ANTHROPOLOGISTS WITHIN: Defining the problem!

MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014

Part 1—Balz on board: With the death of his mentor, the late David Broder, Dan Balz is sometimes considered the dean of the Washington press corps.

In yesterday’s Washington Post,
Balz affirmed the instant narrative his own newspaper created last week. In the process, he raised a question which can only be answered by the anthropologists who emerge, on the rare occasion, from within his own corrupt guild.

What is that question? We’ll post it below. First, let’s review Balz’s weekly column, which was quite significant this week.

As always, Balz’s column, The Sunday Take, appeared atop page 2 of yesterday’s Post. On-line, it appears beneath a puzzling headline—a puzzling headline which advanced a familiar, though unexplained, premise.

“It may be too difficult for Hillary Clinton to reinvent herself.” That’s the headline atop the Balz piece.

In one way, we find that headline puzzling. In another way, its premise is highly familiar.

As Balz began his column, he praised Hillary Clinton for her wide “command of issues” and her “knowledge of global hot spots.” He then suggested that she is trying to reinvent herself.

In what way has Clinton been doing that? Headline included, here's the way Balz began:
BALZ (6/29/14): It may be too difficult for Hillary Clinton to reinvent herself

Hillary Rodham Clinton has a sparkling résumé but she is also captive to that biography. Experience is her greatest asset but she is constrained by her longevity in the public arena. She knows plenty—but perhaps too much to become an aspirational presidential candidate offering unlimited possibilities. She can evoke realism but can she seize the future?

Through countless interviews over the past few weeks, the prospective White House candidate has demonstrated the value of experience.
Her command of issues, her knowledge of global hot spots, her familiarity with world leaders, her understanding of the presidency, her recognition of the challenges of gridlocked politics—all of these set her apart from virtually everyone else who may run in 2016, with the possible exception of Vice President Biden.

Those public appearances also have reinforced just how difficult it is for someone who has been in the political maelstrom for a quarter of a century to reinvent herself
or to suddenly appear (or be viewed) as fresh and forward-looking. There is simply too much history in the minds of most Americans, except the very young, for the presentation of someone other than the familiar Hillary Clinton. Her book tour is a reminder that no candidate, or president, is as good as his or her advance billing.
As he began, Balz heaped praise on Clinton, a favor Marc Antony once bestowed on Brutus and the rest.

Balz praised Clinton’s “command of issues,” her “knowledge of global hot spots.” He spoke of her “familiarity with world leaders,” her “recognition of the challenges of gridlocked politics.”

But how odd! Balz then said that Clinton’s recent interviews show how hard it is for someone like her “to reinvent herself.”

That statement went directly to headline. We have no idea what it means.

In what way has Clinton been trying to reinvent herself? We have no idea, nor can we find the place in his column where Balz tries to explain.

We do know this—the unlovely claim of “reinvention” is part of a long-standing narrative concerning the Clintons and Gore. The idea that Candidate Gore was in a constant state of “reinvention” was one of the staples of the press corps’ scripting of Campaign 2000.

Al Gore is reinventing himself! This claim was advanced with comic-book zeal, as these narratives always are. This theme reemerges, without explanation, in Balz’s peculiar new column. Starting in the headline, the familiar old talking-point was sent to the rest of the guild.

How is Clinton “reinventing herself?” Dan Balz, a honorable man, never quite explains! But as he continues, Balz affirms the new narrative which has emerged from the Clinton book tour—a waspish brew concerning personal wealth, troubling gaffes and the possibility of being “out of touch.”

Does Clinton have command of the issues? Is she amazingly knowledgeable? For the record, that isn’t our view of Hillary Clinton, whom we don’t adore as a pol. That’s what Balz himself said!

Quickly, though, these words of praise led Balz to the passage shown below. In this passage, he pronounces full-throated affirmation of his newspaper’s instant narrative about the deeply troubling Clinton. At the same time, he fails to explain the odd behavior of his own poisonous guild:
BALZ (continuing directly): Clinton has spent the month promoting her new book, “Hard Choices.” What has drawn the most attention, of course, are her stumbles, particularly those involving the wealth she and her husband, Bill Clinton, have amassed since his presidency ended.

Her comments about being “dead broke” upon leaving the White House and not being among the “truly well off” today have triggered an avalanche of coverage raising questions about whether she has lost touch with the lives of ordinary Americans.

