Wednesday, March 28, 2007


What explains the failure of the mainstream media to cover the purge scandal for so long, and so many other scandals? Do you think somebody just set up newspaper editors to cheat on their wives, and threatened to tell if the editors wouldn’t play ball when they come back some day and ask for something?

It wouldn’t be that hard to do, when you think about it. People wouldn’t talk about it.

Check out this Carpetbagger Report post about how Time magazine failed to cover the scandal at all until well after it had exploded on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Jersey City Geography

Today I mentioned in a comment that I lived near a couple of housing projects in Jersey City near the JC/Bayonne border when I was young. Just for the record, these projects may have been torn down since then (as a lot of housing projects have been in NJ) but anybody who's lived around that spot for a couple decades or so would be able to tell you where they used to be. It was right within a half mile or so of where Kennedy Boulevard runs between Jersey City and Bayonne, around a private highschool in Bayonne. Today's lesson is, if you're going to write or talk about fuzzy memories from your childhood, you'd better get it right- or say to what extent you don't know- because people are scuzzy and are not necessarily going to ask you or treat it realistically if you don't get it precisely right.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

From the people who brought you the K-Street Project, it's The Fucking Up The Rest Of Your Life Project

How many women Democratic staffers, liberal women in journalism, and women liberal social activists in DC do you think have actually fellated a guy who they thought was a liberal but actually wasn’t, or at least thought wasn’t dating them just to manipulate them, but actually was?

Sort of to have a contact that the guy’s bosses can alway have him swoop in to give bad advice or encourage it to be given, or for a hook-up when the woman is running low on time before a big deadline, needs her life otherwise disrupted, or is about to get into a relationship with a real liberal guy?

Sure, conservatives wouldn’t want liberals to have families, be seen as having families, or see themselves as having families- to have a stable community of friends, rather than a group of friends that is constantly cheating on, cuckholding, and divorcing each other. And who cares if you wanted to have real relationships and raise kids? Messing up your life is a fun way for a conservative to make the world what they see as a better place and only hurts a person who they think doesn’t really count.

I always ask myself, Would they do it if someone suggested it? and if the answer is yes, my guess is they did it.

Would you think that was serious?

How To Annoy Republicans

[Closed for editing]

Friday, March 23, 2007

We all have to wonder. . .

I've got to wonder, in light of the headlines: what kind of world is this where veterans at the veterans retirement home live in such bad conditions that can get maggots in a wound, and an army hospital keeps patients in similar misearble conditions, but people try to bully prosecutors into letting big tobacco off the hook? What kind of Republicans are these?
Writing my recent blog posts reminded me of a few things, the kind of things that substantiate what I write about but that I don't often cite or repeat- trusting that you'll all have read basically the same things I have read and have an idea of how I'm getting my opinion. This makes my posts shorter and saves me time but I'd like to recount some of these things now to give a greater perspective on the kinds of personalities I've described in my last few posts.

First off, consider an anecdote you might have heard of from Hillary Clinton's Living History. In the book, Hillary Clinton talked about a guy who worked at the White House or in the executive branch during her husband's presidency who worked in a security capacity, or whose job involved security expertise. The guy was an ex-FBI agent or something like that. He didn't get along with any of the staffers in the Clinton White House and he went on to write a tell-all book about his experiences there, in which his biggest revelations and complaints consisted of stuff like not liking the manners of staffers serving themselves from the White House cafeteria. This is the kind of stuff we should all be used to by now from observing Republicans' behavior- all their deepest held beliefs are founded on irrational, arbitrary quibbles about liberals' personal behavior. When a Republican breaks little social rules, they consider it cool and cute and a demonstration of their knowing which lines can be crossed. When liberals do it, it's always wrong, and every nuance of behavior or miniscule screw-up you have is always goofy, dorky, and a symptom of something deeply wrong with you morally or psychologically. Hillary recounts a precious instance of first meeting this guy during which he gave her a stern stare and wouldn't part eyes from her. From a white guy's point of view, it really sounds like what happened is this guy wanted to stare Hillary Clinton down. Why would he do that? After having read it all, it really sounded to me like this guy just has a fantasy about himself being the ultimate man and the ultimate warrior, and in his fantasy world women can't be leaders, or can't be without somehow implicitly acknowledging his super-heroness and drawing her eyes aware from his world-tempered stare. My reaction to that kind of guy, is Oh, please. Guess what, buddy, women can be capable leaders too and just because you love yourself doesn't mean anything- it doesn't mean you're especially strong, and especially if your actions show you're actually a petty fool who cares most about what every single woman thinks about you- particularly, trying to dominate those women for no reason. And this is no matter whether she's your boss or whether the woman doesn't even have anything to do with you.

