Threat Level Elevated
August 20, 2009 11:36 AM   Subscribe

US News reports that in a new tell-all book, Tom Ridge admits manipulating terror threat levels for political motives. In the forthcoming book, Ridge reportedly acknowledges for the first time that he was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he "saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over." But as The Atlantic points out, Ridge apparently gave in to the White House demands anyway, resigning only after the election. Huffington Post also provides additional discussion on this developing story.
posted by saulgoodman (139 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is my surprised face.
posted by notsnot at 11:37 AM on August 20, 2009


SHOCKED! I AM SHOCKED!
posted by entropicamericana at 11:39 AM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I may politely suggest we can the usual "this is my surprised face" responses as this appears to be actual, verifiable confirmation of what many (or at least folks like me) suspected was the case.

On preview: don't take it personally, notsnot. I'm not surprised either.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:39 AM on August 20, 2009


Surely this will bring them down!
posted by mullingitover at 11:39 AM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Big clap for resigning when it doesn't matter.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on August 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


I wish I could be less cynical about this.
posted by ardgedee at 11:41 AM on August 20, 2009


And the ones pushing for cheap health care are the ones Fox deems it fair to compare to Nazis...

Wonder how Fox will cover this story?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:42 AM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think it's historically important that these first-hand accounts (not just outraged posts on blogs) be documented and exposed and taught to our children.
posted by mattbucher at 11:43 AM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Investigations in 3...2...GOING ALONG TO GET ALONG BYPASS ACTIVATED
posted by DU at 11:43 AM on August 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Why do these little revelations only come *after* the fact -- and why do people still fall for the same old tricks over and over again?

It's like people *want* to live in a real-life suspense movie and be scared out of their wits...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 11:44 AM on August 20, 2009


RGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH MORE POWERRRRRRRR
MUSTTT
MAKEEEE
LIGHTNINGGGGGGGGGGGG

posted by Damn That Television at 11:45 AM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Big clap also for knuckling under to political pressure and doing something (several things, by the sound of it) you knew was wrong and that would hurt your country and in some cases actually kill people, and then using your own cowardice and disgrace to sell your book. Bravo. Some of us would feel like our life's work was an utter shambles, and our deep-seated moral cowardice was exposed for all the world to see, but not you, Tom. Not you.
posted by rusty at 11:45 AM on August 20, 2009 [56 favorites]


Ridge apparently gave in to the White House demands anyway, resigning only after the election.

Tom Ridge. Tower of integrity.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:46 AM on August 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Big clap also for knuckling under to political pressure and doing something (several things, by the sound of it) you knew was wrong and that would hurt your country and in some cases actually kill people, and then using your own cowardice and disgrace to sell your book.

This.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:47 AM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Let's not listen to these shrill, leftist, Bush-hating conspiracy mongers like Tom Ridge accusing the Bush administration of playing politics with national security. This is way-out there, extremist stuff, people.
posted by deanc at 11:48 AM on August 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think Michael Moore is owed an apology by a lot of right wingers.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2009 [17 favorites]


WHERE IS THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE, OBAMA???
posted by Damn That Television at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2009 [22 favorites]


IANAL: Can a regular citizen bring charges against Tom Ridge (at the very least) for some kind of "failure to uphold oath" or something?
posted by DU at 11:52 AM on August 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


"politically motivated and worth resigning over"

... if only much, much later.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:52 AM on August 20, 2009


Wonder how Fox will cover this story?

"The former Democrat governor of the Democrat state of Pennsylvania jumped on the bandwagon to denounce his former boss earlier today..."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on August 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


Well, no shit.

I don't even really know what else to say about it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:54 AM on August 20, 2009


He should go to jail. In a cell between Bush's and Cheney's.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:54 AM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Big clap also for knuckling under to political pressure and doing something (several things, by the sound of it) you knew was wrong and that would hurt your country and in some cases actually kill people, and then using your own cowardice and disgrace to sell your book.

This.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:47 AM on August 20 [+] [!]


This
posted by Think_Long at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2009


Why does Tom Ridge hate America so much?
posted by vibrotronica at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2009


Baby-killing former Democrat governor...
posted by DU at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2009


:O
posted by fire&wings at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2009


Great. Excellent. Typical.
posted by glaucon at 12:00 PM on August 20, 2009


It's nice to have confirmation that my "spidey sense" about the manipulation of threat levels immediately before the 2004 election was accurate.

It's sad that I even have to use such a spidey sense in the first place.
posted by hippybear at 12:00 PM on August 20, 2009


"The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege...and How We Can Be Safe Again" by Tom Ridge

Nice to see he's sworn off alarmist opportunism.
posted by benzenedream at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2009 [13 favorites]


So then we can safely say that Tom Ridge is just like Colin Powell?
posted by eyeballkid at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's nice to have confirmation that my "spidey sense" about the manipulation of threat levels immediately before the 2004 election was accurate.

Exactly how I feel about it. My shiny new BS detector worked. Phew. Now, if only someone could mass-produce these things and pass legislation to make them standard issue.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it was worth resigning over. It was worth re-thinking on who or what you took your oath of office. To the party, to the man, maybe the nation?

I guess I should be happy that he confessed but it is not the confession of a man who wants redemption nor understanding, just the phrasing of a man cashing in on what, in years past, would have been disgraceful and maybe, just maybe cause all the participants disquiet.
posted by jadepearl at 12:04 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why do these little revelations only come *after* the fact -- and why do people still fall for the same old tricks over and over again?

It's like people *want* to live in a real-life suspense movie and be scared out of their wits...


People are pretty busy doing stuff, you know.
posted by kathrineg at 12:04 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Marc Ambinder: Journalists, including myself, were very skeptical when anti-Bush liberals insisted that what Ridge now says is true, was true. We were wrong...

Whoops. No harm no foul!
posted by R. Mutt at 12:05 PM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Tom Ridge's confirmation of what most of us knew back in 2004 reminded me instantly of David Cross' riff on terror alert levels.

But even if Ridge is a coward for not standing up, it's good that this is now on the record as fact.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:07 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I also like how gas prices plummet right before an election, then steadily rise rise rise.
posted by plexi at 12:09 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Welp, between this guy and notorious doughy, thumb-faced motherfucker Scott McClellan, the Bush administration (if not Republicans in general, if not all political beasts) have learned to commoditize contrition.
posted by boo_radley at 12:10 PM on August 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


He needs to be made an example of and hung for treason. Fuck him.
posted by item at 12:10 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tom Ridge's confirmation of what most of us knew back in 2004 reminded me instantly of David Cross' riff on terror alert levels.

