Saturday, September 30, 2006

So much for "Cut and Run"...

What they really did

Friday, September 29, 2006

ABC News: Democrats Who Back Terror Bill Get Cover

Part of the reason why the United States of America sanctions torture now ABC News: Democrats Who Back Terror Bill Get Cover

On a more positive note...

LiveScience.com - Researchers: Rare Woodpecker SightedLiveScience.com - Researchers: Rare Woodpecker Sighted

Rove: "Jack who?"

The United States of America sanctions torture now.

The United States of America sanctions torture now. Pull the language in the anti-terror bill apart, filter out the spin and that’s what it says.

It says, “We sanction torture now.”

Shame on the politicians who put their careers ahead of their principles and rammed this bill through in order to look tough on terrorism for the upcoming elections. Every vote for this bill was first and foremost a vote for political self preservation and an unthinking act of cowardice.

230 years of steady improvement in the human condition. Shot in the ass by the cowards in Washington.

Shame on the mainstream media for the way they covered the story with their dim-witted, pretty, on-camera people and their self-interested, self-preserving pundits and their corporate masters with their corporate agendas.

While the House of Representatives and the United States Senate voted to have the United States sanction torture, the mainstream media diddled itself about whether or not Bill Clinton had a “meltdown” during an interview on Fox News last Sunday.

Nice work, morons.

And shame on the every organized religion in the country that does not stand up and address the fact that the United States of America sanctions torture now. Shame especially on all the right wing Christian patriots out there who can’t seem to remember that Christ himself was tortured – or that thing about, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, this you do unto me…”

Hey Christian patriots - the next time you ask God to bless America, ask God about the fact that the United States of America sanctions torture now.

Torture is like murder. Either you commit it or you don’t. There are no degrees of coloration, no mitigating circumstances, no context. From George Washington right up until the politicians passed this bill, our nation has been against torture. We've been against torture on the record, in the law, in the hearts of the people.

Now the United States of America sanctions torture.

Jack who?

I'm shocked... Shocked, I tell you...TPMmuckraker September 28, 2006 06:57 PM

Supporting the troops

A summmary of the new terrorism bill

Jack who?

Jack who?

Letter To Senate Judiciary Committee

They passed the torture bill anyway. NO QUARTER: Letter To Senate Judiciary Committee

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How did your rep vote when it came to habeas?

Aye means no habeas - that the president can detain whomever he wants whenever he wants for as long as he wants. Feeling safer yet? Final Vote Results for Roll Call 491

Six out of ten...

There was a lot of graffiti on the wall over the urinals in the Officers Club at the big Army base at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. They tried washing it away and when that failed they tried to paint it over. Eventually, they gave up, covered the wall with a blackboard, and even provided the chalk.

The South Vietnamese flag was yellow, with a couple of horizontal red stripes, prompting some anonymous relief-seeking beer drinker to chalk up this:

“The women can’t f**k. The men won’t fight. The flag speaks for itself : what ain’t yellow is red.”

There comes a point in any occupation where the civilian population divides into two camps: The apathetic and the antagonistic.

The apathetic try to live as normally as possible. They will not support either the occupation or the insurgency the occupation is there to quell.

The antagonistic are the insurgents. They hide in the open among the apathetic – the reds in the yellow back in Vietnam.

The symbiosis between the apathetic and antagonistic presents the occupier with a riddle that is impossible to solve. You have to kill them to save them, which is never an especially effective way to win their hearts and minds.

The National Intelligence Estimate, (parts of which the Bush Administration declassified and released the other day), reflects this enigma. So, too, does this here.

Nearly six out of ten Iraqis surveyed approve of attacks on American troops. The ratio of apathetic to antagonistic would seem to favor them.

It comes down to this: Are we willing to kill them in order to save them? If so, how many? And how many Americans are we willing to sacrifice in the process?

Sure you love the war. But do you love it at $2 billion a week?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Well isn't this special...

Swift boating at its finest TPMmuckraker September 27, 2006 04:23 PM

Out-Roving Karl Rove

Public Blames Bush More Than Clinton

This little reminder...

Lost in all the sturm and angst about which administration (Clinton or Bush) did less to kill or capture Osama is the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States, not the people, installed the Bush administration in the White House in 2001.

Everything that has happened since – including the government's response to 9/11 – is rooted in that decision.

