Archive for the 'Glenn Greenwald's Carnival of Fisking' Category

Dissonance Control in Political Paranoia

Bird watcher
(photo: companyink)

After writing about the Ronpaulist fear mongering of Jordan Page, and then reading Lance’s splendid post on the latest contheorist pandering of Glenn Greenwald, a common insight has reoccurred to me: the absurd amount of cognitive dissonance conditional to political paranoia.

This is something Christopher Hitchens explored quite adeptly last year at the “Four Horsemen” chat with his three fellow atheist luminaries, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris (, skip to 8:17). In a response to a point by Dennett, Hitchens argues that the stress of cognitive dissonance is the inevitable state deriving from belief in political unreality, and furthermore, that this condition exists and persists on purely survival grounds (seems true in miniature too).

I’d add that it’s the compartmentalism that political paranoia necessitates in an open society that is the most conspicuous betrayal of its essential cynicism. Something especially apparent when you run into it face to face.

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A Paranoid on Paranoia-Last updated 1:06 CST

After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential.

You could?

The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters — with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 — that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax — sent directly into the heart of the country’s elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and other leading media outlets — that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.

So that is what made everybody concerned? The twisted reasoning that could assert that after 9/11 we in any way could think something like that couldn’t happen again, sans those letters, is pretty breathtaking.  Once those letters were delivered however, it suddenly occurred to the American people that it might happen again? What kind of parallel universe is he living in? Oh, and if you couldn’t tell, this is the Sock Puppet talking. (more…)

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Henke on Greenwald

If this blog is about one thing, it’s fisking Glenn Greenwald, and a libertarian examination of the world. Two things, if this blog is about two things, it’s fisking Glenn Greenwald, and a libertarian examination of the world, and a healthy open place to debate issues of the day. Three things, if this blog is about three things, it’s fisking Glenn Greenwald, a libertarian examination of the world, and a healthy open place to debate issues of the day, and an outlet for our varied other interests Four! Amongst our topics are such diverse elements as, fisking Glenn Greenwald, a libertarian examination of the world, a healthy open place to debate issues of the day, and an outlet for our varied other interests… and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope. Oh forget it, I’ll come back later…

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It Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Tyrant

I’m sure you are all well informed on the Spitzer chronicles by now. If not, crawl through the Memeorandum links to inform yourself (get a cup of coffee or other preferred beverage, because it will take awhile). I just wanted to point to some highlights.

(1) Radley Balko: Schadenfreude — “May your fall be steep and severe, governor.

Sweet, sweet karmic justice. Now, let’s all watch as a man who rose to power and fame by railroading people on ridiculous charges himself get tripped up by a dumb, unjust law.

I’ll get the popcorn. This one is going to be fun.

(2) Jon Henke: Speaking Truth to Tyranny — “The Great Man Theory of political improvement is bankrupt. The fundamental problems in politics are not resolvable by electing “better” people (though that might help at the margins); the fundamental problems in politics are the structural and systemic perverse incentives to pander, bribe and capture more power, and even the best-intentioned politician cannot escape those problems.

(3)(a) Dan Riehl: Hyp-Sock-risy — “My, what a scathing indictment of Senator David Vitter from the Blogosphere’s most infamous sock puppet Rick Ellensburg (aka Glenn Geenwald) when Vitter’s name turned up linked to a prostitute.

Maybe Vitter should have made things right – and changed his political affiliation before getting caught.

(3)(b) Socks: What’s the big deal? — “Regarding all of the breathless moralizing from all sides over the “reprehensible,” outrageous crimes of Eliot Spitzer: are there actually many people left who care if an adult who isn’t their spouse hires prostitutes? Are there really people left who think that doing so should be a crime, that adults who hire other consenting adults for sex should be convicted and go to prison?

Good question Glenn! Let’s ask Eliot Spitzer:

Mr. Spitzer gained national attention when he served as attorney general with his relentless pursuit of Wall Street wrongdoing. As attorney general, he also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.

In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.

“This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. “It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”

Hmmm, I guess at least one person.

(4) Steven Bainbridge: I told you! — “Which leads to the ethics question of the day: Is schadenfreude a sin? If so, I’m sinning big time today. Why? Because Spitzer’s attacks on his various targets have always had a highly moralistic tone. He portrays himself as Mr Clean exposing the dity linen of business … Now, perhaps, the chickens are coming home to roost. One can only hope Spitzer encounters a prosecutor who brings to the task the same zeal as Spitzer brought to his own crusades.

Be sure to check out the compendium of Spitzer’s “zealousness.”

(5) RADAR: Nuance — “Clinton Yanks Spitzer Endorsement Faster Than A Hooker Yanks… Well, You Get It

(6) Jane Hamsher: Conspiracy — “How did Spitzer’s name get leaked to the media, and who did it? Didn’t happen to Dave Vitter.

Dunno, Jane. Perhaps it was that news conference that Der Guvenehr had today, after telling his staff of his (ahem) indiscretions, upon realizing that he bore a great deal of resemblance to Client 9. Or the VRWC. You pick.

(7) Reuters: New York joins the 20th Century — “David A. Paterson would become the first African-American governor of New York if the current governor, Eliot Spitzer, resigns in the wake of allegations of ties to prostitution.

Paterson, who is legally blind, was elected lieutenant governor in November 2006 together with Spitzer.

It’s about time that New York caught up with her less progressive sister states, such as Virginia and Louisiana, who elected black governors quite some time ago (indeed, La. elected P. B. S. Pinchback as Lt. Governor in 1868). Hell, here in Virginia we didn’t even need to have anyone resign. Doug Wilder (who now serves as the Mayor of Richmond) was directly elected Governor in 1990.

(8) Marc Ambinder: Scorecard — “There is a script to these things.

First, the politician acknowedges the gravity of the infraction. Mr. Spitzer’s brief public statement did not do so. This isn’t about prostitution. It’s about — allegedly — Gambino crime family money laundering.

Then the politician apologizes for unspecified obligation failings. This, Mr. Spitzer did.

Then the politician retreats into a period of solitude, and then acknowledges some congenital defect or longstanding condition, such as alcoholism. TBD.

Public pressure, aided and abetted by the media, mounts. TBD.

The politician either figures out what the public wants, or he does not — and proceeds accordingly. TBD.

Finally, my personal take is that Spitzer’s frequenting of prostitutes doesn’t mean much. He hurt his family (and his daughters I do feel sorry for), and he hurt himself, but that’s about it. Some have brought up the potential for blackmail, but I can’t see how that theory holds much water if he came clean the minute he knew the news would get out. Even the hypocrisy doesn’t bother any more than anyone else’s hypocrisy bothers me.

No, none of that is of much concern to me. The one emotion I truly feel about all of this is relief. Relief that this man will be stopped in his tyrannical tracks. Relief that his name and “for the Presidency” will no longer be uttered together. Relief that his heavy-handed Putin style of rule (OK, that’s a bit over the top … but just a bit) is coming to an end. And most of all, that Spitzer can no longer be seriously considered for any higher office in America.

OK, and maybe I feel a little bit of Schadenfreude …

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Lightweight Punditry


The inscrutable and vainglorious Boi from Brazil weighs in to explain why Republicans find Obama’s candidacy “scary”:

Conservatives love to claim that Obama supporters have excess reverence for their candidate and see him as some sort of transcendent messiah figure. There is a small minority of Obama supporters — as is true for most candidates and political movements — who probably expect more from Obama than it is healthy to expect from political leaders generally.

