Friday, May 13, 2016

People seem to be noticing

There was an odd long article in the Sunday New York Times interviewing Ben Rhodes, White House Deputy National Security Advisor, and brother of David Rhodes, president of CBS News.

The article reveals arrogance, ignorance and incompetence in equal parts. It reveals knowing and blatant lying as a standard tool for advancing policy. It reveals a disdain for the press. In fact, it reveals that many of the accusations of conservatives about White House practices are true and right leaning news outlets are making much ado about the article.

The article is odd because it was also startlingly revealing of a self-serving, self-absorbed mindset in the heart of the White House from a newspaper generally highly insistent on only positive coverage and no negative coverage for the administration.

Reading the article, there is a bare possibility that no one at the Times, not the journalist or the editors, appreciated just how revealing it was. Perhaps the echo chamber between the White House and the mainstream media is so strong that they could not perceive how others outside the bubble would react. You get the feeling a number of times of a wink-wink, nudge-nudge between the author and the subject of the interview, Ben Rhodes. But otherwise it seems completely out of character for the Times to have run such a damaging report.

One of the specific revelations was the White House manipulation of reporters in feeding them a known-to-be-untrue timeline and justification of the Iranian talks centering on the embargo and the Iranian nuclear program. Basically, the White House lied to the American public about the circumstances in order to increase the odds of getting a deal done, regardless of whether it was beneficial to American interests.

In all the outrage that has followed, I have not yet seen anyone point out two parallel instances.

It is known and empirically quantified that this is the most information unfriendly White House in modern times as measured by the infrequency of White House Press conferences, the frequency of prosecutions against whistle blowers, and the persistent reluctance and delays in responding to Freedom of Information Act court ordered information requests.

The act of lying to the public might seem culturally consistent with this abuse of public trust but simply a one-off exception of behavior taken too far. But it is not.

I have not yet seen anyone connect Rhodes' behavior with that of Clinton and that of Gruber.

Hillary Clinton, in coordination with the White House, deliberately sought to ascribe the attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi (in which four Americans were killed, including the ambassador) to a mob response to an obscure video trailer on the internet, despite knowing at the time of the attack that this was in fact an attack planned and executed by an Islamic terrorist group. The White House sent members of the administration out to the various Sunday news shows to peddle the lie of an unplanned mob action and continued to perpetrate the known lie for another couple of weeks before it became untenable.

An even stronger parallel was the behavior of the White House contracted economist Jonathan Gruber who subsequently was revealed to have knowingly lied, in coordination with the White House, about the costs and consequences of the Affordable Care Act in order to facilitate its passage by Congress. Material lies, which had they been known at the time, likely would have sunk the ACA.

In the case of both Rhodes and Gruber, as White House agents, there is mockery of the stupidity of the American public for believing the lies which were being told to them. Rhodes and Gruber both exhibit a pride in themselves as political operators and their accomplishment in having changed the course of history to achieve political goals through blatant falsehoods.

Is it any wonder that there is such mistrust of our political institutions and is it any wonder that improbable outsiders have arisen as the nominee for the Republicans and possible nominee for the Democrats? The political establishment with its media enablers appear to be rotten to the core and people seem to be noticing.

UPDATE: I write my post sometimes a week or two in advance and then schedule them for posting, as was the case in this instance. Coincidentally, the day after this publishes, I see the first article tying the lying about the Iranian Nuclear Deal to the same behavior exhibited with the selling of Obamacare - The Selling of the Iran Deal by Mark Hemingway.

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