They Just Say Stuff

Steve at Left Coaster points out that Bush Blames Others For No Energy Policy – But GOP Tried To Eliminate DOE In 1990′s.
The Republicans tried to get rid of the entire Energy Department. Never forget that. (And the Education Department, too, by the way.)
They say what they need to say to make the sale. If the focus groups and polls tell them to say something, they say it. That’s all t is. Truth is just not a part of the calculation.

Leo Strauss

I posted the following as a comment to the Opium For You post and Dave asked me to repost it as a blog.
I’ve been researching the devotion of the neocons to the philosophy of Leo Strauss for a long time. If I haven’t posted anything about this here, I should have. He was a professor at the U. of Chicago, taken very seriously at the time by any number of bright young things who considered themselves intellectually elite. A lot of my friends considered themselves intellectually elite and went to the University of Chicago, which considered itself the most intellectually elite university, so this was the right place for Strauss. I wasn’t considered intellectually elite because I couldn’t afford to go there. It was a private school and very expensive. To be intellectually elite you had to be rich. Of course you also had to be a man, so I could only have become a second-class Straussian at best anyway.

Continue reading

Today’s Housing Bubble Post

The Housing Bubble: Media, Congress Need To Wake Up

The warning signs are everywhere that a mortgage/housing fiasco is unfolding and the silence is deafening. Except for newcomers like Cramer, the media isn’t covering this debacle or the Doral matter. The home builders having their head handed to them after record existing and new sales, plus record earnings, should put the media on notice that we have a problem.
Perhaps asking the media to quit cheerleading and look at the housing crisis objectively is too much. What of our representatives in Washington? The congress had better be meeting to figure out what the heck they are going to do instead of debating who is more responsible for Fannie.

We need a new media, #10

Before I retired, my big issue was the need for a new media — new national TV, cable, newspaper, and radio. I’m now convinced that elections are won and lost mostly among the people who depend on scuttlebutt and free media for their political information, and that the Republicans have a huge advantage there. So we need to scrape up half a billion and build the whole thing from scratch.
Many Democrats still don’t get the point. Even today, proposals of this type get kneejerk sneers from a high proportion of liberals. I stopped asking myself why; I ended up concluding that the Democrats are worthless and deserve to lose — it’s a pity that the U.S. will have to lose too.
But maybe I’m wrong. Robert Parry of Consortium News (first-rank professional journalist, by the way) is working on this issue, and Carolyn Kay of Make them Accountable is also on top of things. (She sends out frequent email updates which I highly recommend.)
Right now they are trying to put pressure on MoveOn to put some energy (and money) into long-term media projects, instead of pissing to away on a series of one-time single-issue votes.
Write MoveOn here.

Opium For You

Billmon, on Straussians. Well worth reading, if you have time. Learn about the philosophy of the neo-cons in charge of this country. Part of the idea is to feed religion to the masses to get them to follow you… And yes, this stuff is for real. Billmon is writing about it because the neo-cons believe it.

To the Straussians, rationality does not provide an adequate basis for a stable social order. To the contrary, the Age of Enlightenment has ushered in the crisis of modernity, in which nihilism – the moral vacuum left behind by the death of God – inevitably leads to decadence, decline and, ultimately, genocide.
[. . .] What gives Straussian thought its special flavor – a bitter blend of hypocrisy and cynicism – is the fact that Strauss himself didn’t believe in the eternal “truths” he championed. He was a nihilist, in other words – but one who believed only the philosophical elite could be trusted to indulge in such a dangerous vice. In exchange for this privilege, the elite has a special obligation to uphold the “noble lies” the ignorant masses must live by if society is to survive.

Continue reading

Another Trick (Surprised?)

The headline says G.O.P. Will Relent on Ethics Rules, House Speaker Says and the story says,

Saying that an ethics impasse needed to be resolved to provide a chance for Representative Tom DeLay to clear his name, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert said this morning that Republicans were ready to relent on rules changes that have left the ethics committee unable to do any work.

But gosh darn it, it’s just another trick. You see, what isn’t changing is that the Republicans pick the Ethics Comittee staff now, and it is the staff that conducts the actual investigation. So of course the investigations will clear Republicans while condemning Democrats. Doh!