Jonathan Chait has penned a must read of a column on Glenn Greenwald. Go read the whole thing. Here are a few passages that stuck out to me. (emphasis mine)
The debate over domestic surveillance is not a debate about what we think about Glenn Greenwald. But Greenwald is a fascinating character. His resemblance to Ralph Nader is not one that, so far as I can tell, anybody has thought to make. [...]
For Greenwald, like Nader, the lawyer is the key protagonist in his political drama. Political victory is a series of successful lawsuits. He is wildly litigious:
In 1997, Achatz and Greenwald filed another lawsuit for broken elevators in their building. (They lived on the 32nd floor.) They later moved into another building in Midtown Manhattan, and countersued after being sued by that landlord for having a dog that weighed more than 35 pounds. They sued American Airlines and its parent company for not placing the right number of miles flown in their frequent-flier account.
Greenwald, like Nader, marries an indefatigable mastery of detail with fierce moralism. Every issue he examines has a good side and an evil side. Greenwald, speaking not long ago to the New York Times, said something revealing about his intellectual style:
“I approach my journalism as a litigator,” he said. “People say things, you assume they are lying, and dig for documents to prove it.” [...]
That is the echo of Greenwald’s suspicions of the Democratic agenda. President Obama scaled back some of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies — torture, warrantless wiretapping — but kept in place others. One could make the case that he did not change enough, but that is not a Greenwald sort of argument. He insists that Obama is worse than Bush. Obama’s health-care reform was not just a step along the way to Greenwald’s ideal, it was a monstrous sellout that probably did no good at all (“there is a reasonable debate to be had among reform advocates over whether this bill is a net benefit or a net harm.”).
This way of looking at the world naturally places one in conflict with most liberals, who are willing to distinguish between gradations of success or failure. Nader and Greenwald believe their analysis not only completely correct, but so obviously correct that the only motivation one could have to disagree is corruption. Good-faith disagreement, or even rank stupidity, is not possible around Greenwald. His liberal critics are lackeys and partisan shills. He may be willing to concede ideological disagreement with self-identified conservatives, but a liberal who disagrees can only be a kept man.
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?
David Maraniss wrote a book about President Obama called Barack Obama: The Story. I haven’t read it yet, but I did see Maraniss on several shows discussing the book and it has caused a stir on both the left and the right. I’ve always thought he was a straight shooter and about as objective as any writer of politics can be.
I think a lot of the negative reaction from the left towards his book was because of the way the crazy right was spinning it, which has become the norm for the right these days. They take one little kernel of information (or plucked sentence) and manufacture a massive lie, complete with conspiracies and dire implications and then push it out into the public sphere through surrogates, including “respected” Senators, Representatives, Governors, pundits, bloggers and radio blowhards. And of course, network and cable talking heads then dutifully pick it up and further pound it into the public consciousness. A perfect example of this was seen when Donald Trump, or as I called him at the time, “Balloon Boy”, was appearing on the half hour at MSNBC to blow his birth certificate dog whistle.
David Maraniss wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post that is worth a read. It disproves some of the craziness floating around in right wing circles with actual facts, history and truth…what a concept. Here is a snippet…
Not all of them are “birthers,” but the notion that the president was not born in the United States remains at the epicenter of the anti-Obama mythology. Here is the conspiracy that would have had to exist if Barack Hussein Obama II were not born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961:
First, the local newspapers would have had to have been in on the scheme, because they ran notices of his birth among all the other local births that week. Second, the Immigration and Naturalization Service would have had to have been covering something up, because INS officials were closely tracking Barack Obama Sr. when he was at the University of Hawaii on a student visa from Kenya. They thought that he was a bigamist — which he was, having married a woman in Kenya before coming to the States — and a womanizer, which he also was. INS documents in the weeks and months before and after the son’s birth clearly establish the father’s whereabouts and the birth of his son. Finally, the name of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, was unusual enough that doctors and nurses in Honolulu remembered it and her giving birth. One prominent doctor was asked by a young journalist if anything interesting had happened in the medical world that week, and he responded, “Well, Stanley had a baby!”
What concerns me is that many people – way too many people – when presented with these facts, still refuse to believe that he was born in Hawaii. Whether it’s because of racism, partisanship, stupidity, paranoid schizophrenia or the constant brainwashing by the above mentioned surrogates, it has gotten out of control. When the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is a couple of heartbeats away from the presidency, panders to those who believe them, it proves that the the Grand Old Party ain’t so grand anymore.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
The Republicans and their media enablers continuously spread misinformation about the deficit and debt. For anyone who is unclear, the definitions are below.
