Sunday, October 24, 2010
Back in a rut
Lots of bloviating about the mid-term elections, of course, and a couple of so-called journalists sitting there opining on the coming Republican blowout. It's always moderately astounding to see people who claim to be reporters use the words "tea party" and "grassroots" in the same sentence and still manage to keep a straight face. Yes, there's a lot of grassroots discontent, but it's not grassroots money or organizing skills that's keeping the teabaggers going. It's billionaires playing the poor saps like a well-tuned . . . I was going to use the venerable cliche of a violin, but with the teabaggers maybe a different instrument would be more appropriate -- accordion perhaps?
All the callers seem to be focusing in on "government waste" as the target of their ire. None of them, however, ever provide a specific example. Just where is the money being wasted? Oh, I'm not saying government waste doesn't exist (I've seen it in action, like when Large Nameless Agency hosts meetings for its advisory boards at 4-star hotels in San Francisco or New York), but just once I'd love to hear a caller or a pundit give actual examples, not just vague insuations. The usual response is to ramble on about "entitlements" and "welfare," followed shortly after by rants about illegal immigrants receiving benefits honest citizens are denied. Ignorance and xenophobia -- definitely a toxic combination. One of the sad things about the delusional American public is they all seem to believe that anti-poverty benefits (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, food stamps, MedicAid, etc) are eating up the bulk of the U.S. budget, when the reality is that those benefits are a tiny percentage, especially when compared to the mammoth amounts poured into the Pentagon each year. They also never have an answer when asked specifically just what they'd like to cut first -- veterans' benefits? border patrols? Social Security payments? student loans? They have no clue. They're just sure there's a lot of waste, so let's cut taxes and eliminate bureaucracy.
Earlier in the morning the topic of WikiLeaks, Iraq, and the U.S. military came up again. It was bizarre. The talking head was a "journalist" from the New York Times. A caller castigated the main stream media for the totally shit job they did in the run up to and the conduct of the war in Iraq, noting the media's near total gullibility in parroting the Bush administration lies, their almost complete unwillingness to step outside the rules set by the U.S. military, and their failure to report on numerous atrocities, corruption, and general bumbling in Iraq. This guy's defense? Basically, "Hey, don't look at me. I was embedded with a combat unit and just reported what I saw." In other words, "Hey, I'm proud to be a stenographer and part of a propaganda operation." The stupid, it burns.