Here's another story about how great these guys who believe in a fantasy of their own manliness and righteousness are: according to the Justice Department’s inspector general, the “FBI engaged in widespread and serious misuse of its authority in illegally gathering telephone, e-mail and financial records of Americans and foreigners while hunting terrorists.” Glenn Fine, the internal watchdog who revealed the data-gathering abuses said “It really was unacceptable and inexcusable what happened here” (Hat tip to the Carpetbagger Report). What were they gathering those e-mails and telephone records for? Their own personal use? To make a list of people they don't like? Is the FBI their tool to pursue some kind of absurd hobby? Does every FBI agent who has this power use it to investigate the people he knows and the women he meets just for the hell of it? In short, who are these losers who did this?

Sometimes, one gets the impression that a lot of people in the FBI are fools from extremely boring towns in the midwest who have a distorted view of the cities as places that are completely vice ridden from the movies they watched growing up. But those are movies. There are plenty of good people in and near the cities and we all don't need these asses from the midwest who don't know anything about us illegally peeking into what we all do for their own absurd reasons.

Here's another one: the former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) (now an incarcerated convict), a month before pleading guilty to accepting bribes, criticized one of the purged U.S. Attorneys, Carol Lam, for “lax” handling of immigration crimes. Lam was pursuing Cunningham at the time. Cunningham worked with a CIA employee to illegally obtain government contracts. So what's this? This guy is especially interested in prosecuting brown people whose only crime is coming to this country to get jobs? That shows you what kind of people run in that Republican crowd.

Cunningham and his CIA friend were also involved with a whorehouse. Shows you that even people in the CIA have no claim over being right or wrong that the rest of us don't; this guy sounds just as corrupt as anybody involved with the Bush White House.

None of this was done for security, like all these Republicans say to our faces. It was done for bribes. They say we have to trust them for our security, and then these assholes use the power we gives them for their own little projects.

All this stuff may be old news, but seeing it all together really paints the picture of what these people are really like, doesn't it? Anyone can talk gallantly or self-righteously in front of a TV camera. But who are these guys really, Republicans and cops? Would we really be safe to assume that 90% of them are assholes no matter how they act?

The Oct. 24, 2005 issue of The American Conservative reports on all the money, your taxpayer money, that has been stolen by the Republicans who handled the contracting of reconstruction work to all their friends. Shows you why us liberals were so concerned about the war just being for profit, doesn't it? We know that this is what Republicans are like or to be suspicious of them. The American Conservative describes the scandal: "Billions of dollars have disappeared, gone to bribe Iraqis and line contractors’ pockets."

According to sources cited by the Carpetbagger Report, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen’s office “opened 27 new criminal probes in the last quarter [of 2006], bringing the total number of active cases to 78. Twenty-three are awaiting prosecutorial action by the Justice Department, most of them centering on charges of bribery and kickbacks.”

When we put these Republicans in power, we got military operations, but we got them performed by the worst people to do them.

Who Conservatives Are

Thinking about my last few posts has prompted me to think of some other things. A while ago I wrote something in which I talked about Republicans as being like bullies. I want to elaborate here a little more for people who wouldn't know on what I think those people might be like- the people who really make decisions for the conservatives now, as opposed to the rest of the conservatives. This will help you to understand what you're up against realistically.

Those who are, I think, choosing the direction of the conservative movement are pretty ugly individuals. Picture a guy who's biggest peeve is that he's heard people from other countries say one or two times that they think of Americans as fat, couch potatoes, basically wimps- not tough guys. This ignoramus wants, for some reason, everybody around the globe when they hear ugly middle class Americans' voices when they're taking their vacations at some tourist trap to break out in fearful trembling and think, "Oh no! Americans!" For some reason it is the most important thing in the world for this guy that people start to see our lazy, messy, self-centered, rude fat asses as some kind of dangerous thugs as be horrified when they see a middle-aged, middle-class American woman out with a couple of her young kids. His wet dream is that we're a warrior nation, and he wants to mold us into what he thinks that is, for no other reason than it makes him feel good, despite what the incidental consequences of his efforts would be if he could accomplish them, which he does not know. Or picture the jock from high school grown up and running things- his biggest grudge against the world was that there might be a young woman that might reject him, might like an artsy guy or a guy who's into music better. These guys are so sensitive and have such fragile personalities that to them it's the biggest blow in the world that every single girl does not think that the best guy is him and prefer muscles, height and dumbness over any other attributes a guy could have, every time. So when a girl does go for another guy, especially one not like him, he feels petty spite and literal feels that the girl and the guy deserve to be hurt for the injustice of him not being preferred over everybody else all the time. Picture somebody who never really cares when his own relatives or friends get sick or injured.

