Three card monte

I listened to the most recent episode of Dan Carlin’s Common Sense podcast on the way to work this morning.  Have I mentioned that I am a huge podcast fan?  I think I have, but I may not have mentioned that unlike almost everything else I am a fan of (food, guns…women) I don’t actually know any other podcast fans.  Not just specifically fans of the podcasts I listen too (I am subscribed to about 15-20 at any given moment) but of the podcast format at all.  I know they must be out there or people wouldn’t be publishing them…I just haven’t met any yet.  So, as a conclusion to this aside: all you podcast fans let me know you’re out there!
OK, back to the point (this blog will eventually be used as proof that I suffer from ADD).  While most of the world is still wondering what happened to flight 370, Dan focused this episode on two of the recent news topics that his twitter followers were most interested in: the most recent goings on in Russia/Crimea/Ukraine and the Senate Intelligence Committee vs. CIA kerfuffle.  Both topics were interesting, but what I found most interesting was the common, but oppositional thread that tie the two together: the reaction or lack thereof to inaction by the President.
In the case of Russia/Crimea/Ukraine, many seem to all too eager to dive into what would undoubtedly be WWIII and are ready to criticize the President for “being weak”.  I guess they don’t recall that Russia’s incarnation of the not too distant past did essentially the same thing when Eisenhower (Hungary) and Johnson (Czechoslovakia) and the US response then was….nothing.  I don’t think anyone ever called the two of them “soft on communism” nor did they have any fear of “putting boots on the ground.”  I think we’ve been conditioned over the last few decades of the continual war on terror to assume that the full military repertoire is available to us in every situation.  It’s different when the other side has nukes.  Drones?  Not an option.  Special forces?  Nope.  Lightening fast invasion?  Not a chance.  All of those would be seen by Russia as provocation and who knows where it would go from there, but I am betting none of us would like it.
In the case of the Senate Intelligence Committee vs. the CIA, the President is similarly inactive:

Obama said taking sides was “not something that is an appropriate role for me and the White House to wade into at this point.”

And the reaction from the public on this inaction?  Crickets.  Until I listened to Dan this morning, I had not heard anything criticizing the President for not acting in this case.  There are two reasons people should be paying more attention to this situation and demanding action by the President:

  1. the outcome of this situation is far more likely to impact life in these United States of America than anything going on in the Baltic states.  That’s not isolationist – that’s just being rational.  If the CIA is allowed to get away with doing whatever it wants to the one committee that is supposed to provide them with oversight then…the CIA is without oversight and can do whatever it wants.  Scary thought.
  2. getting involved at this point is exactly the opposite of inappropriate.  It’s his job.  He is the leader of the Executive Branch.  The CIA is an Executive agency.  It’s his job to make sure they are doing theirs.  If they are not submitting to the oversight that is required in their charter…then they aren’t doing their job.

If we could channel half of the outcry to “protect Ukraine” towards “protect Diane Feinstein us from the CIA” (or even 1% of the “where is flight 370 blather) then we might actually do ourselves some good.  But there’s always another shiny penny to distract us from picking up the crumpled, dirty hundred dollar bill.






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