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Posts Tagged ‘washington post

Whitewashing Bernanke’s Involvement in the Crisis

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Dean Baker gets an excellent catch in what, upon first glance, I thought to be rather solid Washington Post article. Quality from the Post is such a rare beast that I think you’ll forgive me for the mistake. It’s like a guy who gets excited over a bigfoot sighting, but it just turns out to be some hairy guy.

As you probably know, President Obama has hundreds of positions left unfilled within his administration. This is partly due to his not getting around to them, but in large part also due to “Republican” obstructionism, wherein certain senators have placed holds on several key appointments, tossing them into the bureaucratic abyss.

The Post article purports to be about three major posts that Obama has yet to fill in the Federal Reserve and the candidates who may fill them. Now, I’m all for calling attention to Obama’s unfilled administrative positions. They’re a major bottleneck in the bureaucracy and are causing his administration to move sluggishly on matters that urgently need attention – ironically, Federal Reserve issues. It looks as though he’s finally going to bite the bullet and make these appointments during Congress’ recess, which he should have done all along.

So far, so good – it’s all newsworthy. But was it really necessary for The Post to inject yet another ode to Fed Chief Ben Bernanke in its already too-long article? We know how they feel about Bernanke – they’re all for him. If anyone doubts it, I invite you to visit their editorial page. On any given day I guarantee you’ll find some apology for Mr. Bernanke’s malfeasance from one of their establishment cheerleaders.

The phrase in question describes Mr. Bernanke as having “led efforts to make the Fed’s bank oversight more effective and focused on broad risks to the economy that arise out of banks’ decisions.

Not only is that so vague as to be rendered meaningless, but it is also patently untrue.  “More effective”? “Broad risks”? “Bank’s decisions”? How effective? What risks? Which decisions? These are mistakes one goes over in Reporting 101.

They’re sloppy mistakes, too – and they betray a complete vacuum where the writer’s knowledge of history should be. Aside for Lawrence Summers (current National Economic Adviser, who authored the bill that got us into this mess), Timothy Geithner (current Treasury Secretary, who was #3 at the Fed while the banks turned into casinos), and, of course, Alan Greenspan, Mr. Bernanke is the single biggest reason why 1/4 of the workforce is desperately seeking work.

He actively campaigned against oversight, was completely blind to the risks facing our economy (“The subprime mess is largely contained“), and, in fact, actively encouraged those risks by keeping interest rates at almost zero for three straight years after the dot-com bust. This is a matter of public record. A five minute Google search and articles from The Post itself were enough to reveal this.

What’s worrying is that The Post seems to be unaware of this – or if they are aware, put a willfully misleading clause in their “news” article. I can understand it when journalists lie in the Op-Ed pages; that is, after all, what they’re for. But to put a factually ignorant opinion in a serious news article betrays, I think, some very perverse ethics.

Media’s “Independent Analysts” Actually Paid Lobbyists

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Some great investigative reporting from Sebastian Jones over at The Nation:

Since 2007 at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials–people paid by companies and trade groups to manage their public image and promote their financial and political interests–have appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure of the corporate interests that had paid them. Many have been regulars on more than one of the cable networks, turning in dozens–and in some cases hundreds–of appearances.For lobbyists, PR firms and corporate officials, going on cable television is a chance to promote clients and their interests on the most widely cited source of news in the United States. These appearances also generate good will and access to major players inside the Democratic and Republican parties. For their part, the cable networks, eager to fill time and afraid of upsetting the political elite, have often looked the other way. At times, the networks have even disregarded their own written ethics guidelines. Just about everyone involved is heavily invested in maintaining the current system, with the exception of the viewer.

But not only cable news channels are guilty of this. A couple months ago, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting revealed that The Washington Post allowed an anti-social security lobbying firm to write, in full, a front page article. The article, originally from the “Fiscal Times”, a front organization for a Wall Street billionaire and former Nixon Cabinet member, sought to scare readers over the looming deficit crisis Social Security presents. These fears have been thoroughly debunked (notably by economist Dean Baker), but this didn’t prevent The Post from  putting forth this lobbyist’s views as uncontested “fact”.

