Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Deep Throat

I'm inclined to believe 'Throat' is Fred Fielding based on the quotes, evidence and process of elimination by the student investigative team at U. of Illinois. What suprised me is he's one of 9/11 commissioners. Still connected after all these years.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sites Update: Reality-Based Reporting

Kevin Sites' account tells the tale of truth. The Marine killed the wounded Iraqi. That violates our American values. Sites gets it.

Politics and the Press

The press failed during the campaign of 2004 because they kowtow to liars with 20 second sound-bites. Myth and truth have become equal in the who-knows-what-is-true dimwittedness of the entertainment business. Swiftboat supporter John Moore gets the last word on blog comments because he’s operating under the affirmative action program for conservatives enabled by Jay Rosen at pressthink and other so-called liberals in the press. Their conspiratorial blatant biases have equal billing with factual analysis under the guise of objectivity and fairness.

Aversion to truth and deference for guerrilla campaign operatives that Mr. Bush used so expertly to smear John Kerry, allowed the defeat to occur even while the mainstream press were accused of being in the tank for him. It’s breathtaking in scope and it worked. How did we get here?

Ron Suskind, who wrote a critical book with cabinet member Paul O’Neill and a profile on Karen Hughes, became a campaign target for his reality-based reporting. Supporters of Bush call his New York Times Magazine story a faith-based hit piece.

“I've been a reporter for more than 20 years,” Suskind tells Salon Magazine, “and I grew up in an era when there was a justified respect for what journalists of all political affiliations did, which is act as honest brokers.” Suskind says “It is part of our professional creed to be open to searching for the modest truths we're able to know in life and to render them effectively in what we write and what we say. That is a long and venerable tradition in this country.”

There is a concerted effort he says to discredit the mainstream press, so that what is reported will become irrelevant to the “public dialogue.”

Both the government spinners and the press conflate issues and certain quotes without explaining the meaning of the quote. In the Suskind piece, “Without a Doubt,”(Oct. 7, 2004) the money quote concerned privatizing social security. He will move fast to “privatize it,” Bush said in the private meeting. Yet, there was no mention of what he meant from either camp, only accusations of liberal lying by Suskind for employing scare tactics. Sound-bite won. No explanation came forth. Both sides lost. Suskind predicted Bush would win and he did.

It’s the fixation of the small stuff that derails coverage. That’s the infotainment aspect co-opting the headlines and newscasts today. Side issues like personal faith take precedent over fear of terror and the war in Iraq. Even as the higher percentage of voters reveal in exit polls that they have grave reservations about how Bush handled the situation and even about going in, in the first place. The election was about fear, and not much else.

It makes no difference that all of Bush’s policies have failed factually at the level where any real success lives. If the people hear the same positive slogans and euphemisms often enough, which is what PR and advertising does, they tend to believe it.

“The press admits it fell for the administration’s line on weapons of mass destruction,” writes Todd Gitlin in “Mother Jones” last December. “But the media’s failure goes far beyond Iraq.” But it gets worse.

“Reporters and editors are credulous, fearful, and flatly bamboozled,” he writes. “Timid about getting out ahead of a public they respect more when it is “conservative” (read: rightwardly radical) than when it is liberal, they bend over backward to accommodate spin doctors.” In short, the Bush campaign run by Karl Rove, yet another conservative without a college degree, (others include columnist and television commentator John Fund of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and CSUN’s James Taranto of editor of OpinionJournal.com; a trend?) played them like a Tennessee fiddle.

“So the media yield to temptation and morph into megaphones, and falsehoods too often and too loudly repeated take on the ring of plausibility,” Gitlin writes.
At the same time the big stuff takes the same seat at the back of the bus as the NY Times points out this week in regard to the private accounts referred to in the Suskind story that would result in billions if not trillions of new debt over ten years, to the already 7.5 trillion Mr. Bush is responsible for in his short stay to date.

“Mr. Bush and the Republicans in Congress have paid little political price in the last four years for the swing from budget surpluses to deficits.”

Former Montana journalist Chuck Rightmire adds this assessment. “I would suggest that the big winners in the election were the right-wing media and the right-wing blogs,” he says. “They have learned a lot from the propaganda methods of the late, unlamented Herr Goebbels.”

Surely as journalists we can do better than this.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Celebration of Calvanism?

This op-ed by Gary Hull of the Ayn Rand Institute deserves scrutiny.

"America transformed a once-desolate wilderness into farms, supermarkets and air-conditioned houses, not by taking those goods away from some have-nots, nor by "consuming" the "world's resources"--but by reshaping valueless elements of nature into a form beneficial to human beings."

