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    WikiLeaks - A Calibration

    Most measuring devices require some form of calibration, especially meters or gauges.  Usually the meter or gauge has a way to adjust its display of values so that when a known value is applied then the needle or other pointer can be adjusted to read out that value. The device is then said to have been calibrated and can be used for purposes of taking a measurement.  Sometimes experiences in life are a kind of calibration, helping to set one’s internal gauge of understanding.  I think the current response to the recent WikiLeaks document release is a moment for a personal “calibration.” 


    I am referring to the stories indicating that various citizens are being warned in various ways to NOT read the WikiLeaks material.  The threats of real consequences seem credible enough that they comprise a deterrent to any otherwise normal curiosity or wish to know facts or even truths about current matters of state.  Since the material is in the public domain and obtainable in whole or part almost everywhere, these efforts to discourage seems almost laughable, amounting to instructions to place one’s hands over one’s ears while hollering “la la la la la la la la.”  But no one, from the Library of Congress to defense contractors, is kidding. 

    Back in 1963 I attended a Catholic university.  It was a typically conservative institution.  There was one course, Political Science 130, that was required for graduation regardless of your major.  It was a course in “anti-communism.”  Sometimes during what I will generously term “lectures,” it was suggested that the student could take the word of the instructors or read the material, authored by the likes of Karl Marx and Lenin, on their own.  The instructors dutifully noted that these materials were not available in the university library nor could they be found in any normal book selling establishment.  The only way to obtain them would be to go to the Communist Party headquarters in downtown San Francisco.  Students were reminded that the FBI would likely be filming anyone going into this office.  What the faculty did NOT do is discourage students from going to that office and at least look around. 

    I had thought that the anti-communist fear mongering in my youth was the worst example of self-imposed ignorance that I would ever experience.  It would seem that it is time for me to calibrate my meter. As for a measure of the general population of the U.S.,  the image comes to mind of a horse walking in traffic, affixed with blinders so it doesn’t see the dangers and instinctively recoil in self-defense.



    anti communism. hahahaahahah

    What did they tell you to ignore lines from Proverbs or Ecclasiastics or the New Testament? hahahahahah

    jesus h christ.  that is okay really. I mean our history classes should have been entitled anti communism anyway. haahahahSorry to laugh but i can see beckerhead teaching the course. hahahaha

    We had a course in High School called Americanism vs Communism it was part of the Social Studies curriculum. I had the assignment to read Alas Babylon and give a report on it to the class. My report was pretty condemning of the Cold War and America's stance against the Soviet Union. I got an A+ on it. 

    To me WikiLeaks only substantiates suspicions that I already had but could not prove. What I find is a shame is that such a site had not been available sooner. There is so much hanky-panky that has gone on in Washington that we may never know about.

    But then I am no patriot since I am not all together on anyone's side since nobody is all together on my side.

    "... I am not all together on anyone's side since nobody is all together on my side."

    Reminds of the guy who was President of NBC Radio when I worked on their All-News Radio Network in the 70's.   His name was Jack Thayer, but behind his back, we all called him Fat Jack Thayer, for reasons which would need no explaination if you saw him.  He used a catchphrase when he met or interacted with his employees; "I'm on YOUR side."  He liked to imagine he was a 'man of the people' kind of guy. a slap you on the back, fun-loving boss who only had YOUR self-interest at heart.  Then, came the 1976 Presidential election.  The radio news network really came through with some excellent coverage, most of us worked through the night, well after Carter was declared the winner.  Fat Jack even stopped by in the morning to speak to 'the troops' in the newsroom. (Which, by the way, was the same studio from which the old Monitor radio shows used to be broadcast. Fat Jack had cancelled the last vestige of Monitor in order to start the All-News Radio network.) Anyway. Fat Jack came to praise our work and tell us how proud he was of all of us. 

    The following day he announced, by way of internal memo and Press Release that the NBC News and Information Service would be killed off at the end of May, 1977. Six months after making him so 'proud'.  It seems Fat Jack "I'm on YOUR side" Thayer had been only on Fat Jack Thayer's side all along.  Jack Thayer pretty much destroyed NBC radio, and eventually, as is often the case, was promoted to work as President of the NBC Owned and Operated TV stations. While the rest of us went onto the unemployment line.  The End. least I'm honest about it. I remember NBC Monitor on Sundays. Used to hang around a local NBC affiliate in Naples. A one-lung Am station with a friend of mine. All they had on Sundays was Monitor so all he had to do on that shift was take transmitter meter readings and read the weather report on the hour. The rest of the time we just goofed off.

    Here I thought you were going to tell us we would go blind if we read them, as er...self-pleasuring boys were warned.  (Come to think of it, did they ever warn girls about it?)

