When I Agree With “The Nation”…

We know we’re in strange times:

In 1977, Carl Bernstein published an exposé of a CIA program known as Operation Mockingbird, a covert program involving, according to Bernstein, “more than 400 American journalists who in the past 25 years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.” Bernstein found that in “many instances” CIA documents revealed that “journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.”

Fast-forward to December 2016, and one can see that there isn’t much need for a covert government program these days. The recent raft of unverified, anonymously sourced and circumstantial stories alleging that the Russian government interfered in the US presidential election with the aim of electing Republican Donald J. Trump shows that today too much of the media is all too happy to do overtly what the CIA had once paid it to do covertly: regurgitate the claims of the spy agency and attack the credibility of those who question it…

Do read the whole article. I find it astonishing that the MSM – and the larger left – is taking the CIA’s word as gospel. This is the same MSM – and larger left – which for the past 40 years has assumed that anything the CIA says is a lie. James Carden – the author – keeps that tradition alive, but he seems a pretty lonely voice on the left these days.

To be sure, I don’t hold with the general leftwing concept of the CIA – which Carden does hold: you know, making out that the CIA is this nefarious group overthrowing government’s at will, etc. Even in things like the Iranian and Chilean coups, my reading of it is that the CIA merely helped local forces who wanted to oust their particular governments and as those governments had a distinctly anti-American bent, it was something worth doing, given the overall situation during the Cold War. On the other hand, I don’t trust the CIA as far as I could throw it. This stems from the realization that the CIA was cobbled together at the start of the Cold War and got a lot of it’s personnel from the WWII-era Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was riddled with Communist agents. Histories I’ve read indicate that the new CIA vetted itself – which is about the dumbest thing an intelligence agency can do at the get-go, and which in my view pretty much ensured that at least some Soviet agents were employed from Day One at CIA…and over the years would just keep ensuring that other traitors were employed. Add to that the fact that the CIA has become another ossified bureaucracy chock-full of the same sort of Progressives that staff the rest of the federal government and all I can say about the CIA is that we’d better abolish it. But at least Carden is maintaining a healthy doubt – including, to his great credit, doubt about a CIA report which works out politically to the benefit of his own political side. Credit where credit is due – and sticking to genuine principal is getting rare these days. My hat’s off to Carden.

Carden goes on to write about the bizarre defense being offered for the CIA – essentially, people are holding that respecting a CIA rumor is the only patriotic thing to do, and that criticizing the CIA is somehow un-American. But Carden notes that even laying aside partisan politics for a moment, the CIA doesn’t exactly have a stellar record as an intelligence agency:

…Consulting the CIA’s historical record, one is confronted by a laundry list of failures, which includes missing both the break-up of the Soviet Union (during the 1980’s a CIA deputy director by the name of Bob Gates called the USSR “a despotism that works”) and the 9/11 attacks.

In the years following 9/11, the CIA has been caught flat-footed by, among other things, the lack of WMD in Iraq (2003) {Ed Note: methinks Iraq had the WMD, but they were moved out before the war…but, the CIA should have caught that, too, and didn’t); the Iraqi insurgency (2003); the Arab Spring (2010); the rise of ISIS (2013); and the Ukrainian civil war (2014).

More recently, CIA Director John Brennan made false statements before Congress over the CIA’s hacking into the computers of Congressional staffers.

I recall that the CIA assessments of the USSR appeared absurd in the 80’s, and the fall of the USSR confirmed my view – me, just a then-20-something nobody who bothered to read history a bit was coming up with more realistic assessments of the USSR’s viability than the CIA was. Remember, the CIA was telling us that the USSR was strong, rich and permanent. Flew apart at the merest push, of course…and was found to be a bankrupt kleptocracy once the Iron Curtain came down (did not a single CIA agent even bother to read The Gulag Archipelago? Solzhenitsyn clearly detailed how the statistics produced by the USSR to show what they were doing were complete fantasies). The prime thing, of course, for the CIA is to detect foreign threats – the thing was created, after all, to prevent another Pearl Harbor – and yet with all the CIA’s resources, they completely missed the 9/11 attacks. That right there proved to me the uselessness of the CIA. But here in 2016, the word of the CIA is golden, per the left…simply because some elements at the CIA cooked up a “hack the election” story which fits in the Progressive Narrative about Trump.

