Much more substantial than the previous Franken book I read, which is all to the good, except for the inexplicable amount of paper he wastes on discussing A. C**lter's endless lies and deceptions. (Okay, the book is about liars, but really, she's just a fruitcake.)
Chapter 7 was about the 2000 Presidential election and since that was approximately the 15th time I've read a comparison of the media's indifference ot Bush's campaign trail lies to it's piranha-like approach to even incident that could conceivably be twisted to make Al Gore look bad, the chapter did nothing to change my opinion that a lazy, dishonest media can do this country more damage than most of us care to admit.
While I was aware that Bill O'R**lly was a dishonest bully, I hadn't realized he has an almost pathological fear of hearing the truth spoken, which made Chapter 13 interesting.
Chapter 42, the Standardized Test on the calamitous No Child Left Behind fiasco, was painful but accurate.
I did not, of course, ever fall for the right-wing lie machine's propaganda about how 9/11 was all Clinton's fault, so I didn't expect Chapter 15 to be educational, but I was mistaken. I had no idea just how much the Clinton Administration had done to combat terrorism or how extensively they'd planned an all-out assault on bin Laden and his organization. I have to say I was absolutely impressed.
Chapter 16, of course, is about how the Bush Administration tore up the Clinton Administration plan and jumped on the pieces.
(You know, I absolutely Do. Not. Get. The Right's foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of Clinton. Was it just that they'd had so many years of Republican
misrule from the White House that they thought they owned the job, or what? Franken says it's because the Clintons were young, charismatic, and liberal, but that hardly explained the complete psychotic breakdown we witnessed for eight long years, okay?
I mean, I may have been largely apolitical for most of those years, but I did periodically tune in for a day or two, and read a few newspapers to check what was going on in the world. The subject during those years was always Whitewater and, if you listened carefully, it was always that no wrongdoing had been found.
Beyond that, the media's orgasmic feeding frenzy over being able to repeat the words "President" and "sex" day after day was worse than disgusting. It was unseemly.
And since I tuned in, then dropped back out four or five times a year, I noticed something the more well-informed may have missed. There was never any news. Nothing was happening.
From time to time some new almost incomprehensibly lunatic allegation would surface, be bandied about breathlessly for a few days, then disappear. None of these allegations were ever proven. None of them were ever true. And yet, people I'd thought of as being serious news reporters couldn't seem to stop reporting these lies and rumors. Publications I'd thought of as reliable and sensible were coming unglued over absolutely nothing.
And it went on, and on, and on.
I'd already been cynical about politics, having survived Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I. That spectacle made me add contempt for the so-called "news media" to my arsenal of indifference.)
The book under discussion, if you've forgotten where we were when that little rant started, is, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them."
I wasn't aware that Richard Scaife has given over $200,000,000 (that's two hundred million dollars) to right-wing organizations. (Making the Right's current indignation over Soros' modest funding of the Left's issues laughable.) Nor was I aware that Scaife is alleged to have paid Whitewater "witnesses" to lie about the Clintons, in a desperate attempt to indict them.
Naturally I know the Wall Street Journal's Opinion page is populated by wingnuts, so the "revelation" that it tried to smear the Clintons with fantasy murder charges didn't faze me in Chapter 19.
I didn't know (Chapter 41) that Bush announced on national television last year that we'd found WMD in Iraq. (If you didn't know it either, it's because Bush announced this on Poland's national television and it wasn't reported by the cowed and cowering UsofA media.)
I did, while reading about the triumph of electioneering over brains in the Bush Administration, finally come across the perfect description of the Administration, the phrase that encapsulates the bizarre combination of venality and ineptitude we've been watching for the past three years.
At least...I thought I had, but now that I'm looking at it, I realize that the simple, well-meaning charm of rural-American Mayberry has no place in the Bush Administration.
I may start referring to Bush's presidency as, "The Lying Years" though.
Chapter 19 - Paul Wellstone
Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. It's about advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and in our world. Politics is about doing well for people.