I have to hang my head and admit that I am fascinated by pop culture and the crazy world that revolves around it. The excesses of young Hollywood and the music industry makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t help but think of the people in my poor town who are struggling to feed their kids and keep a shelter over their heads, while thugs like Justin Bieber blow more money in a single party than many make in decade.
Waking up to the news that Justin Bieber, the Teflon Teen™, was finally busted for something, after getting away with so much shit over the years, made me smile.
When I heard that he resisted arrest, wouldn’t take his hands out of his pockets according to one report, I immediately thought of Roy Middleton, the Florida man who was shot at 15 times by police in his own driveway while retrieving some cigarettes out of the car. He was black, you know? Thankfully, he lived through it.
As the day goes on, the sensationalist cable new networks will use the Bieber story as a good reason to ditch all the other important stories happening in the world today. For example, our awesome President Barack Obama announced an initiative to combat rape yesterday and the evidence against Chris Christie and his bullying ways are growing in scope.
Based on the look on Justin’s face, he probably thinks it’s cool to get busted. He knows damn well that he can afford the best lawyers you can buy. Something tells me this isn’t the last mug shot we will see from the Teflon Teen™.
(I don’t really have the trademark for Teflon Teen, so feel free to use the hell out of it. :)
Rachel Maddow and her crack staff have discovered the real reason for the retaliation that Chris Christie exacted on the city of Fort Lee, but the target wasn’t the mayor of Fort Lee, it was the leader of the New Jersey Senate Democrats. Watch her report from last nights show below, it takes her a little while to get to the meat of the piece, but once you see it, I’m sure you will nod in agreement.
In New Jersey, state Supreme Court justices serve an initial term of seven years, at which point the sitting governor decides whether or not to reappoint them. Since the New Jersey constitution was revised and adopted in 1947, every governor has reappointed every state Supreme Court justice without exception.
That is, until Christie took office. In 2010, soon after Christie’s inauguration, he did something unprecedented: he declined to reappoint one of the justices: New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John Wallace, the court’s only African-American member. Wallace was not burdened by scandal or allegations of wrongdoing; Christie simply didn’t want him on the high court anymore.
Democrats in the state Senate were livid. Rachel described the political firestorm that soon erupted in Trenton:
Senate Democrats made Chris Christie’s first nominee to replace Justice Wallace, they made her wait until somebody else’s seat came up on the court then they would consider her for that one, but not Justice Wallace’s.
Then, Chris Christie nominated a man named Phil Quan for the state Supreme Court, Senate Democrats said no. Then, Chris Christie nominated a man named Bruce Harris for the court, Senate Democrats said no.
Senate Democrats were so mad about what Christie did to take John Harris off the Supreme Court when he was up for re-nomination that they would not let anyone through. It’s been a big political crisis in New Jersey. Senate Democrats rejected every one of those Christie nominees, one after the other.
And then when another of the justices on the Supreme Court, a Republican, came up for re-nomination just like John Harris had, and the Senate Democrats signaled that they were going to give her a whale of a time at her re-nomination hearing, Chris Christie just flipped out. He had enough. He pulled that justice off the Supreme Court rather than submit her to re-nomination before the Senate Democrats.
No governor had ever failed to reappoint a sitting state Supreme Court justice, but Christie had suddenly done it twice – once for the court’s only African-American jurist, infuriating Democrats, and then again for a justice he actually liked. The governor, enraged, held a press conference to tell reporters, “I was not going to let her loose to the animals.”
The “animals,” in this case, were the Democrats in the state Senate.
Christie said that on the afternoon of Aug. 12, 2013.
On the morning of Aug. 13, 2013, Christie’s deputy chief of staff told the governor’s guy at the Port Authority, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
The leader of the Senate Democrats at the time was a senator from … Fort Lee.
Coincidence, I think not. It also explains why Governor Christie said that he didn’t even want to hear Bridget Kelly’s explanation, because he already knew the answer and didn’t want you or I to know. To me, that is one of the most glaring things he said in his press conference. His explanation for why he didn’t talk to her was completely unbelievable, but of course, the fawning media who were enthralled with his contrition just slobbered all over themselves at that point.
Governor Christie stood there for 2 hours yesterday and weaved an elaborate lie that is definitely going to come back to kick him in the ass. He would have been wise to give a short, contrite apology and drop the mic. But no, he chose to give the most elaborate, over-the-top apology, complete with sadness, embarrassment, humiliation, ignorance, naiveté, stupidity and poor management skills. He apparently thinks he can get over being incompetent easier than the reality, that he is a vindictive bully with a bad temper and not afraid to use his power to punish people who cross him.
I’m filling up the back of my pickup truck with popcorn, this is going to get really good. And you media apologists, we’re watching you too!
Here is Rachel’s piece, it’s clearly her scoop, bravo Rachel and staff.
I think back to when I first read one of his posts at Salon during the end of the Bush administration. He was railing against Bush at that time and I was certainly sympathetic to that sentiment. But as I read his pieces, I noticed that he exaggerated an awful lot and took leaps with his conclusions and that didn’t sit well with me. I was all for attacking Bush, but because I am a political junky and was pretty informed on things, I noticed the exaggerations and in some cases, blatant lies. I didn’t join in with others in praising his “journalism”.
