The Truth Squad

UPDATE BELOW:

It seems that the only thing that is too indecent and/or inappropriate to be uttered in public discourse these days is, well, the truth.  You see, the media have bet all their chips on lies from sea to shining sea ever since Al Gore “invented the internet,” and truth today in the media, on those rare occasions when it manages to insinuate itself into the counterfactual narrative du jour, goes over like a fart in church.  Thus, when one of the handful of honest congresspeople, Rep. Alan Grayson (and my future husband, even though he’s egregiously homely…) says something glaringly  obvious, like, “The Republican (health care) plan is, don’t get sick.  And if you do, die quickly,” the Washington Republican/Media peanut gallery reflexively recoil; crying, screaming  and undoubtedly soiling themselves in abject horror.  The humanity!

There’s a reason for this, of course.  Since none of these peabrains can evidently assimilate the fact that even as a dozen or so elected Republicans have flatly told desperate constituents to see if some charity can take care of their cancer or open-heart surgery, and many others have loudly and proudly accused Democrats of champing at the bit to do a full Soylent Green on everyone in sight from little Trig to Granny, bewildered viewers and readers so unfortunate as to be watching the fainting spells and immediate calls for punishment sweeping the Washington Elite and the green rooms must be asking themselves, “Are these people retarded or something?”  Not exactly, but they clearly think their audience is.  You see, Grayson’s unpardonable sin was telling the truth; and to George Stephanopoulos and many others, that sort of thing simply must be stopped cold before it gets out of hand.  If people were allowed to run around willy-nilly telling the truth all the time, shows like George’s would be much more popular, of course with entirely different guests and a lot more credibility, but folks like George who’ve presided over them all these years would be utterly discredited and dismissed for the mendacious nincompoops they are, and worse, might end up someday flying commercial.  Lies, on the other hand, are quite fascinating and have the advantage of continuing to build the previously established narrative while making reputations which rightly lay in tatters seem, from within the bubble, to be immaculately unstained.  Lies are thus like the stock in an imploding Ponzi scheme that Our Betters are unable to unload, and must be fluffed up every day, while the truth is a dreaded upstart competitor borne of an inadvertently remaining loophole in the laws they thought they’d already carefully rewritten in their favor, and must be slammed, censured, and eliminated from the playing field.  Attention must not be paid, or else.

Seen through this lens, a lot of our recent history starts to make more sense.  Bill Maher’s unceremonious firing when he dared to say that the Sept. 11 hijackers weren’t cowards, Gen. Shinseki’s getting the boot for pointing out, correctly, that Bill Kristol and Paul Wolfowititz didn’t know their asses from  holes in the ground, Howard Dean for his every utterance, and on and on, all tell the same story: telling the truth is a punishable offense; lying is the way to go.  If there were ever any doubt, compare the career trajectories of Bill Kristol and Ashleigh Banfield, or Scott Ritter and Tom Friedman….  I could think of dozens of others, but the only way to succeed in the Washington/Media nexus, as currently constituted, is to exalt the lie and disdain the truth.  Really, you can’t fault people for playing the cards as they lay, but calling such insulting kabuki “journalism,” or even commentary, is considerably more audacious than calling shit Shinola.  At least shit and Shinola bear some characteristics in common.  Lies and truth, not so much.

But in the truest sense, these people “can’t handle the truth,” so gobs of airtime are left to fill with its opposite, and, lo and behold, a few people still do seem to believe it all.  Enough to make a cable show popular, and perhaps even enough to fool the gasbags watching each other as lovingly as Narcissus at the pond, but decidedly not enough to make it, well, so, therefore alternative arrangements must be made.

The good news is that this rather embarrassing avoidance of the truth has, at long last, brought us to the point that politicians like Grayson and the few in the media who listen to them and air their views land in a desolate media landscape where the truth is like an oasis in the desert, and has suddenly gained currency for its sheer novelty.  And here and there, when a bit of truth is allowed to seep out in what Sam Seder used to call a “one-cheek sneak,” heads turn not in horror but in wonderment.  The church welcomes the fart, though the preachers are still aghast as usual, and Grayson is emphatically not blaming the dog.

Where will it lead?  The Hag is cautiously optimistic.

UPDATE:  Grayson walked into a roomful of swooning spinsters on the “Situation Room,” and cheerfully made asses of Wolf Blitzer, Gloria Bolger, and everyone else by holding his ground.  All the “journalists” were busy scoldingly telling him that what he did just isn’t done,  being Miss Manners rather than Brenda Starr, and the whole spectacle was pretty revolting.  The Republican, spouting ridiculously shopworn talking points, wasn’t nearly so adversarial as the liberal media, if you can believe it.  (and I know you can…)

Sheesh.