Exactly: first thing that popped into my mind, too, BP.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:12 PM on August 20, 2009


A lot of these guys depend upon a network of Republican-connected lobbying organizations, lawfirms, and think tanks to keep them employed after they leave office. The colloquial term for this is "wingnut welfare." Ridge didn't resign because he knew it would have made him an unemployable pariah among these organizations he depended upon to hire him after he "gracefully" left office.

Now that it's 2009, he's already milked that cow for what it was worth and his connections are simply not valuable for lobbying and law firms, anymore, because the Democrats are in charge. This is his last opportunity to cash in with whatever he has left.
posted by deanc at 12:17 PM on August 20, 2009 [17 favorites]


thumb-faced motherfucker

*rockets out of chair, claps furiously*

That there's a keeper.
posted by Skot at 12:19 PM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


> Exactly how I feel about it. My shiny new BS detector worked. Phew. Now, if only someone could mass-produce these things and pass legislation to make them standard issue.

"Put the glasses on! Put 'em on!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:20 PM on August 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Marc Ambinder:
Journalists, including myself, were very skeptical when anti-Bush liberals insisted that what Ridge now says is true, was true. We were wrong. Our skepticism about the activists' conclusions was warranted because these folks based their assumption on gut hatred for President Bush, and not on any evaluation of the raw intelligence.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by bumpkin at 12:23 PM on August 20, 2009 [36 favorites]


From the wikipedia link to McClellan's book that think_long posted:
Former Senator and former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole sent McClellan a biting email in which he said, "There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues." He continued, "No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits and, spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."
I wonder if Dole is planning on sending a similar email to Dick Cheney.
posted by the_bone at 12:27 PM on August 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


"anti-Bush liberals"? Because we disliked the man personally? Not anti-war liberals? Not anti-corruption liberals? Not pro-constitutional separation of powers liberals, but "anti-Bush" liberals? Fuck that noise. Marc: you're part of the problem, buddy.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:28 PM on August 20, 2009 [18 favorites]


The comments following Ambinder's post are hammering him.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:29 PM on August 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately, at this point I think that even if GWB went on live national television admitting everything he did wrong and everything he did to mislead and manipulate the American public, the minds of the crazies wouldn't be changed. While these kinds of things might be obvious to a lot of people, there is a not insignificant part of the population who I think are too far gone at this point to see any kind of reason in any way whatsoever.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:30 PM on August 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Stop past-looking. There's nothing to be learned from anything that has ever happened. Especially over the last 8 years. Just quit it. I said stop it. Don't make me pull this thing over.
posted by Aquaman at 12:36 PM on August 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ridge already admitted this back in 2005.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 12:37 PM on August 20, 2009


Former Senator and former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole sent McClellan a biting email in which he said, "There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues." He continued, "No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits and, spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."
To be fair (this is painful) to McClellan and Ridge, these guys are chosen for their positions specifically because they can't get up and resign without being economically ruined. What marketable skills do Ridge and McClellan have? They are employable only within the Republican political machine and only for positions in which employers don't want someone who's going to quit on principle.

I think Tom Ridge has a law degree and he could probably have moved back home and start work as a small town lawyer. Scott McClellan literally had no career or skills outside of working with Republican campaigns and Republican politicians. He was picked to humiliate himself like that day in and day out because he had no place else to go, and his employers knew that.

You only pick people who are skilled and independent if they're true-believer loyalists. For anyone you're not sure about, you make sure that you can control them with the future promise of money and jobs or the threat of professional ruin to keep them in line.

Bob Dole sounds like he's being a macho guy, but did you ever see him speak up or quit when he was forced into a tough position? Of course not. He played along, kept his mouth shut, said stupid stuff in public when it was asked of him, and he was turned into a "made man" with a never-ending flow of lobbying dollars and "consulting" jobs being sent over to him and his wife.
posted by deanc at 12:40 PM on August 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


Ridge already admitted this back in 2005.

No, he admitted there were clashes and the he was sometimes pressured to raise the threat-level based on evidence he considered to be flimsy. He's never explicitly acknowledged that the pressure to raise the alert levels was politically motivated and intentionally timed to coincide with significant political events like the election.

Now, he's admitting the administration deliberately manipulated the alerts specifically to influence the election. That's not the same as merely acknowledging he didn't always agree the evidence was strong enough.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:41 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Before opening this thread I made a little bet with myself. I said "Spicynuts, I will bet you one icy cold beverage made of malted hops that the very first comment in this thread is 'This is my surprised face'"

Mmmmmmmmmmm.....beer!
posted by spicynuts at 12:43 PM on August 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


fourcheesemac: He should go to jail hell. In a cell between Bush's and Cheney's.

FTFYaddayaddayadda
posted by tzikeh at 12:48 PM on August 20, 2009


Wonder how Fox will cover this story?

"The former Democrat governor of the Democrat state of Pennsylvania jumped on the bandwagon to denounce his former boss earlier today..."


Ridge was always a Republican. That's probably the point of your joke, but just in case...
posted by rusty at 12:50 PM on August 20, 2009


He was picked to humiliate himself like that day in and day out because he had no place else to go, and his employers knew that.

What? You act like his options were to be a creep or starve in the street. I somehow doubt that resigning quietly and getting another job wouldn't be that hard for Scott or Tom. They could be talking heads. Hell, they could write tell-all books! Why the hell not!
posted by kathrineg at 12:50 PM on August 20, 2009


i thought this had been officially acknowledged previously by Ridge or someone who was otherwise officially involved. i can't find a definite source, however, offhand.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:51 PM on August 20, 2009


oh, wait, there it is, further up the thread. stoopid no-previewing-rmd1023.
thanks HP LaserJet P10006!
posted by rmd1023 at 12:53 PM on August 20, 2009


Did anyone else see In Bruges? For some reason this post made me think of Ralph Fienne's character's speech about what he would have done if he'd accidentally shot a kid. "...I wouldn't have thought twice. I'd killed myself on the fucking spot. On the fucking spot. I would've stuck the gun in me mouth. On the fucking spot!"

