Why “They” Hate Hagel and American Mythology

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

Chuck_Hagel_official_photoFormer Senator Nebraska Chuck Hagel has been nominated by President Barack Obama as Secretary of Defense. Conventional wisdom would no doubt be that Hagel would have an easy path to the position. Hagel, a twice wounded Viet Nam War Sergeant and self-made millionaire, was elected to the Senate in 1996. His charismatic personality and blunt talk allowed Hagel to rise quickly within the Senate Republican hierarchy and his voting record was considerably conservative. He had a “a lifetime rating of 84 percent from the American Conservative Union and consistent A and B grades from the National Taxpayers Unionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Hagel Initially had few misgivings about attacking Iraq, but supported the war and George W. Bush’s prosecution of it. By 2007 though, Hagel’s misgivings had turned into opposition to the war and he was one of three Republican Senators who voted for a failed resolution that would have ordered the withdrawal of American Troops within 120 days. Chuck Hagel’s clarity on Iraq extended to opposition to the morass in Afghanistan as well.

The Nominee’s political career in the Senate had shown a libertarian leaning Conservative, whose voting record on “national security” and the “intelligence community” shows a rather standard adherence to the “party line” of the permanent ‘Washington Establishment and the pundits that expound their views. How is it then that we see such loud opposition to this nomination? This week Hagel’s former friend and colleague John McCain attacked him viciously at the Senate Judiciary Hearing. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/chuck-hagel-john-mccain-iraq_n_2591001.html . Hegel has been attacked from both the Left and the Right. Whenever I see agreement on a given issue, from all sides of this country’s vast political chasm, it makes me suspicious as to what is really going on with this “political theater” being played out in our Corporate Media fueled by the “wise” pundits from the “Washington Permanent Government”. While I’ve never been a particular admirer of Chuck Hagel, I do believe that given some of his experience he is at least a credible candidate for this position. In feeding this opposition to him I think that as usual the mainstream media is missing a crucial element in its usual propagandist presentation of issues. Permit me to explain.

With the advent of World War II, coinciding with the rise in media technology, the structure of news reporting in the United States began to change with an ever increasing rapidity. Sophisticated propaganda techniques were crafted by the man who single-handedly revolutionized the advertising and public relations business, Edward Bernais http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernais Bernais (or Bernays) was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. He applied many of his uncle’s theories about the “unconscious mind” to public relations and advertising techniques. His work in turning this country into a “consumer society” changed the entire structure and thrust of advertising as shown in this great BBC documentary film, which is well worth your viewing if you can find the time for its 48 minutes. http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/01/14/outside-the-box-video-series-the-century-of-the-self/

“In Propaganda (1928), Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

“Bernays’s vision was of a utopian society in which individuals’ dangerous libidinal energies, the psychic and emotional energy associated with instinctual biological drive that Bernays viewed as inherently dangerous given his observation of societies like the Germans under Hitler, could be harnessed and channeled by a corporate elite for economic benefit. Through the use of mass production, big business could fulfill constant craving of the inherently irrational and desire-driven masses,irrationality simultaneously securing the niche of a mass production economy (even in peacetime), as well as sating the dangerous animal urges that threatened to tear society apart if left unquelled.”

In Bernays vision of a “libido driven common man” ruled with enlightenment by a “wise corporate elite” we see an early version of the state of being that many of us see as the reality of our nation today. Where the connection of this to Chuck Hagel’s nomination comes in starts to be shown here:

“Bernays felt that the public’s democratic judgment was “not to be relied upon” and he feared that “they [the American public] could very easily vote for the wrong man or want the wrong thing, so that they had to be guided from above”. This “guidance” was interpreted by [his daughter] Anne to mean that her father believed in a sort of “enlightened despotism” ideology.

This thinking was heavily shared and influenced by Walter Lippmann, one of the most prominent American political columnists at the time. Bernays and Lippmann sat together on the U.S. Committee on Public Information, and Bernays quotes Lippmann extensively in his seminal work Propaganda

Many who will read this are probably not quite old enough to remember Walter Lippmann well, if at all. At one point Lippmann was probably one of the most influential men in America. As a foreign policy pundit, as a newspaper columnist and as an author of many books on politics and foreign policy.

“It was Lippmann who first identified the tendency of journalists to generalize about other people based on fixed ideas. He argued that people—including journalists—are more apt to believe “the pictures in their heads” than come to judgment by critical thinking. Humans condense ideas into symbols, he wrote, and journalism, a force quickly becoming the mass media, is an ineffective method of educating the public. Even if journalists did better jobs of informing the public about important issues, Lippmann believed “the mass of the reading public is not interested in learning and assimilating the results of accurate investigation.” Citizens, he wrote, were too self-centered to care about public policy except as pertaining to pressing local issues.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Lippmann

We see then in Lippmann, a very influential intellectual who believed that the mass of the public lacked the ability to think critically and thus it was the Journalist’s duty to inform them “correctively” as to just what they should be thinking. Another way to put that is to propagandize them.

“Lippmann saw the purpose of journalism as “intelligence work“. Within this role, journalists are a link between policymakers and the public. A journalist seeks facts from policymakers which he then transmits to citizens who form a public opinion. In this model, the information may be used to hold policymakers accountable to citizens.”

One must wonder though which “policy makers” Lippmann saw as  needing to be “held accountable” and which policies should they should be “held accountable” for?

“Though a journalist himself, he did not assume that news and truth are synonymous. For Lippmann, the “function of news is to signalize an event, the function of truth is to bring to light the hidden facts, to set them in relation with each other, and make a picture of reality on which men can act.” A journalist’s version of the truth is subjective and limited to how he constructs his reality. The news, therefore, is “imperfectly recorded” and too fragile to bear the charge as “an organ of direct democracy.”

Here is an encapsulation of what underlies Walter Lippmann’s view of the country and democracy.

“To his mind, democratic ideals had deteriorated, voters were largely ignorant about issues and policies, they lacked the competence to participate in public life and cared little for participating in the political process. In Public Opinion (1922), Lippmann noted that the stability the government achieved during the patronage era of the 19th century was threatened by modern realities. He wrote that a “governing class” must rise to face the new challenges.

The basic problem of democracy, he wrote, was the accuracy of news and protection of sources. He argued that distorted information was inherent in the human mind. People make up their minds before they define the facts, while the ideal would be to gather and analyze the facts before reaching conclusions. By seeing first, he argued, it is possible to sanitize polluted information. Lippmann argued that seeing through stereotypes (which he coined in this specific meaning) subjected us to partial truths. Lippmann called the notion of a public competent to direct public affairs a “false ideal.” He compared the political savvy of an average man to a theater-goer walking into a play in the middle of the third act and leaving before the last curtain.

Early on Lippmann said the “bewildered herd,” his way of referring to the mases, must be governed by “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality.” This class is composed of experts, specialists and bureaucrats. The experts, who often are referred to as “elites,” were to be a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the “omnicompetent citizen”.”

Call me paranoid perhaps, but I see in this the model for our country today in the minds of those who consider themselves the elite. I also see this as the basis for the ongoing attempt to manipulate the “public”, mainly most of us, through fear and the development of false crises. Now the irony of this was that in many ways Lippmann was a very perceptive man. He was not a “Cold Warrior”, although he helped coint the term “cold war”. He argued that the policy of containment of the USSR was wronmg because it didn’t recognize their right to a “sphere of influence”. He believed that Cuba would never be under the Soviets sphere of influence. He broke ranks with LBJ on the Viet Nam war engendering a bitter hatred between the two. However, I think that by the “Law of Unintended Consequences” the elitist beliefs of both Lipmman and Bernays provided tremendous influence on the Corporate Elite of this country and gave these plutocrats the framework of a philosophy for “running” this country and abjuring any real concepts of democracy in its politics.

I used these two very influential individuals to illustrate a phenomenon that I believe has developed in America. Their views are a reflection of the mindset of those who really control our country today. The tendencies of this current mindset are rooted in the traumatic experience of World War II. Prior to WWII the idea of “American International Primacy” was the province of the progressive coalition on the Left with that of some Corporations who wanted to expand their market horizons internationally. The conservative thought that was espoused via the Republican Party was to avoid international entanglements. The isolationist movement prior to WWII was an essentially conservative one thatviewed America as an entity separate unto itself from the rest of the world, which was unstable and thus politically volatile. In this view Fascist dictators like Hitler, Mussolini and Franco represented stability for their countries, protecting them from the revolutionary grasp of Communism, personified by Russia. From a business standpoint Communism was naturally a terrible threat to their wealth, power and commerce.

World War II’s conclusion left America as the single most powerful country in this world from both and economic and from a military standpoint. Europe was in ruins and though Russia was little better given the devastating battles fought on its soil; its sphere of influence now contained a number of satellite states that made it truly a “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” that ranked second in the world to the United States as a center of power. In truth the War had also devastated the Soviets, but with their sphere of influence expanded into productive industrial nations like Germany and Czechoslovakia, they had the wherewithal to appear far more threatening than they were. The USSR also had the “good will” initially of having been a major partner of the victorious side. Great Britain on the other hand was losing its colonial constituents and at best became a distant third in the field of international influence. The Brits were seen as America’s “little brother”.

