Truth or dare, fact or fiction

February 17, 2008 by barbara

barbara writes

We already know ours is a deeply divided country. Turns out CLB is a divided blog, too. The blog part is a good thing. By and large, blogs have become the principal venue for thoughtful discussion (and no small amount of snarkery).

Check out comments from DK and LeftyMN in the past couple of threads here and here to see what thoughtful and emotional commentary looks like. And btw, thoughtful and emotional are not mutually exclusive. We love hearing what our readers are thinking, even when you take us to task. (Perhansa and Poet and Paul, where the heck are you?)

DK, you’re technically right about my “misrepresentation of fact” on the FISA voting. Turns out my take that “Hillary didn’t vote and Obama did” was based on early MSM stories that were live-covering the voting. You wrote: “I’d just read in the NYTimes that neither one of them (Clinton and Obama) had hauled their fannies back to Washington to vote! That’s a fact.”

Turns out that's not a fact. I checked the U.S. Senate site’s voting recap. Read on.

Obama was present to vote on the first and second Feinstein amendments, the first and second Feingold amendments, the Dodd amendment, and the Specter amendment. In other words, he voted on all of the FISA-related amendments. True, however, that he did not participate in the final vote.

Clinton was never present. She did not vote on any of the FISA amendments nor did she participate in the final vote, even though she was reportedly (see how careful I can be?) in D.C. at the time. Interesting that Clinton has been critical of Obama for his “present” votes in the past. It’s one of her talking points. "A president can't pick and choose which challenges he or she will face," she said in October. True enough.

DK submits that one of the pitfalls of blogging is that “there are no gate keepers on the factual truth. And since blogs are read mainly by those who already agree with them (except for the occasional mouth-foaming crazy who makes no sense anyway), the readership is only too happy to go along with whatever is being represented as fact, ‘the truth.’”

Hoo boy! By and large, I am more trusting of a small, carefully culled handful of blogs than of the MSM. It has become apparent over the past several years that major money and influence-wielding powerbrokers (political and otherwise) have an inordinate impact on what is written, how it is written, and what is conveniently omitted in the MSM. Read this, for example. I suppose some bloggers have been “bought,” but to date, I don’t see much evidence of that. Well, on the left, anyway. We have a couple of radical right-wing bloggers that are clearly in their party’s corner pocket.

The MSM also picks and chooses their fans and detractors, cherry-picking feedback that they will print or air. A smattering of LTEs show up a day or two or three after the article appears.

As for sycophantic blog fans, hoo boy again. On most progressive blogs, the readers are the first to call foul, failure, fallacy. They thrive on finding mistakes in content, grammar, spelling. And they do diligent research to back up their complaints. Y’all keep us humble, for sure. Immediately. Which is the beauty of an interactive medium. The CLB doesn’t cherry-pick feedback. It’s all out there – the good, the bad, the ugly. And frankly, that’s part of how I learn and shape my opinions. Blog readers – CLB readers – by and large, are smarter than the average bear. Your depth of knowledge and ability to analyze is flat-out stunning. You keep us from operating in a vacuum.

“Journalists of all stripes” had damn well better worry about the internet. Some extraordinary bloggers are doing the journalists’ job, i.e., ferreting out the truth, digging for facts, researching their butts off. So let’s not be doing a Grover Norquist on the blogosphere, okay?

The Obama/Clinton battle is a painful one, played out for all the world to see. It’s what progressives do, I guess.

At the end of the day (I am SO tired of that hackneyed phrase), each of us has to go where our gut takes us. Yes, really. Fill up your head with facts. Compare and contrast. Chitchat and ponder. And then, finally, let your own good instincts guide your decision. That and your own feelings about trust.

Clearly, we’re not on the same page about last Democrat standing. Viva la democracy, eh? A very good thing, so thanks, DK and Lefty.

Because McCain equals Bush's Third Term, I will vote for the survivor. For the one who doesn't get booted off the island. Right now, today, my ample gut is going with Obama.

Posted in


dknyc (not verified) | February 17, 2008 - 1:36pm

Thanks for your nice comment, Barbara, and even more for your fact checking.
When I said I read it in the Times, I really only meant the record of that last vote. I wasn't trying to imply that historically neither H nor B had voted, or were pro that immunity issue. I think it's fair to say that both their hearts are in the right place, and that neither one would casually decide not to vote, cause, hey, too busy.
As to the guts: You've hit the nail on the head. I've tried and tried to analyse where my pro H, and yes, more and more anti O feelings come from. I come up with several, somewhat tentative reasons:
1. I hate America's love affair with the culture of youth, and all things youthful - so it's the company he's keeping.
2. I hate adults who let themselves be door mats to kids, their own and others, from uncurtailed tots in restaurants and airplanes, to college kids given BMW's and Spring break trips to Mexico. "My kids turned me on to Obama!"Oh puhleez.
3. I hate being taken for granted. Maybe it comes from 15 years of a bad marriage, swallowing disappointment after disappointment, because the husband in my life just knew I would "go along" for the sake of "peace", just like his mother did. Us undereducated, low income ole white ladies'll come round, won't we. Always do.
4. I'm more of a feminist than I thought I was. I, and many others, men and women, including Obama supporters, agree H is subject to constant underlying mysogeny, however latent. She's too soft, she's too harsh, she's too partisan, she's make deals with the devil to get her way. You know the rap.

I can unpack any of the above reasons for my H support, but let me propose something constructive that Obama might do in regard to complaint #3.

