Dandruff From The Top

Future historians tralling through the mountain of Rumsfeld memos fired off to staff (the infamous ‘snowflakes’) can be assured of at least one thing: Don Rumsfeld, as much as any of the Neocons, was obsessed with AgitProp. In an earlier, healthier time, his manically manipulative preoccupations would have generated almost unanimous condemnation and rejection — after all, the Voice of America and USIA were forbidden to manipulate directly or indirectly the American political process.

Ever the master of bureaucratic bullshit (over substance), Rumsfeld circulates astoundingly cynical recommendations such as “Talk about Somalia, the Philippines, etc. Make the American people realize they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists” (emphasis added). And true to form, when called on it for the above story, he via a staffer says well I was merely quoting what some ‘analysts’ told me. Woodward in his belatedly honest book “State of Denial” documented time and again how Rumsfeld would use such passive aggressive techniques seeking to escape blame. (Another memo directed OSD to make every effort to link Iraq with Iran, etc.) Western civilization in the post-1945 world –until now — rejected the defense of hiding behind technicalities to cover up moral and intellectual failures of the first order.

Regardless of subject, the snowflakes reveal a man has a glass jaw — good at throwing punches but internally unable to take one. For example, what a down market pundit like a Ralph Peters says in an op-ed throws him for a loop. Same for the Philadelphia Inky. In fact, his mind is completely absorbed by trends in the public narrative — no matter how shallow. While making every effort to be disdainful of the whole thing. We often wondered how our old acquaintance Larry DiRita endured it all. We knew he gravitated to the far Right during the 1990s. But to become the Mouth of Sauron for such petty warmongers and indeed, war criminals? The facets of the regime’s psychopathology never fail to shine in new and different ways.


  1. Comment says

    That whole Flynt Leverette – Grand Fax Bargain – has a French quality to it. If Flynt was good AgitProp he would have left out the word “fax” and just said it was communicated “electronically,” and it was a “written proffer.” = Since Flynt looks like Ed Helms and Helms in that show The Office (overrated imo -though Carell and Helms are underutilized) – Comment cannot help but think of Flynt receiving that Iranian peace proposal while on set for the Office – It was faxed!

  2. Anon says

    Truth be told – we are not huge fans of Desmond Tutu. We really have nothing against him, but sometimes we think the neocons have a point when they point to the unnessary-seeming antagonistic way he phrases things. Maybe not. Maybe – We don’t know – We just think he grates and the whole production that surrounds him bores us and we are suspicious of religious figures hailed by secular people. It just doesn’t add up. But anyway – we love a good feud and we love readying Marty Peretz’s nasty snide attacks on Tutu even though we think he intentionally mischaracterizes Tutu’s ‘sayings’. Anyway – Eli Lake weighs in:

  3. Comment says

    Comment is beginning to resent commenting on Matthews so much – but he really does affect things, sad to say. He is an objective reality. One thing, among many – that annoys us is his habit of speaking on behalf of guys – presuming to speak for non Alan Alda men.
    This is absurd – Comment is not being particularly feminist or pc here. Indeed we think its pretty apparent that Pat Buchanan is like Alan Alda compared to the pseudo-macho poses of Tweety. But it’s annoying all the more to read the liberal blogs today and have them act as if Tweety is speaking for anyone other than his self. Commment knows many real conservatives – right wingers etc and none of them incorporate the drooling stupid channel clicker guy stereotype than Tweety extols.

  4. Comment says

    We were just reminded of a Zogby poll that appeared in Stars & Stripes last year – The overwhelming majority of the troops surveyed then wanted to be out of Iraq by now – But that was less interesting or relevant than the fact that 85 percent of all soldiers and Marines thought they were in Iraq for direct revenge against Saddam’s direct participation in the 9-11. The poll left little wiggle room == There was no doubt that they all were misled on a fundamental level –
    Later that summer we happened to chatting with someone who was soon to be commissioned in the Army following graduation = Not only did this literate person believe Saddam was involved – he and others said their commanders told them this – evidence was classified -natch.
    This is all a ticking time bomb that Bush and Cheney have planted – where even anti war vets think common facts abbout Saddam’s non involvement are regarded his leftist Chomsky-type blather.