The Clintons no doubt still see themselves much the same as when they first met in law school more than four decades ago. Neither came from great wealth, and his origins were far more humble than hers. Both had brains and ambition and the opportunity to act on them, and they did. They rose to the pinnacle of the public sphere, and in the past decade, they have also gotten rich.

Their public accomplishments were not handed to them. By “dint of hard work,” as she puts it, they have become one of the most powerful and famous couples in the world—a past president and possible future president. The Clintons’ lives today could hardly be more different from the lives of most Americans.
Just like that, there it was! In that passage, you see the dean of D.C. “reporters” affirming the narrative which sprang full-blown from his own paper last week.

Below, you see the essence of Balz’s remarks. This is the lens through which your “press corps” has now agreed to filter reporting and punditry about a presidential campaign which is almost three years away:
Hillary Clinton is very rich. She has also committed two stumbles.

Her life “could hardly more different from the lives of most Americans.” She may be out of touch!
Just for the record, we once met Balz, up in New Hampshire, during the 2000 primary. We were introduced by Mary Matalin, at a press corps watering hole.

Just for the record, Balz’s life “could hardly be more different from the lives of most Americans.” But that’s neither here nor there!

Balz is certainly right on one point. Without any question, the pair of “stumbles” he cites have produced an “avalanche of coverage” in recent weeks. Within his own guild, a string of very wealthy people have been wringing their very wealthy hands, displaying their enormous concern about the meaning of these troubling events.

In the words of CNN’s Sunny Hostin, these inveterate hustlers are concerned that Hillary Clinton may no longer be “Jenny from the block.”

They’ve talked and talked about the “stumbles,” and about Clinton’s wealth. As you know if you own a TV, they’ve talked about nothing else.

Here’s what Balz forgot to explain in his important column. Why did a couple of “stumbles” produce an “avalanche?”

Why are “journalists” discussing those stumbles rather than the many issues Clinton so deftly commands? Why is this guild so obsessed with these stumbles? Why have they obsessively focused on a pair of alleged gaffes?

Columnist Balz blew right past that point. This conduct is required of leaders within this guild.

On the print side, Balz’s own Washington Post has been the leader in creating the avalanche of concern he deftly summarizes. In the past week, the young “reporter” Philip Rucker published two 1800-word, front-page reports about the Clintons’ troubling wealth.

On Saturday, the youngster produced a third, shorter report about the “grotesque” and “obscene” amounts of money Clinton commands.

Yesterday, Balz affirmed all aspects of this narrative in his weekly column. As he did, Ruth Marcus produced a screeching op-ed column in which she eventually went all-italicized caps, defiantly telling Hillary Clinton THAT SHE SIMPLY HAS TO STOP EARNING SO MUCH MONEY.

Who died and made Ruth Marcus the Inka? What makes this stunningly privileged person imagine herself the sun god?

No one—and we do mean no one—is going to ask that question! Within the closed circle of the American “discourse,” such conduct goes unchallenged.

These people have done this sort of thing many times in the past. Most consequentially, they did this for twenty months during Campaign 2000, starting in March 1999, when they unveiled the prevailing narrative for coverage of that campaign.

Rather plainly, their conduct sent George Bush to the White House. Now, they’re at it again.

Let’s not miss an important point. Career liberals have always sat by, saying nothing, as these “journalistic” scams have unfolded.

E. J. Dionne isn’t going to help you with this! The silence of these liberal lambs has always been an essential part of this highly destructive and inane tribal practice.

It would almost take an anthropologist to explain the behavior of this strange tribe! Tomorrow, we’ll start with the late Michael Hastings, the first of three “anthropologists within” whose work we’ll consult this week.

Tomorrow: Walking like an anthropologist, Hastings profiles the guild

The headline in our hard-copy Post: In our hard-copy Sunday Post, Balz’s column ran beneath this headline:

“The non-reinvention of Hillary Clinton”

You’re right! The editor who composed that headline is barely literate. That said, literacy isn’t required within this tribe. Deference to narrative is.

51 comments:

  1. Here's a couple of clues for you, Bob.

    1. E.J. Dionne is not and never has been a "liberal."

    2. It is not the responsibility of E.J. Dionne or any pundit to clean up the messes any politician make, even your favorite politicians, and especially solely because you want to label them "liberal."