27 Comments

  1. Karen M says:

    Hag, I came to see what you had for us today, and hurried back to The Seminal to update my post there with a link to yours, since we both wrote about Grayson.

    Well, I pretty much just posted a video, while you actually strung some words together in an interesting way…

  2. Jim White says:

    Oh, come on now, Hag. Grayson is actually good looking, but he got some poor advice and shaved off the mustache and goatee. Check out this old photo from Firedoglake:
    http://static1.firedoglake.com/1/files//2008/01/grayson.jpg

    I’m headed to the courthouse tomorrow to file paperwork for my farm to secede from my current Congressional district to join Grayson’s.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, he still needs to diet a bit, but I’m smitten anyway. Good luck with you secession; I’d do the same thing if there weren’t so many miles in the way. Maybe I should ask Dancin’ DeLay about how this gerrymandering thing works.

  3. The Ponzi Scheme of Lies. Hag, you’ve outdone yourself. The thing about the truth is that if you keep telling it, without fear or favor, the liars really can’t do anything about it except kill you. Which doesn’t kill the truth, of course. Someone else will pick it up and re-tell it, and so on and so on until all of the liars’ resources — think of the Soviet Union, which had veritable armies opening mail, and standing guard over photocopy machines — are devoted to defending their lies.

    When everyone finally has only turnips to eat, and the factories are reduced to making only bombs or surveillance equipment, someone will inevitably reach down and tug idly at a brick sticking out of the foundation of The Ministry of Truth. We all know what happens then.

    The Stephanopouloses of the world — those without Swiss bank accounts, anyway — take off their uniforms and try to hide in the crowd. To no avail. The scent of duty-free cologne always gives them away.

    We must be patient, as well as adamant. Nothing this silly, or this destructive, lasts forever. (The Heel’s recommendation from the previous thread is as eloquent a testimonial to this particular truth as I’ve ever read. I’m tempted to ask him to translate it into English — or do it myself. It’s that uplifting.)

    • cocktailhag says:

      I rather wish you would; like most Americans, I’m lost to other languages. I continue to be optimistic, as the tsunami of inconvenient truths swamps the the lower elevations of the lies, but I’ve been disappointed so often before. We’ll see.

      • Well, if there’s sufficient interest in the lounge, I’d be happy to. No doubt it would be an assault on international copyright, but maybe if I stuck it up somewhere on my own server, and linked it only here, among the faithful, the librarian in me could overcome his scruples just this once (and at the same time avoid being carted off by Interpol to the Hague, or to Geneva, to assist the police in their inquiries.)

        • Karen M says:

          I’d be interested, too, William.

          Romance languages I can struggle through a bit. German, I cannot.

          • Perhaps tomorrow — it’s only five pages, and it’s an easy read, very modern in syntax. (Since the war, German, like most modern languages has gotten more brusque, more cinematic — kinda like American English, actually.) It won’t be like trying to puzzle through Rilke, or even Mann. I remember, early on in my studies, being astonished to discover that there were sentences in Death in Venice that were whole pages long, yet smooth as silk. Reminded me of Henry James, sort of, except with the verbs at the end.

            Well, okay then. When it’s ready, I’ll put a note in whatever thread is current. (And if you find any howlers, Heel, please don’t be polite at the expense of allowing me to mislead.)

          • The Heel says:

            Oh also WT, I am rarely accused of being too polite, so don’t worry ;)

            But if you like the article I linked to earlier, you may find a lot of inspiring thoughts and “the truth” told by the now 90 year old (yet sharp as a razor blade) Helmut Schmidt. He certainly has no reasons to omit or twist or hide inconvenient truth:

            http://www.zeit.de/themen/deutschland/helmut-schmidt/index

            He is still chain smoking and the only person in the world that gets away with smoking on TV these days (Menthol cigarettes no less).

        • The Heel says:

          wow, I am surprised how well perceived that link was. WT, I will be glad to proof read it. I agree with the Hag that my insufficient language skills don’t lend themselves to properly translate the thoughts and remarks of Genschman.
          Send it to marcus@maedl.com and I will comment.

    • nailheadtom says:

      Yes, indeed, let’s think of the Soviet Union, where free health care was guaranteed from 1917 until, oh, yeah, the whole SOCIALIST scam went down the drain like the scummy gray dishwater that was the color of Russian life.

      • cocktailhag says:

        Ah, the Soviets. Seems kind of silly to bring them up, since they collapsed under the weight of their crippling military adventurism that deprived their citizens of basic economic freedom and choice, and became a laughingstock for their compromised media and reality-challenged government that said the sky wasn’t falling, quite the opposite, even as it was. And then there were the gulags. Nothing familiar in any of that. Nothing at all.

