Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Actually,

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to put it succinctly, the only problem is that nothing is in the way of this liberal elite radical socialist madrassa-trained Islamic Kenyan Nazi (who, by the way, is Black) from forcing his agenda down America’s throat, and that his administration has all the resources they need to deal with the current oil spill* (right after he wins both wars, stops torture, bans lobbyists, restores faith in government, saves the economy, ends corruption, resurrects the Democratic party, quells American fear, solves the Middle East crisis, fixes health care, bails out the states, balances the budget and gives us all jobs).

Who does he think he is, king?

*And really, us liberals know that all Obama really needs to do is part the Gulf of Mexico so that BP engineers can just walk up and plug the pipe, but that he’s holding back so he can put the screws to evil capitalist corporations…

The Narrative

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Obama gave a speech last night to address not so much the BP Oil Crisis, but the media narrative surrounding his involvement with it, for the two have little in common. That didn’t stop the narrative from plodding right on, but then nothing Obama can do is ever remotely in the right direction (so sayeth the narrative).

a) The Oil Spill was somehow Obama’s fault. This allows opponents to draw parallels to Hurricane Katrina (because there are only two sides to every issue and every partisan move has a direct analog, right?). Yes, the government bears responsibility, but not in the way the narrative implies.

b) The government has the resources to address the spill, with the implication that it isn’t mobilizing those resources. The governor of Louisiana got the troops he asked for. The appropriate authorities have put up barriers all along the Gulf. The government leaned on BP to provide billions in an escrow account (arguably the biggest hostile government takeover of private assets in Obama’s administration to date, yet the least controversial) to pay damages, and yelled at every American oil corporation for having basically the same policies as BP. It remains to be seen whether MMS and other regulatory agencies will have cleaned house by the time all this is done, but that’s basically the extent of government involvement. The issue, after all, is not whether the government can plug the hole itself (it can’t; nobody can), but whether it can stop corporations from breaking what they can’t fix.

c) Obama’s leadership is in question due to his impotence in the problem. I voted for Obama because he was a fresh, vigorous Democrat who looked like a strong leader, sure, but also because there was no way in hell I’d ever vote for the GOP. Obama’s inauguration was historic, sure, but aside from the warm glow of that night, nobody actually believed he was Jesus and JFK rolled up into one. Indeed, such sounds more like a GOP sneer on how strongly liberals supported Obama during his candidacy rather than how liberals saw him. So, to hold him to such a standard where he’s able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and swim to the ocean floor and beat it into submission is disingenuous at best.

There’s things to get Obama on – his criminal negligence of continued illegal detentions, his hawkish stance towards Afghanistan, etc – but he’s a politician, and one with the worst job since Hoover left office, coupled with a far more hostile congress and public than FDR ever had to deal with. We’re at the point where the GOP narrative has so poisoned the well for all government (after defanging regulatory agencies, defunding legacy projects and decades of media campaigns devaluing government initiative) that we have an entire “movement” of so-called Tea Partiers who don’t know what they want except that DC should burn. We’re at the point where reaching across the aisle means liberal Dems making deals with NDC conservative Dems, because the GOP are gleefully and cynically sabotaging government – delegitimizing the current administration – rather than looking to govern.

The idea that the same pundits can criticize Obama for not doing enough (whether it’s the bailouts, the recovery plan, the health care bill, or the BP response) while simultaneously blocking his every move is insane, but that’s the current narrative.

The Damage Has Been Done

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Brooklyn prosecutors have found no criminal activity in the actions of the Brooklyn ACORN offices that were video-taped by James O’Keefe and his slutty girlfriend. “They edited the tape to meet their agenda,” say the police, exonerating the advocacy group.

Now all we need is for network TV news to blare that message nonstop across the nation for two months. I mean, fair’s fair, right? How fast do you think Fox News will pick up the story, eh?

In other news, Harold Ford wrote an op-ed in the Times as to why he’s no longer running for Senate. Of course, nowhere in it does he mention that he wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.

Tax-Dodging Survivalist Motherfuckers

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Or “terrorists,” for short.

Joseph Stack tried to set himself up as a church to avoid paying taxes, then when that ploy failed railed against the Catholic Church. He took a tax code revision that clarified whether IT workers were independent contractors or employees (and thus subject to payroll taxes) as a direct attack on another of his schemes. He got very incensed that his family was caught by the IRS and forced to pay back taxes. And he himself admits to a relatively light tax burden:

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair
share of taxes (as can I)

And so when he tried to burn the Austin IRS office down, instead of being reported as the textbook case of terrorism that he so clearly perpetrated, there’s a marked reticence in the mainstream media to call him such. I mean, he’s domestic! White! And Christian! Never mind the last white guy to try to blow up a government building…

Manufactured Distractions

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The Huffington Post is “reporting” on a “feud” between Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly. That this takes up the space of real news is not news, but the commentators to the article are, thankfully, beginning to push back. To repost a comment by jungpatawan:

This is exactly what is wrong with the MSM today – “fairness” to them has devolved into giving a sound-bite soapbox for every wandering kook and a bully pulpit for useful idiots (Hello, Joe the Plumber and his new radio show!)

There is a huge miss going on here, and it is symptomatic of the whole problem with public discourse filtered via the media today. Essentially, they are not making a distinction between legitimate protest and crazy ranting.

It was legitimate to protest Bush’s policies which led to thousands of American deaths and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, the destabilization of the whole Fertile Crescent, and the devaluation of the American “brand” throughout the diplomatic world. This level of cause and effect was demonstrable, and the only debate possible was whether the results were worth the cost.

Today’s “patriots” as they are being described by Fox, are protesting a death-panel which doesn’t exist, an embryonic Naziism which was a fitter description of the previous administration, and socialism, which some can’t even spell, judging by their signs, much less define.

Bush protestors were consciously trying to stop a war. Obama protestors are unwittingly (sometimes wittingly) trying to protect corporate profits. Bush protestors were self-motivated and self-organized. Obama protestors are astro-turfed.

Jon Stewart is more trusted as a newsman than actual newsmen. We have a 24 hour news cycle with little to no in-depth coverage (a statement one commenter misappropriated to David Frum). What we have are not news networks but propaganda machines – with the Huffington Post among them – and hopefully enough people are beginning to pay attention that we may turn this around before we lose our place in the world.

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