With the War over and the United States the clear winner the “isolationists” power within the conservative movement and the Republican party waned. American industry saw a world waiting to be plundered, their manufacturing capacity at its strongest due to the needs of fulfilling war production quotas and the demand for consumer goods surging both home and abroad at war’s end. Industry learned via their war experience that ministering to the needs of the American Military was quite profitable. The military on the other hand was giddy with a power that they never had throughout our Country’s history. Not only were they heroes, but in the exigencies of war they had strayed beyond the boundaries of civilian control and in the process saw themselves as the “experts” in dealing with foreign affairs. In America we always had some sort of intelligence apparatus. In WWII that intelligence apparatus expanded its role exponentially and in fact some of the aspects of our victory came directly from intelligence breakthroughs like the breaking of the “Enigma” code of the Germans and the “Codes” of the Japanese. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under “Wild Bill” Donavan

gained tremendous cachet and was morphed into the CIA after the war. Their “counter intelligence” wing became a dominant, rather than junior partner in the work and their budgets became relatively unlimited. In those heady days’ in the wake of a victorious war, I believe that for the first time the dream of American world hegemony, or empire if you will, germinated. The only possible rival to that dream was the Soviet Union and so they became the natural enemy of all of the aspirations of this country personified by those seeing the dream of hegemony. The “Cold War” as Lippman named it began and if the man who popularized the term wasn’t fully on board, he certainly did little to derail it. The USSR “bogeyman” became the lynch-pin of the growth of what is now the Military/Industrial Complex (MIC). This was an interweaving of the coincident interests of Industry, the military and the intelligence community, which caused them all to prosper and grow in power. The use of the Communist threat also introduced a relatively new concept into American politics and that was “bi-partisanship” in foreign policy. While in most areas of national policy there still remained battles of opposing political philosophies, when it came to the “Cold War” any who vehemently opposed it were cast as traitors to American Democracy and in many cases their careers and their lives ruined. From the end of WWII and through the administration of Dwight Eisenhower the power of the MIC kept growing and our politicians from both parties, afraid of being cast as traitors, engaged in the practice known as “bi-partisanship” when it came to the needs of the MIC and the philosophy of foreign relations formed to meet those needs. Their power grew to such an extent the moderate Republican Eisenhower, at the end of his term warns against the growing power of the MIC. The speech is short, but worth your watching, because it encapsulates my points and makes them credible coming from a beloved Republican President who was a Five Star General and war hero: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY

Let us return then to Chuck Hegel’s nomination for Defense Secretary and why there is so much outrage against this man who has for his political career been rather representative of both the Republican point of view and of the encroachment of the U.S. intelligence establishment into the lives of our citizens, as illustrated by his support of the Patriot Act. The following is from the article “To Finagle Chuck Hagel” written by Christian Stork from Russ Baker’s investigative journalism website: http://whowhatwhy.com .

“His voting record aside, Hagel’s candor is what seems to have drawn most of the praise as well as the criticism of his putative nomination.  He openly spurned the gulag at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying it labeled America “an empire that pushes people around…[and that doesn’t] live up to [its] commitments to multilateral institutions.”  And he spoke of the need to cut the untouchable Pentagon budget, the imperative of ending the occupation of Afghanistan, the folly of regime change in Libya, and the urgency of diplomacy with Iran.”

We live in a time where for political capital a phony budget crisis has come to the fore with the Washington punditry almost solidly in favor of some “bi-partisan” deal to close the budget gap by reining in “entitlements” which include Social Security, Medicare and programs to help the needy. Yet as this argument rages there is little attention paid by either side to cutting our defense budget.

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As this chart from the Washington Post shows our Defense budget of $711 billion is greater than the combined total of the next thirteen industrialized nations. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/01/1184033/-The-uncalculated-unreported-real-defense-budget?showAll=yes

In these time of supposed budget crisis one would think that it would be natural for us to consider cutting this bloated budget, yet those who cry the loudest about cutting spending say nary a word about cutting spending on Defense the nature of which can only be described as massive redundancy. Chuck Hagel, a man with impeccable defense, national security and foreign policy credentials has talked about the possibility of it and as Defense Secretary would have the unique bully pulpit of actually laying out the case for cutting defense. This is one reason the Neocon, yet “bi-partisan” establishment of the MIC hates this man. The second reason is of course that he is not one of the “experts” who marches to the drumbeat of attacking Iran which has also been syncopated by our Neocon establishment and their captive punditry. A third reason is that by his comments on the follies of Viet Nam, Iraq Afghanistan and Libya he undermines the causes put forth by those who would see the U.S. as a world controlling empire in the mold of Rome.

Personally, although I agree with him on certain issues, I hold no great love for Chuck Hagel. In domestic policy I am against most of what he believes in. Yet I do think it might be nice for a change to have a Secretary of Defense who would actually entertain cutting our bloated defense budget. Whether Chuck Hagel, or President Obama could be successful in reining in the ruling power of the MIC I must admit I am skeptical. I think though that it is worth a try and that at the least the idea of cutting defense spending, rather than the social safety net for most Americans, would at least gain some foothold in our national political discussions. What do you think?

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger.

65 thoughts on “Why “They” Hate Hagel and American Mythology

  1. Can’t say I’m a fan of Hagel although we could do worse for SecDef and for the reasons you state. Bernais on the other hand? Was a pig and the antithesis of Thomas Jefferson who knew the difference of value between well educated citizens versus manipulated citizens in a democracy. Good job, Mike.

  2. Even Senators of both parties that support him were shocked @ Hagel’s amateurish and unprepared performance @ the hearing. Would it be ok in your mind to reject Hagel because of his pathetic performance?

  3. Nick,

    Actually I’m rather lukewarm on Hagel for the reasons I explained above. What interests me more are the forces behind the opposition to him and what has led these forces to hold such power over our country.

  4. Mike S,

    Your post today should shock a lot of folks who are shockable.

    One reason I say this is that your post is impeccably accurate from what I have detected, comparing it to my research.

    My experience with you is that you don’t jump on someone who enhances the dialogue in an attempt to dovetail with your presentations, your posts.

    Gene H above said he was not a fan of Hagel, but there could be worse, which encapsulates the position we of the citizenry who like to think we still matter have been left with (choosing the least of two evils).

    So let me tell you why this particular least of two evils, Hagel, still scares me, even though I agree with the sentiments you and Gene H presented.

    First of all, Hagel is a member of Oil-Qaeda, that is, he is on the board of Chevron:

    Charles T. Hagel is a Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University, a position he has held since 2009. Also in 2009, he became Chairman of the Atlantic Council and Co-Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

    (Chevron). I really think we should lose the “MIC” because the “secret government” Bernays openly and matter-of-factly talked about is far more dangerous, powerful, and integrated into society than it was then.

    It is also a much, much evolved and intellectually morphed entity now.

    The world and the U.S. are now full-on addicts to fossil fuels, which the U.S. Department of Energy calls “the lifeblood” of the nation.

    Thus, the thing that scares me the most about an appointment of Hagel to figurehead over the U.S. Military, along with Obama, is that it signals the final strategy of Oil-Qaeda, the mega-terrorist organization that “runs” all things Western (the Bernays “elite”).

    It also tells me that Obama and Kerry are “in on it”, which means fully controlled.

    Why they do not use the republican leg of this madness is that they have gone batsh*t crazy ahead of schedule, and thus can only be used to reinforce the choice between two evils.

    A role they play quite well.

  5. Great article! I studied the Lippmann Theory in graduate school, and I have to agree with your rationality/understanding of it. However, as you know, I stated in an early blog about how we were never a democracy but always an oligarchy.

    Nevertheless, after witnessing our great American Public in action or inaction, I have concluded that the Lippmann Theory is necessary in governing the “bewildred masses”. I will go into more detail a little later (after all, what do we-the-people-truly want or need?). Your blog requires time and research to formulate a view, and I appreciate this. By the way, have you ever taught graduate school? If not, then you should!

  6. Dredd,

    While we are on the same page, your information about Hagel has moved me from “lukewarm” to “cool”, but as you allude neither of us is going to have any real choice in the matter.

  7. RWL 1, February 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Great article! I studied the Lippmann Theory in graduate school, and I have to agree with your rationality/understanding of it. However, as you know, I stated in an early blog about how we were never a democracy but always an oligarchy.

    ========================================
    Oiligarchy is a word Plato used a long time ago.

    It is not technically correct as applied to the context of the post at hand.

    Mike S, the author of the post at hand, correctly uses the term Plutocracy because the power being wielded comes from wealth.

    Unlike an oligarchy.

  8. Mike Spindell 1, February 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Dredd,

    While we are on the same page, your information about Hagel has moved me from “lukewarm” to “cool”, but as you allude neither of us is going to have any real choice in the matter.
    =============================
    Exactly.

    He is undoubtedly the lesser of two evils, based upon the public record, yet you and I require them to bear the burden of proof.

    That is, the public record is not our only source of information.

    As it should be.

  9. nick spinelli 1, February 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Even Senators of both parties that support him were shocked @ Hagel’s amateurish and unprepared performance @ the hearing. Would it be ok in your mind to reject Hagel because of his pathetic performance?
    ====================================
    Perfect track Nick.

    An astute navigation along the border line, evincing a well developed observational expertise.

    Let me illustrate with this cocktail: the poor performance of Obama at the first presidential debate.

    You need to read a bit more Shakespeare bro.

    The check out The Holy Book along with the Natester.

    He needs some mentoring.

  10. “However, as you know, I stated in an early blog about how we were never a democracy but always an oligarchy.”

    RWL,

    whether you call it oligarchy, or I call it Plutocracy, we are dealing with the same vision of this country from its inception. I’ve also written many times on this blog through the years that we have been fed a myth of American Democracy, that in fact is non-existent. Our “Founding Fathers” were men of wealth, or men who served wealth. That they developed a vision of a governmental system that was far superior in it’s treatment of the mass of this country’s people is indisputable, yet democracy in its purest sense has never existed here. From my reading of history the United States was probably the world’s best governed major nation up until the beginning of the “Cold War”. This doesn’t mean that it met my standards of what a country SHOULD be, but it certainly was the best available. Once the “Cold War” began the choices that were being made by the “Elite” class tended more and more to stray away from the precepts of our Constitution.