It was many years later that I learned that Glenn Greenwald hadn’t always railed against President Bush. In fact, he supported Bush and the many horrible things he did in the wake of 9/11 including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as supporting Bush during the time when the Patriot Act was passed. In light of what he is saying now, it should speak volumes about his integrity. Glenn has written about those of us who point this out and his attempt to dismiss his support for Bush is pretty lame. Ben Cohen from The Daily Banter wrote about this, go read it and have a laugh at Greenwald’s expense. Ben gives Glenn way too much credit, in my opinion.
Like Ben, I’m happy that Glenn finally opened up his eyes and realized the error of his ways. A little context though, Glenn wasn’t exactly a young, naive lad when he “had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration”, or “gave the administration the benefit of the doubt” or felt that President Bush was “entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to”. No, Glenn was 36 years old in 2003, when the bombs started falling on innocent people in Iraq, a war that I marched against.
So Glenn’s dishonesty and tendency to exaggerate and mislead his readers turned me off immediately. But that isn’t the main reason I write about Glenn Greenwald so frequently.
Glenn Greenwald is a bully. I hate bullies!
If you want to read more about his journalistic brutality, go read this post, or this one, or this one. Or just go to Google and search, there are many examples out there besides the ones I’ve written about.
How Can Greenwald Be So Wrong, So Much Of The Time
Glenn Greenwald loves hyperbole. Decades from now when scholars write about The Age Of Hyperbole that we are currently living in, Glenn Greenwald’s picture will surely be accompanying the journal articles.
“The objective of this is to enable the NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION AND EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR!”
“The National Security Agency is currently devoted to the objective of creating a worldwide surveillance net that allows it to monitor what all human beings are doing and how they’re behaving and interacting with one another.”
I know there are a lot of paranoid people in this world who love that kind of talk, it feeds their paranoia and makes them feel like they are not alone. Any thinking, reasonable person who isn’t consumed with hatred or paranoia can read those words and realize they are completely over the top and can not possibly be true.
How many NSA employees do you think it would take to “MONITOR every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”? You see, Glenn doesn’t just think that the NSA is gathering meta data on who is calling who, after getting a warrant from a the FISA court (as dysfunctional as it is) because of intelligence on a suspected terrorist. No, Glenn thinks that there are people monitoring “every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”.
Bob Cesca has been keeping track of Glenn’s NSA “journalism” better than anyone and has coined the term “the 24 hour rule”, which basically says we should wait for the other shoe to drop before believing what ole Glenn Greenwald says.
Last week, Glenn made several statements to Christine Amanpour in an interview. Here are two of his long-winded, never stopping for a breath, answers. (My transcription and emphasis)
Answer 1: Let’s just use our common sense when analyzing the claims of political officials when they say that. Ever since 9/11, British and American officials have screamed terrorism over and over and over every time they get caught doing bad things they shouldn’t do – from lying to the public about invading Iraq to setting up a worldwide torture regime to kidnapping people and taking them around the world to be tortured – they just want to put the population in fear by saying the terrorists will get you if you don’t submit to whatever authority it is that we want to do. And that is all they are doing here, it’s the same tactic they always use. Let’s just use common sense, every terrorist who is capable of tying their own shoes, has long known that the U.S. government and U.K. government is trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can. That isn’t new, we didn’t reveal anything new to the terrorists they didn’t already know. What we revealed is that the spying system is largely devoted not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world. That is what was not previously known and that is why American and British officials are so angry because they wanted to hide what the true purpose of the spying system is from the people at whom it’s directed and that is the only thing that is new in what we reported.
Answer 2: Well first of all a lot of people like to ask why is there so much anti-American sentiment around the world all you have to do is listen to that tape of Mike Rogers to understand it. He basically is going around telling the world that they ought to be grateful that without their knowledge, we are stealing ALL THEIR COMMUNICATIONS data and invading their privacy (Amanpour nods in agreement) None of this has anything to do with terrorism. Is Angela Merkel a terrorist? Are sixty or seventy million Spanish or French citizens terrorists? Are there terrorists at Petrobras? This is clearly about political power and economic espionage, and the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit.”
I’ll get to the latest “24 hour rule” moment in a bit, but first let’s take a look at his penchant for hyperbole.
As with most of Glenn Greenwald’s rants, it isn’t necessarily the broad, populist, quotable punch line that is the problem, but what he says leading up to it. Make no mistake, Glenn is probably a great trial lawyer, although I’m sure a good opposing lawyer would be screaming “I object” an awful lot.
What stood out to me in Glenn’s response to Christine was the tainting of the jury along the way. I laughed out loud when I heard him say “Let’s just use our common sense” as he started. See the above part about how many NSA people it would take to monitor “every single conversation and every single form of human behavior” as you listen to Glenn talk about common sense.
