I woke up this morning preparing to finish a post on capitalism and the right wing this morning, so that I could put it up this weekend, when I received an email from the “Truthdig!” web site. The author, who is also the Editor of Truthdig, was Robert Scheer. I dropped my capitalism post immediately, out of concern for what has to be the worst case of Obama Derangement Syndrome I've ever seen in a professional lefty.
Robert Scheer was a liberal reporter and columnist of incredible note for many years. I’ve been a fan of his since I was a kid. Unlike many on the professional left, Scheer has unquestionable journalistic chops. He’s one of the few on the professional left who can boast of Pulitzers and legitimate acclaim.
So, when I found the following article linked in my email this morning, I was concerned. If ODS can hit a pro lefty with his reputation, is anyone really safe? Here's the article of which I speak.
If you want to quibble with President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, feel free. This is a free country, after all, even if the right wing would like for everyone to be less free. But the speech was masterful for two reasons. First, it laid out a bold vision for the future that every progressive should be excited about. But just as importantly, it used the Republican Party’s own rhetoric to frame the issues, which means they'll have to abandon the few principles they have left, to attack Obama. This should make progressives downright giddy.
Yet, my Twitter feed has been chock full of naysayers this morning; mostly, they’re self-professed “progressives” who are managing to twist themselves into something of a pretzel shape in order to backhand President Obama for not being perfect. The professional left have been particularly harsh.
Arianna Huffington, for example, Tweeted the following first thing this morning:
See, the problem with us progressives is, many of us think we know all about issues, but we don’t. We get so bogged down in pointless minutiae, we completely lose sight of the issues themselves. The funny thing is, some "progressives" PRIDE themselves for knowing about millions of small details on every issue, at the same time they lose sight of the big picture, and what politics is REALLY about.
Take the NDAA, for example. Oh, my, are some people on the left pissed off about this! It started with the professional left, but a lot of far lefties took up the mantle.
Oh, my goodness, folks! The entire republic is about to go up in flames because the president might actually be able to imprison some non-citizens indefinitely during a war! Gosh, when has that ever happened, right? And it’s ALL President Obama’s fault! That hopey changey bastard! How DARE he sign a bill that passed with a veto-proof majority in which 2 of its 565 pages were flawed?
As those who have been following this blog for a while know, it’s about uncovering lies and encouraging the use of facts to move the progressive movement forward. The problem with saying things that are provably false is, eventually someone will discover the falsehood, and will tend to not believe anything you say afterward. We need a majority on our side, which means we must invest ourselves in truth.
I’ve always had a problem with “fact checking” web sites run my major news or propaganda organizations. Media Matters, I love, because they don't actually interpret. They simply say whatever was said, then show whatever caused a contradiction, and let the readers decide what they should believe. They do lean left when it comes to choosing which lies they discuss, but their discussion of falsehoods is rarely, if ever, actually biased. Too many "fact checking" organizations, however, have a tendency to assert their own biases in their analyses.
Some will recall that I had a major row with Factcheck a couple of years ago, when they tried to claim the Affordable Care Act would allow for government funding of abortions. It was bad enough that they made a mistake, but after I uncovered the mistake and corrected them using language in both the ACA and the Hyde Amendment, the director of Factcheck, Brooks Jackson, insisted he was right because, well, he was, that’s all. They lost a lot of credibility with me, and many of my readers, and I still fact check Factcheck as a result.
One reason the progressive movement has been largely stalled for the last 30-40 years is because the average person simply doesn’t understand what our movement is supposed to be about. That's entirely our fault. The loudest component of the progressive movement, the “professional left,” as it were, likes to speak broadly about issues, at the same time they obsess over minutiae that really has no basis in reality. If you look at the liberal press, especially the blogs, you see mostly broad negatives, very few positives and quite a few unhealthy obsessions.
Their latest unhealthy obsession seems to be with banks, specifically "big banks," whatever the hell they are. I suppose it's one of those "you know them when you see them" things, right? Big banks are the root of all evil, as the professional left sees it. If we just get rid of those "big banks," our economy will be fixed, all poor people will become rich, angels will once again dance on the heads of pins, and no police officer will ever again stop a black man for walking through the “wrong neighborhood.”
Okay, that was a slight exaggeration, but only slight.
