Supplemental: The Houses of Journalist County, delayed!

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

Award-winning series to be resumed next week:
We thought our main post last Friday was one of the worst we’ve ever done.

There was a bit of a reason for that. But in order to tell you what it was, we’d have to post the admittedly funny material we decided to skip!

In our award-winning series, The Houses of Journalist County, we’ve been asking a basic question, a question we’ve been asking since 1999:

Can you run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire press corps? In the current lingo, will real journalism ever emerge from The Houses of Journalist County, magnificent as they are?

In 1986, Jacob Weisberg, still just a senior at Yale, issued a prescient warning about the way the nation’s top scribes had begun chasing mammon.

His analysis was extremely sagacious. Eighteen years later, he was writing astonishing posts about Wes Clark’s eyelashes and sweaters.

Weisberg has largely gone to the business side. As far as we know, he's still chairman and editor in chief of The Slate Group.

The Slate Group? It’s “a unit of the Graham Holdings Co. devoted to developing Web-based publications” for no apparent reason.

There’s nothing “wrong” with that! But when you look at that piece from 1986, or even when you look at Slate, we’d call it another loss for a nation which basically has no journalism at all.

Our post last Friday was no darn good. It didn’t advance our argument. Next week, we plan to resume our award-winning series, looking at The Houses of Nantucket, Mass.

We’ve told that story before. We regard it as (almost surely) deeply important, and as extremely funny.

That said, everyone has agreed that the story shouldn’t be discussed. From our perspective, we’re now on our second war in Iraq as a result of that story.

It’s just that it would be bad for business to discuss how we got here! Everybody talks about Murdoch, no one discusses Jack Welch!

Can you run a middle-class democracy with a millionaire press corps? We think the answer is abundantly clear.

Also abundantly clear:

People inside our failing press corps will never discuss their guild’s behavior. How ironic! The greatest code of silence we have is the one our “journalists” run!

Quite possibly coming later this week: The Houses of CNN County!

59 comments:

  1. OMB (The Comments of BOB County Resumed)

    We thought the comment box for BOB's poor post last Friday was one of the worst we ever skipped. BOB only mentioned Al Gore once and only one or two movie stars, so we weren't reminded of Love Story.

    Over the weekend we were. And were are reminded of our work over the weekend when BOB once again mentions the code of silence in this post which is part of a series based, in large measure, on three members of the guild breaking the code of silence that is, after all, "the greatest code of silence we have."

    Since this post is filler, we decided to join right in. We decided to join in breaking our own code of silence by reposting what began as a response to everyone's favorite commenter, deadrat. He had chastised us for bringing up, in a post in which BOB mentioned two Al Gore "lies," the third "lie," the one that "started it all."

    "ALAS, deadrat!

    Like Mayor Sokolich, Author Segal Seems to Change His Story!

    We get this from a very reliable source. When he credited Al Gore for being 25% right for allegedly telling a New York Times reporter he based Oliver Barrett IV on Albert Gore, Jr., Erich Segal seemed to contradict earlier statements made "for the record" about who the mystery man was behind the endearing fictional rebel against daddyism.

    Just a year before he did a "CMA" favor for then VP Gore, Segal tabbed someone else as his inspiration:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2013/10/10/al-gore-vs-terry-lenzner-who-was-the-real-oliver-of-love-story/

    It would appear Segal wrote a letter to legendary DC private eye Terry Lenzner telling him he was Ollie!

    To us, it sounds like the author is changing his story. That said, BOB seems to understand the process by which story grows.

    BOB ends this morning’s post with reference to Watergate, in which Lenzner play a crucial role. He throws in a couple of "lies" told about Gore. But he never suggests, in any way, that the lie that started it all, Gore's claim to be the model for Love Story, was, possible, really a lie after all.

    Gack! Did BOB ever cover this revealing but unwelcome story when it broke in 2013? We find no mention in TDH article of Terry Lezner's name at all! Why has this story disappeared when it was covered in the Style section of the Washington Post, which BOB reads to denounce religiously?

    As a courtesy, we’ll assume BOB noticed! But this sort of scam is quite routine when we watch story grow. We only bring it up now because the story Al was 25% right continues to stalk Howler posts to this day.