Glenn starts his twisted reasoning by appealing to common, shared perceptions to get people nodding…like Amanpour herself…by, among other things, saying that U.S. and British officials always “scream” terrorism when they get caught doing “bad things”. He lists some of these bad things, starting with “from lying to the public about invading Iraq”…whoa, whoa, whoa…Glenn was supporting that group that was lying at the time and I know he is oh so sorry about that, but he fell for the bullshit none-the-less. There were a lot of us who didn’t. It speaks to his judgement at the tender age of 36.
Greenwald then gets bold and says “to setting up a worldwide torture regime”, which is clearly directed at his paranoid, conspiratorial readers. Because it isn’t just a few places where our government and allies take prisoners to be held and questioned, and yes, sometimes tortured too…which of course, I don’t approve of, but to Glenn, it’s labeled a “worldwide torture regime”. Oh, that hyperbole must make him tingle.
A little bit further on in his rant, he uses a pretty slick tactic when he says that “Every terrorist…has long known that the U.S. government and U.K. government is trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can” and then claims that this is “nothing new”. Except, uh, Glenn…you told the terrorists “how” they are being monitored and that IS new.
Glenn then proceeds to his real thesis that the “spies” aren’t out to get terrorists, they are out to get innocent, little ole YOU! This thesis occurs frequently in his writings and is much more pronounced in his TV appearances, because he can’t go back and edit his words once they’ve flown out of his mouth and he can’t add “updates” to Christine Amanpour’s program like he is known for in his hyperbolic writing. This is what he said, “the spying system is largely devoted not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world.” He really believes that the target of all this spying is innocent people. He has strayed from what most people probably think – that in the effort to get terrorists, innocent people are being “monitored” and having their rights trampled on. Glenn sees it as a fiendish plot to go after YOU, run hide, build a bunker, buy some guns…they are coming for you. A little later he claims that it is “because they wanted to hide what the true purpose of the spying system is”, once again, referring to “innocent” people, just like you.
In the final sentence of his interview, Greenwald says “This is clearly about political power and economic espionage…” in reference to the accusations of the NSA spying on Germany and France. Well the “24 hour rule” destroys Glenn’s hyperbolic proclamation. Turns out the intelligence agencies in each of those countries shared that information with the U.S. government and the cooperation was geared towards tracking down terrorists. From of all places, the Guardian…
The German, French and Spanish governments have reacted angrily to reports based on National Security Agency (NSA) files leaked by Snowden since June, revealing the interception of communications by tens of millions of their citizens each month. US intelligence officials have insisted the mass monitoring was carried out by the security agencies in the countries involved and shared with the US.
I’m sure all of that is appealing to the paranoid, conspiracists and the narcissists who think the whole damn world revolves around them and don’t have any problem thinking they are so damn important that the U.S. government is paying someone lots of money to monitor them and steal “ALL YOUR COMMUNICATIONS DATA”. Cue the Twilight Zone music!
Part of the problem with the current state of our politics and media is that it is loaded with narcissists, nihilists and conspiracy loons. Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Greenwald all know who their target audience is and Glenn has just sliced off a piece from the left flank of that crowd.
I wish more of the national media would listen more carefully to Glenn Greenwald or wait for the other shoe to drop before running with one of his stories, but I’m sure many of them just don’t want to deal with the other thing Glenn is good at…the bullying.
Warning! A profane rant is below, hide the kids.
The media has collectively lost their fucking minds. Since when is it the role of the media to obsess over mistakes and blow them completely out of proportion, while ignoring everything else that is happening in the world? They have totally embraced the hyperventilating loons on the right and adopted their moronic thinking.
So a website contractor, hired to design and build the website for healthcare.gov, screwed up. Great, I got it. Now move on to doing your fucking jobs again.
And by the way, Chuck Todd, your job is to present the truth to your viewers, not just deliver the “message” that one side or the other feeds to you through Mike Allen, just before you go on Morning Joe to set the meme of the fucking day. In case you aren’t aware, the Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics and the first item in the list is pasted below. Read it, internalize it…there will be a quiz.
Seek Truth and Report It (heading)
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. (sub-heading)
Journalists should: — Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
Now let’s look at Chuck Todd’s full quote from his now infamous appearance on Morning Joe and see how well it fits with the above.
Chuck Todd (on Morning Joe):
“But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it,” Todd told Rendell. “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No, it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”
In effect, he’s saying that he just delivers the message, it’s not his job to “test the accuracy of information from all sources”. He admits that Republicans have successfully “messaged against it” but he apparently doesn’t care at all whether that “message” is truthful or not. That is some serious bubble think. I keep telling Chuck to get the hell out of Washington and breathe some fresh air, talk to some real people, empathize with folks who actually are influenced by what happens inside your comfy little bubble.
Prior to the “glitch” story, the media was clinging to the idiotic idea that President Obama should negotiate with Republicans who were holding a gun to the head of our economy, demanding the defunding of a law that took 18 months to pass through the legislative process, was signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in exchange for the Congress doing their jobs. The media acted like complete morons repeating the Republican talking point of “he won’t even sit down with us and talk”, as if that is what you do when one party completely circumvents the legislative process and acts like a 4-year-old kicking and screaming on the floor.