Online journal Politico is also heavily implicated, as Ken Silverstein at Harper’s reports. Not even the web is safe. Our staid media outlets have basically been reduced to pimps, selling their hard-won public respect to the highest bidder. This behavior is criminal, and should be prosecuted.

Written by pavanvan

February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Profiles in Idiocy: Anne Applebaum

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Anne Applebaum has won major accolades for her Gulag: A History, for which she owes a huge debt of gratitude to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and which constitutes the poor man’s history of the Soviet Union – for when you want your histories dull and without universal insights into human nature. Her work for The Washington Post, however, has been singularly atrocious, and one wonders what, exactly, she learned from all her research into the depths of evil.

Her columns consistently and unapologetically disavow international law, human rights, or any concern for civilian casualties – each week brings a new and more forceful call to “defend our allies” and “defeat our enemies”, usually with only the most token concern for anyone who might stand in our way.

Her latest article, horrifically entitled: “Prepare for War With Iran – In Case Israel Strikes” displays all of her odious tendencies, and is worth discussing in detail.

She starts by observing that President Obama is unlikely to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran. Why?

The president will not bomb Iran’s nuclear installations for precisely the same reasons that George W. Bush did not bomb Iran’s nuclear installations: Because we don’t know exactly where they all are, because we don’t know whether such a raid could stop the Iranian nuclear program for more than a few months, and because Iran’s threatened response — against Israelis and U.S. troops, via Iranian allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon — isn’t one we want to cope with at this moment.

Apparently this lady hasn’t heard of a little thing called international law. You see, under normal circumstances, countries aren’t allowed to go mindlessly bombing each other on flimsy pretexts. This constitutes “aggression”, and the Nuremberg Principles (to which we supposedly subscribe) consider it “the supreme international crime”. I mean, I get that we basically threw that idea out the window long ago, but isn’t Ms. Applebaum supposed to be a scholar who specializes in international relations? What kind of scholar thinks the only reason we don’t go around bombing other countries is because it probably wouldn’t work?

After this bald refutation of the basic principles of international law, Ms. Applebaum raises another specter of war. Even though we may consider it inconvenient to bomb Iran, that doesn’t mean other countries won’t. Other countries like Israel. As she remarks:

The defining moment of his presidency may well come at 2 a.m. some day when he picks up the phone and is told that the Israeli prime minister is on the line: Israel has just carried out a raid on Iranian nuclear sites. What then?

Yes, “what then” indeed? Well, a reasonable observer might note that such a “raid” would be an act of sheer aggression, not to mention one supremely unjustified. After all, Israel boasts of its nuclear weapons every chance it gets, and Iran hasn’t carried out any “raids” on its nuclear sites.  A country truly interested in the rule of law would chastise Israel for its wanton aggression, cut off the extravagant military aid ($2.5 billion per year) it currently supplies the aggressor, and maybe even impose those sanctions everyone likes to talk about so much. The same sanctions we’re currently threatening Iran with. I don’t remember Israel getting any sanctions when it got the bomb. Oh, that’s right. We gave it to them.

The rest of the article serves as a justification for such Israeli “raids”. As she says:

Many Israelis regard the Iranian nuclear program as a matter of life and death. The prospect of a nuclear Iran isn’t an irritant or a distant threat. It is understood directly in the context of the Iranian president’s provocative attacks on Israel’s right to exist and his public support for historians who deny the Holocaust. If you want to make Israelis paranoid, hint that they might be the target of an attempted mass murder. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does exactly that.

