit cosmetic change that not doing anything meaningful or substantive requires so as to make it look like they are doing something. If the money isn't there that won't stop them, they will just stop spending money on any program delivery at all to put the lot into bullshit PR.

Then of course the rethug corrupt cronies with federal contracts will have to be replaced with dem corrupt cronies.

Now that won't just cost money, it will cause many inefficiencies and worst of all the ordinary joe blows who just go to work will cop a pay cut as the new contractors make their 'efficiency savings' to justify their corruption worthiness for the task.

The most important reason that a conscientious media owner would prefer the status quo is that unless the opposition loses a lay down misere like this it will never learn that it cannot win just by not being rethugs.

Maybe then they may go and actually become something worthwhile and be a credible opposition before winning power rather than the rethugs just losing it.

I remember one of the the most compelling parts of the Moore doco on the amerikan electoral fraud of 2000 was the black caucus who were the only dems with enough spine to question the farce. Yet if I understand correctly Cynthia McKinley one of the few outspoken dems has been chucked out by the spineless ones!

And people think that the media should support those milksops?

There is a great piece in Counterpunch pointing out exactly why the dems in their current form shouldn't be allowed anywhere near power:

"Earlier this year, Democratic leaders shamelessly knifed Ohio senatorial candidate Paul Hackett in the back. Hackett, a plain-speaking Iraq War vet, was taken out for the benefit of Congressman Sherrod Brown, who is touted as a true-blue, Daily Kos-style liberal Democrat. Brown may be a cut above most congressional Democrats but he is still a professional politician who cannot let go of the ring of power. The grassroots should turn out to vote for such politicians but they should not get uppity and actually want to hold high office themselves. No, that is reserved for an aristocracy of handpicked Democrats in the races that are considered winnable. . . ."

" Maybe Congress will start to act like an independent branch as designed by the Constitution. Secondly, we should cut and run. The Bush alternative is to stay and die...for no good reason. Unfortunately, Pelosi and Reid have no intention of removing troops anytime soon so war-mongers and nation-builders need not fear.

That's the essence of the problem. Democrats may replace Republicans at the helm of Congress but they will remain collaborators on a host of terrible bipartisan policies. Where has the Loyal Opposition been during the past five years? More loyal than opposed. . . "


"In 2001, every Democrat in the Senate except one-Russell Feingold-voted for the Patriot Act. Last year, Democratic leaders helped to reauthorize the law with cosmetic changes. Party leaders have left Robert Byrd twisting in the wind as he has stood up for the Constitution and they did not lift a finger to assist John Murtha when he came out against the Iraq War.

In November 2005, when hawkish Congressman Murtha (D-PA) called for withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq, party leaders gave him no support. Republican leaders then crafted an immediate-withdrawal resolution as a political trap for Democrats, forcing them to go on record for everyone to see-basically to "put up or shut up." Almost all Democrats took the path of evasion and convenience by voting Nay. While an obvious ploy, it was also a clear anti-war resolution that those with the courage of their convictions should have been able to support. The resulting 303-3 vote is reminiscent of the Senate's 88-2 vote for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964. . . "

"One clue in discerning how little difference there is in Washington between Dems and Reps is how both sides prattle on about the "War on Terrror." By using the phrase associated with an undeclared, open-ended war against an unnamed enemy, Democrats place themselves right beside Republicans in a thoroughly dishonest endeavor. And they join the Bush administration-and, ironically enough, al-Qaeda-in keeping the American people fearful. If the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, then Bush, Reid, and bin Laden have all played important roles. . ."

There's more but I'm sure even the dem hacks are more aware of them than I and by now they will have retreated back into their hear no evil see no evil stance that they adopt to get behind their team.

Which brings me to the sad truth that even after writing all this stuff the author, one Jeff Taylor, still managed to justify backing the jackass in a few days. In doing so he crystallised all the lame excuses that have been trotted out, into one stinking turd:

"The Democrats are deeply flawed and they don't deserve to win a national election, but a Democratic capture of Congress would be a good thing. I don't begrudge anyone voting for a third-party candidate in this or any other year, but on November 7 we can celebrate a Democratic victory because the Republicans will have received a much-deserved comeuppance.

Wha??? The same person who so neatly crystallised all the fuck-ups and sell-outs wrote that lame piece of crap!

Why?

Then I looked to the bottom to see who I had been reading:

Jeff Taylor is a political scientist. His book Where Did the Party Go?: William Jennings Bryan, Hubert Humphrey, and the Jeffersonian Legacy was published this summer by University of Missouri Press.

Oh Right t t the dems are his meal ticket out into the world he currently just writes about. This bloke doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds him.

Is this what this swing behind these assholes is really about? A bunch of frustrated left of centre bourgois wanting a meal ticket?

Well fine but that also robs them of the right to criticise others including asshole media magnates for doing exactly the same.

Glass houses and stones, glass houses and stones.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 28, 2006 4:13:53 AM | 10

Thanks debs, I have all but given up trying to get people to see this American travesty. My link to The ratchet effect is the closest I have heard it explained in a decade.

And people wonder why I voted for Bush...

I say, bring the motherfucking house down, speed the entropy, let em break this nation. It's our only hope. Vote republican across the board!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 28, 2006 4:31:16 AM | 11

Just goes to show you this televangical, tattletale, television ya-who political season is just the latest insufferable chapter, maybe the last chapter, in a droll follow the empire haywagon ride as it straggles farther and farther deep down into the hollow of our discontent. Destination, Tobacco Road, again. With a cast of millions.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 28, 2006 4:47:11 AM | 12

I don't know. I'm pretty far removed from the television saturation here (haven't even turned on the boob tube in about five months now, since about the only English speaking station I get in is the Armed Forces Network... or American Forces Network... or whatever the hell they're calling themselves now), but the bullet point I'm taking away from Billmon's article is:

"...then we're probably well on our way to the corporate one-party state, in which case the question may eventually arise: Why do we even need elections, or a bunch of arrogant, culturally liberal reporters to cover them?"

This just seems a little behind-the-curve to me. I'm not accusing Billmon here of "pearl clutching" (to borrow a phrase from some damned contributor or other whom I've already blessedly forgotten), but as alabama notes (#3, above), "When was it ever otherwise?"

To suggest that the press might not be playing an entirely fair game after the Pinch and Judy Show, 2004's Operation Swiftboat, or, hell... anything in the past 30 years or so, smacks of willful naïveté. Do we have to examine the rôle of the press in our society a fresh time every few weeks and maintain the same child-like wonder when putting two and two together still produces the sum of four?