That desolate "howling wilderness," was and is the source of this abundance of natural capital that we've just about tapped out to get the level of comfort many enjoy today. It was a matter of geology and evolution, just like the oil under the Middle East, yet only our innovative open culture allows us to both transform and abuse what we have here. We aren't alone in this endeavor though. The Japanese are very successful in aquiring our natural resources (they long ago used up theirs) and turning them into expensive quality products we go in debt to buy back. Am I to assume they aren't encouraging consumption? Who is more corporate in their monotone of thought than they are?

Nice work if you can get it I suppose, but blame for the negatives and responsibility comes with it.

Corporatization is the real culprit here and there is a day of reckoning. The resources will run out if this innovation coupled with conservation isn't rammed through the mindlessness of the MBA run world. The Calvanism of the Puritans celebtated achievement. There is nothing wrong with that, but they also punished those who failed strict standards of achievement in business. Odd how the most conservative colony now is the most liberal. Transformation into something better is what America is about. We've got work left to do.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Green Arnold?

Schwarzenegger caves on the Clinton Roadless rule marching in lockstep with the rest of the Republican governors. Bad move. Current protected areas will now open up to logging and road building further degrading the forests in California and the West.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Forest Circus

Nice story at the LA Times that has been a long time in the making from the dates of the sources in it, some dating back to 2000 before I worked for the Lassen National Forest in 2001. I don't know what bears have to do with it though? I just completed a piece of equal length based on SoCal forests, but it met with dazed eyes from beta readers of college age.

"Too technical," they said of my work.

This piece by Lee Green doesn't look deep enough into the details of the Healthy Forests Intitiative that allow old trees to be taken even near towns dead or not, but mostly, unfortunately, they are dead. The piece advocates no logging at all and quotes those who suport that view. That would be the radical view opposed in the "he said she said" journalistic paradigm by Dale Bosworth Forest Service Chief, a forester on the opposite pole. The conclusion is that the agency is incompetent and self-interested. Of course it is, but how can we get them to change? I doubt this is the way, with a predictable story that will be branded liberal and discarded. We can do better.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Jay Rosen attempts to educate the uneducatable at pressthink on Bush Logic. I've taught about it here as well. To Bush facts don't matter, hence the so-called reality-based community of the press and government agenicies doesn't apply to his minions or followers. There's a day of reckoning coming. Faith based meets world's end at some point.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Great article by Ted Williams environmental writer extrordinaire in Audubon


"Intelligence is being manipulated to justify policy, rather than letting objective analysis inform policy. Bush makes his decisions based on his “gut” instincts and then the evidence is compiled to justify his decisions." Journalist Robert Parry

Bush controls the message and fired those who depict reality as it is based on the facts. I can't overemphasize how dangerous this is. Supporters in the populace eager to remain clueless clamor for good news; the political rapture they voted for. Ain't gonna happen.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Beaten By the Right

"We got beat by gays, guns and God." John Breaux D-LA tonight on PBS.

Death Threats

Kevin Sites got hate mail due to his filming of the Marine mercy shooting in Falujia. No doubt a postcard from Wingerville by someone outraged at the messiness of truth. Like with Abu Ghraib war supporters only want good news and the rest should be suppressed for the good of the group.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Campaign Coverage

Clearly, the press allowed the campaign to be hijacked by side issues like the Kerry service record in Vietnam, by 527 interest groups. This piling on, and lack of a response by the Kerry campaign helped derail the effort of the Democrats.
As the Committee for Concerned Journalists survey showed these issues and the coverage were in part failures of news organizations to portray truth as opposed to the familiar “he said she said” paradigm. It was breathtaking to watch bona fide military and intelligence failures by the administration offered up as the critical news they were, yet this was brushed aside by a propaganda machine connected to the president’s reelection organization. How can this happen?

It can when press, especially television, focuses on these sideshows. That’s the idea. The CBS story incorporated faked or inauthentic documents that became more fuel for the bias crowd who itself was responsible for the misinformation campaign on behalf of the president by proxy just as history has shown us the Bush family likes it: No muss no fuss. While this raged on the legitimate issues of war and domestic decline couldn’t even begin to break through into the American collective consciousness.

When print and TV co-opt slogans of one campaign such as “flip-flopper” without explanation that the term more aptly applies to the accuser based on factual evidence not out of context semantics, well, the public loses in a big way.
Similarly when the questionable values issue moves front and center the small stuff wins yet again. Coverage has to evaluate information and positions and reach some sort of a conclusion. Objectivity is scientific by nature. Until journalism adopts this level of scrutiny, lies will continue infect the public narrative.


As I reported this week, Ohio will be recounted. That, will be interesting.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

California Reporter

Attempts to inject good sense into the masses at pressthink.

I reported the Ohio vote story. While there is no smoking gun of fraud like the accusations in blogworld left, there are disturbing tactics by Blackwell. I would also say there were no Diebold machines used in Ohio.