I have a hard time believing she wrote this passage with a straight face. Perhaps she remembers a little speech given by President Bush, charmingly nicknamed the “Axis of Evil” speech. In it, he specifically named Iran to the eponymous “axis”, and then punctuated that slur by invading another member of said axis. The US mainstream press is is full of naked suggestions that President Obama attack Iran, including this endearing piece by Mr. Daniel Pipes, ludicrously entitled How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran. “The American people would support it,” Mr. Pipes contends.

For crying out loud, Ms. Applebaum’s own article is entitled “Prepare for War with Iran”! I wonder if she thinks that might make the Iranians “paranoid”.

Of course, Ms. Applebaum doesn’t want war with Iran. But a country’s gotta do what a country’s gotta do:

I do hope that this administration is ready, militarily and psychologically, not for a war of choice but for an unwanted war of necessity. This is real life, after all, not Hollywood.

And here we see, finally, in what an alternate reality our mainstream punditry operates. Defending an Israeli war of aggression is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Should Israel, without consulting us, begin a unilaterial bombing campaign on Iran, the United States has no choice but to fight Israel’s war for it. I mean, does Ms. Applebaum expect us to buy this nonsense?

Next she’ll be telling us that it’s necessary for the US to remain the “sole superpower” for the indefinite future. Oh wait…

Investigative Journalists Are Better Spies Than CIA

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From The Washington Post:

KABUL — On their first day of class in Afghanistan, the new U.S. intelligence analysts were given a homework assignment.

First read a six-page classified military intelligence report about the situation in Spin Boldak, a key border town and smuggling route in southern Afghanistan. Then read a 7,500-word article in Harper’s magazine, also about Spin Boldak and the exploits of its powerful Afghan border police commander.

The conclusion they were expected to draw: The important information would be found in the magazine story. The scores of spies and analysts producing reams of secret documents were not cutting it.

Hilarious.

Written by pavanvan

February 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm

More SOTU Reactions

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The Economist:

An understandably domestic-focused speech could have used more on Iran—probably the biggest issue in American foreign policy and one where a signal from the president in a speech at this level would be huge. Where was an acknowledgment of Iran’s protestors, and the regime’s brutal repression?

*sigh*

The New Republic:

A good defense of the bank bailout, plus an assault on the banks. Obama’s winning smile and sense of humor give his explanation a likeable sheen. He should have done more of that by now. (Geithner still looks, in a friend’s words, “like he got hit by a truck.”)

The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder:

I thought it was… good. It think it helps President Obama. I don’t know if it will help his party. It was a speech about the democratic process — a very effective one. It was a speech that challenged his own party as much as it challenged the Republicans. It had little in the way of policy, and a lot in the way of trying to leverage the character traits that Americans see and like about Obama to persuade them to accept that his way is still the right way.

Ezra Klein:

All in all, it was a good speech. But it was a good speech because it told the story of a good presidency and an able president. I expect Obama’s poll numbers will be up for a few days, but if he wants them to remain there, he needs events to bear out his narrative. And that starts with passing the health-care reform bill.

Does anyone notice what all these “reactions” have in common? They don’t refer to the substance of the speech. It’s all a question of whether or not it “helps” the “Democrats” in 2010, whether or not Obama was ‘likeable’, if his smile is ‘winning’, if he’s got a ‘sense of humor’, what kind of “character traits” he has. Not one word on the patent falsehoods or willful misrepresentations of data in the speech. And thus is the public’s consent manufactured.

Written by pavanvan

January 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Climate Misinformation

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Media Matters has a timely and thorough rundown of Mr. George Will’s fantastic assertions in the Washington Post. Mr. Will, the Post‘s resident climate change denier, willfully misinterprets data, offers baseless accusations, and generally behaves as a corporate propagandist might be expected to.