If we can now accept as axioms that the US media is not simply an innocent bystander here, and that systems of governance (in spite of all the ink and electrons wasted in the name of "democracy" every few years) exist for the benefit of the governors and not the governed, then we are ready to come to a few conclusions. Billmon comes tantalizingly close to a conclusion I've already internalized: namely, that if one "side" here is not adhering to Robert's Rules of Order, then the other "side" doesn't stand a chance to survive. Or to be more brief than that, all it takes is one dishonest player to ensure that any remaining players are also dishonest.

So I came to the conclusion that we're not simply at the starting gate toward a "corporate one-party state" even if you want to label Dems and Repubs as "Thing One" and "Thing Two" for the sake of expedience. It's still qualitatively the same animal, even if you can quibble over questions of quantitative equivalence.

And that's a serious gorram problem here, because what we're left doing is supporting a party on the basis that they are a bunch of criminal bastards, but they are simply less effective criminal bastards than the other guys. How's this for a "positive" campaign ad: "Vote for us, because even though we also support killing poor people and enriching ourselves, we're not very competent and probably couldn't strip you of your liberties as quickly or efficiently as the other guys would."

We marvel that there are still people who support the Bush administration, but if you accept quality of the game itself, how can you fault people for backing the more efficient and ruthless players? My anger stems from the fact that it is the game itself that I object to, and I don't make much distinction about how effectively a particular party plays it. If I could live happily as a serf within this duplicitous neo-feudal corporatocracy we call the US government, I'd be a gorram Republican... at least those guys seem to get results.


Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 28, 2006 5:07:28 AM | 13

Addendum,

just as someone from another board I visit eluded to, I can't wait to see
the Lieberman victory, "...it will show the prog-blogs just how bankrupt the Democrats are, when they re-embrace him with open arms." You guys keep playing the tango twins...of a donk kissing
a pachy's ass while the pachy's trunk is up the donk's ass


Say, would a jigger of vermouth "thin" down this here liter of scotch?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 28, 2006 5:14:41 AM | 14

Let's throw another log on that fire shall we?


Exxon profit $10.49 billion, 2nd-biggest in U.S. history

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 28, 2006 5:30:40 AM | 15

Halliburton scored almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: "Iraq was better than expected ... Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good."

Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from Iraq's coffers, a country battered by civil war - but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good.

Very good certainly for Vice President Dick Cheney, who resigned from Halliburton in 2000 with a $33.7 million retirement package (not bad for roughly four years of work). In a stunning conflict of interest, Cheney still holds more than 400,000 stock options in the company. Why pursue diplomacy when you can rake in a personal fortune from war?

Yet Cheney isn't the only one who has benefited from the Bush administration's destructive policies. The Bush family has done quite nicely too. Just a few examples:.......

How the Bush Family Makes a Killing From George's Presidency

W/regards to the 'corporate media', Mark Ames over at eXile.ru asks, Where Is America's Politkovskaya?, but, we all know the answer to that one...

Of course, in the house of Bush the only kind of power, that trumps wetwork, is the Institutional Power of state secrets...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 28, 2006 7:00:20 AM | 16

back in the days when the "old media" was the only media, deconstructing "news stories" in an effort to gain a bgger picture or understand finer details or nuances was time-consuming & difficult.

thats no longer the case. Blogs & alternative media do much of the work for us today.

people in general have a need to grasp and hold on to something they can perceive as the truth. And the more the "truth" coincides with their belief systems, the easier it is to digest. For many people, a single source of news that presents itself as "mainstream", "fair", "balanced", ... is sufficeint. More curious types will check out other sources like the blogs and alternative media.

hence, in addition to other constraining factors, MSM journalists are also restricted by the belief systems of their audience. Better journnalists will try to challenge the status-quo of beleief systems every now & then.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 28, 2006 7:13:31 AM | 17

The Enemies of Truth


The resulting campaign has completely demolished whatever minor restraints remained on the use of lies and distortions in political attack ads, and has pushed the already debased American political process to a new low.

The reason we have Republicrats and Demoplicans instead of representatives is the money available to fund this sick symbiosis between "journalists" and "politicians".

There is too much money collected and dispersed, primarily to TV stations, by the political class.

During the last Senatorial primary campaign in NY the TimeWarner-NY1 TV station attempted to exclude Jonathan Tasini from a "debate" on the basis of his not having raised enough money to spend on TV ads!

The money must be torn from their hands.

If you'll click on my signature below you'll be redirected to a proposed 28th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Something along these lines must be enacted if we're to regain control of our government.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Oct 28, 2006 7:42:24 AM | 18

Unca,

Is it getting hot in here? I'm blushing. Must be the scotch, Not that I mind....

I ain't gonna vote republican. I'm not that far. I do hate the Democrats, I do hate the Republicans a bit more, but I can't say "hate more!" or "hate less!"

On the other hand...I mean, the prog-blogs played by the rules. They won the primary. They are the Democrats on the ballot. And it's not gonna matter. "You played a good game, but playtime is over, the adults are back in DC."

but it would be that anyway...unless I'm missing something.

Posted by: Rowan | Oct 28, 2006 8:56:28 AM | 19

So let's keep our eyes on Connecticut for just a moment. If the Times' story speaks the truth, then we have a clear indication of how power operates through, by, and with the media.

Allow that the progressive blogs did indeed contribute something, however modest, to Lamont's victory over Lieberman in the Democratic primaries. I say "allow" it, because I'm not a student of voting patterns, and so this remains a "hypothesis" for me, if not a delusion.

Next, allow that Lieberman thinks the same thing. What does he do? Well, being determined to carry the general election, he first turns to Republican funding. Since this apparently doesn't seal the deal, he also turns to Michael Bloomberg. From the angle posed by this thread, that move is worth some study: yes, Bloomberg is a politician; yes, he's a Republican; yes, he's been a Democrat all his life; and yes, he's first and foremost pro-Israel (I'm just repeating myself here). But the crucial fact for this discussion is his media empire, which has made him a billionaire five or six times over, and in the very world where this election is taking place.

If Bloomberg's media holdings could have won the election for Lieberman, there would have been no need for Bloomberg to intervene directly, with all that money, all those professional supporters, and indeed his own person on the platforms of Greenwich and Stamford. I take this as an instance--a very rare instance--of the limits of media support. It tells me that hatred of the war is so powerful that no amount of pro-Israeli propaganda in newspapers, or on tv, or on the net, can do the job on its own. Extraordinary measures are called for.

Rove reminds us--everyone reminds us--that the Republicans will spend an extra $50 million beyond the Democrats to get out their vote. And they may be spending it just as Bloomberg does--less on media commitments than on extraordinary measures of any imaginable kind.

So the ownership of reporters isn't really doing the job; that's how I read this story.