I can't think why.
posted by rusty at 12:54 PM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately, at this point I think that even if GWB went on live national television admitting everything he did wrong and everything he did to mislead and manipulate the American public, the minds of the crazies wouldn't be changed.

This is because the crazies are not interested in debate, understanding, right/wrong, cooperation, etc. They are only interested in power. Once a figurehead is not convenient to getting and maintaining power, the words coming out of their mouth are immaterial.
posted by spicynuts at 12:55 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


spicynuts: "Before opening this thread I made a little bet with myself. I said "Spicynuts, I will bet you one icy cold beverage made of malted hops that the very first comment in this thread is 'This is my surprised face'"

Mmmmmmmmmmm.....beer!
"

Glad I could help a fellow drink beer!

(more like, I wanted to get it out of the way)
posted by notsnot at 12:56 PM on August 20, 2009


Ridge was always a Republican. That's probably the point of your joke, but just in case...

When Republicans fuck up, like threatening policemen in bathrooms, chatting up teenagers, cheating on their spouses, daring to question other Republicans, or even committing fraud like falsified national security alerts, FOX News and Rupert Murdoch will be there to call them out as Democrats...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:59 PM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Isn't the whole "Threat Level" scheme a political ploy? I mean it doesn't seriously have anything to do with reality. Why the outrage?
posted by blue_beetle at 1:00 PM on August 20, 2009


The thing that confuses me is how such a book makes it to print in the first place. It seems that a group of individuals with the will, power and pure chutzpah to go to war with another country for no defensible reason wouldn't allow such a book to make it into the public eye. I mean, the things take a while to publish.

Dunno. Reminds me more of theater than current events.
posted by Pragmatica at 1:02 PM on August 20, 2009


I'm shocked shocked SHOCKED!

Reminds me of a 17 minute piece Ken Olbermann did, detailing movement of the threat level relative to the political situation.
posted by MrGuilt at 1:02 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Surely this...
posted by PenDevil at 1:04 PM on August 20, 2009


Surely this...

will make me feel better, but nothing ever does. Except for tacos, I love tacos.
posted by nola at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's clearly a little late to impeach him. So how do you prosecute a past administration? Class action suit?

Is there something that we can get off the ground at a grassroots level? In all seriousness, I really don't think they should go unpunished.
posted by bwerdmuller at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2009


For some reason this post made me think of Ralph Fienne's character's speech about what he would have done if he'd accidentally shot a kid.

I would supply an excerpt with W asking how a fairytale alert system can not be somebody's fucking thing, but I can't bear to use Cheney as a stand-in for Brendan Gleeson.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Isn't the whole "Threat Level" scheme a political ploy?

Yes it was.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2009


"Public service announcement: In case of a terrorist attack, bottled water and duct tape are not going to do a damn thing. So do what Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge does: Get really drunk, and pick up a hooker."

-- David Letterman
Tom Ridge's Department of Homeland Security recommended in February 2003 that we all purchase duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal our houses in the event of a chemical or biological attack. Who benefited? Lowes and Home Depot.
"Americans have apparently heeded the U.S. government's advice to prepare for terror attacks, emptying hardware store shelves of duct tape....A Lowe's hardware store in Alexandria, Virginia, said every roll of duct tape has been sold. Another Alexandria Home Depot store reported sales of duct tape tripled overnight.

'Everything that was on that newscast, we are selling a lot of it,' said Rich Pierce with a Home Depot in the D.C. area.

...President Bush's Homeland Security Council raised the national threat level from yellow to orange on Friday. Orange indicates a 'high' risk of terrorist attack, and yellow indicates an 'elevated' risk.

The level was raised in part because of a high amount of 'chatter' being intercepted by intelligence agencies.

When the Department of Homeland Security urged Americans on Monday to take steps to prepare for a possible attack, it said the advice was intended not as a 'dire' warning but as cautionary advice."*

"Home Depot, in fact, went so far as to set up special Homeland Security displays nears it entrances to tout sales of duct tape, plastic sheeting, batteries and bottled water, among other safe-room supplies.

At the time, Ridge had just upped the color-coded security threat advisory to orange, the second highest level. That was lowered in November 2004 to yellow, in the middle of the five-level alert range."*
Two years later what happened?

Ridge joined the board of Home Depot.

Now, in 2009, you want us to consider you a 'principled man' for exposing the terror-alert manipulation years after the fact?

Dream on.

Your actions throughout your career indicate that you are nothing more than an opportunistic weasel.

Fuck you!
posted by ericb at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


Marc Ambinder:
Journalists, including myself, were very skeptical when anti-Bush liberals insisted that what Ridge now says is true, was true. We were wrong. Our skepticism about the activists' conclusions was warranted because these folks based their assumption on gut hatred for President Bush, and not on any evaluation of the raw intelligence.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by bumpkin at 3:23 PM on August 20 [17 favorites +] [!]


Yeah, really. Since Bush left office I've begun to forget how annoying that constant whine was. There was never this irrational "gut hatred" - no, it was very much a "head hatred", held for very concrete reasons, and created and nurtured by the man himself. And if journalists, including yourself, Marc, had been doing their jobs they would know that. And it looks like he still is actually saying that the skepticism was warranted, but the kneejerk liberal Bush gut hatred just happened to line up with the facts this time, who would've guessed? Worse than useless.
posted by zoinks at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


What do the dipshits have to say?

W had a lot of snakes around him...
Did Ridge also ask OBL to release that video threatening America.
Ridge is a first class moron.
I’m sick and tired of this. Tell these people to STFU. If you have nothing positive to say then STFU. Hey, Ridge, what’s your point? Why would you write this?
posted by John of Michigan at 3:56 PM on August 20, 2009


That does it. I'm eating the candy bars out of my emergency preparedness kit now.

They'd better not be all melty, Tom Ridge!
posted by orme at 4:08 PM on August 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


You people need to calm down. Keep your eye on the ball. Remember, these guys were bad, but Obama is a NAZI!!!!!!!!!!

Rabbit, meet hole.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:19 PM on August 20, 2009


"Spicynuts, I will bet you one icy cold beverage made of malted hops that the very first comment in this thread is 'This is my surprised face'"

I was initially coming into the thread to say, "The 'Surprised Face Threat Level' has now been elevated to 'Red,'" but I was an hour too late. The terrorists have won.
posted by the_bone at 4:19 PM on August 20, 2009


Dear Mr. Ridge,

Fuck you, fuckball.

