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“Those who were made can be unmade”

Enforcing the Quartering Act of 1774

In a news cycle, the report that Brian Williams is taking a brief sabbatical is already old. But what does it mean?

The last time we had a major news anchor step down it was definitely a political move. Dan Rather dared to expose George W. Bush’s service records. I don’t know which was worse: that a trusted name in news who covered in person some of the major news of his era was deposed or that we were subjected to the mind numbingly boring subject of kerning. Count me among the people who believe the records were genuine. His political enemies took him out anyway. That was to meant to be an example to the rest of us. Step over the line and we will finish you.

We all know how hyping misinformation can ruin a person’s reputation. This is what Vince Foster complained about before he committed suicide. But what could be behind this latest attack on the news?

Could it be a warm up to making Hillary Clinton’s campaign a living hell? Hmmm. Interesting possibility. But she’s been through this stuff before and she continues to learn from her experiences. That should trouble the opposition greatly. There’s nothing worse than someone who continually gets whaled on who figures it out. It could still be a rough campaign season if she decides to run but the results might not be as predictable as they were 20 or even 8 years ago.

Could it be something that has happened in the wake of the FCC chairman’s decision to treat the internet as a public utility? I have no idea how Williams’ forced leave would tie into that but telecomm/networks are not happy about that decision, even if we don’t know exactly how it would play out yet. Maybe they’re getting their ducks in a row for some serious push back. MSNBC is (was) seen as slavishly devoted to Obama so who knows.

Following up on that, maybe NBC needs a more compliant anchor going into the 2016 campaign season. You know, someone like Keith Olbermann in 2008 who will sell out his principles in order to push one candidate over another.  Someone without so many annoying scruples. Hmmm, who could it be, who could it be?

Or maybe this is a symptom of a much more serious problem. Maybe the military is getting way too powerful and is indicating its willingness to call the shots. Brian Williams becomes its new poster child. Even mild transgressions will be punished severely.

[Slightly off topic: Although I have seen some grants restored in the wake of the disastrous sequester of 2013, I am still running into people who continue to be laid off or quit academia as a result of losing grant money. In the last month, I met three more  academic scientists, a biochemist, a pharmacologist, and a neuroscientist who are out of work. They all had PhDs and were long time employees of a major university here. The neuroscientist told me that the grants for disease related research he had worked on had been replaced with grants from the DOD for research on traumatic brain injury. If you want to study that, which is important, the grant money is great. If you want to study dementia or some other brain disease, ehhhh, not so much. So, he left. The couple said grants had pretty much dried up for them as well and it seemed to be the primary way their salaries were funded, so they were out. Well, if you’re a conservative legislator, maybe you don’t think medical research is something the government should be doing. That’s something the private sector should be doing. Maybe they missed the memo on translational research. Or maybe all that sciencey stuff reminds them too much of climate research. Traumatic brain injury is more concrete. It’s something they can wrap their heads around, and their constituents at home, who sent a $#*!load of young healthy servicemen to get blown up in Iraq, are demanding it. Who knows? I only speculate. But if you are suffering from schizophrenia or heart disease, well, you’re SOL again. Better to get your noggin scrambled by an IED.]

Anyway, getting back to the military, now that the House and Senate are run by Republicans, I expect the military to get even more of the precious tax revenue that we can’t bring ourselves to spend on other stuff like, oh, I don’t know, student loans, crumbling bridges and school lunches. The defense contractors may see themselves as a previously underprivileged group that now has the total attention of legislators. This is maybe the reason why standing armies were considered problematic once upon a time. If you have them sitting around, all geared up with nothing to do, they’re going to get antsy.

Better not cross them.

Again, just idle speculation…

Update: I rarely read MoDo anymore but her column today is about Brian Williams. She says his tendency to exaggerate was well known among other journalists. He used to do it in private. It may have been doing it on TV that brought him down. The Facebook pushback got too hot.

Oh, please. This is silly. You don’t take out an anchor because people don’t like the way he tells his war stories. Did the US military embed journalists when they went to Iraq or didn’t they?

I’m not buying this very facile explanation. There’s a reason why Williams is getting the boot. We just don’t know what it is yet.

Here’s another post musing on why Williams is about to get the sack. Three possible reasons are cited but the bottom line is that if Williams’ war stories rise to the level of dismissal, there are a whole bunch of anchors and journalists who deserve it as well. Why single out this guy?