A ready analogy--cruder, but still pertinent--lies in the strange career of Silvio Berlusconi. At the risk of offending Michael Bloomberg, I'd suggest that Berlusconi has lots to teach him. Or we can look at it another way: since Bloomberg is a superbly talented man and a quick study, he's probably following Berlusconi every step of the way.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 28, 2006 9:39:00 AM | 20


Should we just let these guys run the country as long as they let us eat?

In the latest edition of Aurthur Magazine, author Douglas Rushkoff takes a half hit of the red pill. Over the past year both Stephan Colbert and Keith Olbermann have swallowed a bit of the red pill. What other major media folks have the balls to stand up and acknowledge what needs to be said about America's present circumstances.


via

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 28, 2006 9:53:52 AM | 21

Billmon: What finally appears to have dawned on old media is that trying to please everyone not only doesn't keep the critics off their backs, it doesn't help them hold their existing audience or build new ones. The geezers depart for Fox News, the 18-to-35 year olds get their news from the Daily Show. Meanwhile the opportunity costs, in terms of forgone revenues, have gotten higher. So hard choices have to be made ...

Ahh, but before corporate news bean counters came to that particular fork in the road, they sicced their lobbyists on Washington -- particularly the offices of Hilary Clinton and Joe Lieberman -- and the result was a biiiig Puritan stink about a $50, M-Rated, videogame called "GTA: San Andreas" that all those 18-34 year olds were spending tens of millions of their disposal incomes on as opposed to further enriching the coffers of Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch (the result of which set the tax-payers back another $100 Million in another worthless "the effects of video game violence" study instead of on universal health care).

What a complete pain in the ass-pocket the 18-34 age demographic must be to the corporate news bean-counter now when the only time they stop roaming around Saint's Row on their XBox 360s is within that hour or two they reserve for a little stroll through Corruption Row with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert?!? It's probably enough to make them want to rush in with grenades they pillaged off Bill O'Rielly's corpse ...

I think our 18-34 year olds can hold their own, however. They are part of my demographic. The difference being that I'm quite fucking bored with my meager selection of video games ... and why in the nine hells would I want to turn on Network/Corporate news?!? Shit, when I want to see someone teach old dogs new tricks, Animal Planet's Cesar Millan has a better fuckin' track record than Blitzer & Couric ...

It's a triage operation, in other words ...
Quite literally, with the corporate news bean-counters channeling the incohate rants of E.R.'s Dr. Robert Romano for added dramatic effect.

Posted by: Sizemore | Oct 28, 2006 9:57:36 AM | 22

A further thought on Bloomberg and Lieberman: why is it so important for the Likudites to keep Lieberman in office? I mean, hasn't his use-value diminished since his loss in the state primaries?....

Well, apparently not: I haven't done a head-count, but there may be very few reliable Israelis--and I mean really loyal Israelis--in the U.S. Senate these days.....

Or, from another angle, there may be something of a punishment being meted out in this little exercise. It's as if "Bloomberg" had to teach "Lamont" (or "Soros") a lesson or two.....

But if "might makes right" in the end, then the American/Israeli alliance is in really deep trouble. Because it can't hope to prevail over the "insurgency in Iraq".

Meanwhile, Connecticut will continue to be served by a pathetic, small-minded mediocrity, a man who owes the ownership every last inch of his political life. Not the sort of senator who helps people truly in need of help.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 28, 2006 10:09:27 AM | 23

"But when Mark Halperin promises Bill O'Reilly he will feel his pain, or the CBS Evening News gives every conservative nut job in America a spot on "Free Speech," or NBC refuses to accept an ad for the Dixie Chicks documentary because it disrepects Shrub, or Time puts Ann Coulter on the cover, I think they're making economic statements as much as journalistic ones."

Agreed - all those things are economic/political choices of the same exact nature as which athlete next appears on the Wheaties box.

But this I don't know about:

"It's a triage operation, in other words -- and to me it looks as if a conscious, corporate decision has been made to try to hold (or win back) the conservative "red state" audience even if it means losing the liberal "blue state" audience."

This is the strangest part of the right-wing media phenomena. I live in a pretty snooty suburban enclave where the Northeast meets the Old South. Most of my friends and I are from the same educated, professional class. The only "Republicans" I know are of the former-Republican, libertarian variety. Nobody's terribly religious, or takes religious people too seriously except insofar as they seem to be dangerous to good education and research grants. Tax cuts don't resonate as an issue - most would prefer higher taxes if it meant the schools were better. Most everyone agrees we were lied into the Iraq War and that it's made us less safe - and most thought so from the beginning. Everyone, to a person, is liberal about gays and is not reflexively xenophobic.

Most important to the corporations, there's tons of disposable income here. Drive out about 30 minutes to the exurbs, and there's a lot more megachurches, a lot more Walmarts, and a lot less money. So why are the corporations writing my neighborhood off and trying to appeal to theirs? I'm not saying this like I'm persecuted or anything - but I really don't understand the dynamic. If there was a liberal news network - the TV equivalent of NPR - I'd be watching it for whatever tiny portion of the day I watch TV. And I'm not a desireable demographic? It's puzzling. Either its people like me don't watch enough TV - or they're willing to write off profits they might make off of marketing to my demographic because they don't want to encourage liberal political positions.

Posted by: Chooch | Oct 28, 2006 11:18:02 AM | 24

The USA has passed from

The Rule of law ... to

The Rule of men.

It has become a stupendously huge medieval village, with the TV spouting gossip, ad hominem, etc.

With one big difference: after the fall of the Romans, and the long struggle to improve energy inputs, until, basically, the New World was discovered and provided cornucopia, with the help of slaves -- tongues were free.

In today's environment, power and riches go to the innovators. Who exactly they will in today’s media and political landscape is not clear.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 28, 2006 11:27:19 AM | 25

I say, bring the motherfucking house down, speed the entropy, let em break this nation. It's our only hope. Vote republican across the board!

That the system is hurtling towards breakup is uncontrovertible. But when the inevitable happens, something will have to replace the old system.

Why not find, or found, or support, the party that comes closest to your belief system and work with them? Whether Green Rainbow, or Working Peoples, or Green, or Socialist, or Libertarian, or whatever -- all of them have far more truth to them then the Ungulates -- even if hampered by the forced fitting of prescriptions into decaying, destructive, obsolete frames.

Forget the fruitless search for "objective" reporting. The proper stance towards elections is that of the meditator -- the true impartial observer in a world of appearances. Watch the drama and note where you get emotionally hooked. Use the process as a learning experience to free yourself of any vestige of manipulation. Expect nothing, and you will not be disappointed.