    Gracious, Somerby. You have wasted so much bandwidth over so many years telling your rubes that MSNBC is "just like" Fox.

    And now you want to blame "liberal" pundits for not acting like Fox and rushing to the defense of politicians of their tribe.



    ReplyDelete
  2. I have many issues with Bob, but he's right on the money here. This is the media having one giant conversation with itself. But I doubt anyone else is listening or cares,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, for years, Bob has had a conversation, largely with himself. about the millions that media figures he loathes stuff into their pants.

      When his preferred presidential candidate does it, suddenly such questions are out of bounds.

      Delete
    2. anon 1:50 - you don't seem to be particularly bright. The criticism of the journalists is that they are being paid large amounts of money for doing a crappy job. (That's not the sole thing he faults them for, although according to you that's the whole conversation he is having with himself). On the other hand, the media in lock step, based on a stray answer Hilary gave (dead broke when left the White House) are resorting to their favorite memes - she's out of touch with the common folks, she made a big gaffe, the actual issues or what difference it would make if one candidate or the other is elected is basically irrelevant. In my view it's legit to bring up the fees she gets for speeches (tho apparently donates a lot, maybe most, to charity), but TDH is legitimately pointing out, what few other sources do, what the media is doing here.

      Delete
    3. The larger issue here, and the one TDH will ignore in his worship of Hillary, is how easy it is for corporate cash to flow into the bank accounts of politicians.

      Remember, by her own words, Hillary and Bill went from "not only dead broke, but in debt," to amassing a rather sizable fortune in just a few short years -- while she was serving in the Senate and as Secretary of State.

      I believe it was the vile, evil Rucker who published the list of all Hillary speaking gigs -- paid and unpaid -- since she left State. Quite an impressive and long list, and the corporations to whom she spoke for hefty fees should raise the eyebrows of liberals.

      But not around here, of course. This is all Diane Sawyer's fault, and should never have been brought up.

      Delete
  3. " It is not the responsibility of E.J. Dionne or any pundit to clean up the messes any politician make, even your favorite politicians,"

    I think the point is- where's the mess. Invented by the pundits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely right. A preferred candidate is NEVER to be held accountable for her own words.

      Blame the media.

      Delete
    2. If you don't like the answer blame the person who asked the question.

      Delete
  4. The Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous. Government should be allowed to force people who want to open a business to relinquish their religious rights and pay for other people's abortions. It's not as if the government does not have the right to prohibit the free exercise of religion when, as Ginsburg said, it challenges "government's interest in uniform compliance in the workplace."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're absolutely correct. Now I can open a business and discriminate against black people in hiring and service. 'Cause I have a deeply held religious conviction that black people are inferior.

      Abortion. Contraception. Whatever.

      Delete
    2. The Hobby Lobby decision was NOT based on the Constitution. It merely said that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applied, to prevent a particular administrative action. Congress retains the right to pass a law requiring that all businesses provide free birth control.

      P.S. to deadrat -- you do have a Constitutional right to have your business discriminate based on race. You don't even need a religious conviction to discriminate Otherwise, all the private entities that practice "affirmative action" (i.e., preferences) would be violating the constitution..

      Delete
    3. An aptitude for making distinctions is necessary for logical argument. Your lack of aptitude for it is embarrassing, deadbeat.

      Delete
    4. The right has no hostility toward freedoms in the Fourth Amendment hence the unanimous privacy decision. The left has a deep and irrational Stalinesque hostility for religious freedom in the First and hence the divided opinion. As soon as the left decides searching your cell phone helps weed out its ideological enemies even if it hurts criminals it will develop an equally strong hostility toward search and seizure.

      Delete
    5. I didn't notice deadrat say anything about the constitution. Yes, Hobby Lobby is based on a statute, but so is the requirement against discrimination in hiring and employment - - the Civil Rights Act. And it looks like affirmative action, like votinh rights is an anachronism now that the way to end discrimination is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. If you think about it those old anti-miscenigation laws were race-neutral in that they applied to black as well as white. Segregation laws, too.

      Delete
    6. The SCOTUS did the right thing in upholding religious freedom under the law the ACLU and American Family Assn supported and Bill Clinton signed, securing the First amendment free exercise rights upon which this country was founded. The left has a deep contempt for freedom of religion and also freedom from religion when the religion in question is so called "progressive" purity. Liberalism is dead on the left. Scalia, Alito, Roberts et al are the most liberal members of the court.