**********************************************************

One other thing: TV and cable news are baaaad for you. They can make your brain rot. It’s bad because the audio portion combined with imagery can be crafted in such a way as to provoke a strong emotional response. Emotional responses to important events can short circuit rational responses to those events. They can make you want to start a stupid, money sucking land war in Asia. I don’t watch TV and cable news but I can’t stop anyone else from watching. All I can do it point out that you’re vulnerable to button pushing if you do watch it.

I also don’t listen to NPR anymore either. After it hired Juan Williams and others during the Bush era, I just felt it had drifted too far away from its original mission. This was probably not NPR’s fault but when political appointees started messing around with PBS and NPR funding, erosion of standards was bound to happen. I can’t listen to it now. My ears detect too much change. It’s just sad. As Sinclair Lewis once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

I get my news from written sources and my eyes carefully scan the text for trigger words.

Don’t Expect Apologies From the Dark Minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom

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Dear Riverdaughter,

There is an interesting parallel between the situation of anti-Obama Democrats and that of the members of the resistance in post-WWII France. Given these parallels, I think it unlikely that we will receive an apology from the dark minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom, generally-speaking. I think it more likely that they will continue to attempt to diminish us, because our existence reminds them of their failings.

Preventative maintenance requires this rider. I know the situations are not equivalent. I’m noting something they share.

Furthermore, there is no doubt that the vast majority of Obama supporters were not engaged in scorched Earth politics. They are not the object of this analysis.

As France re-made herself after WWII, participants in the Nazi/Vichy structures were embarrassed by the very existence of those who refused to participate under Nazi power. They were even more embarrassed by the existence of those who fought the power. The existence of the Resistance stood in stark relief to those who participated in Nazi-esque collusion.

As establishment people, they overcame their embarrassment in two ways. The first thing they did was to deny and exclude access to the power structure to resistance participants. They also worked to remove resistance participants from the structure, where possible.

The second thing they did was fabricate resistance credentials and attempt to bury their collusion with the Nazis. They created the myth of their integrity. By preventing the possibility of comparison through their exclusionary activities, they safeguarded the myth of their integrity. Their large numbers, tied to the fact of their establishment ensconsement, enabled the myth to become reified.

It is unsurprising that the dark minions among Obama’s enablers, who practised scorched Earth politics within the Democratic party and beyond, continue to assault those who worked against his ascendance. We are living examples of their moral and/or intellectual shortcomings.

They are tied to the power structure of the party. The re-writing phase of their autobiographies is underway. Expect some to engage in rearguard, credential boosting actions, like shearing the hair of the less powerful, more identifiable members of the Kool-Aid Kingdom.

These actions will mean little, however, until the history of the Resistance is co-optively revised. To do so, they will need to make us disappear from the public eye, through means that deny our power or diminish our voice.

I expect no apologies from the dark minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom. I expect they will attack us because it is the only way for the myth of their integrity to take root.

gandalf

Yours,
Steven

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Tea Party Thoughts

I didn’t pay much attention to the buildup to the “Tea Parties” that were held on April 15, and I didn’t follow any of the coverage of these events after they happened. I had gotten the impression that the “tea parties were a right wing phenomenon focused on high taxes. Since I actually would like to see higher taxes for the super-rich and corporations, I didn’t think I would fit in. It turns out the “Tea Parties” were also about other issues, like protesting the bank bailouts that most Americans, including myself, didn’t want. Apparently, the “tea parties” were heavily promoted by Fox News Channel as well as former U.S. Representatives Newt Gingrich and Dick Army.

I also thought it was interesting that so-called “progressive” bloggers like Jane Hamsher and Mike Lux along with professional organizers Joe Trippi and Zephr Teachout organized a protest on April 11 called “A New Way Forward.” Please note that the rallies were heavily promoted by William Greider and The Nation magazine. Greider even appeared on The Bill Moyers show to promote the “movement.” Here is a report on the Washington DC “a new way forward” demonstration, attended by Jane Hamsher. The video has a Republican bias, so tune that out if it bothers you.

Our own Riverdaughter attended the “new way forward” rally in New York City, and reported that it was a little small and disappointing, although she did meet two very nice young people there named Zach and Alana.
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David Shuster Meets His Match

Since I never watch MSNBC anymore, I was fortunate to see these videos posted at No Quarter by Curt of Flopping Aces. These interviews are amazing.