So Herman Cain has suspended his presidential campaign. Pardon me while I yawn. This was never a campaign, so much as a book tour. No one on the Republican side has more than a snowball’s chance in hell of winning anything. Cain was never going to get the nomination, which is why it has always amused me that anyone took him seriously at all. But this column isn’t about his doomed candidacy; it’s about this notion that Cain’s main qualification (besides his having the right skin color to allow right wingers to think they could be forgiven for their racism) was that he was a brilliant businessman.
A must-see video, especially by those folks who insist on putting down President Obama, because they don't think he's "done enough" of what they like. Listen to what this man says, and ask yourself WHY you're disappointed. Then, consider what you're rhetoric is doing to the debate, and how your rhetoric might actually be prolonging the neocon era.
He's only a "disappointment" if you expected perfection. It's never going to happen. Get over yourselves.
Sometimes, you have to wonder what side some of the Professional Lefties are on. There are two clear sides to the politics at the moment, and to deny that just defies simple logic. There is no doubt the Republican Party has been taken over by extremists, and we have to get rid of them. I don’t mean we just have to defeat them and get a majority; I mean we have to annihilate them in the voting booth. This is no longer a horserace between two political parties with different views of where the United States should go. This is a contest between one political party that is perhaps wrongheaded at times but means well, and one that truly wants to tear apart the fabric of this country and go against everything we supposedly stand for.
But take a look at this post from Salon this morning, written by the self-absorbed Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is so incredibly anti-Obama and anti-Democrat that it’s simply not possible to think he’s actually a progressive. (Once more, the root word of progressive is “progress”. Keep that in mind as you read this tripe.) Though the article is entitled “Here’s what attempted co-opting of OWS looks like,” He starts off with his standard rip of Obama. But he doubles down this time, and ends up looking ridiculous. (Red emphasis added)
I’ve said it before. I think the Occupy movement is amazing. It has the potential to change things for a lot of people. I WANT it to succeed. I WANT the landscape in America to change. It’s no longer possible for just anyone to simply work hard at a decent job and make a good living. Economic opportunity, which used to be our hallmark, has largely dried up in many areas of the country, and the “rust belt” is getting rustier and spreading. We have become far too dependent on speculation and bubble economy, and we’ve eschewed real capitalism, in which people make something or provide a service and get paid for it, for some pseudo-capitalist claptrap that’s based on the concept of taking money from someone for doing absolutely nothing, and giving yourself a bonus for thinking of it.
In other words, I get it. Hell; I wrote about it more than a month before Adbusters came up with the idea of “Occupy Wall Street.” (Serfin’ USA?)
And for a while, the Occupy movement was good. It was gaining strength, and it was spreading worldwide. But as I suggested might happen when it first started, it’s turning into a something of a mess. And it’s turning into that because there's no focus, and there is no leadership. By focus, I don’t mean one single solitary message; it can be a theme. And when I say leadership, that doesn’t mean one person who tells everyone what to think or do. I’m talking about a brain trust that oversees where the overall focus is and tries to keep that on track.
Joe Paterno was ousted last night. After 46 years as the head coach for one of the most illustrious college football teams in the country, after 15 years as an assistant, his record as a football coach was almost without peer. He helped mold the lives of thousands of Penn State students, both on and off the football field. After 61 years of service, he earned admiration as something of an icon by the school.
Even now, I am tempted to say, “No one can erase his record of achievement,” but I can’t bring myself to do that. No matter what good he did over the course of 61 years, he failed miserably at the one job, above all others, that we all have as members of society. He failed to protect our most precious and vulnerable asset when they needed him most; our children.
A few days ago, the Pennsylvania Attorney General released its grand jury report on the investigation into former Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s raping of children. Any of you who think I’m going overboard by saying Paterno squandered his legacy has to read this. We’re not talking about molestation here, which would be inexcusable enough; we’re talking about several cases in which Sandusky allegedly raped young boys, and ruined their lives. If you can read this report and not cry with rage, then you’re just plain cold hearted. I’m all for letting the process work, and referring to Sandusky as an “alleged” pedophilic sick monster at this point. But unlike Joe Paterno, I insist he stay locked up until trial, just in case everyone telling their story under oath is actually telling the truth.