Sincerely,
posted by kirkaracha at 4:53 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


"politically motivated and worth resigning over"

How long does it take those government checks to clear, anyway?

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by rokusan at 5:21 PM on August 20, 2009


Marc Ambinder:
Journalists, including myself, were very skeptical when anti-Bush liberals insisted that what Ridge now says is true, was true. We were wrong. Our skepticism about the activists' conclusions was warranted because these folks based their assumption on gut hatred for President Bush, and not on any evaluation of the raw intelligence.


Sorry that my response to this is coming so late into the conversation, but after reading this the first time I blacked out for some reason, and when I regained consciousness my computer, dining room table, and several windows were mysteriously broken. Also, there appears to be blood strewn about my place. I should look into that.

Anyhoo...

If you and your colleagues were actually journalists worthy of that tile, Marc, and I assure you that you are not, then your skepticism would indeed be warranted, not because of the source of information or any political affiliation, but because a journalist's job is to look into things and see if what people are saying is actually true.

You, instead, and all of your friends, chose to ignore the suggestion that a meaningless instrument that could serve no purpose but to cause fear in the populace, and which was entirely unaccountable except to Bush & Co., might be able to have it's movements tracked against political events and scandals throughout it's span of existence. I know it must have been tough, Marc, knowing that you'd have to sift through possibly several YEARS worth of occassional changes and look from headlines surrounding those days, but you chose not to, because the Bush administration had the press corps so damned cowed y'all could hardly breath.

So maybe there was a bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on with all of you; after years of being held hostage you must have felt some sympathy for your moral captors, after all. Or maybe, like a punished child forced to write lines, you began to believe yourself after typing "Bush is right" a million times over. Or far more likely they got you deep down where it hurts - they let you know secrets, things "normal people" weren't allowed to know, didn't they? Only you couldn't tell or else you wouldn't be privy to anything more? They made you feel special? Is that why you did it?

Or was it just that you could either dig things up for yourself and risk losing access, or else act as a sycophantic stenographer, and both paid the same except one let you go to parties at the White House?

No matter the case, Marc, you're a coward and very, very bad at your job (even your writing is sub-par.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:18 PM on August 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is my surprised face.

Yeah and this is my ANGRY face. The face that I put on when some jerkwad sells a book telling us how he screwed us over. Of course I never, not even for one tiny second, believed that color-coded crap but my mother sure did. She voted for Bush for a second term even though he was shitty at his job because she was scared.

Christ I would love to slam his nuts between the pages of that book. See what kind of color coding we get then.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:34 PM on August 20, 2009 [7 favorites]



I'm curious. Who were these people who ran out and bought duct tape and sheet plastic at the behest of Ridge? They would have to be paranoid to the nth degree. I mean, really.
posted by notreally at 6:42 PM on August 20, 2009


What does threat level "orange" even mean?!?
posted by inara at 6:44 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]



No no. Really. They would have to be paranoid. Have to get away from this notreally crap.
posted by notreally at 6:45 PM on August 20, 2009


Who were these people who ran out and bought duct tape and sheet plastic at the behest of Ridge? They would have to be paranoid to the nth degree.

The same folks that think there are death panels and that Obama was born in Kenya.

Isn't using the threat of terrorism for political gain, um, terrorism?
posted by ryoshu at 6:54 PM on August 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


If I was a small, petty person I could go through old FPP's on this very subject and point out the staggering idiocy and/or disineguinity of those who actually didn't think this was going on.

But that would be small and petty of me, wouldn't it?
posted by bardic at 6:55 PM on August 20, 2009


My wife tells me the reality-denying mechanism among the kool-aid drinkers she's talked to upon hearing this news has been "He's just lying, doing whatever his publishers say, to sell a book."

My response? So let me get this straight: Back when he was in charge of Homeland Security, he and his colleagues in the administration had far too much integrity to be involved in issuing phony terror terror threat level alerts. But now that he's out of public life, he's a lying no-account, just selling out the truth to the highest bidder.

Now tell me, which scenario is likeliest:

That Ridge somehow underwent a transformation post-office that turned him into a low-life scab willing to mislead the American public en mass to opportunistically further his own career, or that he was that kind of person all along? And in the latter case, what does it suggest about the makeup of the Bush administration that a guy like that could occupy such a high-ranking position?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:04 PM on August 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


"terror terror," obviously
posted by saulgoodman at 7:09 PM on August 20, 2009


Huh.
posted by Atreides at 7:09 PM on August 20, 2009


When Republicans fuck up, like threatening policemen in bathrooms, chatting up teenagers, cheating on their spouses, daring to question other Republicans, or even committing fraud like falsified national security alerts, FOX News and Rupert Murdoch will be there to call them out as Democrats...

QED.
posted by armage at 7:15 PM on August 20, 2009


US News reports that in a new tell-all book...

I dispute that it's a "tell-all". More like a "tell enough in such a way as to cover your ass in case there is actually a criminal proceeding"
posted by psmealey at 7:24 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Your actions throughout your career indicate that you are nothing more than an opportunistic weasel.
posted by tkchrist at 7:39 PM on August 20, 2009


We all knew the entire War on Terror was bullshit back then, what I don't understand is how anyone who was too stupid to see through the bullshit is still allowed to have a voice in the current Health Care debate? Why aren't we all treating Republicans the way Barney Frank did yesterday? As far as I'm concerned anyone who truly supported George Bush in the last 8 years should be listened to politely then with a smile casually ignored as anyone would do to someone who was mildly retarded. I truly treat Bush voters no different than I would someone recovering from a serious head wound.
posted by any major dude at 7:40 PM on August 20, 2009


This is soooooooooo fucked up. And yet, I "knew" it to be the case at the time-- happy to have confirmation, unhappy that something like this could / would happen, and wish that things like this appear in elementary school and junior high school history textbooks forever.

What happened with the past administration makes me so angry I feel like crying.

At least they're not there anymore.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:47 PM on August 20, 2009


don't understand is how anyone who was too stupid to see through the bullshit is still allowed to have a voice in the current Health Care debate?

... or fiscal policy, or national security, or education, or economic stimulus....

