For eight years, the Dems cried foul. "Subversion of democracy!" "Theft of the electoral process!" "Sabotage of the Constitution!"
All powered from righteous indignation when we learned, from a leak, that Congressional Goppers had met on Inauguration day, Jan. 20th, 2009, and taken blood oaths to mindlessly block anything and everything that the Obama administration proposed. Even if it was something that began life as a Republican initiative.
Grover Norquist pledged to enforce it by supplying money to "primary" any Gopper who waivered from impregnable obstructionism. Eventually, the prohibition against doing anything gave chain-smoking House Speaker John Boehner such permanent heartburn that he left. With glazed eyes and a tobacco saturated office that stank like a burning trash dump, he left to perfect his tan on the golf course. You remember him. The original Orange Man, before Trump. Interesting the Gopper Establishment always seems to need an Orange Man they expect will be their pliable figurehead, but that's for another time.
Let's get back to righteous indignation over universal obstructionism. Right after a quick stop to pick up a paper.
It's pretty much the same headline we've seen for days: partisan Democrats all shout from the rooftops that any leak of any kind for any reason is evil and a subversion of democracy and must bring the rack and the iron maiden for whoever dared facilitate the leak. The lexicon of torture was there, thanks to the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz cabal.
And the Dems retrenched on part of that dangerous paradigm: they thoughtlessly bought the notion that the veracity of the leak makes no difference. And that would become a really bad idea. Chelsea Manning would be cast into dungeon of solitary confinement, even without light for days at a time. Edward Snowden would become a global fugitive.
Now, it seems the essential role of leaks to exposing even a Watergate are beyond living memory. Certainly, it's beyond this wave of post-November "We wuz robbed!" Democratic zealotry.
It's nice when you can use being oblivious to get around something. Like when US spy agencies hacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.
Except it begins to look an awful lot like it's condemnable when the other side does it, and wholly justifiable when your side does it.
The essential bit of background is what the Democratic Establishment is failing to mention—that they got the idea for their current indignant espousing from some early acts of the Obama administration. As in, when the administration began circumventing previously passed federal law, put in place to protect whistleblowers. Those in power became willfully blind to that law so they could stop whistleblowers—who might have been a good thing when Dubya ran the show, but were potential embarrassments with your guy in charge. So forget the law, and put the whistleblower/leakers on the rack, or in the iron maiden, or keel-haul them, etc. Or put them in solitary in windowless darkness like Chelsea Manning. Or chase them to the ends of the Earth like Edward Snowden.
And spy like hell on the rest of us.
No "We wuz robbed!" when it comes to subversion of our Fourth Amendment rights, as exposed by numerous, persecuted, whistleblowers. No "We wuz robbed!" when it comes to influencing the corporate mainstream media to parrot the approved narrative.
Cenk Uygur had an MSNBC show, "The Young Turks," that beat even Fox News in the ratings. He chose to leave that show—despite being well paid to host it. And he has plenty to say about his own experience with the approved narrative.
"Most of the news you see on TV is totally watered down. The price of admission into the club of high-powered political media is that you can’t say certain things and you can’t act a certain way. That’s because all the big networks are totally captured by the corporate and political establishment and they don’t want to upset the status quo," said Uygur in an email last week.
He adds, "The point of the media is to tell the truth and challenge power. But the mainstream media isn’t doing that right now."
He doesn't ever say anything about the corporate mainstream media's contributions to "fake news" or "propaganda." He doesn't have to. Cenk still does his show, "The Young Turks," on a shoestring, and with both field and investigative reports. Except, now, he does it free of corporate influence and corporate advertisers, as a webcast.
It becomes an inescapable realization that media dependent on advertising is susceptible to whatever is necessary to keep its advertisers. We've even seen that with NPR being criticized as "National Petroleum Radio" and broadcasting stories that dance around poisoning of aquifers and entire groundwater basins from fracking chemicals. We saw it with "Tavis Smiley" on PBS, when his pursuit of topics about labor organizing and fair treatment and benefits for workers suddenly stopped cold when Wal-Mart became the show's sponsor of record.
With the out-of-nowhere appearance of millions of dollars of TV advertising from Koch Industries, the nefarious Koch Brothers now control targeted ad placements that the sponsor cable news channels and the entire lineup of Sunday morning political/public affairs shows across the networks. Leaving us waiting for someone to release internal leaks of what stories were killed and what topics made off-limits. Except leaks are suddenly evil, so that creates a quandary, doesn't it?
When ads are the only on-air mention of a particular corporation engaged in activities that harm the public good, it becomes clear that the financial interests of oligarchs and plutocrats have taken precedent over the news.
Call the "influence" of ads the reality of he-who-pays-the-piper, or call it a sell-out. It even fits most definitions of propaganda. Any example of paid ads to alter reality reeks of hypocrisy when a news organization claims to inform the public, yet kowtows to making sponsors look good by omission of news of what they're really up to. When ads are the only on-air mention of a particular corporation engaged in activities that harm the public good, it becomes clear that the financial interests of oligarchs and plutocrats have taken precedent over the news. As TV ads by Monsanto begin to infiltrate both broadcast and cable news, where are the critical stories on the impending merger of Bayer and Monsanto?