But listening to this objection from the right-wing movement is the ultimate irony. There has not been a political figure in a long, long time who was revered, worshiped and transformed into a grotesque Icon of Transcendent Greatness the way the Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush, has been. For years and years, the Right sustained itself as little more than a glorified Cult of Personality around the Great, Conquering War Hero.

Greenwald goes on to detail what he supposes is evidence of George Bush’s cult of personality, consisting entirely of hagiographies written about the President by conservatives, and remarks from politicians. That there are Bush’ophiles in the Republican Party is no big surprise, nor particularly indicative of anything other than party loyalty to a beleaguered President. That Greenwald thinks that is commensurate with a video supporting Obama’s candidacy by having celebrities chant the man’s name is more than silly. Indeed, the Puppet-master’s analysis has all the depth and weight of a ratty old sock, worn thin at the heel and sporting massive holes. Rick Moran makes this abundantly clear:

For one so hysterically inclined to exaggerate, to denigrate, to posit the most outrageously ignorant motivations for conservative actions, our man Mr. Ellison simply lacks the ability to evaluate anything in an adult manner. Instead, he reminds me of a teenage girl in the way he dramatizes the most insignificant events and statements from conservatives as sinister and evil. A true drama queen of the left, he is incapable of the kind of balanced, nuanced judgement ascribed to most grown ups who write about politics and politicians.

Lambchop cannot tell the difference between political hyperbole as given by politicians above and the raw, emotional, slavish, worshipful, and fervent idolatry that millions of Obama supporters demonstrate on a regular basis. They can’t tell you why they are for him. They can’t tell you why they faint and weep in his presence. They can’t tell you why they believe he can “change the world” when he can’t even change the politics of Chicago.

Rick cites a Political Punch entry quoting an Obama supporter:


Obama supporter Kathleen Geier writes that she’s “getting increasingly weirded out by some of Obama’s supporters. On listservs I’m on, some people who should know better – hard-bitten, not-so-young cynics, even – are gushing about Barack…

Describing various encounters with Obama supporters, she writes, “Excuse me, but this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign. The language used here is the language of evangelical Christianity – the Obama volunteers speak of ‘coming to Obama’ in the same way born-again Christians talk about ‘coming to Jesus.’…So I say, we should all get a grip, stop all this unseemly mooning over Barack, see him and the political landscape he is a part of in a cooler, clearer, and more realistic light, and get to work.”

Joe Klein, no Republican hack, is also quoted in the Political Punch piece:

Joe Klein, writing at Time, notes “something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism” he sees in Obama’s Super Tuesday speech.

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Obama said. “This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different. It’s different not because of me. It’s different because of you.”

Says Klein: “That is not just maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire. Rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause — other than an amorphous desire for change — the message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is. “

I actually disagree with Klein that Obama has not put any substance on the table, but he is correct that the fervency of the Illinois Senator’s support is not derived from his policies, but from a visceral reaction to his candidacy.

Rick succinctly differentiates between Obama supporters and Bush-bots:

No one has ever accused George Bush of being a rock star. No one has ever said that Bush causes the hearts of women to palpitate uncontrollably thus causing them to pass out.

And yet Lambchop, in what can only be described as one of his more desperate leaps of illogic, tries to assign equal value to the Obama phenomena and the small number of Bush-bots who I’ll bet never thought any impure thoughts about George.

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The Glenn Greenwald Carnival of Fisking has some new entries

First, let us all go and see Eric Scheie delve into the sock drawer and how the moth eaten brain now, amongst all the other charges, believes Glenn Reynolds is a racist! The puppy blending, mass murder and nuclear holocaust desiring, homophobic racist known as Instapundit has an able defender in Eric, but let us please note Tom Maguire and Jon Henke stirring themselves as well.

Not that we should limit ourselves to the bizarre smears scraped from the lint screen of the netroot mind after a lengthy cycle, no, Greenwald is at his best (sic) in documenting the unending bloodlust of the present administration and any and all who deviate from his own deranged view of the world. The normally affable Kevin Sullivan (who seems to see our leading sock puppet as reliable domestically, uh, well I am stunned, but let us move on) notes the holes in Greenwalds argument about the recent incident in the straits of Hormuz with this bit of understatement:

This is, in sum, insane.

I am of the opinion much of what the man writes is insane, but unfortunately many people are gulled by the man when they don’t have the background to realize the smelly piece of footwear is as mendacious or deluded on every subject. They assume the issues they note are isolated rather than a pattern which suffuses everything that comes from the the man’s keyboard. In this instance Kevin you know what he is doing, please read back and realize he does this with everything. As we have long noted, and Eric does above, his evidence rarely exists. His links don’t support his argument. He twists, he turns, he debases. Kevin, please visit the incomparable archives of our Glenn Greenwald Carnival of Fisking for the sad details of a man who considers Glenn Reynolds a racist homophobe. Instapundit puts it nicely:

“GALL AND GULLIBILITY:” The combination is sort of a trademark, really. But — at the risk of sounding like Brit Hume to Ron Paul last night — it’s funny to me that folks on the left want so badly to create a Gulf of Tonkin out of an incident in which the U.S. Navy did nothing. Sixties nostalgia runs rampant.

UPDATE: Related item here.

Do follow the related link, but I also highly suggest McQ’s examination of the events that day and why it is important.

Can we lose this piece of laundry in the dryer? I have no match for him.

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Grinchwald’s Stocking Stuffer

It shouldn’t surprise me the lengths that Greenwald will go to distort what people say in order to lambaste his enemies, but his Christmas offering really takes the figgy pudding.


Mike Huckabee’s Christmas ad — like everything Huckabee does — provoked all sorts of vehement, angry, un-Christmas-like attacks from Republican pundits. The GOP establishment almost uniformly claimed that the edges of the bookshelf behind Huckabee formed the shape of a cross, which — along with Huckabee’s mention of the word “Christ” — rendered Huckabee guilty of making a highly inappropriate, overt religious appeal for votes.

In furtherance of his never ending crusade to reveal just how hypocritical the political right is, Teh Gleen(s) go on to highlight how John McCain’s Christmas ad used a cross, but the right had nary a negative word to say about that.

But here is the Christmas ad from John McCain, which features not a subliminal cross arguably lurking in the background, but instead, an explicit one drawn in the sand, serving as the centerpiece of the ad, and expressly referenced — twice — by the political candidate, whose face lingers wistfully next to the cross for 10 of the ad’s 30 seconds …

Yet the reverent reaction to McCain’s ad could not have been more different than the one provoked by Huckabee’s. Chris Wallace said: “That McCain ad is so powerful. You find yourself tearing up when you see that, obviously.” Obviously. A clearly moved Fred Barnes concurred with the only word that was needed: “Indeed.” Mort Kondracke gushed: “I think it was a great ad, and it had a religious overtone to it. . . . it should remind religious [voters] that there is another candidate in the options besides Huckabee.”

As you have probably guessed by now, not one of the links support Greenwald’s contention, and in fact largely refute it. I could go on at length describing just how grossly Herr Sockmeister mischaracterized the various statements as well as who said them, but Karl at Protein Wisdom has already completed that task, so RTWT.

