TV News LIES

Tuesday, Jul 22nd

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Stop treating war-crazy buffoons as experts! They got it wrong, remember?

NeoconIf you were asked to identify a single moment that best captures the failure of elite media outlets to act as agents of accountability, you could do worse than David Gregory asking Paul Wolfowitz on “Meet the Press” this weekend what we should do, “as a policy matter,” to deal with the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

Wolfowitz, as deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005, was one of the chief visionaries and supporters of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. And he got just about everything wrong, from the cost of the war to the presence of WMD. And he doesn’t particularly care. In an interview with the Sunday Times last March, Wolfowitz made the argument that even though they got it wrong on WMD in 2003, everything they said was happening (but wasn’t) would likely have happened later. “We would very likely either have had to go through this whole scenario all over but probably with higher costs for having delayed, or we’d be in a situation today where not only Iran was edging towards nuclear weapons but so was Iraq and also Libya.”

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Alex Baer: Another Day on Planet X

planet xHere I am again:  I woke up again this morning.  And, once again, I ran through all my available choices.  Once more, I found no basic improvement in the human condition -- nothing astonishing had happened while I slept, no new options had evolved or hatched or arrived in flying saucers, or tunneled up from the deeps.  No thoroughly new way of existing had been birthed, fizzing and crackling into existence from a wormhole's termination point on the surface of the planet nearest my thoroughly beat-up and timeworn footwear.

No, here I was able to again discover life at its simplest:  There was the staying-in-the-rack option, or there was the up-and-at-'em angle.  While there were no new lifeform alternatives presented overnight -- none that I could detect, at any rate -- at least both of the standard choices were still available.  I wake up slow and groggy these days, but I glommed onto that much, sure enough.

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Alex Baer: We Could End Up Miles from Here

highway to nowhereThe days unfold strangely for anyone puttering around gamely, if lamely, in life.  As an amateur human being a long way from pro status, it's possible to stroll among the headlines and footnotes, around the millstones and milestones, taking informal readings on this and that.

Even on a good day, with a stiff, sane breeze blowing across the news websites of the land, it's impossible to gauge the gradations of cultural degradation, to get accurate readings of any kind.  It's a gut-feeling sort of enterprise. There are no calibrated anything-ometers to slap into play.  There are no national and regional numbers pouring in to Tracking Central.  There are no land mine or shock wave or blast zone maps.

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Alex Baer: Texas Tea, Coin Flips, and What's Missing

fracking fireHere is a story about the present and the future.  It is a story about energy.  Now, it is a story about fracking.  And, not to repeat myself, it is a tale about unbridled madness.  Later, the story could be about something else.

For now, there are plenty of deep and scarring errors in this saga, but no redemption -- maybe in time, but not right now.  Right now, there is only an equally deep, dank, and abiding feeling the world is no longer under any obligation to make sense, that some elemental bargain has been voided, that some vital bank of dead man's switches has been locked out and they no longer work.

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Dear GOP: The US has negotiated with Terrorists and Amnestied Them all through History

Juan Cole editorialThe GOP talking points in response to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a trade for five former officials of the 1990s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) focused on a few basic premises. !. You don’t negotiate with terrorists; 2. such a swap would encourage terrorists to capture Americans; 3. these officials are the worst the worst.

Tagging movements as “terrorist” and then refusing to deal with them is frankly stupid. The Taliban in Afghanistan are not a small terrorist group like, say, the Italian Red Brigades of the 1970s and 1980s. They are guerrillas belonging to a movement that at one point had captured the state and run it. The Taliban are now a guerrilla group, holding territory.

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Alex Baer: Pains & Fears, Lessons & Gifts

waitressThe thing about unexpected lessons is that you never know what it is you'll learn, or that you had anything at all to learn in the first place.

In a quintzillion years, I never thought I would say this, but Donald Rumsfeld had a point, albeit a circuitous one, when he reeled off his screed about known knowns and unknown unknowns, and so forth, through every last permutation, down to the potentially uncertain but likely quite improbably unknown, but still completely possible, percentagewise, knowns. Or something.

Lessons are difficult, even if you're open and ready for them, and they involve small-beans issues like going to a different movie than you'd planned, or having to break down and order an alien beer or pop when your fav has been pumped dry at Drac's Stake-N-Steak or Burger Queen or Pasta Palace or whatever.

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Alex Baer: Put Your Lips Together and Blow

whistleMy Muse, lately, has been feisty, haughty, and downright bumptious.  Churlish and surly, too, but that is surely an outgrowth of my ignoring it as much as possible.  It hates that.  Kicks up a fuss something fierce.

It's been unavoidable, though.  It's yard work season.  Out here in the country-ish places, Nature never stops trying to take back the small encampment it's allowed us for an assortment of the old, small, odd-shaped buildings we call home -- a place where all of the structures and sheds compete against one another to see which one can return its raw materials and minerals to the earth firstest with the mostest.

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