Entries Tagged 'Learned Watching Cable News' ↓

Learned watching cable news, #9

Week of April 30, 2012

KT McFarland, former Reagan deputy defense secretary, was a guest on The Willis Report (May 4).  At the 4-minute mark I learned that Reagan did not spike the ball after Grenada.  I laughed so hard I missed the part about Eisenhower not spiking the ball after Normandy, and Lincoln not spiking the ball after the Civil War.

I hope Reagan did not rely on McFarland for historical perspective.  Grenada?  Really?


Learned watching cable news, #8

Week of April 9, 2012

From Lawrence O’Donnell’s Rewrite I learned the Catholic Church has survived, and even flourished, because of its critics from within.  History tells us the Church has been corrupt in various ways.  Inside critics have often been the “good guys,” but this didn’t stop them from suffering the Church’s wrath.  Martin Luther is the best example — excommunicated for his 95 theses concerning the 16th century church, many of which criticized the institutional greed of selling indulgences.

Forgiveness sales are now a thing of the past. Has the Catholic Church apologized to Luther, a man with a protestant religion named after him? We know the answer.

Recent sex-abuse scandals illustrate another corruption of the Church.  Incidents may not have been caused by a policy that permits the ordination of only unmarried men, but the culture that grew up around that policy led to the practice of moving pedophiles and covering up for them.   We now know there is no better cover for the sex abuse of boys than a closeted homosexual culture — way to go Catholic Church.

I remember when our parish priest said the Church needed to change its policy against the ordination of married men.  The reaction from the congregation was spontaneous applause.

As O’Donnell points out, Church critics throughout history have helped reconcile the institution to Jesus’ teachings.  This happens with clarity when critics demonstrate the virtues Jesus modeled — understanding, imagination, strong character, courage, humility and generosity.

Why don’t Christians (including Catholics) know the six virtues of the educated person?  Was Jesus not the model of an educated person?  Didn’t He want his followers to be educated?  Hasn’t His Church let Him down?

Catholics are like everybody else.  They don’t want to teach the six virtues, but they want to teach all kinds of other things.  Why?


Learned watching cable news, #7

Week of March 5, 2012

According to House Speaker Boehner (“Now with Alex Wagner,” 3/10/2012), some of the dumbest and raunchiest Americans are in Congress.  (After the annoying commercial, move the slide bar to the 6:15 mark.)  Evidently, we elected people to Congress who are like the dumbest, raunchiest of my classmates in high school and college.

Boehner said “raunchiest” because he wants his colleagues to have strong characters and generous spirits. Members of Congress who received diplomas may be “schooled,” but if they have not developed character and spiritual virtues, he calls them “raunchy.”   His language is colloquial, but I can see (smell) it.

Learned watching cable news, #6

Week of February 20, 2012

When asked about the “big picture” for the 2012 election (Hardball, 2/24/20120), Major Garrett said:

If Obama wins re-election, he consolidates that which he has put in force his first two years, the health care law, Dodd-Frank, the architecture of a new relationship between the federal government and the American people.

Cut the Crap

Really?  If Obama has created a new relationship between the federal government and the American people (a new architecture), shouldn’t Garrett explain how it came about and what it looks like, what it feels like?  I must have missed it.  My relationship with the federal government is the same as it was before the Obama election.  Can Garrett point to one thing that is different?

Dodd-Frank has not affected my life.  The new health care law covered my 26-year-old son under my policy for an extra year.  And, because my wife is employed as a health care consultant, she has worked around the country.  Just think of how many jobs that has created for airlines, restaurants and hotel people.

These talking heads just make things up.  “New architecture?”  “New relationship between the federal government and the American people?”  If you search on the National Journal website for explanations of this new relationship or architecture, you won’t find any because these descriptions exist only inside the talking heads’ heads.

The O’Reilly Factor, 2/24/2012

Later that night O’Reilly claimed California is a “nanny state.”  Radio personality Leslie Marshall likes some of California’s rules and regulations, but radio personality Janine Turner moved from California to Texas to avoid them.

Cut the Crap

I boarded a flight for California the next morning.  It was delayed out of Asheville, NC, because the pilots arrived late the night before and had to complete the required rest period.  I was happy for the federal regulation that made me leave 3.5 hours later than scheduled.

