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Convergence(?): something Paul Krugman said

The other day, Paul Krugman speculated that Barack Obama was adopting the values and the rhetoric of the serious people, who for some reason always want to impose austerity on the little guy, because he identifies with that class:

OK, here’s an unprofessional speculation: maybe it’s personal. Maybe the president just doesn’t like the kind of people who tell him counterintuitive things, who say that the government is not like a family, that it’s not right for the government to tighten its belt when Americans are tightening theirs, that unemployment is not caused by lack of the right skills. Certainly just about all the people who might have tried to make that argument have left the administration or are leaving soon.
And what’s left, I’m afraid, are the Very Serious People. It looks as if those are the people the president feels comfortable with. And that, of course, is a tragedy.

Today, the front page of the NYTimes reports on the phone hacking scandal by News Corp editors and higher ups in Britain. For those of you not up to date on this scandal, News Corp, owned by Rupert Murdoch, has been accused of tapping the phones of terrorist victims, soldiers from Afghanistan and paying substantial bribes to police officials for juicy tidbits of confidential information on people it doesn’t like. David Cameron’s former aide, Andy Coulson, left the Cameron administration to work for Murdoch’s org. Murdoch is poised to buy the remaining shares in British Sky Broadcasting and the deal is to be finalized today. Coulson has been arrested in connection with this probe. It looks like the political arena was not spared from Murdoch’s tentacles. It isn’t clear to me whether Coulson is being offered up as a sacrificial lamb in order to let the deal proceed. If it does, Murdoch’s lock on the British media would be almost insurmountable.

Kudos to Atrios for keeping on top of this.

As you can imagine, the Britain’s Labor Party is throwing Cameron an anchor. But here’s the paragraph that got my attention:

Fourteen months later, with Mr. Murdoch’s media empire in Britain reeling, Mr. Cameron may feel that his close relationship with Mr. Murdoch, which included a range of social contacts with members of the Murdoch family and the tycoon’s senior executives, has been a costly overreach.

It sounds to me like David Cameron also wanted to schmooze with the Serious People. Is this a characteristic of our national leaders? What about that Canadian dude who just rewon? What the heck is his name?

There is a pattern here with Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. He gets into a country, buys up their media, then his outlets start belching forth child murders and abductions of young white women. Enter the Sean Hannity types and the lies that go uncontested. Gin up the war machine, turn on the gasbags screaming that anyone collecting a government check is a parasite and voile! Austerity for thee but not for me.

Can we get an investigation of Murdoch going here in the US? And who does Steny Hoyer know at Fox News? How did we know about Weiner and Massa? Who else is toeing the conservative line because of some personal secret or minor ethical violation that threatens to become a s#%^storm? And how did Andrew Breitbart jump into the ranks of the serious people?

Of course this is just speculative on my part. Maybe Fox News and Rupert Murdoch arent setting the tone and cracking the whip and hobnobbing with the power in Washington and the other serious people. Neverthless, I’m interested in pursuing an investigation into Murdoch’s ties in Washington. How many times did we wonder what the Bushies had on the Democrats in Congress? And what has changed? And how is that Fox News and the other serious people have gone so easy on Obama? Call me crazy but I think it’s time to clean the Houses.

13 Responses

  1. Barry’s always been an empty suit who parrots whatever his backers tell him to.

  2. There’s so much hypocrisy surrounding this new scandal involving Rupert Murdoch. However loathsome this latest revelation is, and it is, it’s as if only now are we supposed to recognize just how discusting the methods of his “Empire” always were.

    David Cameron’s former aide, Andy Coulson, left the Cameron administration to work for Murdoch’s org.

    RD you’ve got this reversed: When he left (was forced out of?) the tabloids, Cameron hired him … to give him “a second chance” no less. How noble, snort.

    Here’s a good resumé of Coulson’s carreer. It mentions that he’s also “a close friend of former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan” – fwiw.

