The Watering Hole, Monday, January 23rd, 2017: Freedom of the Press

We’ve all ripped both network and cable news organizations for their role in aiding and abetting this abomination of a Presidential election. But since the Orange Shitgibbon has won, and he and his spokesgoblins are taking more active steps to label any accurate and unflattering reporting of their words and activities as “fake news” by the “dishonest press”, this should be considered a very serious attack on the First Amendment right of Freedom of the Press. After having previously, in a fit of pique, revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials during the campaign, now the new Trump administration has shut down access to and from CNN.

According to a MediaMatters article:

President Donald Trump and his team continued their unprecedented attempts to delegitimize and blacklist CNN by refusing to have a representative appear on CNN’s Sunday political talk show, State of the Union, while booking appearances on the other major political talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co.
At the top of the January 22 edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper said that his show “asked the Trump White House for a member of the new administration to join us this morning, but they declined.”

 

During Trump’s first press conference as president-elect on January 11, Trump refused to take a question from CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, calling his network “fake news” and “terrible.” Following the event, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer admitted to threatening to remove Acosta from the press conference and later demanded an apology. Trump ally and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich responded to the incident by asserting that Trump should use the altercation to “shrink and isolate” CNN and eventually “close down the elite press.” Acosta and his colleagues from across the media condemned Trump’s treatment of CNN.

 

The Trump team’s refusal to appear on CNN came one day after it declined to air the live feed of Spicer’s first press conference after the inauguration, where Spicer blatantly lied about the size of inauguration crowds. According to Variety’s Brian Steinberg, “CNN’s refusal to take the live feed suggests executives there are reluctant to put false statements on air, and, what’s more, do not think the new White House press representative is entirely credible.” From the January 21 report:

 

“CNN’s decision to not air the press conference live illustrates a recognition that the role of the press must be different under Trump. When the White House holds press briefings to promote demonstrably false information and refuses to take questions, then press ‘access’ becomes meaningless at best and complicit at worst,” said Danna Young, an associate professor at the University of Delaware who studies politics and the media. “Democracy works best when journalists have access to the executive branch, of course. But that holds true if and only if that access leads to verifiable, accurate information. The decision on behalf of CNN to wait and verify before airing it live suggests that the media are adapting quickly to this new era.”

 

To be certain, news outlets routinely make decisions about whether to air press events live, usually based on projections about news value. But this press conference, held just a day after the President’s inauguration, would have been a hot prospect for a cable-news outlet, and could have sparked hours of debate and follow-up on CNN’s schedule. In an unusual and aggressive maneuver, CNN aired its regular weekday lineup this Saturday, underscoring heavy interest in breaking news of a series of massive protests by women across the nation in response to Trump’s presidency as well as the new President’s first few days in office.

While I am still outraged by the fact that CNN had hired Corey Lewandowski fresh from the Trump team campaign, and paid the lying POS good money to NOT say anything bad about Trump, maybe, just maybe, CNN can redeem itself by employing real investigative journalism. There’s a lot to dig into in all aspects of Trump’s life/taxes/business practices/Russian connections/conflicts of interest, and a 24-hour news network is what’s needed to get to the bottom of Trump’s “alternate facts” swamp.

What do you say, CNN? Do the right thing, or cave to a tyrant?

This is our Open Thread–comments welcome.

The Weekend Watering Hole, December 3rd-4th, 2016

As George W. Bush so eloquently stated all those years ago, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

There are countless numbers of people who should have taken to heart even Dubya’s garbled version (perhaps he had been listening to The Who on his way to that day’s event) of the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”, during this past Presidential campaign and election. The vast majority of those people belong in that huge conglomeration known as “The Media”. Subgroups include, but are not limited to: cable and other news channels, their corporate owners and news division heads, “journalists”, “reporters”, newspundits aka talking heads, political strategists, and official spokeswhores for political candidates. I’m not even going to bother going into the internet “media”, that would be like peeling away every layer of the world’s largest onion (and would bring tears to your eyes, too.) Better to focus on the main offenders.

