Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Talk Keep Talkin Happy Talk

How's this for a White House public/private partnership strategy: blame the media for painting a too-gloomy picture of the economy, and keep insisting America is the greatest country on earth, the best of all possible worlds, and the glass is not only half full but almost overflowing.

Reuters Editor- at- Large Chrystia Freeland, who was invited to "moderate" a panel discussion of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in New York this past weekend, quoted a mega-banker as saying just that. According to her article,  Robert Wolf, chairman of UBS Americas, and one of  Obama’s earliest Wall Street supporters said: “Since I sat here a year ago, we have two million jobs that have been created. Exports have gone up by 10 percent and technology is booming, agriculture is booming. But when you look at the TV you hear what we are not doing well. I believe we have built a foundation and are on the right path.”

Yeah, that TV sure is biased, all right.  I have to give Freeland credit for not being a media stenographer on the meeting that the Public Private Obama Administration so obviously co-opted her into attending as a discussion "moderator" rather than a reporter.  Just beneath the surface of her balanced piece is the wee-est bit of healthy snarky skepticism.  A close reading reveals just what lengths the White House is willing to go in its propaganda campaign of getting the masses to put on their rose-colored glasses and just how they attempt to manipulate public opinion by cultivating the press. I loved this bit about Obama BFF and Chief Cheerleader and Presidential Back-Watcher Valerie Jarrett:

That’s why her determined good cheer at the forum matters. “We have good reason to be optimistic,” she said. “We have great entrepreneurs and the capacity to reinvent ourselves. This is still the best country on earth.”

The other panelists, all members of the Jobs and Competitiveness Council, faithfully chimed in in the same key. Brian L. Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, the cable giant that recently acquired a majority stake in NBC, said a positive outlook was essential to “make America a great place to live and work. We all want that to be the outcome, so it’s critical to have a sense of optimism."
Jarrett now runs something called The White House Office of Public Engagement and even blogs about it. Her entry today touts the oxymoronic "Corporate Voices for Working Families", a consortium of megabanks (including Goldman Sachs), giant pharmaceuticals and multinationals that strives to make life better for the workers.  Who needs a union or on-site day care or paid maternity leave when the beneficent corporations are now making it okay for new moms to bring breast pumps to work!  And thanks to the miracle of Public/Private, breast pumps are now tax deductible

And Jarrett is certainly enthusiastic if not very original: "As we work to Win the Future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world, we must use every tool at our disposal, and workplace flexibility is one of those tools!"  (take an extra 10 minutes, Honey, and pump away and we won't even dock your pay!)

In the best of all possible results of this ham-handed White House propaganda campaign of feel-goodism, the American people will at long last arrive at their Candide moment in the face of this hideously happy Panglossian assault.

"...and private misfortunes make the public good, so that the more private misfortunes there are, the more everything is well."
- Voltaire, Candide, Chapter 4


James F Traynor said...

Fuck 'em.

James F Traynor said...

Ah, that felt good! Thank you, Karen.

4Runner said...

The White House Office of Public Engagement a/k/a the White House Orifice of Happy HorseShit.

VLT said...

This combined with the creepy Obama letters have now taken on a surreal if not bizarre quality. Do they think we have lost the capacity to tell fact from fiction? Do these politicians and strategists think Americans are so glued to their idiot boxes that they are unaware of unemployment and our diminishing quality of life in America?

Who are these “strategists” who think if they can get enough politicians to say it over and over, people will buy into the lie? I think we have to be vocal about challenging this kind of message. We can't afford to let it be repeated so many times that it becomes accepted fact like WMD’s.

I find it really depressing that instead of tackling real problems and offering reasonable solutions the Democratic Party is reduced to smoke and mirrors. I suppose this is to be expected since the Republican Party has been using this strategy for some time. How else can we explain that after the economy crashed as a result of too much deregulation, the Right had the temerity to suggest that our economic woes were because we didn't deregulated enough?

Kate Madison said...

A bit off topic, but look into this website, coordinated by Van Jones and Justin Rubin (MoveOn). This could be the hope we have been waiting for!

Janet Camp said...

I've always thought that VJ was the fox guarding the hen house. She is a republican for sure.

Kate: I looked at the website. Thousands of comments, not much else. Will look again. A lot of new groups out there, but no concerted effort to build a real counter attack.

Juliana Britto said...

I just wanted to thank you for your comment on the NY Times article "Three States Short of a Secure Community." That article made me so angry, especially since I just did a post about it, that touched on very similar points to your comment.

Again, thanks for your word in the discusssion!

Kat said...

"...out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building"...
And out-housing the American worker!

seriously, though: "out-educating"? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Off Topic...


Have you heard about America Votes Action Fund? They're doing a (conference?) call on June 28 regarding the Wisconsin recall.


Jay - Ottawa said...

Back on the subject of Happy Talk, there was once a Roman who had a maxim about this:

What the Emperor holds back in Bread,
he makes up for with Circus.

-- Infortunatus Progressio

Janet Camp said...


No, haven't heard of it.

Conference call with whom?

Will check it out right now! Thanks.

Janet Camp said...


I'm already heavily involved, but it's good to know there's a group bringing info and news to a wider audience. Turning these state takeovers around is vital if we are going to grow a Progressive movement.

NY Times reported that New Hampshire just passed (over Governor's veto) a very restrictive abortion waiting period/parental notification act. They are now the THIRTY-SEVENTH state to have this type of law! We have a lot of work to do.

Back to topic: Is is truly insulting that the WH should be gabbling on about half full glasses and lemonade from lemons, blah, blah. Whenever I hear the lemons one I always ask: How good is your lemonade going to be without any sugar?

Anonymous said...

"As we work to Win the Future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world, we must use every tool at our disposal, and workplace flexibility is one of those tools!"

There is a key truth to this quote and that is what is needed among the workplaces across America is workplace FLEXIBILITY, meaning the ability of changing jobs without being held hostage because of the risk of losing health insurance. Of course this is not a risk for the young and healthy, or for those young and healthy who are wrong believe they are invincible. They just need to be brought into the fold. Once again, the clearest choice for getting this country moving again is for universal health care paid for by one entity like Medicare and CHIPS growing together (once a child gets a card he/she keeps it), called LIFECARE. The savings for employers that provide healthcare now at ever increasing cost, the savings to people who are now under the bankrupcy threat because of ill health, and the positive boost to this nation because healthy people can work and live to the best of their collective abilities will cure a lot of our social ills.

This can only be accomplished if the wealthy (in excess of $1 M of taxable income) pay the Pre-Reagan and Pre-Bush tax rates.

Come on people, make the leap, get healthy, get employed, and get political.