      Delete
    7. According to noted appellate lawyer Mark Arnold, Hobby Lobby didn't win much of anything:
      A meaningless decision. The less restrictive alternative that the majority settled on is a certification by Hobby Lobby that it opposes contraceptive coverage, after which the insurance company must provide that coverage for free. Meaning that the premium charged to Hobby Lobby will necessarily include the cost of the free contraception. All smoke and mirrors.
      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/06/conservative-supreme-court-majority-prevails-in-two-key-cases.php

      Delete
    8. Let's see. So much derp; so little time.

      David in Cal (of course). Who mentioned the Constitution? Besides you, I mean. You have a statutory bar to discriminate on the basis of race in service if you're a public accommodation, in hiring, and in renting housing or selling houses.

      Anonymous @2:36P. Your aptitude for criticism apparently exceeds your aptitude for making a logical argument. Any argument, actually. And "deadbeat"! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Too funny. I see what you did there. You took the last part of my nym and substituted a different word, making me out to be someone who ... doesn't pay his debts? Or something. Still, absolutely the height of wit.

      Anonymous @6:56P, The left and anybody with any sense has a deep contempt for the religious zealots who try to imposed their benighted beliefs and other forms of ignorance on the rest of us. And "'progressive' purity"? Get help.

      Delete
    9. Deadrat wants to impose his benighted belief in killing human beings onto the rest of us including employers whose consciences will not permit them to fund these killings. Government has no business forcing me to pay for your decision to kill the human beings you produce. Deadrat and the rest of the morally and intellectually bankrupt leftist zealots are to far gone to understand that to force an employer to do so in violation of his religion and conscience is the only egregious imposition attempted here. Deadrat is just another flaky anti-theist contemptuous of the First Amendment.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous @1:38A,

      I do not have any kind of "belief in killing human beings." I don't believe that you and your ilk should be able to impose your fetusolatry onto the rest of us. Our system protects your freedom to believe that your god implanted a soul into a fertilized egg, but my belief that yours is absurd does not mean that I've killed any human beings or produced any, for that matter.

      Let's not even consider the depth of ignorance that considers contraception to be abortion.

      The government forces us to fund killings all the time. I didn't notice your protesting that your tax money funded the death of almost five thousand of your fellow citizens in Iraq, not to mention the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis. So spare me the holier-than-thou.

      The First Amendment should prohibit the gov from catering to your religious beliefs in implementing social policy. Believe what you wish; worship as you may. But your superstitions should not dictate how the rest of us get health insurance.

      Delete
    11. Deadrat @7:56 no one is forcing Hobby Lobby employees to not use birth control or have an abortion. You are so brainwashed and submissive to your government you not only assume Hobby Lobby's owners have to provide their health insurance but that they also have to facilitate their abortions. Incidentally, Hobby Lobby starts their employees at twice the rate of minimum wage unlike most "blue" corporations.

      Your last paragraph reflects this mode of thinking. In fact the government is not permitted under the First Amendment to implement a social policy that forces me to pay for abortions if it violates my religious beliefs provided they are demonstrated "sincerely held." There is no ignorance in Hobby Lobby's identification of the contraception in question as abortifacients. You might disagree but the belief that a destroyed embryo is an abortion is in no way "ignorant." It's likely you threw out that insult but know nothing about the contraceptions in question and have simply imposed your own arbitrary doctrine on the subject, "I don't know what abortion is but I assert with confidence that Hobby Lobby's definition is wrong."

      If the First Amendment only protects my right to "believe" that a human being at the fetus stage is an important entity with a soul or otherwise with the standing of any other human beings, and then forces me to fund the destruction of human beings at this stage of development where exactly is my free exercise of religion? Ethicists have argued killing a human being at 6 months old is no different than killing a 5 month old fetus. Should the government extend abortion to 6 months post gestation, your logic would also support my being forced to pay the executioner and the parent who took out the hit for their trouble.

      Your perception of who is catering, who should cater, who should be forced to accept on this question in accordance with the constitution and under any analysis of ethical behavior including government behavior would shock any liberal, not to be confused with any progressive or democrat. There is nothing liberal about forcing a person to pay for someone else's abortion. At least you aren't pretending it is a "woman's rights" issue yet.

      As for other forms of killing, you don't know what I think about Iraq but suspect you realize my position on those questions has nothing to do with this argument. I could be performing an abortion as I type and even that would have nothing to do with the merits of the argument here.