The Federal Deficit – The deficit is the difference between the money federal government takes in, called receipts, and what it spends, called outlays, each year.
The National Debt – The amount of the Treasury securities issued to the public and to the government trust funds is considered that year’s deficit and becomes part of the larger, ongoing national debt.
An incoming president, no matter who it is, inherits the previous president(s) deficits and debts. It’s a nice welcoming gift for the person “lucky” enough to win the election. The following chart breaks down what the national debt consists of and projects it into the future. It’s been around for a while, but never gets old as far as spelling out the truth in graph form. Courtesy of Steve Benen, now of The Maddow Blog.
Below is one of the latest ads from the Obama campaign. It pushes back against the very deceptive ad from Romney that takes a couple of sentences from a speech by the President and shuffles them around to create a nice, new lie.
I picture the Romney hacks sitting around watching every word the President says, just waiting for him to utter something they can selectively edit, distort and otherwise use to mislead the American people. It really has to suck working for Romney, they have nothing but lies.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
THIS times billions and billions!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
It has become known as “ObamaCare”, thanks to the media, including those on the left and of course, Republican politicians.
I remember the battle for health care reform during the early 90’s when the Clinton’s took on the issue and failed miserably. It sucked all the oxygen out of Washington, along with the wonderful compromise that President Clinton made that brought us Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (sarcasm)
When President Obama announced that he was going to pass a health care law early on in his presidency, I thought it was a bad idea. I couldn’t help but picture a similar outcome as the Clinton’s produced. NADA!
Since I lived through the other attempt at health care reform and followed it closely, when the Obama administration was successful at passing the Affordable Care Act, I was elated. Even with all of it’s imperfections, the fact that President Obama set the standard that America cares about the health of ALL of its citizens was incredible. It was a monumental achievement, one that will go down as one of the most amazing political wins in the history of our country.
Given the opposition from both sides of the aisle and the huge amount of misinformation that was and still is being spread about it, I thought I’d take a minute to share with you some truth about what “ObamaCare” has accomplished so far. There is much more to come in the years ahead.
More than 2.5 million young Americans under 26 now have health insurance who would otherwise not be covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday morning.
Previously, the department had reported that 1 million young people were covered under the provision in the act, which also helps recent college graduates without a job but not on a parent’s plan stay insured.
I work at a university and supervise over 15 student workers. To them, the Affordable Care Act is kick-ass.
by Milt Shook
One of the most galling things about the professional left is the number of times they lie to make a point. You can’t be a progressive and also lie to the people who read your stuff. As this blog notes time and time again, the truth has a liberal bias; Fox News needs to lie; we do not.
Case in point; the hysteria over what many pro and emo lefties refer to as the “Indefinite Detention Bill.” Even people I often admire are buying into the hysteria, and it’s become depressing.
First thing you should know is, there is NO SUCH THING as an “Indefinite Detention Bill.” The actual bill Obama first threatened to veto and has now agreed to sign is called the “National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012.” The part about the “indefinite detention” is actually a poison pill amendment Republicans inserted into the bill to portray any Democrat who votes against it or President Obama if he vetoes it as being “against our troops.” Republicans put it there, not Democrats or Obama.
Yet, who the hell do these supposed “liberals” go after? Not the people who put that crap into the bill in the first place, of course. They go after President Obama, who has command the military (which includes my son, who’s working hard trying to rebuild Afghanistan, by the way) and have little choice but to put up with such Amendments. How incredibly stupid is this? Did so many progressive really learn NOTHING from the 2010 elections?
Obama doesn’t have a line-item veto, so he can’t veto the “Indefinite Detention Bill” without vetoing the entire NDAA. Now, you may think that would be a good thing, but would it? It’s not just about the troops. What about all of those civilians who might lose their jobs for at least a month or two, while Obama and Congress, including teabaggers, who have declared defeating Obama as their main goal, worked out a new NDAA without that little amendment, assuming they could do so? What do you think canceling all those defense contracts for a month or two would do to the unemployment rate? How about six months? What would happen to all of those small towns that depend on the military bases and contractors to support their small businesses? Do you imagine the GOP might be a bit energized after the unemployment rate suddenly rises to 10%?