I will, however, point out a few of the more wild distortions.

(1) Greenwald’s initial paragraph claims that Huckabee’s ad “provoked all sorts of vehement, angry, un-Christmas-like attacks from Republican pundits,” but links to just one mention of an “attack” from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. The other link takes you to Byron York’s praise for Huckabee’s political prowess (”Huckabee’s astonishing ability to hit the target is what is shaking up the GOP race now.”).

(2) Greenwald’s only other link to an “attack” is an article by Peggy Noonan (which he claimed was “condemning Huckabee’s ad”), who also praises Huckabee’s political savvy, particularly with respect to the alleged cross imagery in his ad:

The ad was shrewd. The caucus is coming, the TV is on, people are home putting up the tree, and the other candidates are all over the tube advancing themselves and attacking someone else. Mr. Huckabee thinks, I’ll break through the clutter by being the guy who reminds us of the reason for the season, in a way that helps underscore that I’m the Christian candidate and those other fellas aren’t. As a break from the nattering argument, as a message that highlights something bigger than politics, it was refreshing.

Was the cross an accident? Please. It was as accidental as Mr. Huckabee’s witty response, when he accused those of questioning the ad of paranoia, was spontaneous. “Actually I will confess this, if you play this spot backwards it says ‘Paul is dead, Paul is dead, Paul is dead,’ ” he said. As Bill Safire used to say of clever moves, “That’s good stuff!”

Ken Mehlman, the former Republican chairman, once bragged in my presence that in every ad he did he put in something wrong–something that went too far, something debatable. TV producers, ever hungry for new controversy, would play the commercial over and over as pundits on the panel deliberated over its meaning. This got the commercial played free all over the news.

The cross is the reason you saw the commercial. The cross made it break through.

(3) Every bit of Greenwald’s juxtaposition of the McCain ad to the Huckabee ad, and the supposedly different reactions to them, is pure unadulterated crap. The comments highlighted by Greenwald about the McCain in particular were not so much to the cross as to the story of McCain’s Christmas in captivity, and how a (impliedly Christian) guard gave him a bit of reprieve from his remarkably grueling daily existence as a POW. That’s what was so powerful and what Chris Wallace described as moving him to tears. It had nothing to do with a cross appearing in the ad.

Those are just the highlights. You should read Karl’s post to get the full-on fisky flavor. Or, you could just accept finally, once and for all, that Glenn Greenwald is about as dishonest a hack as you are ever likely to come across, and save yourself the time and trouble of slogging your way through his mendacity. Obviously, while I accept the latter, I find it much more entertaining to do the former. YMMV.

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A new Submission!

To Glenn Greenwald’s Carnival of Fisking. Courtesy of Dan Collins you can amuse yourself here.

Hat tip: Frequent commenter, ChrisB.

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“Constitutional Scholar” Follies

Noted constitutional scholar, conspiracy theorist, sock puppet and all around frustrated guy, Glenn Greenwald, has a melt down over the spinelessness of the Democratic majority. Not to disagree with him, I agree they are spineless, but this little diatribe is profoundly silly.

First of all, if the Democrats had a spine Mukasey would have been confirmed by a much larger margin. Many Democrats only voted against him to appease the likes of our little ragged piece of footwear, much like the last spineless attempt to appease the net-roots by impeaching Cheney. Let me quote Bilby to refresh your memory:

Okay, so to get things started Steny Hoyer introduced a resolution to table (kill) the resolution. At first it looked as if the motion to table would pass handily, with all the Republicans and enough Democrats voting that way. Then the Republicans got sneaky. A bunch of them decided to change their votes to stop the motion, thereby giving Kucinich, and presumably the rest of the Democrats who voted his way, what they wanted; for the matter to be debated. The vote ended up 251-162 against tabling the resolution. Yay! The moonbats should have then been ecstatic! Finally the House would debate impeaching Cheney for allegedly lying us into war. But no. A short time later another motion was introduced by the Dems to send the resolution back to committee, which as mentioned is almost as good as killing it. Guess what happened? 81 of the Democrats who voted against tabling the resolution when they were pretty sure they would be on the losing side turned around and voted for sending it to the Judiciary Committee. Ouch! They wanted to make it appear they were all for bringing impeachment up for debate (and appeasing the nutroots), but when it looked like it would really happen they ran to stop it!

The key is they didn’t want to try and impeach Cheney, they just wanted to have it off the table, but their vote on record so the netroots would be appeased. A point Greenwald can’t seem to get his mind around is that the positions he champions are not as popular as he has convinced themselves they are. The same thing with Mukasey. Voting against him plays well with he and his clique, but not so well, or even noticed, by the rest of the country.

More pathetically, our constitutional expert is all confused about the whole 60 vote majority requirement in the first place:

The so-called “60-vote requirement” applies only when it is time to do something to limit the Bush administration. It is merely the excuse Senate Democrats use to explain away their chronic failure/unwillingness to limit the President, and it is what the media uses to depict the GOP filibuster as something normal and benign. There obviously is no “60-vote requirement” when it comes to having the Senate comply with the President’s demands, as the 53-vote confirmation of Michael Mukasey amply demonstrates. But as Mukasey is sworn in as the highest law enforcement officer in America, the Democrats want you to know that they most certainly did stand firm and “registered their displeasure.”

McQ dances on the sock puppet’s hamper:

Of course. Or it could have something to do with regular legislative business in the Senate requiring 60 votes and judiciary committee nominations, by agreement, not requiring them. How soon we forget all the talk about the “nuclear option”, the “gang of 14″ and the difference between a judicial filibuster and a legislative one.

Heh, well, I guess Mr. Greenwald won’t be putting that post as a link on his resume. Read the rest of McQ’s post if this didn’t remind you of how the senate works.

Andrew Sullivan takes him seriously, Alex/Thoreau seems to miss the point as well. Sadly, as Bilby notes, Marty Lederman even ran with it, though he certainly should have known better. I think he woke up pretty quick to his lack of judgment in paying attention to a sock rather than thinking about it for himself and just plain old pulled the post. Not that that is how such misgivings should be handled, but it is certainly preferable than Greenwald’s course, which will be to ignore it because his fans will not care, or come up with a weaselly explanation. Marty however, is an expert on constitutional law, a good mind, and possessed of a good bit of integrity, so no way is he going to keep something like that up. I think a simple ‘hey, quick post, not enough coffee, ignore anything to do with that issue I wrote” would suffice, but I get it. A warning about the dangers of even experts following the lead of a paranoid puppet made from old socks would probably be a service to his readers, but we cannot all take up that cross.

Update: Buck Naked Politics, The Booman Tribune, and Cernig miss the flaw in Greenwald’s analysis as well. Michael here at A Second Hand Conjecture is rather scathing.

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More Greenwaldean Nonsense

It’s almost too easy.

McQ ably tackles Greenwald’s attempt to play dumb as to how Judge Mukasey could be confirmed by the Senate without having to face a Democratic filibuster.

Every time Congressional Democrats failed this year to stop the Bush administration (i.e., every time they “tried”), the excuse they gave was that they “need 60 votes in the Senate” in order to get anything done. Each time Senate Republicans blocked Democratic legislation, the media helpfully explained not that Republicans were obstructing via filibuster, but rather that, in the Senate, there is a general “60-vote requirement” for everything.

