Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The AP Thing, The IRS Thing, The Beng[h]azi Thing...

Whoo boy, the Roller Coaster is in overdrive now boys and girls. Did somebody offend somebody? Or is the situation behind the scenes just too unstable to keep the ship of state aright?

This is primarily a media scandal-fest, something like the ones that went wilding during the 90's leading to the Impeachment Circus and all the rest of it. Which led, of course, directly to the Supremes' lawless intervention in the 2000 election to put the majority's candidate on the Throne. If we think back, it's easy to see how media driven this all was, from the get-go to the miserable end of the Bushevik Regime.

How many millions paid with their lives and fortunes for this political misadventure? Did the media gain from their scandal mongering? Ask Roger Ailes, maybe he'll tell you. Maybe he won't. Maybe he'll lie.

The AP Thing is a doozy; they're all panty-wadded because their counsel got notice that phone records of certain reporters had been scrutinized by the DoJ, apparently as part of a leak investigation by the gov't. Hm. Yes, well. At least they got notice.

I mean, this sort of thing really galls me. Ever since the imposition of the Patriot Act back in the day, warrantless domestic surveillance has been essentially universal. But now AP is calling foul, stomping its little feet and screaming, "You can't do this to MEEEEE!!!!" Everybody else is fair game? But not the AP? Bullshit. The problem is not surveillance of the press; the problem is universal domestic surveillance. Period. And that's not something the Mighty-Mighty Press has ever had the least bit of concern about. Was it assumed that the Press would be immune?

This is not unlike my annoyance at the nearly hysterical response to the "torture" of Bradley Manning by members of the blog-o-tariat, with nary a nod to the fact that what was happening to him was relatively  mild compared to what goes on in American detention facilities to tens of thousands of Americans, every. fucking. day. And which has been going on for YEARS. What happened to Manning shouldn't have happened, but in my view, you cannot separate out his treatment from the gross brutality -- and yes, torture -- that is part and parcel of the entire American detention system.

Just so with the surveillance of the AP reporters. Yes? And? This is 'Merika. This is what goes on, has been going on for YEARS, "it's the Law," and this is what has been done to millions and millions of Americans on a day-in and day-out basis. What has the AP had to say about that? Nothing, right?

The AP is demanding -- now -- special treatment for itself, to be free of "this sort of intimidation!" Great, fine. They should be free of it -- so should everyone else. But you are unlikely to ever hear that from the AP or any of those marching around with their chins thrust out in AP's defense these days.

No, they want their own special dispensation, just as many of the advocates for Bradley Manning wanted his dispensation, ignoring the thousands and the millions who faced the same sort of intimidation/torture under the color of authority every day. For whatever reason, in the minds of so many people, the masses who suffer don't matter, only the individual -- or institution in the case of the AP.

To my way of looking at these things, it's nonsense.

Separating out an individual or one institution and demanding recompense for their suffering while ignoring everyone else who is facing the same sort of thing or worse is not even a simulation of "justice."

It's grotesque.

But that's how very far we've fallen under the spell of the Individual.

As for the IRS Thing, the notion that the IRS uses its power and authority to go after certain targeted individuals and institutions, and it sometimes oversteps its authority in doing so, is hardly news. The notion that some of their scrutiny has the appearance of a political motivation again is hardly news. What's news in this case is apparently that the agency was inclined to use its clout to look into nonprofit status of TeaBagging and other rightist political organizations, something that simply is not done in this country, rightists being Free and all. Well, Patriots, you know.

Scrutinizing Leftist outfits is only right and proper, but dare the IRS -- or anyone else in Gubmint -- to probe the  behavior of a 'Bagging interest and all hell breaks loose. Again, we are dealing with demands for special exemptions and dispensations for certain (perhaps momentarily) favored individuals or groups, leaving everyone else who has the same or similar difficulties to fend for themselves. This is not "justice." I can't put it any plainer than that.

To my way of looking at it, the IRS should be abolished for cause (along with quite a few other government department and agencies) and its functions should be reformed from the bottom up. The notion of non-profit, religious, or charitable tax exemptions should be re-thought. Just what is the purpose of these exemptions, and why should certain industries and individuals be exempt while others must pay and pay more, with the tax burden being shifted more and more onto the backs of those least able to pay?

But that's not what the hoop lah is about. No, it's about "targeting" rightist outfits, purely and simply. The whole system is rotten, but as long as it doesn't "target" rightists, it's OK? Leftists can be targeted -- and have been for generations -- but not rightists? What utter crap.

 Finally The Beng[h]azi Thing. It's as if no one involved in the many "investigations" has ever heard of or utilized (deceptive) Talking Points before. Yes, of course, the talking points were not accurate. Yes? So?

How often are talking points used by anyone fully accurate? How often are they intended to spin and how often are they intended to deceive?

In this case, the whole thing appears to be a mighty clusterfuck. It's not the first time. And until the AP and IRS Things, it seemed that the "investigations" of the clusterfuck were going to be taunted and dismissed by the media as so much political posturing by the Rs (which they are), but now, with the other "scandals" on the table as it were, Beng[h]azi will loom large on the topic list for some time to come.

I assume all this is coming to a head now (even before the Summer Driving and Shark and Missing White Woman Season gets going) because someone who matters in the media was offended by someone in the White House, possibly even by the President Himself. The media skin is sometimes very thin, and the least insult, or even an accidental one, can open the gates of Hell on an otherwise unsuspecting officialdom.

It's happened before. I would just remind readers that the Watergate Thing happened largely because A Person Who Mattered in the Media (Katherine Graham) took offense at the White House, and took personal offense at Richard Nixon for some insult or slight or other, and she vowed to have his ass in a sling or know the reason why. She got what she wanted.

A lot of people tend to think the Watergate story reporting and the subsequent investigations leading to the resignation of Richard Nixon was somehow a high point of public and media integrity. I would suggest it was nothing of the kind. It was instead an act of gross and deliberate revenge for... an insult. There were crimes committed, lord knows, in the course of the Nixon administration, monstrous, horrible crimes, compared to which the Watergate burglary was small potatoes. The point, which got completely missed, is that it is in the nature of our system of governance for the government itself to operate lawlessly, criminally, and often murderously. It is in the DNA of the institution, and the only way I know of to change things is to start over with a different institution.

Thus, as criminal as the Nixon administration was, it was by no means uniquely criminal. It was typically criminal. Decapitating the operation doesn't change its fundamental nature. But in the course of events, someone who mattered in the media demanded and got revenge against Richard Nixon, thus in effect decapitating the government, yet not changing it in any important way (she didn't care about that, after all), and here we are, forty years down the line, and guess what?

Nothing has really changed but the optics.

But at least the media now has its summer shitstorm laid out. What will happen to the Sharks and the Missing White Women?

And what of the Summer Driving Season?

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