BBC World News America Boss: Fear And Loathe The Tea Party And Republicans

Dick Meyer, executive producer of BBC World News America, has written another heavily biased viewpoint article for the BBC website. This time it’s published under the hilariously ironic rubric, “Echo Chambers”. Meyer’s purpose here is to frighten you in the way parents used to scare children with tales of monsters in the woods and gypsies come to steal them away in the night. His essay is about as rational and respectable as any folk myth.

Reports of Tea Party demise are greatly exaggerated

Who said the Tea Party was dead again? The Left-wing media echo chamber, that’s who. Meyer thinks differently, so perhaps that’s the blurb about this BBC “Echo Chamber” section (upper right corner of the page) is referring to here:

Unscrambling the noise of the global debate, from social media to scholarly journals, Kansas City to Kathmandu.

Unfortunately, Meyer’s diatribe is proof that he and the BBC are still caught squarely in the middle of an echo chamber, with no escape possible.

Meyer’s basing his tale on the results of a few results in the recent elections around the country. Just like his anchor, Katty Kay, Meyer perpetuates the lie that Mike Bloomberg is considered a Republican. Bloomberg is in fact a life-long Democrat who switched parties specifically to ease his run for mayor of New York City. After being certain of re-election, he dropped the “R” and has pretended to be an Independent ever since, all while pushing Left-wing, Nanny State policies. Even this bio piece about him refers to NYC as “Democrat-leaning”, and explains why Bloomberg was elected and re-elected. For Meyer to present the election victory of ex-Marxist De Blasio as some sort of sign of a magic shift to the Left in NYC is a joke. The city is Left-wing by and large, save for the Upper East Side and a few small enclaves in Queens and the like. Rudy Giuliani was an anomaly, elected to clean up the streets and make the city safe again. He stayed in office largely on the strength of his behavior after 9/11. Bloomberg was then elected not because the city had shifted to the Right, but because Bloomberg was thought to be the right guy to fix the city’s economic troubles. The “R” next to his name was a mere convenience, nothing more. Meyer displays either intellectual dishonesty or simple ignorance. My bet is on a combination of both.

The Virginia result is another example of Meyer’s dishonesty. The Democrat victor, Terry McAuliffe, is a well-known Democrat money-man and former Clinton crony. He had huge support from the national Democrat organizations, including a stump appearance from the President Himself. His Republican opponent, on the other hand, got precious little support from the national party, partly because of the internal struggle between the Republican Establishment and the Tea Party movement. The national Republican Party gave plenty of support to Christie, who didn’t really need it, and plenty of support elsewhere. But not for Cuccinelli. Even so, McAuliffe’s victory was a narrow one, about 2.5%. As it happened, a fake Libertarian candidate also ran in Virginia, quietly funded by one of the President’s old money-bundlers. He got more than twice that number of foolish Virginians to vote for him, thus handing McAuliffe the victory.

Meyer is either unaware of this, or thinks it doesn’t matter. Either way, his own personal political bias leads him to misinterpret the result, and misinform you as a consequence. This is the kind of man the BBC puts in charge of an entire daily news program made under the BBC banner. They and he don’t care, though, as they have an agenda to push: Fear and loathing.

Meyer’s casual relationship with the truth is also evident even his mention of the local Alabama race. He describes it with emotive language:

Further south in Alabama, the national business lobby coalesced behind a standard issue Republican running against a fire-breathing Tea Party man in a special House election – and won, reasserting the power of the Regular Republican Party.

“Fire-breathing”. Cute. It was actually so close they had to have a run-off election. And it was more cash from the business lobby – who backed The Obamessiah and are now moving firmly behind Hillary Clinton (where Goldman Sachs goes, so generally does the rest of Wall St. and the banking industry) so not at all a sign of Republican Establishment power – that really gave Bradley Byrne the win. The NY Times describes this as a sign of things to come, a warning that the Tea Party is still a strong force fighting for control of the Republican Party. Meyer understands this, hence this fearmongering article.

Now for the loathing. First, it’s clear that Meyer has no more idea what the recent mixed election results mean than anyone else does. All he knows is that the Tea Party movement is still out there working on elections. But then we come to the point of the piece. Since it’s an article by a BBC producer about the Tea Party movement, you can guess where this is going.

The difference in the black/white vote in all three of the big elections was as stark as can be.

In the exit polls of the Virginia governor’s race, blacks picked the Democrat 90% to 8%; whites voted for the Republican, 56%-36%. In New Jersey, blacks voted for the Democrat 78%-21%; whites for the Republican by the reverse margin, 79%-21%. In the New York mayor’s race, blacks voted for de Blasio (whose wife is black) 96%-3%.

My suspicion is that black voters feel a growing threat or hostility from the Republican Party, or at least from its Tea Party wing.

This would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous and offensive. All of a sudden blacks are trending more Democrat, eh? A “growing threat”? Not even remotely. As nearly everyone here knows, the black voters have backed Democrats for the last several decades. It’s been a monolithic voting bloc for so long that Dem leaders take it for granted. Every time somebody here made a comment that the blacks were voting for skin color in 2008, somebody else points out that previously blacks voted for Al Gore in almost equal numbers. How can this world-class journalist, with decades of experience producing national news broadcasts, get this so horribly, tragically wrong?

Let’s examine just how wrong and dishonest Meyer is being here. Here’s a link to a couple of charts which show that blacks overwhelmingly have voted Democrat for decades. Note that the percentages in many years pretty much matches the new results Meyer claims as proof of a new trend. Here’s another set of data from an academic paper out of Columbia University (NB: pdf file) showing the same very high percentages – the high 80s and low 90s – again disproving Meyer’s claim. Why would African Americans believe that the Tea Party movement is a threat to them? Because partisan fearmongers like Meyer keep telling them so, over and over, in spite of all the evidence before them.

It isn’t at all surprising the racial dimensions of politics have been exacerbated during the administration of America’s first black president. The reverse would be far more surprising.

Especially considering just how much people like Meyer in the mainstream US media kept telling us that we were too racist to elect a black man, and that not voting for Him was proof of racism.

The Tea Party movement from the start has had to defend itself from accusations of racism. They are increasing in volume, however – allegations that can be heard on MSNBC most days.

Yes indeed, because people like Meyer in the mainstream US media and the Left-wing blogosphere kept saying it was a racist movement. That theme has been perpetuated quite happily by the BBC ever since they finally admitted its existence in April 2009 (even then Kevin Connolly insulted hundreds of thousands of participants with a sexual innuendo on air, and it still remains in print on the website).The BBC’s North America editor, Mark Mardell, has been telling that tale over and over ever since he set foot in the country with a preconceived notion. I’ve written at length about this as well, and evidence of Mardell’s vicious and dishonest attacks can be seen here, here, and here, just for starters. Then there’s the evidence of his claim at the BBC College of Journalism that, even though he’s never seen over racism at a Tea Party rally, all opposition to the President’s domestic economic policies is racist. The Tea Partiers aren’t racist, he says, “at least not in a straightforward sense.” It’s not a legitimate policy opposition, he believes, but a racist opposition to redistributing wealth “to people not like them”. Mardell will believe in this crypto-racism to his dying day, that there can be no legitimate opposition to anything the President does. All of it must have some more sinister motivation. His BBC colleagues have pushed this for years as well. In addition to the BBC’s top journalist in the US, correspondents like Jonny Dymond engage in fearmongering as well, with false claims that hate groups are on the rise after the election of the black man, and that the Republican Party is doomed to be the party of old, white males. Meyer clearly agrees.

And certainly the antipathy of a slice of white America to Obama is rabid. But polling, focus groups and anecdotal reporting can’t get at the role of race in the Tea Party ethos very precisely or effectively. It is clear, however, black voters feel it.

Well, the evidence Meyer cites clearly doesn’t back up his assertion at all. Yet he sticks to the Narrative like a child to his security blanket. It’s no wonder that blacks feel a threat when people in charge of national news broadcasts keep telling them to be afraid, very afraid. That’s the power of the media.

Meyer winds up his piece with more blind guesses about what may or may not happen. Naturally we get the “Washington is so toxic these days” Narrative thrown in (mercifully he doesn’t follow other BBC journalists and throw in the obligatory exclusive blame on Republicans), it’s all a mess, we’re in dangerous waters here. In other words, be afraid, very afraid, that the evil, racist Tea Party movement is still out there, waiting to wreak havoc and do harm. In other words, a typical BBC article on the topic.

This isn’t the first time the BBC website has given Meyer a platform for his partisan antics. He’s previously defended the President against critics, dismissing “so-called scandals” that we now know to be very real, and – what a shock – placing blame for the recent government shutdown exclusively on Republicans.

Fortunately, Meyer is no longer in charge of a news broadcast on a major US network, so the damage he can do is fairly minimal. He used to be, and it was during his tenure at CBS that Dan Rather destroyed his own reputation over those fake Bush memos. So there’s form on partisan hackery subverting journalistic integrity. Where was he before taking the reins at BBC WNA? The Left-wing NPR, which cultivates an audience of elite, white liberals. Perhaps not coincidentally, anchor Katty Kay is the regular guest host on NPR’s Diane Rehm show. What was that about echo chambers again? However, Meyer’s BBC World News America is still broadcast every day on a few PBS stations around the country. Worse is the fact that BBC News has been increasing its investment in the US section of the website, hiring more and more staff, producing more and more output, and attracting more and more US eyeballs.

Is this beyond the BBC’s remit? It’s a discussion that needs to be had. Either way, it’s important that people are aware of the hyper-partisan, dishonest journalism at the top.

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Six Ways The BBC Gets It Wrong On the President, Congress, and Syria

The title of this post was inspired by BBC Washington correspondent Tom Geoghegan’s new analysis piece for the online Magazine.

Six ways the president will try to convince Congress

Things are so muddled and chaotic these days – from the White House’s confused policies to the BBC’s confused coverage – that it’s hard to say at this point just how much of this is due to BBC bias and how much is due to the absolute mess the President and His minions have presented. So I’ll just go with pointing what Geoghegan and whoever else helped put this together got wrong.  The numbered items are Geoghegan’s.

1. Appeal from the heart

Plain and simple, the appeal to emotion, calling the nation to war because pictures of bombed-out buildings and dead children make us feel bad. But this is supposed to be about convincing Congress, not emotional journalists or the rest of the world. I’m sure the President is not sitting there in meetings passing around pictures of bloody babies coughing up foam to Congressional leaders, going, “Come on, you guys. Think of the children!”. It’s silly to present this as a technique He’s using to persuade Congress. This is for media and public consumption, not Washington insider stuff. But Beeboid emotions have taken over for the moment, it seems, and this is presented as a genuine tactic the President is using to convince Tea Party Republicans.