On Thursday, a “postmortem session” was held at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, attended by representatives of several of the above subgroups. Apparently this is a traditional event that’s held following Presidential elections. As described in general in this article in The Washington Post, this year’s event quickly devolved into a “shouting match.”

A lot of lies were told, and false narratives put forward; too many for me to address all at once, so I’ll limit myself for now and add further commentary as the weekend progresses and time allows.

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri condemned [Steve] Bannon, who previously ran Breitbart, a news site popular with the alt-right, a small movement known for espousing racist views.

“If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost,” she said. “I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, fumed: “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?”

“You did, Kellyanne. You did,” interjected Palmieri…”

Yes, you did, Kellyanne. Trump’s rants freed the voices and actions of a legion of bigots, including and especially white supremacists. But you and other Trump campaign spokeszombies denied, deflected and disowned reports of rising anti-Muslim anti-immigrant, anti-minorities threats and violence, along with Nazi-related graffiti, etc., often in Trump’s name; you did everything but denounce it in the strongest of terms. Forfuckssake, your candidate actually gained ground when he refused to tone down his violence-condoning rhetoric.

“Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white, working-class voters?” Conway asked. “How about, it’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people? How about, they have nothing in common with her? How about, she doesn’t have an economic message?”

Well, Kellyanne, Secretary Clinton DID have a “decent message for white, working-class voters” – the problem was that Trump’s unsubtle dog-whistle message stripped away the veneer of decency from certain segments of “white, working-class voters.” Maybe if Clinton had couched her economic message and policies in lurid hyperbole instead of measured, factual terms, the “media” would have given her more coverage, and more “white, working-class voters” might have paid attention. Or not. I think that once Trump opened his campaign with his lying anti-Mexican slurs, the inner xenophobe in too many Americans sat up and proclaimed “now, that guy speaks MY language.” (Yes, when your language is ‘limited vocabulary/poor grammar’ Americanese.) Trump’s angry shouting drowned out any more mundane, pragmatic offerings from Hillary Clinton. And “the media” simply ran with the loudest “monster-shouter” (H/T Stephen King’s “The Stand.”)

Trump officials said Clinton’s problems went beyond tactics to her weaknesses as a candidate and the deficits of a message that consisted largely of trying to make Trump unacceptable.

[Clinton campaign manager Robby] Mook posited that the media did not scrutinize Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns as intensively as the issue of Clinton’s private email server.

Conway retorted: “Oh, my God, that question was vomited to me every day on TV.”

First the only weaknesses candidate Clinton had were that she’s center-right (which means dangerously left to the impaired judgment of the right-wing), her name is Hillary Clinton, and she’s a woman. She was not “the most crooked politician ever to run for President”, or anything even close to it. She did not murder anyone, despite all of the “body count” conspiracies. And, despite millions of dollars and thousands of hours of fruitless investigations, she did not cause the deaths in Benghazi. Hillary stayed on message the majority of the time, but how could she NOT point out all of the myriad reasons why Trump made HIMSELF unacceptable? Especially since “the media” wasn’t doing a damn thing to inform voters of those reasons?

Second, yes, Kellyanne, you were asked about Trump’s tax returns every day, because neither you nor Trump ever answered the fucking question. As with so many other important questions, you were the one who was projectile-vomiting nonsensical talking points, redirecting the interview right back to Hillary and her emails, or Benghazi, or whatever the current Clinton faux-scandal was on your agenda.

“Conway accused Clinton’s team of being sore losers. “Guys, I can tell you are angry, but wow,” she said. “Hashtag he’s your president. How’s that? Will you ever accept the election results? Will you tell your protesters that he’s their president, too?”

Well, ‘hashtag’ FUCK YOU, Kellyanne, would Trump have accepted the election results if he had lost? You know the answer to that one, you slimy harpy twat. And fuck every goddamned Republican who dares to demand that we kowtow to Donald Trump and his minions, after every word and deed from the right wing for the last eight years were meant solely to stop duly-elected President Obama from actually acting as the American President. Donald Trump is incapable of giving any dignity or credence to the Office of the President of the United States; IMO, he doesn’t even aspire to do so. “Sad.”

