Why the Government Shutdown Is a Welcome Development

Why the Government Shutdown Is a Welcome Development


Charles Scaliger
The New American
October 6, 2013

With the partial government shutdown now in its fifth day, the rhetoric among Democrats and among the pro-Beltway mainstream media has reached a fever pitch, with the leaders of the Republican opposition being likened to jihadists and terrorists, and pilloried for their alleged callous and irresponsible behavior. The federal government, as a Reuters story observed on October 1 — without a trace of irony — has had to divide its functions and employees between “essential” and “non-essential,” and furlough or idle the latter. Thus, we now have the federal government reduced to discharging only “essential” functions — which, it turns out, is still roughly 85 percent of what it was doing prior to October 1.

Image: Government shut down.

Forgotten or ignored in all the jockeying for political advantage is the fact that the Founders limited the federal government in the Constitution to those functions that they deemed “essential” — that is, those things which only the Federal government could properly do, like negotiate treaties with foreign powers, declare and conduct war, run a postal system, and deal with disputes between the states. And, lest there be any doubt among their posterity of the limits imposed on their federal creation, the Founders then clarifies in the final amendment of the Bill of Rights — the Tenth — that powers not expressly delegated by the Constitution to the federal government were reserved to the states or to the people. The federal government, in other words, may exercise only those powers enumerated in the Constitution.

Those enumerated powers were the “essential functions” of the federal government, though not necessarily of government in general. The Founders left open the possibility that state or local governments would choose to discharge functions above and beyond what the federal government was authorized to do. In the founding era and for generations thereafter, most government was, in fact, state or local. On the states, the Constitution only imposed the condition that they enjoy a republican form of government, but the latitude inherent in the federal system that they created ensured a wide diversity in the types of functions and services that state and local governments would have the power to perform.

During the 19th Century, for instance, many states, following the example of Virginia, decided to create state universities which had as their core curriculum the agricultural sciences. It was widely believed that encouragement of agriculture via teaching and research was enough of a public good to warrant funding at the state level. During that same period, local governments began setting up schools that were publicly funded, and by the 1870s all states had at least some publicly-funded elementary schools. Soon thereafter, states began passing laws making some level of education compulsory, reasoning that it would be in the public good. In other words, the view developed that providing schools and universities came to be regarded as an “essential function” of government — but not of the federal government. In point of fact, America’s public and private education flourished until well into the 20th Century, when the federal government became involved in education. Now, public schools are a disaster, and tuition at colleges and universities is far beyond what most people can afford. And this, because, at some juncture, Americans allowed themselves to be persuaded that federal government involvement in public (and private) education — dictating and standardizing curricula, subsidizing student loans, subsidizing research, among many other things — is an “essential function” of the Federal government.

The same could be said for much of what the federal government is now involved in. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize federal involvement in education, in health care, in food safety, in environmental regulations, in the stock markets, in the automobile industry, in the insurance sector, in the creation and maintenance of national parks, in the regulation of pharmaceuticals, in the legalization (or illegalization) of drugs, in local law enforcement, in the regulation of firearms use and ownership, in the providing of retirement insurance (Social Security), in the stipulation of minimum wages, or any of a host of other things now deemed “essential.”

The federal government, if reduced to its constitutionally mandated range of functions, would be only a tiny fraction of the sprawling, grasping monstrosity that now confronts us. Instead of presuming to run everything, the federal government would focus on exercising those few powers authorized by the Constitution. It would correspondingly cost a fraction of what it does now, and would begin, miraculously, to live within its means.

The current shutdown, involving as it does the elimination of only a small part of constitutionally non-essential government, is nonetheless a welcome development. The very fact that Washington has been forced to admit that much of what it does is “non-essential” is an important wake-up call.

But the terms of the debate are still being framed in terms of prudent public policy rather than constitutionality, which is why most extra-constitutional activities of the federal government are in no political jeopardy — yet. We may hope, however, that the current shutdown, like the sequester earlier this year, will lead to permanent reductions in the size and cost of the federal government, and the gradual public awareness that, after all, those services were not needed, at least at the federal level. Over the longer haul, perhaps, government shutdowns and cutbacks could become a habit, leading, eventually, to a much smaller, constitutional federal government that is more of a blessingImagine debt-free_edited-2 for Americans than a burden.