Going back a little further, the media was freaking out about Syria and the “red line”, once again repeating the Republican talking points verbatim, as if Frank Luntz was behind them pulling their fucking puppet strings and lip syncing his focus group tested phrases. President Obama didn’t invent our position on Syria’s chemical weapons. The treaty that we are enforcing was signed by President Nixon in 1972 and can be found here. But the media wanted to pin it all on President Obama because the brain-dead GOP plucked the “red line” phrase out of a speech and proceeded to bastardize the context and history of the international treaty against the use of chemical weapons.
I could go on and on…I’m thinking back to the “momentum” days of Mitt Romney’s bid for King of the Village Idiots (The GOP & their compliant media)!
Welcome to the new world of Crisis Journalism™
I watched this clip a little while ago and then turned to Chuck Todd’s show on MSNBC to see him doing exactly what Jon Stewart shamed the media about, false equivalences. Chuck Todd is the poster child for what is wrong with the media, he has helped to re-brand lying as “messaging”.
It’s fascinating for someone who has kept a critical eye on Glenn Greenwald to see him playing in the big leagues and striking out so much. I do believe it’s time for him to be sent back down to the minors.
Glenn Greenwald frequently attacks people who disagree with him, he can’t help himself. He has a hair trigger on that gun of his and likes to shoot it off. (By the way, he is against gun control, in case you weren’t aware.)
The most recent example of Glenn’s penchant for lashing out happened on Twitter as he attacked Daniel Serwer of Johns Hopkins University and peacefare.net.
Well, that one little tweet from the “Rio Pundit” prompted quite a backlash from many different directions. One of the best came from Adam Serwer, Daniel Serwer’s son, a writer for Mother Jones and a reporter for MSNBC.com.
Glenn Greenwald’s knee-jerk attack on Daniel Serwer revealed exactly how GG rolls. I wrote a post recently, The Top 5 Exaggerations By Glenn Greenwald On NSA!, that looked at just a few of Glenn’s exaggerations in his latest 15 minutes of fame. This one tweet from Glenn is both an exaggeration and an attack, combining two of his favorite tactics. And for those that say Glenn is “smart”, please read that tweet one more time.
Daniel Serwer, the person that Glenn tried to dismiss by claiming Edward Snowden had “done far more for the world in the last two months than you have in your life”, has actually spent most of his adult life working for peace. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has Daniel’s bio and gives his take on this incident. Here is a piece of the bio…
Daniel Serwer (Ph.D., Princeton) is a Professor of Conflict Management, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a Scholar at the Middle East Institute.
Formerly Vice President for Centers of Peacebuilding Innovation at the United States Institute of Peace (2009-10), he led teams there working on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance and gender. He was previously Vice President for Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, where he led its peacebuilding work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans and served as Executive Director of the Hamilton/Baker Iraq Study Group. Serwer has worked on preventing interethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq and has facilitated dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans.
I won’t spend time pushing back against the Snowden claim, you can go read some of Bob Cesca’s work here, here and here if you want to get up to speed on the issues surrounding the Edward Snowden leaks.
One of the main tactics Glenn Greenwald uses is to attack anyone who challenges him, with venom and over the top projections of all things evil onto his target. I’ve personally been called a few names by him, mostly because I support President Obama. He really dislikes people who support President Obama. Joy-Ann Reid wrote about this a while back.
Anyone who fails to loathe Obama as he does is an “Obama lover” (just chew on that, if you’re African-American) or a “cultist.” It isn’t possible that Obama could do anything that isn’t vile and insipid and worthy of continual, emphatic condemnation.
Since I’ve spent way too much time reading and writing about Glenn Greenwald, mostly because I despise his tactics, but in all candor, partly because he has such a profound hatred for President Obama, I thought I’d share some links I have gathered over the years. You can decide for yourself how you feel about Glenn, considering the following.
10 Examples of Glenn Greenwald Attacks
1. When the “don’t touch my junk” guy emerged on the scene, Mark Ames and Yasha Levine wrote a piece questioning some issues surrounding that incident, Glenn Greenwald pounced on them. Go read this account by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, it’s quite remarkable.
2. Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution wrote a great piece explaining why he won’t engage with Glenn Greenwald and the piece reveals a lot of what others have seen too. It is one of the reasons why I quit interacting with Glenn, I’ve blocked him on Twitter and try not to read any of his trolling drivel.
3. Glenn Greenwald set his aim at Wired Magazine when they published the chat logs of Bradley Manning, which got him busted. The targets of his attack on this time were Evan Hansen and Kevin Poulsen. (You may have to Google ‘The Curious Case of Glenn Greenwald vs. Wired magazine’ if you hit a paywall)
4. One of the worst attacks Glenn has made over the years, which he has never apologized for, involved joining in on attacking a friend of mine, Imani Gandy (Angry Black Lady). This one included tweeting about rape with one of his minions.
