And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
Forget all the road to Damascus stuff in the piece, this is what I find important:
I’d argue that conservatives and libertarians should strongly support regulation to reduce carbon pollution, since pollution by one entity invariably infringes upon the rights of others (including property rights), and no entity has a constitutional right to pollute. It does not put America on the road to serfdom to suggest that the federal government has a compelling interest in protecting the country from ecological damage. If anything, it puts America on the road to common sense.
Exactly right. This is how Democrats should be messaging on this issue. It removes the ever-present and undeniable impulse in the MSM to punch the dirty fucking hippies whenever possible, the nigh irresistible impulse to note that it “snowed today,” and the much beloved “well, Al Gore sure is fat” gambit and frames the debate in terms even libertarians can understand.
Part Two of said strategy needs to incorporate the notion that even if we’re 100% wrong these measures will be good for the country and likely even of existential importance relative to our industrial and economic standing in the world. Getting off our oil addiction is, plain and simple, a good idea, no matter what you think the output carbon of our oil economy is doing. We’re going to be getting off of oil sooner or later, may as well start now and be the arbiter or at least one of the arbiters of the post-oil economy. Furthermore, if you want America “making things” again, the most likely and highest value target for said industry is in the post-oil transition. Not only can you sell such technology to the developed world, the whole of the developing world will be knocking at your door as well.
There is not enough reserve oil in American hands to measurably move the global market, even if we could extract it all tonight. There just isn’t. We wouldn’t even make an appreciable impact on our own rate of import were we to employ all of our oil; even that small but measurable impact would only last for a year or two. We may hold 1-2% of proven world reserves. Period. We cannot and will not ever produce our way off of foreign oil. It is simply not possible given current or projected usage. And, oh by the way, there isn’t enough global capacity either, though only the US military seems willing to admit it publicly.
The time to start dealing with both the implicit misconception (Drill baby drill!) and the overriding and much more important harsh reality is right now, not 20 years from now when our oil addiction and its impacts is both (still) utterly undeniable and but it is also too late to do anything about it.
So, we’re entering week two of an event that, thanks to quick thinking, White House officials nipped in the bud and transformed into a one day story.
On the plus side: this OpEd from EJ Dionne is superlative. I don’t share his optimism, but he points out what strikes me as the key facet linking the Sherrod narrative to a much larger issue:
The Obama team did not question, let alone challenge, the video. Instead, it assumed that whatever narrative Fox News might create mattered more than anything else, including the possible innocence of a human being outside the president’s inner circle.
The Facts Do Not Matter. While still folding like a cheap suit, at least the administration seems to have internalized (and fumblingly tried to act upon) this basic tenet of today’s media complex. And that’s the thing that really differentiates the Sherrod dust-up: the fairly counter-intuitive notion that the true facts of the story not only emerged but were covered and became the ongoing core storyline employed by the MSM. This rarely happens.
I’d argue that this is because the truth was suitably damaging to the administration while the “lie” in the matter rather inconveniently put on display the deeply dysfunctional brand of “news” that FOXnews peddles and furthermore highlights a larger media establishment that not only ignores but frequently rushes to defend such behavior.
A truly agile administration would have used this rare opening. Indeed, they should be waiting for such an opportunity, with tightly produced packages ready to drop at the first sign of FOXnews’ exposed flank. Instead, they fired Sherrod. This is why they fail.
But, getting back to the novelty of having a truth emerge from the fiction and actually manage to become the narrative, for how long have we lived with other convenient lies like:
Al Gore says he invented the internet
Unlike Americans, Al Gore wears four-button suits
Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal
Al Gore says he was the basis of Love Story
Al Gore wore earth tones because a woman told him to
That the first of these is actually mentioned by Dionne is as shocking as it is unusual. Polite people never mention these facts.
Admittedly, these examples are merely a smattering from the Al Gore section of the Convenient Media Storybook. There are many more, and innumerable sections; Social Security is soon to be insolvent, tax cuts have always paid for themselves, and etc… Al Gore makes an interesting case because the man has been out of Presidential politics since he was elected President back in Campaign 2000. These and other lies about him still appear on a daily basis in the mainstream press. But, of course, these things cut both ways. The Church of the Savvy tells us that both houses are always equally flawed. False equivalency is the stock and trade of the business. So let’s give equal time and run down all the manifold lies that are repeated daily about disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich:
The typical evolution of stories like Sherrod’s goes something like this:
Wrong but convenient and story-making non-fact is put “out there.”