Those of you who claim “principle” when you discuss this need to stop. Many pros and emos claim Obama’s showing a “lack of principle” by signing this “Indefinite Detention Bill.” Forget the fact that you’re claiming a lack of principle when you’re lying to the public about a bill that doesn’t exist. You’re actually advocating for an action that could put millions of people out of work for a few months, and forcing our troops to lose their meager pay for a few months for… what, exactly? What are your “principles” when you advocate for that, in order to kill an amendment that will probably ultimately have zero effect on anyone, and might even die in the courts?
I don’t like this amendment any more than you do. But you know what? If he vetoes this bill to kill that amendment, and then causes the Republicans to win in 2012, they’re just going to pass the same bill, and allow President Gingrich/Romney/Perry to detain people at will, anyway, right?
When I read something from one of the usual suspects that makes no acknowledgment of either the Republicans lockstep opposition or the accomplishments of President Obama considering that opposition, I know that they have other motivations.
When I hear Michael Moore on damn near any show he can get on, say that President Obama hasn’t done anything, I have to wonder if it’s because he is just ignorant and hasn’t paid attention for the last 2 & 3/4 years or if he is just blatantly lying for his own gain. There has to be a reason why he wants to push false memes and help Republicans get back in control of the White House.
What’s most annoying and indicative of his lack of perspective and basic common sense, is the same old same old arguments and talking points and the inevitable comparison with FDR.
Obama could have done this. Obama could have done that. He’s caved on everything financial. He gives in to the Republicans. In the words of another well-known liberal scribe, !Yada yada yada yada.”
I want to SCREAM.
Let’s address FDR and the fabled Hundred Days. FDR was working in a time when the Republican party consisted of most of your scions of financial and industrial behemoths in the US. Really, Roosevelt should have been part of that set-up, but he was the exception to the rule. Apart from those guys dotted about the place, the rest of the country was B-L-U-E.
In the Senate alone, which then had 96 members, the Democrats had a majority of 71. And it’s true what Gov Granholme kept shouting. From the very beginning, the President simply didn’t have the votes. In fact, there was only a period of about four months – from the time Al Franken was belatedly sworn in as Senator until Ted Kennedy’s death in August 2009 – that the Democrats had the fabled 60-vote majority, and two of those votes were Independents who caucused with the Democrats, and one of those Democrats was Joe Lieberman.
Do you understand that? Does Bill?
In the beginning, with the stimulus, there were 57 Democrats (Franken awaiting confirmation) and two Independents, lacking one vote from the magic sixty. But both Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were ill. That made 55 Democrats and 2 Independents. To pass the stimulus, 3 Republican votes were needed, which was why the stimulus amount was reduced – in order to entice Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter to cross the aisle.
Even afterward, with all the healthcare debate, as well as the Republicans, the President was fighting the Blue Dog likes of Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln.
Do you understand that? Does Bill?
As for the fact that the President “caved” on extending the Bush tax cuts, Bill needs to cop this truth: At the end of July 2010, before the August recess, the President summoned Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to the White House to tell them he wanted Congress to vote on repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in September before Congress adjourned for the Midterm hustings. He felt that this would be a good campaign point. Reid and Pelosi refused.
That’s right. They refused. Reid was in a tight race, you recall, with Sharron Angle, and didn’t want to anger wealthy fence-sitters in Nevada. If that weren’t enough, Reid enlisted Russ Feingold – yes, Heavenly Father Progressively Pure Saint Russ Feingold – to plead his case. Feingold, reportedly, lobbied the President to leave off voting on the repeal of the tax cuts until after the Midterms, during the Lame Duck session.
That worked so well, didn’t it? If you recall, the Republicans, high on scoring a major victory in the House and reducing their minority in the Senate, wrote a letter telling the President that they would refuse to consider any legislation during Lame Duck until the tax cuts were done and dusted – meaning extended.
The ensuing negotiations, with the Republicans simply refusing to budge, were anything but a cave on the President’s part. Even ueber Rightwing sage and intellectual, Charles Krauthammer, despairingly admitted that. In fact, he called Obama’s “caving”, the Swindle of the Year, and berated the Republican party for allowing it.
I give credit to few Republicans, but Krauthammer’s a real intellectual, and he’s certainly smarter than Bill Maher for recognising that.
Not to mention a slew of legislation in that compromise, which helped the poor, about whom Bill Maher says he cares so much, Congress also managed to repeal DADT and pass the First Responders Health bill and the START treaty. Besides, the tax cuts were only extended for two years – until 2012 – making them fodder for the campaign cannon next year, if not sooner.
