I’m still in editing mode on a project, but just had to share this post that my friend and fellow blogger Angry Black Lady wrote about a piece by Tim Wise, one of the leading experts on racism in the country. It takes on those on the left flirting with Ron Paul and is a must read for liberals. Go check out ABL’s post and really, go read Tim Wise’s entire piece, it is long but well worth it. Here is ABL’s lead in to an excerpt that gets to the heart of the post.
But people are starting to get it. The Greenwald sweater of polemical deceit is unraveling, and I like it. I like it because I find his sort of polemical discourse and rhetorical bomb-throwing to be a reckless distraction from the serious problems that confront us.
I especially like this, from Tim Wise — “Of Broken Clocks, Presidential Candidates, and the Confusion of Certain White Liberals.” It’s a thing of beauty. You should read the whole thing, but I’m going to excerpt what I see as the most salient bit:
I want those of you who are seriously singing Paul’s praises, while calling yourself progressive or left to ask what it signifies — not about Ron Paul, but about you — that you can look the rest of us in the eye, your political colleagues and allies, and say, in effect, “Well, he might be a little racist, but…
How do you think that sounds to black people, without whom no remotely progressive candidate stands a chance of winning shit in this country at a national level? How does it sound to them — a group that has been more loyal to progressive and left politics than any group in this country — when you praise a man who opposes probably the single most important piece of legislation ever passed in this country, and whose position on the right of businesses to discriminate, places him on the side of the segregated lunchcounter owners? And how do you think they take it that you praise this man, or possibly even support him for president, all so as to teach the black guy currently in the office a lesson for failing to live up to your expectations?
How do you think it sounds to them, right now, this week, as we prepare to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, that you claim to be progressive, and yet you are praising or even encouraging support for a man who voted against that holiday, who opposes almost every aspect of King’s public policy agenda, and the crowning achievements of the movement he helped lead?
My guess is that you don’t think about this at all. Because you don’t have to. One guess as to why not.
It’s the same reason you don’t have to think about how it sounds to most women — and damned near all progressive women — when you praise Paul openly despite his views on reproductive freedom, and even sexual harassment, which Paul has said should not even be an issue for the courts. He thinks women who are harassed on the job should just quit. In other words, “Yeah, he might be a little bit sexist, but…”
It’s the same reason you don’t have to really sweat the fact that he would love to cut important social programs for poor people. And you don’t have to worry about how it sounds to them that you would claim to be progressive, while encouraging support for a guy who would pull what minimal safety net still exists from under them, and leave it to private charities to fill the gap. And we all know why you don’t have to worry about it. Because you aren’t them. You aren’t the ones who would be affected. You’ll never be them. I doubt you even know anyone like that. People who are that poor don’t follow you on Twitter.
And please, Glenn Greenwald, spare me the tired shtick about how Paul “raises important issues” that no one on the left is raising, and so even though you’re not endorsing him, it is still helpful to a progressive narrative that his voice be heard. Bullshit. The stronger Paul gets the stronger Paul gets, period. And the stronger Paul gets, the stronger libertarianism gets, and thus, the Libertarian Party as a potential third party: not the Greens, mind you, but the Libertarians. And the stronger Paul gets, the stronger become those voices who worship the free market as though it were an invisible fairy godparent, capable of dispensing all good things to all comers — people like Paul Ryan, for instance, or Scott Walker. In a nation where the dominant narrative has long been anti-tax, anti-regulation, poor-people-bashing and God-bless-capitalism, it would be precisely those aspects of Paul’s ideological grab bag that would become more prominent. And if you don’t know that, you are a fool of such Herculean proportions as to suggest that Salon might wish to consider administering some kind of political-movement-related-cognitive skills test for its columnists, and the setting of a minimum cutoff score, below which you would, for this one stroke of asininity alone, most assuredly fall.
I mean, seriously, if “raising important issues” is all it takes to get some kind words from liberal authors, bloggers and activists, and maybe even votes from some progressives, just so as to “shake things up,” then why not support David Duke? With the exception of his views on the drug war, David shares every single view of Paul’s that can be considered progressive or left in orientation. Every single one. So where do you draw the line? Must one have actually donned a Klan hood and lit a cross before his handful of liberal stands prove to be insufficient? Must one actually, as Duke has been known to do, light candles on a birthday cake for Hitler on April 20, before it no longer proves adequate to want to limit the overzealous reach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms? Exactly when does one become too much of an evil fuck even for you? Inquiring minds seriously want to know.
And here is another chunk from ABL’s post which is a preface to a book authored by Glenn Greenwald that I’ve been wanting to write about since I was turned onto it. It made me say out loud, “Whaaaaaaaaa?”…
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.
And this is the guy going around calling anyone who supports President Obama “baby-killers”. People call this guy smart?
There have been many lies circulated about President Obama over the last 3 years, but the one that seems to have poisoned the water from the beginning is the lie that President Obama struck a deal to keep the public option out of the final health care bill. It has formed the basis of the “caved” meme that people on the left, most of whom never supported Obama as a candidate, have used to feed their irrational hatred for our president.
The lie has taken on epic proportions as it’s morphed over the years. Recently, I’ve had liberal friends throw it in my face when I’ve shown my support for our very accomplished president. The lying has to stop!
