Friday, June 28, 2013

Fair Politics, Republican Style

And it's just fine with our wonderful mainstream press, too.  Here's a step by step guide, courtesy of Darryl Issa:

1.  Congressman Issa orders the office of the Inspector General to conduct a survey of the IRS' investigation of political groups for possible violations of their tax free status.  He further orders the Inspector General to restrict the investigation to right wing groups.

2.  Congressman Issa then dramatically reveals that the Inspector General has found lots of right wing groups that the IRS checked out, and no left wing groups, neglecting to mention in public that he had explicitly ordered the Inspector General to ignore left wing groups.

3.  Congressman Issa proceeds to hold day after day of hearings, mesmerizing the members of our mainstream media, into allegations of partisan behavior at the IRS which he knows to be false.

4.  Congressman Issa releases excerpts of committee interviews which seem to suggest that the Obama White House was using the IRS for partisan purposes.  Despite repeated requests, he refuses to release the transcripts of the entire interviews.

5.  Finally fed up, Democratic members of Congressman Issa's committee release the complete transcripts, which definitively prove that the Obama White House had nothing to do with the IRS "scandal," and that there was nothing political about it at all- something which Congressman Issa knew perfectly well from the very beginning.

6.  As a last blow to Congressman Issa's public claims, it was revealed that the IRS had investigated many left leaning groups for similar potential violations, something which Congressman Issa knew since the beginning, but which he deliberately kept the American public from knowing.

7.  At this point, the mainstream press curiously lost interest in the entire subject, and Congressman Issa does not even face public criticism for the misuse of his power in this way, insuring that things like this will happen over and over again, whenever a Democrat wins an election.

The result of all of this?  The public's trust of Obama took an eight percent dive, based on a lying smear perpetrated by Republicans in Congress.  And, more importantly, the whole subject of the blatant illegality of the behavior of Tea Party groups, Karl Rove's American Crossroads and other similar organizations run on rich people's money has become toxic.  So the IRS is leaving it to these groups to certify themselves as being "social welfare" organizations.  We're now relying on the likes of Karl Rove and the birther movement to tell us the truth, solely because they will scream and lie and smear us endlessly if they don't get their way.

This is no way to run a society.  Not if you want it to last very long.


joseph said...

Well said, but what is the matter with Obama? He has a bigger platform than you, but refuses to use it. Why doesn't he point out that the struggle is between the filthy rich and the rest of us? Why doesn't he say that all the "scandals" are really just about money?

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

joseph ...

Methinks Obama is a very busy man and has little patience for petty BS.

Grung_e_Gene said...

The Mainstream Stenographers are Handmaidens of Power. Of course, the problem is not fall in IOKIYAR Hypocrisy Trap which all Right-Wingers and Republicans currently reside.

Green Eagle said...

Octopus, I'm afraid what you characterize as petty BS is the number one threat to the continued existence of our country. If Democrats don't stand up to these people, they will destroy us all.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Green Eagle,
I agree with you about the #1 threat, and I am often in the forefront of using the term "neo-fascists" to describe these thugs.

The question Joseph posed, "Why isn't Obama framing the conflict in this manner?" A complicated answer in many ways:

1 - There is a limit to the power of the Presidency, at least in terms of how Obama understands these powers and the legacy he wants to leave behind;

2 - Obama's hands are tied by the hostage-takers in Congress, and he knows his options are limited;

3 - Pettiness is not Obama's style (unless/until he reaches the end of patience and endurance). He frames his message in moral terms - even when he lacks powers to act.

4 - Priorities - given limited freedom of movement, I think Obama is trying to make the best of a bad deal by focusing on what he can accomplish versus allowing himself to get mired down in the muck of partisan bullshit. And, yes, Obama IS A VERY BUSY MAN who carries a heavy weight upon his shoulders.

For my part, I am willing to be as shrill as necessary, and I have nothing to lose. On balance, I think we both do a fine job, each according to our strengths.

Magpie said...


Generally we share a common worldview as you might remember, but I think the above view of Obama is too kind.

Barrack Obama doesn’t say much that is quite as decisive or as non-negotiable as it sounds. There are escape clauses for back-downs in almost everything he says, they are just cleverly worded. Everything is a moving target for him. He’ll give away the barn if he decides the field is more important on the day.

For example the other day he said “Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant.”

I read that to say it WILL go forward in some form and will be massively destructive, and he’s just setting the framework for conditions and political payback. He’ll let a version of it happen and in return he’ll get his way on some other issue. It’s political capital. He makes a megaphone-through-a-loudspeaker noisy stand for action on climate change (years away) but all that noise has this huge capitulation right in the middle of it.

The other thing I would like to mention is that our prime minister just got taken out and politically shot and ALL of the reasons for it amounted to nothing more than petty bullshit.
Yes I grant we’re a different country with a different system but the principle is the same: petty bullshit is the death of a thousand cuts and it will kill in time.

It’s not my call to make… but I don’t think the people should give a damn about ‘his legacy’ either and neither should he. He’s not the once and future king. His sole objective should be to do what is just and right, right now.

Just my opinion.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...


When a presidency remains a work-in-progress, it is difficult to adjudge final outcomes; and perhaps the Obama presidency stands in stark relief. With regards to ambiguous political statements, perhaps actions speak louder than words. Thus far, Obama has prevented the Keystone pipeline from going forward despite the uncertainty of his words.

Parenthetically, I have friends north of the border with whom I have debated this subject. Normally, liberal in their views, they have often expressed their resentments to me about the 10,000-pound gorilla on their southern border, specifically the impact of Keystone on their own economy. My counter: The pollution will be on our side of the border – our water supply, our environmentally sensitive lands, our waterways.

Funny how national self-interest compromises principle and comes between friends! No, not funny at all.

There is no disagreement between you or me, or with Joseph, or the great Green Eagle. I am merely trying to parse the issues of our time from the perspective of a sitting president who is trying to juggle a lot of balls in the air simultaneously.

My antipathy towards petty bullshit mirrors yours. There are times when I scream at my television. I take out my aggressions in writing commentary to spare my TV from having a near-death experience. In true Octopus fashion, I fantasize about camouflaging myself to avoid detection as I engage in acts of sabotage against fat cats, plutocrats – and, yes, even errant Democrats.

All creatures that slither, crawl and fly, they shall inherit the Earth!

Meanwhile, please accept my regrets for having lost contact with you (lots of personal changes last year). We should regroup our respective communities.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

BTW, here's what's going on in Canada in a nutshell.

Green Eagle said...

Magpie, don't worry about Canada. As global warming renders American farmland less and less viable and Canadian land more and more suitable to grow crops, the United States will inevitably attack and conquer Canada, which has no ability to resist. If we're lucky you and I will never live to see it, but it is inevitable. I will predict that, within a decade, Republicans will start up a barrage of anti-Canadian propaganda to prepare their base for the war.

"We have always been at war with Canada."

Magpie said...

In 1974, War Plan Red was declassified. This was a pre-WW2 plan by the US military to go to war with Britain and invade Canada.
It only takes a generation or so, if that, to make such a thing seem as ludicrous as it does now. Logically, the reverse is also true.