    While “the people” never ruled in America, the treatment except for those of color, was generally decent in comparison to other nations. In the more than half century since the inception of “Cold War” politics our lifestyle and living standards as a nation in comparison to other industrialized countries, has slipped drastically, by almost any measure, save for military power. The problem you, I and others here see all too clearly is that this country has been sold a fantasy based mythology, via propaganda techniques that have indeed fooled the people into believing we are “the land of the free”. The truth of that claim is becoming more a mockery with the passing of each day.

  11. My first reaction to Chuck Hagel as Defence (offense?) secretary were ambivalent, Then when I saw him passive like a cornered mouse in front of McCain and Graham I thought, what a wimp, not I dont support him. Now after more contemplation and reading this I am a supporter of him but not really strong.

    What we need is to drastically reduce our military interventism around the world and cut back big time on our Depart of Offense budget. Perhaps Chuck Hagel is this man.

  12. Chuck Hagel knows how to ensure victory in an election war (it’s the machine, stoopid) – but he may not be quite as much a war monger as most
    of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

    They’re all just posturing for the media right now, but they’ll fold, he’ll be confirmed, and there will be even more wars for the Israelis.

  13. Saturday night, off topic, or maybe not.
    My alcohol induced verse
    Which seems relevant now…….
    Maybe I should go back to pot………

    . What is His purpose, What is his goal.
    What is Her purpose, What is her goal.
    What is Your purpose, what is your goal.
    …. Any Questions ??????

    Trust, Trust, Trust
    Is there another Purpose?

    Must, Must, Must
    Is there another Soul?

    Dust, Dust, Dust.
    The Ultimate of Soul.

    Any Questions ?????

  14. If Obama the president selects a person….. Then by no means should the nomination not be approved…. There are many people in the government I disagree with…. So be it….. It’s the presidents choice…. His cabinet….. Leave him alone…..

  15. The Ultimate of Being. Substitute being for soul, in 2nd last line.
    Are we anything but being for the moment,Of the moment we are being

    I believe Sartre made a fortune writing about the substance of Being.
    Confusing people that have no non Ephemeral purpose is easy.

    Non Ephemeral is a tough and challenging concept. … I think, therefore, I may be ephemeral. … or a candle made of wax, snuffed out by a breeze, the very common whim of nature.
    Bow Wow you Dogs, and Humans, and Believers. We are all on the same rocketship EARTH. .

  16. David B, in answer to your question, “Any questions?” I have this one:

    Was it beer or vodka?

    And my offering:

    Hagel Haiku

    Where did he come from?
    Is he a Republican?
    What’s his synthesis?

  17. Guiness and Jameson, I live above an Irish bar They ran out of Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum. Which I have found to be quite different and stupidly youthful.
    I believe you meant SINthesis. Which according to the Nuns at (St Joseph) Blessed Sacrament means following ones own direction, as opposed to Gods direction. I have often wondered how nuns, or priest, or preachers know what gods direction is? Or Politicians, or Parents, or Police know.
    Animal farm is true. Soylent green is PEOPLE. I may be mixing my fictionphors but what the heck. There are 7 billion people on this planet that have equal value to me. I am dumb in so many ways. I am equal to all the dumb. I do attempt to swim close to the surface to learn more things. This is a struggle, the big fish think they own it.
    PS. I know a guy named Gary. I went to high school with him. I respected him as a good person.

  18. I’ve never forgiven the North Vietnamese for releasing John McCain and sending him back to the United States. He belongs in a bamboo cage where he can snarl and drool — to the delight of Asian peasants — to his venal and vicious heart’s content.

    When I came home from my eighteen months of desultory duty in the Nixon-Kissinger Fig Leaf Contingent (Vietnam 1970-72), I never thought I’d live to see the day when a troop of uninstructed chimpanzees, let alone an “advanced” nation, would ever again fall for another trumped up — and ultimately disastrous — war against some barely armed, impoverished foreigners who never harmed the United States. Yet Vietnam Veterans Chuck Hagel and John Kerry — both of whom simply had to have known better — let a dyslexic dwarf baboon like Deputy Dubya Bush bully them into authorizing not just one but two such debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whatever their native intelligence or background as United States senators, they have proven unwilling and/or incapable of exercising sound judgment when it might have actually made a difference. Marginal men, the both of them, but probably the only kind that President Obama can imagine bringing into the government. Given their own demonstrated lack of political backbone, as well as his, I expect nothing from them and will probably find myself disappointed even so.

    Still, I wish Chuck Hagel would have consulted those of us Vietnam veterans who could have given him the appropriate words to use on a reactionary relic like Mad Dog John McCain. Something like:

    Mad Dog John McCain Bombs Again!

    Get a life, John McCain: Now. Tonight.
    We’re so sick of you and all your slogans trite
    Face it: you lost back in ‘Nam
    So you’ll never sell your scam
    That if given one more chance you’ll do it right

    You couldn’t fly a plane to save your ass
    Now you want to peddle jokes of bombing crass
    Seems your time spent in the clink
    Never caused you much to think
    Of the people down below whom you would gas

    Not a pretty sight, your abject lack of grace
    Seems some stitches you should once again replace
    Then each time you kiss the bum
    Of some vicious right-wing scum
    You’ll get less shit on your sagging, lifted face

    Don’t you know when you’re not wanted, John McCain?
    Have you no conception of the grief and pain
    That your hero George has wrought
    Even though he never fought
    In the war that you forgot for your own gain?

    Why on earth do you suppose that we would choose
    Such a reckless fool as you to light the fuse
    Of another needless crime
    That you’d start to pass the time
    Just until you show another way to lose?

    One can summarize your policy insane
    As a take-off on the Third Reich’s brutal bane:
    “Where our soldier plants his boot
    On some foreign country’s loot
    Why then, there forever after he’ll remain”

    Not a dollar for a doctor, school, or job;
    Yet more billions for some bombs that you can lob
    At those hapless foreign souls
    Whom you brutalize for polls
    Claiming that your “straight talk” lies persuade the mob

    Oh, I hope you get that nomination soon
    Then your party can collapse into a swoon
    From the stench that fills the air
    Of that albatross you wear
    Dead as your career: you clueless, crude cartoon!

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2007-2008

  19. “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country”

    Mike Spindell, thank you,
    It’s the air we are allowed to breathe. It is the grass the farmers of sheeple allow us to feed upon. It is the choice of wolf or sheep we all make.

    Somewhere is the middle, that ALL (hyperbole) are afraid of.

    Lead me, OR follow me. What and where is the middle.

    What am I….. What are you. Who defines me…Who defines you?

    PS. I have attempted to read Being and Nothingness about five times,… I just have never been able to get past the first few pages. LOL.

    Life is my adventure. I must respect all other adventures.
    Except the A-hole that is currently holding a 5 yr old in a bunker in alabama.

    I would choose to end his adventure legally and permanently.
    But I would look for equal affirmation from others.
    This insane man must have a reason that he interprets as reason for his hideous action.

    Our insane government offers reasons for “collateral damage” by our drone bombings. I wonder if the parents of children killed by drones… by us, meaning the USA, are as peed off as most parents are by this guy in AL.

  20. Here’s the bottom line with Hagel: 1. He’s Islam-first; 2. He supports a nuclear-armed Iran (or any Muslim nation for that matter); and 3. He supports slashing the US military budget and weakening America’s military position. If you like those things then Hagel is your guy. If you don’t agree with those positions then you don’t want Hagel running or influencing anything. It’s a simple decision. Unfortunately most politicians aren’t favoring pro-American policies and are taking advantage of the fact that most Americans are too dumb or too stupid to care.

  21. SNARK …. I think we should put 90% of our revenue into the military. We can slash social security, food stamps & unemployment benefits. If the 47% of non tax paying people want to eat, they can join the military.
    Our might will make us right. The old, infirm, injured, can sign up for support services within the army. Americas military position is sanctioned by the white misogynist god of our fathers. Daddy was right.
    There are 7 billion people in this world today. 6.7 billion of them are wrong.
    You are a good american ralph. I sadly am too dumb and stoopid to agree with you.

  22. David, you will ultimately care, but it will be too late by then because the Islam-firsters will make possible a new 911 on a scale that will make the original 911 look like a late afternoon tea and scones repast.

  23. Interestingly enough during the Presidential primaries in ’99 one Senator John McCain (I believe from AZ) was asked who he would pick to be his SecDef. Without a moments pause he said “Chuck Hagel”

    I must assume this was not the same Senator John McCain I saw this week nor the same Chuck Hagel. How else to explain the wild swing of opinion?

    Also, but somewhat less, interesting Ralph is the perfect name for Mr. Adamo. Not only are his posts ralphed up melanges of half backed thought they make me feel like ralphing.

  24. Although Hagel’s Congressional testimony was not his finest hour; if the military industrial complex, John McCain and Lindsey Graham are all against him, Hagel is the right man for the job.

  25. Nate 1, February 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    What complete drivel. Sometimes I wonder why I keep reading this blog.
    =======================================
    You are not alone in being unaware of the gift Mike S has given you:

    Today, few people outside the public relations profession recognize the name of Edward L. Bernays. As the year 2000 approaches, however, his name deserves to figure on historians’ lists of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

    It is impossible to fundamentally grasp the social, political, economic and cultural developments of the past 100 years without some understanding of Bernays and his professional heirs in the public relations industry. PR is a 20th century phenomenon, and Bernays — widely eulogized as the “father of public relations” at the time of his death in 1995 — played a major role in defining the industry’s philosophy and methods.

    (The Father of Spin, emphasis added). So, if you want to remain unaware, stop reading this blog.

  26. “It’s a simple decision. Unfortunately most politicians aren’t favoring pro-American policies and are taking advantage of the fact that most Americans are too dumb or too stupid to care.”