We cannot say whether a Gore administration would have uncovered or foiled the 9/11 plot. We should not waste time worrying about it. But we can say with a high degree of certainty that we would not be mired in Iraq and making more terrorists every day if a complete Florida recount had made Gore president.

Had the Supreme Court not stepped in, had a compete recount put Gore in the White House, we would not have GITMO, military commissions, extreme rendition, or the surreal national debate on what constitutes torture that’s going on right now. We would not have incurred the $100 billion cost of the war in Iraq.

We would be five years down the road on stem cell research. We’d be partners in the Kyoto Agreeement. Tax cuts, if any, would have been more moderate.

The budget might or might not be running at a deficit. The government would probably be seen as more fiscally responsible than it is presently perceived to be.

Everything about where we are now as a nation we owe to the five justices who were the majority in Bush v. Gore – a decision so fundamentally flawed that those justices proscribed using it as case law in any future decisions.

They installed George W. Bush in the White House where, together with the complicity of a corrupt Republican congress, he veered the country sharply to the right and drove us into the ditch.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A question...

A question for anyone old enough to remember the Nixon Administration and the swell time those people put the country through.

Do you think Nixon et al would have carried presidential power to the extremes the people in power today want to carry it?

If they’d had a Republican congress like the one on the hill now, would they have had us debating what constitutes torture and whether or not habeas corpus pertains to CIA prisoners/military detainees?

Crossed wiretap bill

Habeas? Bush don't need no stinkin' habeas

Senator Patrick Leahy on this week's proposed trial procedures for suspected terrorists TomPaine.com - Showdown Over Habeas

More terrorists, anyone?

Water Boarding

Here'swhat they're debating up on the hill. What do you think? Should we do this to people or not? YouTube - Water-boarding 101

Vets on the cheap

The Bush administration caring for those who served. The Columbus Dispatch - National/International

War on the cheap - "Support Our Troops" ala the Bush Administration

Rummie wants to underfund the Army again next year Army Warns Rumsfeld It's Billions Short - Los Angeles Times

Fox News at its finest

Fox News couldn't report a story straight if their lives depended on it. Lucky for them it's always someone else's life who depends on it. Eat The Press | "Nice Little Conservative Hit Job": And Also, Nice Little Conservative Clip Job | The Huffington Post

Keith Olbermann On Clinton's Fox News Interview

You've got to see this. You've got to hand it to Olbermann CountDown-SpecialComment-ClintonInterview.mov (video/quicktime Object)

Freedom (cough) is on the march

Monday, September 25, 2006

Let the swiftboating begin

TPMMuckraker weighs in with a little taste of the crap to comeTPMmuckraker September 23, 2006 12:50 AM here

So long, Habeas it's been good to know you

Christy Hardin Smith at firedoglake on today's Judiciary Committee hearing and the gutting of habeas corpus it may well lead toFiredoglake - Firedoglake weblog � Judiciary Hearing on Gutting Habeas This Morning

How Stupid Does Newsweek Think American Readers Are?

Check out Newsweek's cover overseas vs Newsweek's cover here in the United StatesAfghanistan: Is Victory Turning to Defeat? - Newsweek: International Editions - MSNBC.com

NY Times on Minnesota's 6th District Race

Reader CH points out an interesting item in Sunday's New York Times: A Campaign in Crisis Mode - New York Times

Thursday, September 21, 2006

October Surprise?

Word bouncing around the right wing of the blogosphere is that Karl Rove has an “October Surprise” in the works.

To quote George W. Bush, bring it on.

While no one ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the American voting public, the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have gone to the surprise well once too often. Barring Martial Law and suspension of the 06 elections, they have pretty well shot their political wad.

What are they going to do? Declare war on Iran? The prospect of another unpopular, unilateral and arbitrary war will stampede voters to the Democratic side of the ballot.

Let Rove summon all the terrorist bogeymen he wants. At long last, Americans seem to be reaching the point where they’re sick and tired of being told to be afraid. They know that this is the home of the brave. If (God forbid) another terrorist attack were to occur within the United States itself, people are not going to cower and cave in. They’re going to react like the people in Israel react. They’re going to be pissed off at the government in power – the government of George W. Bush.

The Republicans have hundreds of millions of dollars squirreled away in PACs and campaigns and campaign committees up and down the ballot. They will do everything they can and whatever it takes to retain control of the House and Senate. They will swift boat and slime every Democrat on the ballot.