How, then, can this [confirmation of Mukasey] be explained?

Of course, the shortest answer to Greenwald’s mock confusion would be “Gang of 14″, but McQ spells it all out anyway:

However a different agreement for judicial nominations has been in place since the 109th Congress, which, of course, would apply any nomination coming from the Senate judiciary committee. That agreement was forged by a group known as the “Gang of 14″ who have, in effect, agreed that Rule 22 for judicial nominations won’t apply by refusing to become party to filibusters against nominees. In the closely divided Senate, the refusal of 7 Senators on each side to participate in judicial filibusters (which have been described by many as unconstitutional anyway) has effectively nullified thee use of the filibuster there. Thus there is no 60 vote requirement for a cloture since there is no cloture vote. Consequently all judiciary committee nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority.

Aside from the feigned ignorance comprising the bulk of Greenwald’s missive, there was one small portion that seemed to perfectly encapsulate much of what Lance has been on about in his posts regarding the “Politics of Bad Faith“; first the passage from Greenwald:

Now, “torture” is not only something we openly debate, but it’s something we do. And the fact that someone is on the wrong side of the “torture debate” doesn’t prevent them from becoming the Attorney General of the United States.

The clear implication is that “torture” is not even debatable, and that unless one comes out as unequivocally opposed to it (whatever “it” is) in all circumstances, and in every situation, one is on the “wrong side of the debate.” Such a standard for what is debatable or not has the benefit of being both entirely nebulous and yet having a defined “good” and “bad” side. Torture is bad, so failure to oppose it makes one evil.

But how do we decide what torture is if we don’t debate it? Waterboarding may or may not be (although, it seems to be pretty clearly illegal), and again, how do we decide without debate? What about loud music or stress positions? In short, without debate, there is no way to decide what constitutes torture. Which is exactly what Greenwald and his minions want.

You see, it’s really easy to simply take a stance that appears moral on its face without applying it to any actual situations. Anti-war? OK, then what about the Revolutionary War, or WWII? Anti-child labor? Great, but how about those families who have no better option (you know, like all of our ancestors at some point in the past)? Anti-torture? Fantastic, but where do you draw the line between necessary coercive tactics and over-the-line acts? The moral preener won’t answer these questions because to do so undermines his exalted position. Instead, he throws up his hands in disgust at even having to consider the topic, and casts aspersions on all those wrong-thinkers who do not capitulate to his obvious moral superiority.

In this way, the moral preener lords his moral superiority over others and yet never has to actually clarify that stance. Regarding torture, that means simply shouting down or dismissing as evil any who challenge the political orthodoxy without ever even attempting to come to terms with what it is that’s being discussed. Accordingly, “torture” means whatever is being proposed by the political enemies of the moral preener. Any rational debate of the issue is immediately dismissed as “defending the indefensible” and challengers likened to Nazis and fascists. Anti-torture is the only permissible position, and any questioning of its underpinnings is strictly verboten upon pain of otracization.

People like Greenwald and his minions aren’t interested in debate, you see, they just want to be holier than thou. Those of us who prefer rational discourse to political gamesmanship are therefore deemed evil warmongers who support authoritarianism in all its forms. No right-thinking person would dare consider pondering the questions we raise because it is just not reasonable to dissent from Greenwald’s teachings. Oh yeah, and somebody or other who is some muckety-muck whom everyone should simply bow down before as an authority on the issue agrees with Mona. So there!

Of course, the moral emperor has no clothes, and his platitudes and righteous outrage are mere political theater. The whole point to Greenwald’s charade is to cast anything Republican as the second coming of Hitler himself, thus clearing the way for an electoral shift to the left. How far left I can only guess, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be in any libertarian direction since debate is just not allowed in Greenwald’s brave new world. Every issue, every topic and every post from Greenwald is loaded with moral indignation and yet comes devoid of substantive debate or discourse. In what way is that “libertarian”?

It’s not. And neither is Greenwald.

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The Politics of Bad Faith II

I have been meaning to address the issue of Sullivan and other’s latest attack on Glenn Reynold’s. I intended it to be a follow up to The Politics of Bad Faith, and I may still have more to say on that, especially Jim Henley’s comment “In a corrupt political discourse, no label is much use.” But on this particular charge Eric Scheie has written it for me. So go ahead and read the whole thing, because like Glenn, those of us who are not as outraged as some are, about some things, must therefore support:

the permanent suspension of habeas corpus, the transformation of the executive branch into a de facto extra-legal protectorate, the breaking of laws by the president, the authorization of torture, warrantless wiretapping, a war based on intelligence that simply wasn’t there, and a ramping up of the drug war.

The idea that Reynolds has been silent on the drug war is so untrue as to be laughable. This enters the territory of a lie. Anyone who reads Instapundit knows that isn’t true. So either Sullivan is lying about what he has read, or he is lying by asserting he has read it enough to know. Either way, it is a lie.

On every subject above Reynolds has posts, which could be referenced if Sullivan wished to, but doesn’t, that discuss those issues. Sullivan has in the past used as a source on Reynolds a man who not only is a sock puppet but claims Glenn Reynolds holds to views which express a murderous sociopathic, bloodthirsty, downright frightening right-wing authoritarianism. Glenn is pure evil, a man with murder in his heart in these people’s world, but Andrew actually finds them credible?

What upsets Sullivan is that Reynolds isn’t as exercised and obsessed about these issues as he is, thus he seems to feel  he doesn’t have any responsibility to temper his diatribes with anything so inconvenient as the truth. This bothers me because of course I have been the subject of the same kind of complaint, and the same tactics, it is a pattern. Sullivan and others complain about the “Malkinization of the blogosphere,” but I have far more fear of the Greenwaldization of it. The reason is that at its heart it is a “take no prisoners” approach to politics (as his friend Mona has described their philosophy to me) that believes the ends justify the means. Eric some time ago took the time to analyze their philosophy in the Sock Puppets own words:

There are some people who treat our conflicts with the Bush administration and their followers as just a matter of basic, friendly political and policy differences–along the lines of “what should the rate of capital gains tax be?” or “what type of laws can best encourage employers to provide more benefits to their employees”–and therefore, we treat people who support the administration with respect and civility and simply have nice, clean discussions to sort out our differences among well-intentioned people.That isn’t how I see that, and nobody should come to this blog expecting that. I don’t think I’ve done anything to lead anyone to expect otherwise. I see the Bush movement and its various component parts as a plague and a threat, as anything but well-intentioned. My goal, politically speaking, is to do what I can to undermine it and the institutions that have both supported and enabled it.

When faced with a plague and a threat anything is justified. Thus the extreme statements about Glenn and many others from all of Greenwald’s clique.  He has a goal, not any desire for truth or fairness. Civility is to be despised, and nobody who disagrees with him can possibly be well intentioned.

Like Eric, as a longtime fan of Andrew’s, I hope this tack he is taking toward the Greenwald view of the world is temporary, but I am beginning to wonder.

Go let Eric tease some of the threads in that pattern out, it is well worth the effort.

