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Marion On February - 26 - 2011

I’m not the greatest fan of the BBC. There are loads of things about it which I hate. I’m not so enamoured of paying the equivalent of $300 per year just for the privilege of having a television in my home. I don’t like the fact that, if I don’t pay this licence fee, I can get slapped in jail and fined $1500 in real money.

But the BBC has made me appreciate one thing: their news and political coverage. Here in the UK, the BBC has news bulletins at 1pm, at 6pm and their main one at 10pm. Of the three terrestrial commercial networks, two have bulletins at 1pm and 10pm, and a third has a comprehensive hour-long news bulletin at 7pm nightly. Yes, there’s a 24/7 cable channel, BBC News 24, but hardly anyone ever watches it.

Wow, that’s a first. Imagine being able to say that hardly anyone ever watches CNN or Fox or even MSNBC.

Anyway, people make do with those mainstream news bulletins, plus an hour-long analysis show nightly called Newsnight, and a weekly panel discussion entitled Question Time.

But the difference between the US and Britain is this: all of the people purporting to be political correspondents for the BBC or any other commercial outlet are steeped in political history, strategy, and fact. They’ve been doing political journalism since the cows came home. They know the way their Parliament works, they know the way their politicians work and they know how their government works. In the analysis show, where the pundits weigh in, we’re treated to political savants who’ve made politics their life’s work. They’re ex-politicos or political opinion journalists, and they know their stuff. They debate in measured tones, take tough questions and give tough answers. There’s an occasional bit of snippiness and rudeness, but no argumentum ad hominem.

In short, there aren’t any ex-sportscasters screaming down the tube or interrupting guests on the show, no comedians purporting to be political pundits who speak in generalities and offer ill-founded advice. If a BBC political commentator were ever to refer to a politician from a party he disdained as “a fat bastard,” he’d be forced to apologise cravenly and publically and summarily sacked from his job as incompetent.  And if any political commentator referred to the Prime Minister as “needy” or called him a “pussy,” his feet wouldn’t touch the floor and they’d make sure the door didn’t hit his ass on his way into unemploymentland.

Too many people in America these days suffer from a terminal dearth of ability to think critically. That’s a laziness that needs to be conquered. The Left as well as the Right find it all to easy to vegetate in front of a television full of political rhetoric, be it Fox or MSNBC, designed to cater to your political pleasure and provide you with opinion you’re too intellectually lazy to foment, yourself. In the evolutionary process, your cranium was filled with gray matter called a brain. It might be wobbly in substance, but it sure ain’t jello.

Just as watching too many violent movies de-sensitizes us to violence in general, watching too many shouting, frantic, ill-informed and deliberately misinforming celebrity talking heads not only makes us ruder in discourse, it closes our minds to proven facts behind the opinions our icons are spewing at us. And too many people these days are clearly unable to discern fact from opinion; and many of those who are, dispute facts in favour of opinion.

Go figure.

Not only are we living in a world exceedingly worshipful of the celebrity cult (and that’s being kind), we also live in a world where the political modus operandi is total illusion.  In the blink of an eye a talking head can have us believing that the President is the master of illusion, himself – a Manchurian candidate who isn’t even legitimate owing to his supposed foreign birth, his alleged enemy religion, his socialistic, communistic, fascist political bent … all euphemisms to mask the real reason that the Right side of the political coin is uncomfortable with the fact that there’s a black man in the White House.

And on the other side of the coin, we’re led to believe, by those who – supposedly – speak for us, the viewing public, that, among other things, Obama’s sold us out, Obama hates the Middle Class, Obama’s homophobic, Obama’s caved on single payer/the public option/Elizabeth Warren/tax cuts for the rich (take your pick), Obama’s weak, Obama should be more like Bush, Obama should be less like Bush, Obama’s done nothing. Again, that’s pretty much a masquerade in and of itself too. These whinges, whinings and moans distort the fact that certain elements of the Left don’t like the idea of having a black man in the White House who doesn’t do what they want when they snap their fingers.

When Egypt’s middle classes rose up in revolt against their dictator, celebrity talking heads on MSNBC, demanded that the President intervene in the crisis – the selfsame people who, rightly, decried Bush’s interventionist policies in relation to Afghanistan and Iraq. So whilst it wasn’t kosher for us to barrel into a couple of countries and dismantle their own elected governments, without anything concrete to set up in replacement, it’s perfectly all right to wade into a civil dispute in another country, taking sides with an opposition which really wasn’t an organised opposition at all, but a plethora of people with differing beliefs but united only in that one of wanting their dictator gone.

And now these same people, who have microphones and mega salaries, are saying, demanding, haranguing that the President go to Wisconsin and align himself physically with the marchers on the picket lines. This is the political advice being given, in particular, by ex-sportscaster-ex-neocom-cum-Damascene-converted Progressive Ed Schultz.

This is an absolutely puerile demand.

To begin with, Obama’s already recognised that Scott Walker’s brief is to bust the unions and he’s denounced that. He’s made statements asserting that people in unions must not lose their rights to collective bargaining. Then there’s Organising for America, who’ve worked extensively and recently with these activists and organisers in co-ordinating these protests.

To think that a serving US President, no matter what he spoke in the rhetoric of his early campaign days, would physically place himself on a picket line or at the head of a large group of union activists with a gripe against a duly elected state governor is beyond the pale of critical thinking.