After all, the true work of positive change takes place in daily activism in communities throughout the country and the world. Never forget where this true well lies, never lose direction, or you will surely die of thirst.

It's no accident that both corporate-controlled political parties have chosen herd animals as their symbols; nor is it an accident that both beasts are hoofed.

Why follow the herd when you can march to the tune of your own drummer? Take care though, for eventually the herd will blindly circle back and the stampede will be directed at you.

Posted by: Bob M. | Oct 28, 2006 12:12:05 PM | 26

After ww2, with the impetus of re-birth and renewal (e.g. Marshall plan, UN) and more importantly abundant, almost free energy for all in the developed world, the ‘left’ got a good grip. Enough to go round, share. They were derided and tainted by their association with Communism so became social democrats. They were very successful, trickling down even to the cultural arena - mysticism, gentle individualism, respect, etc. (supported by community), flower power, etc.

When the pan fires up, and there is not enough to go round, such trippy values die. The Democrats are now reduced to attempting to put a false face on rapacious capitalism, a manipulation of the economy, the long war (to control the ME amongst others), and thru a corrupt electoral process, complete subservience to the corporations, or more largely those who have economic power, such as the Dpt. of Defense. They may scramble for issues that please and resonate on TV (gay marriage, stem cells, light rail, saving the whales) but all of it is more talk than action, ernest trivia, inconsequent frills, divorced from the real issues at hand. To survive, and to continue to pull in huge salaries and wonderful back room deals, that is is what they have to do. They must adhere to the flat-earth policy (the American life style is not negotiable, it is unfair that disgusting towel heads can lord it over us) or die. Die, they don’t care to do, so persevere.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 28, 2006 12:19:13 PM | 27

"When was it ever otherwise?"

well, the model of news/editorial production and distribution has changed for the better. it seems to me blogging and radical audience segmentation has recreated what, in the late 18th century, was once the partisan press with its associated salon society and bourgeois public sphere. the crisis of the mass media model is "solved" by concentrated ownership of content production and distribution to segmented audiences (cable, satellite and an internet unfettered by end-to-end "net neutrality"). in any case, editorial control is difficult to maintain as marketing to captured "eyeballs" shifts to personalized information conmsumption. while I agree the desperation to rescue the old media model results in overt defenses of ruling class ideology ("the rovians") at the expense of objectivity, it's nice to see the ideology of objectivity fall into irremediable collapse. and as the shithouse teeters, the flood of excrement is impossible not to smell, and that's a good thing.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 28, 2006 12:25:34 PM | 28

what is "objective reportage"?:

The news column, to which the average reader paid the most attention, could not be so explicit and still attract a wide spectrum of readers and please advertisers. The answer in the news was a technique called "objectivity" The doctrine of objectivity sounded splendid. Reporters should not express their own values in their stories. As much as possible, newspaper stories should stick to the facts and each fact should be certified by some authority. In fact, the doctrine did much to stimulate discipline and ethics in reporting and to diminish wild and fictionalized stories.

But it had other, more dubious effects as well. News, like all human observations, is not truly objective, in the scientific sense in which, for example, every competent mathematician will get the same sum in adding a column of figures. Human scenes described by different individuals are seen with differences. Since the doctrine of objectivity called for the meticulous certification of almost every phenomenon by an authority with a title, the news came increasingly to be presented by the authorities. In fact, American news, under that doctrine, has become increasingly conservative, not truly neutral, and too often devoid of meaning. The doctrine led journalists in the standard media to "safe," politically neutral subjects like crime and natural disasters, and it delayed for decades intelligent examinations into the causes of events. The doctrine of objectivity, despite its positive accomplishments of strict rules of observation and verification of simple, physical events, has led to some of the most damaging failures of reporting-in wars, social explosions, and episodes like that of Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose fantasies were accepted because he was a certifying authority under the rules of objectivity. It has given American standard news a profoundly establishmentarian cast under the guise of a press independent of established authority. BEN H. BAGDIKIAN, THE MEDIA MONOPOLY 137 (1983).

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 28, 2006 12:37:08 PM | 29

it'll be interesting too, how section 315-protected political advertising will migrate to fractured mediascape.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 28, 2006 1:04:09 PM | 30

A lot of commenters in this thread insist that both political parties are the same and that a total break down of the American political system is something to strive for. Those folks also seem to have no idea of how brutish and nasty life will be like if the American political system REALLY breaks down.

This is Utopianism at its worse. People are what they are, imperfect. Expecting perfection in some future political party or any individual or collection of individuals is naive and deathly dangerous. You really think things would be markedly different in the future if things broke down completely? The American Revolution was a remarkable and nearly unprecedented event. How likely, given the power of the wealthy and the modern techniques of propaganda, is another American Revolution? A much more likely result would be the French Revolution and if you want to live (assuming you survive) through that type of revolution, be my guest, just do it elsewhere in some other country.

What does Billmon have to say about this attitude:
"
But at some point refusing to recognize the disproportionality -- a disciplined, lavishly funded and utterly ruthless authoritarian machine on one side; the usual run of backslapping bribe takers on the other -- becomes a form of lying, and we're long past that point.
"

Posted by: lownslowav8r | Oct 28, 2006 2:41:21 PM | 31

"I say, bring the motherfucking house down, speed the entropy, let em break this nation. It's our only hope. Vote Republican accross the board."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 28, 2006 4:31:16 AM | 11

A 'Green' vote would do just as well and you wouldn't have it on your concience.

I think the end is near. The collapse is at hand. Could we possibly stand this for two more years? Better it should happen on the Repug watch ( whether or not they get help from the Dems ). Imagine the task ahead when the final bill comes in.

Maybe then, the Greens or some other more sensible, socially minded party will have a chance.

Posted by: pb | Oct 28, 2006 2:44:32 PM | 32

I tend to see Leiberman as the "legitimator" with regards to neo-con interests. He's the indespensable front man on the democratic side, preventing wholesale collapse into the realist/arabists camp, by the party. It'll be interesting to see if his current Zombie incarnation, is still capable of playing this role, or if stench and the bits of rotting flesh falling off his bones might take some of the charm off the lobbies effort. Apparently, Bloomberg thinks he'll do just fine.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 28, 2006 3:08:51 PM | 33

Jesus, Uncle Scam!

I don't think voting Republican will bring the whole house down...it will empower the torturers and the worst Congress EVAH.

And would you have voted for the Nazis to bring down the right wingers then? ...After 6 million people were exterminated like vermin?

What some seem unwilling to accept is that there are people who are not on the far left who are actually able to win and who can and do make things better...for whatever reason. If you look at the history of one party versus another, since FDR (who also was corrupt...but who also did good things) or since Hoover...even Lincoln was no saint and emancipation was thrust upon him, just like desegration was thrust upon LBJ...and he noted he'd lost the south for a generation.

