Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Tucker Carlson mocked the idea that government should defend consumers from telemarketers.
In fact, this goes to the core of the right-wing extremist view of government. Government is *us*. When we don't like something, we use government to change it. Government is key to setting rules for markets. "Don't call people who don't want to be disturbed" is a fine rule for the marketplace. By making it a rule, one company doesn't lose business by not interrupting your dinner, while a more vile company annoys everyone but gets a few extra sales.
And then, ha ha, Begala mentions how Carlson gets his jollies by toying with the telemarketers. That's a fine thing to joke about, but it isn't something to be proud of. I guess you could call it un-Christian. A lot of the people making the calls are just trying to earn a living in a wretched job market. To be impolite to someone who is trying to feed a family is really low.
What we *really* need to do is put a Democrat in the White House, fix the economy, and *then* put the do-not-call list into place so people making the phone calls have a good shot at getting a new and better job.
New York Times has *two* articles today on the TV show, West Wing. The season premiere is tonight.
We know GE (NBC is a subsidiary of GE) dumped Sorkin, who wrote every episode (but one) of the show that won awards like crazy.
One of the journalists writes that some fans think replacing the President with a Republican (in the show) was done to curry favor with the administration.
Then she writes: "That reasoning is what Italians call 'dietrologia,' the art of finding dark, ulterior motives behind the most obvious decisions."
And what do you call such 'straw man' arguments? Propaganda.
And what do you call ignoring and ridiculing the possibility of dark, ulterior motives? Journalism.
Just for the record, GE gets gazillions of dollars in tax breaks from their man, Bush, and even more gazillions in "soft money" -- under-audited military-industrial complex projects that flow money from the pockets of working taxpayers to the super-rich like a thousand fire hoses.
Can we imagine GE deciding to make West Wing more "fair and balanced" in order to reduce the implicit criticisms of Bush? Yes. There's a fair bit of evidence that the head of GE ordered NBC news to assist in the 2000 coup d'etat -- calling Florida for Bush when the actual vote count was too close to call.
On one of GE's other networks, MSNBC, they canceled their top-rated show for not being popular enough, and carry a string of less popular empty hairdo talkshow hate-mongers because they aren't liberals. On one of Disney's networks, a show was canceled after a White House spokesman referred to a comment on the show and said people should be careful what they say.
I'm saying you would be ridiculously naive to think there's no chance politics has something to do with some changes in the works for West Wing.
The issue isn't putting the vile Republican into the White House temporarily. The issue is how they go about being more "fair and balanced." If it's done for drama, that's fine. But if it's done to prevent the positive display of liberal values and to make right-wing extremists (like the current crop of Republican leaders) sound reasonable, then it will be a little easier to wonder about the dark, ulterior motives. That's just an empirical question, and we'll find out the answer as the season goes along.
Personally, I thought the writing was *very* good on the show, and if the production schedules were a little chaotic, that wouldn't bother me -- look at how many actors and stories they were juggling, and how well it all came off. Dumping Sorkin doesn't seem like the best idea.
"So, Wesley Clark is running for president. Pretty amazing guy. Four star general, first in his class at West Point, supreme commander of NATO, saw combat in Vietnam, won the bronze star, silver star, the purple heart for being wounded in battle. See, I'm no political expert, but that sounds pretty good next to choking on a pretzel, falling off a scooter and dropping the dog." --Jay Leno
It turns out Hatch *is* a buddy of Schwarzenegger, so the amendment to let foreign-born citizens become president really is explicitly the Ahnold-for-president amendment.
Bush is quite a magician.
He made budget surpluses disappear by the trillions of dollars, he made more than three million jobs disappear. He pulled a war in Iraq out of his hat, and then made the justifications for the war disappear.
His speeches would be a lot more entertaining if he would switch to pulling rabbits out of his hat and making Condi Rice disappear. A lot of us would like to see him saw Tom DeLay in half, too.
Nickles and dimes....
Since Bush gave his primetime TV speech, his poll numbers are tanking.
You can't fool all of the people, all of the time, and a growing number of people are opening their eyes.
Bush asks for $87 billion, for the military and for economic aid to Iraq and Afghanistan. That's a steep price, but if it were believable, we'd be glad to pay it.
Instead, we assume he is lying about the military costs. They won't account for the money they've already spent, and what we know is that they spend more than they ask for up front.
And we know he's lying when he says we'll spend what it takes for economic development. Afghanistan needs 5-12 billion, Bush offers another billion. Bush says Iraq needs 50+ billion, and he budgets less than 20. Is he really going to be able to steal the rest?
And how much is going to Halliburton and other Bush crony corporations? And how much could we save by paying Iraqis to do the work?
We deserve a complete accounting of our money, and our blood. Bush's poll numbers will keep dropping until we get one.
Uncivil, un-American, un-Christian. That's what the right-wing extremist attempts to silence opponents are.
In our democracy, we need for people to be able to tell the truth without fear of scurrilous slurs on their patriotism.
Nut-cases who say questioning Bush's choices about Iraq harm the troops should be laughed out of the room Bush choices about Iraq put the troops in harm's way, without the resources to do what needed to be done.
Well there you go: sexed up by the chairman of the joint intelligence committee....
At the request of Blair's chief of staff, John Scarlet replaced this sentence:
"Saddam is prepared to use chemical and biological weapons if he believes his regime is under threat."
"Saddam is willing to use chemical and biological weapons, including against his own Shia population."
The rewrite removes the best judgement about what Saddam might be prepared to do, and replaces it with a mostly irrelevant statement about what Saddam had done years before.
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Last update: 10/1/03; 10:29:31 AM.