First of all, such an action would demean the Office.  Secondly, there’s the security question. Can you imagine the President with his cordon of Secret Service Agents amongst the demonstrators in Madison? Can you imagine the police responsibility? And can you imagine if the Kochs had sponsored a counter-demonstration with Teabaggers, some of whom might be packing a piece loaded with bullets all engraved with the President’s name?

Good grief, we’ve already had one Teabagger ask a Republican congressman once this week who was going to shoot the President.

Thirdly, this dispute is between the people of Wisconsin and the man they duly and legitimately elected their governor. On election day 2010, a great many people stayed away from the polling booths because they were angry. They’d been told their President wasn’t working for them, that he was weak and pandering to the Right, that he was really a Republican in a Democrat’s guise. And when the people stayed home and didn’t vote, those who did elected people like Scott Walker with a hidden agenda which is now only just becoming apparent.

Rather than the snarky Nixon-era subject of Paul Simon’s Seventies’ classic “Love Me Like a Rock,” hiding behind the Presidential Seal on the Presidential podium, Walker’s got the State Seal tattooed on his hairy ass and he’s mooning the people of Wisconsin. They got sold a bill of sale and now they’re exercising their Constitutional right to protest.

This is between Walker and his constituents.

If the President shows up, it then becomes Obama pitted against Walker. It would be an absolute field day for the states’ rights advocates on the Right, Fox News would experience an organism which would register 12 on the Richter scale and Glenn Beck would spontaneously combust. If his presence meant failure for the protestors, he’d be assailed by both Right and Left – nothing new there. If he were successful, then a precedent would be set and scores of other states would expect a magic presence to make all their problems go away. And the Republicans would probably try to impeach him.

News Flash: The President is not our daddy, and we are not his children. Somethings we have to do for ourselves.

At least one union, the SEIU, was adult enough to thank the President for his words of support, but that’s as much as they wanted. They know the score.

As for Ed Schultz, this is the same political pundit who, not once but twice, in the late summer and early autumn of 2010, urged first the long-term unemployed and then all Progressives not to vote in the mid-terms. Not voting would teach the Democrats a lesson; in fact, Ed said he wasn’t voting.  He demanded the first moratorium because Congress could not agree upon an extension of Unemployment benefits before the summer recess; the second moratorium was a hissy fit in reaction to Robert Gibbs’s frustration with the Professional Left, which Ed and others of his ilk managed to convince their hoi polloi that Gibbs’s remarks were directed at them.

Considering the fact that the GOP made record gains in the House and in gubernatorial slots and state legislatures nationwide, it sure looks like Ed achieved what he’d requested. So for all his blustering and posturing the past week, the actual truth is that Ed Schultz bears some of the blame for Scott Walker getting into a position of power.

And now, this week, he’s been haranguing the President to appear in Wisconsin or risk becoming a one-term President.

Well, considering that Ed has had a long history of association with the Republican party, including having run as a Republican (and lost) for a Congressional seat, and considering that Ed, too, is one of several high-profile people on the Left who, prior to November 3, 2004, identified themselves strongly as conservative Republicans, maybe Ed’s operating from another agenda altogether.

November 3, 2004 must have seen a helluva lot of Damascene conversions for the price of a corporate bag of Rovian silver.

But then, we do practice the politics of illusion in America.

Categories: News & Politics, The Media

134 Responses so far.

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  1. Fi says:

    Marion, I am a bit late to this post, and i have enjoyed reading it.
    I am feeling obliged to defend the BBC, may I just point out what it is exactly that the $300 covers.
    BBC 1
    BBC 2
    8 RADIO STATIONS
    6.5 ORCHESTRAS,
    ALL THE “ONE OFF” STUFF, THRU’ OUT THE YEAR, eg THE PROMS.
    I don’t like handing over my money either, but you do get a lot for your money with the BBC.

    • Marion says:

      True, but there are evenings when we don’t even turn the television on because most of the stuff they show is sheer CRAP -- DIY and reality programs, Dancing with the Stars … and they also have two or three people, on radio, doing the job of one.

      I know when the World Cup is on, they send an ARMY of people, right down to paper pushers in the backroom as “essential”, and they treat it as a jolly. They use more people to “cover” the US elections than they do the Brit ones, but a LOT of those people are not essential. I pay for that, and I object to it, just like I objected to paying Jonathan Ross the equivalent of $28 million a year “because of his talent” so he and Russell Brand could ring a 78 year-old man on the phone and broadcast the lewd messages they left him.

      The political coverage and news, as well as their period drama series and documentaries are good; but I can’t say much else about the BBC, except that they are overpaid, over-staffed and over here.

  2. ghsts says:

    Marion wonderful critique of culture there, and no doubt would fit seamlessly on any US news-porn programming. I often shake my head in disbelief at the nonsense that passes for rational critique and won’t judge you harshly as you express much of the same frustration that fuels media machines.

    You assessments are misguided in many respects but most profoundly in the premise that people were “told” lies and then succumb to apathy. To quote Lenon “And curse Sir Walter Raleigh, He was such a stupid get.” The irony of your judgments are not lost on me. You have the president nailed in your rationalizations he is letting Fixed News, msm corp run his presidency, (oh no, god forbid the psycho right could point to his behavior and cry foul because that so doesn’t happen with his conservative policies.) To understand that, one has to have spent time as an outcast but you don’t get into the white house without being “in”. The President has done no better or worse than most in his position. The fact that his rhetoric begins to salvage our ability to form international coalitions is remarkable despite having done so to maintain the status quo of international banking and oppression. It’s the sad truth that the US shares its mothers obsession with the royal classes.

