Trump, Fake Intel and the Real Hacks

It is hard to believe that big news can be manufactured news. Hard to think that huge, powerful, and influential organizations would do things based upon small mindedness.  It really is a shame how ignorant of history most people are and how arrogantly we dismiss the lessons of the past.  If I could get any book into the curriculum of every school in America it would be The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer.  If you have difficulty believing that small mindedness can reign among reasonable people, and if you cannot fathom how huge organizations can become weapons of the state against its people, you only need to read about a third of the book to get illuminated.  And we need illumination.

The damage done to our country during the last election is serious, but we aren’t bleeding from the wound the Educated Establishment Elites are trying to tourniquet.  We aren’t bleeding from racism, bigotry, or exclusion, and the wound is not Trump shaped.  No, the serious gushing wound is a free and independent press.  After 8 years of fawning over thehack1 first African American president, and actually demeaning both him and the office he held by failing to hold him to the standards of any previous president, the country has lost confidence in the press.  When journalism begins to be less popular than congress you can be sure there is a major problem.  The campaign only exposed and connected the dots for all the smaller gunshot wounds legacy media delivered to its own feet.  Some examples of the loss of independence of our free press:

–  letting the Obama administration get away with selling guns to drug lords in Mexico without holding them to account even when it led to the deaths of American law enforcement agents.

– letting Obama get away with the outrageous lies he told about Obamacare (ie like your doctor keep your doctor, and deductibles will all go down for everyone) even when the architect of Obamacare openly admitted this was never the plan and called American voters stupid

– letting the Obama administration get away with weaponizing the IRS and using it to demoralize and intimidate its political opponents in the Tea Party even after the IRS admitted it had done this.

These are just a few of the wounds the press inflicted upon itself in the last 8 years.  Americans instinctively know when someone is blowing smoke and we also know when we are being given the “don’t look at that man behind the curtain” Wizard of Oz treatment.  Any of these scandals were enough to end the careers of previous politicians.  Richard Nixon only dreamed of getting away with stuff like this and got impeached and run out of office by the free and independent press for much less.

There was one other story among the multitude of scandal-less scandals of the past 8 years that the press gave a press pass.  It was the politicization of CENTCOM Intel.  The gist of this story is that Intelligence analysts at the US Central Command (CENTCOM) were intimidated and forced out of their jobs for creating intelligence reports that did not line up with administration goals and views of how to handle ISIS in Syria.  Another part of this press passed story is that CENTCOM was creating fabricated intelligence reports in order to make it appear as if the administration’s goals were being met.  I’ve personally worked in the US intelligence community and I’ve had people ask me to adjust my analysis of raw intelligence data to suit a narrative they wanted to pursue.  People with power over your next promotion can be very persuasive.  Why did they do this?  Was it because their bosses in D.C. were pressuring them to do it?  Was it because the leaders of CENTCOM wanted to look good?  We don’t know.  The free and independent press failed to Watergate this story.  They weren’t interested enough to aggressively run it to ground.

So Monday morning we wake up to a story about intelligence reports and Russians hacking and Donald Trump scoffing and the election results questioned.  Would big time media be small minded enough to make up a story to try to delegitimize Trump before he even gets to the Oval Office?? Well we know they gave up on objectivity for 8 years because we watched it happen.  And we know they gave up on objectivity for the campaign because they flat out wrote about it on the front page of the New York Times. What are we supposed to believe?   I believe we the people are going to need to be our own reporters and editors.  We are going to need objectivity and we aren’t going to be able to depend upon a slavish and dependent press to do our thinking for us. We must be vigilant and we must ask the hard questions because the press is either not willing to ask them or too incompetent or blind to see which questions need asking and which answers, as unpalatable to them as they may be are correct.  Trump did not win an election because of Russian hacking, but he made a lot of hay out of the true and small minded hacks in our seriously compromised press.  And the fact that he is the next president is evidence enough to show how truly out of touch and in need of emergency surgery they are.  They are the real hackers and they’ve hacked off their own feet and we are all going to suffer for it.  A free and independent press is essential to our democracy.  A hacking press carrying water for one ideology is essential for fascism.  It has happened before…

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A Reason and a Place to Write Right

I realized this week how much time I’m giving to thinking about the current political reporting and debates and tweets and punditry, including making time to write my own analysis of the Trump and Hilary part of the show.  Politics interests me and I have strong opinions (a family characteristic passed down from my Granddad Kiser on my mom’s side) so I feel the need to join in and add something valuable to the discussion.  My medium of choice for adding commentary was Facebook, but a few weeks ago I deleted my account.  The back and forth of post – comment – reply – counter-comment, etc doesn’t work for me.  Facebook posts are too short and not formal enough to be conducive to presenting well thought out ideas, and comments, replies and counter-comments for the most part are reactive and lacking thought, and well, not nice.  I am decidedly impatient with anything I consider to be ignorant and I write things with an edge intended to inflame and/or cut rather than instruct or persuade.  Switching to Twitter as a medium of adding to the commentary hasn’t been much help.  Although the limited format forces me to think hard about what I want to say it’s pretty hard to stay away from snarky, cutting words in my Tweets and replies to Tweets.  Since my native language from birth is Sarcasm (everyone in my family is fluent) I feel right at home jumping into a thread of “burned you” and “I burned you back.”  The trouble with this is that my heart doesn’t end up feeling great after I fire off ten or so pithy, snarky Tweets.  I find myself delighting in the amount of favorites and retweets with a well shaped shot in someones twitter feed.  And that delight decays into a selfish dark slushy bitter taste in my heart until I jump into the next snarky 1375738928_free-speech-words-are-weaponsstream.  So I’ve decided to move the Twitter feed into better places.  To add light to the feed with godly comments and commentary and proverbs.  I think this is my part.  But I also feel I should contribute to the political discourse of my time.  This seems to me to be in the tradition of the gospel and clergymen.  Worldviews have consequences and Christians, especially Christian leaders must not disengage from the line where the gospel intersects politics, public policy, and the culture.  I feel like Eric Liddell in Chariots of fire:

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.

I believe God made me thoughtful.  When I think and analyze and write, I feel His pleasure.  I also remember the words of C.S. Lewis at the beginning of Mere Christianity where he explained why he choose to write on the subject of basic Christian apologetics rather than wade into doctrinal debates:

That part of the line where I thought I could serve best was also the part that seemed to be thinnest. And to it I naturally went.

As I look upon the state of punditry it seems to me the left and the right the liberal and the conservative positions are thoroughly covered.  It also seems many Christians are creating content and publishing opinions from their perspectives; some more overtly Christian than others; some like Bono and some like Casting Crowns; Christians who make commentary and Christians who make Christian commentary.  But the line seems thin where I most naturally feel at home and that is the news story of the day and how it relates to the news story of our race in light of the most significant event in human history; the gospel, the Good News.  I am a Gospel commentator on my times and culture.  Trump is popular.  How does that relate to the gospel?  Hillary is accused of lying about email.  What would we do with/for her if we believed the gospel?  This is where I am at home and my heart is at rest.  This seeks to bring light to the eyes of my race and glory to a name that deserves it.  I sat down to write the book I am working on right now but ended up writing this.  It is something I need to publish so I’ve put it in the light and open to examination by others.  I need this kind of accountability and transparency.  This is also why I am choosing to write here on my site under my own name where I must take responsibility for my words and I have as much room as I need to think and to express.  I am a man of God and I work for Jesus.  I seek to write in a way that pleases him and helps others to know and to love him.  I believe in Jesus.  This is why I write.