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Dead Blank

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So, I’m sitting here, having done my work for the day to the sound of Handel’s Water Music, and I’m looking at news sites.  I’m always looking at news sites.  I’m a complete news junkie.  It’s why my periodic declamations about giving up cable never go on for very long.

Today is what is known as a “slow news day,” meaning there’s not much of any news to speak of. 

Or at least there doesn’t seem to be.  I am increasingly suspicious of slow news days in the US,  because I keep catching real news I haven’t heard about on CNN.  For instance–a while ago, there were riots, vandalism and looting against Japanese companies operating in China, and against their employees, and against Japanese goods.

If the events  had occurred in someplace like France, they would be meaningless.  But you know and I know that nothing of that kind would go on for weeks in China if it didn’t have implicit government backing.

And that says something, to me, about just how secure China’s rulers are in their ability to hold the country.

And if China’s rulers are not secure in their ability to hold the country, that has some interesting long term implications.

 But the news here today is full of the upcoming debate, and nearly hysterical in tone.  Obama could ruin his chance of re-election in this one debate alone!   Will Mitt Romney save his train wreck of a campaign?

The hysteria is in inverse proportion to the substantive interest of the debates in question.

In reality, nothing actually goes on in American Presidential debates, and less than nothing is going to go on in this one.

In the first place, as always, there will not be debates, but mutually assured advertising sessions, where the candidates will say the same things they have been saying for months, if not years, now.  And no one will call them on it.

But there’s something else this year, and that is the fact that not only will the debates not determine the outcome of the election, the outcome of the election was determined so long ago that the whole thing has come to take on a feeling of deja vu.  Didn’t we already do this?  Wasn’t this already over?

The simple fact of the matter is this:  the Republicans lost this election when they nominated Mitt Romney. 

The left was wrong.  The Tea Party and the Evangelical right were never being hoodwinked by the capitalists to voting against their own (financial) interests. 

They were just making compromises until they could put themselves in a position to get what they actually wanted, and after Romney, they will get it. 

Mitt Romney is the last gasp of the old Establishment Right.  There were never that many of them to begin with, and after Romney they will cease to matter except in the sense that they’ll still have enough money to insure that the regulatory state saves them from real competition.

For what it’s worth,  Rick Santorum comes a lot closer to what the Tea Party wants than Romney does, but he couldn’t win this election either.  He may very well win another election down the line somewhere–I think it’s going to matter that he is, almost uniquely in the last 50 years, a politician willing to lose elections rather than compromise his principles–but for this election he was just too new and too scary.

I wrote a post a little while ago saying that this felt to me like a fake election, something that wasn’t really happening.

I’ll stick with that.  This isn’t really an election.  It is virtually contentless, in spite of what should be real substantive issues to be debated and decided.

All this is is a bookmark between Now and Then. 

The media is hysterical because it’s desperately trying to get people to watch the debates they’ve spent so much money producing.

The rest of us are hysterical because none of us, on any of the three available sides, is confident that the Then will reflect what we believe.

I’d better go do some serious work.



Written by janeh

October 2nd, 2012 at 9:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses to 'Dead Blank'

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  1. Only commenting so you won’t think I’m sulking. I agree, mostly, though since pretty well all my news is computer-based it doesn’t hit me as hard. (I got as much as I wanted on the Chinese riots and never clicked on the Debate headlines.) The networks spend decades trying to convince potential viewers that this time someothing important would happen at the nominating conventions, when the very presence of the TV cameras ensured that it wouldn’t. Now they’d like to convince me the debates will be worth watching, while the candidates will only take part on condition that they aren’t put under the type of pressure that might be informative.

    It was never likely that Obama would not be re-elected. I worry greatly that in two years we may all wish he hadn’t been re-elected, but that’s different. Big question in my mind is whether the Republicans will be ready to rule in 2017, because I’m pretty sure they’ll be in power ready or not, and neither side’s nominating procedures and traditions give me any confidence. Sceond question is just how bad the situation will be by 2017. Several Presidents have inherited bad situations and left their successors with worse ones. I’m afraid this may be one of those times.


    2 Oct 12 at 6:40 pm

  2. I’m being careful to do no more than glance at the headlines. So far, I have seen nothing about the House or Senate which recent history suggests will be more important than the President.