5. Ben Cohen at The Daily Banter (a most excellent site), wrote a great piece about Glenn attacking fellow journalists who supported the Iraq War…but of course, Glenn Greenwald told us in his own words how he supported President Bush in his invasion and slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s. And of course, Glenn was also supporting President Bush when he rammed the Patriot Act through…you know, that law that started much of the surveillance that Glenn now rails against.
6. Jonathon Chait wrote a hilarious and revealing post titled “Glenn Greenwald is Ralph Nader“, which prompted Glenn Greenwald to attack Paul Krugman…go read it, you’ll see why. And here is a post detailing the attack on Paul Krugman, for making a reference to the NSA story.
7. You have to give Greenwald credit for taking on people who are way smarter than he is. Here is an exchange between Al Giordano and Glenn Greenwald that has a lot to do with the current NSA revelations, this is a must read if you want to be informed and entertained. I wish Al posted more often, he is amazing.
8. Chez Pazienza wrote a terrific piece called “The Daily Banter’s Official Helpful Media Guide for Interacting With Glenn Greenwald” that is a must read for anyone thinking of saying anything that Glenn Greenwald disagrees with.
9. This little skirmish with Sam Harris is pretty interesting. Sam Harris likes to tell it like it is and Glenn got a little bit of push back from Sam.
10. The last one I’ll throw in the mix is Greenwald’s attack on David Gregory, which I have mixed feelings about. David Gregory asked a horrible question loaded with innuendo and completely blew the opportunity to ask a really good one and then hammer Glenn until he answered it. The question I would have asked is “did you have any contact with Edward Snowden before he took the job at Booz Allen?” A lot of people want to know the answer to that question. It seems to me that the protection a journalist has by saying that someone came to them with information kind of flies out the window IF that “journalist” had something to do with stealing the information. And please, any GG minions, spare me turning that last sentence into an accusation, the word “IF” should be your clue. The act of stealing the information and then publishing it are separate acts.
Bringing it back to the original Glenn Greenwald attack, I think Daniel Serwer’s final tweet to Glenn Greenwald is pure perfection.
The Patriot Act was signed on October 26, 2001 and this is what Glenn Greenwald wrote in the preface to his own book – his words, not mine…(emphasis IS mine)
This is not to say that I was not angry about the attacks. I believed that Islamic extremism posed a serious threat to the country, and I wanted an aggressive response from our government. I was ready to stand behind President Bush and I wanted him to exact vengeance on the perpetrators and find ways to decrease the likelihood of future attacks. During the following two weeks, my confidence in the Bush administration grew as the president gave a series of serious, substantive, coherent, and eloquent speeches that struck the right balance between aggression and restraint. And I was fully supportive of both the president’s ultimatum to the Taliban and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan when our demands were not met. Well into 2002, the president’s approval ratings remained in the high 60 percent range, or even above 70 percent, and I was among those who strongly approved of his performance. [...]
During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.
While I was screaming at my TV and marching in the streets in protest of the Patriot Act, the Afghanistan War and later the Iraq War, Glenn Greenwald “was ready to stand behind President Bush” and wanted to “exact VENGEANCE on the perpetrators.” And he “believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgement deferred to”, which of course included the passage of The Patriot Act on October 26, 2001.
So yeah, Glenn Greenwald, why exactly should I listen to him now?
I find myself thinking of this quote from Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride a lot lately. It is overused, I know, but it works so well.
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
The word I’ve been hearing a lot lately that fits Inigo’s observation is “scandal”.
According to Merriam Webster, the word scandal is defined as
2 : loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety.
The #1 definition was a religious one.
We’ve all heard the Republicans and their stenographers, the press, say the word “scandal” about a million times in the last couple of months. But do any of these issues really qualify as a “scandal”? I say NO.
The Benghazi Scandal That Isn’t
American embassies and consulates have been attacked many times in our history, particularly in dangerous areas. Bob Cesca did an amazing job in compiling the attacks on America during the Bush administration. Here is a portion of that post.
January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.
June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al-Qaida attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.
October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.
February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.
May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al-Qaida terrorists storm the diplomatic compound killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.
July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.
December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.
March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)
September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.
January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.
March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.
July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.
September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.
I’m racking my brain trying to remember a “scandal” coming from any of these attacks.
The idea that changing “talking points” to not tip off the terrorists responsible for the attacks was some sort of massive conspiracy to make the President look good is just ridiculous. We shouldn’t forget that this “scandal” started with Mitt Romney putting his foot in his mouth during the campaign and since then, the GOP has doubled down on it many times. They were so sure that it was the one thing that could take the President out, if only someone would listen. The real reason that Republicans are trying to create a “scandal” where there is none is because they can’t accept that they got their asses kicked again by President Obama. It’s one giant case of sore-loseritus. The next step is for the Republicans to ask for a “do over” or a “mulligan” on the 2012 elections. Get over it, you lost. And a free tip for you Republicans, Americans don’t like sore losers, you look like fucking weasels.
And remember, the media and the GOP are calling this an “Obama scandal”. First off, there IS no scandal there. There was no violation of “morality or propriety” by anybody, let alone the President. There hasn’t been any connections to the President at all. With the release of the emails that Jon Karl of ABC News was duped about (being generous), that show that the White House let the agencies involved fight over the infamous talking points, this whole issue should be but a bad memory. And my god, they were freaking talking points. Talking points that were prefaced by Susan Rice in the following way.
