Thursday, July 23, 2015

An ungrateful nation atones

Aaron Sorkin has been clownified on this blog for his obsession with fake presidents and his nefarious influence on popular entertainment, but I've got to cut him some slack for "The Newsroom". Not that the show is good or watchable - it isn't, but it is incredibly accurate. Listening to the in-crowd pleasing platitudes and watching the straw man of the left get immolated every week while digesting a sumptuous meal reclining on the leather couch remote in hand must be pleasant for some - not for me. I grind my teeth, rend my garments and pull clumps of hair from my head whenever I subject myself to "The Newsroom" not because it's implausible, the characters are churlish infantile twits and the "message" is boilerplate left wing pabulum - I expect that, I know what I've tuned in to. No, I suffer angst and crushing impotent rage because the show is so true - This really is what a modern day newsroom at a TV/Cable network or publishing outfit is like and these ARE the people who "bring you the news." It's horrifying and I don't know if that's what Sorkin is trying to expose (a can't imagine that it is) but that's what he's doing. How do I know that Sorkin has hit the bullseye? The media kind of hated it:
"There was lots of comedy, drama and office romance, but “The Newsroom” wasn’t really about the characters, who were all uncannily alike: fast-talking, preachy know-it-alls who told truth to power every time they ordered coffee. Some viewers complained that the show took a condescending view of women, and the ditziness was duly toned down after Season 1. Mainly, the show took a condescending view of its own heroes, turning them all into vessels for one glib, erudite but cantankerous point of view."
That's the news media in a nutshell - All alike and condescending with one point of view. And they (the news media) can not stand to be presented as they truly are. The show kicked off with the now famous (viral) monolog from Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) where he pulls random statistics out of his ass to prove, to a room full of students, that America don't vote "liberal" because liberals loose, that American "freedom" is no different than Japanese freedom or even (cough) Belgian freedom and that America, basically, isn't a great country - we only rank "seventh in literacy" for Christ's sake!!!

McAvoy just blows a fuse ya'll and lets the "truth" come pouring out - wouldn't it be GREAT if objective, non-partisan newsmen did that more often and told us how they really felt about the country and the people who consume their "product." I've often wondered what newsman Sorkin based his sanctimonious Will McAvoy character on - there are so many to choose from - and I think I've found him.

Dick Meyer has put quill to paper in an effort to set America straight and illuminate the transformative accomplishments of President Obama. He kicks it off with this qualifier:
"I’ve never written a column like this. Readers rarely believe it, but I am not on any political team. Generosity toward the high and mighty isn’t among my few virtues."
At least the man is self aware enough to understand that his readers "rarely" take his writing seriously, but here we go anyway - First off, let's compare The One to the philosopher king Marcus Aurelius and appreciate the fact that such a leader doesn't come around very often. If you disagree with that you are either a right-wing reactionary, a left-wing radical or a DC hack bound by big money special interest - that is to say, everyone other than Dick Meyer and a few "open-minded" readers. For him and them a list of "achievements" has been compiled:

• The Iran deal: Time will reveal if the deal worked, not today’s talking/tweeting heads. What cannot be in dispute is this was a momentous initiative, a gutsy political risk, a diplomatic success and, potentially, a giant step in defusing a long-ticking time bomb. KOTCB Response - The Iran deal ensures a 21st century blood bath in the middle east.

• Obamacare: In the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression, Obama delivered one of the most important domestic programs since the New Deal. Only LBJ’s Great Society laws compare. Obamacare has survived two challenges in the Supreme Court and constant, kabuki-style congressional votes to repeal. It’s now off life support. Key goals are being met. It will evolve and improve. One day it will be taken for granted and people will say, “Keep the government out of my Obamacare.” KOTCB Response - Obamatax is a clusterfuck that establishes a citizens direct dependency on Big Government to oversee their health and it provides said government with a justification for unlimited taxation.

• The financial meltdown: Obama inherited it, then managed the recovery to the degree possible in the global economy. The recovery has been steady, though slow. The worst-case predictions didn’t happen. He began to reverse the deregulation of the financial industry. He delivered a significant Asian trade deal. Yet, few give Obama much credit. KOTCB Response - The financial meltdown was, in fact, a gigantic margin call on the United States of America. It occurred 3 days after McCain chose Palin as his VP and thereby increasing the odds that BHO would become President. The specter of Obama becoming POTUS caused foreign investors to (wisely) pull their cash out of the USA and there wasn't enough liquidity to pay up thereby creating a "crisis" and the meager "recovery" has occurred in spite of Obama's efforts, not because of them.