We already know that David Shuster is one of the most misogynistic “reporters” in the media, standing out even among his koolaid-chugging colleagues at the Obama Network. For example, during the primaries he accused Hillary Cllinton of “pimping out” her daughter, simply because Chelsea Clinton, a mature adult, freely chose to make campaign appearances for her mother. In another blatant display of CDS, Shuster brought a “Hillary laughing pen” onto the set during a discussion of primary results and used it to mock Hillary for her “cackle.” Shuster was also one of the most rabid of the TV talking heads in his attacks on Sarah Palin during the general election campaign. There are endless examples of his over-the-top CDS and PDS.

On Friday, Shuster “interviewed” (actually harrangued) John Ziegler a libertarian-conservative radio talk show host turned docmentary filmmaker, whose film Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected will be released in February. Ziegler maintained a good humored tone as he stood up to Shuster’s attempted battering. Apparently Shuster felt he’d been beaten, so he invited Ziegler back a few hours later for another attempt, which was again a failure. Watch and enjoy.

Discuss.

Update: John Ziegler has been “distressed by the general nature of the liberal response” to the preview of his documentary that was posted at you tube.

I should probably hold off (for now) on sharing the over-the-top,hate-filled, profanity-laced, rationality-less e-mail I have received, but you can just go to the comments section of the video and see for yourself!

While I guess I should not have expected much from the followers of a false Messiah virtually installed by an adoring media, even I have been a bit taken aback by the absurdity and intensity of much of the reaction to the video and the Zogby poll that I commissioned.

We Conflucians are not surprised, of course. We also know that the Obots are not really liberals. They are Obamicans.

Monday: Stormy Monday

And, no, we’re not talking about Hurricane Ike, although we are sending good thoughts to our Floridian and Gulf Coast Conflucians today.

What we’re talking about is it the newest USA Today/Gallup poll that puts McCain ahead by 10 points over Barack Obama.  This latest poll was conducted from September 5-7, 2008, sufficient time to gauge the Palin Effect and John McCain’s speech.  Darragh Murphy said that the Republicans would finish Obama off by the end of September.  Who knew that the minions working for Obama would be so efficient in speeding things up?  The DNC must be in full panic mode, hoping and praying that Hillary can pull it out for them.  Bastards.

By the way, I finally got a chance to view McCain’s speech in its entirety on my DVR and I have to say that it took me by surprise.  McCain put his own party on notice.  There were many points in that speech when the applause in my house was louder than the tepid response he got in Minnesota.  I sometimes wonder which torture was more painful and humiliating for him.  The Hanoi Hilton or being broken by the Bushies while they trashed the tattered remnants of his own party?

It remains to be seen whether John McCain can deliver on the reform he promises.  But one thing is for certain: there is no doubt who he identifies with as his role models.  He admires Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower.  These are men of integrity, progressivism and moderation.  John McCain’s voting record in the past eight years has not reflected much of any of those three things.  But he *does* have a respectable record on election reform and objection to the earmark system.  It is regrettable that he broke to vote with the Bushies on so many other horrific bills.  Did he compromise his principles in order to survive and fight another day?

In the meantime, the PUMAs may be flexing their muscles. We are real and there are millions of us.  Millions disaffected enough to bump McCain up, whether or not we intend to vote for him.  We got the word out that the Democrats were NOT unified.  We showed up at the MSNBC kiosk in Denver and “marched and shouted slogans” (generic NPR speak for any sufficiently significant band of protestors).  I didn’t mind shouting “Rise, Hillary! Rise!” but felt uncomfortable about calling Matthews a sexist pig.  He did come out at one point and stood on the corner of the stage, a little like a contrite sinner in the stocks, as the goody townspeople hurled nasty epithets at him.  I suppose we should feel happy that Olbermann and Matthews have now been sidelined.

But *why* are they being sidelined?  What possible harm could they do now?  Exactly.  Their job is done.  They took out Hillary Clinton.  Now’s the time to bring in the less overtly vitriolic team to shore up NBC’s reputation and return to the status quo of treating Republicans with kid gloves while covering the Democrats less gently.  The whole mechanism is reconstructed as it is every four years.  The electoral map hasn’t changed significantly, except that now the Democrats are in danger of losing Pennsylvania.  Plus ça change…

We did what we could.  We got the word out as best we could.  We fought off attack after attack.  We tried to warn our own side not to fall into the trap.  But fall it did.

Lord, have mercy on me.

