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.


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. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.”

  5. 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.

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

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


    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.

  7. 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.

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


      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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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


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

  12. “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.”


    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  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.

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