    Ralph,

    I think I was clear in stating my reservations about Hagel, but I also acknowledged some truths that obviously went over your head. In Viet Nam, Chuck Hagel was patriotic enough to enlist, become a Sergeant, led a squad and was wounded twice. His record in the U.S. Senate was certainly “pro American” enough for another war veteran John McCain to suggest him for SecDef as Frankly stated above. With all that you think of Hagel as being pro-Islamist and therefore anti-American. More importantly you think that proposing slashing America’s defense budget is an “unpatriotic” act.

    In a charitable sense I would characterize your views as that of person with limited intelligence, who is so confused by today’s issues that you are unable to come up with a logical argument on anything. However, you write well enough to dispel the idea of your lack of intelligence, which sadly leads me into believing you someone so brainwashed by partisan ideas that you are incapable of seeing the world around you with clarity.

    You are in fact the aftereffect of the mythological propaganda that both Gene and I have been writing about so often, You’ve “drunk the Kool-Aid” so to say and like all of those who’ve been brainwashed by mythology, you are incapable of providing insight into the world around you. You are a dangerous
    person, not because you are intrinsically a bad person, but because you are an easy mark for those manipulators of people’s minds, who continue to make this world insane in their lust for power.

  27. Mike:

    Although I liked your article, I thought it a bit too long for this forum.
    That notwithstanding, I have had “Propaganda” on my shelf for a while, recognizing its groundbreaking status, but unfortunately I have not read it in its entirety. I really do have to, since I am forced to provide a PR campaign for some serious and widespread civil rights’ violations; his tutelage although quite cynical and mercenary apparently is also quite effective.

    As to Hagel, I can sum up the opposition to his nomination – if senators from both sides of the aisle are against him, then he must be doing something correct, and that alone leans me in favor of his nomination.

  28. Great piece, Mike. You nailed Adamo’s ilk right to the wall.

    The days of this type of governance are exceedingly limited. It won’t last a minute in the coming sunshine tech. We know we’re on the right track when people like Adamo grow so irritated they say foolish things that let us know high school politics still reigns supreme with them, the world of Us and Them, where even giving the time of day to Them is considered, what exactly, Ralph? Heresy? Blasphemy? Bad Manners? Why does Ralph get to determine who I chose to favor and who I do not?

    He does not, and this sort of powerlessness dooms many men (mostly men, I’ve noticed) to become drooling imbeciles, shouting and pulling hair. “But but but…. Muslim, dammit! I said muslim! And ALL of them are MUSLUM! Did you not hear? Sitting around, all muslim and such, islaming up the joint.” Drives you nuts, doesn’t it Ralph? Luckily, that driveway is short.

    Secure meshnets are going to retire the evil, angry likes of McCain, Graham, and the new know-nothingiest slime from Texas, Cruz. Their like will not rise again. And only when they pass from history can we deal in any sane way with our ridiculous defense budget. Most of our elected politicians are costly relics from the Age of Movable Type.

    To say nothing of the obscene powers granted to the executive by Congress. But that is another story.

  29. “Although I liked your article, I thought it a bit too long for this forum.”

    GaryT,

    You’ve been around here long enough to realize that I am verbose to the point of pomposity and my grammar is terrible. :)

  30. GaryT,

    MikeS can defend himself, but your observations show you have no appreciation for MikeS and his use of the space.

    For example, instead of wasting space defining what he meant by A , B and C, he instead uses Wikipedia to cut out the “what do you mean by A” bullskit.

    MikeS, although he is not scared of words, is not verbose, but rather wishes his bitter potion to be swallowed so as to work before the bitter feeling arises.

    But the bitter feeling must rise, or we will not change. The surfeit animal seeks no more food, especially bitter herbs.

  31. Looking for similes to match tbe constellation here is difficult. Perhaps the Seven Sisters, Pleiades (?).
    Or a mini-session of the FF?

    No matter, I rest content, adding nothing. Basking in these rays is indeed encouragement, particularly after such a black vision as MikeS presented.

    Not a unthought word was spoken. A new alcohol poet displayed. And MM pays us a visit, but he needs to drink more. No more names. It is like rabbling the list of FFs, where to end without injuring the unnamed.

    And when the mix gets a bit syrupy, Ralph Adamo pops up. A poor substitute for opposition, and less comic relief than could be hoped for..

    So you get nothing of substance, as usual, from me.
    Just a way of saying that I am here, watching, and content to share the same space.

    As for the Hagel question; I always look to see if this could be for real, which all so far in our last 65 years says NO. Must conclude that it is a way of passing the buck down the chain. Or it is a masterful setup for a fallguy, a takeover, a crisis creation, next step in strangling the life out of us, etc.

    It is never what you think it is.

    PS to MikeS.
    Thanks for the point that MIC does not cover “it” anymore. But like Cold War, it will have to do until a better term is found. Your point is what counts,
    “It” does include more than within the bounds óf MIC, possibly I believe you said, the whole of the ruling nexus (my word of the day).

    Must we be confined to discovering our potential defenders to when they commit suicide, or are jailed for leaking, or assassinated. Can we not detect them and shield them from “prosecution”.

    If a spirit could lead a nation, then MLKjr could have done it.

    As Grayson made the point; it is the 5 percent who vote in the R primaries that decide who we get to vote for. Nobody (sane) wants to deal with those involved in the nitty-gritty of politics at the local level.
    Co-working with people concerned only with their collective ME is hard on the stomach and the soul..

    My space ran out 500 characters ago. As usual.

  32. Anon 1, February 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    What Ralph Adamo said…and then some.
    ===================================
    Which is nothing.

    Mike S mentioned:

    We see then in Lippmann, a very influential intellectual who believed that the mass of the public lacked the ability to think critically and thus it was the Journalist’s duty to inform them “correctively” as to just what they should be thinking. Another way to put that is to propagandize them.

    Like that is a stretch or something?

    Mike S is very restrained, because he could have written:

    Later that year Wisner established Mockingbird, a program to influence the domestic American media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham (Washington Post) to run the project within the industry. Graham himself recruited others who had worked for military intelligence during the war. This included James Truitt, Russell Wiggins, Phil Geyelin, John Hayes and Alan Barth. Others like Stewart Alsop, Joseph Alsop and James Reston, were recruited from within the Georgetown Set. According to Deborah Davis (Katharine the Great): “By the early 1950s, Wisner ‘owned’ respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles.”

    In 1951 Allen W. Dulles persuaded Cord Meyer to join the CIA. However, there is evidence that he was recruited several years earlier and had been spying on the liberal organizations he had been a member of in the later 1940s. According to Deborah Davis, Meyer became Mockingbird’s “principal operative”.

    One of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), C. D. Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), Walter Winchell (New York Daily Mirror), Drew Pearson, Walter Lippmann, William Allen White, Edgar Ansel Mowrer (Chicago Daily News), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Whitelaw Reid (New York Herald Tribune), Jerry O’Leary (Washington Star), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles L. Bartlett (Chattanooga Times). According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work.

    After 1953 the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. By this time Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. These organizations were run by people such as William Paley (CBS), Henry Luce (Time Magazine and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Helen Rogers Reid (New York Herald Tribune), Dorothy Schiff (New York Post), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Barry Bingham (Louisville Courier-Journal) and James S. Copley (Copley News Services).

    (Operation Mockingbird). Some argue “that was then, now is now”, however, now is then:

    The Bush administration turned the U.S. military into a global propaganda machine while imposing tough restrictions on journalists seeking to give the public truthful reports about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley said Friday.

    Curley, speaking to journalists at the University of Kansas, said the news industry must immediately negotiate a new set of rules for covering war because “we are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable.”

    (Warriors Press For Propaganda). You might remember Judy Whats-Her-Name of the NY Times who was a propagandist for them.

    These people really thought that they were the good guys.

  33. “Mike S is very restrained, because he could have written:”

    Dredd,

    There was a time when I could knock an article like this out in under an hour, with supporting research and footnotes. Those times are past and I’m merely an opinionated Old Fart that spends four hours, at least, writing these blogs. Age has moderated my typing speed and my attention span. However, the saving grace is that our readers are smart people like you that supplement what I write, offer further proof and even go beyond it. That makes my job easier.:)

    ps: 49’ers 28, Ravens 24

  34. Mike Spindell 1, February 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    “Mike S is very restrained, because he could have written:”

    Dredd,

    There was a time when I could knock an article like this out in under an hour, with supporting research and footnotes. Those times are past and I’m merely an opinionated Old Fart that spends four hours, at least, writing these blogs. Age has moderated my typing speed and my attention span. However, the saving grace is that our readers are smart people like you that supplement what I write, offer further proof and even go beyond it. That makes my job easier.:)

    ps: 49′ers 28, Ravens 24
    ========================================
    My sentiments exactly.

  35. The thing that really infuriates me about being manipulated is that I spend my energy on things that are fake. I realized this with a great “coup de foudre” at the time of the Monica Lewinsky charade. BOTH PARTIES were partaking of it and they were doing it for some purpose I couldn’t even discern but I realized, “Hey they’re just phucking with me!” and that made me look at almost everything differently from then on. And I wasn’t even that much INTO the national and international news at that time; it just struck me and stuck.

  36. Regarding the “American Mythology” alluded to in the title of this blog entry, a noted American historian has well and truly written (emphasis added):

    “The weight of messianic globalism [has indeed proven] too much for the American Constitution. … In fact, the policy of indiscriminate global intervention, far from strengthening American security, has seemed rather weaken it by involving the United States in remote, costly and mysterious wars, fought in ways that shamed the nation before the world and, even when thus fought, demonstrating only the inability of the most powerful nation on earth to subdue bands of guerrillas in black pajamas” — Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency (1973)

    The confirmation hearings of Vietnam veteran and former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of War — I refuse to mouth the pathetic Orwellian misnomer “Defense” — might have offered the American public a chance to witness a debate questioning our country’s longstanding — and utterly ruinous — policy of messianic globalism, indiscriminate global intervention, or what I prefer to call Warfare Welfare and Make-work Militarism fraudulently and shamelessly sold to the American people through corporate-sponsored and officially promulgated Manufactured Mendacity and Managed Mystification.