Wednesday Morning Hangover

Aww, Jeez, did I do something stupid last night? No? Oh, yeah, now I remember, MSNBC was the one with the lampshade on its head singing “Louis, Louis” karaoke. Well, ladies and gents, it looks like despite my best efforts, I have made progress at work and some of my colleagues like what they see and want me to do it again (the bastards). So, I am going to be posting lightly today while I attend to their insatiable need for results. In the meantime, please enjoy the following fine products from around the web:

  • Digby finally has had enough of the traditional media’s stranglehold on our presidential elections system in general and Tim Russert in particular. She asks what can be done about it. Well, one thing comes to mind: nominate Hillary by voting for her in Ohio and Texas. Nothing will knock their power down more efficiently than doing exactly the opposite of what they want. But this is not the only thing we should do. Oh, no, my droogs. Tim Russert must go. He and Broder and their other friends in Peyton Place on the Potomac have held sway for much too long. I think the answer is in money because media outlets are businesses. Hit them where they hurt, and BADLY. Anyway, we will have to put our heads together to figure this out. Put your suggestions in the comments.
  • ghost2 sends this link and comments:

    Shame on the media. In terms of grace, proposed programs, energy and enthusiasm, knowledge and abilities, and executive demeanor, Hillary Clinton can hold her own among any of the candidates in both parties — and she does so in high heels.

    who said that?

    A republican. Read the whole article. It’s really a must read. And when you have done so, PLEASE forward the link.

    Media Has Shameful Double Standard on Coverage of Hillary Clinton

  • OMFG. When even conservative women at The Corner of National Review Online take notice (see here and here), it must have been really baaaad. M(axim on)S(teroids)N(0t)B(illary)C(linton) might just as well donated a 90 min, multimillion dollar ad to Clinton last night.
  • My favorite part of last night’s debate comes about 2/3 thru when they start discussing the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan (see here about 1/2 way down page to pick up question.) I think there is a good reason why this question makes Obama fans uneasy and it has nothing to do with Farrakhan. It was because, oddly enough, Hillary was being helpful to him, almost like a mentor, explaining why he must reject this man’s endorsement in the strongest possible terms. Perception is reality when it comes to anti-semitism and by passively accepting Farrakan’s support, Obama is giving him a subtle *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* that comes off looking insincere. And I think Obama had a flash, of either insight or that she was trapping him on national TV, and he quickly corrected himself. To me it demonstrated 2 things: he is very green and she is a much savvier politician than we gave her credit for. That was a moment that she could have easily passed on, leaving him to hang out there, some people getting it and others not. But she seized on it to point out the problem with his position and then making him acknowledge that she was better at dealing with it. That was the thing that stuck in Obamaphiles craw, I’m guessing. She taught him a couple of valuable political lessons right there before millions of people. Did everyone really have to see that? How embarrassing. So, sportsfans, if there is going to be a Clinton/Obama ticket, that moment right there showed me why she should be at the top. Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks so. There’s another point that should be made, however, and that is that it is very difficult to pin Obama down on taking any political risks. It’s just not his style to be tied down on anything. That limits him. It’s the self-actualization, transcendence thing he keeps pushing. He’s post this and not the other thing. It lets him take advantage of a lot of projected dreams. And Hillary just told him he had to finally take a stand on something. It’s a small point that is actually much bigger. It pops his ethereal bubble.
  • It looks like the Rec List Hostage Crisis at DailyKos is having a temporary respite.  Only one rec diary mentions Obama specifically in the title.   There isn’t one overtly fawning Obama diary there.  It’s so unlike DailyKos these days.   Hmm, curiouser and curiouser.

It looks like the bias is clear and unmistakable. Hmmm, maybe she even *won* all of the previous debates. How much you wanna bet there are millions of women who weren’t previously Hill fans who are now ordering their own “Bitch is the new Black” T–shirts?

What else you got?

Later: Liveblogging the debate- body language observations

Last week when we did this, I found it very entertaining.  As I mentioned before, I don’t usually follow the debate in real time but you can if you like.  What I’m really interested in is the body language, so I sometimes stop my DVR and examine just the faces, posture, behavior and position with respect to one another.  Last week, Obama was disconnected from Clinton when she talked.  Clinton, on the other hand, did very well but she should check the height of the camera on her face.  It frequently looks like her head is tilted too far back, giving her an air of superiority.  Well, she is, but that’s not the message she wants to convey if she wants people to vote for her.

So, stop by later and we’ll do the live blog.  See ya!

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