The other day I heard him calmly say to an interviewer on TV that he thought Hillary supporters would, in the end, swing over to him, should he be the nominee, but he wasn't sure that his supporters especially the newly energized younger voters, could be counted on to do that.
I was stunned. I know, he's only repeating what the pundits are saying and may well be true. But his saying it somehow made me think that he likes it that way. Does he?
Here's what I propose: The next time he speaks to an audience of young supporters, at a college campus, for instance, he might give a little civic responsibility lesson, something like this:
"We're going to win (Texas, whatever) tomorrow (next week, whatever) right?"
"Did I hear you?"
(more cheers, then, yes we can, etc etc)

"Yes we can. It's time for change, etc etc. "

"But listen up - because what I'm about to say is more important than anything either campaign has said so far.
Yes, we're in this to win, and I think we will. But if Hillary Clinton gets this nomination, I want to hear from all of you, right now, that you'll get out the vote for her as strong as you would for me - can you promise me that? " (boos, no ways, maybe, or maybe tentative cheers, or silence)
"Because "make no mistake", as critical as any of us may be of Sen Clinton, when it comes to her being President, or Mr. McCain, or anyone else the Republicans might chose to run, she'd by far be the better choice. Part of change needs to be, hear me now, (some hisses, or boos) "no,no----none of that, part of change needs to be learning to do what's best, to take disappointments in stride, learning to accept your second choice with grace with good cheer, and with strength and conviction. The same as I believe her supporters will help us, should I be the nominee. Because we, and especially you younger voters, no longer have, if indeed you ever did have, the luxury of "sitting this one out". Too many Americans, good Americans, like yourselves, have sat it out for too long, and look what it's gotten us. No, I know I can trust you, yes, I can, to go with your better angels, whatever becomes of me, or of Hillary Clinton, and vote for the Democratic candidate. "
"Have I got a promise on that? "

Then I might feel, yes feel, better about voting for him.
You may say that he'd be crazy to do this, why risk dimming their enthusiasm with any mention of the dreaded HC taking over? Because I think it'd be a demonstration that he's no "politcian as usual". And, for me, anyway, it might go toward satisfying my belief that youth really can learn from the grown up, once in a while, instead of the other way.


perhansa (not verified) | February 17, 2008 - 11:59pm

I think it's been about a year now I've followed the CLB. It's time for me to change gears...I'm personally sick and fed up with both parties. I'm not mR. smITH.

The primaries, caucuses, and beauty contests look more and more like American Idol every day--dial 0012 340 for Obama or 0012 320 for Hillary...They need your vote to stay on the now or text message us at or Too many puppeteers for any real change--Big Business, Big Money and K Street. We have contempt for the government (as evidenced by dissatisfaction polls) and they hold us in contempt (as evidence by the way they talk to us and treat us). We think they're crooks and they think we're sheep. Sounds like one hell of a fun time to me...I'll tune back in a little closer to November 7th...

H or O? Will it really matter? They'll have to operate in the SYSTEM; they both seem to know how it works. Whomever inherits the shi*pile Bush leaves behind won't last more than one term anyway. There will be no money to make any of the changes they promise until these wars end and the military is refurbished. The military is fubar. The economy is fubar. Healthcare is fubar. Social Security and Medicare is fubar. The climate is going fubar. We have fiscal deficits up the wazoo. Trade deficit up the wazoo. The dollar down the wazoo (having just come back from England where I had to pay $2.12 to buy a pound). The government spies on us and Congress goes along. They stiff arm investigations and Congress goes along. The lame duck quacks and Congress dirties it's drawers. Bill Clinton gets BJ and he nearly gets impeached. They all sing the praises of The One True Blue American God--hand holding praying Left Right Dem Repub. Makes me want to laugh cry or puke, or maybe all three. God Bless Everyone...especially the patron saint of Homeland Scrutiny.

Emotional but not thoughtful I know...Tune in tune out drop out. Feels like a nauseating merry-go-round. Time for a new paradigm or perspective or proctologist (seems to be what we mostly get from D.C. anyway). Time to move to Norway or Sweden. No country for old men. The terrorists have already done their job. We're a nation of fear, mistrust, torture, spying, cronyism, screaming-smash-mouth shock jocks, and a new mode of argumentation--the BLOG. None of it has can stop the NRA. It won't stop the AMA. Doesn't stand a chance of stoppng Corporate America. Can't insulate us from the shock doctrine. Didn't stop the Surge. We're just all caught up the machine as it hums and belches and churns it's stinking fumes into the once clean air and spits us out while we chatter away in virtual reality.

Don't have much more to say guys...too much being said already by everybody else...never was a fan of too many words. That's why I became a visual artist.

Best wishes to you all at the blog. Thanks for letting me chime in...assure Anon I'm going off to Kevorkian myself. More like a Munchean Scream!


perhansa (not verified) | February 18, 2008 - 12:06am

Editing correction--Assure Anon I'm NOT off to Kevorkian myself...more like a Munchean (not Munchkin) scream...


dknyc (not verified) | February 18, 2008 - 8:12am

Ooooh, Perhansa, now you're mad! Sorry for the wordiness - seems to me time was, you were kinda wordy, too.
But you're right. I too shudder with a perverse cold comfort, when I contemplate "my" candidate losing, and pity for whoever wins this thing. No way can whoever is next President do much good, or even appear to. Guess the Hopemeister hasn't gotten to either of us.
G'bye for now, see you, hear from you, ? in November, if we're all still alive.
The rest of the quote: "So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past".
That kinda what you mean?


perhansa (not verified) | February 18, 2008 - 5:43pm

Something like that...yea. had an article Saturday by Tim Rutten: "Prayers" Just Won't Do. Kinda sums up my feelings on several fronts while he addressed the insanity of guns and gun violence and the unwillingness or inability of anyone (in any party) to stop the NRA and the American love affair with violence and guns, no matter how many innocents die and where they die...Prayers just won't do...and it ain't just guns. And your right, I used up my share of words and they just seem to rattle around signifying nothing...


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