Liberals are really missing, I think, a lot of the time when they try to imagine the minds they are up against, that they are opposing politically. You tend to take the public face of the GOP and mix that in with your own psychological needs for comfort from the world around you, and you don't adequately explain where all the ugliness you've encountered in life goes and why it is not running things. You don't consider the actions of people and groups and try to explain what kind of mind pursues those actions. If you try to correct for these sources of error I think you will understand much better where the GOP is going and what they are.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Defense against assholes

In these unusual times, a lot of people, or a lot of people who just didn't know enough about politics, may find themselves working for assholes. A question arises then, what should you do if you find yourself working for assholes, let's say if you're a minority and you find that the people who patronized you, who you work for, are really racist. You got what seemed like the best job in the world, and you were happy about that, but now you have to face the truth. What should you do?

In Nazi Germany, things went so bad and the Nazis got so powerful only because many people were intimidated- that's true enough. But the Nazis were brought down partly because so many people feigned loyalty- survived the Nazis' purges on undesirables, and the secretly disloyal- and then used their positions to undermine the Nazis. There was a man I read about who was a high-up official in the German intelligence during WWII, who was actually a very right-wing German, and he disagreed with Hitler because he saw what Hitler was doing as wrecking his country. He pretended to be loyal, though, and Hitler trusted him, made him a higher-up in the intelligence agency, and from that position the guy was able to do a lot to screw up Hitler's plans in the war. This guy saw himself as saving lives in the long-run, which of course is true.

If you find yourself in a good job that you could have only dreamed of, the type that would impress your friends and family, but then find out the people you are working for are assholes, but the job is so hard to leave you didn't want to believe it at first, I think you should consider staying and doing your part. I don't think you should worry about people like me, any other specific liberals. I think you should try just being exactly what they want to see from you, staying on and looking realistic as possible, and then you can do more to help things get better. And remember, people often believe the most not what's the most believeable, but what they most want to believe. So it might be the best route if some guy sees you as a loyal, obedient person who is in awe of how great he is (even if he secretly gets to think that you're just another inferior person he can screw over and that you're going to get what's coming to you when the assholes get a chance).

Similarly, if you find you've made friends with a conwoman, you actually shouldn't stay friends with her. If you do, even if you hinted to other people not to trust her, your friends could make their own judgments and end up deceived into something really bad. Even if you have a feeling the conwoman is not so bad, if her loyalty is to someone else she might still decide to do the bad things they order her to do to you, or if they see that she's like that, they might keep everything they want to do hidden from her, and just let her see her part of the job, while letting her think she's being told everything so she'll trust them. If you stay friends with a conwoman, 1) You should have specific reasons for doing it that have to do with solving the problem of getting deceived by a conwoman, and 2) you should have specific plans for how you are not going to let yourself and others be harmed. But not wanting to feel stupid is actually not a reason to stay friends with her. You can not let her know you suspect her and still stop talking to her; a lot of naive people actually overestimate the effect that confronting a deceiver will have on them, and end up doubly deceived when the conwoman or man stays cool under questioning.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An imaginary exercise

* I updated this a little bit and added three sentences.