Kellyanne, you’re a paid professional liar, and you sold your shriveled, empty soul to an amoral selfish greedy disgusting excuse for a human being. If there really is a Hell, I’m sure that you’ll eventually end up being the spokeswhore for Satan.

There was so much more that I hope to address eventually. Plus, there’s a more detailed account of the discussions at the Harvard event here.

“The media” seemed to feel that its job was to sit back and let Trump be his deplorable self, almost idly marveling in wonder as to how Trump got away with telling the out-and-out lies that he did. It took until the last month or so before the election for “the media” to, to a small degree, come out of its collective catatonic state and finally challenge some of the lies, but there were too many and it was too late. “The media” owns a yuge chunk of the blame for this election’s horrific outcome. But that’s a topic that also needs more time than I have at this moment. But an important part of that discussion involves both Jeff Zucker and CNN’s endless and usually uncritical coverage of all things Trump, along with the insidious, duplicitious role of Trump campaign advisor/CNN political “pundit” Corey Lewandowski and his current role in the Trump transition.

This is our Weekend Open Thread – discuss whatever you’d like.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 25th, 2015: Just Say No to FRC

Yesterday I received an email from Faithful America, an organization of what I would consider to be ‘true’ Christians, who speak out against social injustices perpetrated and perpetuated in the name of Christianity. The email said that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council – or NAMBLA, er, FRC – is supposed to be a guest on Face The Nation tomorrow. The email said, in part:

“With the Supreme Court about to issue a historic decision, CBS News is turning to an anti-gay hate group leader to speak for Christians.
This Sunday, Face the Nation is scheduled to feature Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Perkins has repeatedly accused gay men of molesting children, causing the Southern Poverty Law Center to formally name FRC to its list of hate groups.

Perkins was once a regular on CNN and MSNBC, but those networks have increasingly abandoned him as mainstream Christians have challenged his decades-long record of spreading ugly misinformation about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people…Tell CBS News: Cancel Tony Perkins. He doesn’t speak for Christians.”

If Bob Schieffer would take a few minutes to just check out the FRC’s website, I’m sure that he would understand that this is a group that should NOT have a voice in the same-sex-marriage debate.

First, an excerpt from FRC’s “Washington Update” from Thursday, under the heading “What About Bobby?”:

“If liberals want to pick a fight over religious liberty, they’ll have their hands full with my home state: Louisiana. Unlike other governors who have been quick to raise a white flag, Bobby Jindal is leading the charge for his state’s Marriage and Conscience Act, warning that he won’t back down. “In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty. As the fight… moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.”

“Although corporations are already turning up the heat on Jindal, the Governor says, “They are free to voice their opinions, but they will not deter me.” Realizing that this is a watershed moment for religious liberty, Jindal writes, “Liberals have decided that if they can’t win at the ballot box, they will win in the boardroom. It’s a deliberate strategy. And it’s time for corporate America to make a decision. Those who believe in freedom must stick together: If it’s not freedom for all, it’s not freedom at all.” With the Left’s attack dogs on the loose in Louisiana and elsewhere, religious liberty is almost certainly going to be a major issue in 2016 — in more ways than one.

While conservatives scratch and claw for their right to exercise the same tolerance the Left enjoys, leaders like Speaker Boehner have their eyes on the global crisis. Religious liberty is at the center of ISIS’s storm, as dozens of innocents are slaughtered for the faith our country is so reluctant to protect. In a new blog post, the Speaker’s office catalogues the latest horrors, and asks: Is the Obama administration doing “all it can” to protect Christians all over the world?”

There’s just so many things wrong with that last paragraph alone, my irony-meter went past 11, then shattered.

1) “Conservatives scratch and claw for their right to exercise the same tolerance the Left enjoys”? What they are scratching and clawing for is their right to exercise INTOLERANCE.