2. The Oval Office Treatment

Geoghegan suggests that the President’s star power can sway intransigent Republican minds. He wrongly uses two very poor examples to set up his assertion. Speaker Boehner has been open about his skepticism on going after Assad. Even last year, before the 2012 election, he was in the “Not justified at this time” school of thought, siding with Romney and not McCain during the Republican nomination contest. However, Sen. Graham was already in favor of going after Assad even back then. So it’s bogus for Geoghegan to use his support now as evidence of some sort of Damascene conversion due to the personal touch of power.

As for Boehner, only someone completely ignorant of the world of politics and what’s currently going on in Washington can think that somehow the personal star touch got him on side. First of all, consider that Boehner, as Speaker and leader of the Republicans in the House, has a whole lot of other issues to worry about. We’re coming up on yet another budget crisis, a main part of ObamaCare is about to bite us all in the ass, so there’s defunding to discuss, and there are still ongoing investigations into the IRS scandal and Benghazi. Can you say “horse-trading” and “backdoor deals”, boys and girls? I knew you could.

Secondly, Boehner said earlier this year that bombing Syria was “premature”, and that he wouldn’t think about approving war unless there was something like a concrete plan being offered. He sort of drew his own version of a red line there, which we’ve now crossed. Supposedly, the White House has a plan now, or at least a gesture towards one. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see this as a situation where Boehner saw a political opportunity to squeeze a concession on something else from an obviously desperate President, as well as an excuse for him to change his mind on going to war.

Geoghegan addresses none of this (at this point – he at least brings up horse-trading later), and instead presents Boehner and Graham’s support to set up his contention that the President’s personal touch and star power can persuade. Then we get the appeal to authority, citing an academic who says that weaker-minded Congressmen can get all giddy from meeting with a President and come a way with the feeling that “He listened to me”, and having had a personal effect on whatever is going to happen. There’s probably something to this, but powerful figures like Boehner and Graham are not examples of this phenomenon at all. Geoghegan should have found better examples of rank-and-file Congressmen being persuaded just from being given an audience with the President.

That academic authority he sites, by the way, is Larry Sabato, a well-known political analyst who, while often giving reasonable, impartial analysis of political trends and campaigns, tends to be a little over-enthusiastic about The Obamessiah’s magnificence. For example, in 2008, he praised Him for an historically fast setting of His transition team after being elected.

“This is really unprecedented. But it’s an unprecedented situation,” said Larry Sabato, a presidential scholar at the University of Virginia. “Obama is doing what the public and the markets demand be done — and that is to show that the next president is really in charge before he even takes the oath of office.”

How’s that “really in charge” thing going now, Larry? Actually, as the article shows, it was only His minions leaking names, and that was just for a transition team, not the real work the President had to do. And as we know now, the President was historically slow (“too cautious” – does that sound familiar?) in making judicial appointments, not to mention in more important departmental positions. He was ridiculously slow restocking the Cabinet for His second term. I guess it’s not so important to show the President is in charge after being re-elected. And don’t tell met that someone who wrote two books about the awesomeness of His political campaigns and than about how we need to tear up the Constitution and make “fairer” one is anything but Left-wing, and someone who believes this President has more going for Him than reality reflects. In other words, I’m saying that the idea that star power alone will convince a few intransigent Republicans is a bit of stretch and betrays a bit of bias.

3. Let the dogs out

 The vote on Syria will be a free vote and the leadership in both Republican and Democratic parties backs Obama, but there’s still work for the whips.

“The Democrat whips will be whipping for the president,” says Sabato. “The Republican whips will be supplying their leadership with the numbers, because Boehner and Cantor will want more information on who they want to sway.

“They could send certain people [who would vote against a strike] out for coffee during the vote or say, ‘take a walk’.”

That’s not actually a tactic the President will be using, but normal Washington procedure. This is astute political analysis? What Geoghegan left out of what the Democrats will be doing is that their main argument will be that Dems must remain loyal to Him, regardless of their personal feelings about war or questionable intelligence or anything else. When he says “whipping for the president”, he simply means getting them on side. He’s not being honest about what they’ll really be saying. “Let’s go to war for party political reasons and loyalty to a man, not the country” isn’t exactly the rallying cry a BBC journalist can be proud of, so that’s left out.

And we must also remember that the door is still left wide open for the President to act anyway. So why should anyone in Congress take this seriously?

4. Horse trading

Now we get there. This should be combined with #2, and is possibly the biggest tool at His disposal. I’ve already explained why. “Discreet inducements” about easing cuts in military spending or more assurances about action in Syria? Baloney.

5. The president’s on the line

This is a combination of Geoghegan’s #2 and #3. Why stretch this out? Now we get the admission that the appeal is really about Him. “Why emasculate your president?” Shameless, but that’s where we are these days: loyalty to a man is more important than anything else. I don’t remember anything about loyalty to the President in the oath Congressmen have to take when they take their seats. And nobody at the BBC seems to mind, or wonder out loud about how dangerous this is.

I laughed at the inclusion of Sec. Kerry referring to this as a Chamberlain-esque “Munich moment”. Most of us thought that was the President’s Cairo speech back in 2009.

6. Get your lieutenants to present the case

This last one has to be a joke. Geoghegan is clearly writing this after yesterday’s comical hearing with Kerry in front of the Senate committee. He insisted that he defined war as something involving ground troops, and that these piddling little bombing runs the President wanted didn’t count. The President is not asking us to go to war, he claimed. He asked General Dempsey to back him up on this new definition as a fellow soldier who had been to war, and there was audible laughter when the General had the good sense not to. Kerry was clearly not happy, saying, “Right, pull the rug out from under me.” (last 10 seconds of the video)

Like I said above, there’s no assurance that the President will respect a No vote from Congress. Especially since He claims He wants to make a limited strike only, which He has the authority to do without Congressional approval, and has already said as much. Kerry wouldn’t even assure Sen. Paul that this wouldn’t escalate to having boots on the ground at some point. He, Sec. Hagel, and Dempsey were very clear that this resolution didn’t limit US actions to the few missiles the President and his lieutenants insist this will be.

In any case, it’s hardly considered a tactic for the Sec. of State to be called in front of the Senate to explain the case for war. And Mark Mardell was saying last week that it was Kerry the cowboy ramping up the rhetoric which forced the President to call for military action he didn’t really want to take. So it’s all a mess, and nobody at the BBC is getting it straight.

There’s another error here as well. In the inset “What the sceptics say” on the right, half way down the page, the BBC lists this as one objection:

“Threat to the US not clear”

This is completely wrong, and everyone at the BBC knows it. I say they’re lying. There is no threat to the US. That’s what the whole hypocrisy charge is about, something which the BBC has steadfastly refused to address openly and honestly. The Junior Senator from Illinois, and later as Candidate Obamessiah, was very clear in His opposition to the Iraq war because Saddam was not a threat to the US. Now He’s changed His tune to one of being the world’s policeman who enforces humanitarian international law. It’s not that those who oppose the war aren’t clear about what Assad’s threat to the US is: it’s that everyone – including those who support the war, like the President Himself – knows there isn’t any. That’s why His draft resolution (pdf file) seeking Congressional approval is about enforcing international laws about chemical weapons, and includes only vague talking points that Assad is a threat to regional stability and US national security interests. There is no imminent threat, which is what we were told was necessary to go after Sadaam. What the BBC has written here is a lie.

And again, there is no mention that the President decided He didn’t need Congressional approval to do even more against Ghaddafi in Libya than He’s claiming He wants to do now against Assad. The only difference now is there’s more political and public pressure on Him to do it. This is His own fault, not anyone else’s, yet the BBC refuses to call Him on it.

Recall this from His 2008 nomination acceptance speech, and judge for yourselves how much of it is the opposite of what He’s actually accomplished, and how the BBC has presented it to you:

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

His foreign policy is a disaster. He has squandered the legacy so much that the only ally we have at the moment is France. There is no clear mission on Syria, and only loud complaints from all sides forced Him to even act like He might have one. Of course, as Kerry claimed yesterday, no US troops will be put in harm’s way this time, since it’s only a couple of missiles being launched from ships hundreds of miles away, and nothing else will happen. And now He’s asking for military action with no measurable goal, based on what even the BBC has admitted is questionable, secret intelligence.

In 2002, at an early anti-Bush’s war rally in Chicago, State Senator Obamessiah said this:

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

We are now through the looking glass. How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya now, BBC? When are you going to stop shifting blame and spending so much effort to prop up this image of a canny, statesmanlike President? And when are you going to mention His Nobel Prize for Peace in this context?

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Detroit Is Bankrupt – So Is BBC Journalism In The US

Detroit has declared bankruptcy at last, and the BBC is on the case. Emily Buchanan, one of the battalion of Beeboids working the US scene, has put together a video report explaining why the once successful city has fallen so far. Her reasons:

White flight, leaving inner city blacks to suffer and find themselves trapped in an urban nightmare

The collapse of the car industry

“Detroit has suffered a vicious cycle of decay, mismanagement, and population decline.”

This last one, a direct quote, is a meaningless statement. It says nothing about how or why it all happened. Who let the urban center decay after the whites fled? Why did the auto industry collapse? Is there a relationship between the crushing burden of pensions and the collapse of either the auto industry or Detroit? There is, but don’t expect the BBC to tell you, because that would tread on sacred union ground. If the population has been dwindling for so long, and the tax base along with it, why did the city spend as if it still had the historically full population and wealthy tax base?

(UPDATE as the story has “evolved”: For some reason, the BBC has removed Buchanan’s video and replaced it with some disaster pr0n by Michelle Fleury.)

Spot the missing political party which has been running Detroit for the last 43 years: Democrats. Every single mayor since 1970 has been a Democrat, and they’ve all been African-American since 1974. Neither Buchanan’s video, nor the accompanying article, nor Jonny Dymond’s inset “analysis” mention either of these key facts. Why the censorship? Because it doesn’t help the Narrative.

The BBC isn’t really interested in discussing the realities behind Detroit’s destruction. No, they’re interested in the emotional impact of the story of evil wealthy white people abandoning a proud industrial city, destroying the lives of the working class and black people, and the city in general. They don’t talk about the corruption, they don’t talk about profligate spending in the face of a declining tax base. They admit that it’s been going on for a long time, but only that it’s “linked to declining industry”. Detroit’s income was largely dependent on a single industry. People in Britain know all too well how this is never a recipe for lasting success. But there’s no Thatcher to blame here, so the Beeboids aren’t really interested in going after the culprits. Although, didn’t the President save the auto industry a few years back? How’s that working out, BBC?

The accompanying article is only marginally better than the video. At least there we learn that public sector pensions have strangled the city coffers. Oh, wait, no we didn’t. We learn instead that two city unions opposed the bankruptcy plan to give creditors – union pension funds included – 10 cents on the dollar. The ones the BBC mentions are for retired workers, in case you hadn’t teared up enough yet. Dymond actually mentions corruption and mismanagement, but leaves it there. Instead we get more sexy details over which to shed tears and feel bad.

