Tears of Rage, or, Observations on the Belligerent Opposition

06.30.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs, National Affairs | 2 Comments

The elite media’s hangover after its protracted celebratory reunion—”Hey, remember when we mattered?—once 91-year-old Mark Felt revealed himself as “Deep Throat” last month has been vicious. Caught off-guard, the we-know-better-than-you crowd stumbled into a pit of indignation reacting to Karl Rove’s pep rally at a fundraiser for New York’s Conservative party on June 22. Rove, playing to his base, said that in the wake of 9/11, liberals wanted to “prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”

President Bush’s political strategist knew it was a win-win confrontation: At a time when GWB’s poll numbers are slipping—although by reading The New York Times you’d think they were as low as Jimmy Carter’s—Rove rallied conservatives with predictable but crowd-pleasing denunciations of luminaries like Michael Moore and the goofballs at MoveOn.org. In the next news cycle, as Rove no doubt anticipated, profiles of courage such as Sens. Harry Reid (who’s called Bush a “liar”), Chuck Schumer, Jon Corzine, Chris Dodd and John Kerry (labeled Bush an “idiot”) were in a dither, demanding Rove’s apology or resignation.

The White House’s response was a crib from Kerry’s crib of a Bruce Springsteen song during last year’s campaign: No surrender.

A June 25 Times editorial was typical, calling Rove’s politically motivated comments “absurd and offensive” and claimed “Americans of every political stripe were united in their outrage and grief.” I guess that means that Americans who knitted conspiracy theories blaming either Bush himself for the attacks, or Jews for the murders in Manhattan and Washington have no stripes. Better yet, the writer said that Rove’s blast was “the surest recipe for turning political dialogue into meaningless squabbling.” This is rich (pun intended) coming from the Times, a paper that has done more to incite “meaningless squabbling” (Krugman, Rich, Dowd, Sulzberger Jr., Sanger, etc.) in the United States than any other media organ on the left.

Those who tote up the number of flagrantly hypocritical editorials published by the Times (I’m on a fourth abacus in just 2005 alone) had to notice that one day before, June 24, the paper was rhapsodic about the dangerous Supreme Court decision to expand the use of eminent domain. The editorialist had the grace to note that the Times has benefited from government seizure of property to build its new headquarters, but this institutional view must’ve confused readers who’ve been tricked into believing Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and his co-owners stick up for the “ordinary” American. A sample: “New London’s development plan may hurt a few small property owners [but screw them!], who will, in any case, be fully compensated. But many more residents are likely to benefit if the city can shore up its tax base and attract badly needed jobs.”

One, it strains the imagination to believe that these displaced “small property owners” will be “fully compensated,” since it’s a one-sided transaction with no free market bidding. Second, will the Times, which is paring down its own workforce, create more jobs at its new building than those lost by the businesses it shooed away? It’s possible, of course, just as the Yanks’ Carl Pavano might win the American League’s Cy Young award.

(This appalling ruling, by the way, is going to be an explosive issue, both in the contentious Supreme Court nomination fight and the 2006 midterm elections. That the liberal wing of the Court favored the rich over the working class gives John Edwards’ “Two Americas” slogan a completely new meaning. As John Fund noted on June 24 in The Wall Street Journal’s online “Political Diary” (sub. required), officials in Freeport, TX, have already announced plans to dispatch two seafood companies to accommodate “the construction of a 900-slip private marina,” the result of which will be a loss of jobs.)

Another ruckus was created by the release of ex-Times magazine editor Ed Klein’s sloppy book The Truth About Hillary, with an initial printing of 350,000 copies. It’s a trashy effort by a trashy writer—although Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter, who mimics Michael Moore in his attacks on Bush, saw fit to buy an excerpt of the book for his July issue—and not worth reading. I did skim The Truth About Hillary and found little to recommend: Didn’t The American Spectator ruin its reputation a decade ago by piling on the Clintons?

Klein’s book was greeted by almost unanimous condemnation, including conservatives like The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan and Fox’s swollen talking head Bill O’Reilly, but The Los Angeles Times’ media critic Tim Rutten, in concert with ex-magazine editor Tina Brown (who was given a charity column in The Washington Post), really went, as dippy Sen. Trent Lott might say, nuclear.

On June 25 Rutten wrote: “Every once in a while, something hits your desk and makes you wonder whether there really isn’t an argument to be made for book burning… Prurient in its focus, shameless in its methodology and vile in execution, this volume is a near-perfect example of what has come to be called ‘bio-porn,’ a particularly noxious subgenre of the polemic literature that nowadays infests our bestseller lists.”

Rutten’s rant would’ve been far more valid if he’d at least acknowledged the vast number of books sold in the past four years that attack—often as recklessly as Klein does Hillary Clinton—George W. Bush. Just to jog your memory, here’s a number of titles that haven’t elicited the same scorn from the likes of Rutten: Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception, The Family, American Dynasty, Bushwhacked, Bushworld, The Republican Noise Machine, The Price of Loyalty, House of Bush, House of Saud and Cruel and Unusual.

The aforementioned attempts to make a buck off gullible left-wing lemmings are probably required reading at Harper’s magazine. At least that’s the impression editor Lewis Lapham—another economic populist who condemns corporate America while dining and drinking at Manhattan’s toniest restaurants—gives in his July “Notebook.” Lapham facetiously worries about the mental health of his underlings, writers who darken the office with gloomy “stories about the perfidy of the Bush Administration. They come forward with so many proofs of whatever crime against liberty or conscience they happen to have in manuscript or in mind (the war in Iraq, the corruption of Wall Street, the ruin of the schools, the nullification of the United States Senate, etc.).”

