The End of Liberalism

March 20, 2012


The notion that the U.S. has a liberal media, a liberal political party or a liberal anything, is laughable in the extreme. That the GOP and the wingnuts can prance around claiming the Democrats are socialists and weak on national security, or that the mainstream media is anything other than a corporate echo chamber for privileged elites, is remarkable.

I’ll give the GOP one thing- they are outstanding at political propaganda and messaging. The result of all this, of course, is the long, slow, agonizing death of the middle class, perpetual war, a two-party-in-name-only political apparatus and a woefully uninformed electorate. That roughly 40% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 (and probably couldn’t point to Iraq on a map) demonstrates not only how collectively stupid we are, but nicely illustrates the tragic consequences of everything I just wrote above. That we are currently marching towards war with Iran while the corporate media takes up it’s pre-Iraq War position as lead military-industrial complex cheerleader, is incredible. Apparently, federal funds spent on controlling health care costs and providing Americans access to health care is a despicable attack on American values but spending trillions on unnecessary wars, padding the wallets of the private intelligence-security complex, killing tens if not hundreds of thousands of civilians, eroding civil liberties under the false flag of national security and allowing Wall Street corporate criminals to never, ever be held accountable for their crimes, is not only acceptable, but honorable. Should Americans ever question this nonsense, you can be sure some politician will yell, “yes, but look over there….two guys kissing! Your marriage is under attack!” or “religious freedom is in jeopardy because God-hating liberals want to hand out birth control pills to your children at Halloween.” Which I guess is why suddenly the Catholic Bishops and Evangelical God-Botherers are acting as if birth control became available only yesterday as opposed to, you know, decades ago.

Glenn Grenwald has a good, albeit depressing, summary of how crimes perpetrated under GW Bush have been expanded upon under so-called liberal Democrat Barack Obama. He calls out the media for their slavish devotion to the corrupt elites whom they are supposed to be holding accountable and he illustrates how America’s jaw-dropping hypocrisy in the War on Terror has made us one of the most hated nations on earth[excerpt]:

After Bradley Manning was arrested on charges that he leaked documents to WikiLeaks, he was held in intense solitary confinement for ten months until political pressure finally forced his transfer to more humane conditions in Fort Leavenworth; the top U.N. torture official last week concluded that Manning’s treatment during those 10 months was “cruel and inhumane.” By stark contrast, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales — the prime suspect in the slaughter of 16 Afghan civilians — is already at Fort Leavenworth and is receiving this treatment:

Bales arrived at Fort Leavenworth last Friday and is being held in an isolated cell. He is “already being integrated into the normal pretrial confinement routine,” prison spokeswoman Rebecca Steed said.

The routine includes recreation, meals and cleaning the area where he is living. Steed said once his meetings with his attorneys are complete later in the week, Bales will resume the normal integration process.

An ABC News article back when Manning was transferred to Fort Leavenworth included these details:

The 150 inmates at the facility — including eight who are awaiting trial — are allowed three hours of recreation a day, she said, and three meals a day in a dining area.

That likely means that there will be some substantial interaction between Bales and Manning. Think about that: if you expose to the world previously unknown evidence of widespread wanton killing of civilians (as Manning allegedly did), then you will end up in the same place as someone who actually engages in the mass wanton killing of civilians (as Bales allegedly did), except that the one who committed atrocities will receive better treatment than the one who exposed them.


Meanwhile, Chait’s primary competitor for supreme Obama media defender, Andrew Sullivan, has spent this week doing what he often does: insisting that President Obama is a True Conservative, and that the Right is therefore irrational for not adoring him the way that Andrew does. Notably, Andrew is equally fond of attacking liberals who fail to adore the President as much as Andrew does, on the ground that Obama has achieved more progressive goals than any President in decades. In other words, Andrew’s core defense of the President — set forth most comprehensively in his Newsweek cover story declaring the President’s critics on both the right and the left to be basically stupid and crazy – amounts to simultaneously claiming that: (1) conservative critics of Obama are dumb because Obama is a Real Conservative; and (2) liberal critics of the President are dumb because Obama’s presidency is a bonanza of progressive successes. As Guy Saperstein put it: “The fact that these two critiques are internally inconsistent has somehow managed to escape Mr. Sullivan.”

What seems to permit these simultaneously held views is the belief that President Obama’s personal greatness is so vast and profound (perhaps deserving of Mount Rushmore elevation given the pile of corpses he’s assembled) that he is actually both The Great Conservative President and The Great Liberal President all rolled into one. He deserves the gratitude and admiration of everyone regardless of their agreement with his policies and actions: that’s how fantastic he is as a leader. That said, Andrew really seemed to enjoy the White House state dinner to which he was invited last week, including his “warm chat with the president” and discovering “the impact that the Newsweek Obama cover-story had on Obama donors and staffers,” so that’s good. It’s important and gratifying as a journalist to know that you’ve given something of great value to a politician’s donors and staffers; isn’t that why the Founders insisted on a free press?

About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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2 Comments on “The End of Liberalism”

  1. Steve Says:

    It’s incredible how hypocritical the US is and how the media basically promotes the hypocrisy. Had an Afghan soldier walked into a US military base and killed 16 people, that soldier would be deemed a terrorist. We wouldn’t be talking about whether the Afghan man had marital or financial problems, whether he had PTSD from having his country invaded and occupied etc. But when a White American kills innocent people, there are REASONS.

    It’s also interesting how the State Dept. is selectively threatening Americans who support Palestinians in Gaza (think the BS when the flotilla was trying to set sail from Greece) with violation of US law regarding material support for terrorism but when political elites and Israel Lobby hacks support the terrorist group/cult MEK simply because the MEK currently hates the Iranian regime, it’s A-OK to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from them. That Israel is apparently using the MEK to assassinate Iranian scientists is no matter. It’s only terrorism when Bad People do it.


  2. thainjacobs Says:

    Thank god for glenn greenwald!

    The state dept issued a statement the other day basically saying that they don’t give a shit about the Palestinian woman/peace activist held in Israeli military detention and who is close to death on a hunger strike. So much for Hillary’s big push for women! Only certain women matter I guess.

    Now imagine if this woman was Iranian or Cuban. Then we’d be OUTRAGED! We’d be demanding she be released. Amnesty has listed has as a prisoner of conscience.

    Israel is a disgrace. So is the US. Hopefully in time we’ll both disappear up our own asses.


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