    Everyone knows “the score”, sell me today sell me out tomorrow. For this reason alone every POTUS should have his feet held to the fire. The position is one of absolute punditry with the power to effect monumental shifts among our nation’s largest employer. After weeks of criticism of the state department, the US has made “bold” progress in condemning one dictator universally hated by neocons. Well, at least he can pander to power while remaining cautious.

    We do practice political illusion above all else in this country, substance is just something the schoolyard bullies snicker about in the back of the class room. The only agenda is one of creature comforts, give the people just enough to shut up, prevent real change cause that is way too scary.

  3. KQuark says:

    What we should be discussing is what to name this movement and how to organize it so it can be sustained. Every effort in the recent past to organize the left activists have fizzled out. Mostly because either they were too small or just anti something and of course the media never bought the narrative.

    • Buddy McCue says:

      Getting the left to work together is like trying to get a team of cats to pull a dog-sled.

      One thing you have to admit about the Right: they sure know how to pull together. They get their message of the moment, and almost all of them are willing to repeat it. They “get the memo,” as they say. Notice that the Tea Party did not form their own political party; they voted Republican.

      Also, look at where the Left and the Right get their news: The Right tune in to FOX. The Left is all over the place; some people watch MSNBC, others CNN, others Satellite TV, some rely exclusively on the internet, or eschew all those choices in favor of print media, or this, or that…

      In a way, that’s a good thing. Personally, I don’t like feeling like a herd animal, going with the crowd, “getting the memo” and dutifully repeating the message of the day. If I did, I would go with the flow around here where I live and be a conservative.

      I guess its a good thing and its a bad thing at the same time that we can’t be herded.

      • audadvnc says:

        The authoritarian drive to unite as a social and political force is a personality quirk of people drawn to the right, just as the drive to be independent of central authority partly defines the social consciousness of their counterparts on the left:

        “…a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong….strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.”

        From the wikipedia page on fascism:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

        Of course there’s more to it than the one-dimensional left/right axis -- but it’s a powerful influence.

      • Truth says:

        Getting the left to work together is like trying to get a team of cats to pull a dog-sled

        😆 -- so true

    • Truth says:

      KQuark, totally true. The same happens in some European countries- every splinter group is fighting on their own for their tiny issue, and so the left remains powerless.

      Now collectively asking the rich to pay their taxes could be an issue to unite at least the left.

  4. david p canada says:

    In my home province of Manitoba, which is currently governed by a Party with a definite socialist agenda (the New Democratic Party or NDP, for short) essential services are not allowed to strike. Instead, any labor disputes that cannot be settled between the govt and the union are referred to a committee for binding arbitration.

    This process is also required of corporations which have unions as well. For the last ten yrs we have had pretty much total management/labor peace.

    Before then, it was a nightmare, with even the police withdrawing their services at one point. Thankfully, they were legislated back to work within a few days or we would have had anarchy.

    Collective bargaining is fine, however in a civilized society, essential services should not have the option of striking.

    Perhaps the reason the committee system works so well is that both sides have to submit their final proposals to the committee, and they select one proposal or the other in their entirety. This naturally prevents any one party from submitting a “silly bugger” proposal because the arbiters will reject it in favor of the most reasonable offer.

    Imagine that, a socialist govt curbing union rights. And damned if it doesn’t work reasonably well for everyone.

    • KQuark says:

      I showed a graphic a while back. There are no significant strikes in the US for about 25 years now. So it’s just a moot point here.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      In most of the US, those who provide essential services are not allowed to strike either. HOWEVER, they do have they ability to collective bargaining in an effort to negotiate with their employers(the states and municipalities) to come up with an equitable situation for all.

      Thus, the situation you describe is not much different than it is in the US…HOWEVER, the problem down here, is that many of the masses don’t have ANY understanding of how the system actually works.

  5. ADONAI says:

    KT, that is fine. I think we agree on the outcome but have different opinions on how to get there. The Republicans have to be stopped on this. One way or another, it’s gotta get done.

    • squeezed says:

      Not sure if we can completely stop the Republicans, they are a determined bunch, but I do believe we can mitigate the damage they cause.

      The President has so many people yelling at him, each of them with their own issue, gay rights, unions, women’s rights, health care, jobs, energy, pollution, taxes, war, etc, etc, . . .

      I don’t know how he can possibly address each and every one of them to everybody’s satisfaction. I can say for sure that if I were President, I would have just said “Fuck all y’all” by now and quit but then again, it’s also why I’ll never be President.

      • Buddy McCue says:

        I certainly do admire his patience and courage. It’s more than I could do.

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        I tend to agree. I wouldn’t be able to stomach the bullshit either. YOU can’t EVER please everyone! And sadly so many don’t seem to get that very simple concept!

      • ADONAI says:

        squeezed, I would have definitely said “Fuck all ya’ll” by now. But I don’t think I would quit. Maybe. It’s a TOUGH job despite what many may think. But, yeah, definitely a “fuck you” to everyone. Let them know where I’m at.

        And THAT is why I need your vote in 2016. Best. Press Conferences. Ever.

        • Marion says:

          Can you honestly tell me when ANY President of the United States has taken such shit from BOTH sides of the political coin? I remember every President since Kennedy, and I can’t remember the grief this man has sustained. And we ALL know why it is.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      Absolutely Adonai. They want complete control over the middle class. They want a slave state. No visual shackles and chains, but they do want to shackle and chain the middle class.