When I arrived in California, it felt the same as in North Carolina.  Maybe I didn’t feel California’s oppressive rules and regulations because I was still grateful for having rested pilots on the first leg of my journey.

Our 24-hour cable stations have to talk about something, so they make up phrases like “nanny state.”  O’Reilly, Marshall and Turner are just like Dennis Miller, John Stossel, and Ron Paul. The Libertarian rally cry seems to be, “We like the rules we like! We don’t like the rules we don’t like!”

Without public airwaves, libertarians could not hear John Stossel and Ron Paul rail against oppressive government ownership and rules.  I love irony.


Learned watching cable news, #5

Week of February 13, 2012

Larry Kudlow believes we should listen to Stanford Economics professor Edward Lazear, whose “Street Creds” were displayed as Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, 2006 -2009.  Why did Kudlow have a guest whose “Street Creds” say, “You would be a fool to listen to this person!”

It’s a funny thing about economists.  Their predictions are valuable, if they are right.  If they are wrong, their predictions have no value (or worse); and only by looking back can we determine which predictions were right, which were wrong.

Lazear did not mention his advice between 2006 and 2009, so I assume he failed to insist on paying for two wars and a huge drug benefit.  He failed to successfully argue for the need to control the deficit.  And he failed to insist on financial regulations that might have prevented the housing meltdown.

I should listen to Professor Lazear?  Does Kudlow take me for a fool? 

Learned watching cable news, #4

Week of February 6, 2012

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show (2/9/2012).   He is co-chairing an investigation into improper foreclosures after the housing crisis.   He believes attorneys general around the country can hold banks accountable for robo-signing and other corrupt practices. If you believe that, you have not been paying attention over the last 30 years.

Jimmy Carter was our last honest president, which is why he is reviled.  Americans fear truth.  So, when Carter told the truth, Americans became afraid and elected Ronald Reagan, who is revered for not telling the truth.

(About Iran-Contra) Speculation about the involvement of Reagan, Vice President George Bush and the administration at large ran rampant. Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh investigated the affair for the next eight years. Fourteen people were charged with either operational or “cover-up” crimes. In the end, North’s conviction was overturned on a technicality, and President Bush issued six pardons, including one to McFarlane, who had already been convicted, and one to Weinberger before he stood trial.

Although laws had been broken, and Reagan’s image suffered as a result of Iran-Contra, his popularity rebounded. In 1989 he left office with the highest approval rating of any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

Is the last sentence ironic, or does it mean Americans admire anybody who tells them this is the greatest country in the world?  Americans are taught to fear truth by public school teachers who were taught to fear truth, when they were students.

We get what we deserve — the Republican primary and the general election this fall will be ugly.

If you are a home owner, write to me when you recover what you lost  in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis.  If you are a banker/lender or other benefactor of the corrupt practices that led to the collapse of the housing market; write to me, when you have repaid those who were taken advantage of.

I won’t hear from either home owners or lenders because we are afraid of the truth, especially the one that says America is not only not the greatest country in the world, but a country that has recently been corrupted by unchecked capitalism.  Can you say oligarchy?

Learned watching cable news, #3

Week of January 30, 2012

#1.  Mitt Romney and I have another thing in common.  Neither of us can argue the greatness of free-market capitalism.  According to Joe Scarborough (CNBC, Kudlow Report, 2/2/2012), Romney doesn’t understand “free market conservatism in a way that I think a Republican nominee for a president in 2012 should understand it.”

#2.  Mitt Romney and I have one more thing in common. (Learned from the National Review Online — Kudlow)  Neither of us likes crony capitalism when it doesn’t benefit us, personally.  (Kudlow praised Romney’s debate attack on Obama administration crony capitalism.)  Both Kudlow and Romney are silent, however, on the crony capitalism that benefited Romney before 2008.  At the end of the column, Kudlow asked, “Is anyone listening?”

Dear Larry,

I don’t listen to people whose self-interest dulls their memories.  I know Republicans/conservatives believe people are naturally self-interested, which is true.  But that does not mean you should make it your highest value.