This article was posted: Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 4:58 am


Operation Mockingbird

Operation Mockingbird was a secret Central Intelligence Agency campaign to influence media beginning in the 1950s.
The operation was first called Mockingbird in Deborah Davis’ 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and her Washington Post Empire. More evidence of Mockingbird’s existence emerged in the 2007 memoir American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond, by convicted Watergate “plumber” E. Howard Hunt and The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America by Hugh Wilford (2008).[1]
Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Part of the Directorate for Plans
1.2 Guatemala
1.3 First exposure
1.4 Church Committee investigations
1.5 “Family Jewels” Report
2 See also
3 Further reading
4 References
5 External links

In 1948, Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects (OSP). Soon afterwards OSP was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the covert action branch of the Central Intelligence Agency. Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on “propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”[2]
Later that year Wisner established Mockingbird, a program to influence foreign media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham from The Washington Post to run the project within the industry. According to Deborah Davis in Katharine the Great; “By the early 1950s, Wisner ‘owned’ respected members of The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles.”[3]
In 1951, Allen W. Dulles persuaded Cord Meyer to join the CIA. However, there is evidence that he was recruited several years earlier and had been spying on the liberal internationalist organizations he had been a member of in the late 1940s.[4] According to Deborah Davis, Meyer became Mockingbird’s “principal operative”.[5]
“I’m proud they asked me and proud to have done it” – Stewart Alsop [6]
In 1977, a People article by Alexander Butler alleged that one of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose foreign affairs articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists alleged by People Magazine to have been willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop who headed the international bureau of the New York Herald Tribune, Ben Bradlee, the foreign affairs correspondent for Newsweek, James Reston for the international section of the New York Times, Charles Douglas Jackson, the foreign photo-journalist for Time Magazine, and international correspondents such as Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, Charles Bartlett of the Chattanooga Times and William C. Baggs and Herb Gold of The Miami News.[7] According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman), these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work.[8]
Congressional hearings in 1976 proved the CIA had been paying off editors and reporters in most mainstream media outlets.
After 1953, the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. By this time Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services. These networks were run by people with well-known liberal but pro-American big business and anti-Soviet views such as William Paley (CBS), Henry Luce (Time and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Jerry O’Leary (Washington Star), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham, Sr. (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services) and Joseph Harrison[disambiguation needed] (Christian Science Monitor).[7]
The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning of funds intended for the Marshall Plan. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers. Frank Wisner was constantly looking for ways to help convince the public of the dangers of Soviet communism. In 1954, Wisner arranged for the funding of the Hollywood production of Animal Farm, the animated allegory based on the book written by George Orwell.[9]
According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA), in the 1950s, “some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts”. Wisner was also able to restrict newspapers from reporting about certain events. For example, the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran (see: Operation Ajax) and Guatemala (see: Operation PBSUCCESS).[10]
Thomas Braden, head of the International Organizations Division (IOD), played an important role in Operation Mockingbird. Many years later he revealed his role in these events:
“If the director of CIA wanted to extend a present, say, to someone in Europe—a Labour leader—suppose he just thought, This man can use fifty thousand dollars, he’s working well and doing a good job – he could hand it to him and never have to account to anybody… There was simply no limit to the money it could spend and no limit to the people it could hire and no limit to the activities it could decide were necessary to conduct the war—the secret war…. It was a multinational. Maybe it was one of the first. Journalists were a target, labor unions a particular target—that was one of the activities in which the communists spent the most money.”[11]
[edit]Part of the Directorate for Plans
In August 1952, the Office of Policy Coordination which dealt with covert-action such as paramilitary or psychological influence operations, and the Office of Special Operations which dealt with espionage and counter-espionage were merged under the Deputy Director for Plans (DDP), Allen W. Dulles. When Dulles became head of the CIA in 1953, Frank Wisner became head of this new organization and Richard Helms became his chief of operations. Mockingbird was now the responsibility of the DDP.[12]
J. Edgar Hoover became jealous of the CIA’s growing power. Institutionally, the organizations were also very different with the CIA holding a more politically diverse albeit Machiavellian group in contrast to the more bureaucratically hide-bound and conservative FBI. This was reflected in Hoover’s description of the OPC as “Wisner’s gang of weirdos”. Hoover subsequently began carrying out investigations into their past. It did not take him long to discover that some of them had been active in left-wing politics in the 1930s. This information was passed to Joseph McCarthy who started making attacks on members of the OPC. Hoover also gave McCarthy details of an affair that Frank Wisner had with Princess Caradja in Romania during the war. Hoover claimed that Caradja was a Soviet agent.[13]
Joseph McCarthy also began accusing other senior members of the CIA as being security risks. McCarthy claimed that the CIA was a “sinkhole of communists”, and claimed he intended to root out a hundred of them. One of his first targets was Cord Meyer, who was still working for Operation Mockingbird. In August 1953, Richard Helms, Wisner’s deputy at the OPC, told Meyer that Joseph McCarthy had accused him of being a communist. The Federal Bureau of Investigation added credibility to the accusation by announcing it was unwilling to give Meyer “security clearance”. However, the FBI refused to explain what evidence they had against Meyer. Allen W. Dulles and Frank Wisner both came to his defense and refused to permit an FBI interrogation of Meyer.[14]
Joseph McCarthy did not realize what he was taking on. Contrary to statutory and legal limitations, once the network in authority in the CIA saw its interests threatened, Wisner was directed to unleash Mockingbird on McCarthy. Drew Pearson, Joe Alsop, Jack Anderson, Walter Lippmann and Ed Murrow all engaged in intensely negative coverage of McCarthy, whose political reputation was permanently damaged by the press coverage orchestrated by Wisner.[15]