The birth of the “public option” lie
The original source from which the lie was created, is an article that David Kirkpatrick wrote in the New York Times about the active role that President Obama was taking in crafting the health care law. There were two mentions of the “public option” in the entire article, one was in reference to what the Democrats in the house were pushing and the other contradicts the lie completely. Rep. Henry Waxman was quoted in the article.
“The president has said he wants a public option to keep everybody honest. He hasn’t said he wants a co-op as a public option.”
You really can’t get any more clear than that, can you? In the article that is the source for the public option lie, there is a quote from a respected member of the House saying that the president wants a public option. And to be fair to the author, he never even implies that the public option was part of the deal.
The New York Times article also discusses how the White House was more hands-on with the Senate Finance Committee than with other congressional committees. What is implicit in this analysis is that the White House understood that, as with every piece of legislation the administration supported, it was the Senate that posed the biggest impediment to achieving comprehensive health care reform.
There was another quote from earlier in the article that many used as the basis for the lie. It is an explanation of the deal that caps the costs for hospitals.
Hospital industry lobbyists, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House, say they negotiated their $155 billion in concessions with Mr. Baucus and the administration in tandem. House staff members were present, including for at least one White House meeting, but their role was peripheral, the lobbyists said.
Several hospital lobbyists involved in the White House deals said it was understood as a condition of their support that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private sector rates — or controlled by the secretary of health and human services.
There is nothing in those two paragraphs that says anything about a deal on the public option, it is talking very specifically about costs to hospitals and reimbursement rates for patients on Medicare. The sentence “would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private rates…” is poorly worded and could easily be misinterpreted, especially by people searching for a reason to hate the President.
If you read David Kirkpatrick’s words carefully, you see that the deal was on reimbursement rates and how they wouldn’t be the 80% that Medicare generally pays, which was a sore spot for hospitals.
Here is another example of that same idea, worded slightly better, but with selective placement of quotation marks. Tom Daschle wasn’t happy with the authors characterization of his words and corrected it in an update.
Daschle writes. “The other was that it would contain no public health plan,” which would have reimbursed hospitals at a lower rate than private insurers.
Once again, if you were to stop reading after the words “health plan”, you wouldn’t have gotten the entire meaning of the sentence. Experience tells me that the Obama-haters aren’t interested in the truth, only that which fits with their preconceived memes.
Tom Daschle sent a note to the author clarifying his comments and making it very clear that there was no deal on the public option.
“In describing some of the challenges to passage of the public option in the health reform bill, I did not mean to suggest in any way that the President was not committed to it. The President fought for the public option just as he did for affordable health care for all Americans. The public option was dropped only when it was no longer viable in Congress, not as a result of any deal cut by the White House. While I was disappointed that the public option was not included in the final legislation, the Affordable Care Act remains a tremendous achievement for the President and the nation.” (emphasis mine)
If you haven’t gone to iTunes and subscribed to the Bubble Genius Bob and Chez Show podcast, you are missing out on the best political analysis around and a lot of great laughs. You can find them at their respective blogs, Bob Cesca’s Aweseome Blog! Go! and Deus Ex Malcontent where they consistently tell it like it is.
I personally look forward to the show like a little kid looks forward to candy.
A few weeks ago, they did a show called “Stop Whining”, which I highly recommend you listen to, after you subscribe to them on iTunes. But in case you prefer reading or are at work and can’t really listen, I took the time to transcribe a large portion of that show for your reading pleasure. I think it exposes the true motivations and agenda of those who have become known as the “Professional Left” or the name I prefer, “Firebaggers”.
As with anyone, I don’t agree with everything they say, but damn near everything in this portion of the show. The one thing I disagree on is the characterization of the blog post by Deaniac83 from The People’s View that was the impetus for a lot of the discussion. Deaniac83′s post about the debt ceiling deal, as I saw it, was about how that deal wasn’t as bad as it was being portrayed by many on the left. I didn’t perceive it as approving of the deal, but rather that the President made the best of a bad situation. Contrary to John Boehner’s characterization that he got 98% of what he wanted, when you look at the deal from a wider perspective, President Obama “ate his lunch”. They quickly move away from that subject and on to an incredibly insightful analysis of the “firebaggers” — who seem intent on helping the Republicans take down our Democratic President Barack Obama. Enjoy and share widely!
Bob Cesca (B)- I don’t watch Morning Joe anymore, but I can guarantee you that they were talking about this, concern trolling about it on Morning Joe over the last couple of days, because they love to do that. Oh look, the president’s losing his base…when, we’ve talked about here, it’s not really the base. The liberal blogosphere is not the base of the Democratic Party, certainly not the Obama campaign. And it never has been…we’ve always been fickle, we were divided during the primaries in 2008. A lot of people were very hesitant to jump onboard, once President Obama became the nominee. But regardless, here’s the story. Backing up on this..”The Obama administrations point person”…this if from the Huffinton Post, “The Obama campaign’s point person in New Mexico recently sent an email to supporters defending the President’s position on the debt deal and bashing the Nobel prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and the quote
Chez Pazienza (C)- interject for a moment, the vital, vital outpost of New Mexico
B- That’s exactly right, ah…columnist Paul Krugman..
