Saturday, October 25, 2014

Notes on a Number 9 Brookings Panel (of a Sort): The Deep State and its D.C. "Gang of 500" Cabal

**This entry was posted on October 25, 2014.**

The almost-setting Sun as seen from the National Mall with the Washington Monument off to the side, 6:01PM Oct. 23, 2014.

I walked over there from the office after work to see that partial solar eclipse. While I could see the tiniest arc-like "bite" taken out the solar disk, the Sun was too bright to really view it.


Saturday late morning. (Well, Saturday afternoon by the time I post this entry.)

I went to No. 9 last night where I met with Gary. Earlier when I first got there, I unexpectedly this straight couple that I know from Andrea's Tuesday night happy hour group. I knew K. already but I met his girlfriend and she is a quite a delightful person to talk to.

For starters, she works at the Brookings Institution in one of its divisions. For that reason, and given my own political views that I have expressed on this blog, I am not going to mention her name or section where she works at all. I will say that I am amazed at the fact she is about 20 years younger than I am. I've really wasted my life.

Anyway, for the uninitiated, Brookings is one of the "think tank" nodes of the larger D.C. Imperial Court class of scribes, media pundits and propagandists, and apologists for the oligarchical overclass.

It also includes (although this is more a Council on Foreign Relations specialty) more than a few of those little Napoleonic complex'd neocon warmongers who Fred Hiatt never tires of publishing on the op-ed pages of The WaHoPo. Indeed, he's actually proud of it.

You know the sort: almost always men (there are a few exceptions), usually under 5'4, most some erstwhile high-level Pentagon military official and/or defense contractor; all wearing Gucci this, Prada that, $600 suits, wingtips, Blackberries and i-Whatevers; all egomaniacally self-important at this or that PANEL DISCUSSION where the topic is which Muslim country to bomb and/or invade today.

Many of these same people end up as pro-war pundits on CNN, Fox, or PBS NewsHour. The latter is a program that has really descended in the past 15 years into unwatchable corporate media whoredom. The "Gang of 500" is always welcome there to speak fawningly to power.

But now I'm getting slightly off subject.

Brookings styles itself for its non-partisan and "independent" stance, which is mostly bullshit, of course, but it is different from the farrago of foundation-funded rightwing agitprop organizations (e.g., Heritage, Cato, anything associated with the Koch Brothers' many-tentacle hydra, etc.).

"Yay! Drones for Christmas!"

As the conversation progressed, she spoke highly of the Lawfare "Hard Choices for Other (Especially Poor) People" Blog run by my proposed mascot of the American Deep State, the great Benji Wittes, in particular, the variety of content and how influential and widely read it is (in the D.C. Bubble, that is.) (Of course, being influential within the Imperial Capital Courtier class of the is a sort of self-negating proposition, at least to me.)

Oh, yes, apparently I have been saying his name wrong: It's pronounced "Wi-TES" rather than "Witts" (that is, you pronounce the "E" in it).

I told her I would rather read Glenn Greenwald. (And Paul Krugman. And Jonathan Chait. And Thomas Frank. And Michael Lind. And watch Bill Moyers and his thoughtful guests.)

However, she convinced me that I just might be missing a larger picture with a wider variety of voices and viewpoints with ideas of how to make the world a better place.

That is, Brookings is NOT JUST the marquee "voices" for whom it is always some weird hybrid Fred Hiatt Washington Consensus world of, one the one hand, 1990s Wall Street deregulation, hyper-financialization, and Free Trade Agreement deindustrialization / destruction of the American working class; and, on the other hand, the Sept. 12, 2001 Military / Industrial / Surveillance complex springing to Frankensteinian and zombie undead eternal life.

In short, if I may reinterpret what said into my own world view (she herself was not saying this): The Brookings Institution, outward appearances as a tool of the oligarchical overclass and the American perpetual war machine notwithstanding, is more than the D.C. cabal of people whose professional lives are spent justifying all the shit that has sent the country on a very wrong trajectory.

Returning to last night, after K. and his girlfriend departed, I just stood around in the crowd and No. 9 and had several $5 flavored Absolut and soda drinks. Then Gary showed up and we talked for a while before we both headed home.

Light from the setting Sun bathing the top of the William Jefferson Clinton (formerly Ariel Rios) EPA Building at 12th and Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 6:09PM Oct. 23, 2014.


Earlier in the evening, I went to Macy's, where I bought a needed $106 in clothing including 10 pairs of new socks. All my white socks were falling down. (I am old school and get the ones that go at least calf "crew" length rather than are down around the ankles. I hate those. As it is, the even higher ones are quite difficult to find. It's different than it was in the 1970s and 1980s for sock-wear.)

Sunlight bathes the top of the Old Post Office Pavilion, Washington, D.C., 6:12PM Oct. 23, 2014.


As for today, I need to go to the gym. Also, I am supposed to have dinner with Miss Wendy tonight. Workwise, I have a high-priority Arizona BA case to complete by COB Tuesday. I wanted to work on it this weekend, though tomorrow I'll might take a bike ride. I'm not sure.

OK, that's all for now. I do intend to post a jukebox Saturday night entry tonight.


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