Friday, October 16, 2009

Brian Sussman: So Desperate So Sad

Tonight on the Brian Sussman show a woman called Molly called in and tried to have a reasonable conversation with him.

I want to point out to Molly the tricks that the Suss-man used on you. Today's trick was the strawman set up, where he asks questions and if you don't have all the facts and know the context you might believe it. Sussman tried to set up Robert Reich as un-Patriotic because of something he said in 2007. (I believe Molly was objecting to being called un-patriotic if she didn't agree with the views of the right.)

But of course the supposedly un-Patriotic thing that Reich said was part of a political science class at Berkeley where he played a "politically incorrect and tone-deaf" presidential candidate. So, it was NOT something that Reich believes. HE WAS ACTING. IT WAS FICTION.

Molly might have been like me years ago, thinking you could have an honest conversation with these hosts, but as shown yet again, that's not possible. I hope Molly finds this blog because I'd love to hear her side of that conversation. How did you feel Molly when you were cut off and mocked? Does it make you even angrier to find out that Sussman's strawman was based on a false quote?.

Molly, below is Robert Reich's blog post on this topic so you can see how dishonest Sussman's strawman really was. it turns out that he's not even original with his attack. Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Rush have already used this line, although probably not as rudely as he used on you. LINK

More Desperation from the Right

Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Rush, and the right-wing blogosphere seem interested in a talk I gave in September, 2007 to students in a political science class here at Berkeley, in which I played the role of a presidential candidate so politically incorrect and tone-deaf as to pummel every sacred cow in sight -- including the notion that our society could afford and would continue forever to pay whatever amount of money was required to keep everyone alive forever. The whole point of the mock exercise was to show that presidential candidates can't state what everyone knows to be the truth because they'll be taken apart by the Right or the Left. I slew many other sacred cows in that mock exercise, some of which are held dearly by the Left. Nonetheless, two years later the Right has exhumed the lecture and taken my words completely out of context purportedly to show that Obama and the Democrats plan death panels.

If their desperation weren't so pathetic it would be funny. After all, they have proven the whole point of my lecture. UC Berkeley maintains an archive of webcasts and my speech is available there verbatim, should you wish to listen to it in its entirety.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Bush Presidential Speech Writer Speaks

Remember watching the West Wing? The people were all scary smart. And you think, "I could never be a Presidential aide or speech writer, you need to be REALLY smart." Aaron Sorkin wouldn't have to work so hard write smart sounding dialog in a fictional Bush White House.

I was catching up on Fresh Air listening to Matt Latimer, former Bush speech writer.
It is really a horrifying interview, although he might not have realized it at the time of the interview.

You all know my deep fondness for the folks at Fresh Air, Terry's non-gotcha questions revealed so much in that interview, especially when she restated some of Latimer's comments back to him. Here's one where he is talking about writing a speech during the financial crisis:

Mr. LATIMER: Well, what we ended up doing was writing a speech that was sort of worded in such a careful, complicated way that I don't think people well understood what we were doing. But we did eventually craft a speech with the input from Treasury that everybody was satisfied with.

GROSS: What I hear you saying is since you didn't understand, you had to use fudge words so no one else would understand, either, but it wouldn't be wrong on the other hand.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LATIMER: Well, I don't think we communicated that issue very well to people, because it was a very difficult issue to communicate. And what I always asked myself was, how did we ever get into this situation in the first place.

GROSS: Well, sure. You said that you kept being told, you know, write speeches about how the economy is resilient, and American prosperity is great; and meanwhile, people, friends of yours in the Office of Management and Budget were saying things really aren't that good.

When he talks about how they dealt with the financial crisis speech I almost wanted to vomit. Is there such a thing as political malpractice? He was also the speechwriter for Rummy when the Abu Ghraib torture story broke. He laments his bad luck. (Imagine the bad luck of the people who got tortured and died from it!)

The segment is on Sept. 22, 2009. Here is the link to the conversation. (link) I'd also like to thank WHYY or whomever is underwriting the transcriptions of the conversation.

When I saw the brilliant movie In The Loop they make a joke about how the White House is run by kids they aren't kidding. It's re