Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Roy Edroso is puzzled by the right-wing war on the intelligence community:
... the real weirdness of the current situation is this: Conservative nonsense is usually at least based on the traditional values of the movement. Their Obama fantasies are based on their racism; their Hillary Clinton fetish, on their sexism; and their Soros-Alinsky-Frankfurt School shtick on the notion that the America dream cannot succumb to self-generated flaws because it has none, and can only be brought down by Satanic, foreign conspiracies.

But turning against the nation's intelligence agencies -- the guys who helped them fight, sometimes with extreme prejudice, the Communists, the hippies, the Black Panthers et alia -- that's not just a change in tactics; that's something like a psychotic break.
He quotes a recent Rush Limbaugh radio monologue that reaches new depths of paranoia, even for Rush:
What if the intel on the war in Iraq was another disinformation campaign, to damage another Republican president?...

What if the quote-unquote "intelligence community" misrepresented, on purpose, the degree to which Hussein had WMDs?...

What if Saddam weapons of mass destruction was also a false narrative designed to -- what, did it ultimately embarrass Bush? Did it weaken the US military? Did it -- whatever it did, I mean, it opened the doors for the Democrats to literally destroy his presidency in the second term, which is what they did.
In this monologue, Limbaugh said,
The Democrat Party is the Washington establishment, and the Washington establishment believes that Gore won the presidency, that the Florida recount aftermath was bogus and rigged, that James Baker did a better job than the Democrat people did in finding votes, the hanging chads.
And therefore ... the Democrat(ic) Deep State deliberately lied to Bush in order to enmesh Bush in a disastrous war, but the Democrat(ic) Deep State didn't have the juice to get the winner of the popular vote elected president? Oh, okay. (Of course, that's the right's take on the 2016 election, too.)

Edroso is about my age -- we were under-18s during the late '60s and early '70s -- so he remembers that the culture war then was between shorthairs and longhairs, people who wore white shirts and ties with gray suits and people who hoped they never would. The people at the intelligence agencies were solidly in the former category. How did they get lumped in with the hippies?

Well, we're all seen now as just one undifferentiated mass of experts, which is the worst thing you can be in the world in the opinion of the right. We went to college. We know stuff. We think most situations are nuanced and complicated. We believe that you can't run the world on gut feelings. I suppose the ex-hippies have switched over to believing in the rule of law. But in any case, we're not the ones who say, "If it feels good, do it." That's now the right's philosophy, except that it now refers to racism, sexism, homophobia, doxxing, sending Jewish reporters death threats with gas chamber photos, tweeting seizure-inducing images to liberal reporters who are epileptics, and so on.

The distrust of expertise has one exception: Corporate chieftains are still valorized on the right (maybe because their expertise is linked to their appetite for money, or maybe because right-wingers assume that plutocrats get rich solely on that appetite, along with, perhaps, some intuitive, non-fact-based genius for dealmaking, which is what they think Donald Trump has).

Right-wingers still value law and order -- they love ICE, they love the cops, they love the military. They apparently don't think the military and law enforcement require any knowledge or insight or strategy, just jingoism and machismo.

The intelligence agencies are now regarded as full of sinister eggheads. We're a long way from FBI G-men fighting gangsters with Tommy guns (or fighting the Black Panthers). That's what changed.

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