Monday, December 6, 2010

What Would Sherlock Holmes Have Said? The Right's Media Money Power ("Shameless" WaPo! Time to Apologize to Plame/Wilson!)

So, we need to eliminate the spending for Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and Disability and all the rest of the social programs in order to make the tax cuts for the richest of the rich permanent? That surely is what it seems to be boiling down to. Because otherwise, where would the money come from to finance the huge and growing deficit that the tax cuts have caused already? (Not to mention that tiny little "never-ending wars" expenditure.) And why else would the very, very, very rich like Pete Peterson and Steve Forbes have been pushing so hard for this for so many decades in the past?

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. There is nothing as deceptive as an obvious fact. - Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of the detective Sherlock Holmes)
I'd say it's about time to make like Sherlock Holmes and "eliminate the impossible" (and recognize an "obvious fact"). Thus we arrive at the probable obvious fact.

And from there we reason until we understand what must be the solution to the political "mystery" of our age.

The reason the faux TV news shows are full of reporting frauds like the Newtster, the Orange-Faced ManBoys, the ClownProfessors, the Child/Spouse/Drug-Abusing Molesters and the HundredTimesRedonePlasticSurgeriedJeweleried Female Upliftsters is that they want us to believe the impossible: that the tax cuts must continue to go to the upper 2% (who have made out like bandits on tax cuts, credits, shipping jobs overseas and bringing in cheap labor throughout the last decade already) who will then (sometime, in the future, really, we promise!) create jobs.

To eliminate this fraudulent reasoning and arrive at the true solution is to understand the probable.

And once we arrive at the probable, it's not difficult at all to understand how a proposition that even the Cheney/Bush Regime couldn't have dreamed of when proposing their original giveaway-to-the-rich tax cuts in 2001 (that even after causing massive deficits, they won't be expected to ever make them up) is now no longer even worried about by the lawmakers in charge of "balancing" the budget (or whatever it is they are selling this week).

I believe what's happening today is not that hard to fathom, given the actors without a hint of morality or memory of such. From one of the best sources on this not-news news (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

Back in 2001, former President George W. Bush pulled a fast one. He wanted to enact an irresponsible tax cut, largely for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans. But there were Senate rules in place designed to prevent that kind of irresponsibility. So Mr. Bush evaded the rules by making the tax cut temporary, with the whole thing scheduled to expire on the last day of 2010. The plan, of course, was to come back later and make the thing permanent, never mind the impact on the deficit. But that never happened. And so here we are, with 2010 almost over and nothing resolved. Democrats have tried to push a compromise: let tax cuts for the wealthy expire, but extend tax cuts for the middle class. Republicans, however, are having none of it. They have been filibustering Democratic attempts to separate tax cuts that mainly benefit a tiny group of wealthy Americans from those that mainly help the middle class. It’s all or nothing, they say: all the Bush tax cuts must be extended. What should Democrats do? The answer is that they should just say no. If G.O.P. intransigence means that taxes rise at the end of this month, so be it. Think about the logic of the situation. Right now, the Republicans see themselves as successful blackmailers, holding a clear upper hand. President Obama, they believe, wouldn’t dare preside over a broad tax increase while the economy is depressed. And they therefore believe that he will give in to their demands. But while raising taxes when unemployment is high is a bad thing, there are worse things. And a cold, hard look at the consequences of giving in to the G.O.P. now suggests that saying no, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule, is the lesser of two evils. Bear in mind that Republicans want to make those tax cuts permanent. They might agree to a two- or three-year extension — but only because they believe that this would set up the conditions for a permanent extension later. And they may well be right: if tax-cut blackmail works now, why shouldn’t it work again later? America, however, cannot afford to make those cuts permanent. We’re talking about almost $4 trillion in lost revenue just over the next decade; over the next 75 years, the revenue loss would be more than three times the entire projected Social Security shortfall. So giving in to Republican demands would mean risking a major fiscal crisis a crisis that could be resolved only by making savage cuts in federal spending. And we’re not talking about government programs nobody cares about: the only way to cut spending enough to pay for the Bush tax cuts in the long run would be to dismantle large parts of Social Security and Medicare. So the potential cost of giving in to Republican demands is high.

