Goldberg Misses the Real Problem 

The White House’s relationship with the press is more complicated than the story suggests.

Source: What the Times’s Ben Rhodes Profile Got Wrong – The Atlantic

Jeffrey Goldberg goes to great lengths to prove that no, David Samuels, is wrong: Goldberg is not a sock-puppet for the Obama administration.

Did I mention great lengths? Goldberg goes on in intricate detail about his battle to get The New York Times to issue a retraction of a Samuels’ assertion, while making an impassioned case that no, Goldberg is not biased in favor of the Obama administration or for the Iran deal.

But if Rhodes believed Goldberg to be a member of the press corps rather more willing to defend POTUS’ position than others, has there not been ample evidence over the past eight years to support that conclusion?

The problem here is not Rhodes. The problem here is not Goldberg, or Samuels (or published score-settling between the two in The Atlantic and Tablet.)

The problem is that, once again, the White House press corps has manipulated the media, and the media has failed in its job as watchdog. The question that persists is how the media can continue to strike a balance between doing what is necessary to gain and sustain access to the administration, and serving the interests of the nation. It seems that the answer continues to be that the journalist puts his story/career ahead of the need to tell the truth either to power or the American people.

If the White House press corps is to do its job, it must learn to better draw the line between self-interest and the public good. Otherwise, what good is it?

Jon Stewart: Trump is the Child of both Dems and GOP

Source: Jon Stewart Pops Up To Deliver Epic Anti-Trump Rant | GOOD

Fascinating. Stewart does offer some amusing and pointed vignettes that summarize the infantilism of Trump. Pointedly, though, he notes that the blame for the emergence of Trumpism cannot be laid at the feet of the GOP alone: the Democrats share a degree of culpability.

The real fun begins at around the 36 minute mark, when Stewart starts truth-telling about the Democrats and the Obama administration, and David Axelrod offers a remarkably lame defense of his former boss and his record.

When historians begin to delve beyond the poisonous rhetoric of the past eight years, past the spew of birthers, the racists and the obstructionists on the one hand and the starry-eyed apologists on the other to try and reveal the reality of this administration and the man at its center, David Axelrod, Ben Rhodes, and John Kerry will offer the most compelling points of entry.

The Closing of the Collegiate Mind

Perhaps the most nerve-racking duty of a senior class president at Scripps College in Claremont is securing a speaker for commencement. And Jennie Xu thought she had nailed it by booking Madeleine Albright , the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of State.

Source: War criminal or role model? Madeline Albright as Scripps College commencement speaker hits a nerve – LA Times

I am sorry to say that I have lost whatever respect I had for Scripps, a once-outstanding example of what makes higher education in California so special. Today, it appears that their students are utterly incapable of entertaining – or even hearing – a political viewpoint that strays even a bit from their narrow band of correctness, whether from Madeline Albright or George Will.

What is so wrong with Madeline Albright? Whatever is wrong with George Will? Or Noam Chomsky? Or any controversial figure with a point of view? In my time in school – as not only a conservative but an officer of my College Republicans chapter – I paid to go see Angela Davis, Hunter Thompson, and a host of other somewhat lesser lights who held views I found objectionable, misguided, or repugnant, but who forced me to question my cherished values. There is nothing that all of us – scholars especially – need more than a regular forced excursion outside of one’s cloistered political echo-chamber.

If the students and faculty of Scripps are trying to send a message, the only message that is getting through is that they would prefer willful ignorance over the specter of cognitive dissonance. As a result, Scripps is in danger of downgrading itself from a respected tertiary institution to a finishing school with books, and the students and faculty will share the blame if that happens.

Learning

One of the things we so frequently overlook is that even politicians are learning machines. For example, the liberal question with Clinton is not whether she voted for Iraq. The question should be: faced with a similar situation again, how would she approach it? The same applies for every politician: have they learned from their mistakes, or does ideology trap them into a political Groundhog Day?

Advice to Dems

A little friendly advice.

It’s not the bickering in the beginning. It is the ability of everyone to be mature and bury the hatchet after the DNC. An ounce of venom withheld today is worth a pound of bridge building in the Fall.

But only if you want to stop Trump.