C – Defending the frontier
B- Right, the quote unquote “firebagger lefty blogosphere”, On the evening of August 1st. dunt, dunt, duh duh…cue the dubious music for this. “On the evening of Aug. 1, just after Congress passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling, Obama for America (OFA) New Mexico State Director Ray Sandoval sent an email to supporters with the subject line, “Please take 5 minutes to read this, Please.” He used the magic word twice. “”I know many of you have raised frustrations, but please, I implore you, please take 5 minutes and read the article below. It does a great job of explaining the Debt Ceiling deal,” Sandoval wrote in bold text.” Now, that was all he wrote and then it proceeded to include this blog post from a blog called The People’s View and the blog post went on to, ah, criticize Paul Krugman as being a political rookie, it used the word firebagger, you know, which is sort of the colloquialism combining Firedoglake and teabaggers, which I use that a lot, It’s, I think it’s appropriate.
C – It is actually.
B – He even used the ah…
C- I try really hard, actually, not to do too much of the adjusting names because I’ve always thought that it’s kind of childish when you do like the, you know, the Rethuglicans….(crosstalk)….but firebagger admittedly works and of course I can’t let myself off the hook for calling them teabaggers so uh..
B – Well you have to…
C – That’s a joke that makes it’s own gravy
I’m not a huge fan of Glenn Greenwald. There are many reasons why I dislike the man and his writings, but the main ones are his dishonesty and hyperbolic rhetoric. I only read him when I’m tipped off to something particularly crazy.
I’ll be honest and say that when he was assaulting the Bush administration, I was cheering him on. But even then, I noticed that Greenwald played loose with the facts and exaggerated things beyond recognition (Warning, right-wing link). So even though it was aimed at Bush, it still left a bad taste in my mouth. Lying and misleading is a Republican thing, but of course, anyone who knows about Greenwald, knows that he is a libertarian (civil, LOL) and doesn’t vote.
I was searching Google one day and came across an article in The Nation titled “A Response to Glenn Greenwald“, written by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine. Of course, I had to click on it. In recent years, Greenwald has become an example of how — with the growth of the internet — people have been given platforms who don’t deserve it and don’t have enough integrity to wield such power. Glenn Greenwald has shown time and time again that he is vicious in his attacks on people and uses every sleazy rhetorical technique known to humans to push his narrative. He is completely anti-Obama, anti-government and anti-Democratic Party. He used to be anti-Republican Party during the Bush years and that is when he established some false credibility with the left.
I did a study of his posts on Salon.com for a period of just over a month. What I found was — out of 43 posts, 38 of them were anti-Obama and the remaining 5 were about something non political. There were zero posts that attacked Republicans. ZERO! I guess the GOP hasn’t done anything recently that has upset Glenn.
If you want to experience the full impact of Glenn Greenwald’s hyperbole and over-the-top rhetoric, I suggest you read things in the order that I did. None of the articles are extremely long, with the exception of Glenn’s and his many updates, so it shouldn’t take that long. But you can certainly just keep reading here, too.
I first read the response to Glenn Greenwald from Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, the subjects of Glenn’s scorn. I then went and read the original piece they had written that upset Greenwald so much. And finally, I read Greenwald’s wild-eyed screed, laying into the two people who wrote the offending piece
If you didn’t see this last night on Ed Schultz’s show, good for you, don’t watch that shit. But this clip where Ed Schultz says a line that I don’t think Jane Hamsher appreciated, is worth watching. Ed’s response to her was typical Ed and really didn’t explain anything, but he stuck to his guns. The look on Jane Hamsher’s face is priceless and as I was reading Eclectablog’s piece over at Angry Black Lady Chronicles, it made me think of this clip. Enjoy!
And I don’t agree with what Ed says, I just like seeing Jane get all upset. I’m just like that.
I learned a lot about Glenn Greenwald today with so many cool people writing great stuff and others sharing it on Twitter and blogs. I decided that I would compile all the great links I came across today as a way to gather the information in a unified place. I may update it too, feel free to contribute links in the comments or email them to me if you want to stay anonymous. I’ve compiled a lot of links on Jane Hamsher too, I may have to lay them out too…one of these days.
This one is about his most famous case as a lawyer, he’s said some interesting things over the years.
Apparently Glenn Greenwald didn’t have much of a problem with President George W. Bush.
Click Read More for much more Greenwald Fun!
