by The Other Katherine Harris
Sept. 1, 2007
In this time of truthiness, facts no longer fall at our feet like overripe pears; they’re fireflies to be chased in the dark or, if they seem overt, they quaver away as mirages do when we near them. Nothing we’re told is more than a clue — and usually one isolated from its proper context.
After struggling to interpret the latest barrage of events and announcements, I’m exhausted. No doubt that’s how the Masters of the Universe want us to be. They’ve created not only an economy in which any seeming rise in working people’s declining incomes is attributable to their taking extra junk-jobs and far offset by real inflation — which, unlike the “core” inflation they measure, recognizes that we require shelter and food — but also a media empire so guileful that sleuthing the news to grasp its actual import has become an adjunct job for any with sufficient energy and will in reserve.
Let’s imagine how some recent stories would have been presented, had anybody cared to save us time and trouble, starting with the simplest examples …
KARL ROVE RESIGNS should be subtitled: Rove has such heinous plans for the coming election that they can’t possibly be seen to originate within the White House.
TONY SNOW RESIGNS should be subtitled: Right-wingers fed up with Bush administration lies will be daft enough to begin believing Snow-Job again, once he’s back in media.
ALBERTO GONZALES RESIGNS should be subtitled: Gonzo hopes the fury over his crimes will blow over, if he gets out of town. Maybe he’ll be the first of the crew to take up residence on Shrub’s enormous new spread in Paraguay, where all Americans are guaranteed protection from criminal charges.
Now for beefier matters …
AP WRITES: REPUBLICANS SEEK SEN. CRAIG’S RESIGNATION – Republicans called for the resignation of Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho and party leaders ousted him from his committee leadership posts amid the fallout over his arrest in a men’s room and his guilty plea …
In truth, this reaction means sex sting fallout can be allowed to destroy Larry Craig, but not David Vitter, because Craig can be replaced now by a Republican governor’s appointee, whereas the governor of Vitter’s state is a Democrat.
THE (LONDON) TIMES WRITES: SARKOZY TALKS OF BOMBING IF IRAN GETS NUCLEAR ARMS – President Nicolas Sarkozy called Iran’s nuclear ambition the world’s most dangerous problem yesterday and raised the possibility that the country could be bombed if it persisted in building an atomic weapon. The French leader used tough language towards Tehran in the first broad survey of his plans for extending Gallic influence in the world … Sarkozy told the annual gathering of French ambassadors Iran was the crossroads of the Middle East’s troubles and its nuclear aims “are without doubt the most serious crisis that weighs today on the international scene”…
Toward getting at reality in this case, we have to wonder what was in the Kool-Aid at Kennebunkport, don’t we? In line with the reference to “extending Gallic influence in the world” and being aware of serious economic probs in France now, my speculation is that Shrub offered Sarko something equivalent to the deal that’s been so monstrously lucrative for his Brit pals in Iraq.
CNN MONEY WRITES: WALL STREET THANKS BERNANKE, BUSH – Stocks jumped Friday, ahead of a long holiday weekend, after Ben Bernanke pledged the central bank will keep financial markets stable and the Bush Administration offered help to consumers hurt by the subprime mortgage crisis...
Whoa! Neither Bush nor Bernanke has done jack-shit about the subprime mortgage crisis. They don’t even seem to know what it is. Bernanke’s recent flood of funds into the banking system will benefit only borrowers with sound credit. Banks now have tens of billions extra to play with (that we’ll all pay for in further inflation) and a lower discount rate, in case they want more for short-term lending. None of that has anything to do with the subprime situation, nor does Shrub’s proposal of FHA aid for distressed mortgage-holders “with good credit”. The creditworthy do NOT have subprime loans; they’re in the alt-A or prime class of borrowers who took adjustable rate mortgages from stupidity or short-term greed, not because they had to. Yes, some are in trouble now and more will be soon, as their interest rates escalate, but this is a plan to refinance no more than 160,000 homes over the next two years, while the crisis involves at least two million potential foreclosures. Predictably enough where Shrub and His Thugs are concerned, they’re directing FHA help toward those in least need of it: the top 8 percent, whom they no doubt define as those most likely to vote Republican unless losing their homes ticks them off. Left out are the remaining 92 percent of mortgagees in trouble, who DO have subprime loans because of shaky credit and who face even steeper interest charges when their rates on ARM contracts reset. So far we’ve seen only the first wave of resets. Another huge one will follow next month and yet another in March. Even if Shrub suspends stamping his feet and holding his breath to resist help for these families through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, how in hell could they assist 1.8 million? And what about investors holding all that paper? What do you bet few on Wall Street give a rat’s ass about them, either? The financier class has already made its money on the deals, passing them along to such others as pension funds. There’s still a financial hurricane brewing and most will be left to weather it in Katrina mode, although banks will have enough borrowing power to bail out their nearest-and-dearest — as Barclays has already begun, says the (London) Daily Guardian today.
Amid these clouds of obfuscation, one recent article stands out for crystalline clarity: the (London) Daily Mail’s The EU Constitution Is Back and More Dangerous Than Ever! I strongly recommend it, both as an example of journalism that actually tells a full story and as an implicit warning to us, who are being drawn into a similarly threatening web of alliances without any similar exposure to the matter.
Beyond all that, well, I’m just too tired to go on. Clearly, we need the Labor Day weekend this year more than ever.