So you'd vote in solidarity with the pigs who went republican because blacks demanded their constitutional rights?

All politicians are corrupt in some way. So are most other people. It's the supposedly or think they're "incorruptibles" that worry me because they tend toward sanctimony and an unwillingness to deal with what is.

But if you refuse to deal with what is, you can stay out of the muck of life, I suppose, and dream of a politics free of human fallibility.


Posted by: fauxreal | Oct 28, 2006 3:20:30 PM | 34

@ Exxon's $10.49 billion.

So, as I understand this, $10.49 billion next year just wont cut it.

Should be interesting.

Posted by: DM | Oct 28, 2006 4:55:56 PM | 35

"@ Exxon's $10.49 billion."

That was the third quarter only.

Every cent of it from me and my friends.

Unregulated private enterprise does not come cheap.

Posted by: pb | Oct 28, 2006 6:21:15 PM | 36

If there was a liberal news network - the TV equivalent of NPR - I'd be watching it for whatever tiny portion of the day I watch TV.

But there isn't and you don't -- nor do a lot of left/liberals these days, I suspect. Which may be why the networks and cable TV planners feel they have to follow Fox's lead.

The assumption sseems to be that they have to go one way or another, and if that's the case they're going to lean right -- it's where the most money and the most political protection is. But if they were creative, maybe they'd mix it up more, and have more but shorter news shows, each pitched to various groups. Like in the Monty Python sketch: "And now, the news for wombats."

But that would be "appointment viewing" and I think the other main assumption is that people won't do that for news.

Posted by: billmon | Oct 28, 2006 7:37:47 PM | 37

Re: The CCC*:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27/06Corporate America is already thinking beyond Election Day, increasing its share of last-minute donations to Democratic candidates and quietly devising strategies for how to work with Democrats if they win control of Congress.

The shift in political giving, for the first 18 days of October, has not been this pronounced in the final stages of a campaign since 1994, when Republicans swept control of the House for the first time in four decades......

_____
*'Cold Capitalist Calculation'; and if Joey Ramone were still alive he might write a song about it titled:'The CCC took my baby to be.....'

.

Posted by: RossK | Oct 28, 2006 8:40:44 PM | 38

Billmon:

This scares the crap out of me: I found this article on the op-ed page of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star today – a conservative but very mainstream local newspaper. Look at the headline: “Friends, Neighbors, Countrymen of the Left: I hate your lying guts.” I guess it says "lying" because a family paper won't print "fucking". It’s by a former Bush II Administration official named Paul Burgess. The headline sums it up quite nicely.

http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2006/102006/10282006/232595/index_html?page=1

I don't think I've ever smelled the fascism so strongly. I mean, it's basically being delivered to my front door.

Posted by: | Oct 28, 2006 10:13:57 PM | 39

Frightened above was me.

Posted by: NickM | Oct 28, 2006 10:14:49 PM | 40

The NYT has just endorsed Lamont over Lieberman. So even some influential Jews like Pinch Sulzberger are putting the antiwar cause over loyalty to Likud.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 28, 2006 10:57:21 PM | 41

NickM- he doesn't scare me. he's the same old same old from the right...they act as tho they haven't spent the last twenty years trying to make Americans hate liberals and any decent form of govt for the people of this nation.

So I hate his fucking guts too...and I don't agree with Ward Churchill or think that Chavez is the greatest thing since sliced meat (and also do not buy into the "mainstream" b.s. either)...I believe that the April 2002 coup the Bushies tried and failed to do was wrong..oops, that piece of offal forgot to mention that part...or the investigative reporting that Hersh did concerning the Iraq war, or the things Karen Kwaitkowski (a republican?) told about the build up to the war, or the track record the neo-cons have SINCE THE 1970S of getting everything wrong about foreign policy...they were so whacked out Reagan wouldn't have them. (Watch Part 2 of The Power of Nightmares for footage of that time featuring Rummy and Wolfie, et al.)

so, yeah, I hate that Republican's fucking guts.

Go read the link I left above from the Rolling Stone article about the Worst Congress Ever.

The writer was on Democracy Now! this week, too. (which, btw, as a general note, is available to everyone in the U.S. if you have iTunes...and local cable access has to respond to requests from your community, so if you want Pacifica on your tv, ask for it, petition for it...you know the drill.. activate for it.)


Here's an exerpt or two from that article (which mentions the asshole, Sensenbrenner, turning off the lights and trying to shut down any investigation of the Bushies...I thought that was the lowest of low, but no, they're worse than that, even.

There has been a systematic effort not only to deny the Democrats any kind of power-sharing role in creating or refining legislation but to humiliate them publicly, show them up, pee in their faces. Washington was once a chummy fraternity in which members of both parties golfed together, played in the same pickup basketball games, probably even shared the same mistresses. Now it is a one-party town

...[from a long-time republican staffer]"I was working for [New Mexico Republican] Pete Domenici at the time. We were in a Budget Committee hearing and the Democrats were debating what the final result would be. And my boss gets up and he says, 'Why are you saying this? You're not even going to be in the room when the decisions are made.' Just said it right out in the open."

(previously the staffer had also worked for a democrat...something unthinkable anymore...so I guess the two parties do have some differences...)

I mentioned the Sensenbrenner moment before, here's another one to remember about Rep. Bill Thomas:

The lowlight of his reign took place just before midnight on July 17th, 2003, when Thomas dumped a "substitute" pension bill on Democrats -- one that they had never read -- and informed them they would be voting on it the next morning. Infuriated, Democrats stalled by demanding that the bill be read out line by line while they recessed to a side room to confer. But Thomas wanted to move forward -- so he called the Capitol police to evict the Democrats.

[later]...the Republicans sneak off to hold the real conference, forcing the Democrats to turn amateur detective and go searching the Capitol grounds for the meeting. "More often than not, we're trying to figure out where the conference is," says one House aide.

In one legendary incident, Rep. Charles Rangel went searching for a secret conference being held by Thomas. When he found the room where Republicans closeted themselves, he knocked and knocked on the door, but no one answered.

Who the fuck do they think they are?? They aren't supposed to be the ONLY party. Other states elected people other than their arrogant asses to represent them. This is apparently the bipartisan date rape Norquist envisions as the droit de seigneur of Republicans to fuck over at least half the population of this nation.

They pulled this same sort of one-party shit with the patriot act and the military commissions act too.

oh, and this part:

the Republican-controlled Congress has created a new standard for the use of oversight powers. That standard seems to be that when a Democratic president is in power, there are no matters too stupid or meaningless to be investigated fully -- but when George Bush is president, no evidence of corruption or incompetence is shocking enough to warrant congressional attention.