Will claimed “evidence” of climate change is “elusive.” In an October 1, 2009, Washington Post column, Will claimed that “evidence” of climate change is “elusive” and that scientists are overstating the threat of warming when they say — in the words of a September 21 New York Times article Will criticized — that a recent “plateau” in temperatures has “no bearing” on the long-term warming trend. In fact, scientists routinely present strong evidence of long-term warming and its consequences — including a September 2009 United Nations report Will himself cited that says “rapid environmental change is underway with the pace and the scale of climate change accelerating.” [10/1/09]

Will cited no evidence to claim that climate scientists are suppressing or massaging data. In his December 6, 2009, column, Will claimed that “[d]isclosure of e-mails and documents from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Britain — a collaborator with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — reveals some scientists’ willingness to suppress or massage data.” Will cited no evidence to support his claims. He also flogged an out-of-context email to falsely suggest that it made the case for global warming “less compelling.” [12/6/09]

Oh, and The Post is quite aware of their colleague’s flights of fancy:

Will columns criticized by environmental community, Post colleagues. Will’s global warming columns have been widely criticized by the environmental community and have also been criticized by Washington Post editorial board member and cartoonist Tom Toles, Post weather columnist Andrew Freedman, and Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander. Fellow editorial columnist Eugene Robinson also said that Will “cross[ed] the line” in spreading global warming misinformation.

I wasn’t aware such a line existed.

Being over the age of 50, Mr. Will enjoys complete impunity from the effects of his lies. As I’m sure as he figures it, he’ll be long dead by the time the real effects of our civilization are laid bare – the droughts, oil shortages, advancing deserts, agricultural collapse, etc. Thus he has no qualms about acting as an industry cheerleader; committing willful and wanton lies to increase their profits by just that much. If I believed in an afterlife, I’m sure there would be a special place for specimens such as Mr. Will – but since there is, after all, no justice in this world, I’m sure Mr. Will will continue to draw his fat paychecks while composing shoddy and scurrilous pap aimed specifically at deceiving the public.

Written by pavanvan

January 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Mission Accomplished

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The Washington Post gives a great article on what we already knew:

Written by pavanvan

January 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Yemen: The Next War

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The propaganda presses are running at full steam today, as both The New York Times and The Washington Post run front-page stories describing the dastardly “Al Qaeda” influence in… Yemen.

The Times calls that unfortunate desert a “Qaeda bastion” in its headline, while the Post goes for a vaguer effect by claiming that “Al Qaeda” is merely “gaining prominence” there. These stories come on the heels of a premeditated slaughter of Yemeni civilians via US forces, and they can only be seen as justification for further US attacks on the impoverished Yemeni citizens. Let’s see for ourselves how such acts are justified.

The Times:

The country has long been a refuge for jihadists, in part because Yemen’s government welcomed returning Islamist fighters who had fought in Afghanistan during the 1980s. The Yemen port of Aden was the site of the audacious bombing of the American destroyer Cole in October 2000 by Qaeda militants, which killed 17 sailors.

Audacious! Except it occurred more than 9 years ago, and killed only a  fraction of the Yemeni citizens we killed last week (42 dead in one “drone” strike!). And remember, the Yemeni “terrorists” were kind enough to target the US military (which, after all, has no business in their country.) We, on the other hand, kill their civilians with impunity.

The Post goes for more recent justification, dubious and uncorroborated though it may be:

U.S. authorities say Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the Nigerian suspect who tried to ignite explosive chemicals with a syringe sewn into his underwear, may have been equipped and trained by an al-Qaeda bombmaker in Yemen. He allegedly made that claim to FBI agents after his arrest.

Emphasis mine. Given that our secret police routinely interrogate by torture, I think it would be wise to take any “confession” thus extracted with a large grain of salt.

The Times treats us to yet more evidence:

Meanwhile, there have been increasing Yemeni ties to plots against the United States. A Muslim man charged in the June 1 killing of a soldier at a recruiting center in a mall in Little Rock, Ark., had traveled to Yemen, prompting a review by the F.B.I. of other domestic extremists who had visited the country.