Today in Columbus there are hearings taking testimonies from agrieved voters and there will be an investigation into the spoilage on 93,000 votes from democratic counties only. The same spoilage pattern happened in New Mexico and reported by Greg Pallast.

As for the assault on the Times, one hopes they don't parrot the administration hacks and dig deeper. What they teach in J-school these days is get away from the predictable official line and stay away from the fringy radicals. Both are completely predictable he said she said paradigm staples. The theories reported in the Times' article were debunked. That's the story that will get little play at Bopnews where they remain hopeful.

What readers want is the truth, not the truth they want. The job is to find it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Bias Hunters

Matt Welch nails the liberal media bias conspiracy better than anyone I've read to date. They see what they want to see; inflate the finding and leap to wild forgone conclusions based on false premises. That's the way I see it. Bloggers have a long way to go to get to the basic standard of journalistic objectivity that mainstream newspapers have to live with every day.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veterans Day

My dad's listing at the WWII Memorial.

Russell James York

U.S. Army

Waterville, ME

Mark A. York, Son




Mencken make s agood point about Steven Hayes's babbling over mdia conspiracies at pressthink with a Wizard of OZ ending.

"Wilson's charges have since been thoroughly discredited and the author of The Politics of Truth revealed as unreliable."

I dispute this assertion. The fact that Plame was asked about her husband by superiors is a straw man. Why wouldn't they? Recommended or asked? This is typical of the "twisting in the wind" conservative viewpoint upheld in the conservative press of which Hayes is a player.

This great discovery was "buried by the press he says. Volia! Proof of bias! Anybody that fixates on these irrelevant facts is on the run from the truth. That's what the election really said about America. They will wake up. Poppies...Poppies...Sink deeper...just a little deeper. Sleep...sleep. There's a good child.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

New Puritanism

The Guardian via Charlie Petit picks up on my Puritan theme for the red state Bush league.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Chastise Thy Leader

Gary Hart does a great job in yesterday's
in the NY Times. Bush is anything but humble and he would be wise to read deeper into that book he likes so much. It says things he;s not yet revealed he has read, or understood.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Vote

There's a lot of ruckus about stealing the vote in Ohio and Florida but Princeton Prof. Sam Wang's analysis explains things fairly well for me. In the end the women broke for Bush. Classic evolutionary strategy to protect the young from foreign invaders. Not justified in my view but that's the way it went. We'll see if they're right on that one point at least.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Stay In Iraq

Get a load of this logic path by the conservative student on my paper.

"The presence of American forces is what keeps them from killing each other," writes Robert McDonald a member of the Anglo-Saxon tribe. [yes that will make them feel better]

“They would be at each other’s throats in no time,” said Monica, an Iranian-American who has worked extensively with Iraqis and prefers not to give her last name. “Without the Americans, the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis would stake out their own territory. The war would probably cause more deaths than the Iran-Iraq war.”

Some casualty estimates of the Iran-Iraq war are as high as one million deaths.

“The Americans are hated by everybody, and, oddly enough, that keeps Iraqis from remembering to kill each other,” Monica said. “Every once in a while a Shiite mosque will be bombed but that’s about all. The Americans have replaced (Hussein) as the boot on the neck of the Iraqi people.”

I believe the United States should remain in Iraq as long as it is necessary for a new democratic government to be established that will be able to survive on its own. If we leave now, then we may be sparking the beginning of a civil war that could lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths.

This may mean far more killing could happen in Iraq if we leave than if we stay."

We virtually guaranteed a civil war by following the same path as Churchill that led to Hussein, a local boy. I'm still trying to recall which candidate for president said to leave immediately. I only remember one having a plan that had a chance of working and it wasn't Bush. Stay forever? As a target of hatred? What a plan.

Jefferson and Adams

In conversation, excerpted from Patriot on the Kennebec: Major Reuben Colburn, Benedict Arnold and the March To Quebec 1775.

“Science is progressive, and talents and enterprise on the alert.”
Thomas Jefferson

For Jefferson, the debate with John Adams continued until their simultaneous deaths in 1826. For the Puritan Adams, the belief in “Divine Providence” of a ruling class was tantamount. He continued to scan the annals of ancient history for evidence of this but in frustration never really could to his satisfaction. Adams was much more prone to belief based on myth than was the scientifically inclined Jefferson, who leaned toward a Franklinesque curiosity about the world. Adams begs Jefferson’s approval of his theory.

“It is not only permitted but onjoined upon us mortals to address you,” Adams wrote. “Why should not our divines translate it. ‘It is our duty and our privilege to address the throne of thy grave and pray for all the needed lawfull blessings, temporal and spiritual.’ Venus was the goddess of justice, decency, and right; the wife of Jove, another name for Juno. She presided over all oracles, deliberations and counsels. She recommended all mortals pray to Jupiter for all lawfull Benefits and Blessings.

