What The (Bleep) Just Happened?

whatthebleepjusthappened

Some history: Back in 1947, before most of us had not even been born, President Harry S. Truman figured that dealing with the Soviets was becoming a bigger job than could be managed with existing staff, so he instigated the creation of the National Security Council:

The White House National Security Council (NSC) is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for consideration of national security and foreign policy matters with senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Since its inception under Harry S. Truman, the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the president on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the president’s principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies. The Council has counterparts in the national security councils of many other nations.

And that was that. This department has been used by every president since, and is preparing for action under newly-elected President Donald Trump. So, What The (Bleep) Just Happened?

Monica Crowley (born September 19, 1968) is an American columnist, political commentator, and talk radio personality. She has regular appearances on Fox News, is the online opinion editor and a regular columnist for The Washington Times, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In December 2016, the Donald Trump administration announced that Crowley will be appointed senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council.

In January 2017, Crowley was accused of plagiarism in her 2000 Ph.D. dissertation at Columbia University as well as her 2012 book What the (Bleep) Just Happened?; she had been previously accused of plagiarising parts of a Wall Street Journal article in 1999.

Readers, I need to say up front and right now that this news blind-sided me as much as it did any of you. All right, I already knew about the following:

  • The current Secretary of Energy, serving under (for the next few days) President Barack Obama is Ernest Moniz. From Wikipedia, “Ernest Jeffrey Moniz GCIH (born December 22, 1944) is an American nuclear physicist and the United States Secretary of Energy, serving under U.S. President Barack Obama since May 2013.” Wikipedia further notes that “Moniz is one of the founding members of The Cyprus Institute and has served at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, as the Director of the Energy Initiative, and as the Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.” He was confirmed by the United States Senate on 16 May 2013 by unanimous vote. He replaced outgoing Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu, who served during President Obama’s first term. From Wikipedia, “Steven Chu, born February 28, 1948) is an American physicist. He is known for his research at Bell Labs and Stanford University regarding the cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, along with his scientific colleagues Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William Daniel Phillips.” The function of the Department of Energy is described in an article posted on Wikipedia: “The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States Government concerned with the United States’ policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material. Its responsibilities include the nation’s nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production. It also directs research in genomics; the Human Genome Project originated in a DOE initiative. DOE sponsors more research in the physical sciences than any other U.S. federal agency, the majority of which is conducted through its system of National Laboratories.” To replace Dr. Moniz in the position of Secretary of Energy, President-elect Donald Trump is proposing former Texas Governor Rick Perry. As governor of Texas Governor Perry consistently exhibited a disdain for science, especially in his appointment of creationists to chair the Texas State Board of Education. I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting two of these distinguished appointments, Don McLeroy and Barbara Cargill. Governor Perry sought the Republican nomination for president in 2012, and his agenda included elimination of three government agencies. One of these was the Department of Energy, although he was unable to name it when he was asked during a debate.
  • Mr. Trump as also nominated retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This position is currently held by former San Antonio, Texas, mayor Julian Castro, for whom I have previously voted. Dr. Carson is praised as the proper choice to head up the HUD, since his background includes having lived in government-assisted housing as a child. Unfortunately, this claim appears to be false, since, in his book Gifted Hands he never indicates his family lived in government housing. From locations 235-239 in the Kindle edition: “Finally, with no financial resources to fall back on, Mother knew she couldn’t keep up the expenses of living in our house, modest as it was. The house was hers, as part of the divorce settlement. So after several months of trying to make it on her own, Mother rented out the house, packed us up, and we moved away. This was one of the times when Dad reappeared, for he came back to drive us to Boston. Mother’s older sister, Jean Avery, and her husband, William, agreed to take us in.” That being that, any reason for appointing Dr. Carson to this high-level position in  the United States government seems to evaporate. Dr. Carson’s remaining qualification for the post appears to flow in a direct line from his unflagging support for Mr. Trump in the run-up to the nomination.

Now comes Ms. Crowley, whose qualifications for the job as senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council appear to derive solely from her ability to shatter any notion of worth attached to liberal/progressive philosophy and to brilliantly illuminate the neoconservative world view, obviously with the help of writers she has preferred to keep anonymous. Hopefully, these ghost writers will be available when the new director of strategic communications finds the need to communicate something strategic. I can foresee, for example:

Wall Street Journal: Over the past three weeks observers near the border have reported the presence of Russian tank forces on the other side of the river.

Director of strategic communications: Over the past three weeks observers have reported the presence of Russian tank forces on the other side of the river.

As long as it catches the president’s attention, what does it matter where it comes from?

Late breaking and bad news: Harper Collins has announced they are pulling Crowley’s book. It has reached the end of its current publication cycle, and the publisher will not release a revised edition until Crowley makes changes to credit her sources.

Full disclosure: I saw this coming. As quickly as I could log onto Amazon I ordered a Kindle edition, and none to soon. Checking back I see the book is now available at a fraction  of the cost I paid two days ago, in Kindle only. No hard copy is listed.

I am reading my over-priced edition, and I will have a review available within a few days. Talk about over-kill.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

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One thought on “What The (Bleep) Just Happened?

  1. Pingback: Fact Deficit | Skeptical Analysis

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