Expect October to be unsurprising. Expect a withering, thirty-one day, crapstorm of negative and personal and polarizing advertising. Expect push-polling. Expect screaming pundits on cable television 24-7.

Their goal for October is to make the entire election process so off-putting that you won’t vote in November.

Independent, Republican or Democrat, don’t let them do that to you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Step One For An Internet Political Junkie

I used to smoke two packs of Marlboros a day. It was a lovely habit.

Every day began with a cough – a weak, fleshy burble from a rheumy catarrh that produced substances of varying and curious viscosities. Forty smokes and eighteen hours later, it was back to bed, the prospect of a painful and early death obscured by youthful nihilism.

Lurching into parenthood, I decided that if I wanted to stay alive long enough to get my children safely started in life, I would have to forego my two packs a day habit. At least for a couple of decades.

I used to drink alcohol, too. I drank with an unhealthy degree of regularity. Although the label on my brand of bourbon suggested I, “enjoy in moderation,” genetics trumped everything, and, eventually, finding myself alone at the party, I put the lampshade back on the lamp and put the bottle aside, too.

Now, I have a new vice. I am hooked on political websites and blogs. I started innocently. I’m up to forty site and blog visits a day.

I’m a left-leaning guy – the son of South Side Chicago Democrats who, (somewhat immoderately), produced nine children and taught us early-on that western civilization owed everything to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. Without Roosevelt, not one of those ingrate Goldwater Republicans would have had a pot to pee in during Great Depression. They’d be living like the Joads on the way to California, the no good thankless fools.

So I surf the lefty sites and blogs and cop a reaffirming buzz. There are people – and more than a few of them – who think like I do. But its taking more and ever more shrill content to get the same warm, fuzzy feeling. I’m scaring myself. Time to admit I am powerless over Internet politics.

I can not resist visiting atrios.blogspot.com – a snarky Philadelphia-based blog high on the A-list – a must-read.

I’m a fool for firedoglake.com – Connecticut-based home to a group of bloggers who were instrumental in helping businessman Ned Lamont defeat three-term incumbent Joe Liebermann in a Senatorial primary.

Then there’s huffingtonpost.com, named for and honchoed by Arianna Huffington. huffingtonpost aggregates news and information from around the Internet and blogosphere. Got to have my huffingtonpost. At least once an hour.

rawstory.com unearths new outrages about five times a day. Addict that I am, I love new outrages. For gravitas and poll numbers, give me talkingpointsmemo.com and dailykos.com.

The best of them all, though, is Oklahoma-based bartcop.com. Bartcop (the man, not the website) has been answering the bell, round after round, since before they impeached Clinton. He claims to have an IQ of 64, and posts prodigiously.

There are others. – far too many to list here. And, across the aisle, I am sure there are legions of strung out, red-eyed, right-wing addicts mindlessly dragging and clicking, looking for that political high, echoing the rants they’ve read, alienating their less addiction-prone and more moderate friends.

I am powerless. I should quit, but I’m not ready. Not yet. So I hereby make the following promise to myself:

I will quit cold turkey on opening day of Twins season, 2010. They will be outside then. My children will be grown and I will adjourn to the left field foul pole stands to drink beer, smoke Marlboros and cough.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Torture

My great-great-great grandfather (I’m not sure how many greats back) fought the British in the Battle of Ticonderoga in May of 1775. So did his son, my great-great (or so) grandfather. The family took a few wars off after that, moved from Vermont to the South Side of Chicago, and was minding its own business when World War Two came along.

My father served as a scout in an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon in New Guinea in that war. He caught what poet ee cummings called “a nipponized bit of the old 6th avenue el” – a “million dollar wound” that got him a ticket home, then tormented him every day for the next 45 years.

Two of his brothers served in the Army in Germany. One was wounded. Twenty-five years later, my older brother and I went to Vietnam. I went over as soon as he got home.

I have a niece on active duty in the Navy. Her brother spent several years on active duty with the Army. He finished his reserve duty just before the Army instituted a stop-loss program that might have kept him on call to return to active duty at the whim of the Pentagon.

These are the family bona fides. We went when we were called. Some of us even volunteered. We weren’t thrilled about it, but there we were, bored stiff or scared shitless, according to the moment. Other families have done much more, but then other families have done much less.

Now the Bush Administration wants to sanction torture by getting Congress to say it is not torture. They want to tighten up (they say “clarify”) America’s interpretation of the Geneva Convention’s definition of torture. The tighter the definition, the more a number of questionable techniques can be said to be legal.