But there’s something of a dichotomy between the two quasi-explanations give. Either it was white flight and a declining tax base due to the collapse of the auto industry, or it was corruption and mismanagement. It’s both, of course, and mostly the corruption and mismanagement has been done in the last decade or so. One mayor even went to jail for it. However, there’s no identity politics benefit to be had from going into that issue, so it’s ignored entirely.

The thing is, we’ve seen all this from the BBC before. Two years ago, they sent Ian Pannell to spin a similar tale of woe. Pannell’s story was that the poor urban blacks whom Buchanan now describes as being abandoned and left to rot by wealthy whites were victims of income inequality, thrust upon the city by outside forces. The city was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2005. Eight years later, after much more corruption and fiddling and shuffling the deck chairs, the city was finally allowed to declare it openly. At least Dymond and Buchanan now admit (barely) that there was some local responsibility for the problems. They won’t say whom or how they ruined the city, but at least it’s a tiny improvement. The corruption doesn’t really burn all the money, but it does keep the powers-that-be from doing anything useful. It’s also likely that politicians who are so corrupt were never capable of doing anything useful in the first place, so it’s a no-win scenario no matter how you slice it.

Simply listing unpleasant statistics about empty homes and population decline and murder rates isn’t an explanation of anything. It’s merely a laundry list of indicators. How did it rack up such debt in the first place? What policies led to the city being so burdened by retired workers and public services maintained at a level which hasn’t been sustainable for a decade or more?

Actually, there was a brief period of potential growth after 2001. The city built casinos and sports stadiums, the kind of development which usually brings in a short-term boost. Of course, since the place was already falling apart and the population exodus was underway, it was never going to be sustainable. There’s that word again. The only time the BBC ever seems to understand that word is when discussing so-called “green energy”. When it comes to endless government “investment”, the word “sustainable” vanishes from their dictionary. By the time the next mayor took office and started burning money, the serious financial problems became clear. Here’s a more informative timeline, giving you more insight than anything the BBC can provide. As usual, you’d have been better served by a news aggregator than the millions of pounds spent on all the staff in the US.

The BBC isn’t interested in any of this, or in informing you of anything really useful or important. All they see here is a tear-jerker, and story-tellers love that sort of thing. So that’s what you get from the BBC: a story. Nothing particularly informative or worth your time, but that was never the point. The point is to manipulate your emotions. Plus, it’s an opportunity to continue to spin the myth that this kind of collapse is due largely to those outside, uncontrollable forces Pannell was talking about two years ago. The BBC brings up Stockton, CA, and other cities elsewhere which have declared bankruptcy recently, as if they’re all part of a piece. They are, but not the way the BBC wants you to think.

Here’s an example of how the BBC prioritizes the causes in  Detroit:

The city, once renowned as a manufacturing powerhouse, has struggled with its finances for some time, driven by a number of factors, including a steep population loss.

The murder rate is at a 40-year high and only one third of its ambulances were in service in early 2013.

Declining investment in street lights and emergency services have made it difficult to police the city.

And Detroit’s government has been hit by a string of corruption scandals over the years.

Between 2000-10, the number of residents declined by 250,000 as residents moved away.

Steep population loss, which equals steep tax loss. Less tax revenue means less money for the local government to spend, which in Beebspeak becomes “declining investment”. Murder rates on the rise, which, I suppose, translates into more white flight. Only then do we get to the corruption scandals. This should come first, not last. I say last and not penultimate because the last item is simply a more specific reiteration of the population decline point. Gosh, I wonder why people left in droves over the last decade, BBC? White flight, or cutting losses in a clearly corrupt and financially suicidal regime, with no real industry or commerce developed to replace what the auto industry provided?

All those other bankrupt cities the BBC mentions, except for San Bernardino, were run for a very long time by Democrats and powerful unions as well. And San Bernardino had massive public sector employee debts anyway. As Margaret Thatcher said, it’s fine until you run out of other people’s money. Instead of pointing the finger at the corruption and mismanagement and long-term unsustainable fiscal policy, the BBC blames other people’s money.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the BBC played another Spot the Missing Party game about another city where decades of Democrat, African-American mayors and city mandarins screwed the place up, where the economically deprived African-American urban community suffers most: St. Louis.

UPDATE 2: The BBC does, in fact, mention a political party: The Republican Governor who agreed to the bankruptcy deal (h/t Rufus McDufus). Naturally, the reason they mentioned a political party can be gleaned from the sentences preceding it:

But Ed McNeil, the lead negotiator for a coalition of 33 unions, told Reuters news agency the move was about “busting the unions”.

“This is not about fixing the city’s finances,” he said. “It’s about the governor and his own agenda to take over the city of Detroit.”

In a letter accompanying Thursday’s filing, Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, said he had approved the request for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

“It is clear that the financial emergency in Detroit cannot be successfully addressed outside of such a filing, and it is the only reasonable alternative that is available”.

Could the innate bias be any more obvious?

Don’t bother trusting the BBC on this or any US issue.

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That “Conservative” Supreme Court

In the Monday open thread, I called attention to the BBC’s misrepresentation of the US Supreme Court’s vote to overrule an Appeals Court ruling upholding racial preferences in university admissions. The BBC claimed that the Supreme Court has gotten more conservative since 2003, when the Court originally voted to uphold racial preferences, and on which the present case was based. This was a BBC suggestion as to the cause of the ruling.

I called that assessment into question, not only because the vote was 7-1 (with the very Left-wing Kagan recusing herself, as she supported the case in a previous job), with two liberal Justices joining the majority, but because the Court had in 2003 and still has now a liberal majority, 5-4.

The Justices in 2003:

Chief Justice Rehnquist – conservative
Stevens – liberal
O’Connor – conservative
Scalia – conservative
Kennedy – liberal
Souter – liberal
Thomas – conservative
Ginsburg – liberal
Breyer – liberal

5 liberal – 4 conservative

Today’s Court:

Chief Justice Roberts – conservative
Alito – conservative
Kennedy – liberal
Thomas – conservative
Sotomayor – liberal
Ginsburg – liberal
Scalia – conservative
Breyer – liberal
Kagan – liberal

5 liberal – 4 conservative

Today, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred homosexual couples from having certain benefits and rights that heterosexual couples have. Spot the missing President who originally signed the bill into law. Can you guess which political party he was? Can you guess which leading Presidential candidate for 2016 with a close personal connection to him? Blatant bias by omission there. I do hope they add this relevant bit of information as the story “evolves” (i.e. an editor tells them to stop hiding what they already know). (UPDATE: The story has evolved. The BBC now mentions Clinton, although not his party. But they get points for admitting that it had bi-partisan support in Congress. Mark Mardell would have been pleased with their determination to reach across the aisle to get things done.)

This uncomfortable fact was also censored from the BBC’s Q&A on the issue of homosexual marriage. All you’re told is that the law was “passed by Congress” in 1996. Of course, when The Obamessiah signs a bill into law, it’s all about Him doing it. When it’s a law they don’t like, particularly when it’s one signed by a darling Democrat, there’s no President to be seen.

Also, check out how the Justices voted. Exactly along the labels I gave them above. More conservative still?

What’s funny is that this is now the third major ruling in the last year in which the Supreme Court ruled on the liberal side of an issue. They upheld the key portions of ObamaCare, and struck down the key part of Arizona’s “controversial” law about dealing with illegal immigration. Now with this decision, the Left-wing/Progressive faction has victories in the three biggest issues. Yet the BBC describes the Court as becoming more conservative when it returns a decision to the lower court. Note that no law was struck down or upheld specifically by the racial preferences ruling, but rather rejected a lower court’s decision. The law is still in place, yet the BBC decided to plant the notion that the Court had become more conservative, in spite of the evidence.

Now that there’s yet another Left-wing victory, the BBC is not pointing out the liberal majority on the Court, or even daring to remind you of the political party which originally signed the DoMA into law. Is the Court still trending conservative, BBC?

The BBC should simply shut down the entire US division and replace them all with a shaved orangutan managing a news aggregator. You’d be more and better informed, and tens of millions of pounds would be saved.

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The BBC And The IRS

The Director of the IRS’s tax-exempt enforcement division, Lois Lerner, has been placed on “administrative leave” after her publicly derided appearance in front of Congress the other day. Reality forces the BBC to report on a story they were quietly avoiding until the story got too big to ignore.

Lois Lerner on administrative leave in US tax scandal

There are some glaring omissions here, as well as the usual partisan bias we’ve come to expect from the BBC’s coverage of US issues. Instead of my usual lengthy and tedious essays parsing every little word, I’m going to try something different. This time I’m simply going to rewrite the piece as if I were an editor, taking the bulk of what’s already been written and adding important things I believe they left out, and making a few changes to remove the partisan bias.

Read the BBC article above, and then read my version. Please compare and contrast, and let me know which version better informs you.
Continue reading

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BBC Censorship: The List Just Keeps Growing Edition

Everyone knows by now how the BBC got it wrong on Benghazi. I made a post about how the BBC was censoring news of what really happened on Sept. 13, 2012, two days after the attack. Plenty of people here from then on posted links to stories about it, and we all wondered why the BBC kept ignoring it or simply followed the White House talking points and dismissed those complaining. Now we know why they did this. As Mark Mardell has admitted (h/t DB), he thought it was all just partisan attack nonsense to which he needn’t pay attention.

In the interests of full disclosure I have to say I have not in the past been persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal. It seemed to me a partisan attack based on very little.

His very next sentence suggests that he was more convinced by a different spin on the incident, because it came from sources he was more likely to trust.

I remember listening to reports from the BBC and others at the time that did suggest the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a rather puerile anti-Islamic video.

Even though I’m not a journalist, I’ve heard enough from actual Beeboids who used to comment here, as well as from self-proclaimed journalists who’ve made attempts to explain it, not to mention the statements made by Mardell himself and the head of the BBC bureau in the US about how they decide what gets published/broadcast, to know that, no matter how hard everyone tries to be impartial, personal opinion is going to inform decisions on some level, at some point in time. The BBC’s top man in the US has now admitted that his personal opinion of both the sources of the complaints and what he understood of their merits prevented him from taking it seriously. It can’t be much of a stretch to conclude that the BBC in general took the same position. After all, they do tend to follow the lead of their fellow Left-wing journalists in the US.

One has to wonder just how much he knew about the complaints of mistakes regarding embassy security and the cover-up of what the Administration knew and the consequential lies to the victims’ families and the public about it, including lies told by someone at least one Beeboid sees as a global inspiration. Did Mardell simply dismiss it all because it was coming from Republicans, people he’s described on more than one occasion as “enemies” of the President? Not to mention the fact that everyone knew this was going to be a major issue in the campaign to re-elect Him. The BBC doesn’t like to report things which make Him look bad, and are more interested in demonizing opponents than investigating what’s going on. Mardell certainly has form on dismissing any criticism of Him as partisan attacks with little merit.