Granted, it was unsettling when the U.S. Senate was disbanded earlier this year, but like the affluent Lapham, who hasn’t come to expect some sort of coup from Bush every month?

The fearless editor, that lonely beacon of truth, says that America’s citizens live in a “make-believe democracy,” led by Bush, “an illiterate lout forwarding freight for a rapacious oligarch.” My goodness, have another highball and Marlboro Light, Lew. At the risk of appearing like the simpleton GOP supporters that Lapham regularly demeans, I will remind this noble blueblood that voters did have a choice last November, and enough voters rejected John Kerry so that Bush’s “rapacious oligarch” could rape and pillage this country, from sea to shining sea, at will.

Oh, wait: It slipped my mind that November’s election was also “make-believe.” Too bad Lapham isn’t an imaginary character in an episode of The West Wing.



Russ-
I follow your line of gripe against Lewis Lapham. "If you are an egalitarian populist how come you're so rich?" is the paradoxical question faced by anyone with riches made by criticizing the very system that allows such riches. And I wouldn't argue that Lapham, between Yale and Cambridge and 20 plus years as a literary elite, doesn't enjoy a life of fireplaces and comfortable leather chairs and deep-red Oriental carpets and soft, thick drapes, and vintage family paintings all arrayed on a palette of warm crimsons and browns and greens--to the point that reading Harpers suggests a notional prewar English gentility, as if I might then run over to Central Park for a vigorous fox hunt. But you do Lapham a disservice by quoting him without context, as if his critiques of the Bush Administration are artless rants. The full quote in question is:

"Why vilify President Bush as an illiterate lout forwarding freight for a rapacious oligarchy when it is just as easy to see him as almost the entire catalogue of virtue listed in the Boy Scout Law--helpful, cheerful courteous, loyal, friendly, obedient, and clean?"

Not exactly ham-fisted. In fact, his entire essay is a subtle, incredulous mockery of both the ranting left and the righteous right. It is not, as you suggest, another example of hypocritical bile coming down from the clouds.
06.30.2005 | Tony D
It's later than we all think - the quest for world economic domination.

The 60’s were a necessary step in breaking through the hypnotic web of fear-based historical suppression and darkness that has surrounded this planet for so very long. I’ve always felt that the only lack that the 60’s had was to put into action a plan that would allow those of like consciousness to function in daily life. The children of “love and light,” for the most part, under-estimated how to undo the power base of those individuals that created the Vietnam War. And I’m not talking about the politicians. But then, it was a very necessary historical step that created a crack in the cosmic egg of global conciseness that led us into this present moment of crisis. We need to look at ways and means of stopping the self-funding these wars, corrupt political structure, and of course mega corporations. And there are things can be done in this direction.

On 31 Dec. 05 the Virginian-Pilot headlined a story about a local man just killed in Iraq. This 22-year-old man’s wife is a close family friend.

The real crime of this story is that we are nowhere near its conclusion. I say this because prior to the USA’s invasion of Iraq, a friend informed us that our government had in place a policy that was about to be implemented. That policy in essence was that Bush’s so-called ‘Axis of Evil’ had to be eliminated, including Iraq, then Syria, then Iran, and finally North Korea.

In short, the plan had already been laid out on the game board. All decisions have long ago been made and established. Iraq never had anything to do with “weapons of mass destruction”. It had nothing to do with 9/11 either. Any Intel person can confirm what I’ve just stated as fact. They know.

The corporate propaganda machine makes it appear that we are justified in these repeated actions of aggression on a global level, when in fact we are the ones operating as a Rouge Nation, a nation that has long ago lost its true purpose and constitutional authority.

It’s becoming very apparent that the subject of war and conquest exists to enrich the of a handful of powerful families. These families in turn own the controlling stock in the world’s central banks, which includes our privately owned Federal Reserve Bank. Inc. These ruling families not only control various countries’ currencies, but also at the same time, control the majority of stock ownership in the world’s global corporations that we see intermingled and conglomerated today. It is through the central banks, which of course control all other lesser banking institutions that the global corporations fund the politicians, thereby controlling them, so that we, “the people,” simply have banking and corporate puppets telling us what we should and should not do with the very fabric of our lives. Most importantly, this includes our tax dollars. Our Tax dollars which ironically pay the bills for all this madness, greed and destruction that is so dreadfully obvious today, yet when catastrophes hit our shores such as Katrina, it becomes a national embarrassment of governmental incompetence and corruption. Yet these same people at the top benefit from the billions in construction profit awarded to the “right” corporations.

It’s easy to see why some people feel that we live on the brink of Armageddon. The source of this fear is us! It’s the USA that’s propagating the weapons of mass destruction, for profit and control of planetary resources and populations. It is us that place all planetary citizens at grave risk in this era of destructive high technology.

The people collectively have delegated their own personal economic power and ability into the hands of corrupt politicians. In turn, these same politicians have taken the “public trust” and used it for their own self-benefit, and for the benefit of those that pull the real strings of power, yet stand in the background shadows, the global elite.

I am sad to say that the recent death of Tony Lutz another sad example of the madness of death and destruction that America, my country, has become the prime sponsor of in it quest for world economic domination.
01.5.2006 | Lasiter

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