TV? I don’t need no stinking TV.

February 9, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Posted in CIA, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Television antenna on an outhouse. Rural North Carolina. Sept. 1966

I made the decision in late 2004 to cancel my cable TV because I was not only getting little of positive value for the money, watching was negatively impacting my equanimity. It seemed to be against my interests and those of my fellow citizens to subsidize news programs full of misinformation and dishonest discussion, however much I enjoyed Craig Ferguson.

But I still received over-the-air broadcasts. News programs were like scheduled trainwrecks — impossible not to watch. So, in February 2009, when the broadcast plug was pulled with the changeover to HDTV, I decided the wiser course would be to trade my relatively new yet non-HDTV-compatible, 26-inch TV for something actually useful. I found someone with a truck who was willing to take a load of crap from my basement to the dump in exchange for the TV.

I have never made a better deal.

This has been another week that I patted myself on the back for the wise decision I made a year ago, because I don’t run the risk of flipping the channel to listen to a bunch of Villagers breathlessly pass on the latest GOP talking points about the Obama’s administration’s “failure to take terrorism seriously.”

What prompted me to sit down here at blog central and write about this was reading that Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) is calling for the resignation of Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan for having the audacity to attempt to set the record straight on what the Obama administration is doing with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and what past practice has been with respect to prosecuting terrorists.

I am thanking my lucky stars I don’t have to listen to the Mouse Circus cluck and burp about the “embattled” Obama administration and ask the important questions like “how can the Obama administration counter these charges” and “aren’t these charges damaging to the Obama administration.”

Let’s look back to another occasion earlier this year when I was also patting my back for having gotten rid of my TV.

On April 23, 2009 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was reported having “said congressional leaders were never briefed about the use of an enhanced interrogation practice, rejecting GOP claims that leadership was aware of the controversial tactics by late 2002.

“Flat out, they never briefed us that this was happening,” she said.

Republicans were calling for Pelosi’s head for questioning the integrity of the CIA:

“Republicans demand the facts on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques,” says the GOP memo from conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.). “For years, the speaker said she did not know terror suspects were subject to enhanced interrogation techniques. But now, the speaker says that, in 2003, she learned these techniques were in fact used and accused the CIA of ‘misleading’ Congress.”

The media spent the month of May helping the Republicans paint Nancy Pelosi as a liar.

In July 2009 Pelosi’s statement was proven correct. CIA Director Leon Panetta told lawmakers that the CIA had in fact misled Congress on “significant actions” for a “number of years.”

But that’s not the way you would have heard it reported, say, on ABC, who posted a story on their website titled “CIA Spat: Pelosi Vindicated? Not Quite.” Based on past experiencing watching ABC News, I think I think it safe to assume that their on-air coverage of the follow-up story was identical. ABC went along with the conflation that CIA director Leon Panetta’s statement that “it is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress” is the same as “what Pelosi said isn’t true.”

Fast forward to February 4, 2010.

Appearing on Fox News, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused the president of treating Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab “as if he had robbed a convenience store.” But in a dig at the FBI interrogators overseeing the interrogations, the Kentucky Republican compared their work to that of longtime softball interviewer CNN’s Larry King.

“He was given a 50-minute interrogation,” said McConnell. “Probably Larry King has interrogated people longer and better than that, after which he was assigned a lawyer who told him to shut up. That is not the way to deal with a person in the war on terror.”

Has anyone on any news program asked Mitch McConnell to apologize to the FBI?

Quite the opposite. The television news programs are repeating unchallenged statements by Republican lawmakers that the Obama administration is mishandling the underpants bomber.

“Oh, but they’re just reporting what Republicans are saying!”


At no point has a Republican been asked to explain the contradiction between their accusations that the Obama administration, the FBI and the Justice Department has failed to to adequately safeguard the country and the fact they made no complaint in any of the 319 terrorism cases prosecuted in civilian courts during the Bush administration.

Any bets that any of the highly paid TV news journalists or “pundits” will breathlessly express their shock and dismay that Mitch McConnell questioned the competence of the FBI or that Kit Bond is attempting to silence a public employee who contradicts him and his fellow travelers with the facts?


Well, the shock and outrage about Nancy Pelosi pointing out the CIA’s failure to inform Congress about “enhanced interrogation techniques” went on for a little over three months. I predict that the Republicans will ride this pony quite a bit farther.


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