2) “Religious liberty is at the center of ISIS’s storm…” ISIS’s brutal acts have nothing to do with “religious liberty”, and if these conservatives had an honest bone in their collective bodies, they’d admit it.

3) “Is the Obama administration doing “all it can” to protect Christians all over the world?” Why on earth should the Obama administration, or any other president’s administration, have to “protect Christians all over the world”? The U.S. government cannot feasibly protect U.S.citizens “all over the world”, how could it be expected – no, demanded – to protect all “Christians”? More importantly, how would using the U.S. government to favor the lives of one religious group possibly be Constitutional? Not to mention that it would certainly require “big government”!

Under “HOMOSEXUALITY”:

“Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects. While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools.”

What the FRC believes doesn’t mean squat when it comes down to science and biology. Just because there is no evidence that will convince the FRC “that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn” doesn’t mean that there isn’t evidence in medical science. And just how does FRC separate the “homosexual identity” from the person? It would appear that, since they do not look upon homosexuals as individual human beings, they would not accept homosexual people, U.S. citizens, “as equivalent to heterosexual[people] in law, in the media, and in schools.” So what class of citizen would these braying amoral charlatans demote homosexual Americans to?

“Sympathy must be extended to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, and every effort should be made to assist such persons to overcome those attractions, as many already have.”

I haven’t noticed anyone from FRC, or any other anti-gay faux-religious group, extending “sympathy” to gays – maybe they just extend sympathy to gay people who don’t want to face the fact that they’re gay? And hasn’t FRC heard that there’s no scientific or medical evidence that “praying away Teh Gay”, or any other “treatment” purporting to turn gay people “straight”, is actually effective. They should just ask Marcus Bachmann about that.

And take a look at the titles of some of their “Policy Publications”:

“Leviticus, Jesus, and Homosexuality – Some Thoughts on Honest Interpretation” They wouldn’t know “honest interpretation” of any part of the bible even if Jesus appeared and called a convention of alleged “Christians” to set them straight. So-to-speak.

“The Other Side of Tolerance – How Homosexual Activism Threatens Liberty” Goddammit, will someone, any one of these people who glibly (and probably incorrectly) spout words like “freedom” and “liberty” please tell the rest of us exactly how they define those words? I hear them used with regularity by people who seem to want to limit others’ freedoms, so I’m pretty sure that such people don’t consult the OED, they just make up their own definitions.

Okay, enough ranting from me. For now, anyway.

This is our daily Open Thread – go ahead, have at it.

Wednesday: April 22, 2015 – What’s with that?

Ah, the days of listening to FM radio as I cruised the highways and byways. Will that be ending soon? Will Norway set a trend?  By 2017, Norway will see the end to FM radio.  By then, music and news will all be digital.

“Radio digitisation will open the door to a far greater range of radio channels, benefiting listeners across the country. Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio-content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality. Digitisation will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition and offer new opportunities for innovation and development,” says Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey
READ MORE HERE.

And who would have thought that Norwegians were so godless?

Europe is known for its pluralistic views, especially in countries like France where the Roman Catholic Church ran into the Enlightenment at the end of the 18th century. The Church of Norway was the official state church until 2012 when the constitution of the country was amended. The percentage of Norwegians who attend church on a weekly basis is below 2 percent, according Statistics Norway.

That about does it for me.

This is our Open Thread. Now it is your turn to Speak Up!  It’s silly of me to say such a thing because no one that comments here has difficulty speaking up.

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 26th, 2013: “…Chad Everett?”

Way back when Comedy Central was just starting out as The Comedy Channel, The Higgins Boys and Gruber was one of the fledgling comedy shows (along with Short Attention Span Theater, hosted by a very young Jon Stewart, and Mystery Science Theater 3000* aka MST3K, with the inimitable Joel Hodgson.)   [*FYI, good news for MST3K fans at this link.]