My guess is the Bush people behind this atrocity never served in the military in a war zone. My guess is they never had family serve in a war zone either.

If they had, they might feel some compunction about exposing captured Americans to a similarly-relaxed definition of torture.

They don’t feel any compunction. They don’t care that, should they get their way, your kid or my kid or our grandkids in the military will be just that much more vulnerable to torture themselves.

They don’t feel any compunction because they - and their families - don’t go to war.

Apologists will say that the people on the other side are terrorists; that those people will feel no compunction about torturing captured Americans – why should we care about torturing them?

If handing terrorists predisposed to torture another reason to torture isn’t enough of a reason, then how about because we are America? We are supposed to be better than the terrorists. That’s what we citizen soldiers fought for. That's what we always fight for.

If neither one of those reasons is good enough, then join up and head for Iraq or Afghanistan. Get yourself captured. Or better yet, let your son or daughter get captured. See if that changes your mind.

Put up or shut up. If you’re not willing to subject yourself or your family to an increased risk of torture then don’t back the thugs who would subject all service men and women to it. Support the troops. Tell the Bush Administration torture is torture.

I am certain the majority of 231 years of American citizen soldiers would agree.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hmmm...

abcnews.com reports that Mark Kennedy and John Kline are on a list of 60 Republican senators and representatives who took campaign cash from corrupt Ohio congressman Bob Ney. On September 15th, Ney confessed he had accepted bribes from lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others, and was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

According to the list, Kennedy took $4500 from Ney, and Kline took $1000.

Friday, September 15, 2006

On Iraq

They booked a lot of Phillippino bands into the enlisted men’s, NCO, and officers’ clubs in Vietnam, in the ‘70s. Every one of those bands played, “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” – a song made famous by Eric Burton and The Animals.

The girl singers wore mini skirts. The beer flowed. Cigarette smoke hung heavy on the air as the body heat from the crowd overwhelmed the weak air conditioning.

“… We gotta get out of this place – if it’s the last thing we ever do …”

Those bands had other, hipper songs in their repertoires, and the Armed Forces Vietnam Network played counterculture music all night every night.
But the song that summed it all up for most guys would have to be the less-hip, pot-and-acid-free “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”.

The song transcended race, class, and rank. It was easy to join in at the top of your lungs when you were stupefyingly drunk, feeling totally fucked, and wondering what the hell you were doing in Vietnam in the first place.

The military mission was unclear by then, but if you were a draftee (or if you had been harassed into the service by the draft board), your personal mission was perfectly clear.

Get your olive drab ass home in one piece.

Fast forward to Iraq today. We can only pretend to understand what the situation is like for the troops over there. Almost certainly, some – maybe most – feel we gotta get out of that place.

They have given so much for so long. They know that, back home, most people lead lives unaffected by what’s happening in Iraq. Equipped with all the communications tools of the age, they can see that, beyond their immediate circle of family and friends, most Americans don’t care about Iraq – or about them – all that much.

Imagine sitting over there, looking at life without sacrifice as we live it back here. The alienation must be exquisitely painful. Even yellow, magnetic “Support The Troops” ribbons must ring hollow. They seem to be aimed at bolstering support for the war as much as support for the troops.

When we talk about how “we” should stay the course, we should remember that we aren’t “we.”

The “we” who are in the boots on the ground in Iraq are the ones - the only ones – making real sacrifices. They have faces and names and families and friends and lives that have been put on hold while their government sent them halfway around the world to sit in the middle of an insurgency and wait for a resolution no one has yet to envision.

“We” is 147,000 Americans. They’re over there in an impossible position over there. They belong back here. As their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, friends and neighbors, we gotta get “we” out of that place. If it’s the last thing we ever do.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Funny

http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2006/07/
which_one_of_you_is_doing_this.php

Spooky Kabuki

The invaluable website Raw Story has acquired a set of talking points written by the National Security Agency and distributed to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The talking points pertain to the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

You can see Raw Story’s story – and the talking points themselves – here:

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Raw_acquires_NSA_wiretap_talking_points_0913.html

The talking points are the same old “The terrorists are coming!” and “God bless our sneaky-but-selfless wiretappers” drivel the Bushies have been spouting all along. This is a remarkably unremarkable – and threadbare – piece of work.

What’s worth noting, though, is how old and tired the tactic itself feels.