...The numbers bear this out. From the McCarthy era in the 1950s through the Republican takeover of Congress in 1995, no Democratic committee chairman issued a subpoena without either minority consent or a committee vote. In the Clinton years, Republicans chucked that long-standing arrangement and issued more than 1,000 subpoenas to investigate alleged administration and Democratic misconduct, reviewing more than 2 million pages of government documents.

Guess how many subpoenas have been issued to the White House since George Bush took office? Zero..

...read the article. there's lots more.

- So, yeah, I hate the Republicans in power now. And the shithead who wrote that article. They are evil motherfuckers. They should be tarred and feathered and thrown out of D.C. No shit.

They are war criminals who deserve to be sent to prison for torturing innocent people.

Write back to the paper and give them some truth, rather than this staffer's get out the vote bullshit.

/rant

Posted by: fauxreal | Oct 28, 2006 11:51:08 PM | 42

"I don't think I've ever smelled the fascism so strongly. I mean, it's basically being delivered to my front door."

Far be it from me to tell you what to do, NickM, but I would cancel my subscription. We may not be able to do anything about the drift to fascism, but we don't have to have it delivered to our doors -- yet.


Posted by: billmon | Oct 29, 2006 12:48:37 AM | 43

Some interesting comments here. I do have to disagree with lownslowav8r at #31 above that this represents "...Utopianism at its worse.(sic)" The implication is that those of us who have had it with the system do not recognise the suffering that it's breakdown would entail. Quite the contrary... but I would suggest that the present system already causes nothing but suffering; whether you're a former resident of New Orleans or present resident of the middle east. Will a breakdown of the system bring healthcare to the millions of Americans who presently have none whatsoever? Will it bring debt relief to the millions of Americans who, due to the passage of "consumer protection" acts, can no longer declare bankruptcy? Will it bring back lost loved ones whose lives were thrown away to protect the interests of big business? Of course not. But neither will supporting the system as it stands.

"Utopianism", to me, is the idea that the state even cares about these problems. Suffering, and profound suffering, is already going on for a vast majority of the world's population due to this sacred cow of a system. Bringing it down would entail suffering... but it would be a more inclusive suffering. Those who are afraid of losing something still have the illusion that they have something to lose, which makes them very fortunate, but they are a smaller and smaller minority. The idea of the system collapsing should terrify them. The rest of us are past being terrified. Life is already "nasty, brutish and short" for far, far too many of us.

I also agree with pb at #32 that voting for a third party would be a more ethically consistent and tenable approach than $cam's attempt to give the Republicans sole authorship of the demise of America, but if you're going to be in favour of democracy, then you also have to support the idea that others are free to vote as they feel is best. I understand $cam's argument, but it is not an approach that I can endorse... although I do think it's more realistic than imagining that the Democrats are going to come and save us all in the final reel.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 29, 2006 1:49:42 AM | 44

damn your good fauxreal/rant #42

Posted by: annie | Oct 29, 2006 1:47:25 AM | 45

I totally agree, Monolycus, that it is unrealistic to expect Democrats, or anything else for that matter, to come in and save us all in the final reel. That sort of thinking is a fantasy. Who has put forth that idea on this thread?

Do you really suppose a collapse would be better for poor people?

What would happen after such a collapse? Maybe, like in Iraq, the only people left to suffer through such a situation would be those too old or too poor or too willing to believe in the decency of others to escape it.

So, there is no reason to assume that all would suffer equally. That equal suffering didn't happen during the great depression, either.

"The State" is such a monolithic term. What comprises the "state?" When all collapses, what replaces the state to provide services to those who need them? I honestly don't know. What examples do we have from history to look at to see probably futures in such an event?

I do think your Katrina example is apt for a govt that no longer functions. If a system collapses and another such storm were to hit, do you think the poor would not again bear the majority of the burden?

Remember the white people who stood with guns and wouldn't let blacks cross the bridge out of New Orleans? When I think of collapse, that's what I remember from recent history. What about Germany and hyper-inflation in the 1920s?

I suppose my questions come down to asking what would take the place of structures which now exist, even tho they are not functioning? Is there another system that causes less suffering that has ever been implemented?

Posted by: fauxreal | Oct 29, 2006 2:24:25 AM | 46

i am probably too far gone in terms of any faith left in the present political system to think any real change is even possible. i know that sounds defeatist.. they have a grip, one they are unlikely to reliquish. i don't trust the voting process. even if it worked it still doesn't represent the will of the people because our choices are so narrow. the preparations are in place (uncles link) it is naive to think they will not be used? when? under what circumstances? right now, the media still holds reigns. what percentage of us (americans, not us here) know we are really lied to? not sort of lied to as in these political ads, but supremely lied to.

one of my best friends, a political person, she still cannot believe 9/11 could have occured thru some affiliates of our government. it is too much, too far fetched, too overwhelming. she doesn't even want to talk about it, the zone is out of her realm. what happens if there is a tipping point? clearly 1/2 of americans hate bush. what if it is really 3/4 but we only believe it is 1/4? the point of controlling the internet is not just passing the info, it is keeping us all believing we are abnormal, far left/out there/not common. while we are all outraged already they are progressing in their nefarious plans to enclose us all. it seems impossible to imagine but what if? these list in iraq, who makes them , where do they come from and who gives the orders? wouldn't it be the same here? it is naive/stupid to think they have no intention.

they hit journalists, they hit the messengers first. the educated, informed. what if someone like chomsky/juan cole/chris floyd? ok, i'll admit we are far away from that. but how long? what is a 'normal' progression timewise from propaganda/subverting laws/invading other counties/domestic enemies to..?? how long is the warning period?

we can either go along and watch as they completely over run our country and the rest of the globe or god forbid we do something like what happened w/the vietnam protests, they took years to really become a mass movement, years. and if that should happen again, weekly, how long would it take? i know this is far fetched, damn i know it. but who ARE WE to think it can't happen here? our alternative is to believe we can make a difference thru the system. and i don't know that we can, we may be too far gone.

tell me, what/who is this obama? this is what, the new shining light.. we know nothing about him really, a possible leader of the free world w/WHAT qualifications?? is this what the dems have come up with? he is but an image is he not? yeah he gives a good speech but we need someone who can stand up against EVIL. this evil can chew up obama and spit him out like no tomorrow. we need a fighter, someone who knows whats at stake, what has been taken from us, and is willing to kick out the cancer (including aipac) that has infested our country and used it as a host to dominate the world. if the dems are not the solution they represent a slow agonizing death. there are good people in the party but they are marginalized horribly. people are too afraid for good reason, myself included to throw away votes on greens etc. there is not enough faith in ourselves, in our numbers, to make real change. we need to abolish corporate personhood. we need to defange the devil. we need a david to go up against goliath and i think we have the numbers but they will realize this before we do and they will create so much havoc and catch us offguard although all the signs are there for us to see. its a big WHEN. like waiting for the bubble to burst. not the economic bubble tho they may be aligned, the 100 money bubble. are we ready? are you ready ? for the knock.