  5. Comment says

    Anyway – the psychic battlespace in the country is such that Rudy has a good shot of winning – You can see when you hear mainstream media mouthing neocons and rightist memes totally unaware that they are doing so. Plus – the fractious Dem party (Schumer and Feinstein caving on AG – understandably by sad). If Obama gets the nomination and doesn’t toughen his game, Rudy will cut him up like schwarma. He could win – only with a third party conservative to siphon off some votes. HRC has a better chance – Oh well.

  6. Comment says

    “He’s supposed to ask her tough questions.” That’s what Tweety says about Russert and Hillay – Totaly BS – Russert does not ask tough meaningful questions – He asks b****** gothcha questions that are easy for people to game. What’s your favorite Bible verse? Givewe a break! All the predictable Sermon on the Mount anwers follow yada yada tada.
    Tweety truly does not understand the difference between tough questions and what Russert does? Imagine if Russert just asked endless questions of the Republicans about Katrina and Abramofff and divorces – Brit and the boyos would understandably object.
    As we noted Doc – Your old pal Rudy (who we don’t support) always has had a great sense of humor and he himself could not resist subtly mocking Russert’s “tough” questions.

  7. Comment says

    “We laugh asking on what basis does a young and wholly inexperienced junior senator conclude that Tehran will alter their strategic appraisals for the sake of his ‘aggressive personal diplomacy’?”
    Hopefully he doesn’t really think that – He just has not figured out a way to talk about Iran that reconciles what he truly believes with what is politically practical in today’s Dem party. So he’s just BSing a bit. The Iranians are obviously licking their chops and too busy thanking Allah for Bush and the neocons for killing their enemies and raising oil prices. Imagine of Obama was in power now and did the same s*** as ‘grown-ups’ like Cheney?

    Tweety and his gender jokes – are of the lowest form of humor on the humor foodchain – You know crap about driving with directions and not using maps etc. Bad stuff, painful to listen to.

  8. Comment says

    sglover makes a good point – Rumsfeld’s weirdness and his bizarre small minded obsessions may have indirectly contributed to our safety in ways that we’ll never know. Meanwhile – we tune into Tweety and that freak is freakingout out about Hillary’s gyno-squid ink.

  9. Comment says

    What has Rumsfeld truly accomplished in his life? He got that sweetener that people thought cause brain damage approved for sale a little early. That’s about it – Oh and he made Midge Decter feel like a young woman again. What else? All the other stuff is like ‘dust of the balance.’

  10. Comment says

    Larry Kudlow is irresponsible – he just spouts off all this stuff he “would” short, like the Euro and Gold and Hillary Etc – Ofcourse, among the fellas on cnbc its all for laughs and macho GOP posturing (like little Richy Lowry making fun of waterboard – how long would that P**** take before it broke him?) and fun and games. But Kudlow knows that lots of his middle class listeners will ignore the wise advice of Jimmy Rogers re Asia, Dollar, Commodities etc and they will act on Kudlow’s bs advice and lose their shirt.

  11. Comment says

    re : Oakland having no there there – If we recall (we’re sort of guessing now) that was a quote from Gertrude Stein and this now reminds us when recall a women in college reading a biography of Stein in preparation for a career as a pseud amd she was disappointed to find out that Stein was a staunch Republican and somewhat incredibly a big supporter of Herbert Hoover and Alice B. Toklas was a late life convert to Christianity. Which brings us back to Obama – How can you say there is no there there? Afterall, Ivo Daalder is supporting him!

  12. sglover says

    I was also slightly dumbfounded to read that Rumsfeld was taking time out of his day to react to op-ed page gassings. I assume that Brad ‘n’ Angelina, for instance, have by now got to the point where they don’t even pay attention to the tabloids — and they get a helluva lot more scrutiny than Smilin’ Don ever did. I wonder how many policy jerks and twitches sprang from Rumsfeld listening to NPR on the drive in to work, and walking into the office thinking, “I’ll show that bitch Diane Rehm!”

    On the bright side, as I understand it Rumsfeld was ALWAYS the shittiest of “executives”, always micromanaging, never following up on yesterday’s spasm, er, “initiative”. These idiotic op-ed psyops moves are all of a piece with that. Maybe they kept him from doing something **really** dangerous….

  13. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Obama more and more reminds us of the Peanut Farmer. Indeed the whole Flynt Everett ‘Grand Bargain’ oeuvre is a bit theatrical — although in fairness, if there was any leverage at all it striking a deal it was 2002-April 2003. But as you note, it is water under the bridge and woulda coulda shoulda and premised on a missing fax. As Leno would say speaking for the mass populace ‘Oh just shut up’.