    (With a stylistic nod to the work of R. Somerby from his post of 1/13/2014)"

    We would be remiss is we did not note deadrat replied. Our favotire line from that response was this:

    "So, in fact, it's perfectly reasonable for Gore to mention something that he might reasonably have heard."

    Next time we get the urge to repeat this comment, stop us if you can reasonably argue you might have heard it before.



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    Replies
    1. Shorter: We're getting the journalism we deserve for attending to the comments of DorKz like you.

      Delete
    2. ZK no doubt it's due to the Maddow Madness you're suffering from and which will fully manifest itself in the coming hours during which several of your personalities, who I take it are complete strangers to each other, will be chatting back and forth between themselves in this thread, but I fail to see what your point is.

      The Daily Howler 05/25/2000

      QUOTE>>>>>Had Segal used the Gores as models? Partly yes and partly no, but Gore hadn't made the claim to begin with. Segal told Henneberger that Gore had been one of two models for the Oliver Barrett part (Jones had been the other model), but Tipper had not figured in the characterization of Barrett's girl friend, Jenny Cavilleri. Had the story ended there—with Gore half right and Gore half wrong—it would be incredible to think that this pointless event could have gotten ten seconds attention. But in fact, Tumulty and Berke told Henneberger that Time had slightly misstated what Gore had said. What had Gore actually told the scribes? Henneberger quoted Tumulty:

      HENNEBERGER (paragraph 22): "He said Segal had told some reporters in Tennessee that it was based on him and Tipper," Ms. Tumulty said. "He said all I know is that's what he told reporters in Tennessee."

      Gore had said that he'd seen a newspaper article quoting Segal on the subject. And there had been such an article, Segal said, in the Nashville Tennessean:

      HENNEBERGER (15): [A] reporter for The Nashville Tennessean who knew that Mr. Gore and the author were friends had asked if there was not a little bit of Al Gore in Oliver Barrett. Mr. Segal said yes, there was, but the reporter "just exaggerated," Mr. Segal said. "He made it out to be the local-hero angle."

      So someone had "exaggerated," all right, but it was a reporter for the Tennessean, not Gore. What Gore had said on the plane was perfectly accurate—there had been a story which quoted Segal saying Gore and his wife were the models. And listen to Segal as he "contradicts" Gore:

      HENNEBERGER (18): "Al attributed it to the newspaper, he talked about the newspaper," Mr. Segal said at another point in the interview. "They conveniently omitted that part. Time thought it was more piquant to leave that out..."

      Does that sound like Segal is "contradicting" Gore? More than two years after Henneberger's piece—given more than two years to nail down their facts—Robinson and Scales, like many others, misstated what Segal had said.

      Tumulty has stressed to us how trivial and fleeting Gore's remarks were; "at most, three sentences in a two-and-a-half hour conversation," is how she recently put it. Indeed, Tumulty devoted one sentence to the matter; Berke never wrote about it at all. So how in the world did so pointless a matter turn into a 3-year cause celebre? It happened because Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich, reading Gore's mind from a thousand miles away, wrote columns interpreting Gore's motive for the fleeting comment. Gore had said that he and Tipper were the models, they declared, to make himself seem more exciting.<<<<<END QUOTE

      The Lenzner angle might have been an awkward one for Segal to explain but it did not reflect badly on Al Gore because of what the then Vice-President had said about it and it is outrageous that widely read pundits suggested otherwise. ZKing and Anonymouses 1 thru 5, it would make a little more sense if you all were to take a road trip and vandalize Segal's grave than that you would be here in high dudgeon over this matter. But I forget, together you are all dealing with dare I call it love? Or should I stick with the Madness?

      Delete
    3. [Repeated in the Shira Springer entry of 9/12/14]

      Whom did Segal model his character OBIV on? One person? Two people? More? Was one of them Al Gore? Your source says one of them was someone named Terry Lenzner, apparently because he claims to have a letter Segal wrote him to that effect. Does Lenzer have such a letter? Hard to tell from your source, which, in any case, points out the Gore might at least been partially reflected in OBIV.

