Fearmongers and the Assholeocracy

Posted in Phlogiston, Predator State, War On Terror at 2:36 pm by George Smith

Last week Matt Taibbi’s on-line column at Rolling Stone ran the second installment in his Supreme Court for Assholes. Taibbi and selected friends form a court and then adjudicate whether or not someone in the news is an asshole. And then, if dubbed so, they’re given a score on a relative scale of assholery.

Surprisingly, the homeland security industry came in for a judgment.

For me, that’s an easy call. Everyone mentioned in natsec stories on this blog over the last few years is an asshole.

For instance, the biggest asshole last year was Michael McConnell of Booz Allen & Hamilton, determined by the number of times he was in the media rigging the argument on cyberwar for the profit of his company. Roscoe Bartlett and the Heritage Foundation were probably in a dead heat for second.

Taibbi and his Supreme Court for Assholes judged Airline Travelers vs. Lobbyists to the TSA.

It’s here.

It reads:

Court was asked:

1) If you lobby the government to force taxpayers to buy a useless product at great expense [in this case the Rapiscan whole body scanner], are you automatically an asshole?

2) If you take advantage of and/or stoke widespread cultural fears to make money via government contracting, are you an asshole?

The court voted 7-2 in favor of assholedom on the first question. The dissenting votes were Sirota and myself. I was with David here, and we both bought the Lieutenant Calley/Nuremberg defense – see his dissenting opinion below.

On the second question, the court voted 8-1, with Sirota the only dissenter. To me, stoking public fear to make money is inexcusable even in a “just-following-orders??? situation …

Sirota’s dissent went as follows: “Ruling these kind of people as all assholes is too broad a ruling, because the Assholeocracy legally forces private economic actors to think solely of their profits – and nothing more. That’s their legal and fiduciary responsibility, consequences be damned. Many of them might individually be assholes, but as a blanket rule, you can’t say they are all automatically assholes simply because they work within the ubiquitous Assholeocracy.???

Comments are closed.