Thoughts About Events the Week of January 6

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on January 13, 2014

Most of what did happen this week was thoroughly, if not overly, reported, so my remarks will be brief.

Robert Gates’ Book: Gates’ memoir including his Obama years was reviewed. It has been publicly lambasted and lauded. I don’t give a rodent’s rectum about Gates’ book, but there are two episodes from his career that do interest me.

Gates and I did graduate work at the same time at Indiana University. If I met him there I don’t remember it, and I’m sure he wouldn’t remember me. I went to Madison Avenue. He went to the CIA. Gates had a supremely successful career, by their macabre standards, and was the only career CIA operative to rise to its Directorship.

Gates was Deputy Director of the CIA from 1986 to 1989, under William Casey, as sorry a partisan and political character as there ever was, and who transformed the Agency into a partisan political tool. During that time, Gates was up to his eyebrows in the Iran-Contra scandal, and it is remarkable to me that he did not land in jail. In 1987, Ronald Reagan nominated Gates to be head of the CIA, but Gates withdrew his nomination when it became obvious he would not be confirmed because of Iran-Contra.

After the stench of the scandal had subsided a bit, George H.W. Bush had the temerity to nominate Gates again to be CIA Director in 1991, this time successfully, and he served as Director into 1993.

What is seared in my memory about Gates, and why my opinion of him is lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut, is that from 1986 to 1991 he testified numerous times to Congress about the existential threat the USSR posed to us, requesting larger and larger CIA budgets, and not once said to Congress, “Oh, I should mention that the USSR will be broke within 18 months and will disintegrate officially in 1991.” I wouldn’t trust this guy any more than Eisenhower trusted Allen Dulles after the U-2 incident.

Ironically, however, I thought Texas A&M made a great choice hiring him to be president of the university.  The primary job of a university president is to raise money, and I figured Gates would be able to raise fortunes for the Aggies by knowing where all the bodies are buried.

Chris Christie is in a Traffic Jam: The New Jersey Governor held a nearly two hour press conference to clear the air about the George Washington Bridge scandal, which has become a public obsession. Since we punish the lie more than the deed, I think Christie has not seen the last of his troubles, because no politician can talk for two hours without telling a lie.

The Jobs Report: that came out Friday was not a good one, and much worse than economists expected. There was much speculation among them as to why, as George Bernard Shaw foretold. I think it was the Sequester. In response to the jobs report news, the stock market rose.  It has always been a mystery to me that firing ones customers will make ones stock go up, but it happens all the time on Wall Street.  If this isn’t an early indicator that that our economic system is terribly out of whack, I don’t know what is.

Obamacare: Oh, and it was reported that there are now six million people signed up for Obamacare, but this news was hardly mentioned, conflicting, as it does with the current critical narrative.

Coming Attractions: On Wednesday, I’ll publish more thoughts on the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey.

2 Responses

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  1. Bob Keller said, on January 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I appreciate the background information on Gates. I didn’t know, or at least had forgotten, the back story. I certainly did not appreciate his releasing this book while President Obama is still in office. It displays a complete lack of class.

    • EloiSVM42 said, on January 19, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Wizard –
      I don’t read many such books, of any viewpoint. It is human nature to treat ourselves too favorably, even heroically (we are all heroes in our own minds) in such memoirs (I’m sure I do in my blogs), and others less favorably. If it isn’t on the public record, it’s all hearsay, anyway.

      I suppose Gates published now because the book wouldn’t sell as well after President Obama leaves office. But I agree is was smarmy of Gates to bring out a book like his during the president’s term. We seem to be treating our presidents with too little respect, courtesy, or even basic good manners these days. I insult President George W. Bush constantly, but I’m a commentator, with no following, not a public figure in Washington.

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