“Let me tell you the– the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is…”
What exactly is so hard to understand about this, unless you just don’t want to understand…then it is understandable. :)
The AP And Fox News Leak Investigations Continue reading
Updated for clarity
Guest Post By Marcus Brutus
Extremist responses to anti-US atrocities fall into two categories: denial which spawns troofer movements or justification with dismissal. Glenn Greenwald’s latest article is an example of the second category, it’s his automatic response to Islamist terrorism. When the Oslo slaughter was believed to have been caused by salafis he justified slaughter by writing that Norway “prompted” (defined as to cause or bring about something) the attack. When news about Breivik came to light he changed his tune and decried how horrible the Oslo attacks were since it was now something he could exploit. The only conclusion to make is that Greenwald believes mass murder is justifiable depending on the perpetrator’s political and religious views. He justified the Boston bombings in an article that is an example of Comment Is Free depravity which published articles in support of North Korea and FGM.
On twitter he said that the Tsarnaev’s relative who denied the attacks is “talking more sense” about the attacks than the government. He wrote material dripping with sympathy for the surviving brother complaining that he was “being interrogated by the most aggressive and sophisticated agents the USG has. He’s 19, traumatized, injured & medicated” that is not impression of Mama Tsarnaev. A striking contrast to his past attempt to dismiss the attacks: so massacre are dismissible to him but making murderers uncomfortable is an inexcusable atrocity. Never forget! One person replied: “Martin Richard is 8, he’s dead. His sister is 6, lost her leg &is traumatized & medicated. Your sympathy is misplaced.”
Glenn endorsed multiple articles justifying the attacks he tweeted: “citing @JeremyScahill, Chomsky writes: “Boston Bombings Gave Americans Taste of the Terrorism US Inflicts Every Day.” It would be more accurate to say that Boston bombings gave Americans a taste of what Chomsky and Scahill (who described Bosniaks as “White Al-Qaea”) support. He retweeted an article by FAIR describing the Tsarnaev brothers as people who “responded to violence with violence” meaning that FAIR and Greenwald see it as just retaliation. FAIR is the same outlet that publishes pro-Assad propaganda, one article denies the Houla massacre based on the lunatic rambling of media lens, a hate group that promotes Rwanda genocide denial.
Greenwald quotes the young Tsarnaev that he and his brother “were motivated by the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” He also quotes similar motivations for other attempted or successful terrorists. When extremists shed crocodile tears by the gallon about Afghanistan and Iraq they are really expressing sympathy for the Taliban and Iraqi Sunni militants.
Glenn doesn’t try to hide it since he quotes Najibullah Zazi admission of conspiring “with others to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban” which suggests laziness or (understandable) disrespect for audience. He presents killing fellow citizens out of sympathy for the Taliban who are responsible for most Afghan civilian deaths, running a slave state and genocide as a noble dissent. Iraqi Sunni militants committed the Yazidi car bombings in an attempt to extirpate a harmless religious minority. The bombings were the worst atrocity in the Iraq war in which most civilian deaths were caused by Iraqis. If any of the men listed in the article ever once had any sympathetic motives or genuine outrage over civilian deaths they would not have killed out of support for groups responsible for most Afghan or Iraqi deaths.
Glenn goes on to describe Anwar al-Awaki as a former “moderate” he became “radicalized” by 21st century US foreign policy. Foreign policy magazine ran an article disproving his narrative about al-Awaki which he continues to repeat over and over again. Next its “Osama bin Laden, when justifying violence against Americans US military bases in Saudi Arabia, US support for Israeli aggression against its neighbors, and the 1990s US sanctions regime that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.” Bin Laden didn’t mention Israel nearly as much as Kashmir or Chechnya. Israel was a motive since Al-Qaeda believes in a global Jewish conspiracy that uses the US as its enforcing arm that’s the view that Greenwald prettifies. The claim about sanctions is false, the Baathist regime’s wealth increased during sanctions they were able to easily smuggle in gold and build palaces, they had the means to provide for children who perished solely because of state neglect. The whine about bases only proves that Islamist extremism is an ideology devoid of legit grievances, that won’t change no matter how many articles GG hacks out urging us to consider Jihadi complaints and not the grievances of their victims.
He sheds crocodile tears for Khomeini by mewling that ” Iranians who took over the US embassy in 1979 cited decades of brutal tyranny from the US-implanted-and-enabled Shah.” The Shah contrary to apologist revisionism was not implanted by the US he succeeded his father who had come to power by overthrowing the Qajars without American assistance. Islamic regime apologists who harp on about real or imagined Pahlavi abuses ignore that the monarchy fell because the Shah was not willing to slaughter his people. Khomeini had no similar squeamishness as he came to power by killing 20,000 people. Torture was probably the worst crime in the Pahlavi monarchy, except the Shah’s torturers remained employed by Khomeini. Soudabeh Ardavan described how her torturers were “pros”, “from the Shah’s era.” The real motive for the embassy seize was to allow Khomeini to seize control of Iran from the moderate interim leadership and bring about decades of brutal tyranny that Greenwald produces apologia for.