    Unfortunately, these so-called “hearings” produced no such enlightened debate or therapeutic questioning. Instead, America got the lurid and unedifying spectacle of the senile Senator John “bomb, bomb Iran” McCain bitterly venting (upon a former enlisted Vietnam veteran) his longstanding frustrations with the Vietnamese peasants in black pajamas who refused to succumb — like today’s Iraqi and Afghan peasants — to his and his country’s indiscriminate, criminal bombing of them for more than a decade. In truth, America lost its soul in Southeast Asia more than four decades ago and one of the military officers who did so much to lose it — and add to the loss twice more in Iraq and Afghanistan — can only now blame a former Army sergeant and Senate colleague for daring to publicly express even a mealy-mouthed modicum of long-overdue skepticism towards the ludicrous American Mythology of the “humanitarian bomber” who only destroys villages to save them; who only poisons crops to feed the hungry; who kills and maims the already impoverished only to provide them with economic opportunity; and who raids remote hovels in the dark of night to murder, abduct, or incarcerate the male inhabitants for the suspected “crime of being of military age” — only for their own good, you understand; not for anything like ticket-punching military careerism or corporate profits. Yeah. Sure.

    As former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges writes in Death of the Liberal Class (2010):

    “Public manifestations of gratitude are reserved for veterans who dutifully read from the script handed to them by the state. The veterans trotted out for viewing are those who are compliant and palatable, those we can stand to look at without horror, those willing to go along with the lie that war is the highest form of patriotism. ‘Thank you for your service,’ we are supposed to say. These soldiers are used to perpetuate the myth. We are used to honor it.”

    Chuck Hagel certainly tried to “read from the script” handed to him by the imperial military state, much as his fellow Vietnam veteran John Kerry did during his confirmation hearings for Secretary of State. But Senator Hagel also attempted — however ineptly — to hint, suggest, or otherwise speculate that some minor fine-tuning around the edges of mythological military insanity might serve the nation’s true interests. For this apathetic apostasy, no veteran, least of all a Vietnam veteran, can ever receive even the slightest degree of respect or gratitude from the despicable war-lovers like John McCain and his ilk. Yet some of us veterans must continue debunking the “American Mythology” of pointless, needless, ruinous wars for corporate profits, military career aggrandizement, and reactionary domestic political advantage. The odds do not favor our ultimate success. Nonetheless, we should not refrain from the necessary struggle for “a just and lasting” Peace, keeping ever in mind as our anthem the timeless words of Edna St Vincent Millay:

    “I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.”

  37. Oops. Sorry for not supplying a “slash” character in the closing “blockquote” tag at the beginning of in my previous posting. Trying to write while also coding HTML has never worked that well for me. I meant only to quote at length Professor Schlesinger and Chris Hedges from The Imperial Presidency and Death of the Liberal Class, respectively.

  38. I would have gladly served as Chuck Hagel’s second during his confirmation hearings for Secretary of War, but he never asked for the help he so clearly needed from fellow Vietnam veterans who actually witnessed the devastation of war on the ground among those who never asked for it or deserved it. I would have loved to help Chuck Hagel blow John McCain’s vituperative urine back in his own face where it properly belongs. Nevertheless, just in case I have failed to make clear my utter contempt for the needless-war-agitating Senator “Bomber John” McCain and his ilk, allow me to try again in verse. Something something I wrote for Do-It-Yourself therapy five years ago when it became apparent that this unreconstructed lover of murderous militarism — especially the bloody incompetent sort — actually thought that our country would elect him “commander in brief”:

    Up Yours, John McCain

    Well, “Up Yours!” Mad Dog John McCain,
    And what’s that stench I smell?
    Why could it be an albatross
    That you wear like a bell:
    A dead, decaying necklace that
    Suits leper losers well?

    I do hope that you keep it up
    Attacking us who learned
    In Southeast Asia lessons that
    You’ve only ever spurned
    An asinine amnesiac,
    Your coming loss you’ve earned

    That fetid, feathered bird you wear
    So proudly on your chest
    Might help you win a few “red” states
    And that’s about the best
    That fools like you could hope to win
    While losing all the rest

    Just like a bomber pilot you
    Just shit on those below
    And never see the ground beneath
    Where people you don’t know
    Look up and curse the vapor trail
    From hot air that you blow

    And do team up with Holy Joe
    The Judas Lie-berman
    Who trashes “his own party” for
    The Faux News Murdoch clan
    And Zionist Likudniks who
    Promote the fascist plan

    Each day we’ve lost two more GIs
    Through years that number four
    Now with your “surge” you’ve doubled that
    With killed and maimed galore
    Among Iraqis — Afghans, too —
    And still you cry for more!

    You have no honor left to lose
    You sold that long ago
    For dreams of fighting ‘Nam again
    And just as badly, so
    Your plans for poor Iraq amount
    To nothing we don’t know

    You’ve nothing new to add of worth,
    Just more of what we’ve had:
    A litany of lies and death
    And “leadership” so bad
    That more of what you offer could
    But make more widows sad

    Please go away and save us all
    The boredom of your screeds
    We’ve seen and heard enough from George
    And all his lousy deeds
    We really do not care for you
    And your pathetic needs

    So “Up Yours!” Mad Dog John McCain,
    And you can kiss my butt
    Your stupid brain has slipped some gears
    And left you in a rut
    Espousing war that no one wants —
    Except the senile nut

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2007

  39. Nate
    1, February 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm
    What complete drivel. Sometimes I wonder why I keep reading this blog.
    ___________________________________________________________

    I suppose there are many Nate’s in the world.

    Just wanted to differentiate myself from this one. We are not one and the same.

    Thank God I just happened to drop by in the nick of time.

  40. Dredd,

    You are a favo of mine, but could you just not put up leading quotation marks, but the end ones, AND a source for each.

    I like to evaluate sources, not just content. If it is not too much trouble. ;-)

  41. “I’ve never forgiven the North Vietnamese for releasing John McCain and sending him back to the United States. He belongs in a bamboo cage where he can snarl and drool — to the delight of Asian peasants — to his venal and vicious heart’s content.”

    Mr. Murray,

    Your comment made me laugh out loud. I love your wit, such a delight.

    How a man can endure torture, then endorse it, proves your comment true.

  42. Malisha,

    Who/what did you fall in love with during the Levinsky charade?

    Coup de foudre – YourDictionary
    http://www.yourdictionary.com › Dictionary Definitions
    Coup de foudre is a French expression literally meaning thunderbolt, but often said to describe love at first sight. (noun). An example of coup de foudre is the …

    Not snarking, just trying to add another phrase to my Reader’s Digest list. :-)

  43. Michael Murry,

    “So “Up Yours!” Mad Dog John McCain,
    And you can kiss my butt
    Your stupid brain has slipped some gears
    And left you in a rut
    Espousing war that no one wants –
    Except the senile nut

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2007
    =========

    Shades of “The ´Cremation of Sam McGee”
    Robert W. Service, a man with more than meets the ear.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_W._Service

    “Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and grows, and why he left his home in the South, God only knows…..”
    From memory which unfortunaltely contains only those lines.

  44. Software Mom……… :-)

    Thanks, probably biased (to my tastes). It introduced another jewel of the South, which as we know is in the hands of the LBJ-haters, etc and can’t help itself as the education system is at least as bad as in most states.

    How many ears and eyes must a man have to take it all in? Sound like Dylan?

    Someone said that we need a political elite to decide for us. The results so far denies the truth of that way to go.

    I will repeat: let the “patient” be informed fully and fairly of the consequences, leave the decision to the “patient” as the consequences will be borne by him, and THEN let the expertise provide a solution to effectuate the expressed choice.

    I can be oh so sure that this democracy model will never be tested. So discussing it further as to consequences, difficulties in realization, etc are not meaningful. But it was fun to dream of it.

    In reply you may address me as “idell idiot” which in swedish means
    the “constant idiot”. :-)

  45. I agree with Michael Murray’s comment up there, a ways back up there. I personally like a Nam Vet at Defense and State. We cannot control all of those Pirate Territories. Pull out now like Nixon should have. Or was it Nixon’s father?
    I watched several hours of the Hagel hearings the other night and I like him and was a bit astonished at Lindsey Graham. Is he on drugs?

  46. This blog has a lot os insightful people commenting. This particular article makes folks think. We need to think. Smart people on this blog.

  47. Barkin’Dig,

    Many of them are. George did em all. Nixon was famously on some “speed” concoction for 25 years that some health nut billionaire had sold him on. What Muskie was on in his Fliorida campaign has HST speculated on.

    Got any other suspects?

  48. “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.”
    — William Faulkner (1951)

    “It’s too early to tell.”
    — Chinese Premier Chou En Lai (1972) in answer to a question about the historical impact of the French Revolution of 1789

    “Why is America … Why are we fighting the Vietnam War all over again in the United States Senate?”
    — Chris Matthews, introducing a discussion about the Chuck Hagel confirmation proceedings on his MSNBC program “Hardball” here

    “[Vietnam] matters because we keep doing the same bloody thing.”
    — Robert Scheer in his Truthdig.com interview with Nick Turse regarding his new book Kill Anything That Moves: the real American war in Vietnam here

    “… the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last US troops fleeing the country…”
    — Military historian Martyn Van Crevald in November of 2004, seven years before the last of America’s troops in Iraq made their last-minute, dark-of-night dash for the Kuwaiti border at the end of 2011. But the really ugly — and therefore unmentionable in America — truth about the Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. debacles’ predictable outcome lies here:

    The third and most important reason why I think Vietnam is relevant to the situation in Iraq is because the Americans found themselves in the unfortunate position where they were beating down on the weak. To quote [General Moshe] Dayan: “any comparison between the two armies… was astonishing. On the one hand there was the American Army, complete with helicopters, an air force, armor, electronic communications, artillery, and mind-boggling riches; to say nothing of ammunition, fuel, spare parts, and equipment of all kinds. On the other there were the [North Vietnamese troops] who had been walking on foot for four months, carrying some artillery rounds on their backs and using a tin spoon to eat a little ground rice from a tin plate.”