Serious people like Cokie Roberts and Juan Williams pick it up and uncritically repeat it
Truth of matter emerges on A19. Is ignored. Derided as too complicated, booooo-ring, or “old news.”
When directly challenged with (3), serious people like Cokie will haltingly agree with its ultimate veracity, but continue to treat (1) as fact because it’s “Out there.” And then proceed to recall (1). Forever.
The Sherrod case is playing out very differently. Not only did the reality emerge, it was accepted and propagated. Dionne continues:
The traditional media are so petrified of being called “liberal” that they are prepared to allow the Breitbarts of the world to become their assignment editors. Mainstream journalists regularly criticize themselves for not jumping fast enough or high enough when the Fox crowd demands coverage of one of their attack lines.
This is true to a point, however he’s either forgetting or just avoiding the key lie. The key myth that makes it all possible: that the MSM is, in and of itself, liberal. A false attribution, but one that is (surprise, surprise) frequently repeated. This is what movtivates the fear of being called liberal. It’s the frame that drives NPR to run stories worrying over three hours of clearly differentiated msnbc editorial programming alongside 21 hours of straight news (three of which are dominated by a former Conservative member of Congress) whilst merrily whistling past the fact that FOXnews runs a 24/7 propaganda mill, complete with “serious” stories like the entirely false notion that the Obama Justice Department categorically refuses to prosecute black men; it would be one thing if this nonsense was limited to FOXnews, but it is not. Dionne picks up this thread:
Thus did Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander ask this month why the [Washington Post] had been slow to report on “the Justice Department’s decision to scale down a voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party.” Never mind that this is a story about a tiny group of crackpots who stopped no one from voting. It was aimed at doing what the doctored video Breitbart posted set out to do: convince Americans that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites.
Now, [Bush Justice Department official J. Christian] Adams is accusing the Obama Justice Department of being “motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law.” This is racially inflammatory, politically motivated nonsense — and it’s nonsense even if Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh talk about it a thousand times a day. When an outlandish charge for which there is no evidence is treated as an on-the-one-hand-and-on-the-other-hand issue, the liars win.
Again, Dionne soft-pedals it. It’s not just Hannity saying this during “editorial” hour; it’s the entire “news” operation on FOXnews doing it. Presenting it as fact. Repeatedly. Which, for unclear reasons, positively compels the rest of the MSM to do likewise and ponder why they didn’t report on this falsity more aggressively and sooner without ever pausing to consider that the story is baseless and more often than not invented out of whole cloth. Thus do people like Drudge, Limbaugh, Beck, and O’Reilly become the assignment editors for the MSM. Many say the world is round. Others say it is flat. Opinions differ.
Thus does the nation die at the hands of invincible ignorance.
The same can be said for most if not all of the eastern seaboard of Our Great Republic.
This must be extremely embarrassing for the global warming deniers. I’m already sick of the blanket coverage of this heat and how embarrassing it is for them. Such blather is sufficiently prevalent that probably one half of one degree of this heat is directly attributable to B-roll of eggs frying on pavement.
By my gauge, it’s currently 86° in sunny Boston, MA. NOAA says we goin’ to 92° (though that figure clearly represents a government takeover of weather forecasting). Today’s low will likely turn out to have been 57°, four degrees above the average high.
This is all terribly embarrassing for the climate change deniers. I’m sure they will be called to account for this deviation from their unsubstantiated by any data ever collected anywhere “nothing’s changing” stance. How can “nothing’s changing” possibly account for the fact that it is warm today? I demand to know. ‘Merica demands to know. Also, Al Gore is fat.
Of all the MSM tropes, this one is (perhaps) the most insane:
Resolved: Anyone who espouses a given idea must then hew to the most unforgiving and ridiculous possible interpretation of said idea or that person is a hypocrite and probably a liar.
One example: John Edwards wants to help the poor and has put his political muscle, such as it is, behind that. He also happens to live in an expensive house. MSM analysis: He is an unforgivable hypocrite who cannot care about the plight of those living in poverty.
However, Al Gore, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, is the target of more if this sort of ass-hattery than perhaps anyone else in public life, ever. The MSM has conducted a long and wide-ranging War on Gore that is as unstoppable as it is unmentionable in “polite” discourse.
Witness Diane Sawyer, hiding behind Glenn Beck to ask this question:
Once again asking Al Gore if you really want to save the planet, Al, why don’t you put down the cheeseburger and pick up the veggie burger? Time for, maybe, soy milk and tofurkey?
