Friday, November 08, 2002


Even though Krugman writes for The New York Times, he hasn't presstituted himself to the GOP like 99.9% of his colleagues in the mainstream media. Perhaps that's because his op-ed gig is part-time and he has a secure day job as a Princeton U. economist, so he doesn't have to worry about getting stigmatized as a "liberal" and killing his career.

In today's column, Krugman's more optimistic about the foreseeable future than I am, and has some advice for the hapless Dems:

Democrats should complain as loudly about the real conservative bias of the media as the Republicans complain about its entirely mythical liberal bias; that will help them get their substantive message across. But first they have to have a message.


To have a chance of breaking through the wall of media blur and distraction, the Democrats have to get the public's attention — which means they have to stand for something.

It's obvious what the Democrats should stand for: Above all, they should be the defenders of ordinary Americans against the power of our burgeoning plutocracy.

Yes, that's what the Dems should stand for, and I would add that the Dems should make it clear that there is absolutely no contradiction in being pro-capitalism and anti-plutocracy. After all, the great savior of American capitalism in the 20th Century was none other than that anti-plutocrat plutocrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


Put the term "mighty wurlitzer cia" into a search engine and see what you come up with. Do a little reading on those links and you might start to understand why the term "liberal media" is nothing more than a Big Lie. One of the best of those links is an article from The American Prospect. Here's an excerpt:

With all that ideological money, institutional heft, coordination, and credentialing, the right has perfected what the CIA used to call a "mighty Wurlitzer" -- a propaganda machine that can hone a fact or a lie, broadcast it, and have it echoed and recycled in Fox News commentary, in Washington Times news stories, in Wall Street Journal editorials, by myriad right-wing pundits, by Heritage seminars and briefing papers, and in congressional hearings and speeches. Privatization of Social Security, vouchers for school, Vince Foster's supposed murder, Hillary's secret sex life, you name it -- the right's mighty Wurlitzer can ensure that a message is broadcast across the county, echoed in national and local news, and reverberated in the speeches of respectable academics as well as rabid politicians.

There's a phrase in that excerpt I would alter to this: "...a propaganda machine that can hone a fact or a distortion or a misrepresentation or a lie, broadcast it, and have it echoed and recycled..." In the so-called "liberal media," gross distortions and wild misrepresentations are far more common than outright lies, i.e., The New York Times Whitewater "scandal" coverage, which was filled with distortions and misrepresentations, with any facts that tended to clear President and Mrs. Clinton either ignored or buried under tons of innuendo and obfuscation.

Welcome to The Virtual One-Party State...

Thursday, November 07, 2002


...for those who really believe in the values the American flag is supposed to represent. From the American Politics Journal, here's an excerpt:

Let me warn my Democrat, moderate Republican and liberal friends -- you had better take stock of what's happening in this nation, and in particular what is happening in mass media, particularly the dissemination of the "news" upon which people rely to make what is now mockingly called "free choice" among the right -- the new right. There has over time been less and less free choice in this nation for lack of true news sources. Voters have no idea who they are voting for. It would not surprise me to see a Martian elected governor of a major state, serve out two terms, and retire to Venus without so much as a comment from our "trusted" anchors and news editors -- as long, of course, as he was "with the program" and supporting unbridled capitalism as the national anthem.

Democrats, you have better spend the next two years working as hard as you can to mount your own propaganda geniuses, your own talking heads that will rival Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the dozens of other syndicated radio and newspaper commentators who have infected our information sources so profusely that no other opinion is heard. Period.


Land that I love...

I thought I saw Lady Liberty shedding a tear yesterday morning...

Wednesday, November 06, 2002


I’m not sure whether I should post tonight, since the election results so far are quite depressing. The Democrats need to win Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota to retain control of the Senate. Plus, based on current Louisiana returns, Mary Landrieu will almost certainly face a runoff election in order to retain her seat – another seat that will be necessary to retain the Dem majority.

One thing to remember at a time like this is that life is not like the movies. In real life, the bad guys often win – and it certainly looks like the thugs in the black hats have won.

It’s a very dark time for the United States of America, the land that I love.