    That, of course, was precisely the problem. In private life, an adult who keeps beating down on a five year old – even such a one as originally attacked him with a knife – will be perceived as committing a crime; therefore he will lose the support of bystanders and end up by being arrested, tried and convicted. In international life, an armed force that keeps beating down on a weaker opponent will be seen as committing a series of crimes; therefore it will end up by losing the support of its allies, its own people, and its own troops. Depending on the quality of the forces – whether they are draftees or professionals, the effectiveness of the propaganda machine, the nature of the political process, and so on – things may happen quickly or take a long time to mature. However, the outcome is always the same. He (or she) who does not understand this does not understand anything about war; or, indeed, human nature.

    In other words, he who fights against the weak – and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed – and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however, advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat; if U.S troops in Iraq have not yet started fragging their officers, the suicide rate among them is already exceptionally high. That is why the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last US troops fleeing the country while hanging on to their helicopters’ skids.

    To sum it all up in verse:

    Another Catastrophic Success

    With their tails tucked proudly ‘tween their legs
    Advancing towards the exits march the dregs
    Of Empire, whose retreat this question begs:
    “No promised omelet, just the broken eggs?”

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2011

  49. idealist707 1, February 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Dredd,

    You are a favo of mine, but could you just not put up leading quotation marks, but the end ones, AND a source for each.

    I like to evaluate sources, not just content. If it is not too much trouble. ;-)
    =====================================
    Thusly:

    Any indentations are quotes, like this one, whether embraced with loving quote marks or not.

    (The Source Follows In Parenthesis). Sometimes the source has a link, sometimes not, because here only two links are allowed.

    If you have a specific request, I will reply if I am awake. ;)

  50. Mike,
    You seem to be trying to refute the facts that I’ve laid out for you in very clear and plain language, but because you do not understand what I’ve written, you have a jejune compulsion to attack me personally, rather than to remotely attempt to engage in any intelligent dialogue, assuming you are capable of such interaction. I do not care to engage in kindergarten banter with you. However, I am used to dealing with this kind of behavior whenever I chose to visit left-wing or what you’d call right-wing blogs (of which Turley’s is the former category).

    So let’s try something different. I will discuss the specific items you seem to think are important, and I’ll dispense with them one by one, okay?

    1. You say: “In Viet Nam, Chuck Hagel was patriotic enough to enlist, become a Sergeant, led a squad and was wounded twice.”

    So, this qualifies Hagel to be Secretary of Defense? By that standard, Timotghy McVeigh would have been qualified. McVeigh was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in the first Gulf War and he was a top-scoring gunner with the 25mm cannon of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles used by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division to which he was assigned. He served at Fort Riley, Kansas, before Operation Desert Storm and completed the Primary Leadership Development Course. He had special lifesaving training and saved the life of a comrade who had life-threatening shrapnel wounds. Wasn’t McVeigh “patriotic” enough for you too? Or how about Oliver Stone, who hates America and loves Islam? In short, your “point” is pointless, unlike your head. Let’s move on to your next “point.”

    2. You say: “His record in the U.S. Senate was certainly “pro American” enough for another war veteran John McCain to suggest him for SecDef. . .” So, if John McCain thinks highly of Hagel, then Hagel must be pro-America? When John McCain become the standard for what is pro-America and what is not? I certainly respect McCain’ service in the military–as I do Hagel’s for that matter–but their service is irrelevant to what they are doing and saying today. McCain is, in fact, an Islamo-panderer of the first order. As Debbie Schlussel has accurately documented on her own blog, McCain supports the Muslim Brotherhood and even met with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt long ago, encouraging them to field a candidate in the Presidential elections. And he’s supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, much as he did the Al-Qaeda operatives in Libya. McCain’s “attacks” on Hegel are bogus and meaningless political posturing. McCain has already indicated that he will not oppose Hagel. There’s nothing pro-American about McCain in my book, going back to his role in the Savings & Loan Crisis, nor since.

    3. You say: “. . . [Y]ou think of Hagel as being pro-Islamist and therefore anti-American.” Correct. The two ideologies are inseparable. First, Islam is not a religion, but a political cult. Islam is today’s version of the Nazi political cult. And the dynamics of the relationship between America and Islam bear a remarkable resemblance to that between America and Germany when World War II began. Back then, people like Prescott Bush (George W.’s grandfather), Charles Lindbergh, and Joseph P. Kennedy (JFK’s father) actually felt a greater kinship for Germany than for England. They would have liked to let Germany play its war games without American interference. And if they really had their way, they would have aided Germany. Yes, America could have joined with Nazi Germany, but then America wouldn’t have been America anymore. The same is true of Islam today. There are many, like Hagel and Ron & Rand Paul that maintain that by aiding and supporting Islam, the Muslim nations will stop hating Americans and start to “like” us more. If America goes down that path, than America will no longer be America anymore.

    4. You say: “More importantly you think that proposing slashing America’s defense budget is an “unpatriotic” act.” No, that’s not what I think. The Department of Defense is loaded with waste, fraud, mismangement, and abuse on a massive scale. Every audit has verified that this is so, and those audit have only scratched the surface. (And the same is true of virtually every government department and division for that matter.) But Obama does not want to put Hagel in charge to slash waste, fraud, mismangement, and abuse. Obama isn’t even interested in performing some spot liposuction of those things. If Obama and Hagel were going to do something about that, I might even feel a little different about Hagel, in spite of his Islam-pandering. But neither Obama nor Hagel have EVER shown the slightest interest in addressing those things. Rather, they want to gut the military technology and to diminish the ability of the United States to defend itself.

    Finally, let’s take a look at some of the supporters of Hagel. Press TV, which has produced such “exposes” as “The Jews behind the Sandy Hook Massacre” endorses Hagel. Leaders of Iran and Hezbollah have endored Hagel. Former KKK leader David Duke and Holocaust denier Mark Weber have endorsed Hagel. Stephen Walt, who hates Israel, endorses Hagel. former CIA staffer Ray McGovern, who believes that 911 was jointly carried out by US military black ops and the Mossad, endorses Hagel. Disgraced anti-Jewish former ambassador Charles Freeman endorses Hagel. Daily Beast blogger Peter Beinart, an advocate for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement against Israel endorses Hagel. Not for nothing have I referred to supporters of Hagel as Islam-firsters. Yes, I know that there are others endorsing Hagel that don’t seem to fit in precisely with this group, like Chuck Schummer or Dick Durbin, but they are largely political whores, not people of principles, values, or standards. And the Republicans, who have for the first time, a chance to “Bork” a nominee who should be “Borked,” have no principles, values, nor standards either.

    To end on a lighter note, I will close with a very funny–but relevant–skit from MadTV:

  51. “Here’s the bottom line with Hagel: 1. He’s Islam-first; 2. He supports a nuclear-armed Iran (or any Muslim nation for that matter); and 3. He supports slashing the US military budget and weakening America’s military position. If you like those things then Hagel is your guy.”

    Ralph,

    It was this comment of yours I responded to. You made three statements that have no basis in fact and are in reality “straw man” talking points. This has been quite typical of your comments here where you make blanket assertions as if they well proven truths and which reflect your own right wing viewpoint.

    “So let’s try something different. I will discuss the specific items you seem to think are important, and I’ll dispense with them one by one, okay?

    “1. You say: “In Viet Nam, Chuck Hagel was patriotic enough to enlist, become a Sergeant, led a squad and was wounded twice.”

    So, this qualifies Hagel to be Secretary of Defense?”

    I don’t believe that service alone qualifies a person to be SecDef, but I think the perspective in fighting in that “War” might give someone an insight as to
    home our armed forces could be ill-used. Below is a list of 9 SecDef’s who served the longest terms in that position and their days in office:

    Robert McNamara 2,595
    Donald Rumsfeld 2,585 (two terms)
    Caspar Weinberger 2,497
    Charles Erwin Wilson 1,722
    Robert Gates 1,656
    Melvin R. Laird 1,469
    Harold Brown 1,460
    William Cohen 1,457
    Dick Cheney 1,402

    I don’t know what qualified any of these men to be SecDef except for three things. 1. The served in the military at some point 2. The ran large Corporations or #. The served in Congress. McNamara who served during much of Viet Nam later regretted his mistakes. Rumsfeld helped prosecute the debacle in Iraq. Weinberger presided over Iran Contra. Wilson was famous for his statement of “What’s good for General Motors” is good for the USA. Also since your standard has consistently been their feelings about Israel and being pro-Arab: Rumsfeld, Weinberger, Wilson Laird and Cheney were all deeply entwined in the Oil Industry and decidedly pro-Arab.

    “2. You say: “His record in the U.S. Senate was certainly “pro American” enough for another war veteran John McCain to suggest him for SecDef. . .” So, if John McCain thinks highly of Hagel, then Hagel must be pro-America? When John McCain become the standard for what is pro-America and what is not?”

    Nuance is not your strong-point Ralph. If you read this and my other writing here I don’t necessarily believe what common wisdom call “pro-American” really is good for America. Rather it is a mindset in which there is a belief in American exceptionalism and this country’s right to interfere at will in the world, to wit a “bi-partisan” foreign policy”. Hegel’s Senate record certainly puts him in this camp, yet in my book since he was able to “re-think” his Iraq position, shows a glimmer of hope that he might actually see things correctly.