. . . Last but not least: if Democrats give in to the blackmailers now, they’ll just face more demands in the future. As long as Republicans believe that Mr. Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they’ll have every incentive to keep taking hostages. If the president will endanger America’s fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown?

So Mr. Obama should draw a line in the sand, right here, right now. If Republicans hold out, and taxes go up, he should tell the nation the truth, and denounce the blackmail attempt for what it is. Yes, letting taxes go up would be politically risky. But giving in would be risky, too — especially for a president whom voters are starting to write off as a man too timid to take a stand. Now is the time for him to prove them wrong.

I fear, however, that Robert Parry has this situation so well dissected already that Obama and the people in place in powerful positions of "the opposition" have already found they have no choice due to who contributed to them as candidates. If that matters to these highly moral public servants. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)
The Right's Power of Media Money
Robert Parry December 2, 2010 In assessing what went wrong with the U.S. political process over the past few decades, it’s easy to see the broad outlines of the right-wing Republican ascendancy and the liberal-left Democratic decline, an imbalance that has now left the nation incapable of doing much besides waging endless wars, bailing out too-big-to-fail banks, slashing taxes for the rich, and running massive deficits.

But how this systemic failure occurred is more complicated – and the blame must be shared by all the players, including the mainstream news media, which adapted to the flood of right-wing propaganda by avoiding pitched battles for the truth, and the progressive community, which adopted misguided strategies that failed to counter the Right’s surging media power.

Without doubt, the Right and the Republicans were the chief protagonists in this historical chapter. In the 1970s, they reacted with a fierce determination to the threats they saw in the massive anti-Vietnam War protests and by a more independent news media, revealed by the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. Wealthy right-wingers began investing heavily in a media infrastructure to promote their views and to attack their adversaries, including going after mainstream journalists who dug up information that undermined the favored propaganda of rightists from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.

Mainstream journalists were routinely denounced for “liberal bias.” And reporters, as well as progressive activists, who gave voice to criticism of U.S. foreign policy were deemed near-traitors, people who would “blame America first” in the words of President Reagan’s UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.

The Right also appealed to white blue-collar workers by portraying liberals as effete and by stoking animosities against blacks and other minorities.

The key battlefield of these propaganda wars was the media, both old-line right-wing publications like the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and a host of new outlets, from magazines – like the American Spectator and the Weekly Standard – to right-wing talk radio and eventually electronic media, such as Fox News, the Drudge Report and an endless array of Internet sites.

The Right’s massive investment in media towered over what was spent on biennial or quadrennial political campaigns. It also was more influential because right-wing messagesday-in-day-out, year-in-year-out – could be tailored to the diverse interests of the American public, from religious conservatives to secular libertarians.

Plus, by sheer repetition, the propaganda took on a ring of truth.

To make matters worse, the American Left chose the same time frame to retreat from what had been its advantage in media (called the “underground press” during the Vietnam era) and to shift its resources toward “grassroots organizing” in the countryside.

The hot slogan on the Left became, “think globally, act locally.”

Liberal-left donors redirected their funding support to some of these grassroots efforts as well as toward charities that sought to fill the widening holes in the social safety net. The donors also put large sums into efforts to regulate “money in politics,” i.e., campaign reforms such as the McCain-Feingold bill which tried to restrict so-called “soft money” from outside groups.

To further understand the underpinnings of this phenomenon, which will rule our lives from now on, please read the rest of this article.
[For more on these topics, see Robert Parry’s Lost History and Secrecy & Privilege, which, along with Neck Deep, are now available as a three-book set for the discount price of $29. For details, click here.] Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there.
And to understand how this media subornation culminated in the political "assassination" of Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson by media like the Washington Post, read the essay below. (I say again, this is why I never take anything the Post publishes as the truth now. Nothing.) And why we should at least insist on a public apology to these true public servants. (You should go see Fair Game (if you haven't already done so) NOW! (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)
Time to Apologize to Plame/Wilson Robert Parry November 14, 2010

Editor’s Note: After a two-year hiatus, the Republicans will again be dominant in Washington. A coalition of Tea Partiers and other Americans upset with President Barack Obama went to the polls in an electoral wave to “take our country back.”