It would be hard to convince the American people that we don’t need a CIA – too built-in to the public mind. But trying to figure out what the enemy is up to is enormously difficult…and by having a secret agency trying to ferret out enemy intentions, the chances of getting an intelligence agency willing to play domestic politics becomes too large as that is easier than coming up with the next target of a terrorist attack. I do believe we need military intelligence, but even then only to figure out the military capabilities of foreign forces…figuring out their intentions is entirely a political matter which doesn’t require a spy agency but, instead, people in political leadership who know their…well, you know what from a hole in the ground (this is a rare commodity…but having an intelligence agency which has probably got it wrong inform a dimwit who doesn’t know what is going on doesn’t really work to our advantage, either). Bottom line for national defense is to maintain such a powerful military force that everyone knows that attacking us is a death sentence…and then showing the world that, indeed, it is a death sentence, even if the State actor is using a third-party cut-out to attack us. We’d only have to do that sort of thing rarely – and done properly probably not more than once in 50 years. We keep getting attacked simply because those who attack us don’t pay a high enough price…make them pay that price and the next trouble maker down the road will back off.

Be that as it may, it is going to be a strange four to eight years – I am determined through this time to keep to one, solid principle: too seek and tell the truth, as best as I can determine it. The people on the left are drowning themselves in lies about Trump, but so are many on the right…of course, with exceptions (like Carden, here). I want to live in the real world – I’ll see what Trump does. If I think it good, I’ll praise him – if I think it bad, I’ll condemn him. The last thing the world needs is yet another blogger/writer/pundit who is going all out trying to make facts fit his or her Narrative.

26 thoughts on “When I Agree With “The Nation”…

  1. Retired Spook December 18, 2016 / 12:06 pm

    I’m genuinely curious about something, and I’m hoping some liberal Democrat who might be monitoring this site can give me an honest answer.

    I was watching Fox News Sunday this morning, and three different Democrat talking heads referred to America as “our democracy”, ie., “we must protect the integrity of our democracy.” It got me to thinking that I can’t recall ever hearing a Democrat refer to the United States by any other term except “democracy,” not even “democratic republic, which would be more accurate than “democracy.” Republicans occasionally make the same error, but not nearly to the extent that Democrats do. Now I realize it’s awkward to say “representative republic,” but the short version, “republic” is accurate and no more difficult to say than “democracy.” So, my question is, is Democrats’ use of the word “democracy” when describing our country (a) just ignorance, (b) wishful thinking, or (c) a subtle form of repetitive propaganda?

    • rustybrown2014 December 18, 2016 / 9:55 pm

      I may be opening a can of worms here that I really have little interest in but isn’t insisting on the distinction between a republic or a democracy as a descriptor for our country a tad pedantic? A slight bit of googling gave me this article which reinforced my preconceived notion that the terms are somewhat fluid taking common usage and understanding into account.


      Am I missing something from your question Spook? Do you think there’s an important distinction between the terms?

      • Amazona December 18, 2016 / 10:54 pm

        I don’t know if I would call the distinction “pedantic” (she said pedantically) but just kind of vague. The best way to differentiate between the two terms would be to modify the word “democracy” to say “pure democracy”. So a “democratic republic” has representational government, with laws made by officials elected through the democratic process, and a pure democracy has the laws made directly by the people.

        The first major point Madison made is that if a faction is in the minority, the ordinary operation of republican government, in which the will of the majority decides the outcome, insures that the faction will not prevail. Thus, he left no doubt of his support for majority rule. But problems arise if the faction itself occupies the majority; and although he does not withdraw support for majority rule in such cases, he does describe in detail the mechanisms in the American republic that will serve to prevent a factious majority from arising. It is at this point that Madison makes his famous statement in condemnation of PURE democracies, which are particularly susceptible to the formation of factious majorities.