The opportunistic firebaggers (Teabagger + Firedoglake zealot) are raising money like crazy in their little twisted worlds. They are all excited about the cute little juvenile camp fire song that was sung to the President at a fundraiser and his comments afterward. I haven’t said too much about the Manning issue because I don’t really like drawing attention to Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald’s little money-making and fame-seeking stunt. I have said before that it is one thing to be a whistleblower and leak an egregious event or situation that otherwise would go uncovered, but when someone just does a huge data dump that might have something incriminating within it, it is quite different. In either case, it seems like the military has no option but to court-martial that person. If it is whistleblowing, that’s what we have the statute for, that’s what we have defense lawyers for…but the massive release of classified documents that simply “might” have something in it or if it does have something in it, does releasing all the other stuff along with it keep it in the “whistleblowing” realm? Here are President Obama’s remarks to someone questioning him after the little song stunt, which I’m not posting here, I’m just not into simple, childish, grade level school tactics and lyrics. The President talking about those quaint little things called “laws”…
When I read or hear people in the firebagger brigade talking about how Bradley Manning should just be released, he’s a hero. I can’t help but think to myself, what kind of message would that send to others in the military, classified shmassified, laws shmaws. As an extreme liberal, I’ve never been a fan of the military and it’s industrial complex or the culture of the military with it’s macho, bigoted, arrogant attitude towards non-military, women, minorities and us hippies in general. But I certainly like the fact that they protect us and whenever I see a military person in uniform, I try to go out of my way to thank them for their service. Whether you like what their bosses tell them to do or not, they are still stepping up to defend me and our country and deserve respect for it.
Click Read More for much more
I lifted this comment, with permission, from a post over at Angry Black Lady Chronicles who has inspired me in many ways after spending some time there earlier today. This comment from Betty Cracker nails it as far as I’m concerned, I’m sure many of you will agree. (emphasis mine)
@ Insipid — I think there are several factors at play in how the “progressive left” is reacting to the most progressive president we’ve had in generations. [Note: I consider myself a progressive leftist in the sense that if I could wave a magic wand, I'd adopt a Scandinavian-flavored social-democratic style of government. I use the term in scare quotes in the opening sentence to differentiate my progressive leftism from the firebagger brand...]
Anyhoo, my sense is that a certain percentage of the firebaggers are just politically inexperienced. They probably never bothered to read Candidate Obama’s policy proposals; they were just caught up in the movement aspects of the campaign and are now shocked — shocked! — at what they perceive as the paucity of ponies. And why don’t they see the actual, honest-to-god ponies? Because they don’t know enough about history to realize change doesn’t happen overnight. They think FDR just went tada! and pulled Social Security out of his arse rather than striking deals with the devil (including the exclusion of most women and minorities) to establish the concept that this country has a stake in not allowing its seniors to starve to death, a rather radical idea at the time. Not unlike the concept President Obama established, that we have some responsibility to ensure health care for all our citizens.
Another percentage are more interested in burnishing their “more liberal than thou” cred than the dirty business of governing and the odious compromises that go along with it. They aren’t naive per se, but they see every compromise as an opportunity to focus attention on their moral superiority. I suspect a lot of our political pundits fall into this category.
And lastly, yeah, as you noted, racism comes into play too — and gender politics as well. As someone who expended a lot of pixels on the PUMA silliness during the 2008 primaries, I’ve got to say I was somewhat surprised how quickly and eagerly the disgruntled “Hillary or fuck America in the ass — hard!” contingent embraced wingnut memes about Obama as the “Affirmative Action” candidate, etc.
I was surprised and disheartened. But in the end, it turned out to be a vanishingly small subgroup. It didn’t make a dent in Obama’s electoral performance among either whites or women compared to how white candidates like John Kerry fared. And I think we (Democrats, liberals, whatever) are better off to have that shit out in the open.
I had every intention of writing a post about the budget deal that went down last night, but in scanning my favorite blogs, I came across this post from Angry Black Lady at her most excellent blog, if you don’t have it bookmarked, there is something wrong with you. :)
My opinion of Joan Walsh (Salon.com), up until now, has been pretty neutral, I don’t usually read her articles and mostly just see her on MSNBC. For the most part, she didn’t seem as anti-Obama as others in the “professional left” who have been and continue to make money on the backs of liberals. They haven’t all cashed in yet, like Arianna Huffington, give them time.
While reading through the twitter fight between ABL and Joan Walsh, it became very clear to me how she feels. You can judge for yourself. It also shed some light on why Glenn Greenwald could get away with calling us supporters of POTUS “Obama-lovers” with no repercussions. “Obama-lovers”…did you catch that? Here is the meat of the exchange on twitter that Joan Walsh is desperately trying to spin…
@joanwalsh read your article, I resent white progressives who pretend they are the base of Dem party and ignore AA’s, we are even
@joanwalsh PBO is not your lap dog, thank god Gibbs called out the liars in the progressive media, u have done nothing but act like baggers
@truthrose1 Not saying white progressives are THE base; opposite. But I resent African Americans who say THEY are THE BASE. Wrong.
@joanwalsh white progressive voices use the term “the base” carelessly that is my point
@joanwalsh AA’s are not the entire base, however, white progressive voices ignore us and act as if we don’t exist
@truthrose1 No, I don’t. That’s insanely unfair. Talk to a person, not your stereotypes. Please. Tiresome, really.
@joanwalsh history will show how the so called “progressive” wing of the Dem party was a toxic and deceitful bunch of back stabbers.
@truthrose1 You’re toxic, I’m sorry. Jesus. Get some help.
I’m addling a comment that just came in over at ABL’s site that I just loved.
Author: Kerry Reid
I generally agree, Ricky. But one thing I’ve found hilarious from the Firebagger set is that they can use the most vicious (and racist) invective against Obama — but if members of his administration should happen to dish it back even slightly, then they hit the fainting couches and clutch the pearls. It’s politics, kids. If you don’t have a Teflon ass, stay out of the kitchen. (Or mixed metaphors to that effect.)