      Delete
    12. Anonymous @11:17A.

      One of my objections to religiosity in general and fetsuolatry in particular is that seems to disable the rational centers of the brain. Try to concentrate. I know it's difficult.

      no one is forcing Hobby Lobby employees to not use birth control or have an abortion.
      This is not about what HL employees are allowed or prohibited from doing. This is about a corporation that is not a church following the law.

      You are so brainwashed and submissive to your government you ... assume Hobby Lobby's owners have to provide their health insurance
      Someone so unable to put together a rational argument should not be commenting on how "brainwashed" I am. You may think that only someone with weak mental faculties believes that the government should mandate that corporations provide health insurance to their employees, and you're welcome to that and other of your benighted opinions. But I don't assume that HL has to provide health insurance. That's what the law says, for good or ill, no pun intended.

      Thanks for the medical lesson, but I'll go with what doctors say about the action of contraceptives.

      where exactly is my free exercise of religion?
      Where it's always been. In the place that doesn't allow you to opt out of obeying the law.

      Should the government extend abortion to 6 months post gestation, your logic would also support my being forced to pay the executioner
      Abortion "extended" past birth? OK, let's go with the metaphorical, although that's always dangerous with a fetusolator. The government forces everybody to pay executioners and always has. Very likely some of those were as innocent as your hypothetical 15 month old fetus. Especially in Texas. Should the gov be doing that? Not really the question here.

      There is nothing liberal about forcing a person to pay for someone else's abortion.
      In fact, there's some conservative (not to be confused with Republicans) about demanding a bright line between the free practice of religion and the freedom of the religious to meddle in the country's laws.

      nothing to do with the merits of the argument here.
      Nothing? Not even with your special pleading for your particular religious fetish? OK, how about just with your hypocrisy then? That work for ya?

      Delete
    13. One of my objections to religiosity in general and fetsuolatry in particular is that seems to disable the rational centers of the brain. Try to concentrate. I know it's difficult.

      Religiosity does not disable the rational centers of the brain. I’m not sure you even buy that ignorance but at any rate not worth elaborating on. Spare me articles with specious conclusions (what progressives usually buy as "scientific proof") that the claim is an informed one.

      This is not about what HL employees are allowed or prohibited from doing. This is about a corporation that is not a church following the law.

      The law as of yesterday is that HL as a closely held corp need not provide the contraceptions to which its principles object to on religious grounds.

      You may think that only someone with weak mental faculties believes that the government should mandate that corporations provide health insurance to their employees, and you're welcome to that and other of your benighted opinions. But I don't assume that HL has to provide health insurance. That's what the law says, for good or ill, no pun intended.

      I don’t think only those with weak mental faculties believe government should mandate health insurance provision. You appeared to take that premise for granted, on top of it accepting that owners must be forced to act against their religious beliefs despite the First Amendment explicitly saying otherwise. Your indicate you can’t conceive it could be any other way. I doubt even Ginsburg is that much of a prisoner to her blinding ideology.


      Thanks for the medical lesson, but I'll go with what doctors say about the action of contraceptives.

      Many doctors agree with the owners of HL on that question so unsure of your point here.



      where exactly is my free exercise of religion?
Where it's always been. In the place that doesn't allow you to opt out of obeying the law.

      The law is now that HL and others may opt out of providing contraception.

      Abortion "extended" past birth? OK, let's go with the metaphorical, although that's always dangerous with a fetusolator. The government forces everybody to pay executioners and always has. Very likely some of those were as innocent as your hypothetical 15 month old fetus. Especially in Texas. Should the gov be doing that? Not really the question here.

      The government shouldn’t be executing or requiring anyone to pay the executioner but you’re right, not the question here. The question was why you believe the a sincerely and reasonably held religious belief, namely that one should not be forced to take part in the killing of a human being be it a fetus or 6 months old, should be overridden by a government policy especially in a country that requires compliance of government with the rights in the First Amendment, not the other way around.

      In fact, there's some conservative (not to be confused with Republicans) about demanding a bright line between the free practice of religion and the freedom of the religious to meddle in the country's laws.

      Most support a bright line that cuts both ways, represented in the First Amendment. The bright line was egregiously violated by the Obama administration’s attempt to prohibit the free exercise of religion on the part of HL owners and other employers. If you remember, he attempted to do the same with religious organizations at first but someone eventually clued him that even some leftists on the court might have trouble swallowing that level of ignorance about and indifference to fundamental freedoms.