    2 Oct 12 at 9:41 pm

  3. Every day I read the NYT and Slate and a variety of American blogs, both leftish and rightish. I see the news (except those, including Fox News, that don’t have sub-titles). I thought for a while that Victor Davis Hanson was exaggerating in his frequent (more like constant) critiques of Obama and his administration.

    Then I discovered this guy:


    If even half of what this former US senior State Department diplomat says is true, and it’s consistent with Hanson’s opinion, the American public, with their tunnel-visioned obsession with relatively trivial social engineering priorities are in for a rude shock somewhere not far down the line.

    Frightening stuff. His critique of the American media (and the Australian media are at least as bad if not worse) is devastating.


    3 Oct 12 at 8:19 pm

  4. Speaking of Mittens, the monster of mendacity contra Mique above:


    Yeah, if you follow all the links inside the links to get to all the dirty details you will be busy for awhile.

    But when an entire campaign is built out of lies laid on a foundation of lies with pylons of lies going down to a bedrock of lies, well, that’a whole lotta lies to work through.

  5. Well, so much for that link, Mike. First allegation, that Obama apologised for America, was hardly a lie. The media consensus down here at the time was that Obama did just that.

    It’s what makes him directly comparable with Carter.

    But, if every difference of opinion is defined as a lie, which is what liberals tend to do, without looking at the beam in their own eyes, Obama is as guilty as Romney. Much guiltier in fact, since he’s been telling real lies non-stop and shamelessly since he started running for the presidency.

    Real lies, not trivial matters of interpretation.

    They’re both politicians. If their lips are moving they’re lying. Let’s not pretend that either one of them has the moral high ground in terms of
    personal integrity, although I tend to believe (with considerable regret, having been keen for Obama to win in 2008) that Romney could not possibly be worse than Obama, and that nobody the Republicans could name could be worse than Holder and Clinton.


    7 Oct 12 at 9:51 am

  6. Give a “lie” that Obama’s told that ranks with the non-stop whoppers coming from the Romney campaign. I’d really like to hear one.

    Not the usual shading of the truth; explaining something in the best possible light; omitting details that make an assertion not quite so strong if included, but flat out bald faced lies of the kind that have been the Romney/Rethuglican stock in trade.

  7. As evidence I’m not a complete curmudgeon, a little cartoon about reading:


  8. And more:

    “As fact checkers busily highlight the myriad number of lies and distortions offered by Mitt-Etch-A-Sketch-Romney during last night’s debate, and the spinners spin their polls with impunity, I find it interesting that the debate tactic itself has not yet been discussed nor properly analyzed. In fact, the lies and distortions offered by Romney in last night’s debate are the very ESSENCE of his tactic — and is therefore quite pertinent to the discussion. Romney used a debate tactic known as the Gish Gallop.”

    See http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/04/1139926/-Romney-Won-Using-a-Debate-Technique-Called-the-Gish-Gallop

    for the entire article.

  9. I am not going to pay any attention to someone who writes “Mitt-Etch-A-Sketch-Romney” since the bias is self-evident.

    The earliest politicians I have heard about were in Ancient Greece and Rome. They lied! Nothing has changed since then.

    Obama is lying when he says that US budget problems can be solved by raising taxes on 1% of the taxpayers.

    Romney is lying when he says US budget problems can be solved by cutting spending without raising anyone’s taxes.

    Politicians lie. Its a fact of life, get over it!


    7 Oct 12 at 11:21 pm

  10. Michael, if you sincerely believe that President Obama is in any respect an honest man, go and God bless. I would no more try to talk you out of it than I would discuss Santa Clause with a child. I can only recommend you don’t study his speeches and writing very closely.

    However, as regards the “usual shading of truth and ommission of details” let me give you a shorthand. If a man gives a speech, intending that his audience come to believe something that the speaker himself does not believe, that man is a liar. Same with authors. Given you’re not sitting in a jury in a perjury trial, that’s the only standard you need as an author, a speaker or an audience. Anything else is just trying to evade consequences.


    8 Oct 12 at 5:07 pm

  11. Mique

    9 Oct 12 at 12:35 am

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