        “…such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

        When this passage is quoted, the word “such” is often omitted, making it seem like a condemnation of all democracies. But an examination of the passage in the context of the very paragraph from which it is extracted reveals that “such” unquestionably refers to “A PURE DEMOCRACY,” which Madison defines as “a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person.” There is “no cure for the mischiefs of factions” in such small democracies because it frequently happens that “a common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole,” they will act together, and there is nothing to check their inclinations to “sacrifice the weaker party.” They will, in other words, tend to ‘gang up’ on the minority.

        Obviously, that form of PURE democracy is not the government of the United States of America. The new Constitutional government established a republic, which Madison defines as “a government in which the scheme of representation takes place.” It avoids the tendency towards factious majorities that occurs in PURE democracies through two basic mechanisms: (1) representative government, and (2) the great extent of the republic itself.

        (1) The representative principle controls the effect of factions because citizens will choose their more worthy members to represent them in governmental bodies, and these can be expected to be the least likely to sacrifice the best interests of the whole nation to baser factional interests.

        (2) The great extent of the republic controls the effect of factions because it is far less likely that cabals will arise amongst representatives from a wide-spread geographic area. A larger number of citizens also would tend to provide a wider selection of fit candidates for office, and the larger number of voters insures greater diversity and makes it much more likely that they will pursue interests that accrue to the benefit of all rather than to a narrow faction. A variety of interests amongst the electorate helps insure that no one interest group will achieve predominance.

        That, basically, is Madison’s argument. It is clear that he is in no way opposed to popular (democratic) government, nor to decisions being made by the majority. His concern was that these decisions be made in the best interests of the whole, and that narrow factional interests be eliminated by a system that gives greater effect to the interests of the whole people. In no way would he deny the people of the nation their right to make a choice based on the will of the majority. It is also clear that the protection from factions is not absolute; it relies on mechanisms that are least likely to result in a sacrifice of the best interest of the whole nation. But it is a reasonable and well-founded protection, and more likely to produce good government than a system that would deliberately put governmental powers in the hands of an established faction (such as a monarchy, dictatorship, or aristocracy), which is the only other alternative.


      • M. Noonan December 18, 2016 / 11:32 pm

        My understanding is that the Founders – and especially Washington – wished very much that faction and party would not emerge in the United States. I believe they figured it was a forlorn hope, but they still had it. Their ideal was that people would enter public life in the spirit of Cincinnatus…which virtues Washington exemplified; coming from civil life, taking charge of the State, doing the necessary deeds and then returning to civil life.

        In my view, only a Republic made up of Christians of the highest order – or at least very determined Stoics – can get to such a thing. Of course, our Progressives (and a lot of Conservatives) wouldn’t really like a Republic run by vigorous Christians…it would, after all, be a bit poorer economically, and mostly governed by hierarchy. But, no matter – we’ve got what we’ve got…and the reason I want term limits is to force people to quit public life. Keeping in mind that we should have Roman term limits – once your out of office, you must be out for at least five years before you can even try for another office.

      • Retired Spook December 19, 2016 / 12:41 am

        I guess what I was driving at, Rusty, is that many on the Left have made it no secret that they would like the United States to be more like the social democracies of Europe. One of the mainstays of propaganda is if you repeat something often enough people will believe it. I have always thought that that was the reason Liberals use the word democracy. I concede your point that many people think republic and democracy are interchangeable. I happen to think that words mean things, and he who controls the language controls everything.

      • rustybrown2014 December 19, 2016 / 1:31 pm

        Spook, as a recent convert, I don’t think anything so nefarious is going on, at least with the majority of lefties. I think there’s a general and understandable squishiness to the terms and “democracy” is just the dominant modern parlance. Just my opinion.

      • Amazona December 19, 2016 / 2:27 pm

        Rusty, I have commented here on several occasions that I think there is a big difference between the run-of-the-mill Liberal and the serious ideologues who have the long-range ideological agendas.

        For some reason most of the Liberals I have known tend to be hyper-emotional and lean strongly toward the hostile and enraged end of the spectrum, but even so they are not ideologically inclined. They don’t know the core ideology of the true Left and when you start to peel away the layers of what they “know” it almost always comes down to their “knowing” only what their chosen sources have told them, mixed in with deep-seated convictions about the moral failings of those on the Right, which comes from the same sources. It’s usually a toxic emotional stew with some elements of politics, in that it is used to direct the politics of the nation.

