03 July 2006

Trouble at the (John Stuart) Mill, or I Didn't Expect a Kind of Spanish Inquisition

It's important to pick up a thread from yesterday, because it's the pandemic of American democracy, and has been amply demonstrated by the Persecution and Assassination of Dan Rather by the Inmates of the Freeper Asylum (as directed by the Marquis de Rove):

Greg Palast called it again: the Bushies have decided to back the pro-Bush Mexican presidential candidate over the anti-Bush candidate, and to use Florida and Ohio tactics to do it. He called it before the election, and now, Sunday's election looks to bear him out:

from "Grand theft Mexico" July 3, 2006
As in Florida in 2000, and as in Ohio in 2004, the exit polls show the voters voted for the progressive candidate. The race is "officially" too close to call. But they will call it - after they steal it.

Reuters reports that, as of 8pm eastern time, as voting concluded in Mexico, exit polls showed Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the "leftwing" party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) leading in exit polls over Felipe Calderon of the ruling conservative National Action party (PAN).

... Calderon's election is openly supported by the Bush administration.
What John Stuart Mill said, you might recall was this:
"Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidable evil: there is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides; it is when they attend only to one that errors harden into prejudices, and truth itself ceases to have the effect of truth, by being exaggerated into falsehood." (on Liberty, Chap 2)
And the Freepers have piled on Mr. Palast, suggesting that he doesn't know anything about
a) Mexico

b) exit polls, and

c) anything.
What is their evidence? Well, evidence doesn't matter. Raw assertions remain the order of the day, but the teleology, the ends are accomplished through the means of shutting down debate entirely through shouting.

Which is exactly why Dan Rather is out of a job.

And why the Right Wing is attacking the NEW YORK TIMES over a story that the WALL STREET JOURNAL also ran, but the WSJ's isn't politically advantageous to attack, so only the NYT is screamed at.

Last week, I watched Dan Rather's final exit from CBS after 44 years. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. After removing him as anchor, he was given a desk and a phone and nothing to do. As CBS/VIACOM undoubtedly hoped, Rather finally quit accepting a paycheck for doing nothing whatsoever, having no responsibilities, and being paid, in essence, for his silence.

For those whose eardrums were ringing too loudly from Right Wing Blog/Talk Show/Generic Attack screamings, you might have forgotten that EVERYTHING in Rather's 60 Minutes II report on George Bush's draft-dodging story was verified, EXCEPT for a memo which may or may NOT have been a forgery.

All the allegations contained within the memo, however, were confirmed by the secretary of the man who (allegedly) wrote it.

But Bush successfully avoided bearing any blame for the facts and Rather was crucified for the fictions.

This is the way that the jackboots click on the hardwood floors of our Kapitol. And Palast's report (go take a look, and then look at the comments) has been hit with a blizzard of the same kind of screaming.

Here is an American reporter who has been forced to leave his country for the press freedom of the UK -- don't you feel a little embarrassed, Righties? The Redcoats are more free than we in our press and speech and protest. If I protest Bush in England when he's there, I can ACTUALLY protest! Here, I'm relegated to a protest compound, or else have to take loyalty oaths to get into a speechifying event. Spreading freedom and democracy?

If "freedom and democracy" is a synonym for what comes out of the south end of a north-bound bull, then sure.

Palast has consistently reported what the U.S. press is too timid, or too stupid, or just too hobbled by Journalism School to report. And he's been consistently right, but too late to have any impact on the most recent scandal du jour.

Because this is all about suppression of a point of view. And that suppression is inherently deadly to our democracy, which is BASED on a battle of ideas.

It is significant that the one time that Rush Limbaugh (on ABC) actually debated a fair debate, he got his fat ass handed to him by an articulate black woman. In the decade and more since that debacle, he WILL NOT, HAS NOT, REFUSES TO engage in a fair debate with ANYONE. He HAS to have control of that microphone, lest he be revealed as the bloviating, sputtering, red-faced buffoon that showed up in his last honest debate.

And so, in utter contradiction to reality, exit polls are attacked (again) as inaccurate when they don't confirm rightie ends, and Palast is given the specious "I'm a Mexican and you Ain't" attack to discredit him. And the trolls are POURING it on.

This is precisely what the Freepers did when Bush was protested in London a couple years ago. They flooded the protest boards (set up to give information on where to meet, conditions, tactics, etc.) and functionally shut them down. They might not have been in London (the Free Republic is out of Fresno, California), but they were there virtually, with their virtual jackboots shined, and their virtual truncheons swinging.

The problem with debating neanderthals is that you've got to be ready to go to THEIR level. They sure as hell won't come up to yours.

And so the Know-Nothing Party has been reborn in Klan outfits, on their AOL accounts, stifling all meaningful debate or discussion. Assassinating whomever would tell the uncomfortable truth. Scared to death of a fair debate.

Which, in and of itself, tells you all that you need to know. If the Right is right, then why are they so scared of any opinions (or, most significantly, FACTS) but their own?

And, if the same facts are reported by the NYT and the WSJ, word for word, why are the NYT facts to be attacked, persecuted AND prosecuted, while the WSJ gets a pass?

On this 230th Birthday Weekend, The United States of America functions like a wounded eagle: its left wing broken, and only flopping around wildly on its Right Wing.

This condition is almost invariably fatal to eagles in the wild.

And never mind where you are -- Mexico or London -- they WILL find you. And they will silence you with their hebephrenic screeching.



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