I’m just awfully glad some of the Whiny White Professional Left set weren’t in charge of the civil rights movement or the women’s rights movement or gay rights or any of the other significant social movements of the last 50 years — movements that frequently found the participants and leaders taking nightsticks to the head, forced feedings, teargas, imprisonment, police dogs, firehoses, actual assassinations.
Apparently one needn’t use actual sticks and stones to break the bones of the Poutrage Set. Words are enough to crumple them into a whimpering pile in the corner.
Click on “More” to see a large portion of Joan Walsh’s quest to dig herself out of a hole.
I saw this comment over at Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog! Go! by “Dan Halen” and just had to share. He does a pretty good job summarizing the composition of the small group on the left who hate President Obama. Go here to see the post and all the comments at Bob Cesca’s blog. And subscribe to The Bob And Elvis Show podcast at iTunes. In the search bar, just start typing “Bob and Elvis” and it will pop up. You won’t regret it. Here is “Dan Halen’s” comment…
I have come across four types on the left who seem to be hostile towards Obama.
One: The Revenge liberals – They want or wanted a Democratic president who behaved like Bush, but for progressive causes. They are upset by Obama’s attempts to govern with civility.
Two: The Hippie Liberals – They want absolutely no war and no confrontation what so ever. Iraq and Afghanistan were supposed to be ended the day after inauguration.
Three: The Unknowing Racist – They are progressive but never really wanted or thought Obama could handle the job. They don’t hate minorities, but can unknowingly hold them too much higher standards then those like themselves.
Four: The Professionals Left – Who yes, look to profit or further their careers off of stoking anger in progressives.
There maybe other, but these are the people I have come across.
I don’t think I’m an Obamabot, because I really don’t like how close he appears to be with Wall Street. But, I have been impressed by his long-game abilities and have a wait and see attitude. He continues to play chess while we think we’re playing checkers.
Posted by: Dan Halen at March 23, 2011 11:53 PM
I read this post over at Bob Cesca’s “Truly” Awesome Blog! Go! several days ago, which was about an exchange that happened in January between Paul Krugman and Glenn Beck, I mean Greenwald…sorry. So I decided to read it and follow the links. As usual, whenever I read a post by Glenn, I immediately start questioning his voracity because of his over-the-top rhetoric. I then follow his links and discover that he frequently lies, embellishes and mischaracterizes what the link says. It is maddening, this guy uses the exact same techniques as the wingnuts. I usually try to just stay away from his rantings, it’s just best that way…for my blood pressure.
The disagreement between Krugman and Greenwald was about a side issue, related but different from what I’m writing about. In this instance, Greenwald attacks, exaggerates and extrapolates nefarious motives to both the subject of the attack, Cass Sunstein and the Obama administration where he now works. It is about a paper that Sunstein co-wrote with Adrian Vermeule, a joint paper for Harvard University Law School and the University of Chicago Law School about how to counter false conspiracy theories. With the explosion of the internet, these conspiracy theories have multiplied exponentially in recent years. Greenwald’s mistake, as far as I’m concerned, was posting the link to the actual paper. If he is going to lie so much and mischaracterize, he should reconsider whether to put the link up or not. Here are two paragraphs that I will try to straighten out the truth in…the entire thing is loaded with it, but I was exhausted just doing those two paragraphs. From Greenwald’s hyperbolic post…(emphasis is Greenwald’s)
Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama’s closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama’s head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs.” In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.
Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” Sunstein’s 2008 paper was flagged by this blogger, and then amplified in an excellent report by Raw Story‘s Daniel Tencer.
Where to begin, where to begin. He starts out by calling the paper “pernicious” (causing insidious harm or ruin; ruinous; injurious; hurtful), which would certainly help get the reader in the right mindset for what was to come, lots of hyperbole. Good one, Glenn. He then gives us “U.S. government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to cognitively infiltrate online groups and websites.” But if you actually read the paper, it’s not quite the way Glenn describes it. First he says “employ teams of covert agents”…ooooo, so sinister, huh. The paper proposed a few different ways that they could try to neutralize FALSE conspiracy theories by presenting facts to the people spreading the conspiracies. The paper discussed whether it was better for the government not to do anything at all or whether they should do it covertly or whether they should hire people who believed the truth about the matter to inject the truth into the discussion. In all cases, it was to present facts to the people perpetuating the conspiracy. This was a scholarly paper that was looking seriously at the phenomenon of false conspiracy theories, not a nefarious plan for his “confidant” to do harm or to “infiltrate” anything. Like I said, It centered mostly on presenting facts to these groups to try to neutralize the false conspiracies. Now maybe Glenn likes him some false conspiracies and sees it as a direct assault on him.
When Glenn says “views that Sunstein deems ‘false conspiracy theories’”, to me, that really shows Greenwald’s bias towards one of the authors, Cass Sunstein. Maybe Glenn just isn’t aware that when writing a paper and studying a topic, one usually does set up parameters for the study and define the problem, in which case Sunstein or Vermeule, the authors, would have to define what they are writing about. I guess Greenwald had to somehow support his “pernicious” claim at the front end of his propaganda piece and how better do that than to cast aspersions on the author and taint his readers with more distortions of an academic paper.