Ironically, the GOP success in reclaiming the House and coming close in the Senate coincides with the release of a new movie, “Fair Game,” about the Bush administration’s outing of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, part of a nasty campaign to destroy her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had exposed one of the key lies used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

For those Americans upset about Obama’s alleged abuse of their “freedoms,” it is worthwhile movie to watch – to see how a powerful White House can really work over individual Americans who get in the way of a presidential priority.

However, another aspect of the Plame case, left out of the movie, was how the Washington Post joined in the vilification of Wilson and Plame. The Post, led by its editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, was an accomplice in the crushing of the Plame-Wilson family.

The Post undertook this vindictive rolemaligning an American truth-teller and demeaning the work of a brave CIA officer – as a continuation of its own promotion of the falsehoods that misled the nation to war, for which no one in the Post hierarchy has suffered any known punishment.

In reaction to this lack of accountability, Consortiumnews.com published a series of articles over several years recounting the shameless behavior of the Post’s editorial section, especially in the Plame affair.

By fall 2007, the real facts of Plame-gate were obvious: Wilson had told the truth about his role in revealing that Iraq had not sought yellowcake uranium from Niger; Plame indeed had been a covert agent who had undertaken recent missions abroad; the White House had pushed the smear that Plame “sent” her husband on some kind of junket to Niger; the White House dirty tactics that had led to her outing; and a cover-up had ensued.

The chasm between the facts and what the Post continued to write led to this final article, calling on the Post finally to apologize to the Plame-Wilson family, a gesture that has yet to be made:

During the scandal known as “Plame-gate,” it became an article of faith in many Washington power centers that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson wasn’t “covert” and thus there was no “underlying crime” when the Bush administration intentionally blew her cover.

This view was pushed not only by right-wing acolytes of George W. Bush but by leading media outlets, such as the Washington Post editorial page, which championed an argument from Republican lawyer Victoria Toensing that the CIA-headquarters-based Plame wasn’t covered by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.

In statements on TV, in the Post’s Outlook section and before a congressional committee, Toensing argued that the law defined “covert” CIA officers who got legal protection as those who “resided” or were “stationed” abroad in the previous five years. Since Plame, the mother of young twins, had been assigned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in recent years, Toensing argued that Plame didn’t qualify under the law and thus wasn’t “covert.”

However, a reading of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and new information revealed in Plame’s memoir, Fair Game, show just how wrong Toensing, the Post’s editors and many other Washington pundits have been.

The law’s relevant clause doesn’t use the words “resided” or “stationed.” The law states that the identities of classified U.S. intelligence officers are protected if they have “served within the last five years outside the United States.”

An intelligence officer (or a Special Forces soldier) clearly can “serve” abroad in dangerous situations without being “stationed” or “residing” abroad. Toensing, who promoted herself as an author of the 1982 statute, surely knew the law’s actual wording on this point but instead substituted other words to alter the law’s meaning.

In Fair Game, the CIA censors blacked out many of Plame’s career details, but enough was left in to show that Plame traveled abroad in the five years prior to the Bush administration blowing her cover in summer 2003.

At that time, the White House was mounting a campaign to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for criticizing the administration’s misuse of intelligence about Iraq’s alleged pursuit of uranium in Niger.

. . . After reading Fair Game, one is left with the sickening realization that Bush’s Washington has become a mean and mendacious place so lacking in honor that the city’s preeminent politicians and pundits don’t see any need to apologize to the Wilson family for all the harm that was done.

In a decent world, political leaders and journalists, especially, would praise Joe Wilson for his patriotism – both for undertaking the CIA mission and for blowing the whistle on the President’s abuse of intelligence to lead the nation to war. But Washington is not that kind of place. Instead it is a city where having power – whether inside the White House or in the Post’s editorial offices – means never having to say you’re sorry.

