Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Did you get the memo?

Anyone who's ever worked at any business, be it corporate industry, non-profit or government, of a significant size understands the purpose of a memo, short for memorandum meaning literally ‘something to be brought to mind,’ As a rule, memos are transmitted from the top down to inform workers or volunteers or mindless schlubs sitting in their cubes about some change in policy in the organization or to scold said workers about their failure (or if it's an ethical breach or crime, somebody's failure) to adhere to existing policy. It's where the cheeky phrase "did you get the memo?" comes from or where the snarky retort "I didn't get the memo" goes to. The memo, for almost everyone, is an object of ridicule - a directive from management who sit in their top floor executive suite, eating catered lunches and using their own private bathroom to people who are trying to get things done and keep the enterprise afloat. It is supposed to go something like this:

Now and then, one of the sheeple on the receiving end of the memo stream will scribble out a "memo" of their own and send it, Charles Marlow style, up river. As someone who worked in the IT industry for 30 years and got pretty deep in the cyberspace matrix of corporate High-Tech culture I found the Google memo (sometimes called the 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google) from last summer pretty hilarious. The memo's title is “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” and it's not an "anti-diversity screed" for the author repeatedly writes things like, "I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more", but it does make the point that brainwashing, virtue shaming and skewing hiring practices in denial of biological and social reality are not the way to get there.

Not Brown
Google responded and, as is often the case, "fired the employee behind that controversial diversity manifesto" - the memo somehow transformed into a manifesto - and by sending out a corporate memo of their own authored by Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance Danielle Brown. The first thing that pops out, given her title, (and I don't mean to be racist about this) is that Ms. Brown is not "brown" or yellow or red or anything but a lily-white Spartan alum who's gamed the system outlined in the software engineers "manifesto" to perfection and is now pulling down what must be a mid-six-figure salary to write memos to the Googlers toiling away in Mountain View and other ethnically diverse regions of the world. In what must be one of the funniest lines ever inserted in one of these corporate memos Ms. Brown decided to enlist the authority of a man, one Aristotle Balogh,  VP of Storage Infrastructure Products at Google, who is EXACTLY the type of man the author of the troublesome memo defined in his screed. And what is this VP's Aristotelian thinking on this memo that's effectively melted every snowflake at his company and created a raging river of resentment and recrimination?
As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said. “
'Nuff said people - this memo isn't even worth having a conversation about as far as Google brass is concerned and, as a matter of fact, they're not going to talk about it. They don't even know what's "core to who we are" because if they did Ari would have to admit that the entire Google business model is built on Targeted advertising which relies on Behavioral targeting that employs the same kind of classification and scientific association the original Aristotle created and James Damore used in his memo. 'Nuff said is the ultimate brush off from a liar who can't be forced into admitting the truth. Google is pathetic and their racist, socialist myopia is one of the main reasons I host the KOTCB blog on Blogger - Google is the company that serves this alternate view up (and I hope they hate it).

All in all the Damore memo was pretty weak tea when you take into account what a REAL memo looks like and how it's received. Take, for instance, the memo “POTUS & Political Warfare”written by Rich Higgins when he landed a job at the strategic planning office at the NSC. Trump read it (and liked it) but H.R. McMaster also read it and hated it.
“While opposition to President Trump manifests itself through political warfare memes centered on cultural Marxist narratives, this hardly means that opposition is limited to Marxists as conventionally understood,” the memo reads. “Having become the dominant cultural meme, some benefit from it while others are captured by it; including ‘deep state’ actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.”
How's that grab ya'? Sound far fetched? Read on, because McMaster conducted a purge of the NSC and fired Higgins and a bunch of other people sympathetic to this memos message and those firings were his way of saying "'nuff said" to everyone in the organization. But clearly, enough hasn't been said because last week another memo was circulated after weeks of hand-wringing and hyperbole designed to either prevent it's release or dismiss it's findings and that memo, created by the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirms much of what Higgins wrote in his memo. Maybe you haven't heard anything about this Devin Nunes memo and I'm not going to dig into its contents - here's the skinny:

That's DJT quoting the #NeverTrump WSJ which might hate Trump with all they've got, but they hate the FBI more (and that's not easy to do). The FBI did withhold info about the origins of the FusionGPS/Steele dossier from the FISA judge and it did lie and refuse to cooperate with Congress, which is bad but also raises additional troubling questions. Like who are the idiots being assigned as judges on these FISA courts? Who's approving these requests to spy on anyone and everyone the FBI decides they want to spy on, RGB? If I'm a judge and some suite from the DOJ or FBI comes to me with this dossier (regardless of who paid for it) and "corroborates" it's findings with a Michael Isikoff news story (that's right, Michael Fucking Isikoff) I'm kicking their ass right out of my court. What a joke. What? Are these judges retarded or teenagers or college professors - what gives? The other question, pretty much answered (unfortunately) in the way the memo was treated by the FBI and the media, is what's the matter with these limpdicks in Congress who are basically treated like a disgruntled low level employee who's way out of line, asking improper questions and rocking the damn boat? These Reps (that stands for representatives of The People) don't just have the duty of "oversight" of the Executive - they appropriate the money, they're the CFO of the whole damn operation and (theoretically) if Congress doesn't like the way an agency is doing business then Congress can pull the funding. Jim Comey should be quaking in his brown loafers when he visits Capitol Hill to be questioned and, now that he's been fired, he should be circumspect in what he says about his former place of work. But instead we get this...
The Goldbrick's Defense