    “3. You say: “. . . [Y]ou think of Hagel as being pro-Islamist and therefore anti-American.” Correct. The two ideologies are inseparable. First, Islam is not a religion, but a political cult. Islam is today’s version of the Nazi political cult.”

    You really have let your politics and your hatred distract you. Islam is every bit a religion, yet there are some in Islam who do seem like cultists. However, that can be said of every “major” religion be it Judaism, the Roman Catholic Church, some Protestant Christian sects, Hinduism and even Buddhism. The key in all of them is their adherence to Fundamentalist belief and a belief in male dominance. When you’re specifically talking about the Arab states and Islam though what you are really seeing is either Kingdom’s, or oligarchy’s working hand in glove with Fundamentalists to maintain power. Yet one can say the exact same thing about America where the Right Wing works with Fundamentalist Christianity to maintain their power. Many Fundamentalist Christian beliefs are every bit as bad as that of Fundamentalist Muslims. As a Jew I must say that should certain elements of Fundamentalist Judaism ever get into positions of power they would be equally as bad.

    “But neither Obama nor Hagel have EVER shown the slightest interest in addressing those things. Rather, they want to gut the military technology and to diminish the ability of the United States to defend itself.”

    Ralph, here you again show where you are really coming from ad that is the land of the unrepentant, unremitting partisan. Prior to that you admit there is waste in the military, but in truth you would rather keep that wast so long as our bloated military budget remains intact. The simplest question is that the U.S. “known” Defense budget is greater than the totality of budgets for the next 13 major countries in the world, as I showed. This has nothing to do with the defense of this country and everything to do with engorging many people and corporation with money. It isn’t “defense” it’s a “cash cow” for the elite. I don’t know and personally don’t feel that Hagel will make a difference in this, but he certainly is to me the lesser of evils.

    As to using some of those who support him as negative evidence, I could easily say the same about those who oppose him. If instead of reading my piece as in praise of Hagel, you might have understood the underlying point that I was making which is that a mythology has developed whereby the United States must become the next Roman Empire and this mythology is mingled with the belief that the “masses must be led, via propaganda” by an “elite” that are akin to “adults” guiding “children”. My conclusions are that this explains the history of this country for the last 7 or 8 decades.

  52. Mike,
    Let’s leave aside what Hagel represents and what he will really be doing when he is made Secretary of Defense. Let’s instead look at the big picture; so please answer this question…. If you were interviewing a job candidate, and the candidate couldn’t answer basic questions about his resume, what he did or why he did it, was hiding things about what he did or said, and was constantly evading responsibility for his statements and actions, and knew next to nothing about the company he was trying to get hired by, would you honestly offer that candidate the job, or would you be looking elsewhere?

    I’ve interviewed a lot of candidates for jobs in my career, and Hagel’s interview performance was among the worst that I’ve ever seen. When you add all the controversial issues at stake, if merit had any genuine role in the selection process, Hagel would have been shown the door and we wouldn’t even be debating about what this guy really stands for.

  53. Ralph,

    I’ve also interviewed many people for jobs. A job interview is quite different from a Senate Hearing. ALL Senate hearings are “Shows”, usually when one partisan and rarely done as a search for truth. McCain was out for blood because if Hagel was correct about Iraq, then McCain was wrong which he was. The bottom line is the President should get his choice of cabinet officers in most cases. I gave you a list of SecDefs and some of them were really lousy, including draft dodger Dick Cheney, who also lacked the experience, however, he was confirmed on two occasions. But seriously I wrote you a rather long response and you didn’t even do me the courtesy of addressing it.

  54. Mike, here’s my comments to your response:

    1. You say that I’ve made three statements that have no basis in fact and are straw-man talking points, referring to my assertions that Hagel is: an Islam-firster, a supporter of a nuclear-armed Iran, and a supporter of slashing the US military budget. You further say that my statements reflect a right-wing viewpoint.

    On the contrary, your assertion was made ipse dixit, whereas there is plenty of factual support for my three assertions. The following are just a sample of the facts. During the second Palestinian Intifada against Israel, Hagel was one of only four Senators who refused to sign a letter expressing support for Israel. Hagel failed to vote on the Syria Accountability Act authorizing sanctions on Syria for its support of terrorism and occupation of Lebanon (although the Act passed by a vote of 89 to 4 without his support). Hagel called on President George W. Bush to demand an immediate cease-fire when Israel retaliated against Hezbollah after the terrorist group attacked Israel, abducted two IDF soldiers, and fired rockets at Israeli civilians. Hagel voted against designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a terrorist organization.

    Hagel is on the record for making several statements demonstrating his Pro-Islam, anti-America, anti-Israel position (and the three go together, as I’ve pointed out numerous times before). In 2006, speaking in Islamabad, Pakistan, Hagel said: “A military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.” And in 2008: “Iran will not be deterred from developing nuclear arms only because the United States and the EU say they must—especially if they feel threatened and if the United States, Great Britain, France, and Israel, among others, all retain their nuclear weapons.” And in 2009, on an Al Jazeera show, Hagel agreed that the U.S. is “the world’s bully.”
    Hagel also agrees with Ahmadinjad, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and various Neo-Nazis right here in America that, as Hagel put it, “The political reality is that … the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” Of course, Hagel does not and cannot name who these Jewish lobbyists are, nor whom they are intimidating, but that is par for the course for an Islam-firster. In 2003, Hagel that Israel was keeping the Palestinians “caged up like animals.” Of course, Hagel tried to reverse himself after the fact, but that is also par for the Islam-firster: tell the Infidels (the American public and the Senate) lies to “feed them what they want to hear,” but tell how you really feel to your real friends, the Muslims. Arafat was a genuine master of this bifurcation, and, admittedly, Hagel is much sloppier—but he’s working on it. In time, he’ll become as adept as Arafat was at having a forked-tongue

    In 2012, Hagel recommended deep reductions in the U.S. nuclear inventory and eventually retiring intercontinental ballistic missiles, which form the land leg of the military’s nuclear triad of land, sea and air delivery platforms. On nuclear weapons, Hagel had co-authored an article where he advocated unilateral reduction in ground-based ICBMs and the elimination of tactical US nuclear weapons.
    Furthermore, your conclusion that I’m a right winger is entirely without foundation. I abhor the left-wingers AND the right-wingers, and that is completely consistent with my viewpoint that Pro-Islam, Anti-America, and Anti-Israel go together. On those issues, there are no basic disagreements between left and right-wingers. Thus, during the Nazi extermination program of the 1940s, the Muslims joined forces with the Nazis because they too hated Jews and America (as the new State of Israel obviously didn’t yet exist then). But today, the Muslims are tightly aligned with far left nations, such as Russia, and Muslims are also, of course, Anti-Israel. Thus, it is no accident and it is completely consistent with my conclusion that Hagel’s strongest supporters are from the far left AND the far right. For example—and these are just a sampling—Press TV, which has produced such “exposes” as “The Jews behind the Sandy Hook Massacre” endorses Hagel. Leaders of Iran and Hezbollah have endored Hagel. Former KKK leader David Duke and Holocaust denier Mark Weber have endorsed Hagel. Stephen Walt, who hates Israel, endorses Hagel. former CIA staffer Ray McGovern, who believes that 911 was jointly carried out by US military black ops and the Mossad, endorses Hagel. Disgraced anti-Jewish former ambassador Charles Freeman endorses Hagel. Daily Beast blogger Peter Beinart, an advocate for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement against Israel endorses Hagel.

    There is NO question that Hagel is Islam-first, a supporter of a nuclear-armed Iran, and a supporter of slashing the US military budget. In fact, that was WHY Hagel was nominated for the post in the first place.

    2. When I pointed out that Timothy McVeigh and Oliver Stone were also Vietnam veterans, and that such military service did not qualify Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, you responded by pointing to former secretaries that have had questionable backgrounds. Even if other secretaries were poor choices, that does not excuse Hagel—as his background is even worse than those named. With regard to several of the secretaries being Pro-Arab, that is not a correct characterization of them. They are Oil-Interest-Firsters, but that is not the same as being Pro-Arab. The Muslim nations LOVE Hagel, but they have NEVER felt that way about Dick Cheney, for example. The concerns of the other secretaries you name has everything to do with protecting the interests of Big-Oil, and virtually nothing to do with any empathy for Islamic interests. The same is NOT true for Hagel.

    3. You had previously written: “His [Hagel’s] record in the U.S. Senate was certainly “pro American” enough for another war veteran John McCain to suggest him for SecDef. . .” I then responded, “So, if John McCain thinks highly of Hagel, then Hagel must be pro-America? When [did] John McCain become the standard for what is pro-America and what is not?” You then countered with a personal attack (a frequent tactic on the Turley blog when someone has no facts or evidence to support their positions), followed by an expression of the idea that because Hagel “was able to ‘re-think’ his Iraq position. . . [that showed] a glimmer of hope that he might actually see things correctly.” In short, you seem to be saying that because Hagel seems to hold the same view about Iraq that you do he must, ergo, be “thinking” “correctly.” Or put another way, you believe that you “think correctly,” and, therefore, if anyone else “thinks” as you do, they must also be “thinking correctly.” I think I’ll pass on further comment on that point.

    4. I wrote that being pro-Islamist and anti-American are inseparable, and further that Islam is not a religion, but a political cult. Islam is today’s version of the Nazi political cult. You responded that Islam is a religion like Judaism, the Roman Catholic Church, some Protestant Christian sects, Hinduism and even Buddhism. Yeah, I guess I get that point. Many years ago, people used to complain about those Harikrishna folks in white robes handing around airports. Now people complain about Muslim terrorist attacks at airports. So, when you get down to it, all religions are the same. Makes sense to me.