      Does anyone but you think it's important whom OBIV was actually based upon? Of course not. Gore says he read about his part in Segal's portrayal from a newspaper article. At the time, Segal backed him up, saying that he spoken to a reporter for a Nashville paper, The Tennessean, but it turns out that the reporter's story had played up Gore's role beyond Segal's statement. The press still made out that Gore was an egotistical liar for making up the story from whole cloth.

      Here's what we get from someone who can think straight. Gore reported what he said was a second-hand story about author Segal. Is that an unreasonably egotistical think to do? No, and certainly not if Gore actually heard the story. Is it unreasonable to believe he had? Again, no. The story as Gore related actually appeared in a Nashville paper.

      Here's what we get from someone from the Planet Schizophrenia. Based on the claim of a letter not in evidence, Segal based his character on someone other than Gore, and only backed up Gore in a conspiracy to cover Gore's ass. And we can thus disregard what Gore claimed to have heard as it's improbable that Gore ever read a Nashville paper. What's really important here is that the character OBIV wasn't based on Al Gore, at least not entirely, and TDH hasn't reported on the scandal.

      You're a fool and an annoyance. If you're not planning on returning to the Planet Schizophrenia, please consider restricting your comments to casting spells. Those make more sense.

      Delete
    4. deadrat and CMike

      We don't like Maddow and have stated that repeatedly. We don't like Ollie IV either, or Love Story and don't think it's important who Ollie was based on.

      We worry about the integrity of the blogosphere. BOB is central to its integrity, and the implications of what happens if that integrity is breached are frightening. There are reasons for that. But in order to tell you what they are, we’d have to post the admittedly complex material we skipped because BOB has already told you humans your ability to reason is basically not there. Sorry. If you have a beef on that point broach it with BOB while we worry about the breech.

      Suffice it to say BOB has told his version of the Love Story story many, many, many times. His most complete explanation came in on 31 March1999, when he attempted to craft a post in which Gore was absolved from any error by Melinda Henneberger of the New York Times back on 13 December 1997. It was a tortured post, highly critical of Henneberger, in which BOB accused her of burying the facts proving Gore told the truth. He did a similar post in 2000 which CMike quoted above.

      You know what BOB left out of both those posts? This fact from the Times article by Henneberger:

      "In 1970, Mr. Segal told The Times that the novel's basic story came from one of his students at Yale, whose wife had died, and that the model for Jenny was a woman Mr. Segal had dated in his Harvard days." Oops!

      In our comments this weekend and today we note discovery in 2013 that Segal may have told another person back in 1976 that he was the inspiration for Ollie. We note BOB has not told us that either. But BOB has injected the "Al Lies" issue into this series, and we thought, in light of his "Mayor Sokolich seems to change his story" concerns, that this was a relevant matter to bring into the parade of home tour/rich NFL player follies.

      You see, to believe, as BOB once wrote "everyone agreed that the trivial things which Gore had said were in fact perfectly accurate" you have to believe Erich Segal, who has told three different versions. In fact you have to believe he was telling the truth on two things:

      1) that Al and Tommy Lee Jones did inspire Ollie and,

      2) that Segal suddenly remembered in 1997, after calling Al Gore to dispute the article in Time, that a reporter from the Nashville Tennesean asked him if there was a little of Al Gore in Ollie back in 1972 when he was on a book tour and that his answer to that reporter was distorted when the reporter wrote the article. Obviously both Segal and Gore must have read or been told about that article at the time in order for their memory of it to become so clear a quarter of a century later.

      As BOB wrote long ago, "Everyone agreed there had been such a story (although Henneberger didn’t seem to have researched it)." Actually, only Al and Segal agreed, after supposedly conversing on the phone. And Henneberger isn't the only one who doesn't seem to have researched whether the article ever appeared either.

      Truth be told, you know whose word we have to take that Al Gore was telling the truth that a reporter wrote that Segal said Ollie was based on Al? A reporter's word. When the article was written Al was a member of the guild. Working for the very same Nashville Tennessean. That is probably why he didn't give the reporter's name. They are like that in the guild.


      Delete
    5. I don't have to worry about the "integrity of the blogosphere." I don't have to believe that you do. I don't have to believe that love means never having to say you're sorry. I don't have to believe any of the versions of the story that Segal told about whom he based his character OBIV. I don't have to take Al Gore's word for the fact that he'd heard from a reporter that he himself was the model of the character. (Although Henneberger writes that Segal said he told a reporter from Tennessee that Gore was a partial inspiration and that an article in The Tennessean exaggerated Gore's role.)