Mockingbird was very active during the overthrow of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in Guatemala during Operation PBSUCCESS. Allen W. Dulles was even able to keep uncontrolled and especially Soviet sympathetic left-wing journalists from travelling to Guatemala, including Sydney Gruson of the New York Times.[16] As the CIA’s wealth and power increased, its aggressive focus toward the Soviet Union soon began not only heating up the Cold War but also in disrupting relations with America’s European allies which saw rising third-world liberationist movements as the ultimate threat to Western Civilization.
Consequently, even in the wake of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’ 1952 presidential campaign pledge to “roll back the Iron Curtain”, American covert action operations came under scrutiny almost as soon as Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated in 1953. He soon set up an evaluation operation called Solarium, which had three committees playing analytical games to see which plans of action should be continued. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the 5412 Committee in order to keep more of a check on the CIA’s covert activities. The committee (also called the Special Group) included the CIA director, the national security adviser, and the deputy secretaries at State and Defence and had the responsibility to decide whether covert actions were “proper” and in the national interest. It was also decided to include Richard B. Russell, chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. However, as Allen W. Dulles was later to admit, because of “plausible deniability” planned covert actions were not referred to the 5412 Committee.
Ultimately, Eisenhower became concerned that CIA covert activities were being poorly coordinated with American foreign policy and maybe even being worked primarily for senior corporate interests centered on upper-class families of the North-Eastern Establishment, and in 1956 appointed David K. E. Bruce as a member of the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities (PBCFIA). Eisenhower asked Bruce to write a report on the CIA. It was presented to Eisenhower on 20 December 1956. Bruce argued that the CIA’s covert actions were “responsible in great measure for stirring up the turmoil and raising the doubts about us that exists in many countries in the world today.” Bruce was also highly critical of Mockingbird. He argued: “what right have we to go barging around in other countries buying newspapers and handing money to opposition parties or supporting a candidate for this, that, or the other office.”[17]
After Richard M. Bissell, Jr. lost his post as Deputy Director for Plans in 1962, Tracy Barnes took over the running of Mockingbird. According to Evan Thomas (The Very Best Men) Barnes planted editorials about political candidates who were regarded as pro-CIA.
[edit]First exposure
In 1964, Random House published Invisible Government by David Wise and Thomas Ross[disambiguation needed]. The book exposed the role the CIA was playing in foreign policy. This included the CIA coups in Guatemala (Operation PBSUCCESS) and Iran (Operation Ajax) and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. It also revealed the CIA’s attempts to overthrow President Sukarno in Indonesia and the covert operations taking place in Laos and Vietnam. The CIA considered buying up the entire printing of Invisible Government but this idea was rejected when Random House pointed out that if this happened they would have to print a second edition.[2]
John McCone, the new director of the CIA, also attempted to stop Edward Yates from making a documentary on the CIA for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). This attempt at censorship failed and NBC went ahead and broadcast this critical documentary.
In June 1965, Desmond FitzGerald was appointed as head of the Directorate for Plans. He now took charge of Mockingbird. At the end of 1966 FitzGerald found out that Ramparts, another CIA backed left-wing publication, had discovered that the CIA had been secretly funding the National Student Association and was considering publishing.[18] When the magazine stated it had lost control of the information, and would likely be forced to publicize, FitzGerald ordered a plan to either nuetralize the campaign and/or wind-down Mockingbird. Accordingly, he appointed Edgar Applewhite to organize a campaign against the magazine. Applewhite later told Evan Thomas for his book, The Very Best Men: “I had all sorts of dirty tricks to hurt their circulation and financing. The people running Ramparts were vulnerable to blackmail. We had awful things in mind, some of which we carried off.”[19]
Nonetheless, this dirty tricks campaign failed to neutralize Ramparts publishing this story in March 1967. The article, written by Sol Stern, was entitled NSA and the CIA. As well as reporting CIA funding of the National Student Association it exposed the whole system of anti-Communist front organizations in Europe, Asia, and South America. It named Cord Meyer as a key figure in this campaign. This included the funding of the literary journal Encounter.[11] However, the campaign by Applewhite managed to steer many of the citations away from leftist organizations and toward most of the few conservative organizations backed by the CIA. Those organizations which were exposed, were unsurprisingly ones which could not be linked to Ramparts, itself a CIA proprietary organization.
In May 1967, Thomas Braden responded to this by publishing an article entitled, “I’m Glad the CIA is ‘Immoral'”, in the Saturday Evening Post, where he defended the activities of the International Organizations Division unit of the CIA. Braden also confessed that the activities of the CIA had to be kept secret from Congress. As he pointed out in the article: “In the early 1950s, when the Cold War was really hot, the idea that Congress would have approved many of our projects was about as likely as the John Birch Society’s approving Medicare.”[20]
Meyer’s role in Operation Mockingbird was further exposed in 1972 when he was accused of interfering with the publication of a book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred W. McCoy. The book was highly critical of the CIA’s dealings with the drug traffic in Southeast Asia, especially in its critique toward how the agency subverted French control of the opium trade. The publisher, who leaked the story, had been a former colleague of Meyer’s when he was a liberal activist after the war.[21]
[edit]Church Committee investigations
Further details of Operation Mockingbird were revealed as a result of the Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. According to the Congress report published in 1976:
“The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”
Church argued that misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.[22]
In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy: “Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.” However, he added that the CIA would continue to “welcome” the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.[23]
[edit]”Family Jewels” Report
According to the “Family Jewels” report, released by the National Security Archive on June 26, 2007, during the period from March 12, 1963 and June 15, 1963, the CIA installed telephone taps on two Washington-based news reporters.
[edit]See also