      Nothing? Not even with your special pleading for your particular religious fetish? OK, how about just with your hypocrisy then? That work for ya?

      All beliefs one doesn’t agree with can simply be labeled fetishes. Insults and meaningless shorthand are not argument but they seem to be your preferred if not exclusive approach.

      Delete
    14. The contingent of antitheists on the left that would like nothing better than to be rid of the free exercise clause should admit it and get on with its latest effort to establish a Marxist utopia.

      Delete
    15. Anonymous July 1, 2014 at 6:56 PM:

      Attaboy Lionel, let er rip!!

      Delete
    16. Religiosity is defined by disabling the rational centers of the brain. And how do we know this? Well, it ain't a mystery. I'm not denying that your faith might be a great help in your life or that it might make you a better person or even that it might be in some sense cosmically true. I see no evidence for this truth cumulative in the general population, but reason and faith are opposites.

      Considering the health care mandate, was that sound the movement of goal posts being dragged? I was responding to how "brainwashed" I was to believe that HL has to provide health insurance to its employees. HL does, regardless of the cleanliness of my brain. Apparently now the brainwashing applies only if I take for granted that the government should mandate that employers provide health insurance. Any time now, you can stop telling me what I take for granted.

      Actual religious organizations -- churches, seminaries, nonprofit religious schools, etc. -- have always been exempt from the rules, so no, I don't "remember" Obama prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

      "Many doctors" agree with HL? Really? How about condoms? Do they cause abortions? How about birth control pills that stop a woman's menstrual cycle so that she's never fertile? Do they cause abortions? Of course not, but they violate Catholic dogma. And yep, congratulations, that dogma is now enshrined in US law.

      Oh, so you're against the death penalty? Well, that's good. No, no, not good. What's that other word? Oh, yeah, Hypocritical. Please accept my apologies if you have you been deducting the costs of executions from your taxes.

      And all beliefs cannot be labeled fetishes. Fetusolatry, on the other hand, can. If you can't follow my argument, feel free to go back and read the first sentence in this comment. Of sniff about how meaningless it is. Your choice to go for the ironical.

      Delete
    17. "Reason and faith are opposites." No one who has made it past their sophomore year (of high school) is unable to identify the ignorance contained in that statement.

      Delete
    18. An assist for you. Faith and belief in the already proved are opposites. Faith and reason are not opposites.

      Delete
    19. Religious dogma on contraception is not enshrined in US law. It and abortion are legal. Not forcing a religious person to act against his conscience on those questions is enshrined in US law. Always has been except when government has overreached and violated the constitution necessitating corrections like the RFRA and yesterday's ruling.

      Delete
    20. Religious dogma is enshrined in US law, when for-profit, non-religious corporations are exempt from US law on the grounds of their owners' religious dogma. Prior to this ruling, religious persons acting in a non-religious capacity were required to obey the law and pay for things they found repugnant.

      Delete
    21. For the deep philosophers in the commentariat, faith requires the willful suspension of rational inquiry. If you need evidence for your beliefs, it isn't faith. I'm not saying this is necessarily something that leads to bad things, the history of religion in general and the history of fetusolatry in particular notwithstanding.

      Delete
    22. Not exactly @1:52. Faith requires a view that rational inquiry is essential in discovering and recognizing what has been revealed, it is also a matter of faith that what has been revealed through reason is all that exists. Faith asserts that there is something in addition to what has been or can be revealed to the human senses and through reason. It doesn't take abandonment of reason to recognize that human beings know little of anything, in particular why we're here (as opposed to how we developed physically). Religious people and atheists believe they know, but generally only one of those groups is intelligent enough to understand that faith is a significant part of the foundation of their "knowledge."

