Monday, October 13, 2014

Time Marches On

Here's a quota-filling piece by Joe Klein in Time.  (Yes, like you, I'm surprised Time still exists.)  It's called "A Troubled American Moment." Since this moment isn't more troubled than plenty of other moments in the past several decades, and since nothing Klein mentions in the piece is unusual or alarming, I have to assume what's Troubling to Klein is an election coming up where the Democrats look like they're in trouble.

He talks about how a lot of people on the right believe in non-existent conspiracies, but gives no evidence they believe in these things more than usual--and takes no notice that Democrats believe in conspiracies as much as Republicans do. On top of which, half the stuff he mentions is actually happening.

For instance, he notes that he hears talk about how people on food stamps buy T-bones steaks and soda.  (SNAP!)  Well, don't they?  I mean that's nothing--thanks to food stamps, a lot of people can get alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets that they might have forgone otherwise.  I think Joe is just mad that some people are unhappy about multiple billions spent on the program, not that these people didn't personally see someone purchase these products like they claim.  Well fine, Joe, let's leave behind urban legends and look at the facts. For instance, we have quadrupled the amount we spend on food stamps in the past 14 years.  Tell me Joe, do you honestly believe anyone would have starved if we'd only tripled the amount?

He goes on:

The food-stamp stories mix with more purposeful fantasies spread by interest groups, like the National Rifle Association’s constant spew that the government wants to “take away” your guns rather than merely regulate their use.

Thanks for the clarification.  I have an idea, let's prevent Joe Klein from criticizing the NRA, and we'll explain we're not taking away his freedom of speech, we're merely regulating how he uses it.

So what does Joe think we should be worried about? Here's his idea of reasonable people going against the fear-mongering.

[A guy Joe Klein likes] tried to take the conversation “in a different direction,” he said. “I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty concerned that the top 1% of the population controls 40% of the wealth in this country.”

So that sort of pointless statistic is what Joe thinks we should really be talking about. (And don't ever mention the bottom 99% are richer on average than almost any top 10% of any group in history.) These are actually the kinds of numbers that have launched a thousand conspiracy theories--don't forget to check for the Koch Brothers under your bed before you go to sleep--but Joe believes this is the rational discourse we need to prevent discussions of welfare and gun laws and such.

One last selection:

Democrats are swimming against the prevailing cynicism as they attempt to retain the Senate this yearAcross the South, their candidates are placing a heavy bet on women’s issues, especially equal pay, and education.

The first sentence is good enough.  Yes, it's always bad for people to be cynical about leadership when the Democrats control the Senate. But that second sentence is the punchline. To fight cynicism, the Dems are rolling out "women's issues," the most cynical ploy of all.

Time is still around, but it's become a humor magazine.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The analogy between the first and second amendments doesn't work since there are plenty of people who openly want to take away everybody's guns.

12:24 AM, October 13, 2014  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Didn't you see the presidential attack on the Supreme Court after the Citizens United decision? there are plenty of people who would love to take away speech. It might be more widespread than teh attitude toward guns, because there is so much more activity surrounding it. The recent Robert Kennedy comments--how you gonna jail the Koch brothers without jailing Warren Buffett?

And the answer, for these people, is "quite easily."

2:06 AM, October 13, 2014  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I wonder how Klein would distinguish efforts to regulate gun ownership versus abortion regulation. Gun owners have nothing to complain about, their access to weapons is not being curtailed, but women's access to abortion services is in imminent danger of disappearing?

5:50 AM, October 13, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see the echo chamber is working here.

6:02 AM, October 13, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it must be odd to hear more than one person who disagrees with you at a time. Sort of like being a conservative.

10:30 AM, October 13, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On to cognitive dissonance

4:50 PM, October 13, 2014  

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