There's a certain kind of person in this world who is accustomed to being on top and usually they have, since childhood, manipulated the system to continually position themselves in proximity of authority. They call themselves leaders and after showing leadership potential in high school, at church or other civic organizations they find themselves being groomed by higher-ups to take on a leadership role in the future. These people are trained in the art of leadership and they become consumed by the subject reading leadership books (and writing them), going to leadership seminars, getting themselves appointed to leadership councils and all the rest. The people to whom I refer are not natural leaders but trained leaders and their personality and actions form the seeds from which the descriptors  "Brown-nose", "Choir boy" and "Boy Scout" (in the pejorative) sprout and when fully grown become "Assholes", "Meddlers" and "Snoops." When one of these types, who are by nature drawn to large organizations with vast bureaucracy, get caught or found out doing something improper, unethical or illegal their favorite defense is to downplay the crime - "That's it? That's all you've got and you're going ruin our {insert people, place or thing} over that? How selfish and short sighted. For what?" That's how it goes and they try to turn it all back on their accuser because, after all, they are incapable of doing anything wrong because they're Leaders (with a capital L).

The problem with the current memo controversy is that James Comey has a point - "That's it?" You guys are going to get all heated up over the fact that a FISA judge rubber stamped a warrant based on opposition research compiled by MI-6 (there's no such thing as a "former" MI-6 agent) and coordinated by HRC and the DNC (same thing) like that's a big deal? Shit man, we do that all the time and if you question it or stop it we won't be able to do our jobs. Get real. Your just getting all in the weeds and missing the big picture (probably on purpose) so the scribblers and radio talkers will have something to do with themselves. You're bitching about process when you should be frigg'n terrified of our mission statement - The DOJ and FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation (NOT a criminal investigation) on a political campaign of the opposition party for the sole purpose of spying on the principle actors organizing the campaign. Comey decided to come clean on March 20th of last year when he testified before the same House Intelligence Committee that wrote the troublesome memo.
“I’ve been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Comey said in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. “That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
And when did the FBI decide to open this descriptive investigation? (otherwise known as Plan D)
And when will it end? (Never)
COMEY: It’s hard to say because I don’t how much longer it will take. But we’ve been doing this — this investigation began in late July, so for counterintelligence investigation that’s a fairly short period of time.
Late July would be right after the Anti-Trump forces within the GOP were sandbagged in their effort to force a brokered convention and push Trump out as the parties nominee. This is surely one of the most underreported stories of the 2016 presidential election but, for those in the know, it was a brutal, take no prisoners backroom fight at the GOP convention and, very importantly, the #NeverTrump forces rolled into Cleveland absolutely certain that they had the strategy and the votes to deny Trump the delegates necessary to win the nomination. They were sure to succeed which explains some of the public meltdowns that occurred after Reince Priebus and the MAGA coalition torpedoed their plans. Does anyone remember Ted Cruz's speech at the GOP Convention? - it shows the continence of a man who just got gut punched and is trying to pick himself up from the floor. The effort to blackball Trump failed in the convention back room fight and the next day the FBI opens an endless espionage investigation on the winner. Absolutely, 100%, irrevocably WRONG at the most fundamental layer of civic order and (small "r") republican government and so the problem - the Constitutional Crisis as they say - is the fact that this investigation was opened at all.

What took you so long?

And this is not a "7th floor" problem as is often claimed by defenders of the FBI's rank n' file who, they also say, are just doing their jobs because they're NOT doing their jobs. You look at the HRC email server crime, the Steven Paddock mass killing or the latest bureau black eye delivered by one, Larry Nassar, doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, athletic trainer for the USA Gymnastics national team and child molester. I don't know if the NYTimes was just piling on but last Sunday, while grabbing some chips and dip for the big game at my local supermarket, I saw the front page of the Grey Lady (above the fold) describing how foot dragging by the FBI for over a year had subjected a number (dozens) of young girls to the perverts unorthodox methods. And how does the rank n' file agent explain all of this process and intra-jurisdictional negotiation that allowed a sexual predator to assault so many more #MeToo victims.
W. Jay Abbott, who at the time was the special agent in charge of the F.B.I. bureau in Indianapolis, said on Thursday that while he did not watch the videos, he vividly remembered the reactions of colleagues who had.
“I will never forget sitting around the table and thinking, What?” said Mr. Abbott, who retired in January. “And the reaction of my special agents who were very well versed in this was one of disgust. That is why we worked it with such urgency.”
He added: “At the time, it was being portrayed as a legitimate medical procedure. But to the layman, like ourselves, we were — ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’”
The next day, U.S.A. Gymnastics quietly, even surreptitiously, relieved Dr. Nassar of any further assignments. It later issued a statement saying: “U.S.A. Gymnastics understood from its meeting with the F.B.I. that it should not take any action nor communicate anything that might interfere with the F.B.I.’s investigation.”
All the while, Dr. Nassar continued his uncommon treatment techniques on young patients.
One of these US gymnast should have sent out a memo - it's the only way to get the FBI to pay attention - but, on second thought, the G-men just would have made fun of the victim so I guess there really is nothing to be done. We'll just keep rolling along, like always, taking what the FBI gives us and following instructions. Memos come from the boss - not the other way around - and if you can't live with that then you better get out or, at the very least, shut up.

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