      All I have to believe is two things: 1) that Gore said he'd heard the story from someone else and 2) that the journos whom TDH hates made that into some egotistical lie that Gore made up out of thin air.

      The first strikes me as plausible; the second is history.

      When are you going back to writing about spells? 'Cause you're not very good at this other thing.

      Delete
    6. The Inconventient Truth that Bob's few remaining fans are trying so hard not to face is why on earth would Gore tell such a poorly sourced story about himself to reporters about a piece of drivel like "Love Story"?

      As ZKoD has shown, the story from the horse's mouth seems to have changed depending on what day it was and who did the asking. Only one version involved Gore and his roomie the future actor (conveniently leaving out the less famous third roomie) and none of them involved Tipper.

      But a couple of decades later, Gore took what he supposedly heard second-hand years earlier and ran with it to reporters without ever bothering to check it out with his old buddy, the author.

      Why?

      Delete
    7. We are not concerned why Gore would tell the story. We agree with BOB that the telling of the story is inconsequential and that its reporting was abysmal.

      What we fail to understand is why, in his demonstration of both the triviality of the remark and its awful retelling by journalists, BOB chose to act like the worst of the journalists himself; overlooking and thus omitting key facts, not asking pertinent questions, and continuing to tell the tale long after it was necessary to do so.

      Delete
    8. Because it was trivial and didn't matter?

      Delete
    9. BOB is not trivial.

      Delete
    10. Because acting like the worst of journalists, omitting key facts and not asking pertinent is what Bob does.

      Why? Because he is lazy. Doing the above would require hard work. And he lacks the drive and courage to explore new material, so he keeps repeating the same, safe stories over and over, while wondering why fewer and fewer revere his brilliance.

      Living in flyover country and not privvy to the Beltway Press Corps that Bob tells me is running everything, I often wondered over the years why Bob seems to limit his criticism of the "mainstream press" is largely limited to two newspapers and one network.

      Then years ago the answer dawned on me. He's lazy.


      Delete
    11. Bob writes a number of posts each day counting the series and supplementals and not counting all the comments he seems to write. That is hardly lazy. Plus he has his own business to attend to. You try doing that at his age in a dangerous place like Baltimore.

      Delete
    12. In spite of my pellucid explanations, you still don't get it.

      TDH wants to talk (poundingly, endlessly) on journalistic malfeasance in the 2000 election campaign. His story is journos taking a trivial and unremarkable story about an offhand remark Gore made and turning it into an accusation of mendacity and egotism on the candidate's part.

      The actual back story of author Segal's changing explanations of whom he actually selected to model his character on isn't actually relevant to TDH's point. If you think it's "unnecessary" for TDH to keep bringing up this tale, find another blog to haunt. TDH isn't going to change, and after all, it's his blog. At the least, stop pretending that TDH should be dedicating entries to the history of Love Story.

      Delete
    13. There are nice, safe places in Baltimore.

      How many comments does he seem to write? Maybe a "ballpark" number averaged over a week. What business does he own and what services might it provide? Since you seem to know all about these things, maybe sharing them with us might be interesting.

      Delete
    14. Plausible:
      1. Seemingly or apparently valid, likely or acceptable: and
      2. Giving a deceptive impression of truth, acceptability or reliability.

      Delete
  2. Well written, deadrat. A valid reason for opposing Gore was the "Social Security Lockbox" that he made such a fuss about protecting. In fact, there is no such thing, nor is there anything close to meeting that concept.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you did or didn't vote for Gore, that is in the past. This is a liberal blog and there is no point in your gratuitously saying mean and mistaken things about the Democratic nominee in blog comments. At best you annoy others. At worst you serve no purpose except to align yourself with the trolls who comment here for no reason except to annoy others. You will find people who agree with you about Gore at your favorite conservative blog. Take this crap over there

      Delete
    2. When you say about the "Social Security Lockbox" that "[i]n fact, there is no such thing" I take it to mean that in DaveWorld the term "the full faith and credit of the United States" is an empty slogan, just a sales jingle when directed at suckers, i.e. people not of your class, and that the United States government can be expected to behave as abominably as some of your Wall Street heroes when assuming the role of a fiduciary.