The day after the attacks, people were posting other news items on the open thread here about what actually happened, and showing what the BBC kept leaving out. It was clear even then that the President and His Administration was not being truthful, pushing the phony story about that video causing it. At the time, Mardell bought it hook, line, and sinker, and even seized on it to take a swipe at Mitt Romney (then the Republican nominee contesting His re-election). The BBC wasn’t interested in reality then, and continued to cover their eyes and ears for months. Defenders of the indefensible love to dismiss things because of the source (Fox News! Fox News!), refusing to even go into the merits of any of it. Yet who’s getting the last laugh now? One has to wonder if Mardell and the BBC similarly dismissed the merits of the stories simply because they didn’t like the source.

The fact that the BBC is only now getting around to admitting all of this and reporting it is revealing of how they prioritize news stories. It was only after the latest round of hearings started and the revelations were spread across the front pages of their preferred news outlets for more than a day that they decided is was newsworthy. The revelations had been out for days before that, and in some cases, weeks and months. Yet the BBC couldn’t be bothered. A simple news aggregator would have kept you better informed, and you could all decide for yourself what had merit and what didn’t. The gatekeepers failed you here.

The BBC has form on censoring deciding stories simply aren’t worth your time, only to be forced by reality to report it much later on, long after everyone here knows all about it. For example:

“Fast & Furious”, where the Administration oversaw guns being sold illegally to people who they knew would sell to Mexican drug cartels, without tracking them, in the hopes of creating a body count on which they could exploit to push for stricter gun laws, and then tried to cover it up.

The President’s mishandling of the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

They censored all kinds of stuff from the Trayvon Martin coverage.

They censored almost all news about the billions sent down the Green Toilet to failed green energy businesses run mostly by Democrat money-bundlers.

They’ve also censored news of all but two gaffes by the President, as it conflicts with the “He’s so suave and cool and far more intelligent than the inarticulate Bush” groupthink. Bush got no such protection, as even the slightest misstep was ridiculed for your benefit.

The BBC even censored a bit out of a speech by the President so it wouldn’t conflict with their Narrative about the budget and one round of debt negotiations.

There’s plenty of other stuff the BBC thought you didn’t need to know. Have a look at this list and judge for yourselves if any of it was newsworthy or not.

The latest major story the BBC has so far kept from you is the admission by the IRS that they’ve been illegally targeting and harassing Tea Party groups and other non-Left organizations. This has apparently been going on for some times, as a top Administration official (at the time) inadvertently mentioned over two years ago that the President’s inner circle had illegal access to tax information of their political opponents. It’s a big deal, but in the interests of keeping this from being yet another of my tediously lengthy posts, I’ll just link to an op-ed from the national newspaper perhaps respected most by the BBC: the Washington Post. Not Fox News, not Breitbart, not Jihadwatch, not Glen Beck. It’s simply not possible for defenders of the indefensible to dismiss this because of the source.

Playing politics with tax records

A BEDROCK principle of U.S. democracy is that the coercive powers of government are never used for partisan purpose. The law is blind to political viewpoint, and so are its enforcers, most especially the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Any violation of this principle threatens the trust and the voluntary cooperation of citizens upon which this democracy depends.

So it was appalling to learn Friday that the IRS had improperly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny. It was almost as disturbing that President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew have not personally apologized to the American people and promised a full investigation.

BBC: ZZZZzzzzzzz

With all this in mind, I say again that the BBC has given up being as serious news organization when it comes to US  issues. They may have a titled editor on the scene, and at least 100 employees beavering away at the website and producing those “bespoke” video magazine pieces, but it’s little more than a lightweight content producer these days, with an eye to attracting the MOR and low-information crowd, along with the ad and subscription revenue that comes with their eyeballs. Your license fee hard at work. Sure, most of this is technically paid for by the commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, but there’s plenty of sharing of resources and funding. And after all, this is your official state broadcaster expanding far beyond its original remit.

UPDATE, 5/13: The BBC has now reported it. Because the President spoke out about it, it’s new. He has condemned the actions and promised to deal with it, so all is well.

“I’ve got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it and I will make sure that we find out exactly what happened.”

Like He has with Benghazi, right, BBC?

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And Now For Your Moment Of Schadenfreude

Posted without comment, because, well, just click on the link and watch the video.

Video: Secret gun-rights provision in ObamaCare?

Yes, the link is to the Right-wing Hot Air, but the actual video is from CNN. Not Fox News, not Breitbart.

(Link fixed now, sorry.)

Ed Morrisey explains:

By golly, Nancy Pelosi was right — they didn’t know what was in ObamaCare until it passed! Of course, in this case all she needed to do was ask her buddy Harry Reid, who apparently sandbagged his party’s gun-control wing by inserting an interesting clause in the 2800-page bill that no one in Congress bothered to read before voting on it. CNN’s Jim Acosta reveals the restriction on firearms-registration data collection built into the 2010 law.

The reason Reid inserted this clause, CNN reports without ever having actually talked to Reid (he declined comment), was to make the NRA “benign” in the ObamaCare fight — and to push back against “conspiracy theorists” who claimed that the bill would allow Barack Obama to start grabbing guns. Hey, that would never happen, right? Sure.

Oops. Please post comments about anything you see or hear from the BBC on this story.

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Mark Mardell and the Crypto-Racism of the US

This post was inspired by a recent comment from Jim Dandy, one of our defenders of the indefensible. He said that he wanted opinion in his journalism. I expressed my disappointment that he wanted “opinionated” journalism, and he objected to what he thought was my deliberate twisting of his words.

You do know what opinionated means don’t you? It does not mean the condition of having an opinion. Or perhaps you are deliberately twisting my words.

Impartiality allows for opinion to be expressed.

I was confused by this, and asked for an explanation, which I got:

Opinionated is a perjorative term suggesting the person unduly, aggressively and dogmatically holds by their opinions.

It might be different in the US.

Still confused, I tried a different tack, and asked Jim if he felt that the BBC’s North America editor, Mark Mardell was the embodiment of his definition, to which he said, simply, “No.”

This led me to compile this collection of Mardell’s journalism to provide evidence that he does, in fact, unduly, aggressively and dogmatically hold by his opinion. Specifically his opinion that the Tea Party movement and, essentially, all opposition to the President is based on racism.

Read the following, and decide for yourselves whether or not Mardell allows his personal opinion to inform his reporting, and whether or not he has dogmatically stuck to his guns in spite of the evidence before him.

September 15, 2009, when Mardell was barely a month into his new job:

Is race a factor in Obama protests?

So I am describing and inviting debate, not passing comment. The relationship between black and white has been such an important driving factor in American political history that it would be strange if it now mattered not a jot. The allegation is that many of those who are calling their president “un-American” mean he is not white.

Democratic propaganda, over-sensitivity or truth? Tell me…

He says he’s not passing comment, then gives his opinion anyway. This is after he gives you a link to only one point of view from the vaunted NY Times: yes, opposition to the President is based on racism. Mardell came to the US knowing for a fact that this is a racist country. Let’s see if he learns anything in the coming years.

Just a couple of weeks later, Mardell eagerly reported that Jimmy Carter said that opposition to the President was due to racism. He then went out to try and find people to support that, but came away with only the suggestion that the African-American community thinks it’s all down to racism. To Mardell, this is proof enough. The President Himself said that He doesn’t think that’s the case, but Mardell believes He’s lying.

Just outside his restaurant, I chat to some African-American women and mention what we are doing.

“Woah woah for Carter,” one says, raising her hands above her head. “He tells it like it is.”

She cannot peer into the soul of the protesters, any more than President Carter can.

But many African-Americans may feel as though a subterranean stream has burst above ground, even if the president would rather not get caught in the spray.

This woman may not be able to peer into people’s souls, but obviously Mardell can. And he does, over and over.

January 26, 2010:

Tea Party seek purity and victory

Mardell and the sub editor who wrote the title are actually referring to what they see as ideological purity regarding taxation and small government, but nobody with any intellectual honesty can claim that they don’t realize the not-so-subtle reference to the idea of racial purity espoused by actual white supremacists. Mardell chose the word very carefully. After talking about policy stuff, he said this near the end of the post:

There is no display of the visceral hatred that dripped from the cable networks last summer, and little of the sense that Obama’s government is some how illegitimate, rather than just plain wrong. There is a feeling that the president promised to govern from the centre and he hasn’t. But I have to ask, is this movement really of the people, or of largely white, largely well-off people?

They’re white, so there must be an underlying reason behind their objection to expanding government and raising taxes and increasing our debt and leading us to government-provided health care. Never mind what they say out loud: Mardell is looking into their souls. This is journalism?

Curiously, when reports came out about Sen. Harry Reid’s unfortunate statements about The Obamessiah back in 2008, Mardell defended him against charges of racism.

Indeed is what he said racist, or in any other way reprehensible? Liz Cheney thinks it is racist. The Kansas Star calls the remarks “stinking racist comments”. A left wing blogger Field Negro says it is “ignorant stereotyping”. Mr Reid himself refers to the comments as “improper”.

But what has irritated me about the flood of articles is that there has been a lot of nudging and winking but few have come out and said what they find offensive.

Imagine that. The man who has no trouble declaring racism without pointing to specifics which he finds offensive is irritated by what he sees as vague hints by other people.

So let’s have a look at what he actually said. The comments come from a book out this week, Game Changes .The authors say Reid “was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama – a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’ as he later put it privately.”

Mardell then actually defends Reid by saying he’s just “old-fashioned”. Nothing to see here, move along. Why is this not racist, but someone who objects to wealth re-distribution, full stop, without a word about anyone’s dialect or skin color, is racist? Of course, Harry Reid is a Democrat. He holds approved thoughts, so cannot be racist. However, if one holds an unapproved thought about an economic or political issue, there must be something inherently wrong with one’s character, an underlying reason for disapproving of, say, the NHS. Reid gets a pass, but as we all saw recently with Mardell’s and the BBC’s coverage of Mitt Romney, a Republican is by definition flawed for making a much less dangerous gaffe (e.g. “binders of women”).

In closing, Mardell’s defense of Reid reached new heights of hilarity:

But the guts of what Reid was saying was that many American voters were still pretty racist but some wouldn’t see Obama as “really” black. He thought Obama was acceptable to the electorate because he was light-skinned and didn’t have a voice that identified him as black. That seems to be Reid’s attempt to describe a state of affairs that may be unpleasant, but may be true. He was explaining the lie of the land as he saw it, not endorsing the views he outlined. If you can’t do that you are no good as a strategist.

You read that right: Reid was making a racist statement to highlight the racism of other people. How clever of him. Mardell really does have a magical gift for peering into people’s souls, doesn’t he? Naturally, this supports his opinion that opposition to the President is based on racism.

Later that year, October 9, 2010:

Why is the Tea Party boiling?

So here there is a great paradox: a movement that boasts its theoretical love of America and democracy but which hates its real life institutions. It’s not their fairly mainstream economic theories I strain to understand, but the passion; a passion which means that political discourse has become increasingly uncivil, filled with vitriol and abuse.