  6. Abbyrose86 says:

    Is everyone familiar with the Great Coal Strike of 1902?

    140,000 coal miners in Pennsylvania walked off the job in May of 1902, demanding an 8 hour work day, a 20% pay increase and recognition of their union the United Mineworkers union.

    The owners of the mines, decided to play hard ball, and wait it out (they could afford to) and assumed the workers would give in, because they needed the money. Much to everyone’s surprise the workers did not give in and stayed on strike.

    Come fall, the orders for coal were coming in rapidly, and the mine owners could not fill orders. The demand for coal in May was minimal, but not the case in fall, as coal generated factories and home heating fuel for much of the northeast. Coal prices skyrocketed.

    President Teddy Roosevelt, up until that point basically stayed out of labor issues. However the lack of access to heating fuel, was a very major issue, besides public support was largely on the side of the miners, not the owners.

    Teddy, being a pretty savvy politician, made a public announcement that if the strike continued he would declare a national state of emergency and have the army take over the mines. (THAT WAS FOR PUBLIC consumption only). Privately he asked JP MORGAN (one of the richest most influential robber barons of the time) to put pressure on the mine owners and the union. IT worked, as those in business at the time, didn’t say no to the likes of JP Morgan. The two parties went to the table and compromised on a solution.

    The miners didn’t make much headway toward their demands, but they did get some concessions. Pay was increased 10% and the work day was decreased to 9 hours a day from 12.

    Roosevelt looked like a hero, although he really didn’t “Do” much.

    My point in bringing up this story, is that there are ways this TOO can be handled by the POTUS and probably will result in things really happening “BEHIND closed doors”…Truthfully it’s always been that way. The public is fed one thing and the real work goes on behind closed doors.

    I am sure Obama and his staff are aware of the REAL history of our nation and are aware of things WE the public aren’t.

    • david p canada says:

      Unions were heroic enterprises back then.

      Now it’s about how many “sick” days, personal days, study days and just plain old tomfoolery days the union can squeeze out of the employer (usually the taxpayer).

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        I think, that there are good unions, led by good people and unions that are led by bad people. I think JUST like anything in life, and that is ran by actual HUMAN beings there is opportunity for bad people to do bad things.

        Interesting to note, the union leader of the miner’s union at the time, was actually quite corrupt. ALTHOUGH he was quite charismatic and attractive. As such he could play the public very well, but he WAS taking kickbacks.

      • squeezed says:

        Wow. Stereotype much?

        Let me guess, you would rather government have complete control and the final and only say in regards to education and security?

        No input from teachers and cops?

        • I find it interesting that the GOP is suddenly supporting states’ rights in this, considering how President Grover Cleveland sent in federal troops in the Pullman strike, over-riding a state plan, to enforce a federal court injunction based on a flimsy excuse.

          • squeezed says:

            Good point. I keep finding their support of governmental authority over pay and pensions really, really hypocritical. They couch their argument in pretty words about tax payers and states rights, but just try and tell a private sector employee how much they’re worth and the Right screams SOCIALISM!

            Do they or do they not support governmental control over wages?

            • Abbyrose86 says:

              I’ve come to the conclusion that the GOP are nothing more than opportunists, that use the populist sentiments of the TIME for their own gain and don’t really give a rat’s ass if the policies they endorse actually make sense.

  7. KillgoreTrout says:

    Adonai, I agree, except for the part about Obama stating he is on the side of the protesters. Yes, he did make that statement, but it was a whisper compared to the effect he could achieve by holding a press conference. He needs to tell the American people more than, I support the protesters. He needs to explain WHY he supports the protesters. He needs to put his oratory talents to good use.
    You know how most Americans are. They have very short attention spans. What is happening now is a very real threat to the middle class. One of many threats and harms that have already taken place.

    • ADONAI says:

      KT, It would be nice to see Obama go on for 10 or 15 minutes about the bullshit in Wisconsin but it’s not necessary.

      He really can’t put much action behind his words on this issue. I would rather see him go behind closed doors and start hitting the phones. He’ll get further with private discussions than public debates.

      This isn’t about Obama, at all. The Presidency is not a cure-all. This is about Wisconsin and their legislature. And that, in my opinion, is where the real emphasis should be.

      • KillgoreTrout says:

        Adonai, why can’t he do both? I see no reason why he couldn’t. I just think a press conference would be very effective in getting more of the country to take notice of what the republicans are attempting to do.
        I know the POTUS is not a panacea to all of our problems, but he is the leader.

        • ADONAI says:

          KT, I guess I could see that. Many people do need the constant affirmation.

          It just kills me that 24 hour news coverage of something like this isn’t enough for people to care.

          And so what if Obama gets more involved? The right will then just accuse him of forcing federal interference into a state issue and start a whole new dumb as fuck argument.

          The people who support Obama should damn well already be aware of what is happening here. And the ones who don’t support him don’t give a fuck anyways.

          The only people who REALLY matter are the people in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. And they are VERY aware. And through them, the rest of us become aware.

          • KillgoreTrout says:

            If it were just one state, I would agree with you. But when several states are involved, it goes beyond just a state issue.
            Who cares what the republicans might think. They are against Obama no matter what he does.
            I just think Obama can add more weight to the argument.
            What state will be next in wanting to bust up the unions?

