When I type: "This is C.I.'s 'Iraq snapshot' for today:" -- that means I am featuring the snapshot C.I. has written. C.I. attends Congressional hearings and reports on them.
The e-mailer is correct that C.I. has not reported on them in a while. That is due to the August recess. Congress only got back this week. I think there are six hearings -- out of twelve C.I. and the gang plan on attending -- which C.I. thinks might be worthy of inclusion in a snapshot (including one hearing they will be attending tomorrow).
I really love the work C.I. does. And often Kat also reports and sometimes C.I. and Kat are joined by Wally and Ava reporting as well. That depends on the hearing -- if all four report. (In addition, some issues are reported in the newsletters.) But C.I. has really staked out the coverage and, at this point, no one even tries to ape her anymore. Spencer Ackerman used to try but he gave up some time ago having been wrong too often. See, some like to 'shade' the heariings. C.I.'s not interested in that and that is why she often includes lengthy transcripts of what was said and by who. Whereas the likes of Spencer Ackerman LIE when they cover hearings.
Remember Mr. Ackerman is a Journolister. That explains how he ignored Hillary Clinton's questioning of General David Petraeus and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker but was ga-ga over Barack Obama's awful questioing (which included stammering, being corrected by the witnesses, and going over the time limit). I have little use for liars.
Turning to the topic of Mr. Obama's Cat Food Commission which has Social Security in its sights, this is from Bob Somerby (Daily Howler) today:
As we noted a few weeks ago, the public has held such bollixed views since at least 1994 (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/16/10). In that year, the Associated Press reported a now-iconic survey of younger voters, aged 18 to 34. “Young Americans find it easier to believe in UFOs than the likelihood Social Security will be around when they retire,” the AP reported in September of that year. Among respondents, only 34 percent said they believed that Social Security would still exist when they retire.
That was the result of a survey conducted in 1994. In a survey conducted this very year, 60 percent of respondents told Gallup that they don’t expect to receive any Social Security benefits (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/19/10). This figure rose to 66 percent among respondents aged 35 to 54.
In fairness to Digby’s fellow citizens, some of their comments were perfectly reasonable. A woman in her 40s wondered where her late mother’s money had gone (that is, her mother’s payroll taxes). Depending on her age, that woman’s mother may have died without receiving any Social Security benefits at all, after a lifetime of paying into the system. That woman’s question is perfectly reasonable, although, in a better world, she would already know the answer. But then, why would we expect average people to understand the way Social Security works? Why would we expect average people to know how foolish it is to think that the system, if left alone, will ever go belly-up?
Can we talk? If the system is left alone, it’s utterly foolish for people to think that “there won't be any money there for us.” It’s also foolish to think that there is currently “no money left in the system.” It’s foolish to think that “the money” has “already been spent.” It’s foolish to think that the money has gone “into the congressmen's pockets.”
It has always been foolish to think these things—even in 1994, when massive numbers of younger voters said they didn’t think the program would be there for them. But it makes perfect sense that average people do think all these things, given the ugly, relentless conduct of that long, thirty-year war.
You see, for roughly the past thirty years, the American people have been aggressively disinformed about this crucial program. Repeatedly, they have heard strings of familiar, bogus statements—and they have rarely heard any attempts at rebuttal, correction or challenge. For the most part, this disinformation has come from “conservative” sources—but the “career liberal” world has rarely raised a finger to challenge this ugly war. Meanwhile, many of our liberal “intellectual leaders” have actively spread the disinformation. The rest of the liberal world has napped in the woods as this bombardment continued.I would love to talk about the above from another angle. But maybe it is of little value? I think it is of great value. I will leave it up to you to decide.
As Mr. Somebry notes, journalists wrote and gas bagged that Social Security was in trouble. And that is wrong and awful and misleading. But that is not all that took place. Every Thursday, we do a roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin and C.I. usually brings in two guests each week. Sometimes the two are reporters, sometimes entertainers, attorneys, sometimes novelists, whatever. Just two of C.I.'s friends who are either curious about what takes place in those roundtables or who are experts on a topic in the news. Two professors took part (from the D.C. area) two weeks ago. They had been wanting to do so for some time. And we had a lively discussion on the economy and on Iraq and we still had a few minutes left so C.I. noted that I write about Social Security here from time to time and that the professors knew a bit about the war on Social Security -- one from being a professor going back to the 80s, the other from having been a college student in the late 80s.
What took place on university campuses is never noted by Mr. Somberby (he may not be aware of it) but in the 80s (the so-called "Reagan revolution"), college Republican organizations had tons of money and college Democrats did not. And the college Republians were able to bring in various speakers -- some minor personalities -- who would talk and talk about how Social Security was about to fail (that would actually be "lie and lie about how . . ."). They would go into their classes armed with not only those lectures but various articles from their GOP college newspapers because the groups had money for those as well.
I was really surprised by that because of the fact that the college students are so young. If you want to destroy Social Security, go after the middle age people and try to scare them. But that is what our media has done. And the Republicans were thinking long-range. Mr. Somerby's column today includes a passing mention to a 1994 survey of young people. The belief that Social Security would not be around was firmly rooted in young people by then. It was encouraged in the activities I have already outlined and it was also encouraged by specific articles and books targeted for young people. The books would attempt to sell the lie that Social Security was about to go bankrupt and then surround that message with a bunch of pop culture nonsense that would appeal to young people, it would tell them as well that they were wonderful and flatter their egos. One example of this type of book was 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail? And these books would be assigned by conservative professors to their students. Not just in political science, but in sociology, in journalism, in history, in anthropology, in any variety of courses. So those who came of age during that time period have repeatedly been hit over the head with this lie presented as truth.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today: