Friday, April 17, 2020


Many of the things in my life over the course of almost 30 years had their genesis in the movements of information and the ebb and flow of intelligence gathering as practiced by the various organizations within the US Government that practiced the art of finding things out whether that be covertly or simply by keeping up with the daily news all over the world. By keeping an eye on the news of that era I was able to get some forewarning a lot of the time about whether my location was going to suddenly change from home somewhere in California to overseas with about 24 hours notice. As I developed in one particular realm of naval endeavor I was the one that fielded the calls asking for instant deployments of people to the 5th Fleet area of operations, mostly.

I had access though a number of places to the siprnet and I read the Sunday NYT cover to cover at the local no-name outdoor patio-equipped coffee shops in Del Mar or San Francisco. I knew that the New York Times was filled with opinion and scarce on fact and the few facts they did include were questionable and the more I knew about any given topic they addressed, the more I doubted what they were selling. I still read the news just as I still watched 2 national news broadcasts nightly and the McNeil Lehrer News Hour every night. I was casting the net far and as wide as I could to stay on top of crappy little places like Iran, Iraq, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Korea, etc...

I no longer care to watch the news and when I do catch a few minutes of a broadcast news it offends my sense of duty and ethics. They no longer even try to pretend that they are in the news business. They are the very worst kind of yellow journalists. The former Intelligence services we used to have in America, the FBI, CIA, NSA, State Department have all shown that they are dismal incompetents raised far above the worst nightmares encapsulated by the Peter Principle. We have had genuine morons running those services since Jamie Gorelick was Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration and created the "wall" that isolated the FBI and CIA intelligence efforts at preventing terrorism and kept the two agencies from sharing intelligence.

I caught some of the news over the last couple of days. PBS has apparently gone to an all woman format and I have found the resulting mess to be worse than useless. It is actively stupid and rather than cover the news they chat about how the feel about that useless orange-man-bad in the White House. They make no pretense of covering the daily press briefings on the virus, they go to their correspondent who actively despises Trump and makes no effort to hide it and then ask her for her opinion or feelings about what was said at the briefing rather than, you know, actually using some video of the actual briefing by the participants. It's pathetic and they all come off looking far stupider than they should.

That all said, the real horror was after the news at this late hour when PBS quality people went to their favorite foreign correspondent  and she interviewed a former member of the National Security Council who allowed as how as far back as January the Intelligence Community (IC) was warning each other of the potential of an epidemic based on information they were sneaking out of China and how Trump blew it off and took no action. As anybody who is actually familiar with the timeline knows, that's a complete lie but more to the point, if it was so, who in their right mind could blame Trump for blowing off the IC? They have shown themselves to be nothing but a bunch of dishonest, lying bastards and scumbags since even before he took his first meeting in the Oval Office. Why in Hell should he pay any attention to them? It's like us believing Pakistan's ISI, who knew damned well that Osama bin Ladin was hiding right outside Pakistan's military academy and probably was paying him to behave as a 'guest' in Pakistan while they hid him from the United States of America.

The media really is the virus.

I remember when I first started on the path of knowledge and truth in news. I was a freshman in college and two professors took me and the others in their classes to the library and showed us all of the sources of fact and where to gather them based on the specifics each was teaching. The one told us that we owed it to ourselves to get a subscription to a 'good' newspaper and recommended The Christian Science Monitor. Back in 1979, that was a good reliable source of news and opinion based on facts placed in evidence before the readership. That's the one I read up until I deployed to the middle east in 1984. When I returned from the middle east I found it was no longer the same paper.

There is a cycle to news organizations. There has never been any effort by most newspapers to change their bias and that has been so for as long as their have been broadsheets and newspapers and you can learn to live and accommodate their bias if you practice a balanced approach to the news and read widely and not just from a single source. Nowadays, US newspapers are essentially all single source using the same source and the same bias. The smaller ones have collapsed their news bureaus to nothing but worthless shavings from AP, Reuters and UPI who, in America, neglect the basic and fundamental underpinnings of a news service. They almost always omit the who, why, what, where, and when from any story and all one gets is a bland disservice announcement that 22 people were shot in Chicago last night. That's it. Nothing else. No reason why all those shootings happen night after night in the city that makes it almost completely illegal to own a gun.