On the eve of Obama's final decision "To cave or not to cave," we get the news that Elizabeth Edwards has been told to discontinue treatment for her cancer as she only has a short time left in which to live.

All my most healing thoughts now go out to Elizabeth and her family, who are suffering in similar ways to how my own family is.

And on the "Julian Assange/Is Wikileaks Real or Just A Limited Hang-Out Readying Us For the Loss of Free Access to the Internet?" front: From Raw Story:

Assange threatens to release ‘poison pill’ if arrested or killed

There is a new threat from the founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Julian Assange will release a "poison pill" that contains a "deluge" of secret information if he is killed, arrested or his website is permanently shut down, Daily Mail reports.

"Due to recent attacks on our infrastructure, we've decided to make sure everyone can reach our content. As part of this process we're releasing archived copy of all files we ever released," WikiLeaks said in a message on its site.

WikiLeaks says it has another 250,000 cables it plans to gradually release over coming months - if it can.

As one knowledgeable commenter tells it (and I agree):

This event is starting to smell like a Neo-Con/Mossad propaganda operation to provoke the "compromised, blackmailable US Congress" to shut down the internet on grounds that it is a threat to 'National Security," when in reality the tenatiousness of the 911 Truth movement has finally exposed the hand of Israel in the demolition of the WTC and the fraud Larry Silverstein perpertrated on the insurance companies.

With all the information surfacing that alludes, and maybe even proves, that the government story is a fairytale, Assange still maintains that story as truth, and so far none of his information compromises either Israel or the Mossad that he has exposed or even threatens to expose. You have to wonder if this is not damage control for the group of people who defrauded the US into two wars, gave us the greatest banking scandal of all time, destroyed the manufacturing infrastucture of the US sending many high paying jobs over seas so the banks can steal the properties of families that can't make the payments, that continually rape and pillage the American taxpayer through the privately owned Federal Reserve and allowed the "Wailing Wall Street crowd'" to turn an investment facility into a gambling house!

Oh yeah. (And that ain't gooooooood.) Suzan The Master Blackmailer Holmes Versus Moriarty _____________________

4 comments:

Tom Harper said...

We need permanent tax cuts for the richest 1% of the population. This is the only way to maintain the vicious cycle. The richer the 1-percenters get, the more political clout they have. The more political clout they have, the easier it is for them to dictate to Congress (their secretarial pool) how much they're willing to pay in taxes and how much regulation they're willing to put up with. This makes them even wealthier, which gives them even more political clout...

Ah, Freedom!

Suzan said...

Aye, aye, captain (my captain).

. . . Fallen cold and dead.

Sold out for a pig and a poke.

Live on!

S

O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Marc McDonald said...

I may be alone on this, but I think the progressive movement in the U.S. is pretty much dead. Yes, there are still individual progressives out there. But the Left as a national movement with real power is extinct.

In fact, as a progressive, I give all my priorities these days simply to doing whatever I can to fight the GOP's worst abuses (corporate welfare, reckless wars, welfare for the rich). I'm actually a lot more concerned about that than I am trying to fight for any "progressive" agenda, like a climate change bill. It's not that I don't care about climate change----it's just that I see little chance of it ever being addressed in our current political system.

Just battling America's ongoing creeping fascism is enough to keep any progressive busy full-time these days.

Suzan said...

You are not alone, Marc.

Most of the people who read this blog are right there with you.

For me, leftwing progressivism died a painful death right after Jimmy Carter's presidency at the hands of the Bush/Reagan conspiracy to take over the government when it seemed like the interim candidate (between Nixon and whoever came next from the right), Carter, was going too far in making the expectation of having progressive programs a reality for too many people for those who owned the country to be really comfortable (even though they were glad to have the judicial system not looking at their shenanigans for a bit).

At this point the idea of progressive Republicans also disappeared as the Jake Javits/Rockefeller Republicans were removed from the stage by the Rethug "leadership" and the Rove/Newts assumed the spotlight.

Creeping fascism? Seems just lately to be moving a lot faster than that to me.

Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments.

Love you for your courage!

S

I think the progressive movement in the U.S. is pretty much dead.