It’s nice that Mardell admits his condescension, but this is where we depart the realm of journalism and enter the land of opinion. That’s the whole point of BBC editors, of course, which causes endless problems. Notice how remarkably different his reaction to the Tea Party movement was to his opinion of the Occupiers. He loved their passion. I wonder what the key difference is?

So why is the Tea Party boiling?

Some say it’s racism. Those I’ve met are not racist but I do wonder if for some there’s a sense of lost superiority. For all their lives there’s been a white man in the White House. It’s not just that Obama isn’t in this image, he does not fit any stereotype of a black person that they know. Cool, cosmopolitan, calm and aloof. There is a sense of disconnect for what ought to be their view of the natural order.

“Some say…” He says straight out he hasn’t met any racists yet, but refuses to let go of his suspicions. He’d been in the US for over a year by that point, gone to several Tea Party gatherings, spoken with lots of politicians. Yet it hadn’t changed his opinion one iota. Is he lying that he didn’t meet any racists? Or does he just think he hasn’t worked hard enough to find them under the bed? You can almost feel Mardell straining to justify his opinion in spite of what he sees in front of him.

A woman who told me that Obama was a socialist and her country was sliding into Marxism said when he was elected president she drew the curtains for three weeks and couldn’t answer the telephone. Only the Tea Party saved her.

America is changing fast and some in the Tea Party people don’t like the loss of the assumption that white, European, 1950s America is the norm, the benchmark.

He hasn’t met any racists, but is still confident enough to tell you that some in the Tea Party are concerned about race. Not only is no evidence provided to back this up, but he even says he’s never met any actual racists. How can he get away with this?

Just a couple weeks later, October 30, 2010:

Tea Party not so mad

The main speaker said: “Our name is being dragged through the mud, that we’re violent racists.” The all-white crowd cheer or just nod. I have never seen any overt racism at a Tea Party rally and don’t today.

No “overt racism”, eh? Then why bother pointing out the “all-white crowd”? A rhetorical question, I know. When people don’t hold approved thoughts, there must be something wrong with them. Having given up the struggle to justify his opinion that it’s based on racism in the face of no evidence, he’s moved on to qualifying his statements that he hasn’t found any evidence. He doesn’t have to provide any now.

Over the past year I have spoken to many supporters of the Tea Party and been to lots of rallies. I have spoken to people whose characterisation of Mr Obama and his aims seems to me way off beam, a cartoon enemy conjured from some 1950s nightmare. Some believe the constitution tightly constrains the sort of economy America must have, and that only they can define what is properly American.

Now he’s giving his opinion on Constitutional law and economics. This isn’t journalism at all. This is an op-ed piece. Like I said, this the inherent problem in the very concept of BBC (titled) editors.

There is a wide-eyed enthusiasm that is easy to mock.

Yes, very easy to mock. In fact, it’s so easy, that Mardell happily mocked one of them during an appearance at the BBC College of Journalism. First, of course, he has to give the disclaimer that he’s never seen any overt racism. The relevant bit begins at around 54:45 in, where a young Beeboid asks Mardell about the “visceral hatred” of the President.

We’re not racist, he says, “At least not in a straight-forward sense”. Oh, really? He says that underlying the concern about government spending our money, it’s really about not wanting the government to “spend money on people not like them”. No real evidence, but he remains as convinced of it as he was the day he arrived. Even if we don’t come out and wear the pointy white hoods and carry our lynchin’ ropes around, we’re still racist under the skin. And he happily mocks a woman with a Southern accent. “You knew exactly what it was.”  Oh, how they all laughed, eh? To Mardell, the Tea Party is driven by crypto-racism. This is what they really think of us, and it informs all BBC reporting on US issues.

(Full analysis of the BBC’s CoJ audience with Mardell can be read here.)

Right before the election last November, Mardell laid it all out:

A lot of time in my first two years was spent trying to understand what lay behind the anger that I had seen on TV.

As we’ve seen, he had a pre-conceived notion of what lay behind that anger: racism. So what has he learned in the intervening years?

Beyond a fairly conventional conservative concern about taxation and debt, there is an inchoate angst that their country is going in the wrong direction, that they need to “take it back”.

Some think this is code for “take it back from the black man in the White House”.

After all the evidence of his reporting on the subject, it’s quite clear that Mardell is using the standard hack trick of “Some say…” to present his own opinion. We know he’s being disingenuous here. He’s said quite openly a number of times that he thinks it’s all about race. Using this dodge is a big phony act.

It is not that simple. Nearly all of the people I met were white and most middle-aged or older. But few were racist in the conventional sense.

The only time I have seen that in the raw, I was off duty, at a dinner party. A woman growing increasingly passionate as the wine flowed called Obama a “monkey” and said “he’s trying to give OUR money to THEM”.

Not the poor, not the shiftless, “them”.

Since the woman Mardell mocked earlier was a crypto-racist and didn’t openly make any racist statements, we have to assume that this is now two clear incidents – to him – of racism, out of the hundreds of thousands or people Mardell’s seen at Tea Party rallies and whatever political gatherings he visits. Yet on the strength of this he still demonizes the entire movement, still convinced that tens of millions of people are driven by racism and not legitimate policy concerns.

“They” are part of a different America, with a different history who want a different path for their country.

A millionaire in a designer chair in his plush Chicago home, surrounded by modern art, makes the same point as the broken-toothed men perched on smashed-up office furniture outside a beat-up shotgun house in Texas.

Next to me in the pew of a Florida church, the man with a trim grey beard and a “veterans for Obama badge” tells me the same thing.

These very different people all had one thing in common. They’re black. And that means they share a history and often they also share a perception of the present.

Black Americans up and down this huge country tell me Mr Obama didn’t create this mess, and he needs time to clear it up.

They know all about patience. They know all about clearing up other people’s mess. They know about being shut out of this country’s narrative.

There’s a black history month. It rather implies that for the other 11 months, it is white history that will have its way. With Mr Obama they feel that has changed, just a little.

And with that, Mardell moves from demonizing the opposition for caring only about the color of a man’s skin to declaring that we must re-elect a President simply because of the color of the man’s skin. It means a lot to black people to see one of their own as President, so we must dismiss all other concerns. He was only recently pushing that Narrative, in September 2012. (Even then he was still declaring that opposition to the President’s  policies is really only objecting to redistributing wealth “to people not like us.”) This is racialist thinking at its finest. Anyone who watched the full video of Mardell’s appearance at the BBC CoJ will also have seen him admit that the President actually isn’t quite up to the job. In other words, we must keep a poor performer on simply because of the color of his skin. He’s not that competent, but it’s okay cos He is black. The soft racism of lowered expectations lives on at the BBC.

In the end, Mardell has learned nothing. He came here with a pre-conceived opinion, and steadfastly refused to let the evidence before him change his mind. His personal opinion remains unchanged, and informs all of his reporting. Since he’s the “North America editor”, his opinion also informs other aspects of BBC reporting on US issues.

Next, we can have a debate about what it means to have opinion in journalism, and how impartiality allows for it.

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Six Impossible Things

As the US at last gets to vote on the most important election in human history (it must be, to judge from the legion of BBC staff running around over here to cover it), the BBC’s coverage of the whole scene has been making me think of the following from Through the Looking Glass:

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’

The BBC definitely wants you to believe some impossible things when it comes to the President and the current situation in the US. You’ll most likely hear some of these at some point today during the BBC’s wall-to-wall coverage.

(NOW UPDATED TO INCLUDE LINKS, because defenders of the indefensible have decided to be intellectually dishonest today and pretend they’ve never read anything on this blog. I’ll add more later today and this evening when I have more time. Everyone is welcome to post examples in the comments.)

1. Tea Party-led Republican intransigence has blocked His every move for the last two years, but the President has saved the economy, and we’re on the road to recovery.

2. The country is more divided and polarized than it has ever been before due to Tea Party and Right-wing media rhetoric, while at the same time you’re expected to believe that the President did not begin His term in office by sitting down to the negotiating table and telling Republicans, “I won”, and that He has not said or done anything divisive, ever.

3. The Democrat super-majority in Congress – absolute control of both houses – for His first two years which let Him do whatever He liked (except pass a budget, which even the Dems in the Senate weren’t stupid enough to vote for) without bothering to get a single Republican vote, was a Golden Age of Congress getting things done.

4. The only real reason people are voting against the President is racism, or crypto-racism, even though nobody complained when George Bush had a black man and then a black woman as the second-most powerful person in his Administration, and the Tea Party movement was ready to support Herman Cain. All those people who voted for The Obamessiah in 2008 and are not voting for Him today have suddenly reverted to being racist.

5. It’s perfectly natural for Hispanics to vote for their own kind, and want more of their own kind to come to the US. Any laws which impede that are immoral, and the only reason to oppose this kind of racialist thinking is racism.

6. Romney, like George Bush, is a walking gaffe machine, and the President has made only two minor missteps in five years (including the 2008 campaign).

No, thank you. I’m off to vote as soon as I finish my breakfast.

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Mardell Stares Into The Abyss

Mark Mardell seems to be preparing himself for a Romney win. Of course, it won’t be the President’s fault. From the BBC’s in-house magazine:

Mark Mardell… Our man in Washington

Millions more will turn out for the general election, but Mardell senses a great disillusionment in America and believes that this could be crucial to President Obama’s chances for reelection. Asked for a prediction, he replies that it will come down to turnout. ‘I think if he’s defeated he will be defeated by people who quite like him, don’t like Romney that much, but decide to stay at home [on election day].’

“Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!  (John XIII:38)

What’s this disillusionment about? Why would these people who like Him decline to vote for Him? They’re not racist all of a sudden, are they?

He admits that problems with the economy perhaps stem from American policies rather than presidential decisions….

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.  (Romans IX:30-32)

It’s not His fault, you see. Congress failed Him. The people failed Him. Nothing to do with His policies. However, by blaming the faithful for failing Him, the awkward question of why all those people are voting against Him can be avoided.

Plus a nice delusional dig at Romney:

…but believes that foreign policy will certainly take a different ‘tone’ under a Romney term, with ‘implications’ for the UK.

It’s hard to imagine Romney racking up a bigger body count than the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate-in-Chief. How many new countries has the President taken war into again?

Actually, Mardell has always been firmly against the UK helping the US in Iraq and Afghanistan (he mentions them specifically), and for some reason thinks Romney will be George Bush all over again and drag you into new wars. Hasn’t the President been very clear, for example, that He won’t allow Iran to have nuclear weapons, and that there were “no options off the table”? This is a White House talking point, nothing more. Of course, it could also be a tacit admission that in a second term, the President will let Iran, China, and Russia do whatever they like. Which makes Mardell’s focus on Bush’s wars and the (economic) “It all started in America” meme all the more curious. After all, the President did tell Medvedev to sit tight on the European missile situation for now because He’ll have more flexibility then. But Mardell’s worried about what Romney will do.

