“Totally and Utterly Failed” + Mainstream Media Spin = “Success of the Surge”

Think Progress » Levin: Escalation’s Goals Have ‘Totally And Utterly Failed,’ Begin Withdrawal In Less Than 4 Months:

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently visited Iraq with Sen. John Warner (R-VA) and reported that the escalation is “totally and utterly” failing to produce the political reconciliation needed.

The media is reporting Levin’s comments as validation of Bush’s strategy. Fox News spins Levin’s comments as “praise” for the “surge results.” ABC claims the comments are proof of “success of the surge.”

That’s just egregious. I thought that the unquestioning acquiescence to administration spin was supposed to have drained out of the media by now, but no… Is Fox News just the most obvious example of what’s endemic in the whole institution?

ABC News Reposts Poll Because Kucinich Won

ABC News Reposts Poll Because Kucinich Won | intosanity:

Earlier today ABC News posted a poll asking who won the democratic debate and Kucinich won by over 3,000 votes. Just recently they reposted the poll to bury the previous one and cut his picture out on top of that!

I guess “unscientific” polls put on the internet by large media organizations are acceptable only if they produce results that do not challenge What Everyone Knows, such as that Kucinich is a fringe candidate that nobody should pay attention to.

Survey: Majority of Americans Agree with Dennis Kucinich

dennis4president.com – Survey: Majority of Americans Agree with Dennis Kucinich:

In the political equivalent of a “blind taste test” taken by more than 67,000 participants, an independent website surveying public attitudes on various issues is reporting that Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is the first choice of a phenomenal 53% of respondents.

On all but a few issues, average Americans, whether they self-describe as Republican or Democrat, tend to hold views that would be described in Washington as massively, unelectably left-wing.

As of August 3rd (the survey is recalculated every five minutes), more than 35,600 respondents were “in sync” with Kucinich on the issues. Democratic front-runner Senator Hillary Clinton was the first-place choice of only about 2,400 respondents (3.6%). Other leading candidates fared even worse: Senator Barack Obama (3%), and former Senator John Edwards (1.3%).

As of right now, Kucinich is still owning the field.

The site’s author writes:

You would probably be interested to know that Kucinich has been the first choice of 72134 people (out of 124997). That wasn’t my intention or expectation when making this site, but it is certainly interesting.

This is not as strange as you would think — I ran across this in a Dec 2005 interview with Noam Chomsky of all people —

Chomsky: Well look I think it’s a very optimistic future, frankly.

Interviewer: Really?

Chomsky: Yes very much so. There’s something we know about the country, this country, more than any other. We know a lot about public opinion, it’s studied very intensively. The results are very rarely reported but you can find them. It’s an open society and you can find them. What they show is remarkable. What they show first of all is that both political parties and the media are far to the right of the general population on a whole host of issues and the population is just disorganized, atomized and so on. This country ought be an organizers paradise. And that’s why the media and the campaigns keep away from issues. They know that on issues they’re going to lose people. So therefore you have to portray George Bush as a – look he’s a pampered kid from a rich family who went to prep school and elite university, and you have to present him as an ordinary guy, who makes grammatical errors, which I’m sure he’s trained to make, he didn’t talk that way at Yale, fake Texas twang, and he’s off to his ranch to, you know, cut brush or something.

Kucinich probably is unelectable in our current system, despite the fact that his views are those of the majority of Americans (unless the people who used that choose-your-candidate site were a massively, massively unrepresentative group of people for some reason.)

The news media have written him off before the campaign begins; the popular support his positions enjoy will never be reported on; the massive disjunction between the other candidates’ positions (Democratic and Republican) and the desires of the nation will not be reported on. In fact, their actual positions on real issues will be avoided, in favor of horse-race commentary about who’s ahead this week in terms of massive contributions from corporate donors, and who is rumored to spend how much on their haircuts, and whether Hilary Clinton’s dress revealed a shadow of cleavage, and which of the Republicans is most able to express his willingness to torture “terrorists” while remembering not to call it “torture.”

We’ll get a choice between a Democratic candidate who mostly represents his corporate backers and gives lip service to representing American people, and a Republican candidate who unabashedly serves his corporate backers, especially the ones with military or “security” collections, and openly scoffs at the idea of doing anything for Americans except locking up supposed criminals in profitable corporate jails and bombing supposed enemies with profitable corporate bombs.

Or you can “waste” your vote on a third party, which I would honestly consider at this point, even in light of the nakedly psychotic menace that all the front-running Republican candidates present.

Assuming Kucinich doesn’t get the nomination, maybe we should start a “write in Kucinich” campaign, or some other group like the Greens should nominate him.

The Raw Story | Kucinich: DLC agenda ‘indistinguishable’ from Neoconservative agenda

The Raw Story | Kucinich: DLC agenda ‘indistinguishable’ from Neoconservative agenda:

“You have to keep in mind that the center has shifted in our politics,” Kucinich responded, smiling. “I’m really at the center, and all the other candidates are to the right of me. And they’re to the right of the American people.”

“The Democratic Leadership Council’s agenda is indistinguishable from the Republican Neoconservative agenda,” he went on. “They want to continue to stay in Iraq. They reject the idea of a not-for-profit health care system. … These analysts are … trying to keep a politics that really helps support a privileged few at the expense of the many. So I’m the candidate of the people.”

Well, it’s true. If Washington represented the actual views of America, Kucinich would be a huge force-to-be-reckoned with, I believe.

Lawrence Lessig, on Clinton and Lobbyists

On Clinton and lobbyists (Lessig Blog):

This is the (extraordinarily obvious) point the Wall Street Journal missed when it chimed in yesterday in support of the Senator. As the Journal wrote:

Her answer was met with jeers, but what Mrs. Clinton was daring to tell her left-wing audience is that lobbyists are an essential means by which average Americans transmit their political concerns to Washington, and in turn hold their elected Representatives accountable. Not everyone in America can afford to trek to D.C., or has the clout to demand an audience with a Senator. Lobbyists represent the collective voice of groups with shared ideals, whether they be gun owners, union workers, corporate employees or the pro-choice movement.

Just the sort of reasoning that makes that page so famous: Look, lawyers represent their clients before a judge. Does it follow from that that judges must be free to take money from lawyers? Even just to redecorate their office?

Larry Lessig is somebody whose integrity, and whose thoughts on political integrity, I have trusted ever since I was reading his blog back in ’04, when he pointed out that it shouldn’t matter to us whether or not Bush evaded military service back in the day, it should matter to us whether or not he was going to lead the country according to wise policies today (to which the answer happened to be a resounding “no,” of course).

He doesn’t trust Clinton to do anything to change the system of influence-buying that controls Washington.

Another nail in the coffin of any chance I would support Clinton. I don’t even know if I could bring myself to vote for her in the next election if she’s nominated. I really wanted to like her, just because of the seething, irrational hatred that the Limbaugh crowd had for her. But she just doesn’t seem to be in my corner on much of anything. She’s kind of like what a Republican candidate would be if it weren’t a job requirement for Republican candidates to be completely freaking insane these days.

That’s it, she’s basically a moderate Republican, as far as I can tell.

And now Dr. Lessig has signed off as not trusting her, too.