I don't know either, but I would bet it has something to do with natural impulses on each side:

When Liberals make noises about going ahead and not stopping to consider Conservative voices or interests they are called "elitists", and are easily shamed into re-examining their motives, and conceding that they need to adjust their policies to accommodate others in different circumstances.

When Conservatives voice opinions on policy based on ignorance, superstition or naked self-interest, they don't give a shit what liberals think.
posted by psmealey at 7:50 PM on August 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


psmealey wrote:

When Liberals make noises about going ahead and not stopping to consider Conservative voices or interests they are called "elitists", and are easily shamed into re-examining their motives, and conceding that they need to adjust their policies to accommodate others in different circumstances.

When Conservatives voice opinions on policy based on ignorance, superstition or naked self-interest, they don't give a shit what liberals think.


I truly believe that the two sides continually conspire to fuck us all. The Democrats cannot be as stupid and cowardly as they come across - no one can. It's just a corporatocracy at this point. How can it be called anything but a farce when Senator Blue Cross pretends to disagree with Senator Aetna over some absolutely trivial provision of the bill in an effort to scare and confuse us all - on a cable networks too indebted to big pharma/insurance for advertising dollars to force the Senators to disclosed that they have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the industry they are supposedly debating on behalf of "the people"?
posted by any major dude at 8:12 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can't make millions writing a confessional about choosing the high road, now can you?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:38 PM on August 20, 2009


Thousands, maybe. Hopefully.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:42 PM on August 20, 2009


Two years later what happened? Ridge joined the board of Home Depot.

All you poo-poo artists upthread should notice that this proves the man is qualified for real work, and can land a job commensurate with his skills and experience.

What better position for the number one duct tape salesman in US history?
posted by rokusan at 8:54 PM on August 20, 2009


You can't make millions writing a confessional about choosing the high road, now can you?

If it was titled "How I Quit My Top Government Post Within Five Minutes of Finding Out the Bush Administration Really Was a Bunch of Lying Fuckbags" I know I sure would take the time out to read it.
posted by contessa at 9:06 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I truly believe that the two sides continually conspire to fuck us all.

I'd put it differently. I'd say that, at any given time, there are plenty of individuals on both sides willing to conspire to fuck us all if it in some way serves their financial or political interests (and the line between the two is often razor thin). The basic problem is that, as voters, we really need to evaluate the character, integrity, and competence of political candidates on an individual basis. We also need to think a lot harder about what we should really value in our government and what the best interests of our country really are--we need to be more pragmatic, less ideological and reactionary, and more results oriented.

We also somehow need to reclaim the candidate screening process--i.e., the party primary selection process--from corporate and industrial lobbies.

It's just not practical for a functioning democracy nor morally defensible to grant some citizens in our democracy the right to contribute more money to a political campaign than others, or to otherwise allow some citizens to have a disproportionate ability to exercise their political speech rights, and that's exactly what the current campaign funding system does, allowing CEOs, lobbyists and other individuals connected to politically-interested corporate entities to make campaign contributions up to the contribution limits both on behalf of themselves as private citizens and on behalf of the organizations they represent. The current funding system skews the selection process and results in the selection of candidates who are unrepresentative of the population as a whole, with divergent economic interests from the general public.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:24 PM on August 20, 2009


What does threat level "orange" even mean?!?

If I'm reading the chart right, you're supposed to get high.
posted by mazola at 11:16 PM on August 20, 2009


Journalists, including myself, were very skeptical when anti-Bush liberals insisted that what Ridge now says is true, was true. We were wrong. Our skepticism about the activists' conclusions was warranted because these folks based their assumption on gut hatred for President Bush, and not on any evaluation of the raw intelligence.

This is a lame cop-out. Some journalists actually did investiagte the claims. Olbermann's piece on this was the best thing he's ever done, IMO:

The nexus of politics and terror
posted by homunculus at 11:37 PM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


What does threat level "orange" even mean?!?

It means someone will later get a job on the board at Crayola.
posted by vbfg at 2:13 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


It means someone will later get a job on the board at Crayola.
Wouldn't that be reserved for Threat Level Burnt Sienna?
posted by Electric Dragon at 2:56 AM on August 21, 2009


You don't want the smoking gun to be burnt sienna.
posted by norm at 4:41 AM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Every watch a movie where the villains keep doing these horrible acts and at one point you really really want it to end and it keeps on going. Yeah the bush years are kind of like that.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:35 AM on August 21, 2009


Thanks for telling us NOW, Secretary Tinymouth.
posted by Legomancer at 7:59 AM on August 21, 2009


Flashback: Ridge offered to take lie detector test to prove ‘politics played no part’ in threat levels.
posted by ericb at 8:00 AM on August 21, 2009


deanc : these guys are chosen for their positions specifically because they can't get up and resign without being economically ruined.

Sound good to me, let's financially destroy the guy. He certainly shouldn't see a dime for a tell-all book about how he helped to undermine our country under the guise of national security.
posted by quin at 8:44 AM on August 21, 2009


Recently, every piece of political news I've read has convinced me that democracy is an utter failure. It is too easy to manipulate, too hard to get anything meaningful accomplished and puts people who actually know a thing or two about how the world works at the mercy of people who only know "FEAR FEAR FEAR."

I propose that the universal right to vote needs to be replaced with a system that requires people to have at least a high school degree to vote. Furthermore, every vote on any issue should be accompanied by a Scantron style 25 question quiz that forces the voter to demonstrate a basic understanding of the issue they're voting for. Nothing opinion based, just stuff like "end of life counseling refers to a) Voluntary consultation with your physicians regarding what they should do in certain extreme medical situations or b) panels where people decide whether or not to kill you." Anyone who can't muster at least a 20 out of 25 will have their vote discounted.

Furthermore, anyone who needs a color coded chart to tell you whether its safe to walk into a mine field will immediately have a mine field planted in their front yard and then be told they need to go to the store because they're out of Hostess snack cakes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:02 AM on August 21, 2009


I propose that the universal right to vote needs to be replaced with a system that requires people to have at least a high school degree to vote. Furthermore, every vote on any issue should be accompanied by a Scantron style 25 question quiz

Because literacy tests and poll taxes have always worked so well in the US in the past before the Voting Rights Act.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:37 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's some damage control on this issue now being undertaken by Bush Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend, apparently.