Read the rest of it for laughs. His continued bewilderment by us United Statesians would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad and a little tiresome. My favorite line, though, is this:

While Mardell is cautious with his language at times, worried about how it might be interpreted, there are hints that he is a passionate man with strong beliefs.

Understatement of the year. They know it, and Mardell knows it. They just don’t care. But by all means, they expect you to continue to trust them on US issues.

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Katty Kay Tweets Political Endorsement

The latest tweet from Katty Kay, BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of what’s left of BBC World News America, and the highest-profile Beeboid in the US:

First of all, Bloomberg is no longer a Republican, hasn’t been for years. He quit that Party and has been calling himself an independent since 2007 – which Katty knows for a fact – so the whole “bi-partisan” thing is false right away. Not only that, but as Katty also well knows, Bloomberg is a life-long Democrat who switched to Republican only so he could run for New York City mayor without having to bribe the Democrat machine in certain outer boroughs because he felt he’d stand out better among the Republican candidates. Quite frankly, Katty Kay is being dishonest when she calls this a bi-partisan ticket.

_______________

UPDATE: Katty’s partisan ticket isn’t even an original thought. She’s merely regurgitating partisan opinion from her friends within the Beltway Bubble:

 

 

 

That’s the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker, btw.

_______________

Just another biased display from perhaps the most hyper-partisan Beeboid in the US. Here’s Katty displaying her advocacy for Climate Change legislation with Mayor Bloomberg himself. And here she is just the other day on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (where she’s a regular panelist in her official BBC capacity) expressing her frustration with the lackluster message coming out of the President’s campaign. Why trust this woman on anything anymore? A complaint has been sent to the BBC, and since she does work in the US and report on US issues, they can’t give me the brush-off right away.

Note that this is an officially sanctioned BBC twitter account. The logo is featured prominently and there is no “views my own” get-out-of-bias-free disclaimer.

Over to you, professional journalists and media experts who defend the indefensible.

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Like A Warrior, He Will Stir Up His Zeal

That line from Isaiah, 42:13, just about sums up the BBC’s breathless anticipation of tonight’s debate rematch between the President and His enemy political opponent. Jude Sheerin in Washington (another one? how many Beeboids are there in the US now? -ed) is here to reassure the faithful that the President will come out fighting.

Obama team raises expectations for debate with Romney

We get assurances from both the President’s mouthpiece as well as from Romney’s camp that the President will do better. Not a single word is given to the viewpoint that the President’s previous failure was due to a lack of substance, not just a problem with style. Tonight’s debate is supposed to focus on foreign policy, the President’s number one Achilles heel at the moment, but since it’s town-hall style with audience questions, I’m not sure how much anyone can guarantee that this will be the case.

Oh, wait, yes there is a way to guarantee how the audience will behave: let CNN pick them and put in a few Democrat operatives like they did last time. The moderator has already said that she’s looking to break some rules and take control of the agenda anyway. It fills one with such confidence…..

Sheerin’s piece is full of bits about what the President will do better tonight, and nothing about Romney. Is there another article about his side of things that I’ve missed somewhere?

The most recent poll figures the BBC has on offer shows the President up by two points, but it’s from October 7.  Missing is an entire week of Romney improvement, to the point where he’s now virtually tied with or leading the President in some areas. But the BBC doesn’t want you to know that, so they leave things as they are.

Amazingly, one big, massive, ginormous issue gets tacked on at the very end of this: Hillary Clinton falls on her sword over Benghazi. This is buck-passing at it’s finest. I guess she’s just decided that her presidential aspirations are dead now. She’ll never be able to run with this on her record. Of course we’re meant to understand here that it’s not His fault, and so any accusations about it coming from Romney will be “fact-checked” under the bus along with her.

Meanwhile, the BBC’s US President editor has had to swallow hard and admit that Romney’s performance last time really did help a lot, and polls do show him in the lead. It only took Mardell two weeks to get with reality. So why does that key information have to stay relegated to a blog post and isn’t updated on the official election page?

But Mardell still can’t quite accept it.

On the surface it is just odd that a single debate would have produced such a big shift.

No, it isn’t odd at all, if one has been paying attention to reality. The BBC, on the other hand, has kept it from you. I don’t think there’s a single person here who is surprised by this at all, yet the BBC’s top man in the US just doesn’t get it.

Mardell is also stuck on the superficial, still providing excuses for his Obamessiah.

But perhaps it was simply that he wanted to appear presidential and above petty argument, but missed the mark by enough to seem disengaged and aloof.

This is idiotic. What does he mean by “petty”? Engaging with Romney is beneath Him? Such a statement actually makes the President look even worse, but to Mardell this is acceptable. “The Emperor didn’t want to soil his new clothes, so stayed back from the field. A wise move, but made him look hesitant to some.”

This next bit is interesting to me.

…but I’ve heard an intriguing explanation from Republican strategists. They argue that people who voted for Mr Obama last time in a spirit of hope are looking for permission not to do so again.

His lack of engagement, lack of answers, and lack of enthusiasm in the debate was so different from the mood he inspired in 2008, that it allows them to justify a switch without suggesting they made a mistake.

In other words, nothing He’s done in the last four years has any bearing at all on whether or not someone might be disappointed and not vote for Him this time. Unbelievable.

Amusingly, Mardell is also pre-emptively criticizing Romney about Benghazi. He says that Romney will have to be more clear, do a better job explaining what lessons we need to learn from it. Wrong. Romney needs to show that the Administration is a shambles more than how he’d do it differently next time.

They just don’t get it, can’t accept it. Everything they’ve been investing their emotions and energy in for the last five years is all coming crashing down around them, and they simply don’t know how to deal with it. Maybe the President can turn things around and His team has come up with some real substance to lay out tonight. Maybe there will be some smart audience questions that will put Romney on the back foot. I don’t know, but I have my doubts.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I Corinthians: 58-60

 

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Mardell Tells A Little White Lie For The White House

I chose the word “lie” with great care, after long consideration. But I can come to no other conclusion. If one has wrong information and then makes a statement based on that faulty info, it’s not telling a lie. If one has the correct information but knowingly makes a statement contradicting that, it’s a lie. I think that’s what Mardell is doing here.

US election: Is foreign policy Romney’s best chance?

The short blog post is mainly about trying to push the idea that Romney’s campaign is in disarray, and that triangulating on a perceived foreign policy stumble regarding the Benghazi fiasco might help his chances. The BBC’s US President editor – a lifelong political junkie who should know better – actually wants you to believe that taking advantage of a new opportunity is the same thing as completely overhauling a campaign because the other ideas aren’t working.

Naturally, Mardell’s conclusion is the one you probably guessed: no, it won’t help Romney in the end anyway, because the people actually care more about the economy than anything else. Why this brilliant bit of obviousness took him 434 words to say instead of two short paragraphs, I have no idea. Since this is Mardell, though, there’s usually a gem amongst the paste. He sets up the notion that Romney’s campaign is desperately spinning wheels trying to find some traction by saying this:

Some in Mitt Romney’s camp are tempted to switch focus to foreign affairs.

As if they never had any plans to mention it, and as if events, dear boy, didn’t provide an opportunity. To back it up, he then says this:

No-one doubts now that the opinion polls show Mr Romney in a whole heap of trouble.

He didn’t say, “most” or “the conventional wisdom” or “expert analysts” or even “no-one with half a brain”. He said “no-one”. This is a lie, because by October 1 Mardell knew all about the following, but chooses to tell you they don’t exist:

Obama and Romney are basically tied in Virginia

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

 The presidential race remains competitive even though voters still trust Mitt Romney slightly more than President Obama when it comes to handling economic matters. Will Wednesday night’s first presidential debate make a difference?

With a race this close, possibly but not likely, Scott Rasmussen argues in his latest weekly syndicated column. “Events in the real world matter more than debates,” Scott writes. “Only in the absence of other news could a slight change in the race coming out of the debates be decisive.”

(More on the debate issue in a moment)

Gallup on Romney’s terrible month

Also, this is registered voters. Likely voters probably favors Romney.

Morning Jay: Are the Polls Tilted Toward Obama?

One important “tell” in my opinion, is this president’s continued weak position with independent voters, who remain the true swing vote.

But wait, there’s more.

The Election Isn’t Over

Only fools and partisans think Obama has it locked up.

Obama and Romney Neck in Neck in OH Poll… WITH D+10 SAMPLE!

What to Make of Declining Democratic Registration?

Basically, there’s a big discussion going on right now about the polls being skewed or otherwise unrepresentative of reality. And Mardell knew it. He just decided none of this was worth a damn and that you should think “no-one” doubts that Romney is in desperate straits.

Before any itchy fingers start trying to tell me that Mardell is right that Romney is in trouble, let me remind you that it’s irrelevant. I’m talking specifically about the fact that he said “no-one doubts”, which is patently false. A lie. At best, dismissing Rasmussen and Gallup and the Wall Street Journal as well as the local stuff, and saying that none of what I’ve linked to is worthy of respect, which just means he’s as biased as we say he is. Only fools and partisans, indeed.

Do I think a lot of this noise can be put down to sour grapes? Sure. Every time I hear someone complaining about skewed polls, that’s what I’m wondering. But that’s not the point. The point is that a lot of otherwise reasonable, respectable people think things are a lot closer than they really are. Also, let’s remember that in 2008 when Candidate Obamessiah had a similar lead over Sen. McCain, the Beeboids were fretting that the polls were skewed due to lying racists and the Bradley Effect. Ah, good times….good times. Funny how we’re not so racist now. Any bets that we will be racists again if Romney wins?

Now about tonight’s debate. The new Narrative in the US mainstream media (whom Mardell has admitted are mostly liberal) is that the debates don’t mean anything. It’s a clever pre-emptive strike at the bounce Romney will most likely get. There’s also been an attempt to revive the myth surrounding that Nixon-JFK debate where supposedly people who watched it on TV thought Kennedy won, while those who listened on the radio thought Nixon did. In other words, since most everyone is going to be watching it, don’t believe your lying eyes if you think Romney won.

Mardell dutifully follows suit. A draw will be a successful result for the President. He also throws in an appeal to authority and has some academic say that the debates don’t usually change anyone’s mind, but at least leave the voters better informed. I’d like some maple syrup on that waffle, please.

At least Adam Blenford’s full-length piece on the debate issues and candidates is pretty well balanced and not obviously biased. I even think that the weaknesses listed for both men can be considered different versions of the same thing. He didn’t mention the President’s whining about having to rehearse and study for it, but never mind.

Mardell will be tweeting during the debate and then blogging his pearls of wisdom afterwards. Joy.