      Delete
    23. @1:49 in that respect what you call religious dogma and what I call freedom of religion was already enshrined in US law when churches and not profits were exempted from all kinds of general laws. You and I disagree on which exemptions tip the scales from a burden to religious practice and an undue burden to some wider compelling interest. I don't believe provision of free contraception is a compelling enough interest to force an owner to violate his beliefs. Vaccines would be different. You believe both are compelling enough. The law on which the decision was based required a high bar before a burden on religious beliefs could be imposed by the government. Alito's argument was strong and Ginsburg's and much of the hysterical reaction relied on slippery slopes such as absurd what-if's involving vaccines, which was addressed in the opinion. I don't have any problem with your opinion, only your certainty that HL's owners' beliefs are not a legitimate part of the case simply because you don't share them, and that your idea of a sound decision was the only reasonable one. It's my opinion that an atheist or liberal who dedicated serious consideration to the question and is not already hostile to the free exercise clause or addled by the "war on women" paranoia would reach the same conclusion as the court and not even consider it a close call.

      Delete
    24. It's not that I don't share HL's owners' benighted beliefs. Their beliefs are irrelevant, and I would object to their incorporation into secular policy were they to mirror my own. Yes, we exempt churches and religious organizations because these are integral to the freedom of worship. Companies that sell crap to scrapbookers, not so much.

      Vaccines would be different, would they? Why is that? Because you like vaccines but hate contraception? Spare me your special pleadings.

      But please, keep on proclaiming that there isn't a concerted effort to deny women their reproductive rights. And be as condescending as you can. The scare quotes are a good start. I understand that women love that kind of thing.

      Delete
    25. Anonymous @11:35A,

      I'm sorry, but faith has rarely viewed rational inquiry as "essential in discovering and recognizing what has been revealed." "What has been revealed" being the particular dogma assumed by the faith in question. Whenever faith has attained sufficient secular power, it has sought to extirpate rational inquiry.

      It certainly doesn't take abandonment of reason to recognize that human beings know little. But that's exactly what it takes to fill that lack with the unevidenced.

      Atheists do not claim to know the ultimate answers. They simply believe in one less god than you do.

      As for the scare quotes around the word "knowledge," I think that's called an own goal. Thanks for making my point for me.

      Delete
  5. OMB (The Post of Regenisis)

    During his service in the blogosphere OTB took the initiative in creating who invented reinvention.

    "We do know this—the unlovely claim of “reinvention” is part of a long-standing narrative concerning the Clintons and Gore. The idea that Candidate Gore was in a constant state of “reinvention” was one of the staples of the press corps’ scripting of Campaign 2000.

    Al Gore is reinventing himself! This claim was advanced with comic-book zeal, as these narratives always are."

    BOB, Today

    Perhaps this unlovely phrase came to be used to describe Clinton and Gore politically because it was part of their political claims about how they would be, and later were, governing.

    Reinventing Government.

    It was a staple phrase of the 92 campaign beginning with Clinton's announcement for President.

    "Today, as we stand on the threshold of a new era, a new millennium, I believe we need a new kind of leadership, leadership committed to change. Leadership not mired in the politics of the past, not limited by old ideologies...Proven leadership that knows how to reinvent government help solve the real problem of real people."

    Bill Clinton October 3, 1991

    Reinventing Govenment was the major dometic initiative of the Clinton-Gore Administration announced in 1993, with the Vice President in Charge. It remained a constant agenda item and phrase during both terms.

    Has the phrase been overused by a lazy press corps? Energetic totally original bloggers want to know. Can we talk? I may have a Bridge to the Twenty First Century for you. That said, we don't know. Your results may differ.

    KZ

    http://www.4president.org/speeches/1992/billclinton1992announcement.htm

    http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/assets/storage/Research%20-%20Digital%20Library/ClintonAdminHistoryProject/61-70/Box%2061/1509117-ovp-npr-history.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment is comprehensive and sweeping. And we hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. We feel that it will be.

      But it will emerge from dialogue with blog commenters. You took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to commentary.

      KZ

      Delete
    2. Like I said . . . .

      Delete
    3. KZ, what a big score! TDH criticizes (what seems to me to be) an idiotic column about Hillary "reinventing" herself, and you bring up that Clinton said he would "reinvent" government when he ran in 1992. Once again you have come through, in your relentless mission to point out real or imagined flaws in TDH's reasoning.

      Maybe some day you'll explain the purpose behind this mission of yours. Aren't there more worthy targets?

      Delete
    4. I wonder how many of Bob's readers are old enough to remember the "New Nixon"?

      If not, grab a copy of Joe McGinniss' "The Selling of the President" and learn how Nixon reinvented himself.

      Delete
  6. That Hillary Clinton has found herself on the defensive about their financial success is no doubt maddening to her. It was dismaying to some of those in the broader Clinton orbit, who have watched her current performances from afar, that she didn’t have a more graceful and effective way to deal with this from the start.