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News Brief, Happy Belated Power Bottom Appreciation Day Edition

Cross-posted on The Conjecturer

Defense & The War

  • Infamous mercenary Tim Spicer, who runs the infamous paramilitary organization Aegis (née Sandline) might take over Blackwater’s contract. This is because all State Department convoys are being placed under DoD command, and Aegis runs the Regional Operations Centers that would handle this coordination. Given horrors like Spicer’s attempted coup of Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, as well as the “trophy” video (in which Aegis employees drive through the streets of Baghdad, randomly shooting Iraqi civilians), I can’t say this is an improvement. But something must be done, so something has been done.
  • Burying the lede: attacks are down, but endgame strategy remains non-existent.

Around the World

  • Interesting that Europeans are seeing the value of American-style entrepreneurship: serial start-ups, trial-and-error, and allowing for creative destruction all have enabled us to rapidly reward innovation and rapidly punish stodgy old dinosaurs (unless you’re a cell carrier). Of course, they’re going about it in a very European way, which is to say they want the government, rather than venture capital firms, to provide startup, err, euros. This makes me think the U.S. will remain number one in competitiveness for the foreseeable future… so long as we don’t muck it up through crippling immigration and heinous SEC regulations.
  • You-know-who linked to a snide post about the foiled terror plot in Azerbaijan. Since Michael Silence is a Big Time Blogger who claims to know all about militant Islam, he should know that Wahhabist radicals would have nothing to do with Iran, since the Shiite Ayatollahs are their mortal enemies as well. So cheers on being one of the few Americans who can look at a map and see Azerbaijan shares a border with Iran; jeers, however, for not knowing Azeris make up Iran’s largest minority (occupying about 25% of its population), or that Shiism and Wahhabism are fundamentally, and quite violently, opposed to each other—and therefore would not coalesce in Baku to target western embassies.
  • Lufthansa Cargo is involved in some back channel dispute with Russia, and has been denied overflight rights. Something as innocuous as an “expired contract” is never so simple in Russia; either the wrong guy got bribed, or, if you’re one of Lufthansa’s competitors, perhaps the right man got bribed. Either way, Russia will walk away from the ordeal all the richer, and Lufthansa will have to find a new route to Asia… and Tashkent and Astana will probably have to find a new airline to charge for landing and refueling rights.
  • I continue the debate over Nordstream, over at
  • in Shibuya. We needed some levity.

Back at Home

  • Bestest Blog Buddy Sam wrote perhaps one of the nicest things about me I’ve ever read: “He has worked dilligently since whenever we first met [in 2002, Sam, 2002--j.f.], turning his Conjecturer into a well-read site. Well-read enough that he managed to simultaneously infuriate the Instapundit and Glenn Greenwald.” For a while, I’ve been convinced that my most well-developed trait is my dubious ability to infuriate people of all persuasions more or less equally (though I didn’t really infuriate Greenwald, so much as unintentionally highlight his severe tardbaggery).
  • CONFLICT OF INTEREST ALERT: “DEA Administrator Karen Tandy is retiring… [and] taking an executive position with Motorola, also the chief corporate sponsor of the DEA’s traveling exhibit that attempts to link drug use to September 11.” How ethical!
  • Wow: “The fastest Windows Vista notebook we’ve tested this year is a Mac.” I’m waiting for the first revision to come out, then leapfrogging to Leopard (I still have Panther, having never upgraded to Tiger; meowrl).
  • This is why I sometimes hate myself.
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Footwear Follies — A Continuing Saga

Socky McSockpuppetThe hits just keep on rollin’. It seems that the Boi from Brazil (you know the one who wrote that outstanding bestseller “How Would A Patriot Act?” — apparently they move to another country) has noticed little ole us in his latest diatribe. Take it away Glenn!:

For those reasons [the ones detailed in the excruciatingly long and incoherent prose that is the Hallmark of Greenwald], Col. Boylan’s behavior here compels scrutiny. It is significant either way — that he sent the first email and is dishonestly denying having done so, or that someone is able to fabricate such convincing emails in his name. This is so clearly the case that even one right-wing blogger, writing at a garden-variety pro-war blog that typically spews the standard venom characterizing the right-wing blogosphere, wrote this last night

So which one of us venomous, pro-war right-wing bloggers here at ASHC did Teh Glenn hold out as his example?


I am normally sympathetic to entries that are mocking Glenn Greenwald. However, I have to lend him at least some credence here—he is, after all, in the curious position of being the recipient of acrimonious emails (regardless their relative merit, or if emails sent from .mil domains can be considered private) with Col. Boylan’s identifying marks on it that Col. Boyland denies sending. Indeed, either Col. Boylan feels regret at having sent them, which is just childish, or someone spoofed his email address, which is a vastly more serious problem. And Boylan’s apparent casual attitude lends the impression of wrongdoing on his part.

Poor, poor pro-war, right-wing Josh. When will you learn the folly of your ways, dear boy? Or shall The Green One taunt you a second time?

This is yet another example the kind of mischaracterization and general buffoonery that makes Greenwald such an easy and oft-ridiculed target. Of course, that is also the method to his madness — i.e. to blather on about awful right-wing, pro-war “24%”-ers to the adoring masses that following him with blind devotion, using as examples of the enemy he has designated those who bristle at his inaccuracies. In true Wormtongue fashion, Greenwald tells his sycophants what they want to hear, fills there heads with fearful rhetoric about right-wing bogeymen, keeps his puppies frothing with persistent reminders of how the fascist warmonger operates, and then points them at the nearest designated enemy armed with enough half-truths and non-sequiturs to raise holy terror. All to feed his ego, which is apparently rather fragile and diminished.

At some point, the scales will fall from one of his followers’ eyes and lay waste to house of cards comprising Greenwald’s search for truth and justice. And that will be truly fun to watch.

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Oy – of mice and men

How can anyone read Glenn Greenwald prattling on about how picked on he feels by the VRWC?? And remain so slavishly loyal to him as to defend his own behavior.

If his point is the supposed politicization of the military, then he’s certainly getting off the track by making the issue about Boylan and his snotty attitude towards himself.

I mean, how dare he be snotty to such a vaunted member of the press. Look at all his (GG) apologists and how they fawn over him, and his extensive bio. GG has an opinion and is paid to publish it. And how dare anyone take him to task for maybe not following the facts of a story or being loose with the context of quoted material. Yeah, maybe not in this case, but in previous cases?? Two points on a graph don’t make much of a trend, but a whole bunch of points do. And maybe the VRWC is piling on GG because well, it’s GG after all, and it gets more traffic then posting about more mundane topics like ethnic cleansing in LA.

I guess the only way to discuss the politicization of the media, er I mean, military is to throw around invective and make it an issue of a member of the armed forces being ’snide, hostile and nonresponsive’ to a member of the press. Even while such snideness, hostility, and non responsiveness, were in private emails.

Well, I guess, unless you just actually talk about the relationship between the media and the military.

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Poor, Poor Pitifull Me

Gleenwald sure is going to a lot of trouble to play the victim…

His latest update on the possibility that a member of the US Military is not treating him with all the respect due to a member of the professional press (aside: I thought bloggers were all a bunch of pajama’s wearing cretins?)