      Bush was arguing, or would later argue, that the Social Security Trust Fund had no assets because the United States does not have to honor its bonds if they're issued for the benefit of the working class and Gore was arguing the Trust Fund had to be protected from an atmosphere of hysteria over the national debt which the Republicans intended to gin up after putting the proposed Bush tax cuts in place.

      Looking back from DaveWorld, where the inhabitant creates his own reality, throughout Campaign 2000 it was Bush who was clear and explicit about his intentions regarding Social Security, the issue you raise here, while it was Gore who was pulling a fast one.

      Delete
    3. Please stop agreeing with me in public. It makes me look bad and makes me feel bad.

      If only in hindsight there was no valid reason for opposing Gore. Unless, of course, you were rich, I-will-have-to-pay-inheritance-tax rich. Just because you don't understand what Gore meant, doesn't mean that his policy was nonsensical.

      Of course, there's no such thing as a literal lock-box Gore was going to keep under his bed. The Social Security Trust Fund buys Treasury bonds and the proceeds are credited to various government accounts. Gore wanted to do two things. The first was make sure that no Social Security money went to private parties as the WPE wanted to happen under his feckless privatization plan. The second was to make sure that the proceeds from the Treasury bonds didn't fund current governmental operations, essentially paying for Congressional whims. That left crediting the public debt account.

      Delete
    4. Mike -- Sad to say, Bush eventually picked up Gore's meaningless statement and also promised to maintain the (non-existent) "SS Lockbox". And, I don't recall the media pointing out that the term "SS Lockbox" had no meaning,

      There are several reasons to worry about whether SS benefits will continue to be paid at current levels:
      1. There's no contractual guarantee. Congress has the power to reduce or eliminate benefits any time they choose.

      2. Under the current funding formula, SS will run out of money in around 20 years.

      3. That money could be made up by a substantial increase in SS assessments or by taking it from the General Fund. Or, benefits could be reduced.

      Notice that none of these points has anything to do with some mythical "lockbox."

      Delete
    5. "Sad to say, Bush." You can stop right there.

      1. There can be no contractual guarantee because that's the way our system works.

      2. Social Security runs out of money in the sense that it will only be able to pay 75% of its benefits from payroll taxes. This is projected to happen in 20 years if the economy doesn't pick up in those two decades.

      3. The money could come from raising the income cap.

      4. The lockbox is "mythical" if you're so literal-minded that you think it's a physical box with a lock.

      Delete
    6. Surely David has heard these explanations before. Why are you arguing with someone incapable of changing a belief?

      Delete
    7. "This is projected to happen in 20 years if the economy doesn't pick up in those two decades." deadrat

      This was projected in 2010 to happen in 2039 if we do not change either the scheduled benefit payments or the scheduled revenue payments. A good economy might add a few years. A bad economy might reduce the time period before it happens.

      "The money could come from raising the income cap." deadrat

      All of the additional revenue needed to pay currently scheduled benefits could be derived from raising Social Security taxes on those with higher incomes through elimination of all or most of the cap on income which is taxed. However, this requires a major change in policy in which higher taxes paid in do not entitle those at those higher income levels to get proportionately higher benefits above those currently scheduled.

      Delete
    8. David, do you recall this particular photo op? Here's how NBCNews covered it:

      Bush: Social Security trust fund 'just IOUs'

      President says, 'There is no trust fund'

      updated 4/5/2005 2:47:30 PM ET

      PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — President Bush on Tuesday used a four-drawer filing cabinet stuffed with paper representing government IOUs that he said symbolized the Social Security trust fund’s bleak outlook for meeting Americans’ future retirement needs.

      “A lot of people in America think there is a trust — that we take your money in payroll taxes and then we hold it for you and then when you retire, we give it back to you,” Bush said in a speech at the University of West Virginia at Parkersburg.

      “But that’s not the way it works,” Bush said. “There is no trust ‘fund’ — just IOUs that I saw firsthand,” Bush said.

      Earlier, Susan Chapman of the Office of Public Debt Accounting had shown Bush an ivory four-drawer filing cabinet with numeric locks. “This is it,” she said.

      “This is what exists,” Bush said, illustrating his point that the promise of future Social Security benefits are simply stashed in a file.

      Chapman opened the second drawer and pulled out a white notebook filled with pseudo Treasury securities — pieces of paper that offer physical evidence of $1.7 trillion in treasury bonds that make up the trust fund.

      Bush is facing an uphill battle in his effort to persuade the public that Social Security reform is needed and that private retirement accounts should be part of the solution.

      Democrats argue that the administration is proposing to drastically alter the system when more modest changes would ensure the system’s future solvency.

      The pieces of paper he saw are not real Treasury securities. In today’s computer age, investors no longer get honest-to-goodness Treasury bonds they can hold in their hands. But, by law, the bureau creates paper bonds to put in the file cabinet just in case anybody, like Bush, wants to see the trust fund.

      “Imagine,” Bush said in his speech. “The retirement security for future generations is sitting in a filing cabinet. It’s time to strengthen and modernize Social Security for future generations with growing assets that you can control that you call your own — assets that the government can’t take away.”

      [The article goes on.]

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    9. A good economy might add a few years

      The Social Security Trustees report three scenarios, low-cost, intermediate, and high-cost. Call them optimistic, in between, and pessimistic. They use different assumptions, both economic and demographic. The low-cost scenario shows Social Security paying full benefits indefinitely (i.e., to the 75-year horizon).

      higher taxes paid in do not entitle those at higher income levels to get proportionately higher benefits

      Boo hoo. It does entitle everyone to live in a society where people in their most economically productive years don't have to take care of their parents.

      Delete
    10. Surely David has heard these explanations before. Why are you arguing with someone incapable of changing a belief?

      I don't know. It's an excellent question, the answer to which probably has more to do with me than with DAinCA.

      I also respond to KZ and HB. That makes me the common denominator. Surely this is something that many years of expensive psychotherapy can't help but make worse.

      Delete
    11. deadrat -- A lack of contractual guarantee is not "the way our system works." E.g., Federal employee benefits are contractually guaranteed. When lack of funds forces cuts in other areas, retired Federal employees will keep getting their full pensions.

      Had Bush's plan of Individual SS Accounts been adopted, these accounts would have been contractually guaranteed. It's ironic that "privatization" was demonized as supposedly making one's SS benefits less safe.

      deadrat, you say, "The lockbox is "mythical" if you're so literal-minded that you think it's a physical box with a lock.
      Yes, of course it's not a physical box. The term "lockbox" is supposedly a metaphor for some aspect of the SS system. The trouble is, there is no corresponding aspect of the SS system that the :"lockbox" represents. If you disagree, try to define what change in SS President Gore would have made that would represent a :"Lockbox".

      In my opinion the SS estimates are all optimistic,. I base this conclusion in part on a conversation I had with A. Haeworth Robertson, former Head Actuary of SS. Economic conditions affect SS's solvency, but so does mortality. Even though lifespans have been steadily increasing, SS official projections do not project further lengthening. .

      CMike, Bush was essentially correct. The SS Trust Fund is relatively tiny. SS is pretty much pay-as-you-go. Money paid in by current workers pays for the benefits received by retirees like me.

      Delete
    12. David, please. Tip and the Gipper agreed to a huge increase in payroll taxes three decades ago to build up a huge trust fund specifically for the wave of Baby Boomers who are just now hitting retirement.

      That is not "pay as you go."

      Delete
    13. That most americans don't really understand how how social security program works is the really sad take away from this discussion.

      Delete
    14. DinC,
      Weren't you an actuary?
      If so, will you kindly explain that we can't afford to go to war with ISIS because we're flat broke.
      Thanks,
      Berto

      Delete
    15. AnonymousSeptember 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM -- look at the actual numbers. You will see that the amount coming out of the Trust Fund each year is a tiny portion of the annual benefits paid.

      Berto -- The federal government is buying things it can't afford, by means of increased borrowing. Legally, the federal government can borrow as much money as they like. Or, they can, in effect, print any amount of extra money needed.

      There's no legal borrowing limit, but there are economic consequences. One is that interest on the national debt is eating up a growing portion of federal spending. Another is that printing too much money will eventually cause inflation.