But then, on the other hand, there's also this:
On August 11, John Kerry criticized the Bush Administration for blocking a bipartisan plan to give seniors access to lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada. With almost 80 percent of Medicare recipients supporting Kerry's position, the Bush campaign was faced with the prospect of defending a politically unpopular position.

That same day, in an interview with the Associated Press, FDA Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford said terrorist "cues from chatter" led him to believe Al Qaeda may try to attack Americans by contaminating imported prescription drugs. Crawford refused to provide any details to substantiate his claims.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:54 AM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Christ I would love to slam his nuts between the pages of that book. See what kind of color coding we get then.

Purple?
posted by joe lisboa at 10:37 AM on August 21, 2009


Ridge is a slimy weasel for having any part of elevating us to threat level Ernie for political purposes, but my surprise face wore out and outrage meter asploded during Bush's administration. Who (among those with minimally intact critical thinking faculties) believed that the threat level assessments were truly apolitical? Seriously.

The bigger crime here is that of Ambinder and the vast majority of his professional associates, who abandoned critical thinking, investigation, and inquiry and parroted the administration's talking points largely unquestioningly. A free press is essential to a functioning democratic republic.
posted by notashroom at 11:01 AM on August 21, 2009


A functioning press is essential to a free democratic republic.
posted by rusty at 11:19 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


rmd1023: Also, my post was inspired by Jonathan Swift, after a fashion.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:32 AM on August 21, 2009


Why do these little revelations only come *after* the fact -- and why do people still fall for the same old tricks over and over again?

Yet, when large power structures (government and corporations) want to overhaul a basic right (healthcare), should any one be actually shocked when people oppose said overhaul because said opposition thinks they are being lied to?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:43 AM on August 21, 2009


If I was a small, petty person I could go through old FPP's on this very subject and point out the staggering idiocy and/or disineguinity of those who actually didn't think this was going on.
But that would be small and petty of me, wouldn't it?


And it really would not provide an education to those people or change their minds. Might be useful to later on ask "why believe them now when they were wrong here, here and here" ala Daily Show.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:08 PM on August 21, 2009


Rough Ashlar: During the New Deal and essentially up until the US entry in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, American's polled consistently reported trusting and holding a favorable view of the US federal government (around 75--80%).

In that time frame, "Big Government" was as big as it's ever been. The plain fact is it's possible for the government to meet the needs of the people. It's only since public confidence began fading and we began dismantling government institutions with all the enthusiasm of foreign subversives (somehow conveniently neglecting to be mistrustful of military expansion in the meantime) in the aftermath of the Reagan era that polls have shown people generally dissatisfied with the role the US government plays in their lives.

Doesn't it stand to reason that part of the reason the government doesn't live up to its expectations is because we undermine it's functioning at every step? There's a very clear correlation from the New Deal era through today: the less government we have, the more we complain about the job it's doing. Well, duh--it's doing less.

The problem isn't big scary government, IMO (except where military and criminal justice system growth is concerned, because those things actually do pose real and immediate threats to personal liberty), it's specific bad political leaders--leaders like Nixon--and a dangerously uninformed and disengaged electorate.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:09 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


damn. "it's --> its"
posted by saulgoodman at 12:10 PM on August 21, 2009


Also, my post was inspired by Jonathan Swift, after a fashion.

OM NOM NOM NOM TASTY POOR IRISH NOM NOM.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:54 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rough Ashlar: During the New Deal and essentially up until the US entry in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, American's polled consistently reported trusting and holding a favorable view of the US federal government

And exactly what does that have to do with actual honesty?

Are products like "The Black Panther Coloring Book" the result of honesty? How about Operation Northwoods? Hebert Hoover's 1956 COINTEL program?

The time frame you've stated was when the oil production of the US of A was growing and therefore the economy was able to grow with the debt based currency. As the cheap energy ends and things contract - the ability to service that debt based currency will end and those who wish to service that debt won't be able to do it via growth, but via taking from others. The squealing from the hogs that are having the fat cut from their ass has only just begun.

disengaged electorate.

Given attempts to interact with FedGov result in form letters that do not even address your point in your communications - the electrorate is taught to disengauge - you, as even a voter, have no power.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:08 PM on August 21, 2009


Why do these little revelations only come *after* the fact -- and why do people still fall for the same old tricks over and over again?

Because the idea of having enough principled ethics to stand up and say "this is WRONG and I will not participate" has been abandoned in favor of making the quick, sure dollar now and fuck all afterwards. It seems to boil down to the old maxim, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. In this instance, it was a cowardly act not to stand up to the direct manipulation of public fear in order to boost an election, but it wasn't illegal (unless someone wants to try Ridge for treason for lying to the American public and Congress, a tactic which may work). We are left with a legacy, and supporting evidence that we were screwed over, but no recourse.
posted by hippybear at 1:11 PM on August 21, 2009


And exactly what does that have to do with actual honesty?

It's not just about honesty. They approved of the role the government played in their lives, they saw tangible benefits and they liked what they saw. Yes, there were corrupt individuals within the system even then, but confidence in the overall system was high because most people had more encounters with it and felt favorably about those encounters.

If big government inherently can do no good and only imposes constraints on people's lives and makes them feel their liberties are being curtailed, why didn't people feel that way when government actually was bigger? Were out great-grandparents all just a bunch of suckers who didn't realize they were being screwed, or were their lives actually improving?

Well, as it turns out, there's data on that, too. And it shows their lives were improving: Economic class mobility reached all-time highs; income inequality gaps narrowed at a steady rate, rather than increasing as they are today. The proof is in the pudding. By every objective standard, people's lives improved during the era of big government.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:28 PM on August 21, 2009


They approved of the role the government played in their lives, they saw tangible benefits and they liked what they saw.

And in a time frame of "Red Hunting" - people looking for "traitors" - you are going to tell a pollster:
Everything is fine
No, things suck

Hrmmmmmmm.....you sure the data you are using is valid?

The proof is in the pudding.

Really? You can somehow take energy growth out of the equation? Advances in Technology? Improved Education? To come up with your 'pudding proof'?

By every objective standard, people's lives improved during the era of big government.

Also during the new deal - to watergate timeframe was an ever expanding energy use per capita. I'd say the energy situation was more of a factor than "big govenment".

And really, "big government" isn't the issue I was addressing - its honest government. An honest government wouldn't of had this Tom Ridge revelation as his claims would not have happened, now would they? I'll note how you brushed aside the point of honest government and keep harping on big government.

