CNN, A Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing: Governor Moonbeam?

If you want to take my guns away from me, and you’re all for murdering fetuses, and love it when homosexuals marry each other, and want to give them kitchen appliances at their showers, and you’re for the poor, you’re a liberal.

If you are against those perversions and for the rich, you’re a conservative.

What could be simpler?

~ Kurt Vonnegut, “Cold Turkey” 2004

CNN has turned to crap. That’s been established. But yesterday was the capper to their crapper.

Monday, a great stain was lifted from California’s soul: the Coup d’Etat ended, even as one of its architects squalled on his way to the floor of congress, and ANOTHER of its architects kvelled, knowing that his phony astroturf organization would be co-hosting a presidential debate with CNN in 2012.

WARNING: This is going to be one of those split narrative things I do. If you are easily confused, I’d suggest you go here, instead. Caveat lector.

It seems like only yesterday …

Once upon a time, a plot was hatched to take out Governor Gray Davis of California. Why? Because California energy users had been raped for anywhere from $45 to $71 billion dollars by a company named “Enron,” (among others) whose predations after energy “deregulation” in California were epic and ended up taking down the company itself, famously.

Enter Howard Kaloogian.

Howard Kaloogian

And Darrell Issa.

And Sal Russo.

Wikipedia picks up the story (emphasis added):

On February 5, 2003, anti-tax activist Ted Costa announced a plan to start a petition drive to recall Davis. Several committees were formed to collect signatures, but Costa’s Davis Recall Committee was the only one authorized by the state to submit signatures. One committee “Recall Gray Davis Committee,” organized by Republican political consultant Sal Russo and former Republican assemblyman Howard Kaloogian played a supporting role in drumming up support. Kaloogian served as chairman, Russo as chief strategist of the committee.[12] After the recall both Kaloogian and Russo went on to found Move America Forward.[13][14]


The recall movement began slowly, largely relying on talk radio, a website, cooperative e-mail, word-of-mouth, and grassroots campaigning to drive the signature gathering.


The movement took off when wealthy U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican representing San Diego, California, announced on May 6 that he would use his personal money to push the effort. All told, he contributed $1.7 million of his own money to finance advertisements and professional signature-gatherers. With the movement accelerated, the recall effort began to make national news and soon appeared to be almost a sure thing. The only question was whether signatures would be collected quickly enough to force the special election to take place in late 2003 rather than in March 2004.

The Issa recall committee’s e-mail claimed that California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, belonging to the same party as the Governor, resisted certification of the recall signatures as long as possible. By mid-May, the recall organization was calling for funds to begin a lawsuit against the secretary, and publicly considered a separate recall effort for the Secretary of State (also an elected official in California).

However, by July 23, 2003, recall advocates turned in over 110% of the required signatures, and the Secretary of State announced that the signatures had been certified and a recall election would take place.

Darrell Issa explains how wide his committment is to fair process

Oh yeah, THAT Darrell Issa, who spent Monday threatening partisan witch hunts without end. Memeorandum for the first Monday of 2011 at 8:30 AM EST top of the page:

Philip Rucker / Washington Post:
Issa says Obama administration is ‘one of most corrupt’ — The Republican congressman who is taking over responsibility for congressional oversight called President Obama’s administration “one of the most corrupt administrations” on Sunday and predicted that the investigations he is planning

Discussion: Weasel Zippers, American Perspective, The Politico and American Power

Gschwarzcnn / CNN:
TRENDING: GOPer calls Obama administration ‘corrupt’ — (CNN) – The incoming House Oversight and Government Reform chairman on Sunday tried to clarify his recent remarks to Rush Limbaugh where he called President Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.”

Discussion: The Politico, Outside the Beltway, Stop The ACLU, The Moderate Voice, Maggie’s Notebook, Cubachi and skippy the bush kangaroo

Carrie Johnson / NPR:
Justice Department Braces For GOP Rule In House — Later this week, the Obama administration will get its first taste of life under the new Republican-led House of Representatives, and few government agencies will make a more attractive target for GOP oversight than the Justice Department …


Prairie Weather
Alan Colmes’ Liberaland: Incoming Oversight Chair Calls Obama Administration “One Of The Most Corrupt”

Right. The California usurper Issa (whose presumptive 2003 gubernatorial candidacy was shot down by the obscene campaign and unbelievable political freebie from Jay Leno, giving Arnold Schwarznegger the Tonight Show as a platform for the launch of his blitzkrieg campaign) is now set to cause every kind of trouble he can for the Obama Administration.