      I must admit that so far I have been wrong and Paul Krugman has been right. Despite, all the money we've "printed", inflation has remained around 2%. However, if you want to see the risk, look at Venezuela. E.g., see https://www.google.com/search?q=venezuela+inflation+graph&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS497US497&tbm=isch&imgil=95_iV7UhH8C-KM%253A%253BKPIWzo3HZRzX5M%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fnotmsnmoney.proboards.com%25252Fthread%25252F31229%25252Fvenezuelas-comandante-hugo-chavez-dies%25253Fpage%2525253D2&source=iu&pf=m&fir=95_iV7UhH8C-KM%253A%252CKPIWzo3HZRzX5M%252C_&usg=__OD9kJaNEiVN87ui7mCKP0tEKNaI%3D&biw=1152&bih=526&dpr=1.25&ved=0CDIQyjc&ei=umMYVOfYNsbkoAS10IH4Bg#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=95_iV7UhH8C-KM%253A%3BKPIWzo3HZRzX5M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmarketmonetarist.files.wordpress.com%252F2013%252F03%252Flatam-inflation.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fnotmsnmoney.proboards.com%252Fthread%252F31229%252Fvenezuelas-comandante-hugo-chavez-dies%253Fpage%253D2%3B753%3B474

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    16. 11:57 it is sad, but the dumbness of the American people has been noted and pointed out to you repeatedly by such luminaries as B. Somerby and L. O'Donnell.

      Delete
    17. "You will see that the amount coming out of the Trust Fund each year is a tiny portion of the annual benefits paid."

      Which is exactly what it was designed to do, David. Then the wave of Boomers start retiring, which we are just now beginning to experience, and the fund dwindles to zip by 2033 (according to the latest estimates), exactly as it was designed to do.

      Delete
    18. David, the biggest threat to our current economy is income inequality. To understand why, go watch Reich's movie "Inequality for All".

      Delete
    19. DinC,
      You may be wrong about WHY we shouldn't go to war with ISIS, but you're still right that we shouldn't go to war with ISIS.

      The enemy (DinC) of my enemy (war) is my friend.

      Berto

      Delete
    20. Berto: even a broken clock is right twice a day.

      Delete
    21. DAinCA,

      Here I am again responding to your ignorance, which has no bottom. What's wrong with me? Is this a cry for help?

      If you have a federal retirement system, it's not contractual because the feds have the power to abrogate contracts. How do you think bankruptcy works?

      Just because you have a contractual arrangement with a private company doesn't guarantee that the company won't lose your money or go out of business. That you think otherwise is adorable. No, not adorable. What's that other thing?

      I've told you what Gore meant by "lock box." No privatization and no applying Social Security funds to current budgets.

      "In my opinion," you say. Sorry, but I stopped paying attention until I got to "Bush was essentially correct." And then I stopped paying attention altogether.

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    22. David in Cal writes:

      CMike, Bush was essentially correct. The SS Trust Fund is relatively tiny. SS is pretty much pay-as-you-go. Money paid in by current workers pays for the benefits received by retirees like me.

      David you must know that the Trust Fund has grown to the not "relatively tiny" sum of $2.764 Trillion over the last 29 years.

      For instance, in 2001 Social Security revenues were $516 billion from payroll taxes, $73 billion from interest payments, and $13 billion from taxed benefits while outlays to beneficiaries and the cost of administration totaled only $439 billion. The Trust Fund, therefore, grew by a total of $163 billion in 2001, which was 37% of that year's total outlays. "Pretty much pay as you go"? Hardly.

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    23. Well done, Mike. Let's bring you figures closer to today. in 2010, SS Trust Fund balance changed by $80 billion, as compared with total SS total costs of $752 billion. So, the Trust Fund contributed only around 11% of payout. Maybe that's not "tiny", but these figures show that SS is pretty much pay as you go.

      deadrat, if you're correct that the federal government is free to abrogate contracts, than I was indeed ignorant. Can you supply a link explaining what they can do|?

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    24. deadrat -- your comment inspired me to research the question myself. A cursory review of one legal discussion seems to me to imply that the federal government probably could not retroactively choose not to pay federal employee pensions that had already been earned. However, I'm not a lawyer, so I don't guarantee that this interpretation is correct.

