View From Nowhere

Timothy Egan has a column up at the NY Times comparing the candidates to junk food. Here’s just a bit:

More empty calories: Scott Walker, the governor whose foreign policy experience is limited to breakfast at the old International House of Pancakes, threatens to start at least two wars upon taking office. He promises to use military action if necessary to coax Iran into doing what he wants it to do. He also wants to pick a fight with Russia, sending weapons to Ukraine and erecting a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Walker’s home state of Wisconsin ranks 35th in private sector job creation. But New Jersey is worse, suffering nine credit downgrades and ranking near the bottom in job growth. Even the governor of the state, Chris Christie, would not rise to Jersey’s defense after fellow candidates described Atlantic City as something akin to Baghdad on a hangover.

Those governors want to apply their ruinous models to the rest of the country. In the same vein, a failed former chief executive officer, Carly Fiorina, having fired 30,000 employees and driven her company’s stock price into the ground, feels more qualified than ever to be president. She’s never held elective office and rarely voted while living in California. A junk comeback.

But what about the Dems? All the Dem candidates, like them or not, are offering real policy proposals for real problems. But Egan — and I like Egan — can’t bring himself to step out of the View From Nowhere and declare that dictates we must see both sides as just as bad.

Finally, to the Democrats. A 73-year-old socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is getting lots of attention because Hillary Clinton’s email story is boring, by Clinton scandal standards. When a noisy intruder, an African-American, jumped to the podium and refused to let Sanders speak, it was widely interpreted as a big problem for the candidate and race relations.

Wrong. The censor with the mouth was, it turns out, a self-described “extremist Christian,” from a family that once backed Sarah Palin. Some members of Black Lives Matter distanced themselves from her.

How did this stunt become a thing among the national press corps? Junk media. Sadly, the sugar high goes two ways.

Yes, if you take the time to parse this he’s admitting that the problem is with media reporting, not Dem candidates, but the quick impression is that the Dem candidates don’t have anything to offer either. Of the two front-runners, one is just an old socialist and the other is bogged down in a boring email scandal.

24 thoughts on “View From Nowhere

  1. maha,
    I also took his comments about Bernie as a criticism of the media. But does every mention of him have to say he’s a Socialist, like that’s a bad thing?
    Why not give a brief definition of, or a link to, Socialism?

    The rubes in this country don’t know how much of the Satanic Socialism we already have in this country.
    From all of the forms of Social Security, to Medicare, to Medicaid, to, hell, the military, which is about as Socialist a system as we have here:
    A military unit is only as good as its weakest member, so help that member out!

    I love what he said about Dumb-‘n-old Chump:
    “Which gets us to Donald Trump, who boasts of four company bankruptcies, and paying people to come to his wedding. He is “a very smart person” and will be “phenomenal to the women” just like “the blacks.” It’s hard for women to attack him, he says, “because I’m so good-looking.”

    Normal politics can’t explain Trump. For that you need Freud. Trump fits the classic definition of narcissistic personality disorder, as Marc C. Johnson, an astute observer of American politics, noted in a recent blog post. Everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth is junk, but at least it fits a pattern.

    Good looking?
    It’s a toss-up as to who has the worst hair – Chump, of Kim Jong-un!
    At least when a wind comes up, Jong-un’s hair doesn’t blow around a wheat field in Kansas during a tornado!
    One more thing about Chump – he’s never had any political experience. So, what qualifies him to be POTUS?
    The question someone needs to ask him is this:
    “Mr. Trump, you’ve never held any political office, so what makes you qualified to be POTUS? Would you hire an inexperienced person to run your largest enterprise?”
    I think not. But, I’m sure he’ll come up with some bombastic response that throws the question back at the person who asked it. *

    I have nothing clever anymore to say about the GOP field full of fertilizer.
    All I can say is that you can take any one of them, and make a political horror movie about the dystopian future they’ll create.
    There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them, because the definitions of sociopath and psychopath are so closely related.


    *Btw – I read yesterday that Chump will be on MTP this morning with – yes – UpChuck Toad.
    My question is, will Chump eat him raw, or put a lot of heat on him to make well-done Toad?
    Oy, too!

  2. The whole email server thing is beyond ridiculous. The Bushies had private servers. A private server may well be more secure than the Government one in this age of constant, pervasive internet hacking. And–DUH– a private server might be very helpful if some drooling idiots from Congress want to pry into your affairs.

    Clinton has problems. She is not exciting enough as a candidate, at least to me. Maybe because she’s been part of the landscape so long. And she’s not nearly liberal enough for me, especially after all these decades of our country being dragged further and further to the Right. But imaginary scandals are so transparent any reporter who even prolongs them by reporting on them at this point should be ashamed; there are matters of actual substance to cover.

  3. Tom_B,
    Matters of actual substance take work to cover. First, you have understand policy, and then be able to frame it so that people can understand the issues at stake.

    Far easier to do “He said/she said,” and cover politics like a horserace. And then copy the talking points, and repeat them.

    Today’s political coverage:
    “We copy. YOU decide!”

  4. We Americans do love our drama so when candidates are boring, we latch onto whatever the media gives us that excites us whether it has substance or not. Maybe that is the seduction of war. We can play the big hero and save the whole world by getting rid of the bad guys. And all the women can go back to having babies and baking cookies and we will live happily ever after. Every day I get more confused about what is really going on in this “exceptional” country of ours and even the world. Maybe it is just part of getting older.
    Sigh! It is Sunday, maybe I will be Christian today and rest.