On a different note, John Cole highlights the key point here that should not be lost. Independent of the authenticity of the first email, Col. Boylan’s subsequent emails to me were snide, hostile and nonresponsive (”What I am doing about it does not concern you”). Whatever else one might think about the views I have expressed, I don’t think anyone can say I was anything but professional and civil in all of my interactions with him, yet his responses today were roughly the same as the ones encountered by The New Republic: arrogant and obstructionist stonewalling (Franklin Foer noted “a months-long pattern by which the Army has leaked information and misinformation to conservative bloggers while failing to help us with simple requests for documents”).

As Cole notes, that behavior stands in stark contrast to the extremely eager and cooperative conduct in which they engage when passing on information to the right-wing blogs and pundits whose political views are apparently aligned with theirs. That takes us back to the first and most important point — the U.S. military, which has an obligation to conduct itself apolitically and professionally, appears in many cases to be doing exactly the opposite.

Hmm, I would guess, but perhaps the emailer thinks the same thing should apply to members of the media.

That members of the media have an obligation to conduct itself apolitically and professionally.

Just a thought.

I’ve generally found that when respect is given, it is received back in kind.

Update: Just on a lark I threw his screed into Word.

3823 words long to complain that he received a rude email… And he gets paid for this stuff?? Where can I sign up?

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The Great Sock Puppet is hunting IP’s- We have been noticed by the Greenwald fan club! Updated 10:30 PM CST 10/29

I was over at Patterico’s this evening and what do I see?

I swear I’m not making this up:

If you are well-versed in analyzing IP addresses, email headers and the like, please email me ([email protected]).

If you don’t get the irony, you must not have read this.

Of course for those who chuckle over the paranoid conspiracy theorists misadventures with donning the cloth there are other delicious ironies:

Most convincingly (to me), Col. Boylan has, as I noticed during my prior email exchange with him, a — how shall we say? — idiosyncratic grammatical style that is quite recognizable though difficult to replicate, and the e-mail I received this morning — from start to finish — is written in exactly that style.

Well, good day sir!

Oh well. I have no idea whether Col. Boylan sent the e-mail which has the dishonest hack’s knitting in a wad, but this was pretty amusing as well: (more…)

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Unfounded Belief versus Tin Foil Hats

Glenn Greenwald is shocked, shocked I tell you, that:

The NYT/CBS poll yesterday revealed that 40% of Republicans in this country — 40% — still believe that Saddam personally planned the 9/11 attacks.

Heh, well unfounded beliefs run all over the place don’t they. Here are the numbers:



    Yes No Unsure
    % % %

ALL adults

33 58 9


40 51 9


27 63 10


32 60 8

Now, in fairness to the third of Americans who believe this, the question is not whether he planned it, but the Master of Socks rarely is one to quibble with simple things like accuracy. Instead it asks if Saddam was involved. I don’t think he was, but would it surprise me if he had a connection? Nope. Still, pretty disturbing. Of course many Democrats and Independents believe this stuff as well, which might rate a mention in other hands, but then this guy only does feet, so what can we do?

So what to think? I stick to my theory that many people have lost their minds, but then people who admire socks prove that. I’ll take the ignorant who believe there is compelling evidence of Saddam being behind 9/11 over the 40% of Democrats and third of the population who think George Bush let 9/11 happen. The latter theory is a whole lot less rational, because Saddam certainly was happy it happened. The idea that George Bush was goes from uninformed to insane.

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The Crucifixion of Petraeus

McQ beat me to it on the campaign to discredit General Petraeus as an Bush administration hack. This is doubly ironic considering Petraeus’ long standing and cogent criticism of the way the war was being fought. A man so devoted to changing things he bucked traditional combat doctrine and pushed hard, with career risk involved, to change things. His efforts included the rewrite of the military’s counterinsurgency doctrine, the aggregating of men outside the establishment such as David Kilcullen in putting together the doctrine and advising him in the present campaign. Yet Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan have the gall to portray him as a partisan hack. Sullivan didn’t even bother to read the transcript first.

If I were eager to maintain a semblance of military independence from the agenda of extremist, Republican partisans, I wouldn’t go on the Hugh Hewitt show, would you?

Actually I expect he will do what he has, appear in a number of venues and forums, not just those Andrew Sullivan approves of.

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A Study in Pettiness

Take up your arms, sons and daughters
We will arise from the bunkers
By land, by sea, by dirigible
We’ll leave our tracks untraceable now

- Sons and Daughters, The Decemberists

I see that our dear friend Mona is once again firing shots across our bow. A few weeks ago she tried to (apparently) goad me into an argument, and now she is taking aim at Lance. Specifically, Mona crows that a comment by Michael Ledeen, whom Lance interviewed, is Exhibit A in her never-ending case to prove him a liar:

Michael Ledeen has never, ever advocated a military invasion of Iran. Those (like me) who have claimed he is being coy and that that is and has always been his entire objective, have been pilloried for denigrating the honor of this oh-so-decent man. Calumny most foul, it has been! We do not understand his genius, his wisdom, his commitment to democracy and “peaceful change.”

Last fall, Leeden told the neolibertarian blog, A Second Hand Conjecture, which reverently finds him to be among the most “consistently misrepresented public intellectuals,” my emphasis:

ASHC: You have written that in order to win this war we would need to defeat Syria and Iran. In my reading you explicitly reject major military action against these states. First of all, why are these two states the most important in your mind? Second, why would you caution against an attempt at regime change through military force?

Michael Ledeen: I’ve always said invasion of Iran would be a terrible mistake, and it would demonstrate a failure to design and conduct a rational policy toward Iran.

Mona claims that Ledeen was lying above, as evidenced by his recent statement regarding Sen. Lieberman publicly pondering the efficacy of bombing Iran:

Now, let us look at what Michael Ledeen wrote today about Joe Lieberman’s call to militarily invade Iran, in a post titled Lieberman for Secretary of State, my emphasis:

On Face the Nation, he just called for military strikes against terrorist training camps inside Iran, echoing, ahem, myself lo these several years…Meanwhile, the appeasers over at the State Department, from the spokesman to the secretary herself, are reassuring the world that we’re going to continue our conversations…

So, it is not a “terrible mistake,” or a “failure of rational policy” to bomb Iran after all! Now, Ledeen is one of those who “imagines we are going to invade Iran.”

Because we are blessed with so many intelligent and insightful readers, I am sure that I do not need to point out the rather obvious flaw in Mona’s “evidence.” However, for posterity’s sake, I’ll just note that “bombing Iran” does not equate to “invading Iran.” Indeed, the two actions are not even remotely close. And yet, to Mona, this is evidence of Ledeen’s disingenousness.

Undermining her supposed point even further is that fact that Lieberman did not call for bombing Iran indiscriminately, as a means of curbing Iran’s assistance to terrorists operating in Iraq:

“I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq,” Lieberman said. “And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers …

“We’ve said so publicly that the Iranians have a base in Iran at which they are training Iraqis who are coming in and killing Americans. By some estimates, they have killed as many as 200 American soldiers,” Lieberman said. “Well, we can tell them we want them to stop that. But if there’s any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law and stopping, for instance, their nuclear weapons development, we can’t just talk to them.”

He added, “If they don’t play by the rules, we’ve got to use our force, and to me, that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”

Finally, in direct opposition to Mona’s claim that “Joe Lieberman[] call[ed] to militarily invade Iran,” we have this from the horse’s mouth (my emphasis):

Lieberman said much of the action could probably be done by air, although he would leave the strategy to the generals in charge. “I want to make clear I’m not talking about a massive ground invasion of Iran,” Lieberman said.

