I don't know what prompts me to save some links, or how they get buried in odd categories. But there is this reminder from Reason magazine in 2014 of what the pattern was for scandals in the supposedly scandal-free Obama administration. It chills me that this is still offered as a supposed positive about the Obama years. Everyone has scandals. It's DC, and there are rent-seekers, grifters, and ambitious people everywhere. All of these politicians came up in political environments of punishment and reward - even the nice guys. So to say "there were no scandals" is to breeze right by the obvious. There were scandals. What happened to them? How can supposedly alert, even cynical and skeptical people not see red flags there? Anyway...
Third, Obama tells America he's angry. He did it when the IRS scandal couldn't be ignored in the media anymore, telling the press he was angry about it. Obama was angry about the botched Obamacare website rollout, too. This past weekend, the president relayed his anger over the V.A. scandal via an aide. And when he's not angry, he's concerned or frustrated, as he said he was in the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden's NSA revelations. The president insisted he was preparing to tackle the issues surrounding the secret surveillance programs even before Snowden forced the issue into the public sphere. He said, in fact, that he welcomed the debate, even as his government moved to prosecute Snowden, the whistleblower who made that debate possible. The important thing for the president is to signal to the public that he cares—even in circumstances where he claims he only found out about the issue by reading about it in the paper.
Then from 1997 there was Dances With Myths, about the ridiculous falsehoods that grew up and are still widely believed about Native Americans. Do they still teach that Chief Seattle quote in high schools these days? I protested it when sons three and four were in school. I figured it was particularly bad for schools to tell lies to children who had been born behind the Iron curtain.
Similarly, where game was plentiful, Indians used only the choicest cuts and left the rest. When the buffalo hunting tribes on the Great Plains herded hundreds of animals over cliffs in the 18th and early 19th centuries, tons of meat were left to rot or to be eaten by scavengers–hardly a result consistent with the environmental ethic attributed to Indians. Samuel Hearne, a fur trader near Hudson's Bay, recorded in his journal in the 1770s that the Chipewayan Indians would slaughter large numbers of caribou and musk ox, eat only a few tongues, and leave the rest to rot.
Yet at our little program about coyotes that the library put on in our town the other night, we were reminded again that it was the white man who left thousands of buffalo to rot on the plains after killing them for sport. I am certain that did also happen. But one story is told and the other is not. Unless you live near Buffalo Jump, I suppose.
People don't seem to know how to move from racism to justice, only from one kind of racism to another kind, depending on what's in fashion.
There are lies, and LIES, and humongous LIES.
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