January 25, 2017 at 10:41 PM by Dr. Drang
America has a poor collective memory and it’s getting worse. It took about 50 years for us to forget the lessons of the Great Depression and decide that deregulating financial institutions was a good idea. That led to the savings and loan crisis of the 80s and—because we didn’t learn from that—the huge meltdown of 2007–8. The lessons of Vietnam took only 30 years to forget, leading to Iraq. The irony there was that Colin Powell, of the Vietnam-inspired Powell Doctrine, was one of the people ushering us into exactly what he had warned against.
Now we’ve gone and elected a manifestly unqualified dope as president, just as we did 16 years ago, and we are for some reason acting surprised at the terrible and stupid things he’s doing. But they all have parallels with the actions of the last Republican administration.
“Alternative facts”? Remember Ron Suskind’s article that introduced us to “reality-based community” as a pejorative?
The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
A press secretary who leads off by lying to the press? What about Ari Fleischer and the made-up story about the Clintonites trashing the White House as they vacated it.
But Post columnist Grove, whose item launched the entire saga, firmly lays the blame with the Bush press secretary. “The person who really needs to explain what he was doing was Ari, why he let the story percolate, and why he juiced it with his coy responses,” Grove said. “I think it’s a fair point to ask to what extent Mr. Fleischer’s credibility has been damaged by this.”
Sycophantic pretend news organizations getting preferential treatment? Return with us now to the glory days of “Jeff Gannon.”
Pretty much every day, Gannon got cleared into the White House briefing room by a press office that knew his real name. Press Secretary Scott McClellan frequently called on him during the mid-day briefings, using his fake name. McClellan was consistently rewarded with questions that—in stark contrast from most of what passes for questions in that room—were more expressions of conservative dogma than actual attempts to elicit information.
EPA reports getting vetted by political appointees? Where have I heard that before?
Interviews with current and former EPA staff, as well as an internal EPA memo reviewed for this report, revealed that the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget demanded major amendments including:
- The deletion of a temperature record covering 1,000 years in order to, according to the EPA memo, emphasize “a recent, limited analysis [that] supports the administration’s favored message.”
- The removal of any reference to the NAS review—requested by the White House itself—that confirmed human activity is contributing to climate change.
- The insertion of a reference to a discredited study of temperature records funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute.
- The elimination of the summary statement—noncontroversial within the science community that studies climate change—that “climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment.”
We haven’t seen a plan for privatizing Social Security yet, but that’s only because destroying the ACA is a higher priority.