        The appeal of the Left to the masses is purely emotional, and it is all about claims of “fairness” and “equality” and other warm fuzzy feel-good emotions which also have the benefit of conveying a sense of moral superiority. Analytical thought is discouraged, and the outcome is a vague sense of occupation of the Moral High Ground because of being “for” all the right things, such as that fairness and equality and not liking mean people and so on.

        The real Left, the leaders and minders and movers and shakers, carefully plot out their appeals to the folks down in the middle, and until lately they have carefully avoided words like “socialism”. They have been careful to couch socialist memes in the terms I used above, just appealing to the kind and generous nature of people who are basically good people and telling them that their vision for how to run the nation is the one that incorporates all those elements that let these people feel good about themselves with the least amount of effort required. That is, to be “for” them but just let the government do the work. This is shored up by the constant repetition of the belief that if the Other is not in agreement on how best to accomplish good things, such as feeding the children or housing the poor, this means they don’t care if children starve or the poor freeze on the streets, and they have built up a dichotomy of Good/Bad in which those who agree with Liberals are the Good, meaning that those who don’t agree with the Liberal means of accomplishing things are the Bad.

        It’s a slow, insidious process that starts in pre-K and builds up through our higher education, as the planning plotting ideological Left has gradually taken over our public educational system and turned it into an indoctrination system. Without education in political systems and history, people don’t realize that what they are supporting is, in fact, part of a particular political system, much less part of a system with a sordid and brutal past and no history of success anywhere it has been tried.

        Ask any Liberal why he voted for Obama. You will seldom hear anyone say “Because he also wants to change this country into a completely socialist nation”. No, you hear “I voted for him because I believe in gay marriage” or “I voted for him because I think we need to show we are not a racist nation” or “I voted for him because Mormons subjugate women” or some such thing. They think they are voting for the Good—-being accepting of homosexuals, being not-racist, being in favor of equal treatment for women—and are utterly clueless as to the real system behind the curtain of causes. Of those issues used to herd us and divide us and sway us.

        And, of course, they believe that those who voted for McCain or Romney are voting for the Bad, and are Bad themselves, because actual political theory is unknown to them.

        The “squishiness” you mention regarding the lack of clear-cut definitions of the words is a helpful tool, because it lets the politically ignorant feel politically involved if they can use political words. It FEELS good and virtuous and even smart to argue for “democracy”.

        Politics, if treated as the blueprints for how to govern, is a complex and often messy arena, and very demanding of citizens if they are going to be informed participants. The high-level ideological Left understands this, and knows that most people don’t want to get that involved, so they feed pre-digested concepts carefully assembled to make people think they know what they think, when really all they are doing is being herded into what is in fact a very organized and serious political system. They aren’t there because they started off by analyzing different political systems and then choosing the one that makes the most sense to them, based at least in part on how well they have worked in the past. No, they just find themselves in the middle of a system, often not even knowing its true name, thinking that they are there because they don’t like mean people and think everything should be fair.

  2. Cluster December 18, 2016 / 2:50 pm

    To answer your question Spook, liberals don’t know the difference between a democracy and representative republic. Hell I would wager to say that the majority of them could not even tell you the constitutional role of each branch of government.

    OT, but the video linked below is for all you white people. You know who you are. Racist, bigoted, closed minded white people. These tolerant, open minded liberal are giving you some pointers on how not to be so white and so deplorable. You can thank them later:

    • Retired Spook December 18, 2016 / 3:24 pm

      Love the line:

      “I’m not suggesting that one goes out in an artificial way and starts curating diverse friendships.”

    • rustybrown2014 December 18, 2016 / 10:06 pm

      Thank’s for that link Cluster, I think I was getting complacent and ignoring my privilege as all of us white folk tend to do from time to time.

    • Amazona December 18, 2016 / 11:14 pm

      I couldn’t finish this. The condescending lecturing tone was just too annoying, and I mentally responded to every “solution” with “DUH!” These people are so proud of their assumed intellectual superiority and greater grasp of the situation, while I think they are idiots.

      OF COURSE people are more comfortable with people who are different once they get to know them DUH! Not everyone needs to play with little plastic toys to figure things out. Sure am glad somebody did a STUDY on that, though.

      And of course until getting a chance to know people who look, act or sound different, there is a tendency to stick to the familiar. BTW, this tendency is not limited to human beings. In Africa. some people painted 4×8 foot sheets of plywood in a black and white pattern that was kind of like zebra stripes, nailed them to trees, and found that zebras congregated in those areas.

      I saw it in action with a dog I owned. Daisy was a black Standard Poodle. We had a condo, and she and our other dog liked to sit on the deck and watch people go by, especially people who were walking their dogs. When some people walked by with two black Standard Poodles, Daisy got very excited.

      One day we were on vacation and the resort had outdoor concerts. I took Daisy and we were sitting near the front, and she was looking around with great interest, and then suddenly started to make her “excited” sound and kept looking back over my shoulder. I looked,too, expecting to see a black Poodle, but there, a few rows back, were two little black girls with hair exactly like Daisy’s. She knew these were her people.

      It’s not bad, it’s not evil, it’s not malignant. It is completely normal.

      I’ve also learned that most people who might be considered “racist” are really what I call “culturalists”. That is, the color of the skin is far less important than the culture of the person. I once lived in a poor neighborhood mostly populated by Mexican families, and I was perfectly at home because although we did not share skin color and often not even language, we shared our commitment to family, our love of children, and our religion. I am personally offended by much of what appears to be “black culture”—-the derogatory terms for women, the glorification of violence and violence toward women, the casual attitude toward family responsibility, their obsession with skin color, and what passes for “music”. I don’t want to be around these people. But it’s not because of the color of their skin, it is because of their values and worldview.

      If a black family moves in next door because they like the school system in my neighborhood, the parents are employed, they speak English and not Ebonics, and we have some common cultural ground, I am fine with that, and we can trade my grandmother’s old Czech recipes with their old African dishes. No problem.

      • rustybrown2014 December 19, 2016 / 2:04 pm

        Human beings are tribal by nature and there’s nothing inherently wrong about that. We have an ingrained tendency to self-segregate. Totally agree with Ama here on cultural self-segragation, and these divisions add a lot of interest and vibrancy to our overarching society. Little Italy, China Town, Mexican neighborhoods–all good things.

        So it’s fine to maintain a sense of cultural identity and tradition, but problems arise when groups don’t assimilate to the majority values and culture of the host country, as should be their obligation.

        Back to the video, just think of the years of hectoring us deplorables have avoided by electing Donald Trump. Hillary and her team of cultural Marxists would have had at least four years of unprecedented white-shaming, and our nation would have become more divided as a result. What a bullet we and this country dodged.

  3. Retired Spook December 18, 2016 / 3:20 pm

    Friday, during what was Obama’s last press conference of the year, and hopefully his last press conference period, he said a recent poll shows that 37% of Republicans approve of Vladimir Putin. That would have been an excellent time for a reporter to have stood up and said, “a recent Gallup survey shows that 58% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning Liberals have a positive view of socialism, so what’s your point?”

    • Amazona December 18, 2016 / 11:20 pm

      I don’t even know what it means to “approve of Vladmir Putin”. “Approve” how? As head of Russian? Well, he’s better than some they’ve had. As an equestrian? As a world leader? As a chef?

      And who cares if Americans “approve” of him? I don’t think HE cares. And on what grounds? Because he makes Obama look like a weenie by comparison? Because he has those great Slavic cheek bones? What a silly word.

      Aside from the dependence of the Left on rather meaningless emotion words, like “approve”, I agree with you, Spook.

      • Retired Spook December 19, 2016 / 9:21 am

        From everything I’ve read, Conservatives who “approve” of Putin do so because they admire his leadership skills. The same people “disapprove” of Obama for the opposite reason and by a substantially higher percentage. The approval of Putin has nothing to do with his background or his philosophy. Ironically, the American Left didn’t just approve of the Soviet Union, its goals and its ideology, they were positively enthralled by it.

      • Amazona December 19, 2016 / 12:09 pm

        Good points, Spook.