A Muslim man traveled to Yemen? Stop the presses! Let us review what The Times is trying to say here. A man charged with killing a soldier, who happens to be Muslim, had, at one point, traveled to Yemen. Therefore, Yemen is a “dangerous haven for Al-Qaeda”, and we must pummel them into their dusty graves. Astounding.

Ironically, The Post gives us the real reason for the “increase in terror activity in Yemen” as a closing line:

On Sunday, Al-Qaeda in Yemen issued a communique declaring that it would take revenge for the Dec. 17 airstrikes.

The damned cheek! The US murders 43 Yemeni citizens and they have the audacity to want revenge? Don’t they understand we’re doing this for their own good? As they said in Vietnam, “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.” It should be clear to anyone not in the pay of our “defense contractors” that our actions in the Arab world are a direct catalyst for international terrorism. Even a cursory look at history should demonstrate this quite easily. The US sends its military into a country, and behold! They see a dramatic increase in “terrorism”!

Pakistan, you will remember, had almost no “terror problem” prior to 2007, when the US began a ham-fisted attempt to “combat Al-Qaeda” by waging war on Pakistan’s villagers. Iraq, under the “brutal tyrant” Saddam had no terrorists of which to speak. Now bombings in Baghdad are a weekly affair. Afghanistan… well, just look at it.

So what makes our politicians blind to such an obvious conclusion? Campaign donations! The Times, to take one example, quotes Joe Leiberman as saying:

“Yemen now becomes one of the centers of that fight,” said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who visited the country in August. “We have a growing presence there, and we have to, of Special Operations, Green Berets, intelligence,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Could this full-throated endorsement of war have anything to do with his campaign donors? Given that the largest contributor to Lieber-campaign is “United Technologies” a major arms manufacturer that makes, among other things, our Black Hawk helicopters, I think the answer to that question should be clear.

The time will soon come, I hope, when the American public realizes that those who speak out in favor of this insane “war on terror” do so because their campaign donors compel them to. If I am invested in an arms company, I have every reason to see this war drag on indefinitely. And if that arms company gives me a healthy donation every election cycle, you can bet that I will defend this war at all costs, Yemeni citizens be damned!

Written by pavanvan

December 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Ezra Klein and the Deficit

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Ezra Klein gives us some of his famous Washington Post logic in a recent post regarding the deficit. He says:

I’ve got no problem with the White House making some real moves to cut the deficit. But the devil is in the details. It would be insane, for instance, to sharply cut spending in the midst of a recession. But it makes sense to build out policies to increase revenues in 2012 or after.

Similarly, there are good ways of decreasing the deficit and bad ways. Cutting Medicaid spending, for instance, would be a bad way. But I’d be glad to see the estate tax restored. Or relatively more of the Bush tax cuts left to expire. Obama should have the courage to say that the promise to avoid raising taxes on people making less than $250,000 was made before the economy collapsed, and that tax rates might have to rise in a couple of years.

His post, of course, begs the question: What about “defense” (war) spending? Would it also be “insane” to cut that in the midst of a recession? The question is not trivial; President Obama signed last month a $680 billion (680,000 million) defense bill while ludicrously lauding the fact that he happened to shave “tens of billions of dollars” from it.

Come to think of it, is it not equally “insane” to be spending such unthinkable sums on murder and deceit in Afghanistan “in the midst of a recession?” Klein, the Post’s resident wunderkind, has absolutely nothing to say on the matter. Instead, he waxes philosophical on the estate tax, and has the audacity to suggest that the middle class (those making less than $250,000 per annum) ought to pony up some more cash to relieve the deficit – which really means they should cough up some dough to fund these ill-conceived wars. I believe the phrase for this sort of logic is “missing the forest for the trees”.

“Economic and Domestic Policy, and lots of it” indeed!