To which Gore (sensibly) replies:
There is a serious issue about the connection between the growing meat intensity of diets around the world and damage to the environment. And like a lot of people, I eat less meat now than I used to. I’m not a vegetarian, don’t plan to become one, but it’s a healthy choice to eat more vegetables and fruits. So it’s not a laughable issue.
Sawyer’s take-home: “So, tofurkey for you.”
Her annual salary for this incredible analysis: between 12 and 15 million dollars. And who can possibly argue with her logic? It is not possible for an individual to be concerned about the environmental wages of industrial meat production without subsisting entirely on a flavorless mush called “rootmarm.” Any other course of action would be both utterly ridiculous and inexcusably hypocritical.
It is possible to sympathize with Clinton. Today, when the mainstream media seems so weakened, we forget how powerful—and arrogant—the New York Times and The Washington Post, along with the networks and news magazines, seemed to be in the early and mid-1990s. They were part of a giant scandal machine that dominated official Washington in the first few years after the Cold War. The endless string of special prosecutors and the media’s obsession with Whitewater seem excessive in retrospect.
It didn’t seem excessive to Thomas when Rush Limbaugh suggested that Hillary Clinton helped murder Vince Foster.
It didn’t seem excessive to Thomas when Jerry Falwell spent years peddling the Clinton murder tapes—remaining an honored guest on Meet the Press, and on cable “news” programs.
It didn’t seem excessive to Thomas when Dan Burton was shooting up pumpkins in his back yard, showing how Foster may have died.
It didn’t seem excessive (or strange) to Thomas when the original special prosecutor got canned by a panel of right-wing judges—and was replaced by a well-known conservative functionary.
It didn’t seem excessive to Thomas when Fools for Scandal published the documents the New York Times had disappeared in the course of inventing the Whitewater “scandal.”
It didn’t seem excessive when a first lady was called a “congenital liar” by a bungling major columnist. It didn’t seem excessive when the Village called her every name in the book as they pretended that she had lied about the Cubs and the Yankees. It didn’t seem excessive when the Post published that disgraceful piece by Andrew Sullivan, two days before the 1996 election. (Headline: “Clinton: Not a Flicker Of Moral Life.”) It hadn’t seemed excessive when that same baboon had published that crap by Betsy McCaughey, in 1994—a piece whose fraudulence became quite clear in rather short order.
These events made perfect sense at the time! To Thomas, they only seem excessive in retrospect! By the way, did it seem excessive when the Post and the Times invented all that sh*t about Candidate Gore, then pimped it for twenty straight months?
Chris Matthews, apparently a longtime resident of Olympus Mons, talks to Clinton biographer Taylor Branch about the Fools for Scandal that are the Villagers:
Branch: Well, first of all, [Bill Clinton] was frustrated that his presidency was off course and besieged by tabloid scandals for six years of which the Lewinsky one was the only one that proved any substance. He forfeited the attempt to rise above the cynicism of the tabloid era by validating that cynicism with Monica Lewinsky. And his only explanation was that he felt sorry for himself, yet he was trying so hard to to be a good president and all anybody wanted to talk about was filegate, travelgate and whether or not he had killed Vince Foster.
Matthews: Did he think that people … well let’s get to some of the more extreme charges against him. Did he think that anybody thought that, anybody real, I mean we talk about the nut jobs all the time. But does anybody really think that Bill Clinton put a hit on his friend Vince Foster?
Branch: No, but it stayed in the news for six years.
Matthews: What news?
Branch: …. that’s astonishing. It was all over the place.
Matthews: What newspapers carried that?
Branch: Well first of all..
Matthews: The Clinton Chronicles, you know and Fox
Branch: Ken Starr could make stories about it all the time. It was an official investigation of the Whitewater special counsel.
This has been something of a recurrent theme with the establishment press in DC. They created Whitewater. They hounded Clinton for years. They invented stories about Gore out of whole cloth (these tales remarkably always managing to buttress preferred GOP talking points), and continue to repeat them to this day as though they are fact. But, when confronted directly about their complicity…they go into Sergeant Schultz mode: “I know nothing! I see nothing!” and act like it’s a brand new fucking discovery that the MSM was directly responsible for the lead-up to the Clinton impeachment, just like they were directly responsible for the run-up to the Iraq war. But they are fundamentally incapable of admitting or even perceiving this. Again with the Upton Sinclair:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
Which, perhaps should be moderately revised to:
It is difficult to get a complicit media agent to understand something when they became millionaires by not understanding it.
You’d think there wouldn’t be anything more remarkable in the Branch interview than the Vince Foster stuff excerpted above. But there is:
Matthews: Why would he think that the liberal establishment, reflected in newspeople’s opinions were anti-Clinton?