In these unusual times we live in, I hope you'll join me in what might be a fruitful imaginary exercise for a moment, the better to examine the lessons of the past. When people think about the Holocaust, they often marvel that six million modern, savvy, well-off people could be led to their deaths so easily. Scholars examine this, and they determine that one of the reasons that so many went to their deaths so passively is because a lot of the Jews were cooperating more closely with the Nazis, as basically subordinates in dealing with the Jews. This helped the Nazis conduct the final solution more efficiently, because they dealt with their victims through intermediaries who knew about them, and the faith the Jews had in their leaders led them to trust the voices who were telling them that their problems might be solved if they'd only abandon all their property, go live in a camp for a while, or give up their business to an ethnic German or wear a yellow star on their clothes, or whatever other surrender of rights was called for. That these leaders got some of the Jews to participate gave an air of legitimacy to following the orders, and the others Jews who would not have followed in the absence of seeing some other people follow were won over. Then, a bandwagon effect was created, and even people who wouldn't think too much about who to trust or who remained very skeptical of the Nazis' orders went along. So all these people went unknowingly to their deaths until it was too late, and despite hearing rumors that the camps Jews were being sent off to were actually death camps. If we live in interesting times today, it may be worthwhile to consider what is the equivalent in America of getting some of the people to cooperate to make oppression of the rest possible.

So people can screw you over the best by getting help from some of your own. Now begins the exercise: let's say you're a liberal. Now, people come to see you who you suspect of being Republicans, or think are totally nonpartisan, or you suspect of being slightly conservative. They decide to tell you some fantastic things, and they ask you to help them in their project. The question is, are they really complete ideologues, like the George Bush White House, complete Rush Limbaugh nuts who are only working for partisan advancement, or are they regular people who have legitimate goals? They talk very nicely to you, without any open contempt. They tell you that they need your help in dealing with a threat posed by someone who, in the absence of what they're telling you, seems to be a very nice person. Why shouldn't you think that these people who have come to talk to you are totally legit?

The answer comes from something we learned in law school: giving 'em the headlines. If you want to be persuasive, and get people on your side, you want to be the first one that tells them everything. You don't want the other side to tell them anything having to do with your problem you haven't told them first. At best, you don't want the other side to get to tell his side of the story at all. This is why the Rush Limbaugh types, the Republicans might actually try to get you on their side first, and not be openly disdainful of you as a liberal, even if what they're trying to get you to do is participate in something totally wrong- like the political firings of the prosecutors, and all the other scandals and abuses of power Republicans created- if they can get you to believe it. This is why it's preferable, at the best for them, to effectively make unscrupulous conservative efforts look like bona fide legitimate causes with true bipartisan appeal.

This also provides great cover- if it ever gets out into the open what they're doing, they'll be able to say that they were working on what they were doing with you, the biggest liberal in the world, and whoever else, and you all thought it was ok. Also, you're not really necessarily going to know what's going on. If the Republicans are coming to you, the biggest liberal of all, and asking you to help them, if you're not too penetrating and skeptical about people, you'll take it for granted that they're not doing something abusive, partisan, and wrong, and you'll really hesitate, maybe even when you think you're not hesitating, to really perceive what's going on and what it is you're being asked to help with.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some more thoughts on the CIA

(This is a follow-up on a post on the CIA and the Iraq war from a few weeks ago)

Over the past few years, the CIA has been mentioned in the media much more frequently than it had been before that. Often, as I noted in my previous post, these reports have supplied fodder for the inference that the CIA is a nonpartisan organization (unlike Fox News, many other federal bureaus and regulatory agencies since Bush came to office, and, at least to a lesser degree, probably every other institution in contemporary America) or at least for the inference that it is nonpolitical enough to be professional and competent in the face of a White House and legislative branch which have been increasingly exposed as exploiting their powers and responsibilities for selfish political gain, and, unfortunately, for little else. However, for liberals, this description belies what for many of us had been old hat and common sense.

Prior to 9/11, a well-informed, well-educated liberal could hear of or read the stories of how the CIA was involved in fomenting massacres of innocent civilians in South America, and of how the FBI was extremely racist not very long ago, and how in the COINTELPRO cases (Hobson v. Wilson, etc.) the FBI was found liable for harassing and committing civil rights violations against activist groups-- acts beyond its legal authority. Today, the FBI are treated as heroes in movies, but not too long ago, in pursuit of racist goals, they were hunting down politically active liberals of any race to harass them and destroy their lives. Having heard these stories, one has to wonder what kind of people these groups draw their personnel from, and to wonder how we know some change has occurred so that the personnel who used to be racist in these groups, are all now somehow replaced, or not racist anymore, so that these groups cannot be using their power anachronistically to promote aims that are contrary to the values of the American people.