I used to hit the news aggregator Drudge Report everyday after I hit the good one at instapundit but there was a dramatic change in the Drudge Report which has reduced it to nothing but a jumping off point to read the UK Daily Mail and a few other sites I've never bothered to bookmark, mostly because I have a thousand bookmarks already and don't need more. Drudge has turned itself inside out and no longer has anything in common with the place it was a year ago except the links to other sites.

I'm afraid we are rapidly becoming a nation of ignorance. I expect ignorance out of the young and those that don't read but it is a real pain to accept that people who I know are smart and move in the highest academic circles have as their starting and end point on the news and background, CBS or PBS, NPR or the New York Times. They don't make any effort to find out what is really happening and all of them consider themselves well informed.

I read a long article today about the Army and its dreams of replacing the Reagan era Bradley Fighting Vehicle although the article kept referring to the Bradley as a personnel carrier. We know that it is far more than that but reality confuses even journalists that cover the Defense Department. I know what the Bradley story was because I lived it vicariously and was present when the first one rolled off the production line and watched it weather every calumny thrown at it by ignorant boobs in the Pentagon, ignorant boobs in the press and ignorant boobs who've never actually even seen a Bradley.

The author was making some analyst point of view points about the Army and it's unique system for developing Requests for Proposals (RFP) and how for decades the Army Acquisitions staff in the Pentagon have been demanding bleeding edge revolutionary systems and the analysts quite rightly point out that this is why they have failed so dismally and wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on flights of fancy that never make it to prototype much less limited rate production and testing and OPEVAL.

I read the comments others offered and many of them were worth reading. The part I enjoyed most though was the rare voice that insisted that we back away from revolutionary and simply build something we can build with existing technology and resources and then upgrade the system gradually over time as newer and better technology comes down the pike. Astute readers know where I'm going with this. The Bradley has been a frontline combat vehicles since 1985 or so which makes it at least a 40 year old design. The B52 design is far older and yet it still flies as a frontline bomber for the USAF. There's a reason for that and there is a reason the follow on bombers shuffled off this mortal coil long ago. Like the FFG7 class frigates, there was limited or no room for growth and so they went the way of the dinosaur and that is what has happened to what once was the best news outfits in the world as they collapse into hatred, bias and irrelevance. They all forgot the one basic tenant any news or intelligence organization must have; TRUST. We don't trust them anymore.


capt fast said...

just as an aside, there is always good news when the rules of unintended consequences comes into play.
Redflex, that corrupt US based company that supplies the additional revenue nazis with red light and speed cameras systems and services is having serious revenue problems caused by the zombie apocalypse-so called-and decrease traffic leading to a disruption of the ability of said additional revenue nazis to rip more money from your wallet and destroy your credit rating there by affecting redflex income stream in a somewhat negative way. totally screwing up redflex ability to send scurrilous and suspect information to said additional revenue nazis and other incompetents in the local justice systems throughout at least four countries that I am aware of. sometimes you have to just smile,

capt fast said...

Orson Wells made a great film about the veracity of the news media. If there is no war to report on report it anyway. If you think you need to think about something we will tell you what to think and about what your thinking of. Citizen Kane was full of not so much facts but certainly full of truths enough to give a guy pause when taking a news organ at face value. was he speaking facts or just giving them ideas?

Tom Murin said...

Perhaps you're familiar with "Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect." You read something in the paper that know and realize it's incorrect. Then you read other things you in the paper and believe it is accurate.

Many of us no longer have this amnesia. We realize that the rest of it is probably inaccurate as well. We then do some research and (easily) confirm what we thought. You further realize that the writers had to go to some effort (or be really stupid) to be so wrong. That, and all the errors going in one direction against all the laws of probability.

capt fast said...

true. but...that is assuming the news writers are not imprinting their own moral or political bias or economic desires into the report. It's like listening to a preacher type giving the greatest sermon you ever heard only to find out that it was all a scam to take your money. a guy trained in critical thinking who reads or hears the news from msm tends to vomit afterwards from the level of anger he gets from the fact that the msm thinks everyone but them is incredibly stupid.