            • KillgoreTrout says:

              Adonai, it goes beyond a state issue in the fact that other states have been trying to silence the unions.
              Yes, technically it is a state issue, but I also believe that these encroachments by the right will widen.
              My thinking is along the lines of, “nip it in the bud.” I know Obama has little say in this, but I still believe a national address would alert more people to the impending danger that this union busting imposes on the middle class.
              I think one of Obama’s flaws is that he seems to have a problem with getting the issues out to the public. Communication between the white house and the people is essential.
              I think we will have to agree to disagree on this.

            • ADONAI says:

              KT, The states have to win this battle. Not Obama. How does it go beyond a state issue? The federal government has NO grounds to interfere here or impose anything onto this debate.

              So it is very much a state issue. The people HAVE to do this.

              We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

  8. Chernynkaya says:

    It seems to me that these members of the Progressive caucus are sending a mixed message--“Obama has supported the unions admirably, but should do more, but not necessarily go to WI.” Huh?

    Progressive Caucus head: Walker ‘basically taking up the posture of a dictator’
    By Michael O’Brien -- 02/23/11 11:55 AM ET

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has adopted the posture of a dictator by refusing to negotiate on a labor reform, a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said Wednesday.

    Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the co-chairman of the CPC, said Walker was “is basically taking up the posture of a dictator” in his standoff with state Senate Democrats over legislation limiting most collective bargaining for public employees.

    Ellison and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the other CPC co-chairman, framed the battle in Wisconsin as one that could predict the outcome of similar labor battles in other Midwestern states.

    “If we win this battle for middle-class workers in Wisconsin, we will win everywhere else in this country,” Grijalva said in a call organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC).

    The liberal leaders sought to bolster Democrats in the state Senate who are locked in an extended standoff with Walker over his labor reform bill. They’re hiding out in Illinois, beyond the jurisdiction of state troopers, which has the effect of preventing the Senate from being able to convene and pass the bill.

    The Wisconsin battle has become increasingly nationalized, as labor groups and Democrats have expressed support for the public employees unions, and Republicans (and allied groups) have weighed in on behalf of Walker.

    “This is a great place for us to have this battle. We absolutely must win; there is no other option,” Ellison said.

    Both Grijalva and Ellison said they were grateful for President Obama’s decision to weigh in on behalf of workers in Wisconsin, but Grijalva also urged the president to use his “bully pulpit” a bit more forcefully on the issue. (Obama’s political arm within the Democratic National Committee had helped organize demonstrations against the bill in Wisconsin, but has shied away from taking too much credit for the protests.)

    “I don’t think you can turn the cheek on this one,” Grijalva said.

    But he is not “turning the cheek on this one!”

    IMO, the President should make another strong statement in support of public and private unions. He should definitely NOT go to Wisconsin. Where are the democratic leaders on this?? it is there job to either go and/or make many more supportive statements. So far, the only Dem Senator who has been vocal has been Dick Durbin of Illinois. Obama is too often left out there to hang alone.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/145705-progressive-caucus-head-walker-basically-taking-up-the-posture-of-a-dictator

    • ParadisePlacebo74 says:

      I agree that the President could easily over-play his hand in this, but I’m worried that many of the “I can’t be bothered with thinking for myself” types will completely ignore the reasons for not directly entering the fight. Let’s see if I can imagine what they’re thinking about this (when and if they actually do): “Obama say he put on shoes and stand in crowd — pretty news people show me video! But him not stand in crowd. Obama not tell truth! Obama bad… Yay! Millionaire Money Drop on!! Money good! {drool…}” Ok, maybe that was a bit over the top, but these so-called “swing voters” don’t understand what’s really going on. Rep. Grijalva may be right — a little bit of showmanship might be the right move.

    • ADONAI says:

      Couldn’t agree more Cher. The “left” leaves Obama hangin’ way too much.

      It’s like they want a leader in name only. They never seem to have any intention of actually following him. Just someone to pin the blame on when they fuck up.

  9. ADONAI says:

    Unless I want just 5 channels, I gotta pay quite a bit more than $300 a year to watch TV. So, it really doesn’t seem all that bad. But, anyways,

    THANK YOU!!!! I watch Ed and I think, it’s like someone gave ME a TV show. I don’t need to be on a “news” network yelling at people!

    And let’s say the President did go against the wishes of the Secret Service and every handler he has, and actually went to the picket line. If the protesters didn’t then gain immediate victories, people like Schultz would complain that the President just made it worse.

    You can’t let people like Ed Schultz draw you into their world. Into their mode of thinking. If Ed is REALLY with us, if he REALLY cares about the country, he’ll quit his 6 figure job and actually do something beneficial.

    I don’t see you at the shelter Ed. I don’t see you at the unemployment center. I just see you on TV in your comfortable studio provided by your corporate sponsors.

    You can’t sell crazy to the Left. They won’t buy it. Fox is number one because their audience eats up crazy. MSNBC’s does not, yet they still insist on offering it.

    • david p canada says:

      Fox and MSNBC have a loyal viewership of little more than 1% of the population. People who wait with baited breath for these haters to infect their living rooms are the same who go to their first Amway recruitment meetings with delusions of yachts and Swiss villas bouncing in their heads as reality.

      The WWE comes to mind. Rasslin’. Brock Rockbeater is the hero one week, villain the next.

      When ruff and ready Ed calls someone a goat, a goodly portion of the Left shouts in acclamation. When Beck portrays himself as the Messiah’s messenger, Right-wing preachers take his verbal swill straight to the pulpits of the nation.

      We need to tune these assholes out. There are plenty of talented brilliant voices of moderation ready to lead us out of the wilderness if we only stop and listen carefully.

      It’s just so damned difficult to hear them over the cacophony of the false prophets of doom.

      • jdmn17 says:

        David

        It would be interesting to see someone dive into that phenomenon. I mean if 1% buy them completely then what does it say to the rest of their audience? What demographic profile do they fit? Are they reality show junkies, craving talking points to suit their inner anger? Or people whose views are directly opposite from theirs and they tune in to yell at the TV screen? I don’t have the answer and I continue to be astonished how such a small group of people seem to be driving our national debate. I mentioned it earlier somewhere, it reminds me of the whole prohibition era where a small minority drove a national movement to some horrifying results. Although the Canadians sure sold a lot of smuggled whiskey during that time.

      • KillgoreTrout says:

        David, this is the problem with cable news. They view politics as the new spectator sport. They are in a televison arena. They mix news and entertainment (spectator sport)and attract people who are obsessed with the battle between left and right. It’s bigger than the WWE.
        Your analogy to cable news and, “rasslin,” is quite correct, in my opinion.
        Walter Chronkite once warned of the dangers inherent in confusing the news with entertainment.

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        Well said David! i couldn’t agree more!

      • ADONAI says:

        BRING BACK PHIL DONAHUE!!!!

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          I liked Donahue…he brought many issues that were often ignored, to the public consciousness.

        • david p canada says:

          Well, let’s not get ridiculous.

          He put the “L” in Liberal and in Loony. Oh, Geez, now you’ve got me started.

          Oprah. Dr. Phil. Ellen. Rachel Ray.

          Please drill a hole in my head and pour sulfuric acid directly into my brain. Then suck it out with a Wet-Vac.

          Now I am properly prepared for an afternoon of crying over lost puppies and abandoned transvestite lovers. Blind paternity tests. Men who have lost their wives to their sisters.

          You can almost hear the intelligence of America leaking out like air from a pin-prick in a balloon.

          • ADONAI says:

            david P., his hilarious talk show aside

            The man was the ONLY person on MSNBC against the Iraq War and everything else Bush tried to push on us.

            The ONLY man on TV pushing progressive counter ideas on a nightly basis. And they fired him for it.

            I LOVED his MSNBC show. I watched it everyday. He is the guy who made me a progressive.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      What you and Abby said.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      Good points A. NO kidding about the cost of our tv programming. I pay quite a bit more than $300 per year so that I can have a few channels that I like which don’t come with the basic package!

      I didn’t mind Ed when he first came on the scene on MSNBC, but the more I watched him, the less I liked him.

      While I appreciate he is passionate, sometimes he is ridiculous in his conclusions and in his ideas about how to enact real change.

      Sometimes I get the sneaking suspicion he is a plant…especially after he called for people to NOT vote in protest…that bothered me.

      And I agree wholeheartedly about the dangers to the President if he were to attempt to go to these rallies…the danger to HIM and the security necessary to keep him safe, would make the rallies into a joke.

      • St James says:

        Hi Abby!

        I think Ed is the blue collar guy on MSNBC and *they* would be the perfect audience for him His analysis usually lacks the subtlety they can do without but which more sophisticated viewers prefer. Sometimes Ed reminds me of a wounded animal…He’s hurting and doesn’t understand why or how to make it stop.

      • ADONAI says:

        Indeed Abby. It’s best the President does not directly interject himself into state issues.

        His vocal support should be enough.

  10. henlopen says:

    Ed Schultze is absolutley right. If Obama never had any intentions of supporting labor directly in the field then he should not have said, unequivocally, that he would. That he would actually put on his “walking shoes” and do so. It is not unreasonable to see him at a rally --like Governor Patrick Duval of Mass., speaking in defense of unions and workers rights. Unions are a major anchor of the middle class and the Republicans are trying to destroy them.
    And no--Obama was’nt speaking figuratively .
    We need real leadership atthe top not a vacuum.

    • Quite frankly and honestly, the POTUS has no jurisdiction over what is introduced as legislation in a state legislature.

      He *might* have jurisdiction over something signed into law by a state government, depending on how it conflicts with federal law.

      While I welcome anyone’s right to express themselves on a subject, I do not support anyone throwing their weight around until the ball is in their court.

      At the moment, Obama telling the state legislature what to do would make as much sense as Snooky pleading with the California legislature to pass a state budget.

    • KQuark says:

      I don’t buy it. This should be a ground up cause from the left. Name one Republican leader who is holding national office that’s leading the tea party.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      You don’t think that a SITTING president, walking through crowds is dangerous to his safety?

      HAVE you forgotten the lessons of our rather trouble passed concerning assassinations?

      How MANY presidents have been assassinated?

      In addition, you do realize that death threats against Obama are at an all time high? HOW would him being in such a situation be beneficial?

      IT is highly UNREALISTIC to expect a sitting president to be in such a crowd, the security would be impossible.
      Also

      • henlopen says:

        Sitting Presidnts walk through crowds all the time. Have you never heard of the “rope line?” As for addressing a rally--since when have Presidents completely stopped addressing crowds from the steps of a capital building someplace, for example ? Don’t make flimsy excuses. I worked hard to get Obama elected but we need real leadership.

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          THAT would be your opinion….please see my post on how Teddy Roosevelt handled the Coal miners strike in 1902.

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          And AGAIN…any TIME the president is out in public, it is AFTER the area has been thoroughly secured.

          When Obama came to my city last year, the secret service was here for days before getting ready for the visit. ALL police at all levels were involved in securing the area. It was crazy the day he arrived in our area.