    It’s doubtful that the public holds the Clintons’ wealth against them, so why was she so defensive when the topic was raised? Was the way she handled these questions simply because she was rusty or did it reflect a lack of self-awareness by someone now relatively cocooned by security and a schedule that makes genuine interaction with ordinary people difficult?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And so the idea that Hillary just might (could be) possibly be relatively cocooned by security and a schedule that makes "genuine" interaction with ordinary people difficult troubles you? Personally, I don't see much value in worrying about these issues. I am much more concerned about a presidential candidate's views on torture or domestic spying, which apparently don't concern the media, who are much more focused on how much money a candidate can earn through speeches.

      Delete
  7. By Neal Gabler
    June 29, 2008
    Oh, those crazy journalists. You know the ones I'm talking about. The one who described John Kerry as "French-looking" and made up some silly locution to show how out of touch he was -- "Who among us doesn't like NASCAR?" -- even though he never said it. Or the one who taunted Al Gore for claiming that he and his wife, Tipper, were the models for "Love Story" when Gore said no such thing. Or the one who described Bill Clinton as an "overweight band boy" and Hillary Rodham Clinton as "inauthentic." Or the one who tabbed Barack Obama "Obambi" and said that when visiting him at his office, she felt like Ingrid Bergman in "The Bells of St. Mary's," having to teach a bullied schoolboy how to box. Or the one who kept pressing Obama at a debate to fess up to his relationship with a 1960s terrorist.

    Of course, what do you expect from right-wing nuts who will do and say anything to demonize Democrats? Except for one thing. All these examples -- and there are hundreds more -- were uttered not by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, David Brooks or any of the other Republican mouthpieces in our newspapers and on our airwaves. They were all said or written by liberal journalists, and even in a few cases by onetime Democratic operatives turned journalists, such as Chris Matthews and George Stephanopoulos. Indeed, the worst offender by far, the "Ingrid Bergman" in the example above, has been the New York Times' liberal columnist Maureen Dowd, who has never met a Democrat she hasn't disparaged.
    In 2000, Bush got much better press than Gore -- from the left. For instance, the idea that you should want to have a beer with a candidate -- a test that Gore supposedly failed -- was spread largely by the liberal media, especially Matthews but also by Joe Klein, who wrote a book about Democratic elitism.

    Bob's right, and KZ is a troll, and Knows Zilch.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm wondering if it isn't pure laziness. "Should I read H.C.'s book or should I write (yet) another riff on her gaffe/wealth problem, and then go to that cocktail party?" They seem to take the easy way out,as do the shows on the cable channels. Balz at least uses a little creativity. While he does mention H.C.'s gaffe/wealth problem, he points out that her real problem is that her greatest assets, i.e. legislative and foreign policy experience, are her greatest liabilities, so therefore she needs to, or won't be able to, reinvent herself. Maybe thr "reinvent" part was a riff on columns written during the Gore campaign, but so what? Shakespeare riffed onthe work of previous authors. I f the Bard can do it we all can. And talking about creativity, that.s what I like about the Marcus colum: "Stop. Speaking. For. Pay." Imagine that! Each word in the sentence is a sentence unto itself! I've never seen that before.

    ReplyDelete
  9. As he clearly states, Clinton isn't Somerby's preferred candidate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, please. He still hasn't forgiven Obama for winning the 2008 Democratic nomination.

      Delete
  10. Wonderful truthiness, anon 9:50 am

    ReplyDelete



  11. my name is Clark diana and am from USA, I want to use this opportunity to thank my great Doctor great who really made my life a pleasurable one today. This great man Dr great brought my husband back to me, i had two lovely kids for my husband, about four years ago i and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me for one lady. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. I tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case and that i should not worry about it at all, so i asked her what was the solution to my problems and she gave me this great man’s email address. greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com I was doubting if this man was the solution, so i contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i deed them all, he told me to wait for just 48 hours and that my husband will come crawling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully did what this great man asked me to do and for sure after 48 hours i heard a knock on the door, in a great surprise i saw him on his kneels and i was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart flew away, since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are happy, that’s why i want to say a big thank you to Dr GREAT LOVE SPELL. This great man made me to understand that there is no problem on earth that has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to this great man. You can email him at:greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com


    ReplyDelete