One of the sketches on The Higgins Boys and Gruber that Wayne and I always remembered – well, besides the “Sex Survey” sketch – was their game-show spoof “$99,000 Pyramid.” They’re down to the last category in the Pyramid, and the clock is ticking down while one contestant is giving the other clues like “stars”, “suns”, “comets”, etc. The clock runs out while the contestant sputters without an answer. The host says to the disappointed contestant, “Now wait, before you turn around…what if I said…Chad Everett?” The contestant, who obviously had a light bulb go on inside his head, nods and responds with the correct answer, “Things in the Universe?

[…smooth segue…]

So here’s a fabulous photo of another one of those “Things in the Universe”, the “Cinderella’s Slipper Galaxy”, part of a ‘space photo of the day‘ series [scroll down past the picture on the link for hundreds more amazing photos, as well as commentary about the photo] from wired.com. Slate’s Phil Plait wrote about it back on April 2nd, and apparently one of Plait’s Twitter followers suggested the “Cinderella’ Slipper” name.

Cinderella's Slipper Galaxy--Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA, M. Hayes

Cinderella’s Slipper Galaxy–Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA, M. Hayes

I like what Phil Plait says at the end of his article:

“I find it fascinating that the Universe is so accommodating to our inquisitive nature. It leaves clues everywhere about itself, and all you need to learn about it is a bit of math and physics, technology, and above all curiosity. With those features in combination, the entire cosmos can be revealed.”

This is our daily open thread — talk away now, don’t be shy!

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, 1/11/12: And the Winner is…..

When I think of the commentary on the major networks as they announce the results of the primaries…trying to make the inane exciting…stretching on and on and on and on and… well, you know…. filling the time as they wait for those last few precincts to report (are there some precincts that delay reporting just to mess with the networks?) I am reminded of that most famous of all horseraces:

And the Winner is….!

Open Thread: On your marks; get set; POST!

The Watering Hole: March 18 – Science Fiction = Science Fact

Many should remember the fiction of Jules Verne. Much of what he wrote about is fact today, to cite but two – submarines and space flight. His methods seem today a bit primitive but cell phones in the 50’s weighed about as much as a toaster does today.

Now lets space forward to 1966 when Star Trek debuted. The Communicator represented the ultimate in an information device within the capacity of human imagination at that time.

Now we have both the iPhone and the Droid that each put that device to shame. Either can allow any individual to communicate with most anyone else in the World and to access the entire wealth of human knowledge.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.
Continue reading

Stupid in Short Supply

Wholesalers across the nation are reporting shortages in Stupid. With the demand for Stupid running at an all-time high, retailers can’t keep enough Stupid on hand.

“It’s flying off the shelves” said a spokesperson for retailing giant WalMart. “Especially in rural areas. People  just can’t seem to get enough Stupid.”

Rumor has it that media mogul Rupert Murdoch invested heavily in Stupid through the entire Bush Administration, severely draining the nation’s stockpiles. Then, just as supplies of Stupid were nearing historic lows McCain nominated Sarah Palin.

“That nearly did us in.” commented the spokesperson. “Our suppliers couldn’t keep up with demand. We were shipping in Stupid from Alaska faster than it could be produced.”

Fortunately, Arizona has come to the plate and increased its manufacuring of Stupid. But the price of Stupid remains high.

“So high” said the WalMart press contact, “that we’re seeing an increasing demand for Ignorance. It used to be Ignorance was priced out of the market for most families on a budget, but with the price of Stupid going through the roof, stocking up on Ignorance is a no-brainer.”

Market analysts are pinning the cause on Fox News, which goes through an incredible amount of Stupid each 24-hour news cycle. But other mainstream media outlets are reportedly using more than their share of Stupid as well.

With the Gulf Oil Crisis beginning its third month, retailers in the deep south are reporting they have totally run out of Stupid.

“We’re down to just plain Dumb, now.” said one unnamed merchant who’s store overlooks a tar-stained beach on the Gulf Coast.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Keith Olbermann to deliver Special Comment on health care reform

Huffington Post

Keith Olbermann will deliver an hour-long “Special Comment” on health care Wednesday night, MSNBC announced Tuesday.