He also says “This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists.” Now once again, this paper was about dispelling “false conspiracy theories” with facts, not anything about “increase citizens faith” in government…he just made that up completely. Having read the paper and searched within it for the words “faith” and “government”, I found nothing even close to that. He just completely made up the “increase citizens faith…”, completely. Why would that be, do you suppose? I’m not sure I can trust a single word that assholes writes anymore? And if by dispelling a false conspiracy theory, it “undermines” one of these conspiracists…well, I guess the truth hurts, doesn’t it. Maybe Glenn just identifies so much with these false conspiracists…BECAUSE HE IS ONE HIMSELF!!!!
He keeps on going with “secret payments” to “so-called independent credible voices”. In reading the paper, I didn’t see anything about “secret payments”, the people would be paid and if they were doing it covertly, then yes, to the people in the chat room it would be a “secret payment.” I don’t really think that IF the government did this, that it would be covert CIA agents doing the infiltrating, but even if it were the case, I guess all CIA agents receive “secret payments”…ooooooo, spy shit.
Oh, there’s more bullshit….”to bolster the Government’s messaging.” Ah, Glenn, this wasn’t a paper about bolstering any message of the government. It was about false conspiracy theories and how to introduce facts into the dialog about them. It isn’t some nefarious…oh wait, EVERYTHING is nefarious with Glenn Greenwald…paper about how to spread propaganda or “messaging.” Nowhere in the entire paper does it talk about messaging or bolstering a message, nowhere, nothing, nada. Greenwald just lies through his fucking pie-hole about that too. Why in the hell would Glenn Beck….Greenwald, I’m sorry I did it again, want to shift the discussion to “messaging” instead of what the paper was about, dispelling FALSE conspiracies. I guess if you live in Glenn Greenwald’s world, you are constantly looking over your shoulder for the next infiltration or secret payment or guilt by association or guilt by omission…so he can be righteously indignant.
He clearly has a profound hatred for Obama and that has clouded his thinking and caused him to lose his ability to think clearly. How else can you explain such a blatant smear job, loaded with lies, exaggerations, innuendo and snark on top of it. Like I said before (in a different way), he’s an idiot to provide links to the actual documents. If he continues as the propagandist that he has become, he might want to make people work a little harder to find the links that refute his long-winded, constantly Updated, revised and over-defended posts. Salon.com ought to fire his lying ass, if you ask me. I have a lot of respect for Joan Walsh but can’t quite comprehend why she keeps this asshole around.
I penned this comment over at Crooks and Liars, which has gone “firebagger” with a few exceptions. It was in response to a John Amato post, who I used to really respect, but not so much anymore. He drank the Kool-aid that Janey Hamsher’s been serving up to fellow bloggers, I assume. I don’t know a hell of a lot about Bill Daley except that he is a democrat and has worked for President Clinton and chaired Al Gore’s campaign in 2000 and apparently he has worked for some major corporations, heaven forbid. I just thought I’d share my rant from over there at C & L…
I guess if anyone has ever worked in the private sector….for one of those EVIL corporations…then they are a “corporatist centrist”, right? The man has been a good democrat his whole life, worked for democratic presidents, chaired Al Gore’s campaign (I suppose you call him a corporatist too, he’s been on boards of corporations, you know?)….and yes, he’s a lawyer and businessman. Don’t you want liberals on the boards of some of these corporations? Do you know anything about the kind of input he gave at the corporations he’s been with? I personally want liberals to be in the business sector, maybe they can temper some of the greed from the damn conservatives who occupy all these boardrooms. But of course if anyone ever works for a corporation, they are shunned by people like you and your fellow whiners and so-called progressive egotists.
Under your standards and the other “firebaggers”, damn near anyone could be painted as a corporatist centrist. I’m a flaming liberal, but you know what, I too have worked for corporations and there is no way that I am whatever the hell a corporatist centrist is according to your’s and Jane Hamsher’s definition, which I suppose changes with whichever person you are trying to taint with your whiny bullshit.
I would also argue strenuously that President Obama has not lost any of his base. Your base are the people who stick with you, who support you, who are loyal liberals who vote democratic no matter what. I’m sorry, but it is always the lesser of two evils, deal with it and grow the hell up already. I am the President’s base and I fully support all the smackdowns of you selfish people who have been undermining our DEMOCRATIC president for your own whiny, selfish, petty reasons. Every single thing the President said in his presser after the tax cut deal was dead on. You are sanctimonious, you are selfish and you aren’t doing the common man any good by taking shots at our president from the left. There are better ways to express your displeasure or have input with a democratic president other than undermining him and helping Republicans destroy our country.
Get over yourselves already and start thinking about the people who need help in this country instead of whining about your bruised egos because someone calls you out on your bullshit.
Crooks and Liars has really gone down hill, it’s pretty sad to see really. I used to recommend this blog to people but really can’t do it in good conscience anymore. And based on your email response when I complained, I don’t see it getting any better.