Oh - and if "big government" was the new deal to Watergate time, what exists now?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:03 PM on August 21, 2009


“Journalists, including myself, were very skeptical when anti-Bush liberals insisted that what Ridge now says is true, was true. We were wrong. Our skepticism about the activists' conclusions was warranted because these folks based their assumption on gut hatred for President Bush…”

Well, no, there was data. I was skeptical too, although hating Bush m’self, but then someone said “Hey, look, here’s data – look at these spikes and this correlation and thus and so…”(outlined elsewhere) so then I, y’know, believed them. Oh, yeah, ‘them’ being, y’know, real journalists.

Sorta like with the Iraq war, where I was assured by certain individuals I trusted beyond the public rhetoric that evidence existed concerning Husseins’ possession of dangerous material so I supported the invasion, but then there was no data or evidence or correlations or anything so then I, y’know, stopped believing them.

What even more infuriating is that this makes light of actual potential realistic threats. While everyone was buying duct tape and plastic I was looking at faraday cages and vaccum tube ham sets.
But then you’ve got guys like Bartlett STILL (heard him on the radio a bit ago) talking about an EMP threat to the grid (which would make oodles of sense as an asymmetric attack – you don’t kill anyone directly or cause solid physical damage, but you do royally screw things up and we haven’t even really worked on modernizing the grid much less hardening it (although perhaps Obama could change that. Be a nice jobs program anyway), so I’d have a generator, a running ham, maybe a computer, some other stuff – and ok, VHF and UHF are line of sight so no problem with the ionospheric disturbance, but no one else would have power so it’s like having a telephone with no one else on the other end.

Me and some vacuum tube ham geek in Billings can talk to each other – whoopee.

I mean, the difference in the message wasn’t hard to parse, which, much as I hated Bush, was more a big red flag than anything.
Folks: “Hey, we might get attacked. What should we do? Harden the grid? Volunteer to give blood? What?”
Bushco: “WE shouldn’t do anything. YOU, individually should panic. Then shop.”
Folks: “Uh, ok. After that? How do we rebuild and recover from th…”
Bushco: “BOO!”

“and a dangerously uninformed and disengaged electorate.”

Which, you gotta figure, is in some folks’ interests.
Which is why I don’t lose heart with these town meetings. Wanna speak? Ok, we’ll look at actual real people vs. folks who buy into the delusions.

“Because the idea of having enough principled ethics to stand up and say "this is WRONG and I will not participate" has been abandoned in favor of making the quick, sure dollar now and fuck all afterwards.”

To be fair…although, yeah, let’s exclude Ridge who’s got enough damn money…generally a lot of folks stuck in that are just trying to make a living. Been there myself. Proud to say I walked the walk. But you can’t eat back-pats and congratulations – less so if they’re surreptitious. So times got lean.

I’m not disagreeing. I’m saying, more, folks like Ridge rig the game to drag everyone else down into the hole they’re in.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:42 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Smedleyman: I'd favorite that more than once if I could.

Is it fair to say that, if Ridge had stood up in 2004 and said, "I am being asked to change the threat level in order to manipulate public fear to help Bush get reelected, and I won't do it and therefore I resign," it might have changed the way the public looked at the period between 2004 and 2006 when the administration still seemed to enjoy a lot of the credulity of the masses? Because I really wanted to see some rats people abandoning that ship before it really started to sink, and their ability to create a lock-step within their followers continues to astound me.
posted by hippybear at 4:52 PM on August 21, 2009


"...it might have changed the way the public looked at the period between 2004 and 2006 when the administration still seemed to enjoy a lot of the credulity of the masses?"
I'd've thought so.
But then look at Scott McClellan.

About the lock-step thing.... one perspective I have...tough to 'splain this without violating some confidentiality....
Ok, a bit ago I was involved in some things. Events occurred. At certain points I was in a capacity to interact with some public officials. In the course of that I watched some things.
One of these were - there's this group making decisions. So within the group one of them (and I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying it was a female, so she was a bit out of the usual stream of events. At the very least the conversations by the urinals) was very concerned with transparency.
The rest of them were looking to have a united front in order to have the best possible bargaining position. So you had this pressure brought to bear on her that I would have thought unconscionable in public affairs.
So understand, the effect was to subvert public accountability and transparency - and certain of these matters were open to that - but with altruistic motives.
That is, people (or their elected representatives) have the right to know. But them knowing could erode the strategically superior appearance that would have given them a better bargaining position.
So if you're in business say, and you can't afford to switch insurance companies or provide your own or some such, but you tell your insurance company you're having meetings to determine whether to switch or not - that's deceptive, but it's a productive goal.

Lot of GOPers come from the business world. I'm not a business guy. I understand the need for secrets in military operations but this was a public affairs matter.
So the upshot was, they silenced her (not, y'know assassination or anything). And achieved their goal.
Good thing? I don't know. I don't think so. But then, it could have gotten out of hand, bogged down by misinformation, other perspectives, etc. - and nothing would have gotten done and an advantage would have been lost which may have been crucial. On the other hand, is that worth stomping around in that grey area? Grey because no strict rules were lost. If this woman wanted to kick, she could have. And the pressure was purely social and above board.

Seems like it's what happens with the Dems and the GOP. The Dems are willing to possibly sabotage themselves to uphold a principle (the problem is those principles are often at odds) and the GOP is willing to run roughshod over diversity of opinion as well as the public trust in order to achieve a given - possibly altruistic - goal.

More broadly - that seems to be root of the 'love it or leave it' schitck. They want to 'win' - beat enemies of the U.S. say, and are willing to exclude diverse opinion in order to achieve it. Even if that opinion - or even natural facts - come from within their own ranks.
Or hell, within themselves for that matter.
Because the willingness to reach a goal often results in a Pyrrhic victory (indeed, Niebuhr talks about coercion and moral reasoning and sacrificing moral acts to ideal gains).
And we see that now as everyone walks away from the former ideals the GOP had.
But it's still 'my grandfather's axe' for some reason to masses of some people.