Wednesday’s “Countdown” will be devoted entirely to “Health Care Reform: The Fight Against Death.” According to a network release, it will focus on “the need for and meaning of health care reform in the United States” and Olbermann will “propose group action by patients, and how patients can reclaim the debate over health care reform.”

Keith has previously given two Special Comments on the health care reform issue:  One about members of Congress being owned by the health care lobby; and the other was aimed at Quitter Palin’s fear-mongering about the so-called “death panels.”

Weiner confronts McCaughey support for plan to delay Medicare for seniors

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Dylan Ratigan exposes Betsy McCaughey for the fear-mongerer and liar that she is. Well done Anthony Weiner, for not allowing this woman to dominate this particular conversation, and calling her out on her lies. McCaughey refuses (or simply cannot) answer Ratigan’s questions, and is reduced to whining about his skills as a moderator. Waahhhh!!

Pay no attention; no wizards here

Neocons and wingnuts hate David Brooks, columnist at the New York Times. “He’s not a real conservative!” is the most common response when Brooks is mentioned, because Brooks is part of a dying breed of conservatives who refrain from knee-jerk responses, and who do not view education and intelligence with disdain. Today’s column is exactly the sort of analysis that will send FoxNews and the wingers into a frenzy–so you know it has to be good.

Recently, we’ve seen a number of conservatives criticizing Glenn Beck as a nutcase, but Brooks goes one step further: he critiques the “giants” of Right Wing media not for being out of touch, not for being loons, but for being seriously overrated, by the Right and the Left.

After recalling the period leading up to the 2008 primaries and elections, he writes:

So what is the theme of our history lesson? It is a story of remarkable volume and utter weakness. It is the story of media mavens who claim to represent a hidden majority but who in fact represent a mere niche — even in the Republican Party. It is a story as old as “The Wizard of Oz,” of grand illusions and small men behind the curtain.

Continue reading

Rachel Maddow lets Tom Ridge destroy himself

Rachel Maddow interviewed Tom Ridge on her show yesterday, and frankly, I was shocked at his very weak attempt to distance himself from his own book.

I wasn’t impressed by Ridge resigning after the 2004 “election,” and then waiting until Bush was no longer in office to release his “tell all” book, and make loads of money.    Lack of integrity much, Mr Ridge?

But then Ridge decided to go on Rachel’s show and tell lies.  Lies so egregious that he destroyed any remaining integrity he posessed.  Lies that are written all over his face as he speaks.  Watch…

Part 1

Part 2

As you can see, Rachel is always polite and respectful, even while she calls BS on the things Ridge is saying.

Mr Ridge finally fell back on the tired old Republican talking point of the US having gone into Iraq to bring them the great gift of “democracy.”  He literally seemed to shrink in his chair as Rachel delivered the coupe de grace:

If you can go back in time and sell the American people on the idea that 4000 Americans ought to lose their lives, and we ought to lose those trillions of dollars, for democracy in Iraq, then you have a wilder imagination than I do.

We were sold that war because of 9/11.  We were sold that war because of a threat of weapons of mass destruction from a guy who didn’t have them, and our government should have known it.  And finally, a lot of people think that our government did know it, and that it was a cynical decision.

Mr Ridge’s ears must still be ringing…

Poor Glenn Beck

Glenn is not having a great summer is he? Advertisers are abandoning his show because of his  comments about President Obama being a racist and many other absurdities.  But now Jon Stewart shows him directly contradicting himself.  Oops.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Cowardice of Conservatives

News Hounds has uncovered a gem. If you want to know what today’s Conservatives are like, just listen to the people who claim to speak for them. Now, I have a hard time understanding how Conservatives think (which inspired me to write “Conservative” below), and I just can’t reconcile the nonsense I hear out of people like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, and the philosophy of Conservatism I heard preached by conservative giants like Barry Goldwater. One thing Goldwater always said Conservatism was about was Continue reading

And that’s not the way it is

CommonDreams, by Frank Rich

Who exactly was the competition in the race to be the most trusted man in America? Lyndon Johnson? Richard Nixon?

