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”.
The following is a clip from one of my all time favorite movies, “Defending Your Life”. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Besides Albert Brooks, who also wrote and directed it, it stars Meryl Streep and Rip Torn. Take a few minutes and watch this clip. I frequently think about this scene when reading the likes of Glenn Greenwald or many of the writers at The Nation. My favorite exchange is…
Bob Diamond: Being from Earth, as you are, and using as little of your brain as you do, your life has pretty much been devoted to dealing with fear.
Daniel Miller: It has?
Bob Diamond: Well everybody on Earth deals with fear — that’s what little brains do.
Bob Diamond: …Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything…
Updated!!! I clicked on a link in a Tweet from Albert Brooks and came across the following post at Huffington Post, from Albert himself, which I will not link to.
WHAT DID I JUST READ?
By Barack Obama (Albert Brooks)
Imagine my surprise when I opened the New York Times and read Vladimir Putin’s Op-ed. I didn’t know what I was reading for a few minutes. Sometime’s my Chief of Staff will put The Onion in front of me just to shake things up so it took me a moment to realize this was not a joke.
First off, let me say I had a very nice time at the G20. The food was good, although a bit heavy for my taste, and the weather was pleasant. Certainly you can see the sky sometimes, which you can never do in China.
As I continued to read the Op-ed, I really couldn’t understand whether we were being insulted or praised. Mr. Putin seemed to respect the United States for one paragraph, and then blast us in another. Now understand, I admire Mr. Putin. For his age he seems to be in great physical shape and even though I could kick his ass in basketball I do believe that if a bear were to attack the both of us, he would be the one to shoo it away.
But let’s make one thing perfectly clear: this is written by a man who is the head of Russia. Russia, where the air conditioning in the room conked out even though I was in the Presidential Suite. Russia, where no one smiles and where people actually look disappointed that they are white.
Mr. Putin, we put a man on the moon and you barely got a monkey home safely. We invented the computer and you invented the way to steal it. Your country is filled with our fast food businesses and yet there is not one Russian take out place in the whole United States.
You are known for Siberia, we are known for Big Sur. We make Cadillacs and Lincolns and God knows what you call those little square deathtraps. It’s one thing to put down exceptionalism, but before you do that, you at least have to produce one Broadway show, or make one commercial airliner, or invent one type of salad.
Having said that, your people are wonderful and I know that you care about them deeply, except, of course, for the gay ones. As a matter of fact, you care about them so much that you hate to see them argue, especially with you, so you graciously offer them the solace of prison.
In any case, I enjoyed your editorial and I am very impressed that it was printed in The New York Times. If only there was a newspaper in your country that would print this.
My very best wishes,
Only the crazy, racist, brain dead people of the right-wing propaganda machine could turn a Department of Justice unit called the Community Relations Service into a nefarious group and claim they helped “organize” the protests in Sanford Florida, following the national exposure of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. The CRS is tasked with preventing tensions in racially charged situations, the opposite of what the idiots are claiming.
It fits nicely in their up is down, down is up world, doesn’t it?
I won’t link to any of the many posts flying around the wingnutosphere claiming that this Community Relations Service helped to “organize” anti-Zimmerman protests. The following is what the Community Relations Service actually does, via Media Matters for America…
The Community Relations Service is the Department’s “peacemaker” for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only Federal agency dedicated to assist State and local units of government, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony.
For more than 45 years, CRS has been asked to provide its experienced mediators to help local communities resolve conflicts and disturbances relating to race, color, or national origin. Each year CRS’ highly skilled conciliators bring hundreds of community-wide conflicts to peaceful closure across America and its territories.
I imagine that the wingnuts really don’t want tensions to be eased, they hope to see cops bring out the riot gear and beat some people down for their sick pleasure. They really want there to be riots, you can tell by all the stories that have been written fantasizing about it. Don’t be surprised if they bus in instigators to cause disturbances, that is how they roll.
The overt racism within the right-wing media is bubbling over. Since the election of President Obama, the backlash from racists has been obvious to anyone not mired in that hateful, ignorant world. The Trayvon Martin trial has brought many of them out of their shells. They are incapable of seeing Trayvon as a living, breathing, 17 year old kid with college aspirations and a caring heart, but rather as a “thug” or any of the adjectives that George Zimmerman was recorded calling young Trayvon.