        If someone were to ask me my opinion of Putin, I would have to ask in what context? Without context, which you provided, the question is too vague to have any real meaning.

        And I agree, the Left here “…didn’t just approve of the Soviet Union, its goals and its ideology, they were positively enthralled by it.”

        They loved Putin when Hillary was trying to get under the blanket with him for a snuggle, with her inane misspelled “RESET” button. They thought it was fine when Obama sent him the message that once he won reelection he could be more flexible in his relationship with him. They didn’t care that much when he was taking over Ukraine. They were happy with Russia taking over so much of our uranium deposits in Nevada, thanks to the sweetheart relationship with Harry Reid and Hillary’s State Department. But when he seemed like a good fall guy for Hillary losing the election, he suddenly became Darth Putin, Enemy of the People.

    • jdge1 December 19, 2016 / 6:12 pm

      Did “they” use the same polling that was used to tell everyone that Hillary would win the election? I heard that 76% of the “people” make up polls results on the spot.

  4. Retired Spook December 19, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    You’ve undoubtedly all heard or gotten the email joke where the old man repeatedly goes up to the Marine guard at the main entrance to the White House and asks to see President Hillary Clinton, only to be told, every day for several days that Hillary Clinton is not the President and doesn’t live there. (that has a wonderful ring to it, doesn’t it?)

    Anyway, this piece at the Blaze today has almost as delicious a ring to it.

  5. Cluster December 20, 2016 / 10:40 am

    Well I had been feeling optimistic until I read this:


    We really have to rethink our entire way of life, if in fact we choose to keep on living which is obviously a threat to this planet. But with only 20 years left, I suggest that each of us start to make final arrangements. Good luck everyone.

    • Amazona December 20, 2016 / 10:45 am

      I think the thing that haunts me the most is the amphibian apocalypse.

      Did you notice that at the top of the page is an ad encouraging people to fly in huge airplanes to tropical islands already ruined by man, to add to the destruction?

      • Cluster December 20, 2016 / 10:56 am

        LOL. I must have missed that. I am a little light headed in an effort to limit my carbon dioxide output. If I can save just one bee ………..

      • Retired Spook December 20, 2016 / 11:05 am

        The dozens of frogs in my small pond don’t seem to have gotten the memo. And the Great Blue Heron that comes by frequently and has a frog for lunch — OMG, the horror of it.

        I guess my question would be, how did earth survive the previous FIVE mass extinctions?

    • M. Noonan December 20, 2016 / 2:21 pm

      20 years? Cool – no need to make long-term retirement plans…

  6. Amazona December 20, 2016 / 10:41 am

    I never listen to the radio at home, but I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately and have been listening to various talk shows more than usual. Something that really jumped out at me was the reporting on the efforts of the thuggery to force electors to violate their oaths when voting in the Electoral College. One elector got literally thousands of pieces of mail, and many more emails, either urging her to violate her oath, demanding that she do so, or overtly threatening her with death if she didn’t.

    This is only one of the electors who has had to deal with something like this. Others have reported having people on their property, knocking on the door or protesting in the front yard, and being followed when they drive.

    This is one of many stories told by electors:

    “Michigan elector Michael Banerian wants to cast his vote for Donald Trump, but says he’s been overwhelmed with thousands of emails, Facebook messages, letters and even death threats since the billionaire businessman won the election.

    “I’ve had people that have been talking about putting a bullet in the back of my mouth, burning myself and my family, sending pictures of nooses saying if I don’t vote for Hillary Clinton, they’ll get me,” he told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

    Banerian, whose number and email address were listed publicly, said most of the harassing letters came from groups in California and New York.”


    I don’t think we should dismiss this as just sour grapes. I see this as a dangerous trend, a step onto the slippery slope that leads to overt violence and mob rule. In the article I linked, the man said that some of those who threatened him were tracked down and the police gave them a good talking to. Seriously? A stern lecture after threatening a man and his family?

    It’s not just that thousands of people who would pass on the street as normal Americans have decided they are entitled to harass, threaten, intimidate and terrorize other Americans because of a political difference, it’s that this is taken so lightly.

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