The Progressive Debate

The ugly truth is that you can be a progressive and be from nearly any point on the American political spectrum – see both Roosevelts, Truman, Ike, Earl Warren, etc.

Of course, if you accept the rhetorical construct promulgated by the far Left – that “progressive” is just a euphemism for “radical” in the way that the far Right uses “conservative” as a euphemism for “reactionary,” then this all falls apart.

In the name of truth and clarity, however, we must reject these political inexactitudes and name things for what they are.

Bernie Sanders is not a progressive. He is a radical. Hillary Clinton is a liberal.

Ted Cruz is not a conservative. He is a reactionary. John Kasich represents something far closer to a conservative. John Huntsman is a conservative with progressive leanings.

And Donald Trump is a power-hungry opportunist who takes on whatever political shadings he thinks will rouse the nearest rabble and get him one more delegate close to election.

We can argue definitions, but let us do so in the quest for accurate descriptions, not for the sake of political spin.

Warning to my Sandernista Friends

Viewed from across the Aisle and without passion for either camp, a few things seem quite clear about the respective camps on the Democratic side.

  • Not all Sandernistas are bros.
  • Not all Clintonistas are hateful, divisive, and dismissive.
  • There are a lot of people out there for whom it is in their best interest to stir s*** between the two camps.

Beware you’re not being subtly manipulated by really smart people.

Bernie’s Way to African-America?

I have no issues with the idea of a candidate eating with anyone. No candidate should be above meeting with any American. I just have to wonder what exactly Bernie is attempting to accomplish by meeting with Al Sharpton?

If it is just a courtesy call, why now?

And it he believes that this is an effective way to reach out to African-American voters, why Sharpton and not any of several dozen leaders of greater relevance and, arguably, of higher standing? Why not meet with the Black Lives Matter folks?

When I think of the African-American Political Establishment, I think of Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. If Sanders sees Sharpton as his pathway toward African-American votes, how truly anti-establishment is he?

Of course, I could be misreading all of this. Maybe Bernie just wanted lunch at Sylvia’s, and Al was able to get a table.

The New Power Elite

Mike Pence, Asa Hutchinson, and the Republican party were not blindsided by opposition to RFRA by gay rights activists. What knocked them back were major corporations, such as Apple, Walmart, and Angie’s List, and organizations such as the NCAA that denounced the law, in many cases announcing boycotts of Indiana.

Source: The Power Elite by Patrick J. Deneen | Articles | First Things

Patrick Deneen

Notre Dame political theorist Patrick Deneen writes powerfully in First Things about the defeat of the RFRA, viewed by most on the Left as legalized bigotry; by most on the Right as an essential defense of the rights of small business owners; and by most of us on the Center-Right as a well-intentioned but probably redundant law that would create more problems than it would solve.

Deneen’s primary point, though, is not a defense of the RFRA (though he makes one later in the article that will do nothing to sway the bill’s critics or fence-sitters like me). It is, rather, to point out that the response to the bill may have shed the first public light on a new elite coalition in the US between corporate America and social libertarians. It is a compelling proposition, but one that needs more evidence than the RFRA to support it.

Our view at the Pacific Bull Moose is rather more nuanced. It is not whether corporations are aligned with Republican causes and candidates. They are. Neither is it that corporations are aligned with Democratic causes and candidates. They are that as well.

Our view is that corporations align themselves to whichever political party or movement offers the the most lucrative commercial prospects. And this is exactly the problem with handing political power to commercial interests: it makes them a political power center that serves a small elite group and is answerable to no one, all while operating in a manner that serves the interests only of themselves, and not the nation as a whole.

Their alignment on both sided of the political spectrum means that it is impossible to align against corporate interests merely by choosing a political side. Their power must be fought on an issue-by-issue, election-by-election basis.

Deneen makes the point that America is devolving into a nation “where the powerful will govern completely over the powerless, where the rich dictate terms to the poor, where the strong are unleashed from the old restraints of culture and place, where libertarian indifference—whether in respect to economic inequality or morals—is inscribed into the national fabric, and where the unburdened, hedonic human will reign ascendant.”

That is a sentiment that should resonate with Americans of every political stripe. And it should frighten us all.