Glenn tries to cover his tracks with denial: “the issue here is causation, not justification or even fault.” That proves nothing if someone were to claim that women have smaller brains than men he would be a misogynist no matter how many times he wrote that he wasn’t a misogynist. On twitter in response to criticism he sneered “have an adult explain to you the difference between “causation” and “justification.” The critic made an excellent response that he ignored: “causation in this case can only come from a justification. You’d have to assume ‘choice’ doesn’t exist among Yemenis, Iraqis etc.”
What is justification? Glenn distorts what the word actually means, justification isn’t necessarily stating that the victims deserved it though that sentiment wouldn’t be unwelcome at CIF. The j-word is defined as “to declare free of blame; absolve.” The word seems to have roots in religion: “to free (a human) of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin.” Glenn attributes the “cause” of terrorism to the US not the actual perpetrators by that reasoning the terrorists are “free of blame” and “absolved” since if someone didn’t actually cause something they are free of blame and absolved. That makes Glenn a justifier which is defined as “one who justifies; one who vindicates, supports, defends, or absolves.” Conclusion: Greenwald justifies terrorism.
He claims that we must understand why “there are so many people who want to attack the US as opposed to, say, Peru, or South Africa, or Brazil, or Mexico, or Japan, or Portugal. It’s vital for two separate reasons.” The argument that Al-Qaeda never attacks small non-US countries is false. They attacked Indonesia twice in one attack slaughtering peaceful Christians, they attacked Australia over its support for the Timorese people. They participated in genocide alongside the Taliban proving their real motives are a blend of racism and wahabbism. They committed mass murder in Algeria, Spain, Denmark, Turkey and other countries which disproves Glenn’s argument. Can we expect an article justifying terrorism in Spain as “blowback” that was “caused” by the medieval reconquista?
Greenwald complains that “so many Americans, westerners, Christians and Jews love to run around insisting that the only real cause for Muslim attacks on the US is that the attackers have this primitive, brutal, savage, uncivilized religion (Islam) that makes them do it.” He complains about Sam Harris who believes that “Islamic doctrines … still present huge problems for the emergence of a global civil society.” To claim that Islam in general “makes them do it” is inaccurate, after all the Crimean Tatars did not respond to Stalinism by massacring Russian children. he disturbing thing is that both conflate Islam with fundamentalist strains only Glenn does so out of sympathy and Sam does it out of contempt.
Jihadi atrocities are actually caused by extremist interpretations and strains of Islam and racist ideologies. This is confirmed by briefly skimming a history of al-Qaeda, glancing at the news or otherwise stepping out of the alternate universe Greenwald creates with his articles.The facts show that people Greenwald presents as motivated by rational outrage at old glory constantly attack harmless, irrelevant non-US targets because of religious views. Al-Qaeda has slaughtered Christians, Shias, non-Wahabbi Sunnis and bombed a Turkish synagogue. Many of the worst attacks predate the US foreign policies that Greenwald focuses on.
He quips that “people often love to accuse Muslims of being tribal without realizing the irony that what they are saying – Our Side is Superior and They are Inferior – is the ultimate expression of rank tribalism.” He’s made it clear what sort of people he means by ‘Muslims’, there’s nothing tribal about the view he attacks as ‘our side’ is multi-racial and multi-cultural. That’s an incoherent argument, is Glenn suggesting that Islamist dictatorships are ethically equivalent to democracies? I see nothing self-glorifying about stating which one is the best, offering a better life than theocracies is possibly the lowest standard for a democracy. Similarly stating you’re not a serial killer is the lowest standard individuals can meet, not self-glorification.
He insists “attackers themselves make as clear as they can, it’s not religious fanaticism but rather political grievance that motivates these attacks…the motive is anger over what is being done by the US and its allies to Muslims.” That can easily be rebutted by pointing to al-Qaeda’s record of slaughtering civilians without any political or military significance solely because of their victims’ religion or ethnicity. Glenn’s argument is so facile that it can be refuted by quoting Islamist terrorists who plainly state they are motivated by religious fanaticism.
The GIA leadership explained their motives for butchering Algerian civilians in a communiqué describing Algerians as “infidels and apostates” with no right to live because they didn’t practice the GIA’s brand of Islam. Mullah Omar ordered his men to slaughter Hazaras because of their ethnic heritage and Shia religion: “the Hazaras are not Muslims and now we have to kill Hazaras, killing them is not a sin.” Justification is also defined as “to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded” which perfectly describes his argument which is as absurd as describing the Interahamwe as a civil rights movement.
Glenn complains of a “pervasive belief in the US that we can invade, bomb, drone, kill, occupy, and tyrannize whomever we want, and that they will never respond.” ‘They’ were Chechens does Glenn think that the US invaded, bombed and droned lands occupied by Chechens? If so it would be his least inaccurate opinion. He claims that the Boston attack was an “inevitable outcome of these choices” another justification, anyone who attributes responsibility for an atrocity to anyone other than the perpetrators is an apologist for that atrocity. He also includes a link to a Ron Paul speech. To recap: Glenn wrote an article justifying Sunni extremist terrorism and Khomeinist tyranny then endorsed a White supremacist and someone actually published that instead of mistaking the article for a parody of far-right drivel.