Branch: That’s what drove him nuts. But more specifically, the New York Times and the Washington Post drove the Whitewater scandals and he always looked up to them and he though they were sucked into some tabloid netherworld that was detracting from his agenda for the country.
And continues to detract from any substantive agenda to this day. But, setting that aside for the moment, it’s utterly breathtaking to see Matthews here, pretending as though the six year war on Clinton, the subsequent war on Gore, the role the MSM played in the “election” of George W. Bush over Gore, the parroting of Bush lies as truth, and the bitter, still-unwinding outcome of those lies and all the rest: just never happened. Well, maybe, but only on FoxNEWS or something. This man was himself complicit in these events. Here’s Matthews on W. Bush:
MATTHEWS: What’s the importance of the president’s amazing display of leadership tonight?
MATTHEWS: Do you think this role, and I want to talk politically […], the president deserves everything he’s doing tonight in terms of his leadership. He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics. Do you think he is defining the office of the presidency, at least for this time, as basically that of commander in chief? That […] if you’re going to run against him, you’d better be ready to take [that] away from him.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Bob Dornan, you were a congressman all those years. Here’s a president who’s really nonverbal. He’s like Eisenhower. He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West. I remember him standing at that fence with Colin Powell. Was [that] the best picture in the 2000 campaign?
I told the Congress to take their bridge and shove it! This one is a flat out lie and lately even conservative stalwarts such as the Wall Street Journal are willing to soft-pedal around to tell you that:
“She endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in 2006. And while she did take part in stopping the project after it became a national scandal, she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it elsewhere.”
For it before she was against it, perhaps?
I got rid of the governor’s chef! Boy, do my kids ever miss her! But Palin actually just reassigned the chef, and only because her kids left the scene for the summer. Still unclear is whether or not Palin brought the chef back to the governors mansion post-summer vacation. What she did do is take a per diem for living at home. Michael Luo of the New York Times tells us:
The $60-a-day allowance is available for state employees when traveling on official state business to cover meals and other sundry expenses […] Ms. Palin’s per diems, which included some charges for partial days, totaled $17,059, from Dec. 4, 2006, when she took office, through June 30, 2008, the most recent data available, according to Sharon Leighow, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office. Ms. Palin’s salary is $125,000 a year.
I sold (former Alaska governor) Frank Murkowski’s jet on eBay! This one is by far the closest to the truth, and yet still manages to bend the facts. The plane was indeed listed on eBay at her behest (having been a major issue in the campaign for governor, dispatching the plane was one of her first actions in office):
“But the jet’s eBay listing did not prove effective, and the state never got its asking price. Instead, in 2007, the state turned to an aircraft broker, Turbo North Aviation. The jet was purchased that year by businessman Larry Reynolds, the owner of a sporting goods store and marine supply store in Valdez. Reynolds paid $2.1-million.”
So it’s at least true that Palin (or, more accurately, the state of Alaska) put the plane up for sale on eBay, but it didn’t sell on eBay. But McCain still likes to take this minor fabrication and turn it into a full-on lie by taking it an extra mile:
“You know what I enjoyed the most, she took the luxury jet bought by her predecessor and sold it on eBay,” he said. “And made a profit.”
Except that none of that happened. As we know, the plane, valued at ~2.7 million dollars in fact sold for $2.1M and didn’t sell on eBay.
How is it that Al Gore can be savaged over the Love Canal based entirely on an immediately corrected misquotation while McCain, Palin, and any other member of the GOP can spew patent fabrications, repeatedly, in public, and raise nary an eyebrow? Must be that liberal media acting up again.
Seeing as it’s almost 2008, I guess it’s time for a reasonably comprehensive look at the War on Gore. Not that anyone involved with the magnificent work that gave us President George W. Bush, a man who didn’t know Social Security was a federal program (and may still not), sees anything particularly wrong with their output. Not at all, why that was tough-minded stuff, all that about Gore’s potential for lactation and the rather conveniently consistent misquoting on top of misquoting. Why, it still goes on today…there are probably no fewer than 10 mentions of “invented the internet” around the American press-o-sphere today.
But, then, even Peretz seems to miss the point, wondering if a Gore entry into the 2008 contest would cause the press to “revert.” Yeah, if he got in, the press would likely start spending all its time reporting on a given candidate’s hairstyle or necklines and whether or not their house is too valuable for them to care about the poor. We wouldn’t want any of that to get started up. Again.