As far as the debt ceiling crisis is concerned, maybe Bill should realise that voting on raising the debt ceiling was part of the Lame Duck proposals too – getting that out of the way in the last days of a Democratic Congress – but Harry Reid pooh-pooed that idea, wanting to bring the vote to a head when it was due to be heard, originally in March 2011. That way, he reckoned, the Republican House could own part of the responsibility.
And how well did that work out?
I remember all of that, but isn’t it amazing how many have forgotten?
We are living in interesting political times, folks. It’s been a gradual process, but we have made it to the point in time where every political group operates within their own reality. People talk past each other constantly, there is hardly any agreement on an objective reality. Facts don’t exist anymore or at least don’t seem to matter when people form their opinions. The Republicans have been using it to great advantage over the last few years, convincing their mindless followers of their own set of “facts” and then pushing them on the masses with no push back from the traditional media at all.
The latest clown to climb aboard the Republican clown car, as Tim Pawlenty jumped off, was Governor Perry of Texas. The media are giving him his 15 minutes as we speak, but let me predict that the rats will be fleeing that ship pretty quickly. But who can predict anything these days, interesting times for sure.
Steve Benen tells us about Gov. Perry’s alternate reality as it relates to the recent debt ceiling debacle…
Ordinarily, when Republicans try to rewrite history, they tend to point to events that happened quite a while ago, which makes it easier to play on short memories. Rewriting the events of two weeks ago seems more brazen.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is kicking off his presidential campaign with a bit of creative spin on S&P’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating: turns out President Obama did it.
In his first and bio-heavy campaign video of his presidential campaign, Perry places the blame for the downgrade squarely on the shoulders of Obama.
As the buffoonish governor sees it, “the president’s refusal to control spending” led to the downgrade.
I know Rick Perry isn’t the only buffoon who is trying to push that idea, but he has a certain style to his buffoonishness. As with other things I’ve heard and seen about the good governor from our friend GrantInHouston and other places, he reaches new levels of absurdity. More from Steve…
This isn’t ancient history. This just happened and should still be fresh in everyone’s memory.
Perry’s attack, by the way, comes the same day as the governor downplayed the threat of default. The irony is astounding: S&P downgrades our debt because far-right Republicans didn’t take default seriously; Perry announces he agrees with those far-right Republicans; Perry then holds Obama responsible for the S&P decision.
I know I’ve used this line many times before, but Richard Pryor said it best, “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”
No comment needed, the best speech I’ve ever heard.
A plurality of Americans think bank bailouts started under President Obama, according to a new Pew poll.
In Pew’s most recent “News IQ Quiz,” 47 percent of respondents thought Obama initiated the Troubled Asset Relief Program, compared to just 34 percent who correctly guessed it was former President George W. Bush.
Yo, anyone interested in the truth….George W. Bush signed the TARP bailout on October 3, 2008, well before Barack Obama was even elected president. Spread the truth…it hurts Republicans. The interesting thing about it is that prior to signing, the bill was supported by the American people. Before the congress started debating it, from Pew…
By a margin of almost two-to-one the American public thinks the government is doing the right thing in investing billions of dollars to try to keep financial institutions and markets secure. Reacting to initial reports of the federal bailout plan over the weekend, 57% said the government was doing the right thing, while 30% said it was doing the wrong thing. At the same time, only 19% of the public believes that the government is currently doing an excellent or good job in handling the financial problems on Wall Street. Support for the administration’s plan to bailout many of the nation’s troubled financial institutions is largely bipartisan.
After the debate, those numbers changed but still showed a plurality of people supporting it, from a Pew poll a week later….
As Congress debated the financial bailout bill over the past week, public support for government action has declined. A new Pew Research Center survey conducted Sept. 27-29 finds a narrow 45%-38% plurality of the public saying that a government plan to invest or commit billions of dollars to secure financial institutions is the right thing to do.
Of course our amnesic public with the help of the brain dead media and the lying Republicans have succeeded at placing this at President Obama’s feet like several other actions by Bush and his gang. But wait, there is more, the majority of the TARP has been paid back
The Troubled Asset Relief Program has reached a significant milestone: The amount of TARP money paid back to the federal government has surpassed the amount that remains outstanding. Through the end of May, $194 billion in TARP money had been repaid, compared with $190 billion in TARP still owed to the government.
Every time someone in the media allows this misinformation to be spewed onto their airwaves, we must stand up to it. The lying and misleading has to stop or us Democrats will pay the price in November.