Schwarzenegger, it ought be remembered, made one of his first acts as Governator, the CANCELLING of the State of California’s $9 billion lawsuit against ENRON:

Arnold Schwarzenegger

On May 17, 2001, future Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Los Angeles Mayor Republican Richard Riordan met with Enron CEO Ken Lay at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills. The meeting was convened for Enron to present its “Comprehensive Solution for California,” which called for an end to Federal and state investigations into Enron’s role in the California energy crisis.[26][27][28]

On October 7, 2003, Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California to replace Davis.

And here:

On October 12, 2003 the Yurica Report posted what we considered to be one of the most important pieces of information for the people of California today. Faced with huge deficits and the prospects of the California economy going further south, the Governor-elect announced through his aides that he intends to settle lawsuits filed by Governor Davis and Cruz Bustamante against the companies that cost California citizens over $71 billion. The object of the suits is to regain the $9 billion in profits that were taken from the people of California. Mr. Schwarzenegger intends to settle these suits.


Mr. Schwarzenegger’s announcement to settle the lawsuits comes on the heels of an article written on the eve of the election by investigative reporter Greg Palast. Palast, whose reports appear on BBC television’s Newsnight, said that the Los Angeles based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights uncovered Enron internal memos regarding Mr. Schwarzenegger’s secret meeting in May 2001 with Kenneth Lay, the former CEO of Enron. The intent of the power company, according to Palast, was to sabotage the Davis-Bustamante plan to win back the $9 billion dollars in illegal profits earned by power moguls. The plan has worked so far….

You can read Greg Palast’s investigative report, and Project Censored followup for details.

Oh, remember this?

After the recall both Kaloogian and Russo went on to found Move America Forward.[13][14]

You mean “Move America Forward” which became “Our Country Deserves Better” which morphed into the “Tea Party Express” last year? THAT one?

Oh yeah.

And t’was THAT Sal Russo whose “Tea Party Express” is going to co-sponsor a GOPresidential debate with CNN. (See “CNN Completely Sells Out, or Why I Feel Sorry For Kenneth Vogel17 December 2010,  if you need to get up to speed.)

That’s a segue, kiddies, because if you can’t “get” how corrupt and sleazy this crap is, I can’t help you. So …

From the official Monday transcript of CNN’s increasingly execrable “The Situation Room:

[WOLF] BLITZER: Jack [Cafferty] is back for the new year.

Welcome back. Good work.


BLITZER: Jerry Brown is back as well. He was known decades ago as “Governor Moonbeam.” He was sounding a little bit spacey today as he was sworn in as the California governor again.



Zowie. You mean none of that Russo/Kaloogian/Issa coup d’etat was recalled? Or that Jerry Brown has just completed one of the most remarkable journeys in modern American political history?

Jerry Brown in the 1980s


You mean that his transformation from Governor of California to presidential candidate, to private citizen, and thence back to Mayor of Oakland, California, and Attorney General of California, and back into the governorship through an astonishing underdog campaign against mega-zillionaire Meg Whitman and her Ebay bucks isn’t worth a mention? Just a schoolyard snark?

Yup. Wolf never mentioned Jerry Brown after that. But here’s the entirety of what was said BEFORE his “Governor Moonbeam” snark and video clip:

Aired January 3, 2011 – 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Brooke, thanks very much.

Happening now, what could be the worst thing about being a new governor. Even for someone like Jerry Brown who’s been there before. This hour state leaders desperate to plug huge budget gaps. They’re look for courage and they are asking for sacrifice.


All together — get this — these states need to find $37 billion to cover expenses at the current levels, money they simply don’t have.

In terms of a dollar amount, California’s Jerry Brown is swimming in more red ink than any other new governor. The Democrat was sworn in today to the same job he held three decades ago. Listen to this.


GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: Speak the truth. No more smoke and mirrors on the budget, no empty promises. Second — second, no new taxes unless the people vote for them. And third, return as much as possible decisions that authorizes [sic] the cities and counties and schools closer to the people.



MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this sets the tone for what’s to come. States are struggling with piles of debt. And while the overall economy is expected to improve somewhat, states are facing deep cuts and governors facing tough choices.



SNOW: In California –

BROWN: The year ahead will demand courage and sacrifice.

SNOW: California’s new governor Jerry Brown faces a $28 million [sic, means BILLION] deficit and the state with the worst credit rating.

And that’s it.