Here we have the NSA passing out tired old rhetoric to a bunch of tired old guys, some of whom will go out there and mouth this crap to the tired old mainstream media, who will create a tired old tempest in a tired old teapot.

Tired old pundits will get on tired old cable television shows where tired old hosts will eke four or five tired old minutes worth of debate out of the subject.

It’s all tired, old, spooky kabuki. It’s spin on top of spin to a point where we can’t get hold of the real policy issue any more.

Strip away everything tired and old. Work your way down to the real issue, and you’ll see it’s important – as fundamentally important as the Declaration of Independence itself.

The real issue is whether or not the government has the right to wiretap Americans without obtaining warrant. It isn’t who those Americans are. It isn’t whom those Americans associate with. It’s whether or not the government can do it.

The Fourth Amendment says no. It has said no for more than two hundred years. The Fourth Amendment, unlike the NSA talking points and the politicians, pundits and TV hosts playing inside-the-beltway kabuki, is neither tired nor old. Let’s hope that, when the time comes, the Roberts Supreme Court will see it that way.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hey, Mark Kennedy...

Hey, Minnesota Republican senatorial candidate Mark Kennedy – how come your television commercials don’t say you’re a Republican?

What’s the matter?

Afraid voters might see it like this?

“Kennedy = Republican.

“Republican = Bush.

“Bush = Yuk.

“Therefore Kennedy = Yuk.”

By not mentioning that you are the Republican candidate for the senate in your advertising, aren’t you, in fact running away from your record, instead of on your record? Aren’t you propagating a misperception? And what’s the difference between that and just plain lying?

As an adman with more years of experience than I care to advertise, I know there is a secondary level of communication embedded in every television commercial. It’s simple, non-verbal, and completely human. Every time you run a commercial, you communicate whether you think the viewer is smart or dumb.

Not advertising your Republican bona fides says you think the viewer is dumb – too dumb to ferret that information out for him or herself.

“Always treat the prospect as if she were intelligent enough to buy your product for the right reasons,” counseled legendary ad guru David Ogilvy half a century ago.

Clearly, for many undecided voters, being Republican may not be the right reason to “buy” Mark Kennedy. Just as clearly, a six-year congressional voting record in virtual lockstep with the Bush administration is not the right reason either. There don’t seem to be a lot of right reasons available to you this time.

But omitting your Republican status won’t create a right reason. It will only communicate a lack of respect for the intelligence of Minnesota’s voters, no matter how engaging and friendly your commercials are.

So stop treating the voters as if they were stupid. Be proud. Say you’re a Republican. Tag your commercials with the fact.

It’s not simply more intellectually and morally honest. It’s essential if you hope to have and chance of winning at all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Confession of a political adman

I have something to confess. Please don’t tell my mother. Let’s keep this between you and me.

Are you ready?

I used to write political advertising.

There. I’ve admitted it. That’s the first step, right?

Bill Hillsman called me up one afternoon back in 1990 and suggested we have a beer after work. We met in a bar on Hennepin Avenue in Minnneapolis and, after a little talk about advertising and baseball, he came to the point.

An old professor of his, Paul Wellstone, was running for the Senate against the rubber stamp record and formidable war chest of incumbent, Rudy Boschwitz. Since Wellstone couldn’t out-spend Boschwitz, the plan was to outsmart him, with a few great ideas from a handful of then-young advertising creatives.

Hillsman wanted me on the team, primarily to write newspaper ads. He liked what he called my “beer-and-a-shot tone.” Was I interested?

Shoot, yes I was interested. Twelve years earlier, Twin Cities based, internationally acclaimed ad legends Ron Anderson and Tom McElligott had done the campaign that sent Boschwitz to the Senate. Here was a chance to do great work in the same category – and on the correct side of the political aisle for me, with my family ties to the Irish of Chicago’s Great South Side.

We (the creative team) were a rabblesque group; an advertising underground; a network of cells – each working independently. Hillsman was the only guy who saw and knew everything. His genius that political cycle was to let geniuses be geniuses – especially two young men working at what was then Fallon McElligott and Rice.

Their TV spots for Wellstone were brilliant – so brilliant that the spots hardly aired as commercials at all. Hillsman just shared them with the press, and let the news stories the spots generated substitute for buying advertising time. The rest of us did what we could, with secondary television commercials, radio spots and newspaper ads.