Written by pavanvan

November 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Hamas and The Ministry of Truth

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A Gazan family outside their destroyed home, courtesy of the Israeli "Defense" Force

A Gazan family outside their destroyed home, courtesy of the Israeli "Defense" Force

In the span of a single article The Washington Post, currently our government’s mouthpiece, is able to compile every falsehood and misconception regarding Hamas under the guise of “balanced reporting”. The article in question, entitled “What to do with Hamas? Questions Snarl Peace Bid”, is valuable for its succinct, concise collection of omissions and propaganda regarding that so-called “terror group”. To read it is to view the Israeli conflict through the lens of our policy planners, and to identify many of the assumptions under which they operate.

The article begins with a bang:

GAZA CITY — In the two years since it seized power here, the militant Hamas movement has undercut the influence of the Gaza Strip’s major clans, brought competing paramilitary groups under its control, put down an uprising by a rival Islamist group, weathered a three-week war with Israel, worked around a strict economic embargo — and through it all refused a set of international demands that could begin Gaza’s rehabilitation.

Let’s start with the so-called “uprising by a rival Islamist group”. The Post is referring here to the 2007 Fatah-Hamas war, which occurred a year and a half after Hamas won parliamentary elections in Palestine, much to the consternation of the US and Israel.  What The Post completely declines to mention is that the US and Israel were behind that that “uprising”. Yes, you read correctly. Last year, David Rose of Vanity Fair published a stunning expose of that war, concluding, beyond any doubt, that the United States secretly funded Fatah in a failed bid to overthrow Hamas.

Why secretly? Well, because such funding would have been expressly against international law. Hamas won the January 2006 parliamentary elections fair and square. The polls were monitored and not one side was able to come out with even a single instance of accused fraud. The US and Israel, unable to respect the Palestinians’ wishes, chose to secretly fund a coup by Fatah, the pro-west Palestinian party. The coup failed in that Hamas retained control of Gaza, but it did result in thousands of dead Palestinians, along with a split leadership (Fatah was able to gain control of the West Bank), so our policy-makers chalked it up to a half-loss.

Likewise with the three-week war with Israel that Hamas allegedly “weathered”. The action to which The Post refers occurred earlier this year and was not so much a war as a massacre in Gaza. More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in that action, with express US permission. Israeli casualties numbered in the tens. Lurid, horrific reports later surfaced of Israeli death squads traveling door-to-door and murdering whole families, as well as the bombing of a UN-charter school by Israel, an atrocity which occured not once, but twice.

The embargo, defined by political scientists the world over as a blatant “act of war”, has prevented Gazans from access to even the most basic standards of food or medicine, and has transformed the strip, in the words of The Vatican, into “a giant concentration camp”.

Yet amid all these atrocities it is not the Israelis, but the Palestinians who are “refusing a set of international demands”. Here, The Washington Post makes one of its famous contradictions. Later in the article they write that

In the past two weeks, Mitchell has scaled back U.S. demands for Israel to freeze West Bank settlements.

The settlements, as you are surely aware, are in violation of international law and are currently condemned by every country in the world, except the United States and Israel.

From the article’s lead, we find that:

That combination of durability and unwillingness to compromise has created a deep-seated stalemate that has left top Israeli intelligence and political officials perplexed about what to do.

However on the very next page, The Post reports:

It has been long-standing Hamas policy to consider a long-term ceasefire with Israel in return for establishment of a Palestinian state on the Gaza and West Bank land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

So it’s a bit unclear as to whence this confusion arises. Hama’s position has been clear from the start, even if The Washington Post is too cowardly to admit it. And it should be noted that the land “occupied” by Israel in the 1967 war was occupied illegally, and there is currently a UN resolution (Resolution 242), which demands Israel withdraw to its pre-1967 borders, precisely as Hamas requests. The UN routinely votes 174-5 in favor of the resolution, with only the United States, Israel, and a few Pacific Islands dissenting. The Post, of course, neglects to mention any of this in its article, electing instead to highlight the “perplexion” on the part of Israeli planners. If they had even a modicum of respect for international law it would be clear “what to do”.