First of all, I’m gonna admit I was wrong. The election predictions I made last week were based on the polls I’d seen and my gut feeling of which way the last-minute undecideds would swing. By Sunday’s final polls, though, it looked like my gut feeling was almost completely wrong. I suppose I could’ve updated the predictions, but I decided not to second-guess myself.

Well, you might say, this is only one election…there’s always 2004. True, but the Republicans have so thoroughly poisoned the American body politic during the past 20-plus years – and are prepared to poison it even further as much as possible in the next two years – that there most likely will be no recovery during my lifetime. And I’m not that old.

One major way they’ve poisoned our politics is by packing the courts, particularly the appeals courts, with far-right extremists - and a Democratic Senate could've at least been something of a brake on that. We’ve already seen how right-wing judges, with their lifetime appointments, managed to pervert the justice system in order to try to hamstring our last legitimate president, President Clinton, with phony-baloney “scandals.” It was no accident that the “independent” counsels just happened to be right-wing Republicans – that’s because Chief Justice Rehnquist stacked the 3-judge panel that picked the counsels with right-wing judges, in defiance of the spirit of the law if not the exact letter. (The law said that priority should be given to senior or retired judges; Rehnquist simply ignored this provision and appointed a right-wing-dominated panel headed by a young political crony of Jesse Helms.)

Sure, the independent prosecutor law is gone, but the right wing has already demonstrated that they will use every sleazy judicial tactic at their disposal to try to destroy a Democratic president. Remember all the ridiculous lawsuits – especially the Paula Jones lawsuit – funded by right-wing organizations? Even if a Democratic presidential nominee somehow manages to get past the usual Republican smear campaign (in collusion with the so-called “liberal media,” of course), the new president will almost certainly be hounded 24/7, 365 days a year, for the next 4 years with frivolous lawsuits encouraged by a right-wing judiciary.

So, for the next 30 or 40 years, not even the election of a Democratic president and Democratic House and Senate will be able to repair the fiscal and social damage caused by The Squatter and his Republican predecessors. Like Gulliver among the Lilliputians, the hapless Dems will be permanently tied up by a right-wing-dominated judiciary - aided and abetted by the Republican Party's presstitutes in the so-called “liberal media.”

And meanwhile, your descendants will inherit a country hopelessly mired in debt and crippling interest payments, due to the Republicans’ incredibly irresponsible fiscal policies, and a society where the great American promise of “liberty and justice for all” is nothing more than a Big Lie.

So I guess this is how the great American experiment ends…

Sunday, November 03, 2002


Though I like "The West Wing," I haven't been able to see it that much this season. However, someone played me an episode he'd taped (I assume it was this week's show), and I was disappointed that the writers seemed to avoid showing a very important aspect of what has happened to our political/media system in recent years.

The main plot had to do with President Bartlett preparing for the last debate with his Republican opponent, played by James Brolin. During the debate, the Republican sounded an awful lot like Shrub did in his debates, with lots of empty platitudes and meaningless rhetoric. At one point, he even said something close to Shrub's "It's your money" in reference to taxes. Bartlett creamed him by challenging him to give the voters specifics on how he was gonna manage the budget. When the debate was over, the Republican knew it was all over for him and admitted as much to Bartlett.

Now, I don't have that much of a problem with that ending, even though it was obviously poetic license to portray a Republican who would actually admit to his opponent that he'd been beaten in a debate. But there was an elephant in the living room that was missing from the script: the pundits, aka The Beltway Bloviators.

If "The West Wing" mirrored reality more closely, as soon as the debate was over, it would've cut immediately to the talking heads, who would then inform us that the Republican obviously won because he managed to get through the entire debate with President Bartlett without once making a serious blunder. After all, Bartlett is a much more experienced and skilled debater, and he wasn't able to crush the Republican completely. Also, according to the pundits, many voters will see Bartlett as mean and arrogant for demanding that his Republican opponent come up with facts and figures.

Who knows, maybe that'll be next week's show, with Tim Russert and Brian Williams (since this is NBC) playing the parts of the Republican shill...I mean pundits.

But somehow I kinda doubt it.

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