Common sense- in addition to the anecdotes we've heard about the FBI or the CIA- tells us that no one kind of people, no people in any particular context (whether race, occupation, or geographic location, etc.) are uniformly great, moral people. All sorts of institutions have a variety of people working for them, in terms of aptitude and morality. And these institutions go through cycles of becoming corrupt and abused and well-functioning. With all the focus on the CIA in the news, that common sense may make one wonder who are all these people, what are the ways their actions may be reviewed and who reviews them, what really governs them, how can they be fired if individual people within the CIA are capable of doing so much covertly, how they can be trusted not to hire people and assign people to jobs and promote people on illegitimate bases (such as political party affiliation, holding of racist views, or religion) and how we can be sure their judgment and their methods are competent.

Take this a little further and consider the CIA with your common sense in the context of today's time. With all the concern over civil liberties since 9/11 happened, it's natural to wonder who are the people who so badly want to be able to torture suspects in their custody that whether to augment their authority becomes a national controversy. Especially when those suspects turn out to be innocent of wrongdoing- just cab-drivers and such and not terrorists (if the CIA were so excellent, you'd think we wouldn't hear stories like this, wouldn't you?). Look at this in the context of history and consider what other things people have done when they've felt threatened: when the nation and its police have such a long and recent history of racism, it's natural to wonder who are the individuals who will be conducting our "War on Terror" against these Middle Eastern people (After all, a war against a radical, popular religious enemy of a religion held almost exclusively by non-whites is the closest thing you can get to an actual race-war. And the biggest supporters of the war describe it in the press as a nigh-perpetual war). It's natural to want to know whether those people are the kind of people who are into the Christian Identity movement, whether they are the type of people who love G. Gordon Liddy and other irrational conservative talk show hosts.

It's natural knowing the history of secret police to not want crazy individuals who would go beyond their authority or not understand where their authority should end to wield that power; people who would decide in the course of using their authority in a heavy-handed, overly-broad way against the Muslims they are investigating, to "imagine" they also see wrong-doing by the liberal political activists they hate. And it especially makes sense in the context of post-9/11 time, when it's all too easy for people to talk to themselves in language suggesting that, now, anything is justified-- even when we all know that the complicated rules that govern our police and society are just in place to prevent evil abuse and damaging incompetence. Despite all the focus from the media, recently, though, we don't see much speculation on the CIA, or questioning of their performance or judgment, even though they wield such extensive power.

Once you've awakened this interest to make sure the sins of secret police of the past aren't repeated, and these people do not become corrupted, I think a few reasons draw attention to themselves to question the specific things we've heard about the CIA over the past few years. And even more than the general concerns that secret police in a general sense should work in a fair and just manner, there are specific reasons to prompt you to worry about our particular CIA now, even though you individually may be more naturally inclined (incorrectly, as I think I've shown) to believe that everything the CIA does should remain the CIA's business and no one else should care. For example, we know the CIA trained Bin Laden, and we know the CIA quit looking for him for quite a while- but you'd think they have nothing better to do than look for him. This should prompt anybody to wonder why. And this is regardless of how much sense any explanations particular people might guess for this make. With this CIA, it seems that not only do most of us not wonder, but that we've cut off our ability not only to ask but to even wonder. In any other context, we might ask, How do we know these people are not just a bunch of dopes or have lost their taste for dangerous work? Or, How do we know that they have not lost their taste for hard work, that usually goes with any kind of good reputation?

Even though it's possible the CIA could be a bunch of dopes, or people who want to control our society, or losers, while they are responsible for investigating terrorism, we have all not seemed that interested in questioning it. The urban legend about the CIA is that they've got the best people working for them, and that they only recruit the best people (they don't sound like the kind of people who would capture innocent cabbies and torture them, they sound like true heroes). Why do we believe the urban legend, when we don't believe legends applied to other groups (the virtue of priests, cops, and members of our own ethnic groups and faiths)? As we grow more old and mature, we lose our naivete about all types of people. But the CIA, unlike any other group or person, is uniquely positioned to protect its reputation. No one else can not only say what they want about themselves and what they do, but keep what they actually do otherwise secret.

So once we've been prompted to become skeptical again, there are a few things we might be skeptical of that we've seen in the media, that go beyond particulars (e.g., stopping chasing Bin Laden) to implicit themes the media messages support about what the CIA really is.

1 One is that the CIA is not ideological.

2 Another is that you can judge what the CIA is really about from how one spokesman to the media of the CIA, or one press statement, represents the group, or how one ex-CIA operative who discusses the CIA and security matters to the press seems.