The lack of honest discussion of the Israel-Palestine issue is perhaps the greatest impediment we face to resolving that decades-old feud. Contrary to what we may think here in America, that volatile little strip carries huge importance for the politics of the Middle East, and world politics in general. The destabilizing effects of our inability to see “the other side” are only too plain. For the time being, however, this is a mischievous little polemic by The Washington Post.  It, and similar articles, probably do more to prolong this conflict than all the bombs and rockets combined.

Written by pavanvan

October 7, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Virulent Protests against “Big Government”

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Rally in Washington. Photo Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Rally in Washington. Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post

This is truly surreal, and lends a new tone of absurdism to what is turning out to be a thoroughly scurrilous health care “debate”.

Not that protests against “out-of-control spending” (as the AP worded it) are absurd in themselves. Indeed, it seems clear that the Obama deficit presents a mortal danger to our long-term economic health. But with the 2001 tax cuts to the rich still in effect, the trillions printed for the benefit of our financial industry, and the tear-inducing costs of our overseas adventures, the idea that uninsured citizens with preventative care could ignite such fury seems exceedingly bizarre. Particularly as the currently debated scheme would leave insurance industry profits largely intact.

The fury, at least, seems real enough. The newspapers report  thousands of citizens descending upon Washington from all across our considerable landmass, toting signs with instructive messages such as “ObamaCare Makes Me Sick”.  Nearly every article begins with the profile of a protester who took a train, two buses, and hitchhiked to attend the event. It’s hard to believe such furor has been raised only by the prospect of expanded healthcare – something else is clearly at play.

The Washington Post gives us a hint:

Jeff Mapps, 29, a stagehand and labor union member from South Philadelphia, left home about 6 a.m. to come to the protest. He said he hadn’t been involved in previous Tea Party demonstrations, but he watches Fox News host Glenn Beck “all the time” and he wanted to be a part of something he thinks will be historic. Beck has been drumming up support for the march.

Glenn Beck, as you may know, is a verminous talking head at Fox News, formerly at CNN. A “conservative” thoroughly opposed to ‘big government’, he nonetheless cheered loudly for every bit of Bush-era deficit spending, from the Iraq War to the TARP bailout.

And again:

Like countless others at the rally, Joan Wright, 78 of Ocean Pines, Md., sounded angry. “I’m not taking this crap anymore,” said Wright, who came by bus to Washington with 150 like-minded residents of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. “I don’t like the health-care [plan]. I don’t like the czars. And I don’t like the elitists telling us what we should do or eat.”

So it would appear the issue is not truly with the idea of “big government”, but merely this government.

As far as one can tell, much of this event was organized by a collection of “conservative” political action groups, including FreedomWorks, and the Tea Party Campaign. Their agenda seems entirely corporatist in nature. Anyone truly worried about the deficit would protest against our overseas engagements or the terrifying actions of our Federal Reserve. Instead, they have chosen this particular manifestation of “big government” to oppose – the very same one that promises to drive down insurance industry costs.

Our sponsored media has also answered the siren call, whipping up the public ire against this and only this program of Mr. Obama’s. In doing so, they reveal a real fear among the pharmaceutical industry regarding the so-called “public option”. For an easy reminder of the role pharmaceuticals play in cable news, observe how many ads for their products you encounter in a half-hour of Fox or CNN programming. I once counted twelve.

In the end, I don’t really think they have much to worry about. If a government-sponsored non-profit health insurance option is available when all this is over, you may color me pink. But the fact that a bit of petty demagoguery can mobilize thousands of citizens against their material benefit – well, that leaves me rather blue indeed.

Like countless others at the rally, Joan Wright, 78 of Ocean Pines, Md., sounded angry. “I’m not taking this crap anymore,” said Wright, who came by bus to Washington with 150 like-minded residents of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. “I don’t like the health-care [plan]. I don’t like the czars. And I don’t like the elitists telling us what we should do or eat.”

Written by pavanvan

September 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm