Tuesday, January 21, 2014

George Will:  Paid-Off Liar To Deep Six USA

Obscene wealth: World’s 85 richest have same wealth as 3.5 billion poorest – Oxfam

The People Lobby Nails Down The Senate Finance Committee On The Trans Pacific Partnership

It's not often that someone calls out George Will on his smirky deceptions (let alone his well-known hypocrisy) so effectively.

Domestic Vulgarian

Integrity and civility are two of Will's favorite hobby horses, but he doesn't always live up to the standards he sets for others. For instance, Will sneers at cheating of all sorts, from that of Sammy Sosa's corked bat (Washington Post, 6/5/03) to the extramarital adventures of President Bill Clinton. The latter case produced this priceless example of Will's signature high dudgeon (Washington Post, 2/3/98):

Having vulgarians like the Clintons conspicuous in government must further coarsen American life. This is already apparent in the emergence of a significant portion of the public that almost preens about supporting the Clintons because of the vulgarity beneath their pantomime of domesticity. Call this portion of the public the Europhile constituency.... He has caused a pain he does not feel: The sense millions of Americans have that something precious has been vandalized. The question is, Who should come next to scrub from a revered institution the stain of the vulgarians?

From the scorn with which he attacks the "vulgarian" Clintons and their "pantomime of domesticity," one might assume that Will's personal life has been entirely dignified and free from scandal. One might be surprised to read, in other words, that in the 1980s, while still married to his first wife, Will was romantically linked to Lally Weymouth, daughter of Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, according to Washingtonian magazine (1/87). When Will moved out on his wife and children, he found his office furniture dumped on his front lawn with a note reading, "Take it somewhere else, buster" (Salon, 2/12/98). Though the lamentable lack of shame in U.S. society is a common theme in Will's writing, shame, like other principles he touts, seems to be for other people.

But expecting others to do as he says, not as he does, is par for Will's course. Take his 1992 attack (Washington Post, 9/3/92) on Al Gore for being "cavalier with the truth" in his "wastebasket-worthy" book Earth in the Balance. Will confronted Gore on the issue of global warming: "Gore knows, or should know before pontificating, that a recent Gallup Poll of scientists concerned with global climate research shows that 53 percent do not believe warming has occurred, and another 30 percent are uncertain."

It was Will, however, who should have read the poll more carefully "before pontificating." Gallup actually reported that 66 percent of the scientists said that human-induced global warming was occurring, with only 10 percent disagreeing and the rest undecided. Gallup took the unusual step of issuing a written correction to Will's column (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/27/92): "Most scientists involved in research in this area believe that human-induced global warming is occurring now." Will never noted the error in his column.

Though he expected others, including Al Gore, to be swayed by his misreading of Gallup's findings, Will's own opinion on global warming remained unchanged by learning the poll's actual results.

Ethical Lapses

. . . With such a high media profile, it's remarkable how little attention is paid to Will's double standards, ethical lapses and misstatements.

. . . Will's approach has been questioned in a few exceptional cases. During the 1980 campaign, he drew fire when it was learned he'd secretly coached Republican candidate Ronald Reagan for a debate with President Jimmy Carter using a debate briefing book stolen from the Carter campaign. Immediately following the debate, Will appeared on Nightline (10/28/80) to praise Reagan's "thoroughbred performance," never disclosing his role in rehearsing that performance (New York Times, 7/9/83).

During the 1996 campaign, Will caught some criticism for commenting on the presidential race while his second wife, Mari Maseng Will, was a senior staffer for the Dole presidential campaign. Defending a Dole speech on ABC News (1/28/96), Will, according to Washingtonian (3/96), "failed to mention .   . . that his wife not only counseled Dole to give the speech but also helped write it."

Similarly, a Will column criticizing Clinton for proposing tariffs on Japanese luxury cars (5/19/95) included no mention that Maseng Will's public relations firm had received almost $200,000 from the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association. When asked, Will defiantly dismissed any need for disclosure, declaring (Washington Post, 5/23/95), "I was for free trade long before I met my wife."

Will suffered another ethical lapse in the 2000 campaign when he met with George W. Bush just before the Republican candidate was to appear on ABC's This Week. Later, in a column (Washington Post, 3/4/01), Will admitted that he'd met with Bush to preview questions, not wanting to "ambush him with unfamiliar material." In the meeting, Will provided Bush with a 3-by-5 card containing a crucial question he would later ask the candidate on the air. Though strongly resembling his coaching of candidate Reagan in 1980, and in strong contrast to his treatment of Jesse Jackson in 1988, this extraordinary admission received little media mention.

Truth in Advertising

In the end, the most troubling aspect of Will's prominence as one of the country's most respected national pundits may not be his intellectual inconsistencies or ethical shortcomings, but the fact that he operates in a media environment where he is largely unopposed by pundits who could present him with forceful counter-arguments and challenge him on his conflicts.

Though Will stands beside dozens of other conservative talking heads and nationally syndicated columnists (see "Conservative Top 40," Extra!, 7/98), progressive voices that might challenge him are virtually absent from national television and account for only a handful of syndicated columnists.

Will has appeared on ABC's This Week as the show's in-house, movement conservative since its inception in 1981. But the show has never regularly featured a movement progressive. Perhaps the problem of Will's unanswered ideological commentary is best expressed by a 1995 advertisement for This Week which unwittingly captured the essence of the show with this headline: "There's No Debate."

So, more icing on the fallen country cake occurs? George Will joined Fox News this past year as a Fox commentator and "journalist."

Longtime ABC This Week talking head and dour doyen George Will will shill for Fox News.
In addition to his work at ABC, Will wrote a syndicated column, which appeared in more than 475 newspapers and served as a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine. Prior to joining ABC News, Will was the Washington editor of National Review and on the staff of former Senator Gordon Allott (R-CO) from 1970 to 1972.
Will is still pissed at Washingtonian Magazine for running a photo of a sign his then-wife Madeleine planted on the front lawn of their Chevy Chase, Maryland home where she’d tossed his stuff: “Take it somewhere else, buster.”

Washington tongues were wagging big time (including mine) in January 1987 when Washingtonian wagged that Will, now 72,  had walked out on his wife and was fooling around with Lally Weymouth, now 70 and the daughter of Washington Post icon Katharine Graham, and had bought a million-dollar house around the corner from his marital abode.
NYT Dec. 1987:  One of the liveliest feuds in Washington these days does not involve public servants or politicians, but George F. Will, the columnist and television commentator, and the Washingtonian magazine. In his most recent column in Newsweek, Mr. Will interrupted a tribute to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to observe: ”I and others have reason to know that the Washingtonian magazine, published by people with the morals of the marketplace, is, in part, a National Enquirer for Yuppies. Unfounded gossip appears on glossy paper between BMW ads.”
This assessment did not surprise John A. Limpert, editor of the prosperous monthly. Six months ago Mr. Will and his lawyers asked the magazine to retract a report it had published on the columnist’s personal life. He is separated from his wife. In the course of the correspondence, Mr. Will declared: ”Unless I have your commitment that these specific falsehoods will be corrected in the next issue of the Washingtonian, I shall respond in a way available to me to establish the truth. I do not intend to let this matter drop.”
Nearly 30 years later Will has the memory of an elephant.

Will divorced Wife #1 in 1989 and married Wife #2 in 1991It’s not the first time Will has been accused of double standards.

And about filibustering? He is known for his Groucho Marxist principles.

George Will may be the dean of conservative punditry with a reputation for sober consistency, but when it comes to intellectual honesty and principle – well, a person could get whiplash trying to follow his opportunistic and hypocritical positions over the years.
On Thursday's Special Report on Fox News (1/21/13), George Will was sad that the Democrats had invoked the "nuclear option," preventing Senate minorities from using the filibuster to block presidential appointments, other than Supreme Court nominees. "It was a melancholy day for American life," said Will:

It diminishes minority rights, which are always at threat in a democracy, where majorities rule. It further expands presidential power, which is too powerful under Republicans and Democrats alike.
Ten years ago, in the column "Coup Against the Constitution" (Washington Post, 2/28/03), Will declared the hallowed filibuster an outrage against the framers. Concerned that "41 Senate Democrats" might succeed in blocking a Bush judicial nominee, Will wrote:

If Senate rules, exploited by an anti-constitutional minority, are allowed to trump the Constitution's text and two centuries of practice, the Senate's power to consent to judicial nominations will have become a Senate right to require a supermajority vote for confirmation.
And 10 years before that,  when a Republican Senate minority filibustered President Clinton's economic stimulus bill, Will was all for it. In a column headlined "The Framers' Intent" (Washington Post, 4/25/93), he praised "the right of a minority to use extended debate to obstruct Senate action," and he cheered "the generation that wrote and ratified the Constitution" for properly establishing "the Senate's permissive tradition regarding extended debates."
Dismissing a liberal critic of the rule, Will wrote:

The Senate is not obligated to jettison one of its defining characteristics, permissiveness regarding extended debate, in order to pander to the perception that the presidency is the sun around which all else in American government–even American life–orbits.
In short, Will supports the filibuster when the senate majority is Republican and opposes it when it's Democratic. Like Groucho Marx, Will has his principles, and if you don't like them–well, he has others.

Read this recent essay and think of the long-term and wide-ranging games of deception still being practiced on us.



Columnist George Will Sides With Hitler, Not Churchill, and Uses Hitlerian Tactic to Do So

By Eric Zuesse

George Will, the far-right political commentator for the Washington Post, headlined on January 1st, "The Price of Political Ignorance: More Government," and he opened by implying that Winston S. Churchill despised the public and democracy and believed that they need to be manipulated by some elite, for their own good. In other words: he cited "Churchill" as validation of his own longstanding belief, which he was arguing for in that column.
This viewpoint that Will holds was actually first systematically asserted by Plato in his Republic (a book that Dr. Will himself admires), but in modern times it has come to be known as fascism - the very thing against which Churchill famously waged war.

Here is how Will carried out his fascist deceit in that column:

Will implied, but did not directly assert, that Churchill held this actually fascist belief, by Will's opening with: "It was naughty of Winston Churchill to say, if he really did, that "the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.'" Will said that this supposed quotation, from supposedly the conservative hero Churchill, "raises awkward questions about concepts central to democratic theory," and Will closed by praising a Koch-funded academic whose "evidence and arguments usefully dilute the unwholesome democratic sentimentality and romanticism that encourage government's pretensions, ambitions and failures," when that government happens to be democratic, as opposed to fascist.

However, those "awkward questions" about democracy were actually presented not just by Plato, but by Churchill's own mortal enemy, Adolf Hitler, who said, in Mein Kampf (v. 1, Ch. 3), that democracy "by forcing the individual to pass judgment on questions for which he is not competent, gradually debases his moral character," and (v. 2, Ch. 1), that "the impenetrable stupidity of the electorate" produces a government where "everyone gets everything he wants," until government becomes exhausted by all the pandering. (Thus, Will's own title was: "The Price of Political Ignorance: More Government." Will, like Hitler, believed in small government, by intrinsically superior people; not in big government, that cares for everybody.)

Hitler's contempt for the electorate was visceral, when he said (v. 1, Ch. 3), "The revulsion of the masses for every outstanding genius is positively instinctive. Sooner will a camel pass through a needle's eye than a great man be 'discovered' by an election."

Did Churchill really agree with Hitler in despising democracy? No: it's just a snobbish fascist's attempt to produce yet another fascist Big Lie.

As recently as 24 April 2012, historian Richard M. Langworth headlined "Churchill on Democracy," and he opened: "Not by Churchill: "The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Deseret News in Salt Lake City is the latest to publish this red herring. Commonly attributed to him, but with no authority, this is ... cynical." Then, Langworth linked to one of his own earlier postings, which quoted from Churchill's published writings and speeches on the subject, and which say such things as:

>At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper - no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point. -House of Commons, 31 October 1944