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Daniel Nasaw’s Horrible History Lesson

Daniel Nasaw is one of the handful of Beeboids working the US beat who was actually born and raised here. In his latest feature for the BBC online Magazine, a “From Our Own Correspondent” segment, he visits a Civil War battle reenactment to use as a metaphor for a primary Narrative about the current state of US politics we hear across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting: an historic, extreme polarization.

Nasaw doesn’t so much get the basic relevant history bits of the Civil War wrong as he does the lesson which he’s trying to invent from it.

Antietam: Re-enacting a bloody 1862 US Civil War battle

(Audio “From Our Own Correspondent” version is here, beginning @17:18)

In addition to the morale-boosting effect for the North (it was a strategic draw, really but ended Gen. Lee’s push into Union territory), the Battle of Antietam is pretty legendary because of the carnage, so it’s a good choice for Nasaw to hold up as a symbol of how horrible the splitting of the nation was. Which becomes the problem, as we’ll soon see. First, a bit about the whole reenactment thing, which seems to baffle our not-so-humble correspondent as well as amuse him much in the way natives in exotic locations reenacting colorful tribal rituals amuse the tourists.

It really is a pretty big hobby, as Nasaw says. Lots of groups all around the country – even in places that weren’t remotely involved in the conflict – many with the same kind of enthusiasm and attention to detail as any historical hobbyist group. They can be as hardcore as any bunch of enthusiasts, and relaxed about it at the same time. They’re there mostly to have fun rather than declare their allegiance to any political ideology. Not that the history behind the game isn’t on some people’s minds in many cases.

Unlike Nasaw, who seems to have approached this event from another culture entirely, I’ve actually participated in one of these battle reenactments. As these things happen,  a friend of a friend knew someone involved with the local historical society who was putting on one of these battles. They needed bodies, so I jumped at the chance. Also unlike Nasaw, I had no ancestors involved in the Civil War, as mine didn’t even get to the US until more than almost 40 years after it was over. I ended up dressing for the Confederate (“Rebel”) side, simply because that’s where they needed bodies. I was supplied with a period costume of civilian clothing, not a uniform, as the South couldn’t always afford everything for their troops. This also struck home the fact that – as Nasaw points out but apparently doesn’t accept – many really did come out to fight for their homes and safety of their families more than for any political ideal, or to keep their right to own slaves.

We did a few minutes of actual drills from some period military book, and learned to load and fire the percussion muskets (all replicas, not rifled IIRC) used at the time. Having to stand there furiously attempting to reload after one shot while a wall of guns fired at me from the other side, and the next rank of my team running forwards into the volley to their next spot before taking their next shot, told me in about thirty seconds a whole lot more about why these battles were so bloody and not always conclusive than anything I’d ever read on the subject. It’s all a bit of a joke to Nasaw, but it can be a real lesson. As for who decides who dies when, naturally I asked the same thing he did, but didn’t take offense like he seemed to at being told that was a rookie question.  As it turned out, there were a few veterans in charge of each side who would just occasionally say, “You’re dead….now you can die….we need a couple people to die on this next volley,” and so on. Not a big deal.

Now for why Nasaw is wrong to use the Civil War for the message he wants to get across. First of all, the concern about States’ Rights goes back long before the Civil War, right back to the founding of the United States of America. It was a vital issue debated by the founders for years before and after independence. In fact, the Civil War wasn’t even the first time secession came into the picture. Of course, what’s going on here is that Nasaw is trying cast light on the polarized political situation we’re in today. We keep hearing from our media elites that the country is more divided, political discourse is more polarized than ever before. Mark Mardell likes to cite claims of grizzled veterans that we all used to get along so well, politicians were never so partisan, etc., as part of his proof that it’s never been this bad before. They’re all at it, really, because that’s the same Narrative we hear from the mainstream Left-leaning media in the US. And they’ve been doing it for some time, not just recently. It all started, we’re supposed to believe, when the US elected a black man as President. All those anti-Bush protests and the ChimpyMcBushitler posters and celebrities crying about Bush hating black people after Katrina, that wasn’t polarization, you see. It’s only when a Democrat President – particularly this One – doesn’t get His way that we’ve suddenly gone horribly wrong. For example:

March 2010, Mardell: Is US politics nastier than ever?

January 2011: Jonny Dymond ponders “the anger and polarisation apparent in today’s American polity” in regards to a mentally unstable person attempting to assassinate a Democrat politician and murdering a few people in the process

October 2011, Mardell: US ‘divided society’ protests spread (Oh, hang on, that was about their darling Occupiers’ class-war rhetoric, and no Beeboid was fretting about how they were polarizing politics)

August 2012: Paul Mason says the pick of Paul Ryan for VP has “polarized US politics”

September 2012, Justin Webb: What happened to America’s community spirit?

Andrew Marr’s upcoming special film about the four years of The Obamessiah’s reign will see him push the same Narrative.

I’m sure everyone has seen or heard other examples as well. So what’s the most obvious historical example of the US being divided? Exactly. Because subtlety isn’t a quality trait with media types bent on getting convincing you about their world view, Nasaw needs to spell out just how relevant this is to today’s situation. It’s where he delves into the issue of States’ Rights and slavery that he gets it wrong.

Long before Lincoln was elected, slavery was a known problem. In fact, while quite a few founders were slave owners, quite a few more were not, and even the top figures who owned slaves at the time knew it was a bad idea. However, there’s a significant economic dimension to the problem as well. Slavery was actually kind of dying out because the trade became less economically viable, but the arrival of the cotton gin kept it going long after its sell-by date, to the point where it was becoming massively difficult to shift the South’s economic engine away from it. The South would have had to diversify economically eventually, but it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Nasaw, like so many who don’t actually understand the history, sees the Civil War as being exclusively about protecting slavery and the concept of States’ Rights as a smokescreen behind which to hide it. Although it’s watered down in the printed version, in the audio version Nasaw is more explicit about this (beginning @19:18:)

“That’s the familiar slogan wielded by Americans who want to whitewash the stain of slavery from the War’s glory.”

Well, yes and no. While it’s true that slavery was the key right which led to the secession, it’s not something that’s been a major issue from the start. There’s also the fact that many in the South have a particular cultural heritage they want to defend (this feeling might just be familiar to some of you, no?) which has precious little to do with slavery. That gets suppressed every time someone whacks them with the slavery cudgel, which leads to no small amount of resentment. Plus we mustn’t forget the trials of the Reconstruction, when much of the South was occupied militarily and politically by the North. In some places they tend to teach that era of history as if Gen. Sherman left only last week and the remains of buildings are still smoldering in the streets. That’s caused a scar on the regional psyche which goes far beyond a single issue. In short, there’s much, much more to the whole thing than slavery alone. But that muddles the issue, and gets in the way of the metaphor you’re meant to have jammed into your brains. It’s possible that Nasaw is simply unaware of all this, didn’t learn anything other than the standard liberal tropes (history being not only written by the victors but updated by future elites), and really does see it in the simplistic terms he lays out here due to ignorance and not just pure ideology. In “reporting” from this biased perspective, he’s denigrating millions of United Statesians.

Nasaw gets a Civil War expert to tell us that today’s debate goes all the way back to the War, it actually goes back much further. Of course a Civil War expert is going to focus on his area, and of course this makes it a nice red herring. It’s here where Nasaw starts to make some offensive parallels. His goal is to make a direct tie from today’s Tea Party protests and critics of ObamaCare to those desirous of keeping slavery going. He wants to show that it’s the same mentality, the same people, the same belief system. That’s how he sees it, and that’s the story he set out to tell.

I probably don’t need to point out how this also ties right in with the overall BBC Narrative that there is really no legitimate opposition to the President’s policies and that all those complaints are really driven by crypt0-racism, but reminders can be found here, here, here, and here.

While many of the Founding Fathers were slave owners, many equally felt that it was wrong, and that it was something that would eventually have to go away. But more important than that specific issue is that, besides the North-South divide we know about today, there was also originally a kind of chasm between the wealthy Eastern States – industrial and mercantile Northeast, coastal trade cities, etc. – and the poorer, rural West. When I say “West”, however, I’m using it as defined at the end of the 18th Century. Back then, the western parts of Kentucky and Tennessee were a largely unexplored frontier. In other words, very rural, and not wealthy. Even in the country’s early years there was a kind of resentment from those States.

Added to this strain is the more obvious cultural division between the more industrial, mercantile North and the largely agrarian South. Different European heritages also played a part. A further cultural difference was that many in the Southern region looked to Republican Rome for an example of how things should work. This was fine for a largely agrarian nation, not so much for an increasingly urban and commerce-driven one. So there was an innate suspicion of too much central government power from the very start, and for a variety of reasons. Slavery was not the only causus belli.

In fact, the State of New York under Governor Clinton (not the guy from Parliament-Funkadelic, and no relation to the former President) threatened to secede back in 1788 because he felt the ratification of the very Constitution we’re talking about today actually went too far in curtailing his own State’s autonomy. That was all about finalizing borders and maintaining the independence of a country – a State with a capital “S”, which is why I tend to write it that way – which he had been enjoying until then. Like several other key figures, he accepted it once they added the Bill of Rights. Even more important was Clinton’s objection to the new Federal Government imposing a national tariff on foreign commerce, New York’s cash cow. In other words, very much like the kind of objection involving States’ Rights and the Federal Government’s ability to tax commerce we heard about ObamaCare in front of the Supreme Court. More secessionist noise was going on under President Jefferson a few years later for other reasons, which is partly why Clinton was brought in as his Vice President (Somebody ask Paul Mason about a VP pick polarizing the country, right?). Yet Nasaw wants you to focus exclusively on slavery when discussing the concept.

Basically, the Civil War was the culmination of all this stuff, which had been brewing for more than 75 years. The right of secession had long been accepted. The irony of the early instigators of the Revolution’s feelings of being slaves to the British Crown while owning slaves themselves wasn’t lost on them. They knew, but were for reasons best left to people much more intelligent and informed than I, ultimately incapable of sorting it out early on. Lessons hadn’t been learned well enough, the South became too economically dependent on free labor, a lot of people in power didn’t want to suddenly have hundreds of thousands of opposition voters appear on the scene all at once (like in Mississippi, for example, where blacks would have instantly outnumbered whites) and the rest is…well, you know.

But Nasaw doesn’t seem to know any of this. All he sees is a chance to equate slavery enthusiasts with people who oppose a Federal Government wanting to “reform healthcare systems”. The very term “reform” is loaded with positive connotations, a biased perspective on its own, although that’s a discussion for another time, and one we’ve had before anyway. Any opposition, then, to new powers of the Federal Government are similarly tainted. This stifles debate even before it begins. When a couple of the people he meets object, Nasaw sneers. He gives the game away when he asks those playing the Union side if they feel “morally superior” to the Rebels. It’s all black and white to him (no pun intended, although it’s pretty unavoidable).