“Now is (so far forth) the essence of Christian devotion? Is not this Christian piety? Is it not an acknowledgement of the existence of a supreme being? Of his universal providence? Of a righteous administration of the government of the universe? And what can Jews, Christians and Mahommetans do more! Adams was reaching here and Jefferson knew it. He chooses a more earthly analysis of the facts.

In this reply of Oct. 1813, Jefferson is analyzing the inherited aristocracy through this belief of divine providence versus a natural ascension to power by all men.
“For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men,” he writes. “The grounds of this are virtue and talents. Formerly, bodily powers gave place among the aristoi. But since the invention of gunpowder has armed the weak as well as the strong with missile death, bodily strength, like beauty, good humor, politeness and other accomplishments, has become but an auxiliary ground for distinction. There is also an artificial aristocracy, founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents; for with these it would belong to the first class. The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature, for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed, it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society. May we not even say, that that form of government is the best, which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government?”

Jefferson, ever vigilant for the common man continues his thesis:

“The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent its ascendency. On the question, what is the best provision, you and I differ; but we differ as rational friends, using the free exercise of our own reason, and mutually indulging its errors. You think it best to put the pseudo-aristoi into a separate chamber of legislation, where they may be hindered from doing mischief by their co-ordinate branches, and where, also, they may be a protection to wealth against the Agrarian and plundering enterprises of the majority of the people. I think that to give them power in order to prevent them from doing mischief, is arming them for it, and increasing instead of remedying the evil.” He concludes; “I think the best remedy is exactly that provided by all our constitutions, to leave to the citizens the free election and separation of the aristoi from the pseudo-aristoi, of the wheat from the chaff. In general they will elect the really good and wise. In some instances, wealth may corrupt, and birth blind them; but not in sufficient degree to endanger the society.” But in Adams’ Puritan remnant Massachusetts he notices similarities to England that remained in that year.

“From what I have seen of Massachusetts and Connecticut myself, and still more from what I have heard, and the character given of the former by yourself, who know them so much better, there seems to be in those two States a traditionary reverence for certain families, which has rendered the offices of the government nearly hereditary in those families. I presume that from an early period of your history, members of those families happening to possess virtue and talents, have honestly exercised them for the good of the people, and by their services have endeared their names to them. In coupling Connecticut with you, I mean it politically only, not morally. For having made the Bible the common law of their land, they seemed to have modeled their morality on the story of Jacob and Laban. But although this hereditary succession to office with you, may, in some degree, be founded in real family merit, yet in a much higher degree, it has proceeded from your strict alliance of Church and State. These families are canonised in the eyes of the people on common principles, ‘you tickle me, and I will tickle you,’” He writes, “

In Virginia we have nothing of this. Our clergy, before the revolution, having been secured against rivalship by fixed salaries, did not give themselves the trouble of acquiring influence over the people.”

This divine-right to rule is the opposite of what Jefferson always had long believed to be the correct course; in New England an underlying desire to hang on the theocracy of a state-sponsored religion existed, still. Colburn knew this all too well and remained with the Jeffersonian school of thought on this separation, to his last days. It is the very essence of this aspect of Congregationalism that he carried with him in the canoe to Georgetown in those early days.

Family Values II?

Oh those degenerate liberals. The assertion that conservatives are more moral is ludicrous. Pious ignorant and hypocritical sure. Read this rundown. Puritan land used to be New England and even then, my family included, many fled north to escape the state church in Boston. Quakers were hung for blasphemy. You get the idea. Now this is replaced with liberalism ala Thomas Jefferson. More to come on this from my book.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Don't Tread On Me

Top of the heap at WSJ.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Belief Over Fact

Garry Wills puts his finger on the problem.

Red Country

Boy this map really tells the tale.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Puritan Revival

Big Edmund Morgan fan here since I descend from a prominent Puritan family. One of the reasons Massachusettts is liberal now is because of how conservative it originally was. That's where the middle of the country is now: legislating morality. Very dim light this morning and looking more like 1682 than 2004.


So much for reason and exit polls from Frank Luntz. Now it's on to invading Iran. They'll come around.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Luntz says

Republican pollster Frank Luntz said in a conference call that Kerry is too far ahead in the exit polls for Bush to catch up. Via email to Kevin Drum.

Exit Polls

Courtesy of Kevin Drum from behind the orange curtain.

EXIT POLLS....The early exit poll numbers are pretty favorable to Kerry:

Kerry 45 48 42 60 52 51 51 50 58 52 49 57
Bush 55 51 57 40 48 48 47 48 40 43 49 41

Looks good for Kerry win.
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