  4. dirigo says:

    It’s worth pointing out, for the sake of discussion, that Grayson currently represents Disney World in Orlando (might he be Daffy Duck in barrister garb?), among other constituents in the 8th Congressional District of Florida; but he’s also a native of ‘da Bronx, and a Harvard Law School grad.

    He probably knows something about Three Card Monty.

  5. Karen M says:

    I just had to check on Grayson’s birthdate. You can tell so much about a person, just from the month and date.

    He’s a Pisces, first, and that means an idealist, and one who is in touch with humanity’s pain and suffering. Pisces sun signs are among the most compassionate people you will find. Grayson’s also a “13″ which is also a “4,” someone able to drill down into the data. He has analytical and research capability.

    Read about the symbolism of the 13th card of the Tarot, and see how much of it seems very appropriate.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I’m still trying to view that clip; it took so much time to download that I was afraid I’d turn into beef jerky waiting. I’ll go back now and look.

    • dirigo says:

      Grayson reminds me of Barney Frank, who was born on March 31st.

      Any intersection between the two there, Karen?

      • Karen M says:

        They’re both “4″s, Dirigo. Numerologically speaking, that makes them both more detail and research oriented than either a Pisces (Grayson) or Aries (Frank) would typically be.

        Both have their facts at hand, and on the tip of their tongue. They don’t have to wing it. They’re wonks.

        Aries-types (like Frank) relish obstacles that they have to overcome. Pisces is not of that same stamp, but as Meremark points out, the Scorpio placements may be more significant here, and he does have some of that intensity about him.

        • dirigo says:

          Interesting.

          I mentioned being in Boston, going to school, when Barney emerged from Harvard Law School and began commenting on local and state issues as he set things up to run for Congress.

          This was in the early seventies when the war was still going on. All over Boston’s colleges there were the teach-ins and be-ins and lectures and so on.

          Every once in a while Barney was there, like a rhetorical tornado, arguing this or that, sometimes on local radio or television.

          He’s fast now, but you should have seen him then.

          Grayson’s like that too, with a lot of the same streetwise New York/Boston argot.

          Bring it on, Alan!

    • nailheadtom says:

      Horoscope and tarot, prime examples of the utopian mindset.

      • Karen M says:

        I don’t know what utopia you think I’ve been inhabiting, but you are seriously misinformed.

        Think metaphor if that works better for you.

        Numerology derives some of its layers of meaning from the Tarot; either method can be very revealing.

    • Meremark says:

      It’s funny that 1958 seems so young … so why ain’t I laughing

      Grayson is Pisces Sun and Capricorn Moon. Not the steadiest combination but it’s got some spunk in it.

      More significant (than the Pisces part) is his Jupiter-Neptune alignment in Scorpio. Neptune was in Scorpio 1956-70.
      [14 years each sign, Neptune is the slowest moving planet and denotes a human generation. (Forget Pluto.) There's the definition of 'generation' in case you ever wondered for precision: 14 years. Plus 2 or 3 months.
      [Brokaw's so-called 'greatest generation' was 1914-28, Neptune in Leo.
      [1928-42 was Neptune in Virgo: age of The Quantum (physics), splitting the atom, inventing rockets, also broadcasting, plus the OSS cum CIA and subversive espionage oo-la-la, and Freudian/Jungian psychological neurologic onset.
      [1942-56 Neptune in Libra. It's the music. a.k.a. baby BOOMERS.
      [1956-70 Neptune in Scorpio. In essence: Medicine. So those of that generation now in Congress pushing Health Care, are essentially the Good Guys. In Grayson's case, at least.
      Also, Scorpio-types have a thing for tattoos, which is what that's all about ... today they are aged 39-53.
      [1970-84 Neptune in Sagittarius. The eXtreme generation. They'll see your tattoos and raise you body piercing.
      A parallellism: Nept.in Sag 1802-16 when Lewis & Clark 'discovered' Oregon. Nept.in Sag 1970-84 when Armstrong & Aldrin 'discovered' the Moon. Sagittarius does adventure-er-ism.
      [1984-98 Nept in Capricorn. Capricorn the internationalist. So, voila, the World Wide Web.
      [1998-2012 Nept in Aquarius. These are the Truth carriers. In the Waterbearer's urn spilling out the Milky Way, the 'milk' or 'water' flowing represents Truth. This is why lying newspapers are dying in this era.
      [Sheesh. I skipped a few. In April of this year, Neptune returned for the first time to the 25-degrees-Aquarius position at which it was discovered, Sept. 1846. Nobody but NObody ceremonialised the occasion. Neptune's motion provides an answer, if one opines 'history repeats itself' and some wag demands, 'what history is being repeated NOW?' That is to say, 1834-48 = 1998-2012 Neptune in Aquarius redux. Texas was successionistic back then, too.]
      (If you didn’t notice, I fudged the 1834-48 dates a bit for round numbers; the Neptune interval is 14yrs.3mos.+/- per sign and scanning across six or ten signs that ’3mos.’ fraction accumulates to a couple of years of round-off error.)