If one is going to have an honest discussion about the origins of the States’ Rights debate, one has to go way past the Civil War, all the way back to the years before the founding of the country. The concept is entrenched in the US Constitution for a reason: it was vitally important to the founders, who had been debating the topic for years already. It’s about something far beyond a single issue, even one as culturally and morally important as slavery. To simply dismiss the whole thing by tainting it with support for slavery, full stop (subtext: You’re A Racist!), does a disservice to the audience, to the debate itself, and to the nation’s history.

I understand that no humble correspondent can be an expert on every subject, and it’s impossible to do in-depth research for every story. But this is a clear example of a reporter having a preconceived story he wants to tell, one that is exactly in line with the perspective put forth by nearly every other report on the subject, and really screwing with history to get his point across.

 

PS: Amusingly, Justin Rowlatt’s preceding segment about Las Vegas’ economic struggles gives you in a few seconds more information about the looming economic catastrophe in China than pretty much all other BBC reporting in the last few months put together. Unfortunately, though, he’s yet another Beeboid who see that the money has run out but is unable to grasp why that is.

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Mardell Redistributes His Political Ideology

This post from Mark Mardell has to one of his most misguided and biased efforts yet. In an attempt to get his readers thinking that quasi-Socialism is in fact a very American ideal, he plays coy, pretending that he’s only asking a question, as if he’s merely opening debate on the topic and doesn’t have a position. It’s quite obvious that he does, although as we’ll see, his understanding of it is rather bizarre. His ultimate goal, of course, it to prove that Mitt Romney is wrong.

Is redistribution a foreign idea to the US?

Mitt Romney, in the wake of his “47%” comments, told Fox News that government redistribution of wealth is an “entirely foreign concept” to Americans.

He repeated the point today: “I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America.”

I am not sure whether Mr Romney means that such ideas come from abroad or just that redistribution is alien to American values.

But he is on to something.

What Mardell means is that Romney may have hit on something that will appeal to the uglier instincts of the voters.

Despite being factually wrong, he has hit upon a central reason why American politics can seem so very different to what happens in Europe, including in Britain. Specifically, conservatism here is very different from conservatism there.

See, when I said that his goal was to prove that Romney is wrong, it wasn’t just my biased inference. “Factually wrong”, eh? How so?

There is a large section of the American right, indeed of the American people, which does not accept the grand central bargain of post-war politics across the other side of the Atlantic.

And we all know how well that has worked out, don’t we? Or is the sad situation in Greece and Spain, and the general death spiral of the Euro something Mardell hasn’t quite grasped? He’s writing as if Euro-style Democratic Socialism is the correct way to go, and those who don’t accept it are on the wrong side of history. So how is Romney wrong?

The Republican candidate of course protests too much. In a technical sense, any system of taxation involves a redistribution of wealth, from the individual to where the government chooses to spend it.  

Ah, here we go, Mardell is going to demonstrate how Romney is wrong.

Of course, hundreds of years ago it was distributing the wealth of the masses upwards to the kings and lords. But nowadays, even if every citizen paid exactly the same in a minimalist state there would still be redistribution to defence manufacturers, or to the police force, or whatever.

???????

This is a joke, right? Some under-educated teenage prankster has hacked into Mardell’s blog and stuck this in, right? Can he seriously believe that the basic business of government – defending the borders, keeping the peace, or whatever – is the same thing as the kind of wealth redistribution we’re all talking about? I mean, technically, using tax revenue to fund government agencies like the military and the police meets the definition of the word “redistribution”, but that’s got absolutely nothing to do with the concept that’s causing all this debate. Yet Mardell seems to equate anything the government is supposed to do on the most basic level with everything it can do if it wants.

In other words, he’s claiming that Romney said that not funding basic local services is the real American way. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Mardell has actually revealed his misguided beliefs before. In March, he displayed a serious misunderstanding of the entire argument against the individual mandate of ObamaCare, which forces people to purchase health insurance or face a serious tax penalty.

The centrepiece of Obama’s changes to the healthcare system is what’s called “the individual mandate”.

This means that Americans have to buy health insurance, just as in most countries you have to have car insurance if you drive.

The opponents say the government can’t require people to buy services, any more than they can make them buy bananas.

Notice how he doesn’t understand the difference between health insurance and car insurance, or the concept of commerce. The Supreme Court thought otherwise. Even the liberals on the Court understood how Mardell is wrong. As Justice Kennedy would point out in the hearing, when one buys car insurance, one has already engaged in commerce by buying the car. ObamaCare is forcibly creating commerce just so they can regulate it.

Furthermore, car insurance is first and foremost about protecting other people against what the insurance policy-holder might do. All the other coverage is subsequent. Not so with health care. Yes, the Court eventually upheld the individual mandate, but my point isn’t about whether or not it’s constitutional. The point is that Mardell’s analogy is wrong, that he has a poor grasp of the subject, and that his personal belief system shows through in his commentary. In fact, he also showed this same misguided opinion in this piece, where he says that the Individual Mandate is:

weird jargon for an accepted fact of life in most countries, that everyone has to have health insurance, just as in most places everyone has to have car insurance if they want to drive.

His bias on the issue makes him criticize the opinion of people on which he’s reporting. Even if he provides space for the other side of the argument, he’s not supposed to take sides. Yet he does, repeatedly. Like when he declared that the Supreme Court’s approval of ObamaCare was “good for democracy”. He’s a titled BBC “editor”, so that means he’s allowed to write opinion pieces. How or why one is supposed to separate his opinions from his allegedly impartial reporting, I have no idea.

Mardell then writes a couple of paragraphs demonstrating that he actually does know the difference between progressive wealth redistribution and basic government spending. Which makes it all the more ridiculous for him to conflate the two as he does elsewhere. He opens the next section of his piece by again using biased terminology, although very cleverly begins what he thinks is an epic takedown of Romney with this setup:

But he is right that in America has only slowly embraced anything that looks like redistribution of wealth. After all it was that arch-reactionary, Otto von Bismarck, who introduced the world’s first welfare system, including the old-age pension, in Germany in the 1860s.

America didn’t get anything like it until Franklin Roosevelt – FDR – brought in the New Deal, including a pension for the poorest in 1935.

Maybe it is something about presidents with three initials, but the real expansion of redistribution came with LBJ’s Great Society.

“Embraced”. And then he uses von Bismarck as some kind of “Mikey likes it” example of the palatability of wealth redistribution. Gosh, if an “arch-reactionary” can like it, what’s my problem, right? Never mind the vastly different political, social, cultural, and economic heritage of an only recently largely feudal Europe and the clean break, independent-minded heritage of the US.

Richard Nixon built on this, but many conservatives have never accepted the changes.

The one time Leftoids use Nixon as a good example of anything. Yawn.

This is in contrast to Europe, where both main political traditions after World War II seemed to broadly agree that while Soviet Union-style socialism didn’t work, capitalism if left to its own devices produced inequalities which if not softened could prove dangerous.

Dangerous when? How? Shut up, just accept the Gospel.

We know from Mardell’s infamous appearance at the BBC College of Journalism that he believes that Britain is superior to the US because of this difference.

He then holds up “Butskellism” and Mrs. Thatcher as still more proof that Conservatives ♥ wealth redistribution (his line about how she actually didn’t destroy the welfare state after all ought to shock a few BBC producers and favored edgy comedians, no?). Again we see that Mardell is showing his own personal bias on this political issue. Look, he’s saying, proper Conservatives and reactionaries (Tea Partiers take note) have long embraced wealth redistribution. Those who still reject it are wrong-headed.

Mardell then makes a fatal error.

Until a few months ago it was a core part of Mitt Romney’s argument that President Barack Obama was leading the US towards a “European-style entitlement society”.

Until a few months ago? Never mind that Romney’s only been the actual nominee for about three weeks, as he’s been the de facto nominee for a few months now. Mardell is suggesting that Romney hasn’t mentioned it much since, I suppose, Rick Santorum dropped out. Even so, during the Republican challenge for the nomination, the candidates were picking apart each other and not really focusing too much on the President. However…..

Mardell opened this piece with a mention of Romney’s recent interview on Fox News. Apparently he didn’t he notice that Romney said this:

Obama, supporters, ‘more European than American’ in outlook

Oops. Did Mardell miss this part? Not understand it? Ignore it entirely because it didn’t suit his agenda for this article? I mean, what does Mardell think that whole 47%er thing was about? Think it’s only just now popped back up? Think again:

June 27: “He’s taking us down a path towards Europe.”

Sept. 22: ‘European socialist policies not right for US’

In reality, it’s still a core part of his argument. I have no idea why Mardell chose to say that. Quite frankly, it destroys his credibility. Finally, this being a Mark Mardell report for the BBC, he has to get in a dig at the Tea Party movement.

The Tea Party stands for “taxed enough already”, but it was given life by one man’s revulsion at the Obama administration’s financial help for home owners who couldn’t pay their mortgages – a classic redistribution of wealth.

The “one man”, as Mardell’s link shows, is Rick Santelli, the CNBC reporter whose rant from the trading floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange gave the name to a movement which had already quietly started about a month earlier. But, contrary to Mardell’s narrow mischaracterization, Santelli was talking about sub-prime mortgages which should never have been given out to people who – as we now know – could not have afforded them in the first place. It was that whole Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac propping them up which led to the disastrous debt bubble which crashed our economy. Santelli’s point was that this was the government promoting bad behavior by supporting the idea that it was okay to get into massive debt that you could never pay because the Nanny State would take care of it.

Instead, Mardell wants you to think this was about the government merely stepping in to lend a warm helping hand to those temporarily in need, tending to the poorest and most vulnerable. So he demonizes millions of people for their “revulsion” (an emotional term chosen to manipulate you against them) for something he believes he’s already established is right and just and already accepted by proper Conservatives. Because that’s how he sees it.

His personal political ideology informs his reporting from start to finish. It leads him to misinterpret, misrepresent, and misunderstand what’s going on.

Now for an alternative viewpoint about the US and the inherent “revulsion” at “classic redistribution of wealth”. It’s a quote from early United Statesian icon Davy Crockett. Yes, that Davy Crockett. It’s rather long, but well worth your time, and hopefully you’ll get a better understanding of the US perspective than anything the BBC’s US President editor can provide.

SEVERAL YEARS AGO I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: “Don’t be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted.”

He replied: “I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say.”

I began: “Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and…”

“’Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

This was a sockdolager… I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

“Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.”

“I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.”

“No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?”

“Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with.”

“Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?”

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

“Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.”

“It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government.

So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.

No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give.

The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.”

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

“So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.”

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

“Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.”

He laughingly replied:

“Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.”

“If I don’t,” said I, “I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.”

“No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday a week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.”

“Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye… I must know your name.”

“My name is Bunce.”

“Not Horatio Bunce?”

“Yes.”

“Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go.”

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him—no, that is not the word—I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story: The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted—at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

“Fellow citizens—I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.”

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

“And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

“It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.”

He came upon the stand and said:

“Fellow citizens—It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.”

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

“NOW, SIR,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

“There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men—men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased—a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

(Source)

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