3 Another is that the CIA is professional and competent and works within the bounds of ethics and within the legal limits placed on the organization's power, and not to further any individual CIA officer's personal, egotistical, or ideological ends, to the point of damaging the legitimate, practical ends of the American people.

As far as being ideological, you should think about what kind of person would want to belong to a secret police organization. What kinds of people have you known that wanted to become regular police? What kinds of people that you knew actually became police? Or became military personnel? A lot of us think police stories and war adventures are interesting when we're growing up. A lot of liberals enjoy movies and books and fiction that center around those kinds of themes, and probably secretly wish or have wished they could do the kinds of things portrayed there. The popularity of police and military movies attests to the appeal of these stories beyond any particular profession or type of person. But do liberals actually get those jobs? Not really. It's much more common for a liberal to grow out of that, to think that other pursuits are a better use of his or her abilities-- and if a liberal does join the military, to only use it as stepping stone to something greater in life. Liberals are not hobby warriors who mentally masturbate themselves to the idea of warfare and controlling people and hurting people, to the idea of humiliating people, and they think that other things are more interesting than fighting. They may think fighting is interesting, but they read books on other things, on science and literature and so forth, and not just about police and fighting and wars all the time. There's a reason why police organizations were historically racist. That there aren't liberals in a group means that it's conservatives who are left over, and we know what conservatives are like, especially when they're left in a group with no one else around.

I don't mean to imply that police departments are all racist or all full of assholes, and we all have stories of the good cop we've met. But I do mean to suggest what people tend to do. I think most police departments, if I had to guess, can be described by a three-way split. One third of the guys may be the worst, real assholes- the guys who harass you when they pull you over, real racists, the guys we read about who rape women or run whorehouses. Another third of the guys may be along for the ride with that first third of the guys, may admire the first third, may know about most of the wrong and criminal practices the first third engages in, and may be easily talked into what those guys want to do- but in the absence of the worst, they wouldn't exactly be thinking up all those horrible things to do, or want to do it all, themselves. Then we have the third that are really just along for the ride, and this includes those who are (relatively) good cops. These may condone what the others do just out of loyalty to fellow cops- to not be policing their buddies so that their buddies will support them- and even though they know those guys are bad guys, they may never speak up about the wrong things the others do, even if they may really want to a few times. Even some of this third may be racist (which partly motivated them to become cops), but only in a passive way, not at all like the active way members of the other two thirds may be. Of course we should be worried about who calls the shots in a police department- the bad third is easily enough going to contain pushy people, and we tend to make people who are relatively pushy leaders- rather than push-overs. Whether one third or another controls a particular police department is going to be a matter of chance and history as regards any particular police department. And I do think this is a pretty fair summary of a typical police department, if you want to know what I honestly think.

If the CIA is anything like this, you may agree we have reason to be concerned, and especially if the bad third is in control of things- as probably too often has been the case with municipal, state police departments. With all the right-wing yahoos out west, and with the Evangelical co-opting of the Air Force Academy, do you think there are no wackos in the CIA? It might be that a lot of the leadership are like a cross between D-FENS from the movie Falling Down and John Doe from the movie Seven- guys who would love the movie Seven but who would never in a million years see that its message is a critique of unbridled law enforcement, not praise of it- that the writer is saying that maybe homicide detectives really should be able to kick down doors without a warrant sometimes, but that Puritan wackos like John Doe don't realize that what they want is unobtainable and not worth the efforts they make (basically terror) to try to obtain.

As far as thinking that the whole personnel of the CIA, including its current leaders, are accurately represented by the impression you got from one person you saw on TV speaking for the CIA, or one instance of CIA action being reported on TV news, I would just like to remind you that it would be really unlikely if any organization so large contained only people who were birds of a feather. Indeed, the GOP in general contains stooges (for example, black people in the GOP are sell-outs or stooges), people who are useful for stupid-work because they are more expendable (i.e., perhaps not as ideological, or racist, as others are) and who can rise in the ranks from being lower servants to being greater servants, but can never really make real decisions. That one person who used to be in the CIA decides to write novels, become a consultant on terrorism to the federal government, write other books on learned subject, speaks very well and seems alright when he is interviewed on TV for his security point of view, does not represent what other people in the CIA are like- and he may not even really be as nice as he seems. And how many examples of openly ex-CIA people who are like that are there, really?