    You also try to draw a distinction between “fundamentalists” and the mainstream believers in each respective religion. Although this is a facile thing to do, it is ultimately specious. The mainstream Muslim population does NOT disagree with the fundamentalists among the Muslims. True, Muslims are killing other Muslims all of the time; but their core reason for doing so is that one Muslim group feels that it is “more Muslim” than another group, and that is justification enough for bloodshed. Muslims don’t favor democracy or the American way of life. They favor being controlled by groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. And if you don’t like that Muslim “flavor, perhaps Hezbollah or Hamas will be more to your liking. As for your final point, “that should certain elements of Fundamentalist Judaism ever get into positions of power they would be equally as bad”—that is totally absurd, as it would be if you were to substitute Christians, Catholics, Hindus or Buddhists for Judaism in your outlandish statement.

    5. You say that I “would rather keep that wast[e] so long as our bloated military budget remains intact.” In this case, you have completely missed my point. I have told you that EVERY department in the US Government is loaded with waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption—and the Department of Defense is, of course, no exception. Government auditors and investigators have already acknowledged that such waste and fraud has amounted to trillions of dollars lost every 10 years, and that is only what they will admit to. Now, show me even a statement by Obama or Hagel indicating that they are against waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and corruption. You can’t, because they’ve NEVER made any such statements, let along show even a glimmer of interest in even looking at the problem. Waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and corruption are most definitely NOT on Hagel’s agenda. The “bloat” that Hagel refers to is the military strength of America; he wants to weaken it.

    You then say that Defense budget is just a “cash cow” for the elite. I presume that you’re talking about such corporations as Boeing, Halliburton, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Gencorp, and other major defense contractors or subcontractors. What makes them so “elite” in your mind? Are they more “elite” than the Big Pharmaceutical companies or the Big Health Insurance companies that are also beneficiaries of government payments? It’s worth noting that the Big Defense companies pay taxes at the corporate tax rate, but the Big Pharmaceuticals avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes by sheltering cash overseas. Seems to me that if the Big Defense companies were so “elite” they would have the tax laws written for them the way they are written for the Big Pharmaceutical companies.

    But I digress. The bottom line is that the defense of America has to be the number one priority of the US Government because we are not just defending America, but are defending our allies and our own interests throughout the world. The world is a much better place because the US is a mighty and powerful nation. Hagel, on the other hand, agrees with the ENEMIES of the US that the US is a “bully”—something that leftists and Nazis believe in. You, apparently, also concur with Hagel’s position and those of the enemies of the US, that the US is a “bully” and that explains to a great extent why you do not object to him.

  55. Dredd,

    There is no difference between the terms oligarchy (“a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next”) and plutocracy (“a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with the wealthy”). Both state the obvious: Elites Rule.(see Wikipedia for a more elaborate comprehension of these terms).

    Mike S,

    I do apologize for not responding in a timely matter, but I had to do my homework on this one, in support of the Lippmann Theory (and even taking a more draconian view of his theory).

    To the first point of the Lippmann Theory, starting with the paragraph “To his mind, democratic ideals had deteriorated, voters were largely ignorant about issues and policies, they lacked the competence to participate in public life and cared little for participating in the political parties.”
    · So true. Voters don’t care about politics! According to Piven & Cloward’s ‘Why Americans Don’t Vote’, 1988, and Longley’s “Survey Answers, Why Don’t More Americans Vote” (http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a/whynotvote.htm), the vast majority of voters refuse to participate in politics, even when it affects them on a local level. In the presidential race of Bush vs. Gore, more than 100 million people who were eligible to vote, did not vote!
    · His second point about voters being ignorant and incompetent is partially true, as well (I don’t believe all voters are ignorant and incompetent for participating in public life). Here is an example: Wal-Mart planning to build a supercenter in Shrewsbury, (suburb of St. Louis) MO (Read the following: http://affton.patch.com/articles/shrewsbury-board-approves-walmart-tif-f4ee8669). Not only did the vast majority of citizens refuse to show up at the meeting for citizens to express their approval or disapproval of the matter, but some of the comments, (I was there at the meeting) for approving or disapproving the new supercenter were not based on any facts, but their ‘stereotypes’ toward either Wal-Mart (One comment was “I hate the Walton Family. They are only trying to take over the world”), the town of Shrewsbury (“Can’t afford a supercenter in our back yard” but instead they want to have an abandon-graffiti movie theater remain in their back yard?), the state of Missouri (“Wasting our taxpaying dollars on Wal-Mart” even though their school district and an increase in their home values stands to benefit the most from this deal?), etc.

    To the second point of the Lippmann Theory, starting with the paragraph “distorted information was inherent in the human mind. People make up their minds before they define the facts, while the ideal would be to gather and analyze the facts before reaching conclusions. By seeing first, he argued, it is possible to sanitize polluted information. Lippmann argued that seeing through stereotypes (which he coined in this specific meaning) subjected us to partial truths. Lippmann called the notion of a public competent to direct public affairs a “false ideal.”
    · So True! Just look at the Wal-Mart (mentioned above) example. Moreover, how many times have you been in a meeting with or talked to people who have ‘made up their minds before they have been confronted with and defined the facts?” I substituted in high schools, taught in the day (young adults ages 18-22) program and evening (ages 23+) at a college, and was a student (at one time); you probably wouldn’t believe how many of those students, including me at one time, had their minds made up about a certain issue, after presenting them with the facts, charts, research, etc. Yet, they still felt that they were competent enough to govern or make decisions on certain issues? I will go a step further: How many mob behaviors, including lynch mobs, boycotts, riots, strikes, demonstrations, etc. have occurred via acting on ‘partial truths’ or our stereotypes?

    Finally, to the last point of the Lippmann Theory, starting with the paragraph “the “bewildered herd,” his way of referring to the mases, must be governed by “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality.” This class is composed of experts, specialists and bureaucrats. The experts, who often are referred to as “elites,” were to be a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the “omnicompetent citizen”
    · Partially, True. As I stated earlier, what do we the people truly want or need? It is hard to tell what we-the-people truly want, especially if you follow our actions or inaction toward certain issues and problems in our society (homeless veterans, poverty, tax codes, housing, corporate greed, etc.). And very rarely, we-the-people will act if it affects our neighborhood, friends, and family members (Pivens & Cloward, 1988; Longley, 2013). Hence, there has to be someone or ‘specialized class’ whose job should be to accommodate everyone, and at the same time, making decisions based on facts, equality, and humanity. I don’t agree with how the Elites of this country have went about creating a vision for America, but one must appreciate the vision! The vision has been tweaked from time-to-time to include all Americans (women, minorities, and now, foreigners…for lack of better wording), and, every now and then, we-the-people must take a stand when the Elites are not adhering to equality, social justice, humanity, etc (and we have done this from time-to-time, and we need to do it more).
    · Think about this: the Elites, with little action and inaction by we-the-people, have created a country where you (including the mentally challenged or impaired) can buy almost any weapon you want, purchase and misuse alcoholic beverages and legal drugs, be very soft on the purchase and sale of illegal drugs-as far as the law is concerned, and still allow you to be represented in court by a public defender, just in case the government tries to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on you (and if you can’t afford a lawyer).

    To your last point of “this country has been sold a fantasy…that indeed fooled the people into believing we are the land of the free.”
    · How do you socially control more than 6+billion people worldwide, while at the same time, dealing with the 300+ million at home-who are allowed to do what I mention above, and more? How do you control people like Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Timothy McVeigh, the 200+ domestic terror groups (some are listed on the FBI website as militias), the mafia and other street gangs in almost every major metropolitan city in America? How do you socially control America’s political and corporate thugs? How do you provide a vision for a group of people whom are like ‘sheep without a shepherd’? Do you use Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a foundation to meet people where they are currently at in life? Or do you create a society based upon Charles Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest in which the weak will perish and the strong will survive? How about the Bible (since almost every law in this country is founded up the Bible: bankruptcy law, crime and punishment, even monetary items have God’s name on it)? Where do you start? I believed that we have ‘gone to far’ to start all over (even though that probably would be better).

    I was watching a Tavis Smiley show on PBS and/or BET, and there was a professor (I can’t recall his name at the moment), stating that in America, most US citizens don’t have cable, internet service, purchase or read newspapers, or can’t recall the last book, magazine, or research article that they read outside of high school (including college graduates who use cliff notes to avoid reading lengthy books in undergrad). Lawmakers, he concluded, are dealing with a very illiterate, uninformed people, and that it is so easy to lead or control them.

  56. “The Senate Armed Services Committee voted on Tuesday to approve the nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense by a party-line vote, 14 to 11, with one senator not voting. The nomination now moves to a full vote before the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Monday that he expects the full vote to occur either Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

    Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has said he intends to “postpone” Hagel’s confirmation before the full Senate with a series of “holds.” Reid told reporters Tuesday that he will not honor any holds placed on Hagel’s nomination.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would not commit to filibuster Hagel’s confirmation but signaled that Republicans might do so.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if we do have a cloture vote on the Hagel nomination,” McConnell told reporters. TPM

  57. The comments made on Feb 3 by the bizarre (and, no doubt, paid) provocateur ‘Ralph Adamo’ are not the comments or thoughts of RalpAdamo of New Orleans,who believes Senator Hegal to be an outstanding patriot and a man of rare intelligence and grace among a politcal class that has little of either.

  58. Re-reading the disgraceful comments by the chronic poster ‘Ralph Adamo,’ I call on J.Turley to please, himself, make some clear distinction between this hater who is using Turley’s blog to promote his bs and me, Ralph Adamo who lives and works in New Orleans and could hardly disagree more with the poster’s point of view. While most anyone who knows me would either recognize the difference or assume I was engaged in some bizzare joke, I am concerned –as a teacher and a person with some public profile — that anyone at allmight think that the remarks of this person are mine.Please, Mr.Turley,idenitfy this opportunist in somke way that makes it clear his opinions are not mine. I believe the shared name,continually printed in this blog connected to opinions that I find absurd and worse is causing damage to my reputation.

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