      So back to Grayson. His Neptune in Scorpio is joined by Jupiter which shows him a BIG-visionistic proponent of Scorpio/Medical things.
      He has Venus(Aquarius) opposite Uranus(Leo). So he’s got rhythm … and he loves Truth. His timing and delivery of his easel charts was masterful.
      And, probably vital for success, he has Mars together with Moon in Capricorn. That makes ‘spunky’ into gladiator. Goliath is a goner.

      The best topper would be if he has Sagittarius Ascendant (birthtime shortly before midnight ending the 13th), putting Saturn on the Ascendant which is the mark of ‘fame’ or ‘historic’ … and he’d be the man of the hour. the precipitate.

      Oh, yeah, he has Pisces Sun. Ever the gossip, always in on the scuttlebutt, knows who knows what and knows it before when they did.

      • Meremark says:

        … uh, p.o.i.: that birthtime (for Sagittarius Ascendant) perhaps needs to be a little bit after midnight beginning the 13th.

  6. Meremark says:

    Whither the lead? Two roads diverged at the tipping point, (probably this coming Full Moon, watch out the window, see it waxing to Oct. 4) …

    Gore Vidal: ‘We’ll Have a Dictatorship Soon in the US’ – The grand old man of letters Gore Vidal claims America is ‘rotting away’ — and don’t expect Barack Obama to save it, by Tim Teeman

    Vidal is sitting in the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, where he has been coming to stay for 60 years. He is wearing a brown suit jacket, brown jumper, tracksuit bottoms; his white hair twirled into a Tintin-esque quiff and with his hooded eyes, delicate yet craggy features and arch expression, he looks like Quentin Crisp, but accessorised with a low, lugubrious growl rather than camp lisp.

    His voice strengthens. “One thing I have hated all my life are LIARS [he says that with bristling anger] and I live in a nation of them. It was not always the case. I don’t demand honour, that can be lies too. I don’t say there was a golden age, but there was an age of general intelligence. We had a watchdog, the media.” The media is too supine? “Would that it was. They’re busy preparing us for an Iranian war.” He retains some optimism about Obama “because he doesn’t lie. We know the fool from Arizona [as he calls John McCain] is a liar. We never got the real story of how McCain crashed his plane [in 1967 near Hanoi, North Vietnam] and was held captive.”

    Vidal originally became pro-Obama because he grew up in “a black city” (meaning Washington), as well as being impressed by Obama’s intelligence. “But he believes the generals. Even Bush knew the way to win a general was to give him another star. Obama believes the Republican Party is a party when in fact it’s a mindset, like Hitler Youth, based on hatred – religious hatred, racial hatred. When you foreigners hear the word ‘conservative’ you think of kindly old men hunting foxes. They’re not, they’re fascists.”

    …../
    …./
    …/
    ../
    ./
    /
    \
    .\
    ..\
    …\
    ….\
    …..\

    17 Held in Protest Outside Health Insurer’s Offices, by Colin Moynihan

    … in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday morning, a different sort of health care protest took place, led by left-leaning groups who accused insurers of greed and called for nationwide, single-payer health insurance.

    The police said that 17 people were arrested after refusing to leave the lobby of an office building on Park Avenue where the insurance company Aetna has offices. They were charged with criminal trespass. In addition, the police said, three of those arrested were charged with obstructing governmental administration.

    Organizers said it was the first step of a national campaign ….

    = = = = = = = = =

    So I called my Congressman’s Office (Schrader) with my inside tip (inside the internet, that is): Comes soon, Representative, the time of the nation once to every man — to vote the conformity or to vote your conscience. Gawd I hope there’s a conscience in there. Optimistically conscientious.

    And I added: Pass it on. The sad Senators Senate is supuku, sayonara. Meaning Wyden is all over but the pouting.

    What I’m thinking is it might come down to a factional split and 2/3rds of Democrats abandon that catacombs of corruption to form a new, next, partisan Movement … the Progressives or whatever they choose to call themselves.
    Like the Democrats first formed as a faction split from the Democrat-Republicans in 1824′s corrupt coronation of J.Q.Adams — nepotism’s ne’er-do-well … (all right: downright stupid) son of pompous Prez J.Adams. Like today’s GOP, that era’s Federalists played Texas to an Alaska of Democratics, who can back up a “we’re #1″ boast telling Rightwingers to shut up complaining about being #2 or the Majority is going to divide in half and make Rightwackos #3.

    • cocktailhag says:

      It would be awfully nice if a movement were forming, on our side that is. My fear is that the movement (as in bowel) is all on the other side. Good thing it’s small.

  7. I’m so tired of this, I wish she would just go