As a human being, as a long shot, Wellstone was imminently likeable, warm and infectiously enthusiastic. We called him “the product,” and when he won we were overjoyed. It was a brilliant and happy accident.

There were some unhappy (for the ad team) results. Ego ascended. Feelings bruised. Credit, of which there should have been more than enough to go around, was meted out unfairly. Jealousy took over. Many of the most-talented members of the Wellstone 1990 ad team never did political advertising again.

I dd. Hillsman hired me to write TV, radio, and print ads for gubernatorial, senatorial, mayoral and state Supreme Court candidates. I wrote ads for initiative in referendum efforts, too.

There were no more happy accidents, though. Not for me. Each new campaign picked up additional accretions of smarmy consultants, pollsters and spin-meisters, all of them counseling the candidate and the campaign to avoid highly creative commercials, advocating for formulaic, tried-and-true mediocrity.

The last straw was Wellstone 1996, when the Senator, seeking to appear senatorial, opted to work with inside-the-beltway consultant Mandy Gruenwald. I went cold turkey after that. I haven’t done any political advertising since.

Hillsman, being shrewder, more Machiavellian, thicker of skin, stronger of stomach, and larger of ego, endured – and continues to succeed. There was a parting of the ways with Democratic party insiders, followed by Jesse Ventura’s gubernatorial campaign, Ralph Nader’s 2000 presidential run (which some believe stripped enough Gore votes away to make the election close in Florida and set up the Bush vs. Gore Supreme Court decision), and a litany of congressional, senatorial and gubernatorial efforts. He wrote a book. If what I read on the Internet is right, he is creating ads for Democrat Ned Lamont this cycle. Lamont is the upstart who beat three term incumbent Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Party primary in Connecticut.

For many advertising creatives, Hillsman hangs like a pedophile on the schoolyard fence, pockets full of candy in the form of opportunities to make high-profile television spots.

I’m on the wagon, though. Clear of eye, strong and certain again, in recovery, a bit concerned about what I might do if offered a shot at Norm Coleman in 08, but taking this election cycle one day at a time,

But let’s just keep this to ourselves. Let’s not tell Mom.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Path to "The Path to 911."

Lost in the sturm, angst and acrimony swirling around ABC and Disney’s docudrama “The Path to 911” is any discussion of how it came to this. Why did executives at the giant media conglomerate feel free to make deliberately deceptive fiction out of well-documented fact?

Because they they could. That’s why. And because they thought that an increasingly-mediocre, cowed and right-leaning mainstream media would let them get away with it.

Recent history is full of examples of the mainstream media allowing fringe groups to play fast and loose with the truth while the mainstream media itself plays slow and dumb.

The mainstream media stood aside and allowed 2004’s Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to mug John Kerry. The mainstream media let Senate Majority Leader and physician William Frist’s diagnose brain dead Terri Schiavo via videotape without question. In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, mainstream media outlets like Fox News waved the flag and beat the war drums unrelentingly.

And in the small hours of Election Night 2000, with Florida up for grabs, Fox’s Election Desk, (with George W. Bush’s cousin working there) called the state for George Bush. Over at General Electric’s NBC, GE CEO Jack Welsh then pushed hard to get his people to follow Fox. They did. Other mainstream networks followed, creating a perception the Gore campaign could not overcome. It was a hop, skip and jump from there to the remarkably flawed but never journalistically-challenged Bush vs Gore decision.

And so on. And so forth. Back through the Clinton impeachment. Past Monica’s blue dress, through Whitewater and Hilary’s vast right wing conspiracy, all the way to the point where Ronald Reagan’s FCC eliminated the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 (allowing radio and television stations to forego any legal responsibility to present an opposing point of view).

No Edward R. Murrow moments for modern mainstream media types, thank you. A unique combination of mediocrity, insider, “cool kid” status-conscious myopia, and corporate clout in the newsroom has made sure of that, They can’t tell us the emperor has no clothes. They don’t even know they are naked themselves.

Some on the right would argue that the people in the mainstream media are liberal. Some are. Some are not. It would be more intellectually honest to say that ideas such as a free press and free speech – and organizations that work to protect those ideas – require a commitment to constitutional values that is somehow easier for liberals to embrace.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the political spectrum, beyond the most rabid and wild-eyed conservative individuals, corporations like ABC and Disney feel free to exploit values like free speech and the free press in order to accrue profits and power. And because they own the mainstream media itself, they can.