Encounter magazine
Cord Meyer
Judith Miller
Propaganda in the United States
Radio Liberty
James Risen
Robertson Panel
White propaganda
[edit]Further reading

Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post by Deborah Davis, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979. This book makes many claims about Katharine Graham, then owner of the Washington Post, and her cooperation with Operation Mockingbird.
Wilford, Hugh (2008). The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02681-0.

^ Kazin, Michael (January 27, 2008). “Dancing to the CIA’s Tune”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
^ a b David Wise and Thomas Ross (1964). Invisible Government.
^ Deborah Davis (1979). Katharine the Great. pp. 137–138.
^ Cord Meyer (1980). Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA. pp. 42–59.
^ Deborah Davis (1979). Katharine the Great. p. 226.
^ Carl Bernstein, CIA and the Media, People, 1977
^ a b Carl Bernstein (20 October 1977). “CIA and the Media”. Rolling Stone Magazine.
^ Nina Burleigh (1998). A Very Private Woman. p. 118.
^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. p. 33.
^ Alex Constantine (2000). Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA.
^ a b Thomas Braden, interview included in the Granada Television program, World in Action: The Rise and Fall of the CIA. 1975.
^ John Ranelagh (1986). The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA. pp. 198–202.
^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. pp. 98–106.
^ Cord Meyer (1980). Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA. pp. 60–84.
^ Jack Anderson (1979). Confessions of a Muckraker. pp. 208–236.
^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. p. 117.
^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. pp. 148–150.
^ Cord Meyer (1980). Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA. pp. 86–89.
^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. p. 330.
^ Thomas Braden (20 May 1967). “I’m Glad the CIA is ‘Immoral'”. Saturday Evening Post.
^ Nina Burleigh (1998). A Very Private Woman. p. 105.
^ Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities. April 1976. pp. 191–201.
^ Mary Louise (2003). Mockingbird: CIA Media Manipulation.
[edit]External links

Carl Bernstein’s 1977 article for Rolling Stone “The Cia and the Media”
CIA “Family Jewels” Report
Alex Constantine: The CIA’s Project MOCKINGBIRD: Ongoing Covert Control of the Media
Essay: How to care for the CIA orphans, Time, May. 19, 1967