Consideration for one's sponsors? Felt influence? Front office pressure for certain considerations? Propaganda? Fake News? By any name, the whole thing stinks. It's insidious and ubiquitous. And if propaganda is something that omits a large measure of truth and is aimed at establishing public opinion based on half-truths, altered attitudes, and outright lies, than US corporate mainstream media, together with corporate "underwriter" sponsored NPR and PBS programming, are subject to disseminating propaganda. in fact, they are individually and collectively guilty of it on an ongoing basis.
Not that hypocritical corporations buying themselves free passes and "good guy" buttons from the guardians of the gate of public opinion is the whole sordid story. There are plenty of hypocrisies to go around. Especially lately.
Despite eight years of feeling hamstrung by Republicans, right from the starting gate of the Obama presidency? One hypocrisy du jour comes from the Democratic Establishment's damn-the-torpedoes determination to do anything and everything to obstruct and subvert the incoming Trump administration, before it even takes office. Oppose every cabinet appointee. Keep the Supreme Court with eight justices for another four years, even though it was a subversion of the Constitution to keep the Court with eight justices for one year. Payback is a bitch. Deal with it, all you people who voted for Trump. Shove your little red hats where the sun don't shine.
The handmaiden of hypocrisy is scapegoating. And last Thursday—claiming that a public outcry is demanding it—the outgoing administration launched a Justice Department probe into FBI Director James Comey's investigation of Hillary Clinton's illegal private email system. No, not something to investigate the email system; but a probe to investigate the investigation of the email system. The infamous "basement server" that circumvented the State Department and federal regulations isn't the focus. FBI Director Comey is the focus.
Likewise, it's not an investigation of the H-arrow campaign's emails and why the DNC was so excruciatingly lax and stupid with security, so painfully dumb. Make that inexcusable stupid, since it was AFTER all the attention had been focused, for soooo long, on the subject of email, wherein their slam-dunk candidate had become the global Queen of the Email Scandal.
Bernie may have been "Tired of your damn emails!" but plenty of others weren't, and anybody with the sophistication of a 14-year-old computer game addict knew that. But those who were lax (or perhaps, arrogantly righteous) ain't gonna take the rap. Not when they keep finding more scapegoats to do that. Not when they can pick up the first stone. And throw it.
Meantime, they had a whole lotta unsellable victory t-shirts. Time to shift gears and repurpose. The Dems being the Harlem Globtrotters, everybody else has to be the stumblebums. Still, they had more jerseys made than the number of players they'd scouted. Even with Putin playing forward and drafting some of the 42 Russian diplomats deported with no cause given, they must need to suit-up Comey to play point guard. Or move him where they can call a lot of fouls.
Don't look for Trump in the key. He's plunged into the snake pit, before there's a risk of him impressing his supporters as their Indiana Jones. Just maneuver the big stone over the lid.
While the Democrat Establishment, consciously or not, has transcended their own cadre of neo-liberals and joined en masse with the hard core Neocons to trumpet the military-industrial-cybersecurity-complex, because it scapegoats their loss in November. Of course, it sets up all those Congressional Dems to lick the spoon on everything the Intelligence Establishment feeds them from here on out.
So expect bipartisan unity to block all attempts at peace between the two great nuclear powers. Which, if the public swallows the narrative of "The Russians did it!" is in full bloom already. While any attempts to rein-in and reform the out-of-control Deep Intelligence and Deep Surveillance State—limits essential to world peace and to having enough money for America to do anything we need to do for our own people—will also be opposed vigorously. By all those members of congress and senators who "owe one" to the spy chiefs.
Inversion and perversion are not partisan issues.
As for this latest wrinkle, this new Justice Department probe? MSNBC smugly noted that the Trumpster cannot simply end this investigation on January 20th. Seems that obscure and arcane structure of internal regulations mandate that once the crank is wound all the way, the mechanical feet start lumbering across the floor. Then the thing must keep crossing the living room until it bumps into a wall. Where, no doubt, some hope it will overheat, catch fire, and set off the drapes.
As for the claim that this Bram Stoker of a probe was launched as a result of "a public outcry"-?
Can you say "calls to Congressional offices from big Hillbot donors"? Can you say "George Soros mobilizing his MoveOn legions"? I knew ya could.
It's not much different than the War By Proxy the US pursues all over the world. So why not invoke it with the troops you have ideologically fomented, using your money to incite their ire?
Too bad nobody in the still-sitting administration in D.C. has the balls to say, "I cannot countenance this blatant, bald attempt at all levels to paralyze our government, and therefore cripple its ability to do anything, just because a new administration is taking office. We experienced attempts to do that, and we know it is the people, the taxpayers, who get stuck with all the bills, whose business goes undone, who ultimately suffer all the consequences. When extreme partisanship becomes sabotage of the American system of government, that is treason. No patriot can countenance the internal sabotage we have seen and are seeing now, regardless of its motivation. Nor can we tolerate the hypocrisy that, somehow, retribution justifies sabotaging legally instituted government. If you voted for someone else, then mobilize for the next election. We build, we do not sabotage. No good comes of being subversive, on the international stage or in our own government. I'll use my position as a public servant, an employee of the people, to stop it if I can, and to expose it if I must."
Grieve over January 20th if you want. I'll still be grieving that no one has made a speech like that.
Maybe the only way to make the point is with a remake of "Meet John Doe," or "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Even if no Hollywood redux is half as good as the original. Given the circumstances, they should try. 'Cause seriously, our image of ourselves as righteous Americans deserving of some nebulous "exceptionalism"? It sure could use a long look in the mirror.