• The first: Becoming the first black president is itself an epic triumph. Obama doesn’t get much goodwill for that any more. We properly canonize Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King. Of Obama, we ask, “What have you done for me lately?” That’s fair; he’s president. He doesn’t ask for credit for being the first black one. He and his family are at risk every day, and we take their courage for granted. KOTCB Response - Obamas self identification as "black" is somewhat disingenuous since he is, technically, half white (for whatever that's worth) and was raised by a white(ish) family in "lily white" Hawaii - but yes, it's an accomplishment to be the FBPOTUS.

• Dignity and honesty: Obama’s administration has been as free of corruption and, well, peccadillo as any in memory. It’s the first two-term presidency not to be derailed by scandal since Eisenhower. A few will stay in paranoid lather about Benghazi or Fast and Furious, but those pseudo-scandals don’t compare to Watergate, Iran-Contra, Bill Clinton’s carnal antics or the phony evidence used to justify attacking Iraq. KOTCB Response - This is where a knowledgeable reader tastes the vomit at the back of his mouth. Forget the brush off of Benghazi and F&F as though they are "paranoid" fantasy - What about using the IRS to target political opponents? What about the NSA surveillance protocols? Drone strikes? Federal employee data breaches? The Obamacare web site launch? This administration has been "free of corruption" in the sense that people like Dick Meyer simply WILL NOT look it in the eye and call it what it is. He lies to himself and that makes it all to easy for him to lie to his readers.

Obstacles to Americas philosopher king? There are many:

  • recession - Yes, that has been a persistent, unresolved, nagging problem - poor Barack
  • invisible racism - This is a new term and very catchy - I think we'll continue to non-see this problem for years to come.
  • a reckless Republican Congress - Oh, right, he means those guys that keep getting reelected to the House and Senate every 2 years with numbers growing steadily over the past 7 years. The guys that repeatedly save Obama's ass on say, great accomplishments like his Asian trade deal.
  • a lily-livered Democratic Party - Their not "liberal" or progressive enough - they don't fight for social justice and back the president the way they should and that's just a non-partisan assessment from an objective journalist.
  • attacks from the richest pressure groups ever (super PACs) - "pressure groups" have objected to many Obama initiatives and policy decisions. How could they? What kind of country do they think they're living in?
  • a 24/7, ADHD press corps under existential pressure to deliver page views and Nielsen ratings - Existential pressure (bad), Big Government subsidy (good) - news should have no bottom line, no pressure to compete, no incentive to report the truth or deliver what their ungrateful readers need to hear (for their own good).

And if you think this piece couldn't get any whackier, keep reading. He goes on to disparage Reagan as a "performer" (subtle but telling dig) and call Clinton a "preacher" (of all things) and then claims Obama is neither of those things but instead a "head over heart" guy who "nourished the culture that made it possible" - "it" being Gay Marriage and a whole bunch of other shit too.

Finally, it comes down to "we" - the royal WE so often used by the impartial newsman.
"It is harder than ever to see the big canvas and thus find fresh perspectives. We view current events as puny rivers of tweets, not grand chapters in the ultimate story — history."
Speak for yourself news-clown. I'm sure it is hard for you to see and find because you live your life in "The Newsroom" but "WE" out here in the land of the free are pocketing our twitter stream and paddling in real, wet, turbulent rivers. WE see the grand chapters of history and we've got a pretty good idea where this one will fit in the multi-volume set.

It's just like what they have in Belgium!
The rant is capped with this heartfelt send-off to the current president - "So, Mr. President, on behalf of an ungrateful nation, thank you." And let me say, loud and clear, ditto, Mr. President. You bestride the most massive military/industrial complex ever conceived of and realized in that ultimate story we call history. You have the power and capability to wipe out life on this planet a thousand times over just by pushing a button. There is no limit to your powers because you recognize none, and those that are entrusted to place limits on you do not do their duty. The tools of modern surveillance and assassination make you a demi-god with no equal on earth and yet you are placed in a position of immense power with almost no training or testing on how to use it. It is a wonder that you have not destroyed the earth and ruined our nation, but the fact is, weather by good fortune or poor execution, you have not brought down the USA and the free world. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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