About a year ago, I added The American Conservative website to my blog reader.
Yes, I know that the site and magazine were founded by Patrick Buchanan, notorious blowhard and former Nixon staffer. He is still there and his occasional columns show that his views are still largely unreconstructed and cast to resonate with emotion more than intellect. But he’s old now, writes infrequently and will be gone eventually.
What brought me to the site was a few of the bloggers: Noah Millman, Rod Dreher and Ron Unz and their views on the neo-cons who have seized the GOP, the Orwellian growth of American government, the use of the wars on drugs and terror to steadily erode our civil rights and build a surveillance police state, and our bi-partisan predilection to waste blood and treasure on interventions all over the world despite the expressed wishes of the electorate.
While I’m way more of a social libertarian – fiscal liberal than the writers, they support the old time "leave people alone and stop wasting our tax money" conservatism that, while it may shake it’s head in dismay at the private actions of individuals, doesn’t seek to use the power of government fiat to enforce their view of morality as mandatory. These are people you can engage with on touchy subjects in a thoughtful, reasonable way.
Remember those days?
Ron Unz recently posted a column that really disturbed me. He called it Our American Pravda.
Subtitled "The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?", it was a litany of outrageous scandals that had been more or less ignored by the mainstream press over the last several decades. His point is not to conjure up some grand conspiracy, but to show that "the system" has endemic flaws that reward a cooperative establishment press and that the much maligned internet might be our savior.
Now of course I understand that any inkling that I may believe that the US Government is not to be trusted, or that perhaps the FBI, the SEC, the FDA (or any other large, well organized and powerful bureaucracy) might have some sort of institutional bias to suppress unfavorable publicity will, in some circles, qualify me for a tinfoil hat.
What many folks would readily believe about the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts or the NRA certainly couldn’t pertain to our government. Could it?
I would refer you to the discussions that led to the Bill of Rights being added to the US Constitution.
And now from the Ron Unz column::
The realization that the world is often quite different from what is presented in our leading newspapers and magazines is not an easy conclusion for most educated Americans to accept, or at least that was true in my own case. For decades, I have closely read the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and one or two other major newspapers every morning, supplemented by a wide variety of weekly or monthly opinion magazines. Their biases in certain areas had always been apparent to me. But I felt confident that by comparing and contrasting the claims of these different publications and applying some common sense, I could obtain a reasonably accurate version of reality. I was mistaken.
Aside from the evidence of our own senses, almost everything we know about the past or the news of today comes from bits of ink on paper or colored pixels on a screen, and fortunately over the last decade or two the growth of the Internet has vastly widened the range of information available to us in that latter category. Even if the overwhelming majority of the unorthodox claims provided by such non-traditional web-based sources is incorrect, at least there now exists the possibility of extracting vital nuggets of truth from vast mountains of falsehood. Certainly the events of the past dozen years have forced me to completely recalibrate my own reality-detection apparatus.
I find this astounding:
After years of research, (NY Times Pulitzer Prize winner Sidney) Schanberg published massive evidence demonstrating that the endlessly ridiculed claims of America’s Vietnam MIA movement of the 1970s and 1980s were correct: the Nixon administration had indeed deliberately abandoned many hundreds of American POWs in Vietnam at the close of the war, and our government afterward spent decades covering up this shameful crime. Schanberg’s charges were publicly confirmed by two former Republican House members, one of whom had independently co-authoreda 500 page book on the subject, exhaustively documenting the POW evidence.
There are many other examples of media silence:
- the 2011 Anthrax Attacks
- the whistleblowers who for years reported their suspicions about Bernie Madoff to the SEC
- the Vioxx coverup
- the rationale for the Iraq War
And I personally remember being struck by how quickly this juicy scandal dropped from sight:
Or take the strange case of Bernard Kerik, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s police commissioner during 9/11, later nominated by President Bush to be America’s first director of national intelligence, a newly established position intended to oversee all of our various national-security and intelligence agencies. His appointment seemed likely to sail through the Republican-controlled Senate until derailed by accusations he had employed an undocumented nanny. With his political rise having been blocked, the national media suddenly revealed his long history of association with organized-crime figures, an indictment quickly followed, and he is currently still serving his federal prison sentence for conspiracy and fraud. So America came within a hairbreadth of placing its entire national-security apparatus under the authority of a high-school dropout connected with organized crime, and today almost no Americans seem aware of that fact.
Rudy Giuliani’s Police Commissioner was mobbed up?
I know that it’s a long article and the print is small but please read the column. Once you are in, it will be hard to put down. I have read the linked materials and they seem to make a compelling case for each of the neglected scandals.
If you can disprove any of the scandals noted in the article, please do. I could maybe then go back to the Walter Cronkite days of just believing what I’m told. But that would be hard now. It would be very hard.