How is that word "democracy' to be interpreted? My idea of it is that the plain, humble, common man, just the ordinary man who keeps a wife and family, who goes off to fight for his country when it is in trouble, goes to the poll at the appropriate time, and puts his cross on the ballot paper showing the candidate he wishes to be elected to Parliament - that he is the foundation of democracy. And it is also essential to this foundation that this man or woman should do this without fear, and without any form of intimidation or victimization. He marks his ballot paper in strict secrecy, and then elected representatives ... decide what government, or even in times of stress, what form of government they wish to have in their country. If that is democracy, I salute it. I espouse it." -House of Commons, 8 December 1944

It is obvious that Churchill and Will would not be friends; they would be enemies. Hitler and Will would be friends. This is shown even more by Hitler's only publicly recorded (and enormously successful) fundraising speech. It was given at the Industry Club of Dusseldorf on 27 January 1932, and attended by virtually all of Germany's tycoons. He said:

This whole edifice of civilization is in its foundations and in all its stones nothing else than the result of the creative capacity, the achievement, the intelligence, the industry, of individuals: in its greatest triumphs it represents the great crowning achievement of individual God-favored geniuses. ... You maintain, gentlemen, that German business life must be constructed on a basis of private property. Now, you can defend such a conception as that of private property only if in some way or another it appears to have a logical foundation.

This conception must deduce its ethical justification from an insight into the necessity that Nature dictates. [This "necessity' is the doctrine of Adam Smith's "invisible hand' of God.] ... Private property can be morally and ethically justified only if I admit that men's achievements are different. Only on that basis can I assert: since men's achievements are different, the results of [i.e., the fortunes resulting from] those achievements are also different. ... It is madness to say: in the economic sphere there are undoubtedly differences in individuals' value, but that is not true in the political sphere. [If that were so], there would emerge a cleavage between the economic and the political orders, and [the only way] to bridge that gap is to [repudiate the tendency that comes from the communists and from the democrats, their tendency to] make the political order swallow up and determine the economic order. [Hitler assumed here that one of these two must dominate over the other.]

... It is then absurd to allow this principle [of hierarchy] to hold good only in one sphere - the sphere of economic life and its leadership - and to refuse to acknowledge its validity in the [broader] sphere of the whole life-struggle of a people: the sphere of politics. ... To sum up the argument: I see two diametrically opposed principles: the principle of democracy which, wherever it is allowed practical effect is the principle of destruction: and the principle of the authority of personality which I would call the principle of [individual] achievement, because whatever man in the past has achieved - all human civilizations - is conceivable only if the supremacy of this principle [the supremacy of economics over politics] is admitted.

Mussolini famously tagged fascism as "the corporate state." he basic principle is that aristocrats, the people who control corporations, control the government. Churchill did not agree: he was anti-fascist.

Among fascists - that is, extreme conservatives, people who believe in rule by the aristocracy (or else by a theocracy, which is just a religious form of aristocracy) - the tactic is common of saying or implying that a certain "quotation" was said by one of the great proponents and defenders of democracy, such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, or other great Founders of America, or such as Winston Churchill, when that "quotation" is actually nowhere to be found in the given historical figure's writings or in the writings of that individual's personal acquaintances.

The tactic is always done in order to provide "authority" for the given fascist belief, for readers who are democrats and who therefore respect the given falsely cited person. It is rampant on Fox "News" and other such "news" media. Few of these people have Ph.D degrees, or Pulitzer Prizes, but George Will has both. Neither certificate is a license to lie, even if it might have been won by lying effectively, and by not having been exposed by our "news" media even after decades of his doing it - demonstrably lying or deceiving, which he certainly has done, though there has been space here to discuss only one instance of it.

Incidentally, that Koch-funded scholar earlier referred to is Ilya Somin, who also wrote other far-right things, such as an essay "Foot Voting," arguing in favor of what's otherwise known as the race to the bottom in corporate regulation and taxes: maximum competition between localities so that corporations will locate in places with the lowest regulation and lowest taxes, so that the public will take on that burden from which corporate owners are being freed, via the public's higher taxes, lower wages, and higher pollution (toxic air, water, and food). "Foot voting" (fascism) is compared to "ballot box voting" (democracy), which is portrayed as being vastly inferior. It's all just an elaborate and well-funded scam by aristocrats and their flaks such as George Will, fishing for conservative suckers.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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