    Or 'Reefer Madness'

    I heard this WikiLeaks thing was kinda porny. So I rushed out and bought the hardback version. 

    You know, the nice, big print, full-colour, leather-bound, coffee-table version. Like the one Madonna put out.

    I brought it home. Put it on the coffee-table.

    Then pulled the coffee-table into the bathroom. 

    I mean, who reads their porn in the living room? Eeeew.

    Anyway, once I realized it wasn't all that porny, I was kinda disappointed. But then somebody told me that reading it would cause nations to go war, empires to fall and revolution to sweep the globe.

    Which seemed like a good idea. Well, 3 good ideas, actually.

    So I started reading faster.  

    However, after 3 full days and nights, I was pouring in eye drops by the quart - but was still only on document #107.

    Which left 249,893 to go.

    So fuck me. At that rate, my reading wasn't likely to trigger a revolution until around the year 2525. Which started me humming that Zager and Evans song. You know.

    In the year 2525,

    If man is still alive,

    If woman can survive,


    Anyway. When I woke up, I decided I'd be better advised to read what the papers were saying, and in particular, the experts. The experts, however, were full of disagreement.

    The first guy up was a very conservatively dressed diplomat, and he said that Assange was a secret Jewish homo child-molesting Australian rapist. Who would cause war and chaos to rain down upon the Earth, and who should probably be arrested by Interpol. Or maybe just get a big fucking drone sent up his ass. Whichever seemed easier.

    He had a pipe, and I rather liked him.

    But then another guy came on, a foreign policy expert, more on the spook and war front, but still. A nice European name and a thick accent PLUS a pipe. And he begged to differ. Which was such a nice phrase, I thought. "Begged to differ." Now THAT'S an educated phrase.


    Anyway, I decided to listen to him, close. And HIS view was that Assange was a secret Jewish homo child-molesting Australian rapist who would cause GREAT HOLY FUCKNG HELL to rain down upon the Earth, and COMMIES AND MUSLINS TO START INTERBREEDING, and goldfish to flow uphill, and teeth to become embedded in the Christ child's ass, and so Assange should be arrested for the Terrorism and be tortured by Cheney The Bloodless.

    So that's where I stand.

    goddamnit all.


    Tone it down for chrissakes.

    Put a little xmas in your stockings for chrissakes:




    (Damn.  I keep forgetting that you can get the internets in Canada.) 

     Oh. Hi Q.  I see that as always you have your gaze fixed mightily on your midsection - to wit - your navel.  An "iny" I'm guessing, surrounded by a forest of little hairs looking like an aerial photo of a desert oasis.  Still as you lie there in rapped concentration, you take the time to let me know where you metaphorically speaking “stand.”  I’m flattered.  I am sorry to hear that the latest document release hath not the power to raise your noble stele to its most imposing erectness.  Some of us are more inclined to ruminate than mast.., ahem,  and are quite excited about the whole matter.  For us truth is more beautiful than a fair maid, or perhaps more to your tastes, a jejune moose.  Still a rose by any other name.  But I digress.  Be assured that those of us with an eye to the orderly conduct of society will always insure your freedom to litter your coffee table with whatever religious iconography of The Madonna or any other holy person who inspires you to point toward  heaven, so to speak.   

    Listen Broomy-boy, what I wanna know is... where were YOU during the great Wikileak war of 2010? Eh? EH? We've already fought that fight here at Dagblog, and lost it. Badly. Assange is to be hung, burnt, roasted and spittooned at dawn, December the 5th. Seaton's MC'ing, cause the Spanish have such style in these things. 

    Anyhoo. Glad to hear your bowels are so good, and I must say, you got one hell of a memory. College? In '63? Jesus. I can't remember college in '83. Course, I wasn't IN college in '83, but you catch my point. 

    P.S. Gave in, bought a Swiffer. Apologies to yer family. And thanks for the years of faithful service.

    A few years before your college experience (1957 to be exact) a poet/bookstore owner was put on trial for attempting to sell the poem Howl and Other Poems.  As Stanley Fish put it in his opinion piece Literary Criticism Comes to the Movies regarding the recent film Howl, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was put on trail for:

    publishing and distributing an obscene work, that is, a work that appeals only to prurient interests, has a tendency to incite lustful thoughts and has no redeeming social or literary value.

    A.O. Scott in his review of the same film relates:

    During the trial scenes, when Ginsberg is absent (he didn’t attend), his role as explicator is taken up by attorneys, witnesses and even the judge. The trial turns into a seminar on literary criticism led by the befuddled prosecutor (David Strathairn) who, as he puts it, represents the “average man” trying gamely to figure out what these incantatory words and phrases might possibly signify, if anything. His method (quite reasonable) is to ask a succession of literary critics, brought in as expert witnesses, what does this line mean or why is this word relevant or why does this passage have literary value?

