Friday, August 21, 2015

Ashley Madison and Planned Parenthood

More people seem to be upset about the Ashley Madison hack than about the edited videos being used to attack Planned Parenthood.  Chris Hayes was positively apoplectic in talking about the breach, because it was actually ruining lives.  In his defense, he tweets that this hack could just as easily have been one on confidential medical records, income tax returns or emails.

But why hasn't the attack on Planned Parenthood resulted in the same outrage?  Nikki Haley has expressed her outrage at the Ashley Madison hackers while vowing to begin an investigation of Planned Parenthood in South Carolina.  Not to be outdone, fellow idiot, Bobby Jindal, actually showed movies on a continuous loop outside of the governor's mansion of those abhorrent tapes.

But have you seen the video of Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor denouncing yet another Senate vote to defund Planned Parenthood? Nobody is playing that on a continuous loop.  I did not even hear it referred to on MSNBC; it might have aired at some point, but it surely didn't get the airtime of Donald Trump's latest attack of verbal diarrhea.

In Warren's speech, she gets right to the point:  our republican Congress has repeatedly attempted to shut down Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that government does not fund abortion services.  They have perpetuated lies and misdirection.  They have blocked unrelated bills by adding amendments to defund, and continue to threaten to shut down the government if Planned Parenthood is not defunded.

Meanwhile, small businesses like Stem Express are feeling the pressure of the intense publicity resulting from the bogus Center for Medical Progress films, and intensified by by House and Senate demands for them to appear before congressional committees.  They have essentially been forced to cut ties with Planned Parenthood in order to attempt to survive the assault.  Of course, the right-wing media is using this to further insinuate that it is Planned Parenthood's misbehavior that caused the rift.

The greatest difference between the Ashley Madison hack and the assault on Planned Parenthood is that the latter is based on lies, editing and misdirection.  Imagine, per Chris Hayes' tweet, that your income tax records were hacked, and then edited to show that you had broken the law in an egregious manner.  That is what is going on with the attack on Planned Parenthood.

It happened with ACORN, when a couple pretending to be applicants entrapped employees into making questionable statements.  Some of the same characters whose names have popped up egging on CMP provided the grist for the right-wing republican hate machine with the same dirty tactics.  Housing, voter fraud, abortion:  all red meat and headlines for the right-wing scam artists and the members of the echo chamber in Congress.

Here's the thing.  Next time you find yourself talking politics in a restaurant or at work, next time you send an email to a friend or post to Facebook, imagine that what you say is being taped or copied.  Imagine that at work there may be people who are listening to pick up anything you might say that could be heard as improper or inflammatory.

And how often does a friend, acquaintance, customer or stranger ask a leading question that you grudgingly answer in a way that you honestly don't believe rather than argue or be seen as different?  How often have you not responded to racist, anti-gay or misogynist comments in a way that made it absolutely clear that you disagree?  Imagine that this is being done in a planned and purposeful way.  On tape.  And then the tape is edited, further distorting what you just said.

That, friends, is the world we need to be worried about.  Whether it is Ashley Madison or Planned Parenthood, people are able and willing to expose us, for things we have done or not done, things we have said or haven't said, intentions we had or never did have.

That is why we need to bring the debate back to the lies.  Every time.  We need to keep asking the accusers, as did Elizabeth Warren, "Did you fall down and hit your head???"

Because it could happen to Bobby Jindal, as it did to Mitt Romney, as it did to those playing out their fantasies on Ashley Madison.  And just as those real faux pas can go viral, shit factories like the Center for Medical Progress can also crop up to "expose" right-wing groups.  I like to think that those on the left hold to higher standards than that, but, hey, it could happen.

That is why we all just might want to take another look at this new world of warfare.

No comments:

Post a Comment