          The residents of the area, were very restricted in where we could go and what roads we could use.

          IT was insane, and like nothing I’ld ever seen before…but of course in the city where I live, we did have presidential assassination, so we realize the risks.

          A sitting president does not have the freedom of movement to just up and go somewhere and it is unrealistic and devoid of COMMON sense to think he does.

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          NO they don’t…not anymore. WHEN they have walked through crowds, its been AFTER the area was thoroughly secured and THOSE in the crowds, have gone through security.

          This isn’t worship, it’s called COMMON SENSE!

          • henlopen says:

            Then he could address the rally from behind your stainles steel screen surrounded by the army via TV. Hasn’t done that has he ? If you have another negative answer for that then I guess we all know where you’re coming from

            • henlopen says:

              Making a statement and actually leading are two very different things

            • Abbyrose86 says:

              Actually he already DID address the issue…not in person, but he did make a statement.

              “Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain, generally seems like more of an assault on unions,” Obama told the Milwaukee television affiliate WTMJ. “And I think it’s very important for us to understand that public employees, they’re our neighbors, they’re our friends.”

              http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/obama-opposes-republican-anti-union-b

              WHY would it make a difference if he actually went there in person or made a statement on TV?

              Should he make another statement on TV…probably…but his physical presence is NOT required…and could actually cause MORE issues than it would actually HELP.

              For goodness sake, he’s just a man…he’s not a god.

            • henlopen says:

              Didn’t answer my question, Abbyrose 86. Why doesn’t he address the rally from behind a secure site if that is what is supposedly holding him back as you suggest.

            • Abbyrose86 says:

              I’m just being realistic, where I don’t think you are.

              And I think you are simply acting like ED and looking for reasons to moan and complain.

              LOGICALLY, and logistically asking a sitting president to go to rallies such as this is simply not realistic and then complaining because he doesn’t is rather childish, in my opinion.

              I’m not the one being negative…I’m being realistic…your comments are negative.

        • ADONAI says:

          It’s a state issue Dave. What do you want him to do? He can’t force it.

          You want a photo-op. Not change.

          • KillgoreTrout says:

            Adonai, good afternoon. I am glad to see someone recognize that the WI battle is a state issue.
            Having said that, I think Obama should do a national press conference to address the issue of union busting, because the attack on unions is happening in other states too.
            I don’t think he needs to go to WI, but it would be nice to see him, on national television, stick up for our unions and the middle class.

            • I personally would like to paddle some of the obstructionists/obfuscationists, bare-assed, on national TV.

              If they can’t act like adults, they are not qualified to speak on adult subjects and hold adult positions in government.

              Act like a three-year old, get treated like one.

            • Abbyrose86 says:

              Excellent suggestion Kilgore.

            • ADONAI says:

              KT, I totally agree. I want him to make a more direct statement myself but the fact he even said , “I’m with the protesters” should be more than enough to know where he stands.

              I’d like to see elected Democrats, period, stick up for unions and the middle class. Wisconsin democrats have to make this happen. And if they’re all sitting around waiting for a pep talk from the “O”,Wisconsin is fucked.

      • KB723 says:

        Abby I agree. I really think the main reason he kept the spying on americans that GW initiated is for the fact that you mention. Honestly I do not begrudge BO for doing so.

    • KB723 says:

      henlopen Good Morning and Welcome to the Planet. Ed has always been one of my favs. Sad how I listened to the innagural speech on his radio show and was Horrified, how they screwed it up.

      • KQuark says:

        That’s because all pundocracy is based on expectation. If Obama does not say exactly what they want it’s instant disappointment. Schultz is playing the expectation game again putting what he wants over anything else. Therein lies the insanity of our current media. No one can always live up to rigid expectations.

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          I’m beginning to be very suspicious of the true motives of the supposed ‘left wing’ pundits.

          Look at Arianna, she is the same as Ed.

        • KB723 says:

          KQuark, Thanks for your reply. I do think in light of all the AntiHelp from the right that BO has done very well so far. Ed does get a bit overly passionate. I really dig Cenk, but I think he was a lot more active to his real thoughts on the Young Turks on youtbe.

  11. escribacat says:

    How interesting that three of Obama’s most virulent critics from the “left,” Huffington, Cenk, and Schultz, used to be conservative Republicans. Maybe their brains operate differently from mine but I can’t imagine going through such a dramatic change of heart. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my life, but I’ve never voted for a Republican.

    • Buddy McCue says:

      Absolutely no need to put the word “left” in quotes when talking about Cenk Uygur.

      I am a regular listener to his podcast, and he’s never been anything less than honest and fair-minded. He does criticize Obama, but he also praises him when he thinks that’s appropriate. Cenk is an issues-minded commenter, as opposed to being a team player. I like that about him.

      And I certainly understand what it’s like to have come from a conservative family and background and to grow and evolve past that. I’m as liberal as can be, but coming from the rural South, it was hardly the default position. I had a lot to learn, and I’m glad I did.

      Cenk Uygur’s family in Turkey was also conservative, but he grew out of his conservative beliefs after being educated here in the States. With education, that sometimes happens to people, and I think it’s a good thing.

      • KB723 says:

        Buddy, Good Morning. Well Said. I have always loved Cenk for all the reasons that you have stated. Back at HP I had predicted that Cenk would soon have his own show, with Keith on his way out. I also predicted that Keith would show up at Current or LinkTV. I was right on both counts. I was checking my mail, not sure if you received my reply.

        • Buddy McCue says:

          I did receive it, but I admit I was kind of dragging my feet in getting back to you. I wanted to look at your tri-folds and stuff before I did.

          I’m downloading that stuff now.

          • KB723 says:

            Buddy, way Cool. I am always a bit cautious when I send personal info. But sometimes it’s hard for people to understand the name of my email and the brocure. They are two different companies. I will soon add the brochure as an LLC of my sign company. I really need to update the three fold. I created that over 7 years ago. I have many more images to add to that three fold. Sorry for having soo much color in the PDF’s I sent, you can feel free to print them in draft. Will save you a lot of ink. 😎

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      Very good catch escribacat. Now that I think about it, I can’t imagine such a drastic change either….excellent catch!

  12. cyrano1 says:

    Marion: Thanks! You’re writing what I think! The polarization here CAUSED by a media which is not held responsible for weighing the merits of each side of our disagreements continues to shove us into our respective corners. Schultz, who I found to be too hyperbolic to listen to prior to the Wisconsin demonstrations found a place in my heart when the “greater evil” of blatant union busting made his rhetoric more welcome and palatable -- (for about a week).

    I watch BBC, CBC, PBS Newshour, and Al Jazeera to obtain the more in depth local and important global information not uniformly available on our own mainstream MSM. A couple of exceptions in my view are Fareed Zakaria and Christiane Amanpour. Plus there are sometimes moments of lucidity among some of the other daily MSM pundits (excluding Fox) who occasionally buckle down to do some research, call in real experts, and indulge in more in depth, balanced reporting. Rachel is the ultimate go-to person to dig out truth to combat right wing spin and lies and would never suggest that sitting out an election is a good idea. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your system of civility required of British media so we wouldn’t have to resort to shouting?

    Television news isn’t the only vehicle of spin in the US. I just this morning cancelled my subscription to Newsweek Magazine. It’s been easy to ignore their regular ultra right wing columnist, George Will; but when they gave this week’s cover story to their shiny new Obama bashing columnist, Niall Ferguson, it all became too much to support. Ferguson, in my view, is a simple-minded Rumsfeld clone equipped with a larger vocabulary -- and he apparently believes Obama’s inability to control and guide unfolding events in North Africa reveals a fatal flaw in his foreign policy expertise.

    Thus again, opinion becomes fact for the uninformed in a country full of provincial voters who proudly confirm their lack of global perspective.

    • jdmn17 says:

      Am I merely suffering flashbacks or does my mind recall a day when Newsweek was actually a liberal leaning rag while Time held down the right? Admittedly the 60’s weren’t exactly my finest time for memory retention (amazing what I do recall and what important stuff I merely brushed aside -- when my daughter got into 60’s music I was astonished to finally hear the lyrics :-) )

      • cyrano1 says:

        It was once a liberal publication! John Meacham was at the helm and Fareed Zakaria was a regular contributor. When Newsweek was bought from the Washington Post by Sidney Harman last April for one dollar, Meacham and Zakaria bailed. They must have known it was a failing publication, and found new homes elsewhere. It did come as a surprise to me that a rightward slant was in the works.

        The Feb 21 issue which prompted my cancellation contains a slim 48 pages including ads, the Will article, the Ferguson ambush, well-written pieces on Wael Ghonim and the Mubarak history and family, and ends with a page devoted to Bristol Palin. Quite a mess!

        • jdmn17 says:

          cyrano

          thanks, I mean I know I wasn’t the best trooper back then but I was pretty sure when I did research in college I used Newsweek and Time as contrasts. Score one for my memory not being as bad I was beginning to believe it was :-)

          • cyrano1 says:

            jdmn17: I loved the fact that at once time they were contrasts, but not as “contrasty” as they later became. I subscribed to both for many decades in order to get a sense of balance in public “thinking”. I cancelled Time in disgust well over a decade ago over an outrageously inaccurate William Safire piece, and just now have cast off Newsweek. I guess I’ll just cave in and finally subscribe to “The Nation” as my only snail mail current events source. It’s a proudly lefty rag and some of us currently jammed into our ideological corners are increasingly in need for comfort from those who preach only to the choir. Besides, it has that nostalgic cheezy newsprint quality so lacking in today’s slick-faced, slim contents publications .

        • Marion says:

          Niall Ferguson is considered pretty much of a joke in the UK. He’s still waxing lyrical about the Raj and colonial imperialism. He’s just left his disabled wife for Liz Cheney’s hate-mongering neocon friend Aan Hirsi Ali. Nice man.

          • cyrano1 says:

            Marion: Hah! Thanks! I just looked him up and he really does appear to be as you describe. A self-serving, heartless predator disguised as a “notable journalist” fitted with enough proper education credentials to get away with it here in the US.

  13. Caru says:

    That £300 buys you Dr. Who!

    Unfortunately, it also buys you Torchwood.

    • Marion says:

      $300, not sterling. Never watched Dr Who. Or Torchwood. I like the Beeb’s documentaries and classical dramas, but they do put out some tripe as well -- the Brit version of Dancing with the Stars etc.

  14. Redemption Song says:

    Nice, Marion, and so well written. You’ve said a lot of what I’ve been thinking, with the exception that I don’t mind the occasional intensity of BBC reporters, even when I don’t agree with where they’re headed. I would add that I’ve often silently wondered, “Hmmm…and so how many of these protesting teachers, firefighters and police offers either voted for Walker or didn’t vote at all?”


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