Hear all the bombs, they fade away
Hear all the bombs, they fade away

- Sons and Daughters, The Decemberists

So, to recap,


(a) Lieberman is not advocating for an invasion, but

(b) Lieberman is calling for a limited air strikes on operational military targets, and

(c) Michael Ledeen claims to not support a military invasion, but

(d) does approve of Lieberman’s call for air strikes,


Neither Lieberman nor Ledeen are advocating nor calling for an invasion of Iran.


Anyone who claims that Michael Ledeen has somehow reversed his position on an invasion of Iran based on the evidence above is either (1) just plain wrong, (2) as mendacious as she claims Ledeen to be, (3) reading-challenged, (4) just plain stupid, or (5) all of the above.

You decide.

To top it all off, Mona chides us here at ASHC with the following:

Ledeen defenders have been played for the worst sort of suckers, and it really is past time to admit it, guys.

Mona’s condescension lost all of its luster for me quite some time ago, but I do find it amusing every now and then. Despite the fact that Mona has no ethos or philosophy of her own, and regardless of her inability to comprehend those whose thoughts she adopts for herself, she has absolutely no problem raining down insults from above upon those she has deemed her intellectual inferiors. Mona imagines herself with a front seat at the oracle, and is bewildered by anyone who does not see what the gods have revealed to her, much less when they do not do so with the same ferocity and conviction.

The problem for Mona is that she is not the great thinker she assumes to be, but instead an egotist posing as an intellectual. She apparently has neither the capacity for original thought, nor the depth to understand the thoughts (much less words) of others. She is an intellectual wasteland devoid of growth or the means of life. So when she takes aim at one of us here at ASHC, I can only be amused at the fact that she seems inexhaustibly possessed of the notion that she has even the slightest effect on anyone who does not share her delusions. I see her much as the windmills must have regarded Don Quixote.

Nevertheless, attack us she will, and I wish her good luck in that endeavor. If someday she happens upon a real argument, I shall be sure to thank whomever she borrowed it from.

P.S. Just for fun, I’ll leave you with two bits of funny:

(1) MONA: “And don’t miss what Greenwald has to say about Lieberman’s deadly insane position.”

Does anyone else recall the grief visited upon Brit Hume for calling Murtha’s ramblings “dotty” and the subsequent vitriol aimed squarely at Lance for pointing out the obvious?

(2) As indicated in the post above, Mona severely misunderstands the definition of “bombing.” As yet more evidence of that fact, this time pertaining to “google-bombing,” see the following:

The guy calling for it should be Secretary of State, says documented liar Ledeen.

Three guesses as to whose name shall forever be associated with “documented liar” on Google thanks to Mona. Come to think of it, you could make three guesses and have all of them be right!

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A New Submission to the Greenwald Carnival of Fisking

Instapundit readers welcome! If you haven’t been here in a while look around. New format, additional authors, feeds to other great sites. Tons of stuff. Poke around and drop us a line.


From one of the great practitioners of the art of unraveling Sock Puppets (second only to me) Patterico:

The sky is blue, time is still moving forward one second at a time . . . and Glenn Greenwald is still being dishonest.

Regarding Dave Gaubatz, who claims that Saddam really did have WMD, Greenwald says:

This is the individual to whom Glenn Reynolds, Powerline, Michelle Malkin’s blog and scores of others are pointing as the Iraqi Weapons Expert who knows the Real Truth behind Saddam’s Missing WMDs.

Let’s look at the evidence Greenwald cites to prove the assertion that these individuals are swooning over Gaubatz’s claim.

First, here is Glenn Reynolds:

“I FOUND SADDAM’S WMD BUNKERS:” Er, wouldn’t this be news if it were true? Maybe not, these days. . . .”

Here is “Michelle Malkin’s blog” (actually Allah at Hot Air):

Melanie Phillips’s new piece in the Spectator is making the rounds so I might as well toss up a link. This story isn’t new — FrontPage was writing about Gaubatz last April and the Times featured him in a story about diehard WMD believers in June. He seems credible, but I must say, stories about the continuing hunt for WMDs at this point seem to me like a right-wing version of Trutherism. Besides, even if Gaubatz is right about the weapons having been moved to Syria, we’ll simply never know unless Assad ups and admits that they’re there. And if he was going to do that, odds are he’d already have offered to do it in exchange for whatever concessions he might want from the Bush administration.

Still an interesting read, though.

Maybe somebody needs to explain to Greenwald what “Trutherism” means. Hint: it ain’t a compliment.

Read the whole thing and then visit “our incomparable archives” for more sock puppet fun.

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New addition to the Greenwald Carnival of Fisking

And it is from me, and this post is it.

A while back Cliff May asked a question:

I noticed Rangel uses what has become a frequent talking point of the left: that in the last election the voters sent the message “Get out of Iraq.”

Is there a shred of evidence for that? Yes, plenty of voters were undoubtedly registering disappointment with lack of progress in Iraq, and many clearly believed it was time for a new strategy.

But didn’t the removal of Rumsfeld, Abizaid and Casey accomplish that? Is there really polling to suggest that most Americans are ready to pull the plug on Gen. Petraeus’ strategy and mission?

If not, isn’t it high time this talking point was challenged?


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Don’t Trust National Journalists???

Hmmm, I think someone needs to look in the mirror, considering that, with a regular gig at a nationwide e-magazine, someone became a “national journalist.”

In response to my central point — that a story of this magnitude and potential impact should not be passed on without at least some information enabling an assessment of the credibility of the sources (or, at the very least, should include an explanation as to why such information was being concealed) — Schneider’s response was that there is a way for the reader to assess the credibility of the story. Namely, because ABC News and the reporters in question have “proven over a long period of time” that they are “very reliable” (Brian Ross won a Peabody Award), the fact that they have assessed this story as credible is, by itself, sufficient to render it newsworthy.

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The Cancer Within (UPDATED)

Via Patterico I see that the bad news visited upon Tony Snow is generating an unexceptional response at HuffPo:

I hear about Tony Snow and say to myself, well, stand up every day, lie to the American people at the behest of your dictator-esque boss and well, how could a cancer NOT grow in you. Work for Fox News, spinning the truth in to a billion knots and how can your gut not rot? I know, it’s terrible. I admit it. I don’t wish anyone harm, even Tony Snow. And I do hope he recovers or at least does what he feels is best and surrounds himself with friends and family for his journey. But in the back of my head there’s Justin Timberlake’s “What goes around, goes around, comes around, comes all the way back around, ya..”

I had to provide you the quote above from Patterico’s site because its author, Charles Karel Bouley, deleted it from his post. How typical.

I don’t normally get too bent out of shape about these matters. After all, it is the internet and people can and do say what ever mean hateful things they want. To me, doing so just diminishes their credibility, and my interest in listening to anything they have to say. But some people go out of their way to flaunt their (self-assessed) moral superiority by positing that only one side of the political spectrum is so vile and hateful, and that no countervailing example from the other end of the spectrum is even possible. Well … at least not without dredging up anonymous commenters. Or, y’know, conflating of all of one political ideology with the rantings of one madwoman. Despite copious evidence that “some” are embarrassingly wrong in their assertions, the meme spreads like a … well, you get the idea.