I suppose the trade off is belonging to something maybe. I don't know. But it perpetually generates, I'd speculate by design, it's own outcasts. One could have made the same argument I suspect, about the Nazis had they survived. Any shifting social idealistic movement that deals with power relationships really - to take the "YOU'RE HITLER!" edge off that.
Almost like high school cliques. Status, power, all that. And money as a means, really.
Same criticism I've always had tho - they think they're going to live forever (or their lifestyle will perpetuate forever - either way they don't accept change, like death, as a natural, unavoidable, circumstance).

Our own governor (Blago) bought into all that. Wanted to make a whole lot of money by his own assertions. Because he was around people with all kinds of power and wealth. Been there myself. Some of the most miserable self-deluded bastards on the planet. Don't know why anyone would be so fearful they want to be that insulated.
But maybe that's it. Huddled against, not the night, but the inevitability of night.
Ah, I digress, sorry.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:17 PM on August 21, 2009


What do we need a free press for? That's hard work! Let's all just wait for the inevitable tell-all book years after the fact! Oh look a shiny pebble!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:23 PM on August 21, 2009


Actually, it's kind of interesting, because I just started watching The Prisoner on AMC's website, and the entire series is based on the premise that those in charge do not believe the main character when he says that he has resigned for reasons of principle, and therefore are justified in their maltreatment of him in order to learn "the truth", whatever that may be. That kind of choosing of personal principle above what the power structure thinks may be important is simply disbelieved by many, even more so today than in the Mod British 60s.

(And as far as Scott McClellan goes, there's a right way to do this kind of resignation, and he didn't do it right. You have to make it a live event, or before a lot of the press, and you have to make bold statements. He didn't really do any of that, if I remember. (And if he did, then he didn't do it RIGHT, or everyone would remember it.)
posted by hippybear at 7:25 PM on August 21, 2009


Well, yeah on McClellan. But point being - he was disavowed. And yeah, The Prisoner is great.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:20 PM on August 21, 2009


So... what's the title of the book?
My Bad: How I helped destroy America's military, economy, constitution, and standing in the world (and got rich doing it!)

by Tom "one of the few 'good guys' in the Bush Administration" Ridge
Sounds like a contemporary re-telling of The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.

As I recall, the recriminations against anyone who dared to criticize Bush usually went something like this:
"Why does Tom Ridge hate America?"

"Tom Ridge has Bush Derangement Syndrome!"

"Those who undermine Bush are helping the terrorists win"
and the ever popular:
"A radical communist seeking to destroy America" and a "f@ggot" to boot
posted by Davenhill at 2:18 AM on August 22, 2009


Well, yeah on McClellan. But point being - he was disavowed.

So, getting away from the stupid siderail I fell onto earlier, I'm not certain what you mean by this. Won't Tom Ridge also be disavowed? (I assume you mean here, by the people he was criticizing.) Plus, McClellan wasn't really the "right person" to try to resign in a public way in order to make a point. He was a mere mouthpiece, never actually creating any policy. We needed, and never saw, a major official within the administration to show some ethical balls and step forward (and down) while denouncing all the manipulation he was being asked to perform.

I know, for myself, I won't honor Ridge with any of my book purchasing dollars. If he was really contrite, he wouldn't be selling his story this way. The best thing that could happen to him is that he ends up publicly shamed and unemployable from this point on. That is is actually happening to some (Gonzales springs to mind), is one of the few bits of joy I draw from news I hear about Bush loyalists.
posted by hippybear at 9:13 AM on August 22, 2009


In other news: The gay agenda is currently at Threat Level Paisley.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2009


Marc Ambinder’s Cave
posted by homunculus at 2:34 PM on August 22, 2009


Excellent passage from your link homunculus:
Admittedly, they were (after several weeks) [town hall protesters] dismissed as cranks, but not before they started bringing guns to town halls. But the process of dismissing them as cranks has occupied the Village's time, rather than an exposition of what is really in the existing health care plans.
This gets at the essence of what's wrong with how the contemporary press covers politics (and most other issues, as a matter of fact): they never actually get into the specific details of the policy matters they cover, they report only on the power jockeying among the various interested parties, on the various third-party analysts interpretations of those power struggles, and on what opinion polls show the public seems to think about the whole dreary spectacle.

My cousin is a deeply politically conservative hazardous waste removal tech and former roofer who became a born again fundamentalist Christian when an on-the-job accident discharged a nail gun in his forehead, nearly causing him permanent brain damage or worse. I'm a university graduate with a major in creative writing and a minor in philosophy who now works as a software developer. We couldn't be more different in our lifestyles, attitudes and outlooks in a lot of ways, despite being relatives. And yet, one thing we've both discussed with incredulity is how precious little attention the news media actually gives to the substantive details of legislation and public policy matters.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:16 AM on August 24, 2009


That's always the case, saulgoodman, and never so much as during campaign season. Following the horse race is just such an easier story to tell than actually mucking about in the details of candidates' platforms, or, god forbid, a big healthcare reform plan.
(There's some sort of tasteless joke to be made about a guy who becomes a born again fundamentalist after being shot in the head with a nail gun, but I'm not going to make it. Just bring up the possibility, yeah. Let's just be happy it sounds like he survived without major permanent injury.)


Also:
Isn't using the threat of terrorism for political gain, um, terrorism?
posted by ryoshu at 9:54 PM on August 20 [10 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]

This is how this particular issue, as well as much of the other underhandedness of the Bush years, should be framed. Such as holding up a vial of anthrax at the U.N., such as manufacturing the yellowcake evidence, and on and on.
posted by zoinks at 5:21 PM on August 25, 2009


(There's some sort of tasteless joke to be made about a guy who becomes a born again fundamentalist after being shot in the head with a nail gun, but I'm not going to make it. Just bring up the possibility, yeah. Let's just be happy it sounds like he survived without major permanent injury.)

Well, before the accident, he was an unapologetic misogynist and racist, so as much as I hate to say it, the conversion is actually an improvement. And to be fair, he's not the belligerent kind of fundamentalist really, though he can be pretty intolerant; he just let's his church define the terms of his relationship with God a bit too blindly for my comfort sometimes.

But yeah, it's very lucky he survived, and there probably is a good joke in there somewhere.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:50 PM on August 25, 2009


Now Tom Ridge Recants On Threat Level Pressure. So Which Time Was He Lying?
posted by homunculus at 2:36 PM on August 31, 2009


Rachel Maddow interviews Tom Ridge on politicizing terror threat alerts
posted by homunculus at 8:38 AM on September 2, 2009


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