  5. Tom_B, good public servants don’t use private servers to do the public’s business. When security is an issue that’s what Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are for. If VPNs are good enough for the bosses at the Pentagon, the NSA, the CIA, and DARPA; they’re good enough for Hillary. So what if the Bushes had private servers? The Bushes are not the standard by which good political behavior should be judged.

    I doubt there’s anything serious there. Hil may be evil but she’s not stupid. But what this does show is hubris on her part. She knows what VPNs are for. She decided that she knew better than her own techies. She didn’t trust her own staff to have her back and design a VPN she felt comfortable with. Now watch every GOP pol suddenly become a network admin and grill her on TCP/IP.

    So although it’s not a scandal, it’s not ridiculous either. For me it’s one more reason why Any(Democrat)body But Hillary is looking better and better.

  6. I now declare myself, “The King of ‘Moderation!'” – at least on maha’s blog, if nowhere else.

  7. When you look at the Gallup poll if trust in institutions, Congress comes in last. Unreported (I wonder why) is the runner up in least trusted institutions is the press.

    An interesting observation on this afternoon on Washington Monthly –

  8. Congress and press, last and next-to-last? And both largely Republican!

    Coincidence? We report, you decide.

  9. Sanders is not a socialist. He’s a Democratic Socialist. Big difference. The latter defines and protects the commons while the former lays claim to everything.

  10. “The censor with the mouth was, it turns out, a self-described “extremist Christian,” from a family that once backed Sarah Palin. Some members of Black Lives Matter distanced themselves from her”

    Only some, BLM don’t mind being represented by a wing-nut fundie with ties to the Sarah Palin organization? OK then, I’ve read about this connection elsewhere, I wonder if our friend Brein knows about it?

  11. “Sanders is not a socialist”

    Right that lazy description bothers me as well. The thing is the media cannot just come out and refute what Bernie says without further exposing their role as the Oligarchy’s personal press secretaries so they just call him an old socialist, or worse an old socialist Jew!

  12. Ah yes, the good old News from Nowhere. It reminds me of a song…

    He’s a real Nowhere Man
    sitting in his nowhere land
    making all his nowhere plans for nobody

    Doesn’t have a point of view
    Knows not where he’s going to
    Isn’t he a bit like me and you

    He’s as blind as he can be
    Just sees what he wants to see
    Nowhere Man, can you see me at all?

    Nowhere Man, please listen
    you don’t know what you’re missin’
    Nowhere Man, the world is at your command!

    He’s a real Nowhere Man
    sitting in his nowhere land
    making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    making all his nowhere plans for nobody!

  13. Spot on. Equating Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton with the howler monkeys of the right is not only lazy journalism, it’s entrenched in the mindset that holds us captive to the “sugar highs” of American politics. “Both sides do it” is the shopworn concept that projects false objectivity and depth. Of course, when my right wing friends use it it translates it means, “okay, you caught me red handed.” When a journalist uses it, it’s more like, “hey, everyone reading this has ADD, and I’m going to get paid, either way, so let’s just take the easy way out.”

    Sometimes, it simply gets to be too much, or rather too little. The cloying superficiality and glitz becomes too nauseating to bear and too tragic to ignore. This is the Ship of Fools, and where the voyage ends is still in question.

  14. goatherd,
    This Ship of Fool’s voyage may very well end by running aground on the reefs of Idiocracia.
    We’re pretty damn close to them already!

  15. I have to admit I first encountered “view from nowhere” reading Jay Rosen’s PressThink blog, unaware ’til later he was referencing a book by Thomas Nagel that delves more deeply into the subject of objectivity and the human mind. Also helpful are Rosen’s essays on “Church of the Savvy.” These concepts are good tools to help me recognize and understand the breakdown in communication and sadly, trust between modern mainstream journalism and the audience. It’s amazing to me how easily important journalists who should know better been played since the days of Lee Atwater through Luntz, Rove, etc, to today. Pure lazyness and greed on their part also contributed to the steep decline in the value of their content over the same timeline. For a laugh, see this hilarious take-down of Luke “both sides do it” Russert.

  16. It sure seems that way, Cundgulag. If the planet and mankind last long enough, the late 20th and early 21st century will make for some interesting analysis. But, unfortunately, where information is abundant, our storage methods are vulnerable, so the unfortunate survivors might have a few cautionary tales to hand down along with myriad questions about what went wrong.

  17. “our storage methods are vulnerable”

    Goatherd, if you haven’t seen it look for a movie called “Idiocracy” I assume that is what Gulag is referencing, it’s about the dumbest movie I’ve ever watched but sadly it is nudging toward documentary status given our current state of political affairs!

  18. Uncledad, I respectfully disagree about Idiocracy. Uneven production values aside, the premise is the smartest satire on our society to come along in years. And it just gets smarter with age. It has a pretty strong cult following and the word “Idiocracy” has become a solid meme in the American lexicon of social commentary. Give it another chance. Here’s a good Rolling Stone essay on it.

  19. How many Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers will it take to get my comment out of Moderation Limbo?

  20. “smartest satire on our society to come along in years”

    I’ll have to look at it again, it’s been a while, I do remember being struck by how they nailed what seemed to be “FAUX news”, complete with hollow headed bobblehead bimbos and all. The part about the pro-wrestler president seemed silly to me then, not so much now. It’s got electrolytes you know!

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