      See page 6 of http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42635.pdf

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    25. Article I, Section 10 prohibits states from abrogating contracts. Your source pretty much outlines the feds' power in the area. In particular, sovereign immunity makes the issue moot if you can't sue for breach.

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    26. Seems like David in California is a bottomless font of ignorance, yet the greatest of all commenters grant him/her due deference.

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    27. deadrat -- No law is required to make contracts enforceable. Common law does that. Enforcibility is an essential feature. Otherwise an agreement is not a contract.

      I suppose in some theoretical world, the federal government could buy something and thennot pay for it. Then they could not permit the seller from suing to recover the money it was due. However, here on earth, that sort of thing just doesn't happen today. I stand by me contention that the federal government will not cut federal retiree pensions.

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    28. BTW the federal government has cut SS to retirees, in a way. They raised the income tax rate specifically on SS benefits, including people already retired.

      I suppose, by analogy, the government could enact a higher tax rate specifically on federal pensions. That theoretical possibility seems to be to be so bizarre as to not be worth considering.

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    29. The question is one of abrogation of contracts by government, not general enforceability. For example, it's how bankruptcy works. And it's why making federal retirement benefits contractual is pointless.

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  3. You know, back in the old days, Bob used to take an idea that was worth a few paragraphs and put it into a few paragraphs. These days, those brilliant ideas must become a "series."

    Thus it was with his long-promised "Houses of Journalist County." Bob had an idea without a clue of what to do with it -- until Parade dumped a profile of a former journalist turned daytime talk show host into his lap.

    He could have said anything worth saying about that in one well-crafted post, but no, it became a "series" as he dusted off other people's work that is old enough by now to vote to "prove" what a vile "not like us" person this daytime talk show host was by the mere fact that she pulls down a very generous paycheck.

    And now that important, long-promises "series" has been interrupted as Somerby exploits the topic du jour to prove how awful it is for journalists to exploit the topic du jour.

    Well, Bob, here is how a real series works in the real world of journalism. First you have an idea, a thesis if you will. Then you research. Extensively. Leaving no stone unturned. Then you write. Then you edit, making certain that every word directs the reader to the point you are trying to make.

    Then, finally, you publish. And only after the entire series is researched, written and edited is it good to go. You never promise your readers anything you can't deliver. And you never put the "series" label on something you are writing by the seat of your pants, regurgitating the same things, day after day after day.

    Unless, of course, you are Somerby throwing sweet hay to what is left of his herd.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. here is how a real series works....

      Too funny. Monty Python beat you to it. Go here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNfGyIW7aHM

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    2. The Daily Howler (or TDH if you prefer) had certain content limitations in the old days that it doesn't have now.

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  4. And speaking of strange trends, 21 of the 33 posts on this blog have been "supplementals". To what?

    Not only does Somerby not know what a "series" is, he is also clueless as to what a "supplemental" is as well.

    But it sure sounds important, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't a supplement what you take to boost your daily dose?

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  5. I'm sorry Bob that all the comments are so off topic.

    Let me say I appreciate this fine series and how much it has instructed me on how to view journalists, particularly those who want me to take them into the warmth of my living room and treat them like family.

    However, your reasons for postponing this series are not adequate. It was already delayed repeatedly. Take this letter as a gentle, but firm protest. The work of the Fawn Brodies, Perlsteins, Weisbergs, and Vieira-Cohens is of a pattern that needs exposure.

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    Replies
    1. Anon @11:22 AM,

      Joanne Woodward is a little long in the tooth these days and, in any event, she moved on to playing the shrink, so if it's all right with you I'm thinking Sally Field for the movie.

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  6. Trolls have accused Somerby of every crime under the sun, but KZ says "Bob is not trivial." Is that because spending so much time attacking a trivial target would make the trolls feel more trivial than the target? I happen to agree that Somerby is not trivial but it surprises me to hear our chief troll say so.

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    Replies
    1. Sarcasm flies so high over the heads of the simple-minded.

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    2. It certainly went over your head.

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    3. Trolls shouldn't make things up.

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    4. Trolls protest they did not accuse Bob of killing Nicole Brown. Bob fans note Nicole Brown was killed at night so technically it was not under the sun.

      Trolls shouldn't wear make up. Bob should not ask for a make up date in this series.

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