When anyone even starts to justify the killing of Trayvon, an innocent young man walking home from the store, I cut them right off. In my mind, anyone capable of justifying the murder of Trayvon Martin is a sick motherfucker and needs help. There is absolutely no justification for murdering Trayvon Martin in cold blood, NONE!
The only person responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death is George Zimmerman, full stop.
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.
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 immigration reform process going on in Washington presents us with a perfect example of why congress is the biggest joke in the country. From Steve Benen at Maddowblog. (emphasis mine)
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) told Dave Weigel yesterday one of the main reasons and he and his House Republican colleagues will not support comprehensive immigration reform.
“If you’re the White House right now,” he theorized, “and you have a signature law — that is, Obamacare — that is completely a legacy issue for the president, and it’s looking like implementation is going to be a disaster, and if you’re on your heels in terms of these scandals, and you’re flummoxed by the NSA, there’s one issue out there that’s good for the White House. That’s immigration. The question is: How much energy does the White House actually put into getting the legislation, or do they want to keep the issue for 2014?“
I hear this quite a bit from the right. Democrats say they want to pass reform legislation, the argument goes, but it’s a sham. What those rascally Democrats really want, conservatives argue, is for immigration reform to fail so Democrats can use the issue against the GOP in the 2014 midterms and beyond.
And every time I hear this, I’m convinced our public discourse has slipped a little deeper into madness.
Look, this isn’t complicated: Democrats want to pass immigration reform. President Obama wants to pass immigration reform. When the reform bill reached the Senate floor yesterday, it received 100% support from Democratic senators, and support is expected to be at a similar level among House Dems. If the party were engaged in some elaborate ruse, they’ve apparently managed to fool everyone, including themselves.
In fact, I’d love to hear Roskam and others who share his ideology explain the electoral rationale behind their strategy. He seems to be arguing, “Democrats want immigration reform to fail so they can use it against us, therefore, we should make sure reform fails so that they can use it against us. That’ll show ’em!”
I think there is also something missing from the above snippet, the fact that Republicans never want to give President Obama a win. They see any legislation that gets passed as a win for the president. Maybe they aren’t aware that he has already been reelected and “giving him a win” isn’t going to help him electorally. It might help his legacy, but is trashing President Obama’s legacy worth more to them than representing their constituents? It could be the reason why they are less popular than child molesters.
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
The CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp, Rex Tillerson, said this with a straight face.
“What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” CEO Rex Tillerson said at the oil giant’s annual meeting Wednesday.
This statement should be used as a test on people to determine if their head is up their ass or not.
Oh, and with a quick search of Google, I confirmed that he is a Republican when I found this link that shows his donations.
I’m not sure exactly when it began, but a growing number of elected Republicans are extremely stupid. There is so much stupidity coming out of their mouths on a daily basis, it’s hard to keep up with it. One of the reasons I love Steve Benen from the Maddowblog is because he likes to keep track of and make fun of stupid Republicans. But he is much more respectful than I am.
Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got a little confused. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Iowa Republican read brief remarks in which he condemned the Obama administration for pushing a “court-packing” strategy in which the president would nominate judges to fill existing vacancies. […]
I assumed at the time that this was an amusing-but-isolated misstep involving a Republican senator who routinely gets baffled by details. But I assumed wrong — this is apparently the new GOP talking point.
…Grassley isn’t alone in making these charges. During floor remarks last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of plotting with the White House “to pack the D.C. Circuit with appointees,” and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) worried aloud that Democrats may “decide to play politics and seek — without any legitimate justification — to pack the D.C. Circuit with unneeded judges simply in order to advance a partisan agenda.”
Even The Wall Street Journal piled on last week, arguing in an editorial that the D.C. Circuit “doesn’t need new judges to handle the workload” and filling those vacant seats would be akin to “packing the court for political ends.”
Not to put too fine a point on this, but the argument is simply crazy. In the American system of government, it’s madness to suggest the president is doing something controversial when he nominates qualified jurists to fill vacancies on the federal bench.