    We laugh asking on what basis does a young and wholly inexperienced junior senator conclude that Tehran will alter their strategic appraisals for the sake of his ‘aggressive personal diplomacy’? The more we watch Obama the more we think he might not even deserve to be in the Duma, er Senate, much less run for the presidency. re Oakland, there is no there, there.

    We understand why the some of the netroots don’t care for a HRC presidency. But why and how they look the other way for Obama’s inadequacies or his embrace of intolerance that they often bash (deservedly) the Movement about is more than disappointing.

  14. A Random Quote says

    “By publishing World War IV, Norman Podhoretz has performed yet another important public service, showing once again why he was such a worthy recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom … My major disagreement with him is pretty minor. It concerns what to call this conflict. Labeling it World War IV assumes that the cold war was World War III, but almost nobody calls it that. Maybe they should, but they don’t. As a matter of purely historical accuracy, moreover, the cold war should be called World War V, since the first world war was really the Seven Years’ War, known in North America as the French and Indian War, while the second was the Napoleonic War. If we follow this logic, we would relabel the 1914-18 conflict World War III and the 1939-45 conflict World War IV, in the same way that George Lucas relabeled his first Star Wars film “Episode IV” after producing three “prequels.” – But merely to advance this argument is to reveal its impracticality.”
    ~Max Boot
    (He’s not kidding)

  15. Comment says

    We are not sure what to make of Obama’s approach to Iran – We are inclined to agree with the Stiftung that the odds launching an attack are low – But you never know – We have heard various fuzzy logic that suggest it might happen even though we are not prepared. Politically HRC must maintain a hawkish view on Iran even if she is privately sympathetic with that Flynt Leverett (Ed Helms) point of view and the possibilities – Though as anti war as Comment is – we see Leverett’s “grand bargain” as bad politics and easy to mock with the missing fax and all that.

  16. Comment says

    Do you think Larry DiRita will ever have a moment of clarity later on in life and look back on the Rumsfeld years and think, “what was that all about? what was I thinking?”

  17. A Random Quote says

    “…makes clear that Tim Russert, media superstar, hasn’t forgotten where he came from.”
    ~Howie Kurtz
    (Explaining Russert securing
    a Yogi Berra autograph for both
    his father and his son)

  18. A Random Quote says

    “There’s been a lot of discussion about the Democrats and the issue of faith and values. I want to ask you a simple question. Senator Obama, what is your favorite Bible verse?”
    ~Tim Russert
    Democratic Debate (9-07)

  19. Comment says

    Colbert gibes Larry Wilkerson – getting him to say the “upper strata” of the admin highjacked foreign policy. Wilkerson then digs in a bit deep and say Nixon and Kissinger also highjacked policy – then note he and Powell should have acted like men, fergodsakes, and worked hard – Wilkerson accidentally reveals why he was easy to roll over. It’s a shame because he is probably a nice guy.

  20. Comment says

    Gee Dubs speech at Heritage today was like a cut and paste job of taking these Rummy burps and stringing them together – He subtle and not so subtly shifted blame in nearly every other sentance. He intentionally confused topics – while the audienced gave a chickenhawk chuckle. A leader of the free world – supposedly at war – confusing his countryman on purpose.

  21. Comment says

    A small irony for a small man – But consider for moment what Chuchill would think of those memos – They show a small ungenerous mind and lack of creativity – It’s just amazing how hollow he was – when you think about his years and years of experience and he writes and thinks at level equal to many people we know who don’t vote or read the news. His memos don’t even have the advantage of being wicked cool like some of the better neocon writing.

  22. Comment says

    “Woodward in his belatedly honest book “State of Denial” documented time and again how Rumsfeld would use such passive aggressive techniques seeking to escape blame.”

    This is Bush’s modus – passive aggresssive. He is rarely called on it – Hillary was a victim of it when she defended Spitzer’s (wrong, imo) decision to fall into a Bush passive aggressive REAL ID trap and call for IDs for illegals. George Will can twiddle his thumbs and spout stuff about the States being “labs” for democracy – But in practice, – though this is seperate from the Rummy topic – all it does is allow for this kind of accountability shifting.
    Russert himself does not even seem to realize that he was actually asking HRC about Bush’s Real ID program in the context of Bush’s failure to close the borders in a period of war and deindustrialization.

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