I won’t even go over to FDL, I can just imagine how they are hyperventilating over there and taking sanctimony to a whole new level.
I clicked over to the blog that I rail against so much to see what kind of crap they are peddling in the Twilight Zone world they live in over there. The top post read…
It is really a “bizarro” read (Seinfeld reference), I had a hard time following this ramble which is clearly aimed at Firedoglake’s main audience, the Trolls who like to pretend like they are progressive, but when you read more than one comment from them, you tend to notice a similarity to Fox New’s line of the day or week. I’m going to break my own rule and paste from that piece of shit blog for illustration purposes. This is the first paragraph…
Like the Sirens reputed to lure sailors onto rocks, a series of columnists who want President Obama to fail are praising Obama’s capitulation on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. The motif of these comments has three common characteristics – all designed to destroy the Obama presidency. First, and the chutzpah of this aspect is wondrous, those that hate Obama’s policies are telling Obama he is demonstrating his strength by surrendering on the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy. Second, they claim that Obama “moved to the center” by agreeing to support tax cuts for the wealthy. Third, they claim that Obama’s attacks on his strongest supporters are brilliant politics essential to saving his Presidency.
First off, just like every other Obama-hater (and Firedoglake is the main hater), he makes reference to just the tax cuts for the wealthy, no mention of the tax cuts for me or you, or the unemployment benefits in the package or the EITC for poor people or the myriad of other things bundled in the package. No, if you didn’t know better, the bill was purely tax cuts for the wealthy. Second, who are all these “series of columnists” who want President Obama to fail? He mentions Dana Millbank, someone who has gone off the rail in many liberals minds, thus his stupidity on this issue. The only other “columnist” he mentions is Mark Penn, and I don’t really think Mark is a columnist by trade. He’s a bad political consultant from what I have observed. The author lists 3 common characteristics of these “comments” by this “series of columnists.” I won’t waste time replying to all 3, they are quite a reach. I’ll just take the last one, which made me laugh out loud, seriously. “Third, they claim that Obama’s attacks on his strongest supporters are brilliant politics essential to saving his Presidency.” ROFL….. STRONGEST SUPPORTERS, that is some funny shit. In the President’s press conference the day after the agreement was announced, it wasn’t his “strongest supporters” that he was blasting. It was the assholes like almost every blogger at FDL that he was blasting, hardly his strongest supporters. This fits with their constant reference to themselves as “The Base”…and as I wrote in a previous post, the only thing they are the base of is a big pile of shit.
His attack on Penn has some merit, Mark Penn has said a lot of stupid shit over the years, why should we be surprised by this. I doubt that his motivation is to make the President fail, he really believes the shit he peddles in my opinion. Penn does touch on some truth in his statements though, and anyone who is realistic about winning elections…appealing to independents and moderates…will see some truth in what he says.
By becoming reverse tax protesters (chanting “raise taxes”), the liberals are sending out all the wrong messages to a country that overwhelmingly backs the key elements of the bipartisan deal the president struck.
I know the hard core partisans on the left don’t have a problem with saying “raise taxes”, in fact, I say it myself. But if you are trying to appeal to a majority of voters in the country, you really should keep those thoughts to yourself and your fellow “hard lefters.” This really gets to the heart of what the President said so eloquently in his press conference the other day, that we can all stand on our principles and do absolutely nothing for the American people. Accomplish nothing, not help a single person on unemployment, not a single poor person wondering how they are going to feed their family, not a single business that may be able to hire a few of those unemployed folks….nothing, nada. But goddamn it, we have our principles….oh, and our nice jobs, cars and homes. I don’t think Jane Hamsher is going to wonder about how she is going to pay the rent, or feed her family. But she sure is quick to say fuck people with pre-existing conditions, fuck the unemployed, fuck the poor, fuck those children who now have health care, fuck them all….my principles are more important than real people. Check out this link, courtesy of Nicole at Political Ruminations, if you want to know more about how Hamsher rolls.
Here are the final two paragraphs of this post at FDL, tell me this guy isn’t out of his fucking mind, I dare you. There are more twists and turns in logic, my head was spinning just trying to follow it. I’m sure it made perfect sense to the firebagger trolls who simply look for buzz words and grunt. (emphasis on stupidity contained is mine)
Cumulatively, these questions lead to a disturbing inference. The Milbanks and Penns of the world invest the time to spin these fables because they think that senior members of the administration hate liberals so badly, and are so desperate for compliments, that they will fall for praise from people that hate them and want them to fail. They hope that the administration will take their advice and destroy itself and the Democratic Party by adopting policies that harm the nation (by making already record income inequality even worse) and require Obama to betray his campaign promises. It’s hard to conceive of a nastier insult to the administration – they’re convinced that Obama and his senior staff are uniformly incompetent.
The ideal result for supporters of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is to get them extended in a manner that allows Republicans to escape from the suicidal bargaining position they were in on holding taxes for 98% of American taxpayers hostage and blocking the extension of unemployment benefits, in a fashion in which the Republicans get to take primary credit for all of the tax cuts, and while causing the President to betray his campaign promises and launch an attack on his strongest supporters – an attack taken word-for-word out of the Republican playbook. That is precisely what they’ve achieved. They did not achieve the result through brilliance and they cannot achieve it without cowardice and ineptitude on the part of the Democrats.