Going back again to the third assumption- that the CIA is not ideological to the point of doing things they're not supposed to to pursue goals they're not supposed to pursue- reminds me of all the criticism of the Iraq war intelligence by the CIA in its statements to the press. Surely, the CIA knows what is in its interest and knows what's not, and knows that it is a threat to it if it is seen as doing anything it is not supposed to be doing. The CIA probably thinks the American people are a threat to it and that CIA employees are a threat to it, and knows that it's best for it that the American people and CIA employees both perceive it as not dishonestly sending them to do things for the wrong reasons, and is conscious of effecting how both perceive it. What this means is, if you think it's likely that the CIA knew that endorsing the intelligence the Bush administration was using about weapons to justify the war to the press would be leaving themselves vulnerable to being caught in a lie to the press, and the lie was a lie that would set Congress to send the American people to war, do you really think the CIA would do it? Secret police that are seen as Gestapos cannot last or thrive. So statements from the agency about what it thinks about something are worthless for telling us what it really thinks, but only definitely useful for telling us how it wants to be perceived. Especially if you are inclined to conclude that CIA people are a lot more likely to be like Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio wackos than other types of people, who would probably enjoy the idea of eliminating people who aren't white.

Focus On The Family

The Carpetbagger Report, in a recent post, reported how James Dobson responded to
the Media Matters report on this obvious conservative bias of the Sunday-morning politics talkshows. Dobson's subordinate's complaints included, for one, that Focus was afraid that Dobson would get spoken to in a disapproving tone. I've actually noted Tim Russert's modus operandi of of his voice to communicate approval for Republicans and disapproval for Democrats. I expect Dobson would receive the same warm treatment from Tim.

the media and blogs

Just a little sidenote on this post from yesterday: if the media is doing all this on mainstream newspapers and tv stations, including news channels, how much easier would it be to accomplish the same effect with blogs?

How do you know for sure that all the bloggers you love best aren't something different than they claim to be? Reason by analogy from Republicans' voting in other parties' primaries. That's a long-standing and common practice, that wasn't hard for people to think up- you kow Republicans have been involved in many similar practices. And what if like 85% of the commenters on a favorite blog you read weren't really liberals, but were there to create a misperception and a bandwagon effect? How hard wouldn't that really be to do?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Few Words On The Media

A few days ago, the Carpetbagger wrote this and I wrote this. So what's going on with the media? I think everyone who pays attention can agree it seems like something- from our own experiences with the major outlets, to what we see reported on in the blogs, to all the things Media Matters catches because they're looking for it all the time, the irregularities in the media have been proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, irregular. FNC's regular promotion of statements a blog later proves false, or headlines that are misleading, without ever a correction or a retraction, make FNC's operations equal to those of a propaganda news organization in a fascist state. So I have to ask you, if someone is using improper influence on major newspapers throughout the country as well as major news channels, why after all these years hasn't evidence turned up? Why hasn't the scandal come to light as evidence of any scandal involving bumbling party politicians and activists always inevitably does? If this is just the people who do K-street, if this is just the Harriet Miers types, the young Republicans, the people who were involved in the prosecutor purge scandal or the outing of Valerie Plame-- just threatening to blacklist people or to spread gossip about them, the usual modus operandi we always hear about by way of explanation-- why hasn't somebody leaked something about it this time? Think about that, and you'll start to appreciate why I write on my blog and say in my videos that someone has to create an organization to deal with the threat of FNC, and the problem has to be taken seriously by liberals.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Dick Cheney

On Wednesday, the Carpetbagger mentioned that Dick Cheney is refusing to allow reporters who interview him while he's on a trip abroad to quote him by name. The Carpetbagger thinks that this behavior is a snub that reflects disdain for the media, after days of Dick's refusing to talk to the reporters who were following him around. I think that's not what it is. I think that the Vice President is becoming extremely paranoid because he's up to his neck in criminal exposure and despicable deeds. I think that he doesn't want to be quoted by name because he's worried about people tea-leaf reading anything into his comments that could end up leading someone (a reporter, a colleague, a blogger, etc.) to something that could hurt his reputation and career. Think about it: this is Dick Cheney, whose office retains 81 staff members (no one knows why) but adamantly refuses to give out their names when asked. When it started to become an issue people were looking at (people were wondering why would he be so silent about who was working for him) then it finally turned up that there was one list that somebody disclosed the names of all the people working for him to. But prior to that, why deny requests for the names of his staff members all along?