Smoke or Fire?

June 1st, 2010

By Larry Ennis

Sometimes it’s almost scary how things suddenly fall into place. Of course a lot of these magic moments depend on your perspective and may not be all that enlightening to others. One such moment occurred recently when a discussion came about here on Opinion Forum about a piece by Dr. Jim Taylor on The Huffington Post.

The gist of Dr. Taylor’s article was information control and the tongue-in-cheek supposition that there might someday be a Department of Information in the U.S. government. Depending on your political philosophy, it is or is not a good idea. The real dividing factor seems to be whether or not the entity of true government information control has already become a reality.

In a recent departure from what is considered normal, the Administration produced and distributed an interview with their pick for an upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. The candidate, Elena Kagan, has for the most part been kept away from normal media questions and interviews. Access to Kagan’s pertinent personal information has also been denied — obviously an instance of information control.

The disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil leak has brought about more media and information control questions. The best example is White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ expressed unhappiness with the media attempts to get more information concerning the leak.

This Administration seems to try harder than any in the past to control information. They have established a real us-versus-them attitude. Not a good attitude, especially when you consider the current mood of many of the voters. Americans have at last started to revolt against a system that no longer seems to have any redeeming features. Democrats and Republicans alike are for the most part a bunch of firmly entrenched bureaucrats who spend more time soliciting campaign funds and less time doing the people’s business.

This President, like all the others, spends more time fund-raising and campaigning than he spends on his elected job. The Administration’s handling of the Gulf disaster will haunt the American scene for the next hundred years. Whatever Washington could have done just slipped away with time. Why didn’t the Administration react faster and with resources that matched the job? Once again the advantage of information control would be just the ticket. No one wants to pursue the fact that BP was a major cash contributor to the President and the DNC.

Most other liberal media news outlets are very critical of Fox News and their programming. After watching this Administration’s brand of politics, I believe Fox has made a significant contribution to our freedoms by exposing what is happening in Washington, D.C. The Department of Information will have to wait, but that doesn’t mean that we are free of the spinners, the liars, and the wheelers and dealers who are so common in the nation’s capital.

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10 Responses to “Smoke or Fire?”

  1. Brianna |

    Larry, an unusually good article. Nice job.

  2. Tom Carter |

    Let’s not forget that every presidential administration, Democratic and Republican, attempts to control information and manipulate the press. I don’t defend it, but I understand it, given journalists’ biases and often sloppy fact-checking. It’s also true that the press can destroy a policy initiative before it’s even completely formed. The problem is the fault of both politicians and the press, neither of which (taken as groups) are particularly admirable.

    Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil disaster are very different kinds of problems. However, it’s interesting to compare how the left savaged Bush for things he really couldn’t do much about and blamed him for things he couldn’t control. Now, the right is jumping all over Obama for things he can’t do much about and things he can’t control. While it’s right that the captain of the ship is held accountable when the ship runs aground, no matter what was going on at the time, it’s also necessary to keep some perspective on things.

    As far as BP political contributions to politicians like Obama and Senator Mary Landrieu, I think it’s easy to make too much out of that. In the first place, very few politicians can be bought even for large sums, and the relatively small amounts we’re talking about from BP aren’t enough to buy anyone, including me. For example, BP gave Obama $77,000 when he was a senator and for his presidential campaign. That may have made him BP’s largest recipient of campaign contributions, but it’s virtually nothing compared to the total amount of money he raised. I’m more concerned about the huge amounts of money and effort that corporations and interest groups devote to lobbying; that’s a much more serious problem.

  3. Dan Miller |


    very few politicians can be bought even for large sums. . . .

    Ah, yes. Sometimes, it is better and cheaper to rent them.

    I’m more concerned about the huge amounts of money and effort that corporations and interest groups devote to lobbying; that’s a much more serious problem.

    While many unions are doubtless “interest groups,” would you accept this slight adjustment?

    “I’m more concerned about the huge amounts of money and effort that corporations, unions and other interest groups devote to lobbying; that’s a much more serious problem.”

  4. Tom Carter |

    Adding unions is fine with me. In my mind they’re interest groups like all the others, paying out huge sums of money to influence the political process to their benefit. Maybe a lot of people don’t realize this, but lobbyists are very deeply involved in the political process in Washington, to the point where they do research for members of Congress and their staffs and even help draft legislation. I saw some of this up close during my Washington days, and I’m sure you saw much more of it.

    Seems the only “interest group” that goes mostly unrepresented in Washington is the bulk of the people who send politicians there in the first place. Maybe they’ll make up for it in November….

  5. d |

    Now, we know what you are,Tom,just don’t know your price.:) I think that’s from some movie. $77,000. is a drop in the bucket to Obama,or any other politician. Unions,however give enough to really influence things.
    Apparently,the administration,like everyone else,does not know what to do to stop that leak. Scientists don’t even know,got any ideas,Larry? If Obama, or anyone, could stop it and quickly,don’t you think they would? I don’t think you can really blame Obama for this one. The rules and standards for offshore drilling, were already in place,before his administration took over. He does need to make a bunch of changes,however. Including, a planned strategy for just such a blowout. A real solution for this problem and others,before they happen. Not just a, duhh,we don’t know attitude.

  6. Dan Miller |

    As to the minor man-made off-shore disaster so much in the news, the solution has been found!

    There are other potential applications, too numerous to mention.

  7. d |

    L.M.A.O.! great one ,you are a funny man,Dan,and you ride horses. B.P.and the pres. are pretty much full of this bloat and gas. Go Gas-x,just might work. Possibly,Bean-o? Makes as much sense as mud and golf balls.

  8. Dan Miller |

    d, I wish I could claim credit for the linked article; unfortunately, all I did was read it and post the link.

    Tom, as to unions and Citizens’ United, here and here are two related articles dealing with the recent Congressional attempts to limit the impact of Citizens United on corporations but not on unions. I haven’t read the proposed legislation, but plan to do so when I have some free time. If the proposed legislation is as represented, it seems not only unfair but perverse.

    Unlike the proposed oil rig flatulence solution, I don’t find these two articles the least funny.

  9. Dan Miller |

    d, your mention of Bean-o brought to mind another thought: here is a little limerick my father in law was fond of reciting. He had a Ph.D. in musicology and directed the concert and marching bands at San Jose State University in California:

    Beans, Beans, the musical fruit!
    The more you eat the more you toot.
    The more you toot the better you feel.
    So let’s have beans at every meal.

  10. d |

    Dan, you linked it and you are always a funny and amusing guy, well, almost always.:) I loved that as a kid. I love beans, my favorite meal. Sounds like he was a down to earth kinda guy.

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