Greenwald concludes by describing the Boston bombings as a result of “our own actions” I’ve already explained why that is justification unlike Glenn I hate to repeat myself. Greenwald ignores that anti-Semitism motivated the Boston bomber brothers (the perfect video game for any CIF fan) since one was interested in buying a copy of the protocols of Zion: that’s what Greenwald defends and justifies. There is growing evidence they killed three people solely because the victims were born Jewish, if it turns out that Tsarnaev committed the murders, was that the result of “our own actions?” Or maybe it was caused by Israel? Anyone believing those views would be expressing views no different from Greenwald’s arguments.
He ends by endorsing by endorsing Jeremy Scahill whose record includes support Somali pirates, jihadis and Milosevic. The guardian is useful only as an example of Poe’s law. Every day it comes more indistinguishable from Inspire or the American Free Press.
The Republican party has no shame. They lie, cheat and steal their way into office. They embody such good Christian values…cough, choke, spit.
I often fantasize about a movie in the style of “Oh God”, where George Burns (God) confronts people like Michelle Bachman and Louie Gohmert or a long list of Republicans who blatantly tell falsehoods, repeatedly and even after being called out on it. If there is a hell, I imagine there will be an especially hot place reserved for these people.
It’s not often that we get to see the birth of one of these lies, placenta and all. From Steve Benen…
The National Republican Senate Committee accused Markey yesterday of claiming he “invented the satellite dish, low-cost mobile phone calls, and the ability for cable companies to provide long distance service.” The NRSC added, “Perhaps Markey can use the technology he invented to call, tweet, or message his friend Al Gore, inventor of the internet.”
Conservative humor is just so droll, isn’t it?
The problem, of course, is that the National Republican Senate Committee is lying. For one thing, Al Gore never claimed to be the inventor of the Internet. It just never happened — Republicans distorted a Gore comment, the media uncritically ran with it, and a ridiculous smear quickly entered the public consciousness.
For another, Markey didn’t say he “invented the satellite dish.” Matt Yglesias sets the record straight.
What Rep. Ed Markey helped to do in the 1992 Cable Act was to force the cable companies to license content to satellite companies in order to compete with the vertically integrated cable systems that were beginning their takeover of television markets. Competition being a good thing, right?
I guess it’s hard to blame them for attempting it, since the “Al Gore invented the internet” lie worked so well for them in 2000. And with the superficial media, who I’m beginning to think are illiterate, gladly helped to perpetuate that lie.
The sad thing is, the media is much worse than it was in 2000. Let’s see how they handle this one.
This was recorded a couple of weeks ago, but still timely and relevant IMHO! We talk about the Oscar Pistorius case and the connections to gun safety; suicide and how we wish Aaron Schwartz was still around; President Obama’s misinterpreted words on fathers in a speech in Chicago; single moms and the importance of role models.
The RSS Feed for the podcast is in the right column.
I’ve decided that I’m going to try to do short takes on the news of the day and provide links when appropriate. Finding the time to write longer pieces would entail quitting one of my jobs and living in a trailer somewhere. So instead, I’ll try this. If you want to consider this an open thread, please do so. And you trolls, please read the comment policy and don’t be surprised if your vile comments never make the cut.
I got a good laugh watching the reports about Mark Sanford attempting to rehabilitate himself after his fall from politics. He was, of course, hiking the Appalachian Trail, which a lot of people didn’t know extends all the way to Argentina.
The story about Oscar Pistorius shooting his girlfriend is a perfect example of why having a gun in the home often leads to tragedy. Whether he did it on purpose or it was an “accident”, she would be alive today if there wasn’t a gun in the house.
I’ve seen quite enough of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, why don’t they get jobs or something and contribute to the economy, instead of pretending like Republicans in Washington actually give a shit about the future of our country.
Reminder of the day: Republicans held our economy hostage in the summer of 2011, our President negotiated a deal to prevent a financial meltdown and at the time, Politico called Mitch McConnell “the chief Republican architect of the compromise”. Media, please stop letting the Republican stooges keep repeating that the sequester was the President’s idea, just stop. You look like damn fools….again.
And of course, Mitch McConnell wasn’t the only Republican counting on nobody paying attention to reality for the last 4 years. Paul Ryan tried some serious revisionist history by trying to use his “baffle them with bullshit” techniques when asked about his touting the sequester back when it happened. It didn’t work. Busted!
I’ve been seeing on Twitter that the White House Press Corp is whining about access to the president or the number of press conferences or some horseshit. Considering what the WHPC has become, they should be glad he even acknowledges their existence.
We welcome a special guest who worked for CNN for many years and now teaches broadcasting. He offers great insight into the issue of media bias and how social media is becoming a big part of local news operations. We talk politics as well, so give us a listen.