So when a ugly partisan thinking rears its venomous head once again, I almost feel compelled to highlight it. Bouley’s observation are not vile because he wishes someone harm (he doesn’t, and it wouldn’t make a lot of sense anyway since the man is already afflicted). It’s vile because he deems Tony Snow’s malady some sort of just desserts for hanging around the wrong crowd.

Just to be clear, this Charles Karel Bouley’s justification clarification for all you unsympathetic blockheads who didn’t pick up on his nuance (my emphasis):

OK, by the amount of evil email and actual death threats I have received, obviously you all misunderstood what I was trying to say or I was not clear. I believe that negativity can manifest inside the body. Just as stress can lead to strokes and heart attacks, high blood pressure, I believe if you surround yourself with vitriolic and terribly negative people like Cheney, Bush, Rove and the lot, it’s bound to have a physical effect. Does he DESERVE cancer, no, no one does. But when you are in such a horrifying atmosphere the physical is bound to pay somehow. And AS I SAID, I wish him a full recovery and support of family and friends. But just as good things happen to bad people, isn’t the converse of bad things happening to bad people true? I do not count Tony Snow as a good guy. He has publicy questioned my patriotism at the behest of his boss. I don’t like that. But again, that doesn’t mean I want him to have cancer. By: karel on March 27, 2007 at 08:47pm Flag: [abusive]

Got that? He’s not “wishing” cancer on Tony Snow. Heaven forfend! He’s just ruminating about his own medical theory that handing out with people as toxic as Republicans is bound to involve payback. See? That’s much better.

Was anyone actually confused about his point? What’s really sad is that Bouley seems to truly believe that (a) cancer is caused by being around hateful, vitriolic people, and that (b) Republicans are so hateful and vitriolic that diseases such as cancer are inevitable amongst such crowds. And, mind you, this is a member of the “reality based” crowd.

Bouley’s ignorant “thoughts” rather pale in comparison to this real piece of work, however, who bestowed upon himself the task of harassing a conservative pundit and chiding a dying woman in her last moments. Cathy Seipp, as known to many, was a rather feisty conservative writer who found a home at the L.A. Times, and was greatly loved in the righty-sphere as well as by many of her left colleagues. From Susan Estrich:

As for the rest, we had to agree to disagree. But I was always interested in how Cathy put it, where she came down and how she got there, because I knew she’d be as tough on herself as any critic would be. So I checked in every day to see what she was thinking, until the end. Ours was an old-fashioned relationship, the kind people used to have with people they disagree with, the kind that is too often under attack these days.

Alas, being a conservative critic also managed to draw many detractors. One in particular was cyber-squatter Eliot Stein who, allegedly because of some personal grudge against Seipp, bought the domain and posed as Cathy by writing inane things on the site. Upon hearing the news of her imminent demise, Stein posted a lovely good-bye message from Cathy:

Just hours before her death, “Cathy Seipp” suddenly seemed to undo decades of hard work with an oddly written letter posted on the Web site, www. In what came off as more bizarre rant than heartfelt apology, her supposed “very last blog entry” called her years of journalism a “shoddy,” “despicable” and “irresponsible” career as a “fourth-rate hack.” Her political stance? All a mistake. The fiery, unwavering supporter of George W. Bush supposedly said she’d done a complete 180 in the past year and was now an implied supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. What was even more perplexing was that “Seipp” was taking mean-spirited potshots at her own daughter, Maia Lazar, whom she called an “obnoxious” and “arrogant” wanna-be “skank” who was “mentally ill.” Throughout the letter, the one person whom “Seipp” seemed most sorry for ever having offended was Maia’s 10th-grade journalism teacher, who had frequently clashed with mother and daughter. Finally, “Seipp” said she was probably to blame for her own illness — the “venom” she’d spewed for years was responsible for her terminal cancer.

Hmmm, where have I heard that diagnosis before? Ah yes! “Seipp” must have been chatting with that medical genius extraordinaire Charles Karel Bouley. What classy company. I wonder if they know this guy? I bet they’d get along real well. (HT: Patterico, Insty, Jim Treacher)

UPDATE:  Little Green Footballs has more regarding some rather nasty remarks about Tony Snow, this time coming from the comment section at the Washington Post

Yesterday Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post took a slap at LGF, labeling our commenters “vile,” equating them to the lunatics at Huffington Post, and suggesting that blog comments need better policing.

So let’s have a look today at the comments section of the Washington Post—one of the largest news organizations in the US—under the article about Tony Snow’s illness, shall we?

Tests Show Snow’s Cancer Has Returned.

 My favorite comment (YMMV):

Liver cancer is universally fatal, and quickly. Let the party begin people, let us dance on our roofs in joy at the end of a neocon mouth piece. This will be a big party, the only one bigger at this time would be for the utter and complete distruction of israel via Iranian nuclear tipped missles. Oh what a beautiful day that would be, mushroom clouds over toilet aviv, oh joy! Stick that in your pipe wolfie, pearlie, libbie, and feithie – I dance a jig in celebration.

By whetsell | Mar 27, 2007 2:20:22 PM | Request Removal

Yep.  Real classy bunch. 

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New Submissions for our ongoing Glenn Greenwald Carnival

I am adding them to our archives. First From Jeff GoldStein (who has a number of posts that I will need to track down unless he were to generously do the research for me?) we have:

Greenwald(s):  “We are not the haters.  YOU HATERS are the HATERS!”

The fact that Greenwald(s) right here is arguing that the right side of the blogosphere is positively lousy with prominent sociopaths, while the left’s extremism and sociopathology is so rare that it must be sniffed out like truffles by determined smear merchants—is itself an example of a leading left-wing pundit engaging in the very kind of cartoonish hate-mongering he pretends to detest.

Eric Scheie notes a disturbing implication of Greenwald’s “principles.”

Sometimes unprincipled demagogues are better than principled activists

While I suspect most (but not all!) of the readers of this blog would call Glenn Greenwald unprincipled, in his mind he is quite the opposite. He answers to a higher set of principles, best known to him, and subject only to his own review. He wants what he wants, and those who disagree with him are in his mind murderous sociopathic, bloodthirsty, downright frightening right-wing authoritarians. The details of this demented argument are not especially worth my time, but it’s important to bear in mind that Greenwald (in conjunction with Sadly No) is making them about Glenn Reynolds, which I find deeply disturbing. Because if (and I mean if) we assume Greenwald really believes these things, then almost anything he does becomes justified.

How many of us would consider Count von Stauffenberg’s assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler to have been unprincipled? Very few. That’s because defeating murderous sociopathic fascism is a moral principle of the highest moral order. Thus, if Greenwald believes his vicious rhetoric, this makes him a moderate in comparison to the highly principled Count
von Stauffenberg.

Thanks for all that you do guys!

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Ann Coulter and Little Greenwald’s Footballs: Revised as a Carnival of Fisking -New Submissions 3:45 PM CST, March 4th

Cassandra at Villainous Company (hat tip McQ) has pointed out the ever present hypocrisy and mendaciousness of Glenn Greenwald and hits a point I have made several times in the last few hours, which is that he and Ann Coulter are at bottom quite similar: (more…)

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