Not to take anything away from Walter Cronkite, but he beat out Henry Kissinger by only four percentage points when a 1974 Roper poll asked Americans whom they most respected. The

successive blows of Vietnam and Watergate during the Cronkite ’60s and ’70s shattered the nation’s faith in most of its institutions, public and private, and toppled many of the men who led them. Such was the dearth of trustworthy figures who survived that an unindicted official in a disgraced White House could make the cut.

In death, “the most trusted man in America” has been embalmed in that most comforting of American sweeteners – nostalgia – to the point where his finest, and most discomforting, achievements are being sanitized or forgotten. We’ve heard much sentimental rumination on the bygone heyday of the “mainstream media,” on the cultural fractionalization inflicted by the Internet, and on the lack of any man who could replicate the undisputed moral authority of Uncle Walter. (Women still need not apply, apparently.) But the reason to celebrate Cronkite has little to do with any of this and least of all to do with his avuncular television persona.

What matters about Cronkite is that he knew when to stop being reassuring Uncle Walter and to challenge those who betrayed his audience’s trust. He had the guts to confront not only those in power but his own bosses. Given the American press’s catastrophe of our own day – its failure to unmask and often even to question the White House propaganda campaign that plunged us into Iraq – these attributes are as timely as ever.

That’s why the past week’s debate about whether there could ever again be a father-figure anchor with Cronkite’s everyman looks and sonorous delivery is an escapist parlor game. What matters is content, not style. The real question is this: How many of those with similarly exalted perches in the news media today – and those perches, however diminished, still do exist in the multichannel digital age – will speak truth to power when the country is on the line? This journalistic responsibility cannot be outsourced to Comedy Central and Jon Stewart.

Moving as it may be to repeatedly watch Cronkite’s famous on-camera reactions to J.F.K.’s death and the astronauts’ moon landing, those replays aren’t the story. It’s a given that an anchor might mist up during a national tragedy and cheer a national triumph. The real test is how a journalist responds when people in high places are doing low deeds out of camera view and getting away with it. Vietnam and Watergate, not Kennedy and Neil Armstrong, are what made Cronkite Cronkite.

Read the rest of this awesome article here.

Walter Cronkite and the lead-up to the Iraq War

ThinkProgress

Walter Cronkite had a few things to say about the United States getting involved in a war in Iraq, and the consequences that might follow…

At a Drew University forum, Cronkite said he feared the war would not go smoothly, ripped the “arrogance” of Bush and his administration and wondered whether the new U.S. doctrine of “pre-emptive war” might lead to unintended, dire consequences.

“Every little country in the world that has a border conflict with another little country … they now have a great example from the United States,” Cronkite, 86, said in response to a question from Drew’s president, former Gov. Thomas Kean. […]

While many are confident the United States would easily oust Saddam Hussein, Cronkite said he isn’t so sure. “The military is always more confident than circumstances show they should be,” he said.

Cronkite speculated that the refusal of many traditional allies, such as France, to join the war effort signaled something deeper, and more ominous, than a mere foreign policy disagreement.

“The arrogance of our spokespeople, even the president himself, has been exceptional, and it seems to me they have taken great umbrage at that,” Cronkite said. “We have told them what they must do. It is a pretty dark doctrine.”

Cronkite chided Congress for not looking closely enough at the war and attempting to ascertain a viable estimate of its eventual cost, particularly in light of Bush’s commitment to tax cuts.

“We are going to be in such a fix when this war is over, or before this war is over … our grandchildren’s grandchildren are going to be paying for this war,” Cronkite said.

“I look at our future as, I’m sorry, being very, very dark. Let’s see our cards as we rise to meet the difficulties that lie ahead,” he added, in a play on Bush’s dismissive remarks about France.

But Cronkite, who spent many days and nights on battlefields and in campgrounds with U.S. forces, also spoke of supporting the troops.