Posted by: annie | Oct 29, 2006 3:18:22 AM | 47

A ray of light?

Doonesbury

Posted by: Hamburger | Oct 29, 2006 5:00:06 AM | 48

fauxreal@46
Remember the white people who stood with guns and wouldn't let blacks cross the bridge out of New Orleans? When I think of collapse, that's what I remember from recent history. What about Germany and hyper-inflation in the 1920s?

and where was the outrage ?
and they got away with it - no investigation, no nothing
and not a peep from the Demo's, who get a quartter of their votes from Blacks.

peoples minds are weakening

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 29, 2006 6:29:19 AM | 49

and thinking about it, why should we expect journalists to stick their necks out when the "opposition" (Demos) are hiding under the bed. Demos did not do anything to challenge vote-fraud in Ohio, only the Greens took legal action.

Even when confronted with the most brazen & flagrant acts of racism - acts that the majority of Whites would find reprehensible (I truly hope) such as the vigilante White bridge road-block (Katrina) against Blacks, Demos will not do anything. Nobody is being fooled here - Its all about not being perceived as too chummy with Blacks so a certian block of bigoted southern White voters (and a good chunk of Northern votes too) is not offended. After all, Clinton did the Sista-Souljah code thing.

And its not just on race, its on most everything else that can impact whatever coveted votes or funds they need for the next election.

If Demos wont take a stand & frame the issues vigorously and demonstrate courage & passion on even the most basic "inalienable right" type issues, whose supposed to do it - a journalist ?

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 29, 2006 6:56:38 AM | 50

Billmon: Far be it from me to tell you what to do, NickM, but I would cancel my subscription. We may not be able to do anything about the drift to fascism, but we don't have to have it delivered to our doors -- yet.

That's exactly what my father did here with our local "Employee-Owned" The Monroe Evening News (AKA "The River Raisin Fishwrapper") roughly two years before he died. He got so mad at them championing Republicans and big business on the Editorial Page (as well as their practice in burying the lead on page 7b of the Sports section) that he canceled the subscription and went exclusively for the Toledo Blade.

The publisher of the Fishwrapper actually called up my old man (they used to play music together) to ask him why he dumped them and my father replied, "I'm sick of bankrolling your entitlement to live on Hollywood Avenue next to all those Republican doctors and bankers and other assorted Good Germans," and hung up on him.

Every once in a while, however, we'll break down and buy a copy of the worthless wrag. I think the reason why is we need some sort of confirmation or re-affirmation that nothing has changed with the newspaper; that it's still a worthless Pro-Republican wrag -- simular to what people may do when they loose something and have since long gave up looking for it, opting instead to open the drawer where the object ought to be and, upon discovering the lost object is still goddamned lost, they'll throw up their hands and say to themselves, "Damn! Hasn't come back on it's own yet!"

Posted by: Sizemore | Oct 29, 2006 7:05:10 AM | 51

What is the chimera of Demos. winning in the next election supposed to furnish?

that American soldiers will not continue to die?

that the ramshackle and exorbitantly US medical system will perform better?

that poor workers will see better wages?

that inner cities will improve their quality of life?

that prisons will be slowly emptied?

that a rational energy policy (not funding corn growers for pipe dreams and votes) will be set up?

that the ‘civil war’ in Iraq will stop?

that education to age 14 will be improved?

that diplomacy will see oil deals miraculously greased and accomplished?

that relations with Mexico will be improved and the whole controversy about immigrant workers will disapear?

that the US will give up S. America and leave it alone?

that abortion will be free for all?

that statistics will be properly published?

that global warming and Kyoto will be addressed?

that the seals will be saved?

that the Gvmt. will stop lying about health?

that added value manufacturing will come back to the US?

that links with Saudi (UAE, Kuwait...etc.) will be cut?

that the poor will no longer have to live in unhealthy housing?

that energy use will be cut by 30%? Peace in the ME?

that the rest of the world will suddenly say the US is a great example to follow?

that the Patriot act (and others) be repealed? No-fly lists be cancelled?

that a new inquiry into 9/11 be implemented?

that the US takes a strong stand on Israel and sits down with Putin to negotiate?

Gitmo closed?

Torture abolished?

What? What is the platform? What are we talking about here?

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 29, 2006 11:02:40 AM | 52

exorbitantly = exorbitantly expensive

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 29, 2006 11:05:47 AM | 53

"What? What is the platform? What are we talking about here?"

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 29, 2006 11:02:40 AM | 52

Less power for the Tsar ( Caesar, Kaiser, Fuerher, Autocrat, whatever.) would be a good start.

Posted by: pb | Oct 29, 2006 12:17:55 PM | 54

jonybcool- where was the outrage over Katrina? what happened with the dems? Well, I do remember outrage. And as far as what happened, maybe it would behoove you to read about the ways in which a republican controlled executive, house and senate govt. deals with any attempts to investigate ANYTHING related to their failures.

I cannot believe that you ask that question...where was your investigation of what happened, rather than a blanket condemnation?

The republicans had a hearing...and if you read the article from Rolling Stone (and most of these things have been available elsewhere before this article) about the way in which they are running congress, you might understand why the democrats issued a separate report.

Democratic Reps. Charlie Melancon and William Jefferson of Louisiana took part in the committee's hearings, writing in a separate report released over the weekend that the need for an independent investigation remains.

The House committee "worked diligently" to meet its mandate of conducting "a full and complete investigation," the two congressmen wrote. "But due to the committee's short deadline and the refusal of the White House to provide access to essential documents, key questions remain unanswered. We therefore renew our call for an independent commission to examine the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina."

The two lawmakers said the report "largely eschews direct responsibility."

The Democrats' report calls for Chertoff to be fired. Melancon and Jefferson wrote that the majority report fails to "draw the logical conclusion to its own findings and recommend Secretary Chertoff's removal from office. Our judgment, based on a careful review of the record, is that the Department of Homeland Security needs new and more experienced leadership."

Pelosi issued a report on findings about the way the Bush gov. handled Katrina.

A one year report on continued failure, via the Senate democrats (.pdf)

I also think there should have been some sort of direct action by the democrats, but that's not the way a govt with depts to deal with so many diff. issues works, if I understand the world. FEMA was supposed to handle this...the Dept of Homeland Security did...what? These agencies had the money, the training, etc. etc... supposedly. Both the Gov. of LA and the Mayor of N.O., if I remember, made direct pleas to these agencies.