#3.  Laura Ingraham says, when Mitt Romney makes a gaffe, we all know what he really meant.   (O’Reilly, 2/2/2012)

#4.  The differences between Bill O’Reilly and me were evident in his February 2, 2012 Talking Points.  He said  the reasons for poverty in America are “poor education, addiction, irresponsible behavior and laziness.”

Then he said:

There is usually a reason people are poor in a country that has more opportunity than any other place on earth. It almost always comes back to personal circumstances. And all the government in the world is not going to change that.

Dear Bill:

Yes — It comes down to personal circumstances.  Some Americans are born into circumstances that provide less opportunity than others.  You forgot that fact — a fact that always has been and always will be true. And you are right — government can’t change that fact.

So, what is your point?  Is it that government has no role in addressing unequal opportunity?  Is it that government should have a smaller role than now?  Or is it something else?  You say you are an idea guy. You are supposed to have ideas — right?  The segment is called “Talking Points” — right?  What is your point?

You stated your belief about opportunity in America, but you are silent on a self-evident fact about opportunity everywhere.  I guess you can spin things any way you want — it’s your show.  BTW — There is no such thing as a “no-spin zone” — learned watching cable news.


Learned watching cable news, #2

Week of January 16, 2012

1.  According to Newt Gingrich, “The fact is that under President Obama more people have been added to the food stamp program than under any other president.”  (PBS Newshour, January 17, 2012)

The former Speaker forgot to say the American economy was heading for the brink of disaster, just as Obama was taking office.  Because of this second fact, it would be surprising if the first were not true.  Gingrich the historian is an abomination.  Gingrich the candidate is afraid of truth.

2.  Dick Morris, the master flip-flopper, believes both Gingrich and Romney are good presidential candidates.  (O”Reilly on Fox)  Enough said.

3.  The six vices of our uneducated nature are on display in the Republican primary race.  The GOP is no longer marching to the orders of Rove and Cheney, so Republican candidates are criticizing each other (PBS, MSNBC, CNN, even Fox).  Both Democrats and Republicans know they won’t be elected if they don’t demonstrate the six vices of:  (1) ignorance (aka) using sound-bites to explain complex issues, (2) intellectual incompetence (aka) staying on message, (3) weakness (aka) pandering, (4) fear of truth (aka) crafting an image that hides the real person, (5) pride (aka) being proud of the accident of birthplace, (6) selfishness (aka) assuring re-election before everything else. Nobody notices because the ugliness of American presidential campaigns is accepted.

4.  I grew up in Wisconsin for 37 years, so I am humbled by the Scott Walker recall efforts of normal, beautiful Wisconsinites.  During a time of middle class prosperity I learned the six virtues growing up in Appleton.

5.  Greta Van Susteren illustrated Wisconsinite beauty in her interview with Governor Walker (January 18, 2012).  Like me, she grew up in Appleton and attended Xavier High School.  I wondered how she would do, since she is on Fox.  She challenged the governor’s talking point about the recall being backed by national union financiers, reminding him twice that he relies on outside money, too.  You get integrity from a Wisconsinite, even one on Fox News.

Learned watching cable news, #1

Week of January 9, 2012

1.  Mitt Romney and I have one thing in common (CNN).  Neither of us cares about his family dog.

2. Libertarian Ron Paul and I have one thing in common (Maddow, MSNBC).  We are against the regulations we don’t like and for the ones we like.

3.  According to O’Reilly and Ben Stein on Fox, Republicans are ridiculed by talk show hosts because Hollywood is biased against Republicans, not because Republican talking points are easy to ridicule.

Democrat talking points are easy to ridicule, too; but Democrats aren’t as disciplined, unified, and uniform as Republicans.  You gotta love Republican discipline — following the orders of Rove, Cheney and Norquist for eight years, culminating in the crash of the American economy.  Republican presidential candidates are now claiming they know how to improve the economy.  I must have missed their knowledge about how to build and maintain a thriving economy, when they were in power between 2000 and 2009.

4.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Maher, HBO) thinks urination-gate reflects poorly on her belief that we are “the greatest country in the world.”   She condemned the Marines’ act, saying  she wants the world to know she represents many fine 18-year-olds in her Florida district.  Did she look at other countries and determine that they have fewer fine 18-year-olds or more corpse urinators?  Or is her belief that “America is the greatest country in the world” just a belief?