The first paragraph and the highlighted portion in particular, is just pure horseshit. He must have shoveled that from the bottom of the pile that they are at the base of. It speaks for itself really, no need to rip that one apart. My favorite part of the second paragraph is the part where he returns to the idea that the President launched an attack on “his strongest supporters”…ROFL again, every time I read it I can’t help myself.
To me it is just bizarre how these publicity whores have succeeded in convincing the cable news networks that they are “the base.” They aren’t the fucking base, no way no how. The definition of “the base” is people who stick with you through thick and thin. I am part of the base, been donating to Democrats since I had my first job. I know that sometimes I have to plug my nose with some candidates, but that whole “lesser of two evils” really does apply. Anyone who just defaults to “they are all the same” aren’t paying close enough attention. Republicans consistently suck way worse than Democrats. I pick the less sucky, personally.
Robert Gibbs made a clarification of his comments that were reported by The Hill where he, heaven forbid, criticized some people he referred to as the “professional left”. Sam Stein said The Fuckington Post received a statement from Robert Gibbs and prints it with all his snarkiness surrounding it. I won’t link to that piece of shit rag, but I will copy and paste from it…
In a statement to the Huffington Post, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged that his recent broadside against the “professional left” was inartful, and called for renewed unity among the Democratic community.
Referring to statements he made in an interview with The Hill published Tuesday, Gibbs reiterated his belief (which served as the basis of his initial remarks) that the president had achieved a host of legislative accomplishments for which he was not getting proper credit. But he said that Democrats, “me included,” need to “stop fighting each other and arguing about our differences on certain policies, and instead work together to make sure everyone knows what is at stake because we’ve come too far to turn back now.”
Robert, don’t take it back, those assholes like Jane Hamsher, Glenn Greenwald, Cenk Uygur and the rest of the “Firebagger Brigade” don’t ever want to work with President Obama. Just like the asshole Republicans, don’t reach your hand out to those PINO’s “progressive in name only”. They and their rabid followers have an irrational hatred for President Obama, I get their troll comments all the time. Their goal is to help bring down President Obama to “prove” that Hillary or Dennis Kucinich should have been president. I think it just pisses them off more when the president accomplishes something. Nicole473 commented at Bob Cesca’s place that brings this home to me…
These Firebaggers are nuts, IMO.
This fact was brought home to me recently when I posted about a new website. A Firebagger went berserk over it in the comments. A Firebagger whom I know from Twitter, and who seems to be a very reasonable human when not discussing Obama.
There is a hatred that I think started during the election when Hillary and Barack were at the peak of their battle. I had many friends who were very angry and bitter that Obama was beating her, they became irrational. Thankfully most of them came down after the heat of the battle, but some who have the power of the pen like Hamsher, never did. They have clung to this irrational hatred and are still fighting Hillary’s lost battle. Was that Jane Hamsher dodging sniper fire with Hillary on that runway in Bosnia? Back to the Fuckington Post piece…Sam Stein makes a bold statement “The vast majority of the reaction, however, was sharply negative.” He then quotes the one and only Janey Hamsher…
“Spiro Agnew — sorry, Robert Gibbs — says “the professional left is not representative of the progressives who organized, campaigned, raised money and ultimately voted for Obama” emailed Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com. ” Well, the Obama in the White House is not the Obama who organized, campaigned, raised money and ran for office, so I guess its’ a wash.”
How clever, Jane. Is that like a twist on words that you thought up all by yourself. Wow, I wish I were that clever. Jane Hamsher does not represent very many people on the left…if you go to her site and read the comments, which can lower your IQ so be careful, but if you read her commenters, not very many are progressive. They use the exact same talking points as Fox News. Firebaglake does not represent the progressives. There may be a few sane people there who are progressive but most of them are with the hate Obama crowd and consumed with an irrational hatred for President Obama. I don’t want to call them racist, but man, that irrational hatred they have smells very much like the same stench that comes from racism.
Update Courtesy of Staci…
Via John Cole over at Ballon Juice:
Here’s a better question for you all. Name one time the “professional left” has had the administration’s back on… anything.
Since the inauguration, it has nothing but attacking from the left, calling them failures, adding to the cacophony of outrage to the right, all while pretending they were moving the overton window. We’ve heard calls for every administration member’s head, from the left, since day one. All the while, the same folks pretend to be the base (they weren’t- the ones I have in mind were in large part Hillary supporters) and babble about the Overton Window.
Christ- Ed Schultz and the usual poutrage crew spent the last five months of HCR trying to kill it dead, with Ed switching at the last moment when it was clear it would pass. If you were Robert Gibbs, you’d tell these people to shut the fuck up, too.
Dead on, thanks Staci……
I wrote a post about this with all sorts of expletives because as anyone who reads my blog knows, these so-called progressives who are undermining President Obama just piss me off. They are doing nothing but hurting Americans when they help to usher in more Republican rule. Here is the article where Gibbs tells it like it is, my favorite part is below…
“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
I won’t put up the expletive laden post, my mother always said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”…which I only take into account once in a while.