    The answers are sometimes thematic (the poem is about “uprooted people wandering around,” says Mark Schorer, my department chair in the early 60’s), sometimes political (the poem is about despairing reactions to the post-World War II world), sometimes ideological (the poem is a protest against the depredations of capitalism), sometimes formal (the poem does not have a form, says a hostile critic; the words chosen convey the author’s intention says a more friendly one), sometimes evaluative (it’s not literature, says one witness; it stands the test of time and will be productive of other poems like it, says another). In one extended sequence there is an animated discussion of “Howl”’s relationship to Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” And there is even an exchange between the defense attorney (played by Jon Hamm) and a wonderfully pompous English professor (played by Jeff Daniels) about the nature of originality and literary borrowing.

    And all because Howl contained lines such as

    who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy.

    Thankfully the judge chose to put aside the blinders and helped society (eventually) recaliberate its sense of the obscene and the inspiring.  (It is important to note that Ferlinghetti was found innocent not because the charges were ridiculous, but that the judge found Howl not obscene, thereby still maintaining the foundation that the government could censor that which was obscene.)

    But these days it does seem we're seeing the best minds our of our generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked…in need of a recaliberation, indeed.

    Ah yes City Lights Books.  I remember how you could spend an hour browsing the bookshelves, then walk a few blocks down Broadway and stand in the alley at the Jazz Workshop and listen to T. Monk, then back to Columbus for a San Francisco Cappuccino (hot chocolate and brandy) at Tosca's.  We wore our oppression better back then.

    Y'all are letting your freak flags fly....

    I like it.


    If anything, one of the great album covers of all time.

    The original Crosby Stills and Nash album cover with them sitting on the sofa outside that white clapboard building is better.  I can't tell you how many times I attempted to draw it in pencil on my sketchpad.....never could do it justice.  The lighting, the colors (that faded sofa), the looks on their faces....I could never get it all down just right.  In fact, the only album cover I managed to draw perfectly (no tracing - that's cheating) was Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.  And my sister asked for it and eventually lost it, over the years.  And it was damn good, if I don't say so myself.


    I soon may be doing a bit of recalibrating myself after reading this from Mother Jones.

    The memory of Spain wanting to prosecute several Bush officials (including Cheney) for allegedly permitting torture is still fresh.  It fizzled, and although I kept half an eye open for follow-up, nothing appeared on the radar.  Did I have blinders on?  Mebbe.   Or maybe I just didn't look hard enough.  Or maybe I was just waiting for a Wikileak.  Who knows?

    This particular leak is disturbing in that I now have to readjust my opinion of the way the Obama administration, all the world governments actually, is handling the crimes of war and the criminals that commit them.

    I did not wish to have to do that, Larry.  I did not.

    Still, I prefer the truth.

    The Walking Broom says: "I had thought that the anti-communist fear mongering in my youth was the worst example of self-imposed ignorance that I would ever experience."

    The Guardian reports that the Obama administration is trying to put the genie back into the lamp:

    Democracy Now reports:

    Goodman revealed that the United States Agency For International Development (USAID) issued the following memo to its thousands of employees:

    “Any classified information that may have been unlawfully disclosed and released on the Wikileaks web site was not ‘declassified’ by an appropriate authority and therefore requires continued classification and protection as such from government personnel… Accessing the Wikileaks web site from any computer may be viewed as a violation of the SF-312 agreement… Any discussions concerning the legitimacy of any documents or whether or not they are classified must be conducted within controlled access areas (overseas) or within restricted areas (USAID/Washington)… The documents should not be viewed, downloaded, or stored on your USAID unclassified network computer or home computer; they should not be printed or retransmitted in any fashion.


    CIA Engineered Spying on U.N. Diplomats

    More revelations continue to emerge from the U.S. State Department cables released by the online whistleblower group WikiLeaks. The latest cables to be disclosed show the CIA spearheaded the State Department’s program to spy on foreign diplomats. Although the orders were authorized by U.S. Secretary of States Condoleezza Rice and her successor, Hillary Clinton, The Guardian of London reports a CIA official drew up the instructions for who should be monitored and what information should be tracked. The targets of the U.S. spying included U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other top U.N. officials.

    Sorta proves your points; Chinese of them...Some wag on a comments list snarked that the US should take over Russia just so we could send people to the Russian something.