It seems that the longer President Obama is in office, the more brazen Republicans get with their outright denial of his legitimacy. I imagine by the end of his second term, they will be bitching about him living in the White House or flying on Air Force One.
More from Steve Benen…
I hate to break this to Senate Republicans, but President Obama was elected — twice. Presidents submitting judicial nominations to the Senate to fill vacancies is pretty much the definition of normal presidential behavior. If the GOP finds this annoying, they’ll have to take it up with the Constitution.
Go read the entire piece, it goes into the dirty tricks Republicans are attempting to prevent President Obama from doing his job.
Listening to the PoliSciFiRadio podcast is one of my favorite things to do with my clothes on. Steve Benen, Bill Simmon and Emily Stoneking are a joy to listen to and of course, anyone who reads this blog knows that I pretty much worship Steve Benen as a political blogger. On a recent show, Steve pointed out that with the pick up in the economy, and thus increased revenues coming in, we will not hit the debt ceiling until much later in the summer. The GOP was counting on it in May or June and saw it as their leverage in the budget negotiations. Because you know, that’s how they roll these days.
Steve pointed to this great article from Greg Sargent at The Washington post that reveals this idiocy.
In today’s exercise in Fiscal Fraudulence, Republicans are making it clear they’ve decided they don’t want to enter into budget negotiations with Democrats until the debt ceiling deadline gets a good deal closer. ”The debt limit is the backstop,” Paul Ryan says. “I’d like to go through regular order and get something done sooner rather than later. But we need to get a down payment on the debt. We need entitlement reform.”
Greg Sargent quotes Kevin Drum, who sums it up pretty concisely.
Republicans are flatly refusing to even start budget negotiations until they can threaten default on the national debt if they don’t get their way. Apparently this is literally the only way they’re now willing to do business.
The even crazier part of this story is that the Republicans have already made it clear that they will not ever actually crash the economy with the debt ceiling threat. Greg Sargent sums up the whole mess pretty nicely.
It’s actually even crazier than Beutler and Drum say. Republicans are not willing to enter into fiscal negotiations without being able to wield the threat of crashing the economy to get their way — even as they have already revealed they are not willing to actually crash the economy to get their way. We already know Republicans are not willing to allow default. As you’ll recall, they caved during the last debt ceiling fight. More recently, John Boehner flatly admitted: “I’m not going to risk the full faith and credit of the federal government.” And Republicans are also set to vote on a bill (a nonstarter for Dems) that would allow Treasury to raise the debt ceiling just to pay off bondholders — with the goal of being able to continue demanding concessions in exchange for raising the debt limit while simultaneously avoiding default. That alone is yet another admission that Republicans are not willing to allow default to actually happen.
And so the GOP position, with no exaggeration, is this: Of course we’re not crazy and irresponsible enough to allow default to wreck the economy, but Democrats should pretend we are indeed crazy enough to do just that, so that we can win concessions from them in exchange for coming down (hint, hint, wink, wink) from the ledge.
The modern Republican Party has lost its way, we welcome all into the sane Democratic Party. Join us in sending the Republicans packing in 2014.
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.
Jim Carrey released this statement today in response to Fox News, who attacked him for his “Cold Dead Hand” video on Funny or Die. The video targets assault weapons and large magazines.
Since I released my “Cold Dead Hand” video on Funny or Die this week, I have watched Fux News rant, rave, bare its fangs and viciously slander me because of my stand against large magazines and assault rifles. I would take them to task legally if I felt they were worth my time or that anyone with a brain in their head could actually fall for such irresponsible buffoonery. That would gain them far too much attention which is all they really care about.
I’ll just say this: in my opinion Fux News is a last resort for kinda-sorta-almost-journalists whose options have been severely limited by their extreme and intolerant views; a media colostomy bag that has begun to burst at the seams and should be emptied before it becomes a public health issue.
I sincerely believe that in time, good people will lose patience with the petty and poisonous behavior of these bullies and Fux News will be remembered as nothing more than a giant culture fart that no amount of Garlique could cure.
I wish them all the luck that accompanies such malevolence.
Go check out his Twitter feed, he’s on a mission. Go Jim!
Cross-posted at Extreme Liberal’s Blog