Monthly Archives: December 2011

Pentagon Whitewash Watch

In a report released today, the Pentagon claims its self-investigation shows that its Bush-era attempt to manipulate news coverage by military analysts on TV was all legal and proper. Yeah, right.

Friday after 5pm is when you release stuff you want to get minimal media. The runup to Christmas is when you release the stuff you really really want to bury.

The poor Pentagon investigators were stymied by the absence of a smoking gun in the official records. (Surprise! The people running the media manipulation campaign didn’t write down their strategic objective. Maybe because they knew it was illegal?) They got nothing useful from interviews of the participants. (Amazingly not one Bush neocon, not to mention not a single retired General or Admiral, including combat veterans, broke down under gentle and long-delayed questioning from the Inspector General’s office.) It was all such a long time ago, can’t we just be friends.

This deadpan NYT report, Pentagon Finds no Fault In Its Ties to TV Analysts, just gives you such a good feeling about it all:

The report found that at least 43 of the military analysts were affiliated with defense contractors. The inspector general’s office said it asked 35 of these analysts whether their participation in the program benefited their business interests. Almost all said no. Based on these answers, the report said, investigators were unable to identify any analysts who “profited financially” from their participation in the program.

The report, however, said that these analysts may have gained “many other tangible and intangible benefits” from their special access. (Eight analysts said they believed their participation gave them better access to top Defense Department officials, for example.) The report said that a lack of clear “internal operating procedures” may have contributed to “the perception” that participation by military analysts with ties to defense contractors “provided a financial benefit.”

Not even a wrist slap.

Posted in National Security, The Media | 10 Comments

I Knew It!

Confirmation of what I always believed: fly a plane, catch a cold. Of course, this year I have managed to have a nasty one without going anywhere.

(Spotted via SFDB.)

Posted in Science/Medicine | Comments Off on I Knew It!

Migration to New Server

The site is migrating to a new sever. Things may be flaky for a while.

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Ron Paul’s Trippy Case for Unwinding the Empire

Ron Paul is not fit to be President (see, e.g., this and this). But he does have qualities that make him interesting. One is that on issues he cares about — racism apparently not being one of them — he is more principled, more consistent (and more extreme) than we are used to seeing in a putative national candidate. (Reagan was certainly not consistent; he raised taxes significantly.) One of those issues is monetary policy: he hates the Fed; although I don’t go far down that road with him, Paul’s pushes for Fed transparency (with Alan Grayson) have been beneficial, and the results deeply revelatory. Another is his support for what we used to call isolationism, but Paul wishes to rebrand as loving our foreign friends.

Here’s his case for pulling back from empire:


Something about the presentation made me think of Mike Gravel.

Kidding aside, Paul does have a serious point: US military adventurism doesn’t work out very well for us or our, um, beneficiaries. The US has at least 662 foreign military bases in well over 150 nations — not counting all the secret ones where no one has ever been tortured or subjected to rendition in places where they torture folks. The latest new foreign military base is in Australia, a state no doubt in danger of imminent invasion.

Bases create demand for infrastructure to protect them, which is then used to justify a larger number of carriers and other force projection tools. Those in turn need bases to supply them… Meanwhile, other countries feel occupied, or encircled. And the US spends far more on arms then any other country in the rest of the world. Indeed more than then the sum of the expenditures of the next 15 countries (2010 data.)

Posted in 2012 Election, National Security | 2 Comments

You’ve Really Won When You’ve Won Over the Bureaucracy

It was already a heart-warming “first kiss” story:

Two female US sailors have become the first same-sex couple to share the traditional dockside “first kiss” since the US ended a ban on gays in the army.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, who had been at sea for 80 days, won the right to be the first person to kiss her partner on shore in a raffle.

That was nice, and the photographer took a great photo, but Political Animal’s Homecoming tradition buries DADT adds a key fact to the story:

The Navy … posted the photo on the official Navy website.

Now, that’s progress. (I can’t help but wonder if they’d have posted it if it were two guys, though.)

Posted in Civil Liberties, Law: Con Law: Marriage | 1 Comment

The Gloves Start to Come Off

Ron Paul’s takedown of Newt Gingrich:


And don’t miss Ta-Nehisi Coates‘s takedown of Ron Paul (and it’s not for his economic policies).

Posted in 2012 Election | Comments Off on The Gloves Start to Come Off