“The time has come to put all of our, perhaps distaste, aside, and give our full support to the troops involved. That is the duty we owe our soldiers who had no role in deciding this course of action,” Cronkite said.

We are still in Iraq, and we are in that fix — which will only get worse and worse…

The sad thing is that had Mr Cronkite still been the anchor of CBS News, and he’d said this on the air, he would have been viciously smeared by the frothing at the mouth war-mongerers, and fired without a second thought.

Adulterous Governor Sanford a Democrat?

According to Fox he is (from Media Matters).  Big surprise, eh?

Of course, Governor Sanford was playing hide the plantain with a South American “Dear, Dear Friend.”  Noticeably absent from this breaking news conference was the governor’s wife.

Whoops.

Read more about this lying, hypocritical, ultra-conservative Republican here and here (if you can stand the stink).

UPDATE: Governor Sanford’s mistress may or may not be South American. My bad.

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Limbaugh Gets Lambasted By Frum

There seems to be a growing consensus, amongst intellectual conservatives, that listening to an “overweight blabbermouth” is a “bad thing if Limbaugh is spokesman of the conservative movement.”   This sentiment was expressed, by their growing concern, from several conservative panelists who gathered at AEI to discuss the future of the Republican Party.  Their focus was the anti-intellectualism of today’s conservative movement.  A retired foreign service officer was asking “do we have to take our marching orders” from Limbaugh?

Case in point, Limbaugh on his May 14th radio broadcast said that David Frum and others like him want to “give Obama credit when he does the right thing,” he went on to further state, “That’s the pseudo-intellectual conservative view.  The truth is he’s incompetent.” What David Frum is taking issue with is this part of his commentary:

He is every bit the radical leftist he’s always been. This isn’t changing his mind about anything. What is happening, if anything, is that the import of his job, you know, he’s got a very fine line to walk. I was just talking about this. His base loves anything that inflames anti-American opinion. During the campaign he inflamed anti-American opinion. As a senator he voted to inflame anti-American opinion. In his early days as president he ran around the world apologizing, inflaming and encouraging anti-American opinion.

But now, I’m telling you, somebody got to him, because, look, he followed his instincts. His instincts were to release the pictures. His instincts were to let terrorists go in the United States on the street. Somebody somewhere said, “Wait a minute, for your own self-preservation, you can’t release these pictures. You’re in the Senate, you’re on the presidential campaign talking about how all this torture has ruined our image. Well, you’re America now, pal. If you release the pictures, it’s going to hurt you politically.” Don’t mistake a political calculation — Karl Rove said the other night that this bunch spends two hours a night in the White House going over the day’s polling results, to figure out what to do and where to be and what language to put on the teleprompter for The Messiah to repeat, two hours a night. So what has happened here, somebody said it’s going to harm you. Remember, everything’s about him. These pictures are gonna harm you. You want to harm America, you’re taking care of that domestically. If you want to harm America, just keep doing your domestic policy and save your butt with these pictures. And don’t release these prisoners. The Germans wouldn’t take ’em, the French, Spain. No, to answer your question, he’s not learning the truth. He’s having to set himself aside in one area, and it’s gotta be painful. I’m sure Michelle is giving him grief up there in the residence like you can’t believe.

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Radio Host Michael Savage: “Rush Limbaugh is a Fraud”

SAVAGE: And yet here in America, I’ve had some people come to my aid. They see the bigger picture. They’re not like [Bill] O’Reilly; they’re not like Limbaugh, who’s the biggest disappointment of all. Limbaugh has turned out to be the biggest phony of all of them, all of them. Amongst all of them, he is the biggest fraud. Rush Limbaugh is a fraud. When he was accused of the drug usage, I supported him. But that man is a one-way street. It’s all about him. He’s in it for nobody but himself.

Now the Conservative Radio Hosts are starting to implode.   I don’t know who to root for.   Geez, don’t like either one them.

I have to admit though, Savage is right about Limbaugh…