So, since CNN is just a media sheep in Wolf’s clothing, and clueless about the “Tea Party” angle, let me at least correct them regarding the “Governor Moonbeam” snark. Here’s the New York Times, last year:

How Jerry Brown Became ‘Governor Moonbeam’

Published: March 6, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, when Jerry Brown — California’s once and would-be-future leader — declared he was running to win back his old job, he brought with him more than questions about his age (71) and his record of political service (40 years and counting).

He brought Moonbeam with him, too.

For the uninitiated, ‘Governor Moonbeam’ became Mr. Brown’s intractable sobriquet, dating back to his days as governor between 1975 and 1983, when his state led the nation in pretty much everything — its economy, environmental awareness and, yes, class-A eccentrics.

The nickname was coined by Mike Royko, the famed Chicago columnist, who in 1976 said that Mr. Brown appeared to be attracting “the moonbeam vote,” which in Chicago political parlance meant young, idealistic and nontraditional.


And so it was with Mr. Royko, who after many vicious gibes at Mr. Brown’s expense offered an outright apology to the governor, and spent years trying to erase the moniker.

In a 1991 column in The Chicago Tribune, he called the label, an “idiotic, damn-fool, meaningless, throw-away line,” and pleaded with people to stop using it.

“Enough of this ‘Moonbeam’ stuff,” Mr. Royko concluded. “I declare it null, void and deceased.”

It didn’t take. Mr. Royko died in 1997, and when Mr. Brown declared his candidacy last week, most, if not all, press accounts referred to his “Moonbeam” past. (This reporter included.) …

What a mensch you are, Wolf.

As the Times reporter noted:

The term had a nice California feel, and Mr. Royko eventually began applying it when he wrote about the Golden State’s young, idealistic and nontraditional chief executive. He found endless amusement — and sometimes outright agita — in California’s oddities, calling the state “the world’s largest outdoor mental asylum.”

Can’t imagine how you avoided THAT juvenile snark, Wolfie. It’s the schoolyard epithet raised to the level of “national journalism.” Bravo on that, Wolfie. That sure helps lift CNN out of the ratings toilet.

Blitzer with fellow game show host, Alex Trebec

I’m looking forward to seeing Russo, Kaloogian and Issa on your show, Wolfie. They all know that you’re an easier interview than Larry King used to be.

And having toppled the duly-elected governor of California, I can’t wait to see what they’ve got cooked up for our President.

Not that CNN will notice, of course.

CNN follows the Kaloogian/Russo bus. Their illustration.

Because, while they’re sheep in Wolf’s clothing, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, pulling the wool over their eyes seems an easy feat.

And, of course, if your name is “Wolf” one wonders at the propriety of name-calling. Stones and glass houses, you know.

One of the few good things about modern times:
If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.

~ Kurt Vonnegut, ibid.

Happy Epiphany!



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2 responses to “CNN, A Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing: Governor Moonbeam?

  1. My understanding is that Jerry Brown acquired the “Moonbeam” sobriquet because he predicted that someday in the future there would be hundreds of satellites orbiting the earth doing all kinds of things, including spying on everyone — listening to all our conversations and looking down at us from above. People thought he was nuts at the time.

    He actually was quite prescient, no?

    Interesting how the idiots in the media keep dragging it up and even Mr Royko who gave it to him in the first place pleaded with them to quit using it was unsuccessful. Some people just cannot let something go.

    Jerry Brown has always done a good job in the various offices and positions he has held – something that is a rarity nowdays. I look forward to seeing how he handles the current mess — given that he is hamstrung by Prop 13 and the teabaggers in the state legislature along with a sea of red ink as far as the eye can see.

    • You’re exactly right, lokywoky (if that IS your real name). I didn’t want to delve into how many of his “moonbeam” proposals are now accepted realities and policy now, because it would have taken the piece too far astray and confused the reader even more than I’ve confused the reader already.

      (Remember, though: reactionary old Mike Royko voluntarily ate his words, and tried to take it back. Very few self-respecting journalists do that nowadays. Seemed that Brown wasn’t the flake the late great Chicago newspaperman had originally thought him to be, and Rokyo corrected himself.)

      But yes, you are, as we used to say back in those more hopeful days, “right on.”

      Just for fun: Here’s a nice quote from Mike Royko in 1984 when Rupert Murdoch bought the Chicago Sun-Times, the paper Royko was writing for: “No self-respecting fish would want to be wrapped in a Murdoch paper” and: “His goal is not quality journalism. His goal is vast power for Rupert Murdoch, political power.”

      Royko was occasionally prescient, too.