    Also: I've lost track of the zillion threads Donal and Seaton and other have posted on Wikileaks, and I did read ONE Q and A exchange on one of the iterations of his blogs about a career diplomat's claim that the leaks had done irreparable harm or something, but here's the link to the Guardian's Q and Q reporting:

    And nice to see you, Larry.  Ya Commie.  Wink

    Students were reminded that the FBI would likely be filming anyone going into this office.  What the faculty did NOT do is discourage students from going to that office and at least look around.

    I try hard to see both sides of an issue. With the recent Wikileaks leaks, I didn't find it very hard. I see benefit in uncovering secrets, but I also see benefits in having secrets. What's more dificult is justifying this suggestion that people should not view the leaked documents.

    I will try.

    First, I'll start with professors and colleges suggesting their students shouldn't do this. One could argue that they're looking out for the best interests of their students, knowing that the government could be keeping tabs on such behavior and that it could cost them gainful employment in the future. (On the other hand, one could also point out that if all college students everywhere did this, it would completely defuse such consequences.)

    Secondly, I'll move on to the government agencies themselves. I've failed. I can't justify that.

    I can’t resist offering a second vignette from my college days.  The university I attended required Theology as a minor for graduation.  In one course, on Moral Theology if memory serves, a footnote in the text made reference to one Jean Paul Sartre and his play “No Exit” as being very wrong headed.  Being a precocious college type, I immediately went to the library to find this play and see the errors for myself.  The card catalog indicated that the book could be found at a location labeled “case X.”  I took the card to the librarian’s desk a few feet away and asked where “case X” was located.  She explained that “case X” was where they kept the condemned books.  The librarian gave me a three page form to fill out.  One page was to be signed by my instructor, one by my dean, and one by my parents.  Discouraged I took the forms and went back to the catalog to return the card.  A few feet away an elderly, silver-haired woman was sitting on a stool.  Clearly she was another library worker updating the catalog cards.  Just as clearly she must have overheard my conversation at the desk because she leaned toward me and whispered “You can get that book at City Lights bookstore in North Beach.”  

    A university that teaches only approved thinking should more properly be labeled a Theologate.

    As for the hapless Federal employee, how will they know what they are not supposed to know if they don’t know what was leaked?  I am reminded of sergeant Shultz – “I know nothing, I see nothing, …”.  Of course it will not be easy to enforce this silence -  Perhaps DHS will need to create a Constabulary of Leaks.

    There are more than two sides to this argument I think.

    One question, Larry:  Where is Ruta to offer a "HAR HAR HAR!" ?

    BTW. Great blog.

    And self-imposed ignorance - check.

    My reaction to this effort to stifle contact with material that is now in the public domain was similar to yours, larryH.

    It certainly seems to be un-democratic at the very least. Kinda' like something that would be cooked up as a policy decision by farm animals in a George Orwell novel, no?

    I'm sorry Larry. I didn't read this blog because talking about Wiki**** pretty much amounts to talking about Big Brother's peepee, and reading Wiki**** is like looking at Big Brother's peepee. And I've been told talking about it makes you want to see it, and, well I just don't want to be that guy....

    Anyway, as of two days ago, around here we're only allowed to talk about interesting ways to kill Wiki****'ers. Or alternatively about tennis... for reasons that remain unclear.

    And if none of this makes sense to you, it's because you missed all the fun/bloodshed.

    What is going on outside the U.S. ? First Quinn and now you – the subject is leaks and you immediately think about penises.  Speaking of penises, I heard a young woman on a community radio station expressing her confusion about DADT.  She wondered why members of the U.S. Marine Corp, who pride themselves on their courage and fortitude and prowess, were so afraid that, in her words, “someone would look at their pee pee in the shower.” There are many mysteries in this best of all possible worlds.

    Short version? Quinn thinks I have penis issues. I think Quinn has penis-issue-issues. It's a long-standing penis war.

    Long version? The Dagblog establishment seems to consider that interest in the content of the Wikileaks documents amounts to a porn fetish. Which either is true and says something about our psyche, or is false and says something interesting about their psyche. Anyway, I assume it's interesting though I haven't figured out quite what what it says...


    p.s. great blog!

    I see.

    A friend of mine recently commented to me that he had concluded that his lifelong attempt to understand the meaning of life by understanding the meaning of his own life was a kind of Existential mobius strip. It is easy enough to imagine the human race as a herd of braying jackasses in which case there is nothing to be learned from reading the libretto of this opera.  On the other hand when everything collapses we will have to start the whole endeavor again.  Even if we abandon language itself there will have to be some way to communicate, to trade one onion for one orange.  In the world post-collapse there will be no place for secrets.  Secrets hide lies and lies corrupt communication, and without that orange one of us will die of scurvy.

    I anxiously await the "defense of scurvy" discussion as an excuse to do nothing in pursuit of an orange, instead.

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