My point is not to absolve democrats. Rather, it would be nice if there were some nuance rather than blanket condemnation, when there is evidence to show that what you say is not exactly true.

And, yes, there were journalists who were on the scene who did bring that situation with the bridge to the attention of Americans.

Here's a Katrina Timeline.

FEMA Head Michael Brown urges emergency service personnel "not to respond to hurricane impact areas unless dispatched by state, local authorities."

The American Red Cross announces that it is "launching the largest mobilization of resources in its history" to assist Katrina victims. FEMA encourages the public to donate to this and other private organizations involved in relief work.

And Bush is nearly MIA...he wants his dad and Clinton to fundraise..in other words, he wants the PRIVATE SECTOR, just like Chertoff and Brown, to deal with the situation.

Again, I'd like to bring to your attention the fact that the republicans control three branches of govt and they were and are charged, along with state and local officials, with dealing with such issues. If you might also recall, the Bushies engaged in a power struggle with the gov. over authority during this time as well.


And as far as your statements about the democrats and Ohio, you're also not exactly telling the truth. In addition, I know of people where I live and others around the country who are democrats who WENT TO OHIO during the election to help the Ohio dems and others monitor for voter suppression and fraud...in other words, rather than bitch and moan, they actually did something pre-emptive to try to stop and really nasty and powerful GOP machine.

Here's some information about Ohio and voter fraud.

Conyers' hearing on voter fraud in Ohio

Conyers' Status Report on Ohio (.pdf) It wasn't just the greens who challenged the Ohio election. It was also the libertarians, and after Kerry (disgustingly, imo) conceded, he joined with the greens in attempts to investigate Ohio. Conyers' report is the document that contains the principle evidence of voter fraud.

And Noirette- Pelosi's call for 100 Hours if Democrats regain control of the legislature.

And as far as your list of issues...I would ask you who has actually wants to address (many) those things. it's not the republicans, and the greens do not stand a chance of winning any national election in America. I vote for them locally, but not nationally because I don't want to give republicans any more power than they already have.

There are so many really smart people on this site. I am constantly amazed at the lack of analysis of what actually happens when people govern. The lack of nuance, of the ability to see how various factions vie for power and the tactics they use and the compromises that USED TO be part of creating legislature, or holding hearings...

anyway, again, I have to attend to my own life. I don't want to and cannot spend the time defending individuals against accusations that are not really the entire picture (not that I have the entire picture either, but at least it's not a dismissal based upon nothing but frustration...which I can and have done too, obviously.)

It is really very easy to call for destruction. Just look at Iraq. It's really very hard to build something good, something that works better than what's going on now.

From my perspective, if you really want to help ppl who are poor, or help empower more ppl rather than less, they have better chances within an existing framework that can (and could) respond because there is pressure from the poor as a voting bloc, and from those who align with them on issues of social justice.

And that gets into the issue of gerrymandering that has gone on, from both sides of the aisle, to create districts where blacks also have representation, but also to create districts that favor a Republican majority. There are lot so things that are broken in America right now.

Posted by: fauxreal | Oct 29, 2006 12:36:45 PM | 55

fauxreal, I think you misunderstand me.

I was not referring to Katrina in general at all.

I was specifically referring to the White group (apparently including police) that refused to allow a group of Blacks to cross the bridge out of New Orleans. I did read about this incident in a few places but I do not recall that it drew the type of outrage it deserves. And to the best of my knowledge, there was no investigation of this incident. I consider this a failure of the Democratic party leadership that such an outrage would not draw the full weight of their outrage & attention.

And on Ohio, I stand by my statement that the Greens filed the initial challenge. Kerry & the Demos did not show much fight on this matter despite the appearance of major vote fraud.

Its is not a secret that the Demo's get very timid about defending or advocating the rights of Blacks if or when the prospect of a White backlash exists. Hence, it should not be surprising that the Demos would fail to vigorously challenge voter fraud against Blacks. What is maybe surprising is that they would do so with the Presidency at stake.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 29, 2006 2:08:20 PM | 56

link to WaPo

This is as good an instance of the mentality as I've seen. It's written as if it were the portrait of a man whose thoughts and words are open to critical analysis, as are his recorded activities over the past twenty years. Yet there's not a hint of an analysis in this article, no attempt whatsoever to take the measure of the man it professes to write about. This "portrait" may be said to parody the rhetoric of encomiastic adoration.

And what, in fact, does the reporter himself adore? Not, so far as I can tell, the words and deeds of the man whose portrait he seems to draw: this would require an assessment, an inventory, of those very words and actions, however delusional that assessment, or inventory, would be. No, it's an account of the subject's current "standing," of his place on the totem pole of today. In fact it's a piece more concerned with the totem pole itself than with the standing of the man in its hierarchy.

This reporter worships the totem pole, and his "portrait" is an exercise in blind idolatry, posing as clear-eyed assessment and level-headed observation.

And here's the weird thing about pieces such as this one: it's profoundly, if naively, unethical towards its nominal subject. It doesn't even try to take the man seriously for the things that matter to him. It's as if the man didn't exist. The reporter seems not to know that his man has come from somewhere, and that the place he came from sent him on the mission of a lifetime.

Can you fault the reporter for this? There's an enormous gap in his education, and that gap will never be filled. He's fit for manipulation, and he's being manipulated by everyone--first and foremost by himself.

Of all the ten commandments, the one against idolatry is the most urgent, because it doesn't just tell us to stop fucking around, it warns us to care for our soul. It warns that the life of the soul is finite, and that the worship of idols is a dangerous waste of time irrecoverably lost--time better spent on taking care of the soul.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 30, 2006 1:20:32 AM | 57

I'm sorry that my CounterPunch piece wasn't sufficiently pure for Debs is dead and her "amerikan" perspective. I don't justify voting Democratic on election day. On the contrary, I say I have no problem with people voting for a third party (or doing the anarchist thing and declining to vote at all). My only point was that we can find a silver lining no matter how the election turns out. If the Democrats win then I say Hurrah! -- not because the Democrats deserve to win but because the Republicans deserve to lose. The Dems are not my meal ticket out into any world. I don't have plans to run for office so it's not political ambition that's influencing me. I get my food elsewhere and that's not likely to change. My guess is that Debs is dead and I don't share a world view despite our convergence on many political issues, from plutocracy to war. Anyway, I appreciate the mention of the article even if you thought the ending was weak.

Posted by: Jeff | Nov 2, 2006 10:48:21 PM | 58

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