    And I absolutely agree that “it’s time to clean the Houses.”

  3. OT but while reading the previous thread I couldn’t help wondering, will we soon be hearing
    “I can not abide the idea that Michelle Obama gets 4 more years in the White House.” ?

    That, of course, was a rhetorical question.

  4. There is a pattern here with Rupert Murdoch and his media empire.

    Indeed. One just has to look at his 40 year career..it started down under and has macerated globally ever since…around here, we call him Australia’s revenge . …they have been hacking people’s phones for many years…they hacked Princess Diana’s phones..one wonders why it’s now a problem for them…that’s the story. Why now? after years of ‘nothing to see here ” okey dokey

  5. Of course Obummer identifies with that class. His grandma, the banker, raised him.

  6. The thought has been gnawing at me for a while. If we have a new constitutional convention — and a Bachmann presidency may make that event possible — then perhaps we should rethink the unrethinkable. We should consider limits on the First Amendment — limits that would apply ONLY to the wealthiest of the wealthy, to insure that money may no longer commandeer the national debate.

    • Or simply a further amendment declaring that corporations are not persons and creating a loophole-free limit on campaign contributions by individuals and groups of individuals.

      • I prefer Okasha’s suggestion. Joe’s suggestion sounds to me like using a guillotine to get rid of your lethal brain tumor.

        Yeah, it works, buuuuttt… 😈

  7. We have to start shouting down the news media the second they even mention “seriousness”. If we’re going down we’ll do so kicking and screaming at the people who did this to us for once, instead of being distracted by the urge to make an easy scapegoat of a powerless group.

  8. Somehow you made a seamless transition from writing about the serious people to writing about what Murdoch does to media he buys and what those media then do to popular opinion.

    Makes perfect sense, though.

    It’s hard to tell how far the right wing noise machine gets its script from the serious people and how far it goes the other way.

    Remember the French expression, “la pensée unique”?

    More relevant than ever.

    Let me know when somebody makes a socialist a Sunday morning regular with the talking heads.

    Maybe Rachel Maddow?

  9. A period of radical right wing dominance is not a good time for a US constitutional convention.

    Holmes wrote that Herbert Spencer’s “Social Statics” had not been written into the constitution via the 14th Amendment.

    Today’s right would love to write laissez-faire capitalism into it much more explicitly than that.

    They would clearly forbid significant regulation, redistribution, and general provision of goods or services through public enterprises like schools, hospitals, or even fire departments.

    They would diminish the scope of democracy by such means as writing some parts of the Christian sexual ethic into the constitution and making the senate the creature of state legislatures, again.

    They would undo the Great Society, the New Deal, and every progressive achievement since the beginning of the 20th Century, perhaps not excepting votes for women and non-whites.

    • The problem with trying to work with or ” compromise ” with the Right is they are never appeased by getting what they say they want because every stated demand is but a stepping stone.

      The more you give them, they more they want. …they cannot be appeased …ever The fighting mad gene is too dominate in their nature …the only way to handle them is to push back , fight, make them momentary retreat to lick their wounds and nurse their resentments ….

      This giving away of everything is such a kabuki set up…with all elite parties on board. We see the pro Left finally buying a clue , just as the deal is set and ( they think ) unstoppable. But in a year’s time they will still tell us we MUST vote for Obama .

      The owners almost have to put Bachmann on top of the ticket to make Obama palpable in contrast, even Romney is far too dangerous. She will be on the ticket…it’s a matter of if it’s the top ( and we are in free fall) or the bottom….and then it’s 2008 part 2 ….if the jobs situation gets worse (and why wouldn’t it?) It will be on top..and the owners will have set up yet another win/win selection for themselves.

  10. Ah.

    Here is Rachel.


    Compared to her, George Will is a radical Bircher crackpot who has needed an intellectual enema all his adult life.

    And yet he has had the floor on Sunday mornings for ages and his twaddle has been in widespread syndication for decades.

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